Watching Her.

Xander walked Olivia into the police station.  "Guess what," he said with a grin.

"What?" Beckett asked, sounding tired.

"The people I like can insure her and I can go on her policy to get around them thinking I do stupid stuff."  He beamed.  "So I have insurance again."

"Good job."  She took the baby to cuddle, getting hugged back.  "Thanks, Olivia."

She stared at her.  "Good?"

"I'm very good."  She kissed her on the nose.  "Are you going to an interview?"

"We're going to do baby pictures for her paternal grandparents.  Do you think that's too dark?"  Beckett shook her head, handing her back.  Xander looked at the board.  "Someone magic.  That's sacrificial rituals."  He looked at her.  "Tara's out of town at the library conference for two days."

"I'll call Sam."  She smiled.  Xander beamed back, proud of having helped.  "Go do picture things.  I'm sure others will want some."

"Should I get some for you guys?"

"We'll come stare at her in person," Detective Ryan said with a grin.  "My fiancee might get jealous if I started carrying around pictures of other girls."

Xander kissed him on the head, letting Olivia do the same thing.  "That's because she knows other girls watch your butt even if you ignore it, Kevin."  Olivia beamed at him and hugged his head then they left.

He shook his head.  "He's in a good, happy mood today."

"Apparently," she agreed, taking down a picture to email to Sam Winchester then she called.  "I sent you a crime scene photo.  Is that a sacrificial thing?"  He looked and told her, letting her make notes.  "Can you send me the full rite and any qualifications?  Thanks, Sam."  She hung up.  She called the ME.  "Very fast question on that sacrificial murder.  Was she virginal?  Sam Winchester said there's two different rituals."  She made a note and sent him an email that she was.  "Thanks, Lanie."  She hung up.  "Sam and Dean have stopped this ritual before."  Kevin Ryan grinned.  "Where's Esposito anyway?"

"Talking to his mother, who's in the hospital after falling.  She's complaining at herself and he's trying to keep her from nagging the nurses."  She smiled at that.  "He said to call him when we go to start questioning.  Apparently she started on lacking grandkids already."

"Sure, we can do that."  She saw the new email icon flash and got into it.  Sam had sent her the link to the three information sites for future reference and the rite itself.  She read it over, letting him roll his chair over to read over her arm.  "That sounds like that guy Zoltan or whatever down in the Village."

"That poser that just moved in and wanted to be Doctor Strange?  Yup."  They got up and he called his partner on the way out the door.  Javier clearly needed some temper easing time.


Xander carried the bag into the hospital, smiling at the pacing man.  "Here, hold her."  He handed over Olivia and brought the bag in, smiling at the older woman, who was looking stunned.  "He's one of my niece's favorite cooing toys."  He handed over the bag.  "Javier had me grab this from my house for you so you weren't so bored.  It's a few puzzle books and a coloring book with crayons because he said a kid up the hall kept visiting to get some attention."

She smiled and patted his cheek, saying something in Spanish.

He blushed and shook his head.  "He'd never date me.  I only draw bad boys and he's clearly not.  You did an excellent job with him.  He's a very respectful minion to Beckett and he's a good friend to have."  He grinned.  "But if he wants to fuss over Olivia I'll let him.  She needs to learn more about good boys."  She cackled and nodded.  He left the room to take the baby back.  "I told her you were spoiling Olivia, not one of my bad boy posse, because she did such a good job on you."  He grinned.

"Thanks, kid.  She did since I'm not anywhere near bad enough for you."  He tweaked her ear.  "Are you getting her ears pierced?"

"Willow threw the most *massive* fit at Daniel when he suggested they do it soon after her birth."

"Ah.  So when she's old enough to take care of them?"

"Willow hates body mod people and her ears aren't pierced either.  Her mother told her how it was deviant and trying to create an identity in the wrong way and all that."  He waved a hand.  "So she'll make that decision when she's old enough."

Javier Esposito smiled and let Xander leave.  He walked in there.  "I'm glad he still had those from when Dean cranked his back in the shower."  He sat beside her bed.  "Coloring book?"

"For when the boy up the hall comes back."

He smiled.  "That's really nice of him."  He helped her get comfortable so she could do a few of them.  She was bored and in here for the rest of the week.  "Mama, do you want someone to come in for a few weeks to help with the housework?"

"There's a few young ladies in the neighborhood who could use the money.  I'll hire one of them after you scare them stupid, like usual."  She looked at her grinning son.  "Which is why I don't have a grandbaby."

"I'd go date Xander because he's always fun but I don't think he'd like that too much."  She laughed, shaking her head.  "I'll find one some day, Mama.  When I'm not working as many hours."  She nodded and handed him a book of puzzles she didn't like.  He settled in to do them.  A nurse came in to fuss over her and she had to let her because she had made one cry, which was why her son was on vacation to help her.


Xander looked up from proofreading when Daniel's form appeared in front of him.  "Howdy."  He pointed.  "She's napping."

"She's still so tiny," he said with a grin.

"We figured out time is going faster over there."

"Tiny bit," Daniel sighed.

"She's just had her second birthday."  He started the film he had taken and let him see it.  Daniel was grinning.  "I found your cousin so he can pass back stuff to your family."

"Thanks, Xander."  He smiled at his girl.  "Giles said if we can get some of her blood we can create a sympathetic portal."

Xander looked at him.  "How would we get some over there, Zen Master?" he asked dryly.

"Hmm, good point.  I think he's going nutters.  By the way she has a brother."  Xander smirked.  "And Willow may be up the duff again, not totally sure.  Either that or Buffy poisoned only her with her cooking."

Xander nodded.  "Sounds like what I've written about morning sickness, yeah."  He grinned.  "The witches can't find you even on that plane.  You're shielded too hard or something.  If she could join with them when they're searching, then they could probably work something out."

"I'll let her do this next to them.  Devon?"  Xander nodded.  "That's good.  I'll have her get in touch with them so they can work on it."  He smiled at his girl.  "She's so sweet."  Xander shook his head.  "No?" he asked with a smirk.

"Someone tried to pickpocket us so she screamed 'no, bad boy' and lectured him in baby babble.  He was not amused.  The cop that arrested him after I made him beg was but he wasn't.  She was still chewing him a new one when the officer got there.  Two of the poker circuit locally were really pleased that she was turning into Joyce."  Daniel cackled, losing cohesion and disappearing.  Xander looked over.  Olivia was still asleep.  He stopped the film and got to work on the next baby series book.  He had liked that one.  He also IM'd Rick to let him know he had a great idea on that one if he wanted it.  And what they had said about over there.


Rick read the message that popped up.  "Huh.  Daniel's showed up as a ghost."

"Literally?" Beckett asked.

"It's something Willow figured out how to do from wherever.  It's like being out of your body."  He put his phone up.  "And he has a nice idea for the next in that  baby series."  She smiled, shaking her head.  "Did you hear that she yelled at a mugger?" he asked her.

She burst out laughing.  "I did hear that from the officer that arrested him."  She shook her head.  Rick grinned.  "She's got a huge personality."

"Yes she does," Esposito said from his seat.  "My mother wanted visitation after meeting her."

Kevin Ryan looked confused.  "She did what?"

"She yelled 'no, bad boy' at the guy she caught trying to mug Xander and then scowled and babbled at him until the officer saved him," Beckett said with a grin.  "Xander got him held down and she went off on him."

Ryan grinned.  "I love that little girl.  Some day I want kids like her."

"What did your fiancee say?" his partner teased.

"She wanted to know if we could adopt her from Xander and Tara.  Tara scowled and made Olivia scowl at her."  He grinned.  "She pouted and accepted 'semi-aunt' status.  She and Tara are planning how to keep Olivia in cute, girlish things."

Beckett shook her head but she was smiling.  "She's very happy in a dress, which wasn't the girl I was, but she's adorably girlish when she is."  They all nodded.

Captain Montgomery came out to stare at them.  "Problems?"

"Sharing Olivia news," Esposito quipped with a grin.  "She scolded and babbled at a mugger for Xander."

The captain shook his head.  "Some day we'll see her with a sword and a pretty dress."  He went back to his office shaking his head the whole way.  He adored that little girl, they all did, but she was a bit...strange.


Olivia appeared in a beam of light and a squeal, then scowled at a demon.  "Bad!" she shouted.  It fled.  She smiled at John, waving.  "Hi!"

"How did you get here?" he demanded, pulling out his ringing phone.  "Yeah, Tara, I have her.  How did she do that?"  He sighed.  "Idiots.  Are they in pieces?  Oh, you had her instead of Xander so Beth's beating them.  I'm in Arizona."  He smirked.  "Sure, I'll bring her back.  No, scowled at the demon and she fled.  Thanks, Tara."  He hung up and looked at her.  "Well, looks like we've got an easy night, Olivia."  She beamed at him and patted his scruffy cheek.  "I know I need a shave."  A new demon appeared and she scowled.

The demon stared at her then at John.  "Grandchildren finally?" he taunted with a smirk.

"Rosenburg's daughter."

"Oh."  He backed up and bowed to her.  "I will not pick on him because I do not want to face your uncle or aunt, young lady."  He avoided looking at her.

Xander appeared in a flash and shot the demon.  "No getting near Olivia unless we're playing poker."

"Of course not, Knight."  He fled.

Xander took the baby to cuddle.  "Hi, 'Liv.  Did the mean witchy from Devon try to send you away again?"  She patted him and grinned.  "It's all right, your Auntie Beth called me and I kicked her ass good and then nearly shot her too."

"We usually burn bad witches," John said.

"Tara would've sniffled.  Tara sent me by the way."  He looked at her.  "Now if only Auntie Tara had sent my wallet."  She giggled.  "Fine.  We'll get Auntie Tara to send stuff Fed Ex so we can get home."  He walked off with John.  There was an officer pulling in.  "Hi," he said with a grin.  The officers gave them a horrified look.  "A witch in New York sent her to John.  I got sent to retrieve her."

"Oh, dear," the officer said.  "Gunshots, sir?"


"Figures with who you two are.  Okay.  She's adorable."  Olivia smiled and waved.  "And smart."

"I'm trying really hard," Xander said with a grin he used on reporters.  "Can we hit the motel so I can tell her auntie she forgot to send my wallet?"  He nodded, letting them go.  "Have a good night, Officer.  Say bye, 'Liv."

"Bye, 'Fer!" she called with a wave and a grin.

John shook his head.  "She's very bright."

"And very flirty too.  Dean had to teach her not to flip up her dresses."  John shook his head quickly.  "He reminded her she has to find a man like Uncle Sam before she does that."

"Sam's a nice, decent boy.  I made sure of it."  He got into the truck and Xander got in beside him.  Xander got her buckled in and put an arm across her chest, getting it hugged.  "That'll do back to the motel."  He started the truck and drove off as carefully as he could.  "Where is your wallet?"

"In the kitchen, probably with the chicken that's in the oven burning by now?"

"You were at home."

"Yup and the witch pulled me to save her from Beth.  Pity."  He called her.  "I need her car seat, my wallet, and someone to go stop the chicken in the oven from burning, plus to feed the meowing things that think they own me."  He listened.  "Because my wallet's at home.  I was baking a chicken for diner and breakfast, and someone's got to feed the cats?" he guessed.  "Plus her carseat, Beth?  She can't ride without one."  He grinned.  "Exactly.  Thanks.  And a diaper bag if you can.  Thanks."  He hung up and sighed, shaking his head.  His phone beeped with a message.

"Tara sent you something Western Union for me."  John smiled, taking them to do that.  Xander had them put it onto a refillable visa card for now since it was such a large transfer.  They got her a car seat, diapers, and wipes, then took her back to the motel.  Xander got their own room and settled in with her.  She wouldn't care to wear the same clothes tomorrow.  The store hadn't had very many girl clothes and they were all ugly things in orange.

John settled in for the night and listened to Xander fuss at her next door.  He shook his head.  Xander was a very fussy father.


A week later they finally got back to New York and to the house, Xander letting them inside.  He sniffed.  Something was tragically dead.  He checked the cats first, they were all limp and tired looking but not sick.  He checked, no food.  He put out food.  "John, call the vet for me please?" he asked.  He took the chicken that was rotting in the oven out and tossed it out.  He got a baby bottle leftover from when they were nursing the kittens to get them water.  That pepped them up some.

He took the phone when John held it out.  "Hi, it's Xander Harris.  Apparently when I asked someone to cat sit because I got sent to Arizona by a witch, no one did.  No, they're alive but lethargic.  A week.  I've gotten them all to drink water.  Should I bring them in?"  He nodded.  "I can do that.  Thank you.  Yeah, definitely if they don't perk up some by tonight.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "We need very soft wet food and a push syringe feeder."  He took Olivia.  "Can you?" he asked, looking at him.

"Sure, kid."  He took the trash to throw out too.  He wondered what happened to Tara.

Xander got more water down them and petted them all.  "I'm sorry Auntie Tara didn't come, guys.  Daddy's home with Olivia and it'll be better.  Daddy's going to chew Tara  new one."  He called.  "Thank you for not feeding the cats so they're half dead and leaving the chicken to rot in the oven, Tara."  He hung up.  Olivia was cooing and petting them.  "Thanks, Olivia.  Be very gentle.  They're sick, like when you got sick.  Only worse."  He took the stuff John had gotten from the pet place, opening it to suck up some food and squirt it into the mouths.  He swallowed but wasn't enthusiastic.  "Cat carrier's in the closet," he said quietly with a point.  He fed the others.  Only one perked up some at that.  John got them in there and they went to the vet's office.  He walked in carrying it while John got Olivia.  "They won't swallow."

"Okay," she said, taking him back to a room.  "Doctor, Mr. Harris did have to bring them in.  They're not swallowing."  He came to check on them.  Xander was trying to get some of the gravy in the can down one's throat.  "Let me, dear."  He nodded, taking the baby to cuddle while they got an IV started and got to work.  "What happened?"

"Some witch sent Olivia to Arizona with John."  He head nodded at him.  "And then I got sent to protect her and bring her back here.  I asked Tara to take care of them.  I'm not sure why she didn't.  She also turned off the oven and left the chicken in there to rot."

"Ooh," the doctor said.  "She's always been a good pet owner."

"I'm not sure it was her," John admitted.  "She fusses over those cats like they're her babies.  The same as the kid does."  He patted him on the shoulder.  "They're not dead, it'll be handled, kid."

"They're not in as bad of shape as could be," the vet agreed, looking at him.  "Calm down.  They'll have to stay for a few days."  Xander nodded, swallowing hard and clinging to the baby.  "They'll be okay.  We just have to force some fluid and things.  We'll do a toxin test at the same time in case whoever did it fed them the wrong things on purpose."

"Then I'd kill them," Xander said bluntly.  "With malice."

The vet smiled.  "You're not the first who'd do that, Xander.  Let us handle them for tonight.  We'll call you tonight.  All right?"  He nodded, petting each one and kissing them on the head before walking out with the baby.  He smiled at the nurse.  "It's good he's usually so good to them."

"He's never had this problem before," she said.  "He's always had pet sitters.  We've gotten a few calls because they had been chewing on some of his plants."

"I remember."  He got them starting to drink and the nurse took over feeding light, soft stuff to them.  They were starting to perk back up.  One was even meowing.  Fortunately it was a light day for them today.  The nurses could fuss over them all they wanted.


Tara looked up when someone who was trying to soothe her went quiet.  "I sent Beth," she sobbed.

"They're with the vet's tonight," John told her.  "Beth left a chicken to rot in the oven?"

"No!  She'd never do that!"

Xander nodded.  "The vet started an IV and is feeding them soft stuff."  She nodded, taking Olivia to cuddle and calm herself with.  "Is Beth here?"

"No.  I don't know where she is."  She looked up.  "I asked her to Fed Ex your wallet and Olivia a bag of things."  John shook his head.  "At all?"  He shook his head again.  She huffed.  "I'll be talking with her."  She nuzzled Olivia.  "I'm so sorry, baby girl.  That witch that sent you to Uncle John is too.  Faith winced at how I screamed at her."  She cuddled in.  Tara finally got herself calmed down.  "I had no idea, Xander."  He nodded at that.  "Let me talk to her first?"  He nodded.  "Where is your wallet?"

He patted it down, finding it.  "My ID's not in it."  She moaned.  "Or my cards or my cash."

"Dirt!  If she did that I'm so broken up with her," she muttered.  "She can move."  She got up and stomped off to call Beth from the office.

John looked at him.  "Usually I think Tara's this sweet girl."

"She is until you screw with her."  He followed.  Tara was shouting.  "Voicemail?" he guessed.

"Yes, Goddess damn it!"  Olivia cooed and hugged her.  "It's all right, baby girl."

Xander sighed and called someone.  "I need to report my credit cards stolen please.  Presently I'm at the library with a friend.  I know some but they're in homicide.  Which might be a good idea to stop us from killing who I think took it.  Sure, I can go there.  Thank you."  He hung up and put his phone back.  "Station."

"Good."  She looked at her boss, who was still looking scared.  "Beth didn't feed his cats either.  They're at the vet's."  She gave Olivia a squeeze.  "May I please have a few hours off?"

"Sure, dear.  You go calm down.  You sound like you need it and we'd need you to yell more quietly at her."  Tara grimaced but nodded.  "I had to yell at my ex a few times too.  We go into the restricted room," she said with a grin.  Tara beamed back and nodded, taking them out to the car.  John was driving so that was fine.  Olivia got buckled into her seat.  John drove them to the police station and they went to talk to the desk sergeant, who had the forms they needed.  John got Olivia while they made the report.  But he let her down so he could answer the phone.

"Don't move," John told her.  She smiled at him.  He listened to Dean's current problem and gave advice, huffing a few times at the 'that didn't work' answers he got.  He didn't notice her wandering off.  She knew this building.  Her favorite uncles and auntie lived upstairs.   She got onto the elevator when it opened, patting the buttons.   She could only reach the bottom row but they were only two floors up.  The first time the door opened it wasn't them and it was dirty and nasty smelling, worse than a diaper, so she stayed on.  It went up and there they were.  She ran over and pounced her Uncle Kevin for a hug.

He looked down.  "Why are you wandering around here?" he demanded, picking her up to cuddle.  The elevator opened and John stomped off.  "Lost her?" he quipped.

"I was answering a problem for Dean."  He took her to cuddle.  "Didn't I say not to wander off?  You need to learn to listen, young lady."  She smiled at him.  "No, you're grounded."  He looked at them.  "FYI, they're down filling out a complaint because someone took Xander's cards and cash from his wallet instead of sending it and left the cats without feeding them for the last week."

"Seriously?" Beckett demanded.  John nodded.  "Do we know who?"

"Beth was supposed to send it and feed the cats.  She turned off the burning chicken but nothing else."

"Huh.  Well, if they get to the point of homicide, call us first," she ordered.

"I might need the help holding Tara back, yes."

"Cats?" Esposito asked.  "I know he considered them his kids before her."

"Vets.  On IV's."  That got a nod.  "Thanks, guys.  Sorry for letting her wander."  He carried her back down there talking to her about not walking away from the adults.  That it was bad.  Xander took her back, shaking his head.  "She went visiting."

"Most everyone who works here has seen me bring her in to talk about a date," he said dryly.  "I got three shocked calls on your way to get her."

"That's actually a good thing."  Tara finished up and they went to the vet's at her insistence.  The nurse smiled at her and let her back to help him fuss over them.  Olivia was petting what she could reach from John's arms.  The cats were definitely more perky and eating now.  When they got home, Xander had to toss out a few mattresses, the couch, and their litter boxes.  Plus his writing chair.  He got new ones ordered for delivery and it was nicer.  They went to sit outside.  John looked at the puddle.  "Kid, you need to snake that drain."

Xander went to look and shook his head.  "No clog that I can see."  He found his snake inside in the closet and used it.  "No, nothing's catching in the twenty-five feet."  He went to check from the bottom edge.  That was sealed with concrete.  He kicked the bottom piece of pipe off and looked around.  Nothing else had been tampered with.  He looked at the other drain and did the same thing.  He carried them back around the building.

"Who are you!" some guy shouted.

Xander stared at him.  "I live and own here.  Who the fuck are you?"  The man gave him a horrified look.  "And are you responsible for this?"  He held up a pipe.  The man sneered.  "I can kick your ass easily.  I'm actually in a very bad mood."  Someone walked toward them.  "Leave my shit alone.  I don't touch your stupid shit."  That one took a swing and Xander hit him with the piece of pipe, sending him down.  "Huh.  Good thing I have cameras."

"I don't see any," he sneered. Xander pointed.  "Um...."

Xander smirked.  "By the way, we can smell why you're on my street and his drugs just spilled out.  You think you wanna run?"  The man sneered so Xander held up his phone that had been dialed when he was yelled at.  "Cute crack rocks, dude."  The man lunged at Xander but Xander hit him with the other piece of pipe.  "Huh.  Look at that, rocks are bad for you.  Who knew," he said dryly, hanging up.  The officer up the street was giving him an odd look.  "They started it."

"I'm sure they did," he agreed.  "I saw that first one take a punch as I was parking.  What's wrong with those pipes?"  Xander showed him.  "Huh.  Probably trying to drive you out."

Xander smirked.  "This is an artifact warehouse, Officer.   It has all sorts of mystical bad things."  The officer shuddered.  "I protect the warehouse."  He smirked.  "I'll use something in it to fuck up their worlds because it's not been a great week.  So would you like their drugs?"

"Yeah, I would."  He arrested them and gathered the fallen drugs.  It was more than enough reason to search them.  "Go calm down, Mr. Harris?"

"I'm trying."  He looked at the surge of water that ended.  "Looks like the rain gutter system from up by the pool was full too.  I'll get new pieces of pipe tomorrow.  Thank you, Officer."

"Not a problem, sir.  Please calm down?"

"I will sometime this week.  He went back up.  He paused to order the two new pieces of gutter piping and then went back outside.  "The drug dealer wanted to know what I was doing.  He's under arrest and very quiet where I knocked him out."

John patted him on the back.  "It's good you're mean, Xander."  Xander nodded, going to check the pool area.  The overflow had wet down the bar area a bit but it was built to expect some water from rain storms.  The plug was still protected.  So they'd be fine.  He went back down to sit down.

Tara got up at the security system's beep, going down there.  "Yes, Officer?" she asked.

"Do you live here, ma'am?"

"He's up on the deck.  He's a bit pissed off.  Why?"

"Ma'am, this area isn't zoned for living," the officer said bluntly.

"That's funny, we checked with the city planning office and so did his architect."  The officer gaped.  She texted and Xander came down.  "Didn't we check?"

"Yes, I had Bob, the guy at the City Planning and Tax office, out to make sure how big my variance is."

"Oh," the officer said.  "One of the other plant's owners said it's not."  Xander pointed at the other apartments.  "Something about being on this side of the street?"

"I could've built it up another floor," Xander told him.  "You can tell them to bite me and with the week I've had, I'll call in a poker debt to flatten their puny buildings."  He smiled.  "Or use some of the artillery someone owes me as a poker debt."

"You probably shouldn't threaten in police view, sir," he said.

"Xander," Tara chided.

He looked at her.  "I don't care.  And if they're that big of idiots, then so be it.  Half of these plants here aren't working.  Two of them are occasional raves and one's trying to become a vamp sanctuary.  Thankfully I changed the bulbs."  He looked at the officer, who was whimpering.  He grinned.  "Which one?"  He pointed.  "Ah, the drug making guy.  He tried to give me shit when I first moved in and it was proven then that I could build up there."

"He's gotten statements from the mayor."

"That would be funny since the mayor's never come out here," Xander said dryly.  The officer moaned, shaking his head.  "I wonder if he's got a habit."  He leaned in the doorway.  "Beyond that, I own this building.  I inherited it."  He grinned.  "No one can tell me I can't do that in my own building after the city office said it was okay.  Tara, the whole file for the plans is in my office."  She went up to get it.  He smirked at the huffy man coming over.  "So, were the drug dealers that forced me to beat them earlier your friends or friends of the other supposed owners who're making drugs?"  He waved a hand.  "By the way, dude, meth stinks badly.  Kinda clear what you were doing since nothing industrial has that same stink."

The officer nodded.  "He does."  Tara brought down the file.  He looked it over.  "I do see a permit for construction of a living space," he said.  "From the City Planning office, who does handle that."  He handed it back to Xander then looked at the owner of the plant.  "I'm sorry, sir, but that means he's fully legal."

"The mayor said he's not," he sneered.

"Has the mayor actually seen the ones above your shop?" Xander asked dryly.  "By the way, yes I'm the reason you got raided by ICE agents for the illegals you're forcing to live up there."  The officer shuddered.  That had been on the news.  "Officer, is there anything else?  I'll protect the people who should legitimately live here.  That's why I called them, because a few were trying to escape and he had one shot."

"I heard that.  It was on the news."

Xander grinned.  "Cool."  He pulled out his keys and looked at the next building, pointing the keychain remote at it.  The lights suddenly flicked on and a few vampires that had went in screamed.  He turned them back off with a grin.  "UV lights.  Great against vampires."

The officer nodded.  "That's very interesting.  Do you own that one?"

"I asked the owner.  They're in holding trying for a sale and I said I had seen vagrants and vampires.  They allowed me to put in the UV lights to protect the property.  They got a bit stupid minded when my niece squealed at them."  He grinned.  Some beings ran out on fire.  He looked and timed it.  "Huh.  Interesting."  Tara sighed and went to handle it.  He smiled at the plant owner.  "I'd leave you alone but you keep trying to fuck with me, dude.  Seriously."

"I believe he should leave you alone, Mr. Harris.  You should probably call the Mayor about his statement."  He handed those over.

"I can do that.  Thank you."  He smiled.  "You have a better night, Officer, and hopefully a boring one."

"I can only hope so."  He went to check on that demon, who was now extinguished.  "Ma'am, do I have to file an assault report?"

She smiled.   "We have a city-wide demon council for that.  I've already called them to come handle it."

"Thank you, ma'am.  That's very nice of you."

"Easy night, Officer."  He grinned and went to his car.  She waited until the demon council people arrived.  "Xander put in UV lights against the vampires but he was set on fire."

"We can handle that, Tara.  Thank you."  She smiled and went back to help Xander calm down.  They went in to talk to the new hiding area.  Some things just couldn't be tolerated in New York.


Xander walked into the Mayor's office.  "Hi, can I have a moment of his time to ask him why he wrote a statement for someone about something he knew nothing about?" he asked the secretary.  She gave him a dirty look.  He held up both letters.  One from the guys at Planning.  One from the Mayor.

"I can tell him there's a problem."

Xander smiled.  "Please.  I'd like to know why.  Especially since the person he wrote it for was arrested this morning for making Meth."

"Oh, dear."  She went in to talk to him.  She came out.  "He thought it was all industrial."

"There's apartments on top of most of the buildings," he said dryly.  "Mostly occupied."  She let him in and he walked the letters over.  "If you had actually been to my neighborhood, you'd have seen that there's over three hundred units on the same block," he said dryly.  "That's from Planning."  He stared at him.

"No one would care, young man."

Xander leaned down.  "I and my niece do care.  So does my publisher and my reading public.  So does my bank account that's bigger than yours."  The mayor flinched.  He smiled.  "So would all my ex's that aren't in jail for being serial killers.  I'm perfectly nice and happy and sweet and gentle and kind until someone screws with me.  The guy who you wrote the letter for screwed with me and just got arrested for the meth he was making."  He stared at him.  "Leave me and mine alone.  I don't want to have to deal with this.  Making me deal with this means I get to be mean and evil."  He smiled sweetly.  "The nice detectives who keep arresting my ex's all want me not to go sob on one's shoulder.  Even the ones in Homeland and the CIA."  He grinned.  "Now, is there still a problem?"

"Um...."  The mayor stared at him.  "Was that a threat?"

"No.  That wasn't a threat."  He pulled out his phone and held up an article in the Times the weekend before.  "That's my ex too."  He grinned.  "Both the reporter and the one that got arrested.  Who's out on bail and stalking me around.  He's already heard and that's why the detectives wanted me to not sob on him."

The mayor read it and whimpered.  "Oh," he said weakly.  "I was clearly thinking of another neighborhood."

"Thank you."  He put his phone back and took the letters.  "Since he tried to have an officer enforce his will, we had to get that straightened out for certain."  He beamed and walked off.  He let the secretary copy it and then went to drop it with the officer's sergeant.  He walked in and people got silent.  "I'm here peacefully, guys.  Really.  I'm just dropping off forms."  He grinned.  They all relaxed.  He walked up to the desk sergeant.  "The guy who runs the meth making plant across the street tried to have me kicked out of my house through one of your guys."  He handed over the letter from the Planning board.  "That's from them saying that yes that is a residential living allowed area."

"Someone said something about that this morning.  And your gutters?"

"Someone sealed the ends of the pipes with concrete so I've got to fix that today."

He nodded, taking a copy of that letter for their records.  "I'll let them know, Mr. Harris.  Are you all right?"

"Why wouldn't I be?"

"No one saw you last week when there was a problem?  You weren't at home either."

"No, a witch who was fighting with Tara sent Olivia to John Winchester in Arizona and then me."  The officer shuddered.  "Without my wallet so we had to drive back.  We only got back yesterday.  Is it still a problem? I'm still in a really bad mood."

"No, sir, our slayer handled it."

Xander grinned.  "I adore Faith."  He wrote his number.  "Should someone try it again let me know and I'll gladly talk to them."

"Yes, sir, I'll put that in the report."

"Thank you."  Xander left, going home.  He found someone looking at his gutters.  "I'm fixing them today," he said, making one flinch.  "Someone poured concrete onto the bottom of them and it kept the drains on the rooftops from emptying."

"Sir, is this your building?"  Xander held up the papers.  "Oh, that's interesting.  Not why I'm here.  There's a tax issue because you're claiming more square feet than you could possibly have."

Xander let them inside and he stared in awe at the building.  "It's magically spread.  She set up a trust to pay for the square footage we actually have."

"Is this up to fire codes?"

"There's fire suppressant gear all over."  He turned on more lights to show him.  "Most everything in here is mystical or magical so it's on a foam system."  He grinned.  "There's the non-stretched basement areas as well."

"Wow."  He looked.  "How big is it?"

"She estimated I think.  No idea.  Not sure if it would expand more if we got more stuff."

"May I?"  Xander led him around and to some of the side rooms.  He estimated.  "I think she over estimated."

"I have no idea how we'd measure it since it takes a whole day to walk all the way to the back wall."  He got the clipboard with the plans on it.  It had measurements when he considered the rooms.  The guy smiled and made notes on the actual square feet up and downstairs.  Plus the house.  "I've been paying the extra for the house."

"That's reasonable."  He let Xander lead him up there.  "Nice security."

"They're put in there so someone can't use them," Xander admitted.  That got a nod.  The guy took measurements electronically up there too and refigured it up.  "Hey, I have more than I thought."

"With the decks both finished that way it counts as outdoor, improved space, which is slightly expensive but she overestimated the warehouse by nearly two thousand square feet so it'll actually lower your bill by a few dollars."  He smiled and printed his form.   "Who handles that trust?"  Xander found that information for him.  He scanned it into his computer and then went to the office to correct that file.  It was a nice job and very weird but very something the hunting team locally would do.

Xander sent an email to the trust's oversight person.  Then he went to fix those gutters.  This time they were sealed in a way that meant no one could get concrete into them and they went directly into the grate they had to put in for drainage.  That was solved and it was pretty.  Then he went up to make lunch.  John and Tara had Olivia at the baby doctor because John had noticed her scalp had a few scratches and it looked like dandruff.  She had volunteered and wanted to ask nosy questions about Olivia's shots so he'd let her.

It was keeping her from ripping into Beth.


Xander walked into the police station, smiling at them.  "I'm told you guys found my credit cards?"

"Yes, sir."  He got that envelope and the report copy.  "Here you go, for the credit card company."

He grinned.  "They'll adore that I'm sure."  He looked in the envelope.  "No money?"  He shook his head.  "Dirt, there was close to fifteen hundred in it.  Guess I need to sell more copies of the next few books."  The officer grinned.  Xander smirked back.  "Thank you.  Her girlfriend?"

"Had them on her."

"Did she explain the cats or the chicken?"

"She said she refused to touch meat that was being cooked.  Some vegan thing we guessed."  Xander nodded.  "And she hates cats."

"She's allergic but she's never hated them that much before.  For that matter she wasn't vegan and Tara hasn't made her convert."

"Tara said that's not like her either," he admitted.

"Maybe she needs to be checked for the radical personality shift then," Xander sighed.  "I know Tara kicked her out."

"That's fine.  She's not made bail yet."  Xander nodded and shook his hand, leaving him alone so he could send that information to his credit card company.  He did make note of the personality shift.  Beth had always been a nice girl when he had run into her and Tara.  It sucked that this happened.  Hopefully it was something medical they could fix.  Or maybe a possession the Winchesters could fix.


Xander picked up Olivia in the daycare, smiling at her.  "Why are you so pouty?"  He poked her on the side, getting a bigger pout and a pouty look too.  He looked at the daycare worker, who shrugged.  "C'mon, let's go pick up the kittens from the vet vet's."  He signed her out, checking around him.  There was a big sign by the door reminding you to check to make sure a kid didn't follow you out the door.  He spotted one.

"Um, Madeline?" he called.  She came out to look where he pointed.  She went to get the kid from the parking area.  The mother got out of the car and took her back with a huff.  Xander looked at Olivia.  "I'd never let you do that."  He checked again, nudging a crawling one with a foot.  "Go see Penny, she's got pudding," he said with a point and a grin.  She crawled off that way.  He slipped out, making sure the door was closed.  The daycare worker smiled.  "I told one of them to go see Penny for pudding."

"She just started to crawl this morning, Xander."  She smiled and waved.  "Bye, Olivia."  Olivia pouted at her.  "Why are you pouty?"

"No clue," Xander admitted.  "Or the room worker."  He shrugged.  "C'mon, let's go visit the kitties."  She squealed and hugged him.  "I've missed them too."  He got her into her car seat and then drove them over there.  The nurse gave him an odd look.  "I haven't picked them up."

"No, they're in the back, Xander."  He looked around.  "No baby?"  He pointed at her.  "Oh, I didn't see you, Olivia."  She beamed and waved.  "Such a pretty girl today."  She got the kittens to a room so the vet could go over any last few instructions.  Xander took the carrier with a moan and paid the nice desk nurse, then they took them home.  John was on the couch reading something.  He jumped when Olivia appeared next to him.

Xander looked at her.  "Did you not notice her?"

"No, I didn't."

"Can you...."

"Definitely."  He watched Xander let the cats out, smiling.  "Did you get new litter boxes?"

"Last night.  All new, pretty and new litter, and a few new kitty scratching boxes."  He sat down and they mobbed him, getting petted.  "Hi, guys.  I'm glad you're so much better."  They settled on him to nap.  John was doing anti-magic drawings on Olivia's back in marker.  Finally it all ended and they could hear a faint squeal of outrage.  Xander sighed.  John sighed.  Olivia cuddled John and waved at the kittens.  Especially the one that came over to sniff her and then get petted.

"Good girl to be so gentle," Xander praised with a smile.  He called Tara, getting Beth.  "Hi, Beth."  She hung up.  He called the library.  "Beth has your phone?"  She hung up and probably called her.  Or did something to get the phone back.  He texted Tara's phone about the radical personalty shift idea.  Then he got up carefully so he wouldn't hurt a furry baby.  He put down wet food and the cats all ran for it.  "I love you guys too."  He sat down.  Olivia pouted.  "Want to cuddle me?"  She cuddled John with a happy grin.  "You make him happy, 'Liv."

"She's not near the hellion my boys were."  He read the book in Latin to her.  She squealed and patted it, beaming at him.  He smiled.  "It's good you like Latin, Olivia."  He went back to reading because it was good for her.

Xander frowned.  "Why are you wondering about her?"

"She's due to come up soon."

"No, she was the one I blew up for Buffy that knocked me into a coma for three days," Xander said dryly.  John looked at him oddly.  "Yeah.  Started a major fight with the group in LA, the first one."

John looked at him.  "How did you do that?"

"I pretty well blew up most of the warehouse to get her and her host.  Captain Turner saw it and he's the one that got me to the ER.  Buffy didn't even call an ambulance."

John winced.  "That sucks," he decided, going back to reading to her about another higher being.

"That's Purple Uncle Fred," Xander told her.  She squealed and threw her arms up, smiling at John.  "She likes him."

"Poker buddy?" John guessed.  Xander smirked and nodded.  "Figures."  He went back to reading.  "How are you doing on the school stuff?"

"Very good.  I found which one I want her to go to.  It was Beckett's suggestion.  I talked to their headmistress about stuff and she agreed that 'Liv can go on the waiting list even though she's not mine officially unless they declare her parents dead.  She said she's seen worse with parents in jail so it's not a real problem at the moment.  I talked to my investment guy about her school fund and it's set up safely.  He talked with the IRS who said even if they do come back and I withdraw the rest to absorb it because she went back to her parents, that I'd only have to pay a tiny bit of taxes on it and it's presently tax deferred."

John nodded at that.  "So we're looking good on that front.  I got a list of what she needed to know before she entered and it's a lot.  The daycare and I went over that.  They were shocked at some of it but agreed they can help her with workbooks when she's a bit older," Xander finished.

"Even better," John agreed.  "I'm glad I didn't have to face that problem with Sam.  Dean's very hands on like you are but Sam has major brains."

Xander smiled.  "I know."  Someone knocked.  "Open."  Beckett walked in.  "Hi.  More problems?" he asked since she didn't look happy.

"You threatened the mayor?"

"No, I laid out facts and pointed out doing it meant that he was screwing with me and I could quit protecting the city or even call in poker debts against the idiot who was making meth across the street for fucking with me.  I never said a word about touching him."

"You're worth more?" she asked dryly.

"Yeah, about seven or eight times more thanks to the inheritances."  She gaped.  John moaned.  Xander nodded.  "All those estates?  The sales and all that meant that the fees for the lawyer and the auction houses took forty percent.  The other sixty percent was mine.  In those was four houses in Manhattan, two townhouses, six condos, an exotic car collection, three buildings that house stores, a crapload of less refined jewelry - nothing you could wear to a gala event, a showroom's worth of furniture, and a bunch of clothes we donated.  Plus the few who had insurance policies."

She swallowed.  "How...."  He shrugged.  "That was just from that curse, right?"

"Yeah."  He grinned.  "We had sixteen die, Beckett.  Plus I've had two others that have died since then and left me shit.  Which I've auctioned off.  Most of them didn't have anyone complain or counter for it.  One got countered by a mystical group of morons who wanted torture girl's house that I had burned."

"Wow."  She licked her lips.  "So you are worth more than him and Castle."  Xander nodded with a grin.  "Huh.  Interesting.  Still, be more polite?"

"I don't understand polite like that, Beckett.  I grew up the bastardized son of drunks.  I understand 'I'll kick your ass' and other various themes along those lines; not politics, not manners most of the time, nothing like that."

"I get that.  You can take lessons," she offered.

"Alexis helped me tons so I didn't make an ass out of myself at dinners."

"That's good."  She smirked.  "It took him a week to figure out I'm the one that arrested most of your dates."  Xander grinned.  "So he asked me to politely ask you to please calm down?"  Xander pointed at the cats.  "I know it was the next day and he understood how that was stressing you out.  Just...please calm down?"

"I mostly have."

"Good.  Thank you."  She looked.  "Xander, she's eating cat food."  John got up to snatch her while Xander called his doc.  "I'll let you two handle that."

"Thanks, Beckett."  She waved and left before they made the baby puke.  "It's Xander Harris, I have a slight possible emergency.  Olivia, my niece, at cat food.  Wet cat food.  Turkey and rice with gravy?"  He made notes.  "So just make her puke?  Okay, we can do that.  Thanks."  He hung up.  John was already using his finger to help while Xander grimaced at the noises.  "Next time don't eat the kitty food, sweetie."  She was crying but they'd make her feel better after she puked it up.


Tara walked in that night and sat down with a sound like she was deflating.  She took Olivia and her bottle to cuddle.  "Why aren't you drinking out of a cup?  You usually do."

"We had to make her puke up the wet cat food she ate earlier," Xander said.  "And then a second time when she did it again."

Tara sighed, cuddling her.  "I'm sorry you ate that, sweetness."  She looked at Xander.  "Major personality shift was medical."

"Tumor?" John guessed.  "Or psychological?"

"Psychological.  She's on medicine for it and she talked to her boss about it.  She's on probation but not fired unless she goes to prison because she's on a critical project.  I don't know what to do about her."

John patted her on the arm.  "Don't let her live with you for right now, Tara.  Moods like that can get someone killed and it'll take a while for any meds to even out in her system.  They might even be switching them a few times."

"She did admit to having some very bad wants about blood.  I even checked her for a possession.  The doctor was not amused."

"They never are," John agreed.  "Possession's not covered by insurance or their books."

Xander snorted.  "She goes to mine and no, she's not.  She hated hearing that I had one from the hyena and asked about any possible zoological diseases."

Tara shook her head.  "She's a good doc but that's a bit too weird for her."  Xander nodded.  "I guess I'll keep talking to her but not dating her right now."

"You'll find someone great, Tara," John assured her with a pat on her arm.  Olivia was patting her too.  "See, even she knows that."

She smiled.  "Thanks, John.  You're a good dad."  She smiled at the baby.  "You're very comforting."  She grinned back and fell asleep sucking on the bottle of pedialyte.  They settled in to watch the sunset.  Then she went home to take care of Miss Puppy.  Not like she'd trust Beth to watch her right now and she was in a small motel for the next few weeks probably.  Tara clearly needed to find a decent girlfriend who wouldn't do things like that.


Xander woke up to his phone.  "Huh?" he mumbled into it.  He sat up.  "Did you freeze her, Tara?  Okay, stay there.  I'm on my way over.  Call 911."  He hung up.  "John, call someone about the old place.  Tara just froze Beth beside the bed with a knife."  He slid into clothes and ran down the stairs.  "Watch Olivia please?"

"Got it," he agreed, dialing the house phone.  He checked but Olivia was sound asleep.


The officer gave Xander a horrified look.  "Tara called."  He walked around him and to where she was sitting, sitting down to cuddle her.  "Forgot to change the locks?"  She sniffled, cuddling him.  He held her, letting her sob on him.  He looked at the waiting officer.  "She told you Beth's had some radical shifts in personality?" he asked quietly, getting a nod.  "They put her on meds earlier today for it."

"She can go to the hospital if she wants as long as Miss Maclay isn't pressing charges."

Tara sniffled, shaking her head.  "I love Beth, I want her to get help."

"I can understand that.  Can you unfreeze her?"  She did that and Beth broke out sobbing and sank to her knees.  "Let me get an ambulance here."  He called that in.  She wasn't the first one that week.  New York got its fair share of those who needed medicine for mental problems.  This one had better support than most of them but they'd work it out.  The dog was whining at her and Beth hugged it, murmuring in her ear before letting her go.

Xander let Tara sit up and walked over, looking at her.  "We'll deal with it and you'll get better," he assured her calmly.  He helped her up, staring into her eyes.  "We'll help you get better, Beth."

"I don't deserve," she sobbed, trying to get away.

"Stop," Xander ordered, making her freeze.  "If I thought you were doing it on purpose or you were just evil, I would've had you eaten by now," he reminded her.  "Tara loves you, even when the bad thoughts start.  So just calm down, we'll get you to the hospital for now so they can help.  All right?"  She nodded so he let her go.  She ran into the bathroom and slammed the door.

"My sleeping pills are in there," Tara said.  Xander got the door off the hinges and took Beth out, handing her over.  He took the razor blades too, handing them to Tara.  The officers put her in cuffs for her own safety for now.  Tara got up to hug her.  "We'll handle it and you'll get better," she promised quietly.  "Then we'll rebuild things."  She kissed her on the forehead.  "I'll come visit tomorrow after work if I can?"

Beth shook her head.  "I did so wrong, Tara," she said, looking miserable.

Tara smiled.  "It's not you.  It's you with funny chemical problems.  Once they fix that you'll be back to you and then we'll work on things."  She brushed a finger over the tear tracks.  "Please?  Just let them help?  We'd miss you."  Beth swallowed but nodded, looking down.  Tara hugged her.  "I'll take good care of Miss Puppy.  You worry about getting better."  Beth nodded and let the ambulance guys take her.

Xander got Beth's purse and held it out.  "Her wallet's in there."

"Thank you, sir."  He looked and found her insurance information and driver's license.  That helped them with the forms.  The officer told them why and they decided which one to take her to.  Tara was leaning on Xander's shoulder, looking miserable, but safe.  Once everyone was gone Xander helped her change the locks.  She had bought the stuff to do it but hadn't gotten around to it before bed.  Then he took her back to his house.  John was up and fussed over her too.  They got Tara calmed back down and she went to sleep in her and Olivia's room.  Xander went back to bed, worrying most of the rest of the night.

John went to his own room and made notes in his journal.  Just in case it needed to be recalled later.


Xander smiled at the book reporter there to interview him and the other one following her.  "Ladies," he said, standing up to shake their hands.

"Alexian," the book reporter said with a smile.  "She had a question about the other night."

"Tara's girlfriend Beth?" he guessed.  She nodded.  "She had some massive personality shifts and had started on medicine that day.  Unfortunately they hadn't fully equalized her system yet and she broke in to stab Tara.  So she went to the hospital so they could work on her meds.  We're trying to keep it fairly quiet though."

"I can understand why.  Beth always seemed like such a sweetheart when we saw them out together," that reporter sighed.

Xander nodded.  "She is.  Even with the meds she is.  Though she's a bit depressed sounding recently.  She just got that little mental voice that suggested doing bad things that she couldn't fight.  Tara even checked for a possession."

"Aww.  Was she the reason your cats were in the vet's office?"  Xander nodded.  "Poor things."

"They're back to healthy now," he said with a smile.  "Our vet is great.  He and his staff did great work getting them back to healthy.  They're back to eating regular food and chasing Olivia around the house."  They smiled and the other reporter left.  "Can we please be nice to Beth?" he called.

"I won't say more than it wasn't her normal self, dear."

"Thank you."  Xander sat down when the book reporter did.  "Hi again.  I've seen you more than Paula this week," he teased with a grin.

"The tape recorder ate the interview," she sighed.  "I had to redo three different interviews."

He snickered.  "I have one that did that when I was taking down notes because I couldn't write that very second."

She smiled.  "With the way you write, that could've been a problem."

"Thankfully I remembered some of it but I think the fight scene in book seven of the hunting series would've been better with it."

She smiled.  "That was a pretty good fight scene."  She turned on the recorder on her computer and put the microphone in front of him.  "Here we go.  And it's recording," she said with a smile.  He grinned back and they went over what they had talked about before.  He even got to gush about teaching Olivia how to chase soccer balls.  That had been Dean's idea so she'd quit chasing the cats.


Xander walked into the station with Olivia under one arm and a box in the other.  He handed it to Esposito, Olivia to Ryan, who gave her an odd look like Esposito was giving the box, and then took an envelope out of his back pocket to hand to Beckett.  Who gave it an odd look too.  "I have no idea why your fanclub sent it to me.  I know John freaked the hell out when he opened it for me because I was in the shower.  He was talking with Dean, who freaked the hell out too."

She opened it carefully, reading the enclosed note.  "Any idea?"

"I have no idea," Xander admitted.  "I don't know if they got me and Rick mixed up."  She looked at the address and groaned.  "Yeah.  Which is why I had John open it for me when it got found in the mail while I was in the shower."  He took Olivia and the box back.  "Okay, let's give this to Paula and let Auntie Kate beat someone to death for that letter, and then we'll go run in the park," he said with a grin for the baby as they walked off.

Esposito walked over to take the letter, scowling at the contents.  "Interesting choice of words."  She flipped over the envelope so he could see it.  "You're not Mrs. Harris-Castle."

"Someone's warped," Ryan said.  He took it to read.  "Huh."  He called Castle.  "Where are you?  Someone mailed Beckett a strange letter at Xander's.  Addressed to Mrs. Harris-Castle.  Here, yeah.  Going to see Paula."  He hung up. "He's about to read to a group of kids in a library in Connecticut but he'll be back right after that."

"That's fine," she agreed.  "I'm hoping we can find out who is this warped."  The letter got put into an evidence bag.  "At least it's not a threat to do more than treat them better."

"You do work a lot of long hours," Esposito agreed with a grin for her.  "But I've never seen you dating either of them."  She glared but he smirked.  "It can wreck relationships."

"Uh-huh."  Their boss stomped in from the latest budget meeting.  She handed it to him and went up to look at their current case again.

"It's not April," he complained.  It got put onto her desk.

"I know that," she said dryly.  "It got mailed to Xander."

The captain moaned.  "The chief just got onto me about overtime budgets."

She looked at him.  "Sure, we can not catch who murders people if they want.  I'd gladly love a nine-to-five job some days," she said sarcastically.

"I pointed that out.  He just moaned and said to try to keep it down and equalize it through the week."

"The last time you did that, we got four bodies that week," Kevin reminded him.

"I reminded him of that.  He had a flashback since one was the hanging body off the bridge."  He went into his office.  "Let me know if that's a threat or not."

"I can do that," she agreed.  They got back to work on the body, even when Rick texted them with an idea and said he was going on now.  She shook her head but they considered it.  It was a realistic one, not a writer fantasy one this time.


Olivia ran into the station, squealing and hugging everyone she ran into.  "Give it back," Tara ordered.  Olivia pouted but handed back the shiny thing.  "Thank you."  She picked her up once she had the earring back in.  "She got away from me at the cab."  She looked at the officer.  "I'm supposed to sign forms about the stuff with Beth?"  He pointed and she went to do that with the baby.

"Ma'am, should you have that baby?" one officer asked firmly.

She stared at him.  "Yes, Xander and I share custody of Olivia."  He backed down.  "Thank you for making sure though."  She found the officer.  "I need to sign something?"

"A few things, Tara."  He smiled and waved at Olivia, who smiled and waved back.  He handed her a lollipop, getting a head shake and it handed back.  "Xander lets her."

"We have to clothing shop.  She doesn't need sugar," she said quietly.  "She'll wiggle the whole trip."  He smiled and nodded, hiding it again since the baby was giving it an interested look.  She signed the three forms, frowning at one.  "She's doing what?"

"Her therapist suggested it since she knew you wouldn't get one.  That way Beth can't get near you or him and the baby.  She's scared of what she'll do," he explained.

She sighed but nodded.  "I guess."

He smiled, taking them back and handing her the form.  "Here you go.  Keep that with you so you can have her removed if you two decide to talk but she snaps or something."  She nodded and left, going back to the waiting cab.  He smiled, shaking his head.  "She's an adorable aunt."  The officer at the next desk nodded while he typed.  "And she makes sure Olivia is a girly little girl."

"She's always wearing dresses," that officer said.

"Yeah, she's adorable."


Tara walked the baby into the library.  "I'm only pausing," she said.  Her boss gave her an odd look when she walked up to her.  "Beth's therapist decided it was a good idea to get her a restraining order so she can't come near me, Olivia, or Xander," she said quietly.  "She got it against me but it's for my protection."

"I can make a note of that for your coworkers.  Is it just because of her...problems?"

Tara nodded, checking the baby then looking at her again.  "That way she can't have any problems if we do talk and if something happens I can get her to walk off."

"I can make that note.  I know you'd never do anything against her," her boss said, patting Olivia on the arm.  "You're adorable."

"She's grown and I spent most of the day shopping with her.  I'm hoping she's as tired as I am."  Her boss giggled and she smiled.  "Thank you."  She walked off, taking the baby back to Xander's.  The cab driver helped her get the bags out of the trunk and by the door.  Tara paid him an extra tip and then they got things inside.  Olivia rode up the elevator by herself.  Tara came up with the multiple bags.  John was trying to chase her.  "We had a milkshake for energy an hour ago."  She went back to get the rest of the bags from the elevator and put them onto the couch, sitting down with a sigh of relief.  "Damn."

John laughed.  "Xander said that's why you went instead of him."

She nodded.  "I can see why."  Olivia came back with a book so she smiled and read to her.  Olivia ran off to squeal at Xander halfway through.  Tara leaned her head back.  "She has four new bathing suits.  A few new pairs of jeans and a lot of shirts since she seems to stain them more than anything else.  She also has panties and socks for when she gets to potty training and two potty chairs."

He smiled.  "Good job."  She smiled.  Xander came out with Olivia running ahead of him.  She wanted to go outside so he let her.  She went out and stretched.  He laughed but helped her.  "Tara said she had a milkshake."

"Clearly."  He stretched out and she stared then did it.  He grinned.  "We'll add another few stretches tonight."  He added in another one and she did that then they went back to the normal routine.  She ran in and got into one of the bags.  He came in to help and got her changed into a swimsuit.  "Let me change," he ordered.  "No going up there without me."  She pouted.  He ran up to change and then came down to take her up to the pool.  She ran and jumped in, doggy paddling around.  Xander slid in and followed.  "Stay on this end, Olivia."

John came out in his swim trunks.  She squealed and swam over to him.  Tara came out in a suit she kept there.  It gave Olivia another target to swim to.  She swam back and forth, happily wearing herself out.  When they got tired, she let John help her out and ran for a lounger, curling up with a towel around her.  She let Tara tuck her in and fell asleep pretty quickly.  John helped Tara back into the pool, smiling at her.  "It's nice she's exhausted."

"She'll probably sleep all night," Xander said from where he was floating.  "This is why I put this in."

She splashed him with a grin.  "You wanted to spoil yourself."

"Well, yeah," he said with a smirk back.  "I deserve it."  Someone came out of the elevator.  "What's up, Ryan?"

"Know anything about a Daniel Desarvo?"

"I met him for coffee but he was abrasive and kinda an asshole?" Xander guessed.

"Okay, that figures."

Tara looked at him.  "Did he kill someone?"

"No, he named Xander in his suicide note.  Apparently he decided him not going out with him for real meant he wasn't ever going to be bad enough."  Xander shook his head with a moan.  He grinned.  "Okay.  I'll let Beckett know."  He looked then at them.  "You got caught out shopping, Tara."  She huffed, shaking her head.  "They said you two were cute."  He walked off, going back to the station.  "He tried to date Xander," he told them once he got back.

"Figures," Captain Montgomery muttered, walking off shaking his head.  "What are they doing?"

"Olivia's sleeping beside the pool while they're lounging."  He sat down.  "Xander just groaned."

"I'd do that too," Beckett admitted.  They finished up the paperwork waiting on Lanie's final say-so about it being a suicide.  Which it may not have been by what she called.  She hung up and looked at them.  "She found a stab mark and poison in his system as well."

Esposito looked at her.  "I have a date tonight," Kevin sighed.  But they went to talk to her.  And then Beckett could talk to one of Xander's usual dates.  There were still a few in the city that hadn't gotten caught yet.


Beckett walked in the next morning with a coffee, looking unhappy with the world.  "There's another curse.  Beth did it."  They groaned.  "But it's just one of them and we can't prove a thing."  She put a new picture on the board and then sat down.  "That's who's doing it."

"Is she compelled or did someone give her the idea?" Esposito asked.

"She didn't say but the poker circuit said it was a new curse."  She took a drink and put the cup down again.  "There's absolutely no proof that someone else touched him beyond the fact that he was stabbed and poisoned and someone could say that he did it himself."

"So we see if we can put them together," Ryan said.  She shook her head.  "At all?"

"Full alibi for last night with her currently cowering boyfriend."

"Too scared to talk?" Esposito asked.

"Too enamored.  He was looking forward to her 'correcting' time."  He groaned.  She smirked.  "If it wasn't her, there's a new one in town."  They groaned and took her information to look her up.


Xander looked at the woman.  "Give me my niece please," he said calmly.

She smiled and stroked a finger down Olivia's cheek.  "She's adorable, Xander."

"And she's my niece.  Put my niece down."

"Or you'll do what?" she smirked with a happy look in her eyes.  "You're not that mean, even if you do draw us all."  She looked at the baby.  "You should remind him that if he throws something at us you'll get hurt."

Xander shot her in the other side, making her scream and drop Olivia.  "Really?"  He picked the baby up, staring at her.  "You wanted....."  He put the gun up when he saw an officer.

"He shot me!" she shouted.

"She was holding my niece hostage," Xander said, staring at her.  "And she's not human.  She's a vengeance demon."

"You can't prove that," she sneered.

Xander smirked and pulled something out, tossing it on her then something else when she didn't scream.  That made her scream.  He stared down at her.  "Really?  And look, demon face."

The officer cleared his throat.  "Mr. Harris?"  Xander looked at him.  "Can I have Olivia?  Just so she's safe?"

Xander stared at him.  "No.  I don't know you.  Right now I'm going to be very particular about her holders since I was looking at a new shirt for interviews, turned, and found her having removed Olivia from her stroller.  We talked for a few minutes then she decided to tell me she was going to hurt her.  She refused to turn my niece free so I made her put her down.  I barely winged her."  He stared at her.  "I doubt anyone will ever do it again."  She got up with a hard sneer.  He stared her down.  "Yes?"

She attacked him with a knife.  "You'll be mine or no one will have you!" she sneered.

Xander put Olivia on a clothes rack and kicked her knife hand then swung at her jaw, knocking her back down.  "Don't come near my niece with a knife, bitch.  I will not be pleased."  She shivered, scooting away from him.  He walked closer.  "You have my attention.  Is it what you wanted?"

"Oh, dirt!" she whimpered.

He sneered.  "Even if D'Hoffryn showed up to save your cunt ass, it won't," he sneered.  "You touched Olivia."  She was chanting, trying to get her boss down there.  He stared at her, sneering.  "What's wrong?  He not coming?"

The demon lord appeared with a sigh.  He killed her.  "There, better?" he demanded, looking at Xander.

"She tried to hurt Olivia."

D'Hoffryn shuddered.  "That's a bad thing."  He looked.  "The officer has her."

Xander looked then at him.  "Thank you."

"Not a problem.  You'd make a mess and the baby would need therapy, which would mean I'd get it from her parents."

"Any idea if they can get back easier?"

He shook his head.  "Not that I'm aware of."  He disappeared.

Xander sighed and took a calming breath then walked over to get her.  "Hi, 'Liv.  Are you all right?  Did she hurt you?"

The officer cleared his throat.  "Sir, you fired a gun in the city."  Xander pulled out his wallet one handed and found his concealed carry permit, showing it to him.  "I can understand that but you could've done it less violently."

Xander stared at him.  "If she had your daughter what would you do?"

"It would've been fatal."  He sighed.  "Don't do it again."

Xander nodded.  "I'd never have to now."  He grinned.  He concentrated and the demon went to dust.  The mess was cleaned up.  He looked at the officer, who was giving him a horrified look.  "Long story," he said dryly, walking off.

He called that in to Beckett, who went to talk to Xander.  Xander Harris didn't do magic.  Everyone knew it went oddly around him.


Esposito knocked on the hospital room door before walking in.  "When did he get put in here?" he asked John.

"I had Faith looking for Olivia in case he got attacked."

"We found Olivia because the not-Xander took out the demon who was trying to use her to get him."

"Same one?" John asked.

"That's what we wanted to find out.  What happened?"

"Someone sedative darted him."

Esposito took that note.  "Any idea why?"

"The one I saw was British.  He was talking on his phone as he walked off.  Olivia  was in the truck.  I turned and she was missing.  I called Faith."

"You could've called us."

"If he was being used that way, there's no telling what they could've done to Olivia and some of you guys don't really like the team," John pointed out.  "Plus if they looked like Xander they would've decided the cancel on it wasn't put through."

"Possibly."  He sighed.  "Beckett has Olivia at the station.  Castle's in cooing over her and teaching her new words."

"She can talk.  She's said whole baby sentences.  I think it's like her walking.  Her mommy wanted her to be a baby for longer."

"Probably," Esposito admitted.  "Is he in overnight?"

"Until he wakes up."

"Okay."  He closed his notebook, staring at him.  "We can't find Tara or Faith."

He called Faith's phone.  No answer.  "That's a bad sign."

Esposito walked off calling Beckett.  "Someone British darted him.  He can't reach Faith either."  He hung up, going back to the office.  By the time he got back, Sam was there with Olivia, who was smiling and babbling at him.  "John thinks her not speaking real words is like Willow wanting her to crawl."

"Probably," Sam agreed, smiling at her.  "Hey, a new word, good job."  She beamed and babbled the new words, which got her hugged and praised.  Beckett smiled at him.  "Any idea on Faith?  Dean's at the poker circuit places."

"No," Beckett said.  "Xander?" she asked.

"Sedated.  Darted and down until he wakes up with John guarding him."  He settled in at his desk, calling someone.  "I need to put out a missing persons alert for a possible adult kidnaping victim."  He gave the information and it was spread.  He hung up and leaned back.  "When did you guys get here?"

"About an hour ago when Tara summoned us," Sam admitted.  "And the car.  We were only in Maine anyway."  That got a nod.  "Let me take her home.  Is it a crime scene?"

"No but the cats are panicking," Rick said.

"Yeah, the last time something happened and he left, they got abandoned by Beth," Sam said with a small shrug.  "It'll be fine."  He picked Olivia up and looked at her.  "Let's get you back home, princess."  She nodded so they called a cab on their way out.

"Sir, should you have that baby?" one officer at the desk demanded.

Sam smiled and nodded.  "I'm guarding her while Xander's in the hospital for the day.  Someone tried to snatch her."

"ID, sir?" he demanded.  Sam sighed but shifted her to pull out his wallet to show off his ID.

"Oh!  You're a Winchester.  Okay.  Sorry, sir, but we worry about her."

Sam grinned.  "We adore that you guys do.  Especially with who and what Xander dates."  The officer grinned.  Sam walked out at the honk, getting into the cab with her.  He gave the address and paid the guy.  When the guy deviated, Sam smiled.  "So, Olivia, we should make you an honorary Winchester, huh?  That way Dad has a daughter to fuss at."  She squealed and beamed at him, babbling.  He grinned back.  "You're such a good baby girl."  He looked at the driver, smirking some.  "Hi, Sam Winchester."  The man went back on route.  Sam texted Dean to meet them.  He came outside as the cab parked and came over to talk to the driver.  Turns out he was a watcher too.  Pity.  Sam called Beckett on the way to put her down for a rest.


SWAT walked carefully into the building, finding the girls tied up in a corner and Tara muttering while Faith was in shock or something.  "Ladies," one said, squatting down to get them free.

"Behind you," Tara said.  They turned and fired at the watchers.  "I'm trying really hard not to use my magic to harm people."  She shook her head.  "I am."

One of the officers helped her up.  "I'm proud of you for managing it because I couldn't, miss."  He looked at Faith.  "Miss, do you need an ambulance?"

"They hit her with a needle of something," she said, looking around.  "I think it was that one.  It looks the same.  They took it into the kitchen."

He called an ambulance and got them both checked.  Faith ended up in the ER.  Tara accompanied her as a friend.  Dean showed up to help her.  It'd be okay.  They got a statement from them about what had went on and why.  It got in the nurses' way but they knew it was necessary.


Beckett walked into the British Consulate with Homeland agents.  "NYPD and Homeland Security.  We have a warrant to arrest six of your people," Beckett told the receptionist.  "Do not move."  She nodded, moving her hand from the phone.  They checked the whole building, finding five of the six.  The sixth was apparently missing but they'd be finding him.  New York did not like Watchers bothering their hunting team.  The demons did not like the Watchers bothering their hunting team and were gathering for a demonstration.  Beckett walked out.  "No!" she shouted.  "We don't need this today.  It'll panic people."

"They hurt our slayer!" one shouted.  "And Tara!"  The others nodded and shouted their agreements.

"Tara's fine, people.  They drugged Faith so she's been admitted for tonight," Esposito said as he came out.  "Xander got sedated and Tara summoned the Winchesters back to watch over Olivia."  The demons cheered.  "So go home.  Before people get frantic and try to call them to stop your peaceful protest.  You know some people panic at the sight of a scale."  They nodded and most of them left.  A few stayed with signs against the Council.

Beckett shrugged.  "It's not against the law."  They went back inside to finish the search of the premises that they could.  The head of the consulate staff agreed to let them when he found out why.  The Council may be British but they weren't universally liked by them.


Faith woke up with a gasp and found John staring at her.  "What the hell?" she demanded.

"They tried to kill you so it'd pass on.  If you survived great, if not, there's a new slayer," he said quietly.  He handed her a glass of water.  She gulped and he poured some more with a smile.  "You coded on the way to the ER but Tara got you restarted within seconds."

"Is there another one?" she asked.

He nodded.  "We think so but we're not totally sure where.  Dean asked the poker circle but they're not sure where."

"Yay," she said flatly.  "Am I going to be in trouble?"

"No.  Beckett called your parole officer and told him what had happened.  He made a note and said it wasn't your fault."  He leaned on the bed rail.  "Xander's barely awake and groggy.  Olivia is teaching Sam new words."  He smiled.  "Dean's getting you dinner and keeping Tara from turning into Willow."

"They gone?" she asked.

"Yeah, Beckett arrested them with Homeland.  Threatening you girls means that the city's not protected from some very bad possibilities."  She nodded.  His phone beeped so he looked at it.  "The new girl's Tunisian."  She moaned as she shifted onto her side facing him.  He helped with her IV line.  "She's Council raised but demons have already found her and brought her here.  Dean's talking to her and she's a bit pissed off."  He smirked.  "It'll be fine."

"I wonder if B got real confused when she accidentally called Kendra."

"Maybe.  You're still not Buffy, Faith.  You don't wear the slutty skirts."  Faith snorted but smiled.  "It'll be fine and we'll help her too.  Maybe she'll take over LA."  She nodded, yawning.  "Go back to sleep.  You're in here until tomorrow morning."

"What did they give me?"

"A heroin and other drug cocktail."

"Charming!" she sneered.

He smirked.  "Beckett yelled."

"Good.  I hope I have some too."  She was trying hard not to feel pouty.  She hated feeling pouty.  He petted her hair down and she drifted off again.


Xander woke up with a gasp, staring around the room.  "Vision?" Sam asked.

He stared at him.  "What the fuck?" he demanded.

"Watcher.  Dart.  You've been out for ten hours."



Xander relaxed and went limp.  "Everyone else?"

"Faith and Tara are fine.  SWAT got them back."  Xander nodded.  "There's a second one again.  She's from Tunisia."  Xander stared at him.  "She's been told what happened and why.  She's been talking to Dad and Dean.  I talked to her too.  She's Council trained but still very wild.  She's wearing wild makeup, slightly flashy clothes, and jewelry."

"Isn't that a Muslim country?" Xander asked, looking confused.

"She's not."  Xander nodded.  "She was going clubbing apparently.  But she knows."  He leaned forward.  "She and Faith are going to talk tomorrow when Faith gets out."  Xander grimaced but nodded.  "They drugged her."

"I so want to bomb them."

"Beckett and Homeland got them."

"I meant the rest."

"I know."  He patted him with a grin.  "You can go home once they check you over."  Xander nodded, relaxing again.  "Olivia was held by a not-you but that not-you also killed a demon that wanted you.  One of D'Hoffryn's and he didn't realize it either.  He showed up to ask."

"Damn.  I hate being in the middle of drama."  Sam laughed.  "Was that demon the one that was trying to kill my dates?"

"Not sure."

"Yay."  He yawned.  "Can I go home now?"

"Let the nurse check you over."  He pushed the button and she came in a few minutes later.  "He's mostly awake."

She checked him over.  "It looks like he's fine.  His last bout of blood work was fine."  She put her stethoscope back in her pocket.  She handed over the forms.  "Here, you can take him home.  Let me get you a chair."  She went to get one and came back to take the paperwork from him.  She checked it over then got Xander's IV undone.  Sam helped him up and into the clothes that he had brought for him.  "The rest was bagged for evidence," she said at the confused look.

"Oh, okay," he agreed.  She rolled him down to the entrance, letting Sam get them a cab.  Once they got home, Xander wandered off the elevator and grabbed Olivia to cuddle, laying down on the couch with her.  She huffed but cuddled until he fell asleep then she wiggled free and wandered off babbling at Tara and Dean.  Xander patted around a few times but found a cat to pet in his sleep.

Dean picked her up with a grin.  "You're so good for your uncle."  She beamed back and slobbered on his cheek then bit him.  "Hey!  Not a vampire!"  He handed her a banana, getting a new happy squeal.  Uncle Sam opened it for her and she wiggled down to go outside to stretch.  Tara smiled and came to help her.  "She's adorably sweet," Dean said.

"She's nicer than any granddaughter I'll ever have," John agreed.  Dean and Sam both shot a low powered glare at him for that.  He smirked.  "Some day I could use grandchildren."

"Sure, Dad, let me find one and settle down," Sam said dryly.

"If you do, I'll help you plan the wedding," Tara quipped.

Xander patted around until he ran into a cat to pet then went back to sleep.  Olivia huffed but came in to hug him then went back to her stretching and banana.

They all settled in to relax, defrag, let the two slayers talk when Faith got back.  John finished dinner to bring her.  That way she wasn't left alone in the hospital and unguarded.

The End.

to next part

back to index