Note: set after that multi-Xander convention story on the auto archive.
Many Xander Headaches.
Xander and his laptop sat down across from the person he had asked to meet him somewhere less than public yet still in the open. "I'm back."
"I saw your note saying you were at a slight convention," Rick said dryly. "I know it only lasted a day."
"Remember that not-me Lavelle?"
"He decided some of us needed a short convention. We talked, exchanged recipes for those of us who could cook, those that could ran some self-defense lessons." Rick nodded slowly. "That other me that showed up with the nice address in DC? He taught some of that."
"I remember him too." Rick stared at him. "You're being dodgy why?"
Xander opened the file and let him see it. "We had a lot of fun. I got a shit-ton of ideas."
Rick stared then gave him a horrified look. "How many of you were there?"
"Three-hundred-and-three. Including a magically created mini me and a few others. I had one where I was becoming Doctor Evil to stop the menaces of bad demon societies." Rick whimpered. "I have no idea how to make my muses quit saying 'we can use some of those'. You write real life stuff though."
Rick stared at him. "You have to change names better than you did with DCIS, Xander."
"I get that. In some I can be blonde, in some I can use the basics but not the whole life story. Some of me are insane."
Rick nodded. "There's times I worry about this one of you." Xander smirked and showed him one in particular. Rick read and shuddered, a full body shudder complete with butt tensing so he didn't have an accident. "Is that one sane?"
"As sane as he can be."
Rick looked at him. "Did they think it'd be okay?"
"They cackled *so* hard and I gave the DCIS me, who was post battle that ripped his base up, copies of everything. He thought I did a great job. One of those particular mes writes smut. We traded help."
"One?" Rick asked.
"Yeah, there were three."
Rick moaned. "Okay." Xander smirked. "Which one did you want to start with?"
"Him or the CSI Xanders?"
"Either could work," he decided. "Though that one might be smuttier."
"Well, with the CSI ones, there's multiple versions. Including the twins." Rick gave him an odd look so he showed him. Rick moaned and shook his head. "I'm not sure how to get it started without it being a biography. I have an idea for the biography and the other side."
"Go toward the other side first. If that doesn't work, do the biography." Xander nodded. He let him see something. "Ah, the hormoned one." He read over the first few pages, shaking his head. "Not drawing like your usual." Xander let him read the other one and it was. "Yeah, that sucks you in." He looked at the nervous kid. "Are there other things I should hear?"
"If we all have major apocalpyses and have to leave our own realms, we're going to visit Lavelle's island or that Xander's world." He let him see the island, making Rick cackle. "It helped his thieves not stray."
"Clearly," he said, handing the laptop back. "Poker game tonight?"
"Sure, but is your protege coming?"
Xander grinned. "Want me to help mentor him?"
"Don't be evil to the little brat," he muttered. Xander smirked. "I'll see you later. Bring whichever you're working on for them to look over." Xander nodded, handing him money for lunch before bouncing off. Rick got himself lunch and went back to the office to eat it. "Xander got a really good set of ideas," he told the team.
Beckett stared at him. "I heard he and Olivia disappeared."
"Lavelle wanted all the Xanders to have a convention." She shuddered. "They taught each other self defense and other things. He met a lot of interesting versions of himself."
"Oh, dear," the captain said. "That bad?"
Rick handed him the roll of Tums he had bought for dessert. "There were some that I wanted to wonder about."
Beckett snickered. "Well, at least he's got something new to write."
"Yup. He's coming over for poker tonight too." The guys smirked at him. "So, let's see if anything new has popped up. By the way, one was a set of twin Xander CSI."
Beckett took the tums to take one, handing them to her partners. They could use it too. "How did he become twins?"
"A troll hammer. Our Sunnydale got shut down before that one visited." That got a nod and they got back to work. Before their minds rotted with that thought. Especially Rick's. Because he could do a whole lot with twin Xanders, but he didn't write fantasy.
Xander and Olivia walked in together. She squealed at her favorite auntie outside the shopping one, running over to pounce her for a hug.
"Hi, Olivia!" Alexis cooed. Olivia beamed. "Aww, you cut another tooth."
"Yup, last night on my ear," Xander said, rubbing it. The waiting authors laughed. "'Liv, let's play cards." She waved from Alexis' lap, getting grins and waves back. Xander looked and took his usual spot. They smiled at him. "Rick said his new protege is coming." Martha got another chair and then went to read in her room. "'Liv?" She came running over to pounce everyone for a hug then climbed up into Xander's lap to cuddle. "Good girl, thank you."
"How bad is your writing right now?" Stephen asked.
"I *so* got hit with the multi-idea generator when another version of me called a multi-Xander convention."
The two guys stared at him. "What?" one asked.
Xander explained how the not-hims had shown up. And what had went on. They both moaned. Xander nodded. "So yeah, apparently the other mes do less boring stuff." They laughed, shaking their heads. "Paula might be *really* shocked when I start handing her things." Stephen nodded, making himself a note. "They all cooed over 'Liv. I'm about the only daddy. A few have kids that they have visitation with, but not full-time custody. There's only about seven of us with kids out of all three-hundred-and-three who were there."
"They'll probably do it when they're older. You're still pretty young," Alexis said. Olivia waved. "Hi, 'Liv." She smirked at him. "Or they're too happy with their boyfriends?"
"Mostly, yeah. I'm hoping I never get hit with the hormone curse three of them had." The other writers gave him funny looks so he explained GHS to them. One shuddered and had to go to the bathroom to calm down. "That's why I never want hit."
"We'd help you find a cure or someone to keep it down. That way you didn't get killed," Alexis said, giving him a hug. "Olivia, want to come watch movies with me?" She wiggled and Xander let her take her. "Thanks. I needed cuddly time. My friends are being brats."
"All girls have days when they're bitches," Xander said dryly. "Some of them decide they like living in that neighborhood and some just visit. And some grow into the ground to become the garden of bitchy, pretty things."
She cackled. "It's possible they're buying apartments." She decided to watch Fantasia. It was music and a lot of bright colors, plus Alexis loved it. "I'll bring her back when she's tired."
"That's cool, Alexis. You don't have to though."
She smirked. "I need the cuddly time." She carried the baby up the stairs to cuddle and watch fun things.
Xander grinned at the guys. "So, anyway.... I need to be watched to make sure they don't all stay me." They nodded. The other one was coming back. Rick walked in with Alex. "Hey, guys."
"Xander," Rick said. "Anything come of it?" He handed over the sheets, letting Rick nod his way through them. "Combining but very drawing." Xander grinned and put them into his pocket. Rick sat down.
"Not that one," Stephen said.
"We keep their seat empty for a year in tribute," Rick said. Alex Conrad sat down in the other free seat. "Do you know the people here, Alex?"
"I don't know one," he said, smiling at Xander and holding out a hand. "Alex Conrad. Rick's protege."
"Alexian Harris, his last protege." Xander shook his hand with a grin.
"You're not a mystery writer."
"There's almost no fantasy writers in town and most of them are older ladies that think I'm bouncy and loud," Xander said with a grin.
"He's a great source of inspiration and information," Stephen said with a smirk for the kid.
"At least my muses don't bite you like they used to bite Rick every time he saw me."
They laughed. "They still do sometimes. That detective and baby story had Paula cackling like she had turned evil," Rick told him. Xander just smirked. "If there's a serial killer anywhere in the state, Xander knows about them."
Alex looked at him. "Do you go do interviews?"
"No, I end up dating people like that." Alex whimpered, giving him a pitiful look. Xander smirked. "I have a lot of fun."
"Only evil things and agents who're a bit dark like him," Rick agreed. "You know, Xander, that one woman in that story is still throwing me."
Xander smirked. "It's not her. You've seen that character all along and didn't realize it."
"I read it all the way through and had to reread it to make sure I did see her," Rick said, staring at him. Xander smirked. "That was a really great plot twist throwing everyone off."
"Thank you. And of course you fleshed it out so it was steamier and more best seller than fantasy," he teased back with a smirk.
"Of course I did."
"Like that story with the former agent who got the baby delivered that just came out?" the other author with them asked.
Rick and Xander both nodded. "His fault," Xander told him, pointing at Rick. "He paid me back for that writer one." That got a whimper from Alex. "I got hit with his muses instead of mine, handed it to him because he was mean, and he fleshed it out greatly." He grinned.
"I did," Rick agreed. "I also toned down their Martha Stewart looking cover lives." The other authors snickered. "And put in the sex scenes."
"I can't write good sex scenes. It's where I haven't dated in months." They all stared at him. "It's been nearly a year since I've had more than dinner with someone because of Olivia, guys. I'm losing my touch. The assassin didn't want to date me the other day and I nearly pouted her to death." Rick shook his head quickly.
"The one in the paper?" the other author asked. Xander nodded. "Her girlfriend was very upset she was arrested, kid."
"Ah! Then that's the reason. Thank you for reassuring me I can find a new bad girl sometime soon."
"We have three on our case load," Rick quipped. Xander smirked at him. Rick smirked back.
"Don't tempt him. Olivia might have to grow up without him," Stephen complained. "Though, Xander, there's one from where I usually live who sent me a nice letter wanting to be introduced." He handed it over.
Xander read it with a grin. Then a smirk for him. "Send her my way please."
"I can do that." He made himself another note.
"At least you don't have that hormone condition," Rick soothed, patting Xander on the back. Xander cackled. "Or the hair."
Xander shrugged. "He could put all sorts of weapons in it."
"Good, he probably needed them." He dealt the first hand and they got to work on his current case. Xander had a few strange ideas but the guys had better ones. Alex...not so much, unfortunately.
Xander looked up from his writing in the park the next day when a shadow perched overtop of him. He blinked at Alex. "I'm under orders to get out of the house at least once a week."
"No baby?" he asked, looking around.
"Auntie time. It's Auntie Tara's day off so she demanded." He shrugged. "We split custody of Olivia but I have her most of the time."
"Interesting." He stared at him. "Do the fantasy authors have poker games?"
"No, they occasionally have tea. The ones locally are mostly older women." He shrugged. "I go to their teas but the mystery writers poker circuit also use me for ideas, a source of information on weapons and other strange things, and for supernatural ideas."
"That's interesting. Probably helpful too. How did you and Rick hook up?"
"The huge writer's convention in LA. He ran the newbie panel for years and I got a lot of good advice. Plus we share a publishing agent."
"Paula." Xander grinned and nodded. "Huh. Do you always give them ideas?"
"My muses used to bite Rick every time he saw me." He saved and put his laptop aside on his overshirt next to his drink. "I met Beckett because of some of my dates."
"I should tap you for information."
Xander smirked. "You're not evil enough to tap me, Alex." The guy blushed. "Problems?"
"They're..." He huffed. "Were they that mean to you?"
"It's like being a combat vet and getting your team handed a green, just out of basic training grunt," Xander told him. "Sometimes you have to correct the ideas that the prior trainers gave him. Sometimes you have to get them up to your team's standard. Last night they were kinda mean," he admitted. "But the guys have put out more books than I'll probably ever get published. They're like wise older brothers in some ways."
"Oh." He sat down across from him. "Do you have people you go to for source material?"
"Beyond the demonic poker circuit? Not usually. I get ideas in the middle of the night and have to get up to write it or else it'll fade and I'll never get it back. I'm not a 'real life' author like you and Rick are."
"I guess I can understand that. Though I have read one of the Hunters novels." Xander grinned. "It was a bit... dark."
"That world's not fun. It's not something you do if you're not sucked into it."
"You mean it's real?" he asked.
"Yeah, there's hunters, Alex. I'm one. The Winchesters are one. Olivia's mom was a witch and her favorite auntie was the LA slayer." Alex moaned, shaking his head. "I've gotten multiple death threats about exposing demon kind. I've got churches that want to burn me at the stake for it. I get more hate mail than the _Harry Potter_ author gets. And then I put out something in Tral's world for the dwarf jokes."
"How do you handle it when everything you've written needs to change?"
"I have an editor who tells me that first, and then Paula agrees. Technically I have some on my computer that need to be changed a lot more that'll probably never come out because I have no idea how to do what they wanted me to do. I take dictation for my muses. Rick changes things and writes reality over. The same as you do." Alex nodded. "So if reality isn't good enough then throw in a new character and change your timeline. The addition of even one person can change things dramatically." He grinned. "I've done that once and the whole novel got changed. Which Paula liked a lot more." He leaned on his knees. "Look at it as going back in time to change the future. You bring back a book, you bring back knowledge, or you just draw another person into something and what happens?"
"Things change automatically," he realized. Xander grinned and nodded. "So I could change who did it in mine by adding in a new character or having them find something relevant."
"Yup." Xander pulled his gun and glared at the person sneaking toward his drink and laptop. They ran off. He put his gun back and put his laptop into his lap with a grin for the other guy. "Sometimes you have to reloop and change things. Your editors will change a lot on you too."
"I get that. I pouted about the first one but I understood it made it better."
"I've had whole things taken out and moved to other books, taken out completely, and whole characters changed on me. I tend to take inspiration for characters from people I know."
"Huh. That seems usual."
"Great writing exercise for when I'm stuck. Pick up a baby name book." Alex nodded. "Library or at a bookstore. Take an index card. Flip to a random page, make out a character sheet and then write an under 2 page piece of their background."
"That's actually not bad and you can use them later." Xander nodded with a grin. "Baby name book?"
"It helps or everyone's the same name. There's tons of them in the bookstores, some online. Some even have random name generators. Recently I've been using one of those that you can pick ethnicity to create characters."
"Like role playing?"
"That can help too if that's how you organize them. I have an index card file with their basics and any background pieces on my computer if I want to use them."
"So..." He tipped his head to the side. Xander showed him the site and how it worked. "Then take that, make a character however...."
"Some people keep a picture file to use. Some people can make up off the top of their head. That depends on how artistic you are. I'm not so I have some picture files I found online."
Alex nodded. "That's not a bad idea either. Where would you suddenly insert a character?"
"Subtly. Have them be one of the people in the crowd or something first. Like anything you have to build them up." He smiled. "Hi, 'Liv. Are you going to pounce?" He hugged her when she did. "Good pounce." He grinned. "Tara, this is Alex Conrad, Rick's newest protege writer."
She shook his hand with a smile. "Tara Maclay."
"He mentioned you worked in a library," he said with a smile and wave at the baby. "She's adorable."
"I try very hard," Tara said. She took the laptop, getting a pout. "We're going to lunch."
"We are," he agreed. He smiled at Alex. "Play around with a few before you insert them. You'll find the one that fits the best." Alex nodded, letting them go off together. He had to think about that advice.
Xander looked up when someone came out onto the patio, staring at him. "Problems?" he asked Dean.
"Slightly but it's a Sammy and Xander issue."
"Hmm. So some demon wants to date him?" he asked dryly. Dean nodded, handing Xander a soda. "Thanks."
"What're you working on now?"
"Rearranging my files so I can find things. Tara said she couldn't find something the other day." He went back to his 'done and published' files, creating folders for each universe and moving things there. Dean was staring over his shoulder. "I've got it broken down into 'WIP', 'Needs Changed WIP', 'With Donnie', 'With Paula', and 'Published'." He smirked. "There's also a 'given up on it' folder." He got back to work.
"How many are in there?"
"Seven at the moment."
"Are they done?"
"Yes but I hate them and Donnie wanted major changes that I haven't been able to do yet." He shrugged. "So we'll see. I'll probably never be able to do what he wants me to."
"You could ask if Sammy has any ideas, Xander. He's good at that stuff." Xander nodded, going back to his fussing things into place. Dean watched. He was having to open a few to see what they were before moving them. When he was finally done he drank half the soda and got back to work on something. Dean shook his head. Sometimes Xander was a bit weird. "No Olivia?"
"She's making her auntie feel better tonight. It would've been Tara and Beth's one year of living together anniversary tonight."
"I guess Tara would be bummed," Dean agreed. He looked back as the door opened and Rick walked in with Olivia. "Gee, Tara, you've changed," he said dryly.
"Tara got an emergency call to go sit with a coven member in labor." He handed Dean the baby, letting him get hugged and snored on. "I ran into her because I was going to ask her something about the library system for a book." He looked at Xander. "Paula said that you sent her the wrong thing."
"I just reorganized my files a minute ago. Which one was I supposed to send her?"
"Something about dragons and you sent her another hunter novel."
"I can't fix that the way she wanted me to."
Rick patted him on the head. "They change most everything on us, kid."
"I know but this goes beyond that to changing the whole storyline and I can't do that without rewriting everything, which makes it another story she won't like. Like the last time."
"Okay," Rick said. "I guess I can understand that. Why don't you let someone else give you ideas?"
"That was my suggestion," Dean said.
"I would but I still don't know how I can change it that way. She wants some major plot points changed to the point of I'd have to rewrite half of it and I can't get it back anyway."
"Let me have her give you some specifics?" Xander huffed but showed him the email, getting a nod. Then he let him have the story. Rick read the parts after doing a search. "That's going to require a massive rewrite, yes," he agreed. He looked at his older protege. "Sometimes we have to do that though."
"I can't get it back."
"Hmm. That's the problem with being muse driven," he decided. "Once they're done the idea's gone." He handed the laptop back. "I'll talk to Paula tomorrow, point out that your muses have moved on long ago by the date on that email." Xander nodded. "How many of those do you have?"
"That's one of the seven I've given up on completely and there's another ten she wanted more minor things changed that I've tried and failed to do but I'm still trying."
"Okay. Well.... Why don't you have Alexis help?"
"I tried that with another one. She agreed with Paula. I decided all good writers have craptastic stuff on their hard drives and that's one of mine."
"Could be, yeah. I have a few that suck on mine." He grinned. "I'll talk to her and point out that muses mean that the story disappears. We'll see what we can do. Maybe it's time you mentored someone and shared a story with them? You do okay with that with us."
"Maybe," Xander sighed, grimacing some. "It might help some more unknown writer. I know some of the other big names in fantasy do it."
"True, some do." He patted him on the arm. "I'll talk to her about that. You guys have a better night."
"If you see Sammy, make sure the demon ho has let him go," Dean said dryly.
Rick shook his head as he walked off. "You guys are much more wild than I ever was."
Dean and Xander smirked at each other then Xander got back to work on something else.
Rick walked up to Paula for breakfast the next morning. "You're stressing him out."
"Why?" she asked, sounding sarcastic.
"Because muses mean that the story disappears."
"He's got a good few you want major changes on that he can't figure out how to do without rewriting it totally."
She considered it. "I can understand that problem. He's still writing hunter novels."
"It's like his therapy." He sat down and poured himself some coffee. "His work in progress folder is over twenty things in it." She shivered. "He said he reorganized the other day."
"Good! He needed it." She considered it. "Did you see any sign of hope?"
"I suggested maybe he do what some of the bigger names are doing and help a younger author out?"
She considered it. "He does work well with young authors and maybe that would work. I know the author he's worked with on that panel at the conventions in LA. I can talk to him to see how that usually went." She sipped her coffee. "He does well with you."
"With us, one of us hands over an idea and the other adds in things they think are missing."
"Which works. That new one is going to shoot up very high very quickly." She smiled at him. "Not that either of you need the money."
"He's not touching his."
"That's probably a wise idea for any thin times later on." She sipped her coffee. "I'll see who's out there that's decent."
"Not Alex," he warned. "I don't think he could handle doing something like that."
"No, probably not. Or a few others I could think of. You know, a few could be shorter stories if he'd trim them."
"Then suggest that to him, Paula. He was genuinely frustrated when I mentioned it. Like getting ready to pout in frustration."
She nodded. "I know how stressful it must be doing that and having Olivia."
"Alexis was older when I got full custody," he agreed quietly. "But Xander's found ways to work around that."
She nodded. "And two children's books about good demons versus bad ones." He grinned. "The person I sent them to loved them."
"Good for him."
"Other than that, I've still got a backlog of his stuff to do." Rick nodded. "And you're due one soon?"
"Six months," he defended. "Plus I've got it done." He smirked and tossed over the keydrive. She tucked it into her purse. "And the new detective and baby one's on there."
"Even better. Thank you for getting that final edit done."
"Maybe he should put those up on his website instead?"
"Maybe," she agreed. "Or as e-books. There's a great demand for them." Rick nodded. "I'll go over options with him once I find out who could co-author those stuck things." He nodded, getting the waiter's attention so he could order. "How is Alexis doing?"
"Much better but she's having friend problems. She's got a jealous friend and a boyfriend, plus teen angst."
"Poor girl. I'm so glad I got to skip most of that by being less than popular." He smirked. "You hush."
"Yes, Paula." He smiled when his simple breakfast was brought and it was good to touch base with her over things. Going to her own publishing house had let her be a lot more closely involved in his and Xander's careers.
Xander looked at the guy coming into the meeting room, nodding with a smile. "So we meet again."
"Mr. Harris." He shook his hand. "I'm so glad you didn't hate me for what they had me do with that space vampire book."
"I knew it wasn't you." He grinned. "But now we're going to legitimately offer you a chance to play in my world." The guy gave him a moan. "I've got stuff I can't twist in the way that my publisher wants. She wanted me to take out whole sections, rewrite some of the plot, and basically play to the market. I have muses so when the story's done I usually lose it."
He nodded. "I've seen a few others." Paula walked in with files and copies. He took the orders and the books to look over. "This doesn't look that hard."
She shook her head. "It's not, but with the way he writes he can't get back into those stories to fix what needs to be done. Minor things he can usually do. There's seventeen total books that need that sort of co-authoring work."
"You can have up to three," Xander offered.
The guy smiled. "That's not a huge task."
"A few, it is," she warned. "We're talking the plot plodded and twisted when it should've turned. There's a few I wondered why the book was written at all because they were just having a road trip." She sat down. "Which is where you come in."
"And if this goes well, possibly another young author," Xander said more quietly. He stared at him. "You'd get second name on the book."
He nodded. "That's actually a pretty fair deal. I've been doing some ghost writing for money and I never get credit."
Paula smiled. "Your version of his space vampires wasn't bad. Which was the deciding factor. You could already take some of what he's written and understand where he's going but twist it so it's more market ready."
"This could also mean a lot more exposure," Xander offered. "Including interviews."
"I'd love that. It'd mean I could quit ghost writing," he admitted with a smile. "What sort of books are there?" She laid out each one's basic synopsis and what needed to be done. He narrowed it down to five right away and got to read them to see if he could figure out where to twist things. He liked two and they were easy enough so a few days later he signed on to do that. Second name on a book was pretty big when you'd only had established series work before. And a few of these were in Xander's bigger selling series.
Xander walked into his fan club meeting, smiling at them. "Hola, my people." They beamed at him. "Slight announcement then I'll disappear for ice cream. I'm supposedly not here." They laughed. "A few of my stuff that needed *major* surgery got handed to another author to do some co-authoring work. A few in some of the established things. One of the DCIS later stories that I couldn't unkink without it causing major trauma. One in Tral's universe that ended up being a bit too....road trip for my publisher's taste." That got a few pouts. "The guy who did that space vampire book? He's the one undoing them. It's already written but he's going to take it and fix it so Paula likes it." A few laughed. "Honestly, I couldn't unkink them." He smiled at one and handed her a USB keydrive. "That is going up on the site if you can hand it to your sister? I know she's laid up at home."
"I can do that," she said, looking at it. "What is it?"
"Six of the other things that Paula said weren't worthy of going into official print. They're fan club member only. I like them, a lot of others who've read them like them, but Paula thinks there's no way they'd sell. So very limited to the fan club members." They all beamed. "That takes eight of the seventeen I have on my harddrive that Paula hated. Two others are going to go short story routes. One's going to be ignored, and the other six we'll see. Those were the more liked. The other six Tara liked sometimes. Dean likes but Sam hates." He shrugged. "Not always my best work but I personally think all writers have a stash of stuff we wrote that's labeled shittastic."
The president smiled. "I've seen some of that published."
"Yeah, well, some's better than others." He smirked. "So anyway, hand that to your sister? Don't rag on the other guy? He's doing us a major favor. And if this works, we'll see those other six going to another young author to give them a bigger break." That got a cheer. "I love you guys. You're so great." He grinned and handed over a picture on a pamphlet. "Upcoming things. Olivia's picture next to it means that Tara got all hyper with the project and we'll both be there instead of her staying with her auntie that night." He smiled and left.
"Wow. A lot of upcoming things," the president said. "Three conventions in the next seven months. Oh my God, another short international trip to Mexico, Brazil, and Peru!" They cheered and got onto the forum to let that be announced. Her sister, Xander's webmistress, got emailed the other stuff to put up. She put up a nice page announcing that it was fan club member only and what they were. It got a lot of hits from his people. So did the upcoming publishing schedule. Though someone did mention that coauthored series with Castle that they weren't supposed to know was them.
Paula walked into Xander's office, taking his laptop to look at his file structure. She got into a folder labeled 'shit' and downloaded the contents onto her key drive then handed back the laptop. "That's my decision to make."
"You already did on three of them." She gave him a dirty look. "How about twin CSI elves?" he quipped.
She snorted. "No one would believe that."
"One did NASCAR elves."
She walked off shaking her head. "Make sure you don't step on their toes."
"I can find her people so you can make sure." She waved a hand. He got back to writing. Olivia was squealing around the daycare today. She had pouted when he didn't get her ready to go out so he knew she wanted to go. That gave him a few hours of uninterrupted writing time. Even if he could hear Dean splashing around in the pool.
Not like Dean was too noisy. He could block out anyone, even the yowling, now wet cats that had tried to play with Dean in the pool that went running past the office to hide from the evil water.
At the next fantasy writers convention, Xander found his target. He smiled at the older lady. "Great One, can I have a moment of your time?" he begged with a grin.
She stared at him. "Do I know you?"
"Alexian Harris, ma'am."
"Oh! I've read one of yours." He beamed. "Problems?"
"I wanted to make sure I was nowhere near stepping on your ideas." She gave him a dirty look. "My publisher tried to call so you could make sure but they laughed and told her you had quit writing. And for me to quit writing."
"He's getting a divorce so he's not been pleasant," she said. "Why would you be near my toes?"
"CSI elves?" He handed her the first few chapters. "I wanted to make sure it got nowhere near anything you were doing with your elfhames. I have no intention of dancing anywhere near it but someone's already made a 'if there's car racing ones, why not CSI elves' comment without me knowing."
"I saw that." She stared at him. "I'll check it over."
He beamed. "That's the first four chapters and if you want the rest, let me know. My email and phone is on the last page. Thank you! I didn't want to upset anyone." He handed her a book with a shy grin. "For my roommate? She's a librarian and she really loves your stuff." She smiled and signed it. He squeed and bounced off. The other fans were chatting.
She smiled. "He's a charming young man, and very cautious. I like that approach instead of me complaining later."
"He only dates bad girls," one quipped with a grin. "His last one is up on robbery charges for a painting theft from a museum." The other author gave her an odd look. "He literally only draws bad girls for some reason. No one's sure why."
That author smiled. "Sounds like a story character."
"Mr. Castle uses him that way," that fan quipped, cracking up a few more.
The author smiled. "I wondered who that new series was based off of." She smiled at the next fan, doing her book.
Xander looked up from breakfast and beamed, pushing a chair out. "Here, you can sit with me."
"Thank you, Mr. Harris."
"Alexian or Xander, please," he said quietly with a grin. "I'm not the stuffy, formal sort."
She smiled. "You have a good hand at the storytelling." He beamed. "It is nowhere near mine and I found who made that comment."
"Alex is Rick Castle's newest protege. He called me a supernatural specialist too. I kindly batted him on the head for it." She giggled. "But it's okay?"
"As far as I could see it's fine." She patted him on the hand. "How did you get that idea?"
He beamed. "I managed to run into another version of myself a few times." She gaped. "Two came here. One a witch sent me to."
"Oh, dear. You're *that* Xander." He nodded, losing his smile a bit. "That explains a lot." He nodded. "Can't you date nice girls?"
"They don't give me the time of day. I can flirt, be charming, be myself, be funny, but they still don't give me the time of day. Bad girls will kidnap me, hold me down, give me great Xander lovin's." He shrugged. "I've never drawn good girls. No one's sure why."
She laughed. "That makes more sense. Sometimes you can't pick but you can rehabilitate."
"If I could hold onto one I'd gladly try," he agreed with a shy grin. "I'd love to have someone full time again. And I'm not that picky."
She laughed. "I know a few authors in our genre."
"Are they near New York? The only ones I could find were the tea society."
She cackled. "I know them and they're in Connecticut. I'll see if they want to meet you at a convention, dear."
He beamed. "Thank you. I'm going to LA's, like usual, and then one in Brazil next month."
She nodded. "I'll make note of that for him." She winked. "Good luck and is there any more Tral?"
"My publisher has three in the universe, two of the kids off getting into trouble with Tral going 'we did it better in my day and I got more tail too' and one with Heldara, which she hated."
"I'll see if we can get one of those out. They were a fun read."
He beamed. "Thank you. Oh! If you liked them, the one in six months isn't Tral but it's a very confused popular fairy who has to fight her wings, her friends, and her boyfriend to be more than an airhead."
She laughed. "I saw a preview copy of that! Very empowering yet still a very good read." She patted him on the wrist. "Thank you for checking with me."
"I'd always check. I hated it when it was done to me that time. Beyond that, I'm not that sort of asshole." She laughed and got up, walking off giggling. He grinned and went back to his breakfast. That was a great thing. He texted Paula. Then he got up to go sit at his author's table. He looked down and smiled and waved. "Hi, guys."
"Alexian," one said happily. "We didn't expect you to come."
"I showed up to talk to the Great One. And agreed to stay today to do author things." They smiled. "I'm going to Brazil's next."
"Pack really thin clothes," one warned. "It's unreasonably muggy most of the year."
"Yup, but it's got beaches." They grinned and let him get back to signing for his fans. "Hi." The fan squeeed and took their picture together so he could sign her book. She bounced off to another line to get another one signed.
Dean looked up as Rick came off the elevator. "What's up?"
"Where is he now? I know he's somewhere in South America by now."
"Brazil for another two days for some convention and some beach time. Though he said he has picked up one pretty young thing who thinks he's handsome and really great in bed."
Rick moaned, shaking his head. "That's probably what the entertainment people were going off over." Dean nodded with a smirk. "She actually a good one?"
Rick snorted. "Well, at least there's a chance. Paula said he had something she needed to be done?"
"He forgot to send it. It's on his desk in the envelope." Rick nodded, going to get it with a pet for the cat that stared at him. Dean petted them all. "You guys go back to sleep. Olivia and Tara will be here tonight." That got a tired meow and that cat went back to sleep.
"Is Olivia still chasing them?" Rick called. "There's three envelopes."
"Does that surprise you?" Dean asked dryly.
"Not with how much he writes." He looked in them, seeing the notes to the various people. "Okay." He took them all. "Two go to her and one to me anyway. I'll drop it on Alexis for him." Dean nodded. "Are you catsitting?"
"Yup. After the last time, he wanted to make sure nothing happened. Tara has Olivia driving her nuts."
"That's fine. She's a good aunt." He grinned. "No hunts?"
"Not recently. Half of them are hiding and Sammy's off in geek land at the college."
"Some people are like that." Rick smirked. "You go geek over the weapons. Have you checked to see if anything new is down there?"
"Yup and when the room that had 'call O'Neill about' got full I did." Rick nodded and left. Dean went back to watching the movies Xander had on tap while petting the cats. They were very nice to him. That one still thought he was her kitten because she was kneading the side of his thigh. She got extra love of course. She was like his part-time pet.
Xander smiled at the agent who was trying hard not to look pissed off as he strolled down the beach toward him. "What's up?"
"Hands off the explosives expert that works for terrorist cells, kid."
Xander looked at her. "Figures but can I have your bomb manuals for research purposes?"
She kissed him. "Of course you may. Though I'm retired," she told the agent with a smirk. "And you can't prove that."
He snorted. "Yes I can. I'm with US Homeland Security, ma'am." She groaned. "We keep track of him because girls like you try to date him."
"My brother would adore to have him," she said dryly.
"Your brother's not going to be able to keep up with me in the bedroom," Xander said, giving her a look over his sunglasses. "He couldn't when I went out with him in LA." She gaped, then slapped at him. "What! I didn't realize until I saw the picture yesterday." He shrugged. "If he mentioned that writer from near LA...."
"That's why I slapped you." She swatted at him again. "You broke his heart."
"How did I do that after two whole dates?" he asked dryly. "And the man sells drugs. I hate drugs. I loathe drugs."
She pouted. "I don't much like his business either," she complained.
"Neither do we, ma'am," the agent said smugly. "Let's go." She sighed but grabbed her towel and book. "No, I'll carry them, just in case." She pouted but let him lead her off. "We'll be talking tomorrow, kid."
"Yup," he sighed, flopping back down. "She had such nice girlfriend potential," he complained. A few nearby laughed. He smiled at one. "She liked to blow things up. It's a pity, I need a good girlfriend who wants to do more than shop." One came over to coo at him. He could get used to that, even if they were flirting because he was an American.
It turned out she was a Samba queen from a few years prior so she could even help him learn how to dance better in the clubs. Which was a great girlfriend trait to have.
The agent met Xander at the airport. "Is the new one coming up to visit?"
"Yup." He grinned. "She'll be in New York in six weeks for a convention." He flopped down next to him. "I did okay and I checked in daily with Dean so everyone knew I was all right."
"I heard that." He stared at him. "Winchester tried to call General O'Neill about some of their stuff appearing in your warehouse but someone diverted it."
Xander snorted. "Yeah, probably the NID weenies again."
"Some." He stared at him. "They think they want you now too."
Xander smirked. "I doubt they could handle me. I'm not exactly nice."
"Good point. Any word on Rosenburg's thing?"
"They need a more concrete anchor and her to have powers back." They shared a look. "No telling. Olivia's going to start being my daughter soon."
The agent nodded. "That's a good idea, kid. By the way, I'm escorting you back to the US since her brother's now down here. I have no idea why he's so broken hearted," he said sarcastically.
"I'm surprised he didn't get hurt during the curse," Xander said quietly, glancing around then at him. "But I refused him because of the drug stuff. I loathe drugs."
Xander gave him a shoulder nudge with a grin. "What else does Sheila do?"
"She's a domme as far as I can tell. So not evil."
"Yay!" He got up and did a snoopy dance. "Thank you!"
"Welcome, kid," he sighed. "Sit down and be less happy." Xander did, looking through his bag. He got up to get something to eat and then came back to sit down and read. The agent shook his head, watching the kid be goofy and peaceful was warping considering what he usually saw the kid over.
Xander walked off the plane into an ambush. "Guys, chill," he complained. "I clearly don't look my best since I just flew back from Brazil."
"Who was that guy that walked off your date," one reporter called.
"He's an agent and he found out she does explosives stuff." He looked around. "He's already snuck off." They pouted. "Sorry, guys, no juicy story this time."
"Alexian, it's said you're fairly well off," another one called. "Why weren't you on the eligible bachelor's list?"
"Um... maybe because only bad girls and boys like me?" he quipped with a grin. "Though my dinner date last night wasn't a bad girl at all. She was really pretty nice." He smirked. "Now, can I go? Please? I have to hit the potty too people." They let him go. He did indeed hit the bathroom and snuck out the other doors to the baggage claim. He had no idea how reporters had gotten that far into the airport. It was annoying as hell though. He grabbed both his bags, nodding at the agent. "Have a nice day. I told them you snuck off." He headed for a cab. One was a demon. He slid in and stared at him. "What? I'm home."
"Going to collect Olivia from the library first, Harris, or just home?"
"Home. Tara can bring her over."
"She's causing a holy mess."
"I guess we can pause then," he said through a yawn. The cabbie nodded, hitting his meter button before driving off. "Why is she causing problems?"
"She's a toddler doing toddler things."
"Ah." He nodded. "Yeah, at home she chases the cats for those moments, usually up to the pool." The cabbie laughed, shaking his head. Xander let himself drift a bit until they got to the library. He got out and walked inside. "'Liv? Pool time." She ran out with a squeal. "Say thank you, auntie."
"Fanks!" she called with a grin and a wave. "Good girls!" She giggled, hugging him.
"She was being a toddler," she sighed. "Thank you, Xander."
He smirked on his way back to the cab, taking her home. "What did you do? You looked like you wore Auntie Tara out." She was already asleep on his chest. "Fine, we'll talk later about how you act in a library, Olivia." He patted her gently. The cabbie grinned. Xander smirked back. "She told them they were good girls too." The cabbie laughed. He looked down at her. "Why weren't you in daycare, young lady?" He tested her forehead. No fever. "Any clue?"
"They had a case of chicken pox show up earlier so got shut down by the local rumors."
"Ah. Okay then." He paid him and a tip, letting him help him with the bags. "Thanks, man." He got them inside and kicked the bags in gently, then shut the door. He made sure he had them all then got them into the elevator so they could go upstairs. He handed her to John since he was on the couch and went to get his things to put upstairs. "My last date wasn't evil, she was a domme and a samba dancer."
"That's unique," John snorted. He checked her. "Why are you napping now? You don't have a fever."
Xander came back down the stairs. "She was being a toddler in the library since the daycare got shut down for chicken pox."
He handed her back. Xander took her up to lay her down. Then he came back down. "You're tanned."
"I spent three days on the beach," he said with a smirk.
"It clearly did you good. Paula wanted a call." Xander nodded, settling in to call her from the house phone. He heard the sniffle first. "We're down here, Olivia. Including Xander." She ran down and pounced him, getting cuddled. "Maybe she is sick."
"She's seen me every day, even when Tara has her," Xander said quietly. "Cats, I'm home." They came running in to pounce him and the baby, which made her quit clinging so much. Paula took him off hold. "So, I'm back. My last date isn't evil and she's pretty. What's up?" He listened then groaned. "Why?" he complained. "I hate drugs and I don't want his drug compound!" John was laughing so he kicked him. "Did he and his sister duel or something?" He listened. "No, they can confiscate his house. If he has a shrine I want the pictures back but otherwise no. I'll talk to the embassy later today. Thank you for ruining my dinner, Paula." He hung up and tipped his head back. "Why me?"
"Clearly something evil?" John taunted with an evil smirk.
Xander looked at him. "Are you possessed and feeling the same urge?" he quipped.
"No!" He burst out laughing when Dean came in from the pool area. "One of his evil things did something."
"Was that the evil thing whose brother did drugs?" Dean quipped. Xander nodded.
"Good boy," Olivia cooed, petting the uncle. Xander kissed her on the head with a grin. She smiled back. "Good boy?"
"I'm a very good boy but we have to go visit the embassy for Brazil." She squealed, she knew 'visit' meant going out to see people. Which meant she got to wear the pretty things. She ran for her room. "Wait for me," Xander called, heaving himself up and going up there to get her redressed. "Did Auntie Tara forget to bring your right stuff?" he demanded. "That dress is too small." He got her into something nicer and her size then took her down to the car.
It was a pretty long drive uptown to the embassies and the UN. He had to stop at one and ask directions. The French door guard was polite at least. He finally found a parking spot and got out, taking her with him. She fussed so he let her walk and just hold his hand. He walked inside, staring at the receptionist. "I'm told that a once former date and his sister who I was just seeing this week decided to commit suicide over me so I should come see you guys."
She blinked a few times. "What?"
"I'm Alexian Harris. I got told two former dates just died and I had to come see you guys."
"Let me call someone, sir." She called the under-ambassador, who clearly knew what was going on. "He'll be right out."
"Thank you." He sat down with Olivia next to him. He fussed with the ribbon. "I have to iron that down, 'Liv. It won't stay down." She scowled and patted at it. "We'll fix it after we wash it." She beamed at him. Someone came out and he looked at them. He got a smirk. "Duels?"
"He was so miserable his note said he had her blow them both up in the car. That way you could have the compound and her apartment."
"I don't want either. If he has a shrine, I want the pictures, but otherwise I loathe drug dealers."
"Good!" He took them back to his office. "I must say, she's well behaved."
"I've had to bring her to interviews before. She's usually a good girl." He grinned and sat down in there. Olivia decided to sit on his lap and stare at the guy. "This is an ambassador, 'Liv, not a reporter. We're talking about different things, not books." She scowled. He stared at her and poked her until she laughed and cuddled. "Anyway, what did we need to do?"
"We need you to sign over all rights so we can claim his assets."
"Of course. As long as I get any pictures. If he was moping that much I'm expecting he had at least one."
"That's more than agreeable." He called the police down there to liaison between the two. The young man wasn't unreasonable, even if he was gay or whatever, but it was nice he was cooperating. "Sir, what do you do?"
"I'm a fantasy author."
"Oh!" He nodded with a smile. "That's nice."
"I was just down there for the major book festival." He grinned. "An agent I know in Homeland came down to get his sister off me and I found a nice one afterwards on the beach who's a samba dancer."
"Interesting. Are you two going to do something impetuous? If so, I need to start some visa paperwork."
"No. I'd have to have a prenup and she's coming up to visit in a few weeks for a work related conference. We'll see if we can date then."
"That's reasonable." He made that note in case it became a problem. Then they got down to the contents of the houses. Apparently the scum had lawyers who were trying to intervene and telling them they couldn't do things. He had to let the young man talk to him but it calmed him down and they quit protesting the seizure of his assets. Of course, the lawyer knew that they had some hidden and that would probably be sent to the young man. He had no idea what he'd do with it. He didn't seem to be into drugs, though you never could tell about those gay artistic types. Or his nicely dressed daughter.
He did not understand their sort.
Xander smiled at the reporter who came into the room. "You're not Michelle," he teased.
"I'm not but I did have a question. What happened in Brazil?"
"My bad girl drawing power."
"Oh." She grimaced. "Again? We heard rumors of an agent going after your date?"
"He ...kinda... watches who I'm dating," he admitted. "With my draw he figured it'd be an easy background check and then arrest. Kinda." She smiled. He sighed. "He showed up to tell me she was retired from explosives and stuff." She winced. "And then she got bothered because I had dated her brother twice in LA, which made him mope. So he got her to blow them up in his car." She gave him an incredulous look. "I spent the last few days in and out of the Brazilian embassy. That way I made sure I got any pictures he took of me. I signed over rights to everything else so they could confiscate it."
"That's very just of you." She blinked. "Any other news?"
"The one I dated after he got her to huff off was nicer." He grinned. "She doesn't do bad things like that. She's a dancer."
"Oh, my, a good one!" she asked, sounding excited. Xander beamed and nodded. "That's great news!"
"We've only been on one date and made a tentative plan for one when she has to come up for a convention soon. So, maybe. We'll see how it works out." She beamed and went to write that story up. The book reporter leaned in. "Hi, Michelle."
"You actually dated a nice girl?"
"Yeah. She was great. Funny at dinner. She didn't laugh at how I danced and helped me get a bit better on the floor. We took a long walk. I beat a mugger but otherwise it was a nice date and we agreed to go out when she came up for a conference."
"Huh. Wonderful news, Alexian. Maybe your string of bad girls is over with?"
He shrugged. "No clue," he admitted.
"Have you had any overt problems with being bisexual?"
"I think it was nice the ambassador I've been talking to didn't sneer too much. Though he did think I did a *fabulous* job with Olivia's outfits," he said dryly. She snickered. "He admitted he didn't understand us gay, artistic types. It wasn't classical literature so he didn't read it. I've had a few of the churches that hate me for doing fantasy novels hate me more because of the dating stuff, but most of them hate that I date bad girls. The one that keeps burning me in effigy wrote 'fag' on the doll a few times but I ignore their stupidity before it makes my brain hurt." He shrugged slightly. "Outside a few incidences in the club that I could sneer and intimidate into not trying me, not really."
"Then again, no one would want to threaten the guy with the battle axe who takes out demons," Alex Conrad said from the doorway.
"You're early," the book reporter chided.
Xander smirked at him. "I'm more known for all sorts of weapons, Alex. From artillery down to my pretty, special battle axe." The guy shivered. "Speaking of, that one that blew herself up, she let me have her bomb manuals," he bragged with a grin. "I, of course, shared them but now I have them to study in case something happens and someone sends me another one."
"They have?" the author and the reporter demanded.
"Twice now," Xander agreed. "Once was my mother but the other was a nice minister from Florida." He crossed his legs and shrugged slightly but grinned. "I'm told the bomb squad guy got really pissed off and flew down to personally arrest the guy."
"Good!" she decided with a smile. "It's good when our local department is so proactive."
"I adore most of the local department," he said with a smile. "I respect them. I totally adore most of them." She gave him an odd look. "I ran into five that hated demons. One of which decided to try to beat me."
"Ah," she said with a nod. "That's very reasonable then. Most of them aren't like that."
"No, I haven't run into any but those five. I adore the local guys. And the ones in LA for the most part. They stalked me for months on dates." She giggled. "Anyway... Why the call?"
"Banned book week is next month." He nodded he knew that. "Are you going to the celebration?"
"I am. I think it's important to fight back against that. Even the most evil literature is still freedom of thought and expression. Even if I personally hate it, I can not buy it. I can burn my personal copy if I did buy it. It's not my right to tell anyone in any business, library, or school what people can and can't read though. I've always been against that. Even if some of the stuffier research books did tempt me to burn them for talking back while I read." She gaped. "There's a few books that have things trapped in them," he said dryly. "They're kinda annoying."
"I'd suppose they are." She smiled. "Did you have a comment on being on one of the lists? You made number ten this year."
"I did what?" he asked. She showed him the article and he read it then stared at her. "I'd love to laugh at their paranoia. What are they worried about? That I wrote a positive, peaceful demon who was trying to do good for the world? Or that I wrote a positive, peaceful demon at all?"
"I don't know."
Alex coughed, lounging in the doorway. "Locally, one of his YA books has been being pushed to be banned."
"Which one?" Xander asked.
"The 'not every hero is handsome' one."
"Huh. And yet that's a very positive message. It goes against Hollywood stereotypes, but it's a very positive message."
"I think it was the herpes sore."
"I wrote it as a cold sore."
She cleared her throat. "I have heard that."
Xander looked at her. "I'd like to laugh at them like Monty Python would, but that just blows my mind that they consider that offensive. Why? Because he's not handsome and perfect?" He snorted. "No one's perfect. And if it was up to the pretty people, we'd have all died ages ago." She smiled and patted his knee. "You can definitely quote me on that one," he said dryly. "The uptight bitches who think that everyone who does the good stuff has to be perfect and handsome or beautiful will have shallow kids who can't do much beyond push out more shallow kids. Maybe that's one thing that's wrong with the US today."
"Only in New York and LA," Alex said dryly.
"True. You don't find too many people like that in other areas. Outside Miami. I ran into a few of them down there during a book convention. I was famous but not cute enough for their clubs." He gave her a look. "Please tone that down so I don't sound quite as militant?" he begged.
"I've met many of that sort and yes, they are one thing that's wrong with the US."
"More geeks need to be in control," Xander said dryly. "Because we're all aware we're never going to be perfect, just geeky and smart. Plus do things for the world."
"I noticed in some of the pictures from your time on the beach that your scars were less," she said. "Did you get them lasered down?"
"I did but that was for practical matters. That way no one could try to trace what happened and perhaps find some health issues I'd rather never get out. As in I can't say a word about it by order of Homeland," he whispered.
"Oh!" She blinked a few times. "I heard you were in the hospital due to some demon trying to start an apocalypse by giving you a demon plague."
"Yeah, and if you looked at the scars and knew what caused them, then you'd be able to figure out what happened. So it was a measure of security they suggested." He took off his shirt. "They're not fully gone, just lightened a lot. None of the skin sticks up."
She looked and pointed. "Is that a sword cut?"
He looked and pointed. "That one?" She nodded. "Dagger from a girlfriend." He put back on his shirt. "Anyway. I'm not against plastic surgery if it'll make you feel better. I'm against fake parts as a general rule, they don't really make it hot for me from a girl." He grimaced. "They don't have any feeling and they're a lot less fun than the natural parts were." She tittered. He smirked. "I'm blunt but honest. If she wants to get her nose fixed to make herself feel better, go for it. If she's doing it to try to fit into some ideal, it's a waste of time, money, and energy. Learn to accept yourself and all that you are. Bumps, lumps, and small breasts. Plenty of guys like them." She cackled, swatting at him. "They do!"
"Do you?" Alex taunted with a smirk.
Xander looked at him. "You can ask Tara to change you into a girl to see if I hit on you," he quipped. Alex shuddered, walking off shaking his head and moaning. He smirked at her. She hugged him. He hugged back. "You give nice cuddle, Michelle." He let her go. "Before you think I'm getting frisky."
"I know I'm not bad girl enough for you, Alexian." She smiled. "Thank you."
"Thank you for letting me know the girls who aren't attractive enough in any spectrum hate me for writing a book saying it's okay to be ugly outside and inside." He got up and left with a grin. "All yours, kid."
"I'm older than you," Alex complained.
Xander smirked. "I've been doing it longer." He put on his sunglasses and walked outside, calling Paula. "The spoiled, selfish, shallow bitches hate my books? Wow, I didn't know they could read," he quipped. "Yeah, I'm there. Is it suit and tie? Decent." He hung up and got ice cream on his way to pick up Olivia from daycare. The daycare worker gave him a horrified look for the cone so he finished it. He grinned. "Did you know someone tried to ban one of my books for having a positive message that went against the usual superhero stereotype?"
"I saw that article. I laughed myself sick since I loved that book." He beamed. "That's a good reason to have ice cream."
"Yes it was. I wasn't aware some of those type could read." She cackled. "Hi, Peggy," he cooed, patting the baby on the head. She cooed and at the worker, who picked her up to cuddle. "Is 'Liv still torturing people?"
"She's pouting that the books don't read to her. I made sure the books quit reading to her."
Xander rolled his eyes. "I'll have a talk with her auntie."
"Thank you, Xander. Olivia, your uncle's here." She squealed all the way out to pounce him. "Have a good day."
"You too." He picked her up with a groan. "You weigh a ton. Did you eat everyone's lunch?" He tweaked her belly. "If you did, we're having jelly beans for dinner." She giggled and hugged him, getting one back. "I love you too, 'Liv." He took her home, putting her down in front of Dean and John. "Someone was making the books read to her."
"I have no idea how to stop that," John admitted. "I'll talk with Tara later."
"Thanks. I'm useless in that area." He looked at Dean. "I'm going to the banned books event. Want to come? Since I'm on the top ten list this year?" John gaped. Xander got two and held them up. "Top ten," he said, waving one. "Locally one of the top ten."
"But they're not...." Dean said. "You'd think the hunter novels because they're darker and have smut sometimes. Or fights."
"You'd think," Xander agreed dryly. He put them back. Olivia was pouting. He handed her one of her books, which did indeed read to her magically. And it sounded like her father's voice. Xander sniffled. "You made it sound like your dad," he said quietly.
John smiled and patted her on the head. "We'll talk about not doing that at daycare." Xander nodded, going to work on dinner. "You could take Sam."
"Sam already said he wanted to go," Xander told him.
"Good. It's good for him to get out of the house sometimes." He looked at where his other son was reading outside in the sun. "Olivia, Sam's reading." She brought the book out to him, making him wake up and read to her. They smiled. Sam was good with her. All three stared at the answering machine when the phone rang. They didn't answer the phone unless it was someone they knew.
//Harris, this is Detective Third Grade Schwartz with the Rapid Response unit. We heard rumors that you have bomb manuals?//
Xander grabbed it, walking off talking to him. He promised they could come bum them if they wanted. He was all for sharing. He hung up and got back to dinner. "Listen for the security panel."
Dean and John got back to watching tv. The local news wasn't all that informative sometimes. Today's was downright just infotainment. Xander looked over at hearing his name, snorting at that information. "You have that much money?" John asked.
"I have more than that thanks to that curse." He shrugged and got back to it. "I didn't want to be on the most eligible bachelor's list. I don't date that way."
"None of them are evil," Sam quipped from outside.
"That too," Xander agreed dryly. The guys all cracked up, and John let in the officers when they got there. Xander grinned at the sour looks. "I got it from the girl in Brazil who blew herself up. She used to do it for terrorist groups but she was retired."
"That figures," one of them said. "You also got another one at the drop box, Harris."
Xander stared at him. "Really? Huh. From who this time?"
"Some local church. And a letter we weren't sure about so we had to scan." He handed it over. "We scan anything suspicious and they were jumpy after that last bomb."
"I'd be jumpy too," Xander agreed, opening the bag and then the envelope. He sighed. "Anya." John looked over. "It's... well, it's strange." He looked up and grinned. "Thanks, guys."
"Welcome, Harris. They're delivering the rest tomorrow."
"We usually go once a week," Dean told him.
"You've got three bags," the officer said.
"Any other threats and I'll gladly hand them over too. The manuals are in the boxes by the stairs, guys." They dug into them, taking out the ones they didn't have. "Make copies and hand the originals back?"
"Of course." He smirked. "Thanks, kid."
"I respect the hell out of you guys. Most of the whole department actually." He stared at him. "If I hear about new stuff I'll gladly show you guys just in case." They smiled and left with the manuals. Xander looked at the letter again. "John, come do this please?" He nodded, coming over to do that. Xander took the letter into the office. He started to call the convent then hung up. They wouldn't let him talk to her so he'd go in person. He called the airlines instead. "Guys, where's Olivia's passport?" Dean got it and handed it over. "Thank you." No direct flights for a few days. Olivia wouldn't stand being cooped up that way for that long. So maybe a private flight. It was really expensive but yay. And he had to be back for the banned books event. So he had four days to get to Spain and back.
Dean and John shared a look. Looked like they were kitten sitting.
Xander walked into the convent, seeing the scowls. "I got asked to talk to Sister Rosemary." Olivia smiled and waved. "She's a nun, Olivia. Like your uncle took you to visit." She smiled and put her head back down. He was led to a meeting room and sat down. She settled in on his lap. "We're going to talk to someone," he said in her ear. "I need you to be a good girl then we'll go back to the hotel." She snuggled. He stood up when the door opened, staring at the older lady. "Sister Rosemary asked me to speak with her, Sister."
"Who are you?"
"Xander." She glared. He stared back. She finally had to huff and stomp off. He sat down until the door opened again and a younger nun came in this time. He stood up and smiled. "Sister." Anya smiled and closed the door. He sat down once she did, because Alexis had taught him manners. "What's up?"
She stared at him. "There's a few matters I need to divulge and divest myself from," she said quietly. She stared at the baby. "You have a daughter?"
"This is Olivia Rosenburg."
"I heard." She smiled at the baby, getting a grin and a wave back. "She's very cute and sweet. You're obviously doing a good job."
"All but the talking books thing but she knows she can't do it at daycare. It's reading to her in her daddy's voice."
She nodded. "That's not that hard to block off."
"Since I have to divest myself of my last worldly assets anyway, I can make sure she gets my books, Xander." Xander nodded. "Will you act as my executor?"
"Of course. What did you want me to do?"
"I want you to take my money, buy yourself a nice wife who will spoil you grandly, and have babies. I know it probably won't happen."
He smirked. "I'll find someone."
"Still bi?" He nodded. "Good. No matter what the Church teaches, love isn't wrong." She shifted. "This is very awkward."
"They're trying to give it to themselves and I don't want that. Some yes, but not all. Others can do better work with it."
"I can gladly go spread it to charities that you'd like," he offered. "To help women get away from asshole husbands, children's shelters."
She smiled and nodded. "I would like that." She wrote out her orders and a few other words, then handed them over with a key from her pocket. "That is to my bank account and my financial manager's code." Xander nodded, putting it into his pants pocket. "Tara gets my books."
"She's working in a library that has a reserved and donated collection from another paranormal researcher."
"That would be acceptable as long as no one used them to do harm. I couldn't stand that now."
"I can see that."
She smiled. "The rest is yours." She kissed him on the cheek. "Answering that wish for Cordelia was the best and worst mistake of my life, but now I understand much more."
He smiled sadly. "I'm sorry it came down to this." He pulled out something and held it up. "It's still yours so you have to decide."
She touched the wedding ring and nodded. "Sell it and give the proceeds to an abuse shelter." He nodded. She sniffled and he gave her a hug. "Thank you, Xander."
"You're welcome, Sister. You know you only have to ask if you have need of my help."
She sniffled and nodded. "I know. That's one of the best things about you." She smiled at the baby, patting her on her head. "She's definitely her mother's daughter."
"We're working on that."
"Good. She'll do great things by following Tara." She smiled. "Thank you."
"Not a problem." He smiled sadly. "Have a good life, Anya." She nodded and he left with the baby and the papers. Olivia was staring at him but that was all right. He was a bit sad. He had caused her to change into that quiet, non-Anya person but it seemed that it was good for her. So maybe he wasn't damned for his anger at her.
Xander walked into a building the day after he got back in New York. "Ma'am, I need to talk to someone about a donation," he said.
"Of course, sir. Are you affiliated here?"
He shook his head. "My ex wanted me to donate some of her worldly goods here." She nodded, giving him a pitying look. The director came out and he shook her hand. "Ma'am."
"Mr. Harris. I saw you at the banned books event."
He nodded. "That was me. Can we talk privately?"
"Of course." She led him to her office and shut them in. "A donation?"
"I'm sure by now you've heard of my ex, who is now a nun?"
"I have heard something about that." She sat down.
"Anya used to be the vengeance demon for Women Scorned. The one women called to when their men were bad to them or cheated on them. She was over that for over a thousand years." She gaped. "She's presently in a convent in Spain. She named me executor of her estate to deal with her worldly goods."
"Why is she there?"
"I caught her cheating and called one of her brethren to help her find peace, charity, and faith. I never expected her to get that far." He grimaced. "She was a money-grubbing nympho who slept with over a thousand people within six months." She gaped. "Once she got fired from her position, we took up together and things went downhill. To the point of me walking in to find her on the couch with my best friend. Her explanation was 'she's good'." The woman shuddered. "That one got blessed to find a nice husband who would help her find the light and hopefully want a large family." He patted Olivia on the back.
"I see." She stared at him. "So why is she donating to us? Or is that your idea of penance?"
"No. It's not penance. This is what she wanted. You do work with some of the smaller shelters. You do good work, and I've always had the 'firing squad' mentality for spousal abusers anyway. Personally I'd like to shoot them all, including my very hard drinking father and mother." She nodded at that. "Anya's job was always for women who needed to have their husbands punished. Helping you helps more of those who she would've served before not need her successor's services."
"What did she want to be handed over and did she want acknowledged?"
"Not really. You can call her by her old name if you wish. Which was Anyanka."
She shivered. "I've seen that name scrawled on a wall before."
"She wasn't nice about it when she needed to be. Turning a guy who beat his wife for not putting the toilet seat down into the only working flush toilet in their tiny Central American village was her style." She burst out cackling. "Exactly. Which is why I came to you. You do work with a lot of the smaller shelters. I also know that you're doing a fundraising drive and could use the donation." He pulled the envelope out of the diaper bag to hand her. "And if you're doing an auction, the ring is to go into it. It's the ring I gave her. She said for it to go too," he said more quietly.
She looked at the check and then at him. "That will help a lot, Mr. Harris."
He nodded and smiled. "I figured it would. I matched hers. There's another check in there." She pulled it out and smiled then at the ring. "I know what we did wasn't fair but I'm one who escaped all that pile of drinking shit to be blunt. I've seen some of the best and worst of humanity, and so did she. We'd both love for people to be protected when they needed to be. She's doing it in a different way, I do mine in a different way."
She smiled. "I understand." He relaxed and smiled. "We do work with some shelters for abused males."
"Good." She smiled more brightly. "I've seen some bad examples of that from my heavy drinking mother and a witch with magic addiction issues that used memory spells."
She shuddered. "That's heinous."
"She's stopped." He pointed at the baby. "They've since helped her addiction so she no longer does that."
"Excellent." She smiled. "I can gladly donate these in her name. We are doing an auction and I'll put her ring into it."
He nodded. "Thank you. Say thank you, Olivia?"
"Fank you, good girl," she chirped with a grin.
"She's very smart."
"I'm hoping so. I've got great educational plans for her so she can do something spectacular without having to hunt." He stood up. "You have a good day."
"Where is she now?"
"Spain. Her new convent doesn't do much with the people but they do help those who've been affected by the supernatural." She smiled. "It's something she's good at and she actually hates kids. Can't stand others needing her. She got removed from one of her old convent's shelters because she advised someone to get a gun and shoot their spouse."
"I knew her," she said.
Xander grinned. "That's my Anya. Thank you." He left, going to the other two charities.
She leaned back and called in her board members. "We just got a very large donation from a former vengeance demon who is now a nun. Anyanka had to divest some of her worldly goods and had her former fiancee donate to us. Including to the auction." She held out the ring for them to see.
"He had nice taste," one said. "Where is she now?"
"Spain." She smiled. "Remember Sister Rosemary?" They all nodded. "That's her." They beamed. She held up the checks, getting moans of pleasure. "He said to use it to help both types of shelters."
"We can gladly do that." They settled in to figure out how to spend the nice checks.
Xander walked into the library, earning a scowl from the head librarian. "I'm not bringing her in to see Tara. I'm here with a donation from someone else."
"Something you inherited?"
"Something like that. Can we speak?" She nodded, taking him back to her office. "My former fiancee, Anya, is a nun. She had to finish shedding her worldly goods."
"Oh! Tara told me about her. She was alive a long time."
"Yes. The only stipulation she had was that no one get into her books for harmful reasons. Which Tara can ward them against." She nodded. He handed her Olivia and grabbed two others to help him bring in the boxes on hand trucks. He had to go out for the rest then came back. "These are her book collection, some from her first time as a human, some more recent ones, including her diaries. The Church wanted to confiscate them but she refused."
She handed him the baby and got into them. "She did an excellent job storing them."
"We'd like for them to go into the restricted room or that hidden room if you could. We don't mind researchers but until Tara can make sure no one's using them for harmful reasons we'd like them to be safe."
"We won't put them out until she does, Xander." Xander grinned. Olivia giggled. She smiled at her. "What is her thing with pouting at the books?"
"She's got a small gift like Tara does."
"I've noticed a few dancing books when she was bored."
"She's been making them read to her in her daddy's voice," he said quietly. "So if some suddenly start speaking in an Irish accent, Tara can fix it."
"That's fine." She smiled. "That's a very good reason." Xander nodded. "Is this all her collection?"
"Outside three diaries she's done since she became a nun. The church could legitimately confiscate those. Though I'm told a quarter of the first one is wondering why this had to happen to her. I know a few pages probably swear at me."
Xander nodded. "I was really mad and she seems content. Nothing's keeping her there."
"Good." She smiled. "Do we have a book inventory? An estimate of worth?"
"No. Not in the least. She basically had them in storage unless she needed one."
"That's fine. We can do that." Tara tapped and walked in. "He's acting on his fiancee's behalf."
"Anya," Tara said. Xander nodded. "Is she happy?"
"She seems to be. Nothing's keeping her there but she was glowing and happy. She was quiet, calm, said Olivia was a lot like her mother."
"Huh. Usually she would've had hives at the baby." She took her to cuddle. "I fixed the three books she got."
"Thank you, Tara. We'll need you to make sure no one gets into these with intent to cause harm."
"The hidden room has that on the doorway," she said with a smile. "Once it's been in there a week, it's on the books."
"I just shored up what was already done." She kissed Olivia on the tip of her nose. "You're awfully quiet."
"We went to donate on Anya's behalf to a few other places. Including an abuse shelter and a soup kitchen."
"Wonderful." She kissed him on the head. "Someone called John from Brazil."
"The embassy or down there?"
"I'll pop around." She nodded and smiled, handing Olivia back so she could go back to work. "Bad girl date," he said quietly. She cackled and nodded she had heard. "So, anyway, donated in Anya Emmerson or Anyanka's name at her insistence."
"I can get you the paperwork for her. Thank you for thinking of us, Xander."
"It was you guys or the warehouse. At least here it'll do some good." He smiled and left to go to the embassy. The lawyer for his date and her brother was there waiting. He stared at them. "What? I signed over everything."
"There were accounts that they could not seize," the lawyer said happily. "His will said to leave it to you instead of someone who'd use it for harm."
"I don't need it."
"So?" He smirked. "That's the law."
Xander sighed and signed the forms. "It's going to a drug treatment facility or three." He looked at the check then at him. "Seriously?" He nodded. "Fine. It's still going to the drug treatment center. Thank you." He shook their hands and left, Olivia nearly asleep on his shoulder. She could nap in the car on the way to a shelter he knew about down by the South American section of the city. He found some drummers and rolled down the window. "Guys, I need to donate to a shelter down here. I know there's one, where is it?" he called. They pointed up the street. "Thanks." He smiled. "You're off beat by a quarter note." They grinned and got back to it. He drove off. He parked and saw someone smoking on the stairs. "By any chance you're not the director, are you?" he asked hopefully. "The baby's asleep."
"I can get him. He's due for a smoke break," he said with a smile. He went inside and came out. "Him, sir."
The man scowled. "What? We don't have demons."
"I know that." He shrugged. "Though you do have demons but they're peaceful so none of my business. Did you hear that I dated a bad girl down there again?"
"It's been on the news," he said dryly.
"They had funds they couldn't confiscate. Since he sold drugs, he should pay to help fix that." He held up the envelope after checking it. The man gaped. Xander stared at him. "I hate drug dealers. That's why I wouldn't keep going out with him and he became mopey."
"Oh, my." He came down to take it, looking inside. He gave him a big eyed look. "We work with a treatment group."
"Use it to help drug addicts. Use it to help street kids. Use it to help promote Brazilian culture and knowledge, but definitely send a lot toward the drug program of your choice that has good results."
"Agreed. Thank you."
"I didn't want his shit," he said dryly, shaking his hand. "I'd rather it went to help those he would've hurt."
"Agreed." He looked in the car. "She's adorable."
"She's trying really hard," he said with a grin. "Most of the time she manages it because she's still a toddler." He laughed and went back inside. "Thank you."
"Welcome, Mr. Harris." He watched him drive off. Then he went inside to call someone. "That one in the news?"
"The white boy that dated one of our drug dealers?" she snorted.
"And his sister, who was a bomb maker."
She grimaced. "What about him?"
"There were funds they could not seize that were left to him. He donated them to drug treatment and to help improve the local's lives."
She smiled. "Maybe him being that way isn't so bad then, even if it's wrong."
"His daughter is adorable. She was napping in the car so we talked outside. He assured me he knew we had peaceful demons around here. That it wasn't his business."
"Even better." She took it to look at, wincing. "That'll make a dent in the next few years worth of treating addicts."
"Which is what he wanted. He said he hated drug dealers."
"Even better." They settled in to make plans.
Xander's last stop was with Paula, flopping down in front of her and nodding at the other author. Olivia got set down and she went to talk to the computer screensaver someone was running. "Not too far," he ordered. He looked at her. "I didn't mean to interrupt."
"We were going to go over your stuff tomorrow."
He handed over a list. "I got named Anya's executor."
"No. Final step, to get rid of her worldly goods."
"Oh." She read it over, nodding. "Some very nice charities."
"Also, the brother/sister duo in Brazil left me their stuff that wasn't seized. I donated it to a shelter and drug treatment place down in their section of the town here." She smiled and made that note. "It was a seventeen million dollar donation from his estate. Because damned if I wanted it." He stood up. "That's all hers and his as far as I know. And I'll see you Thursday since you said Thursday." He grabbed Olivia, making her cackle. "I know, it's time to change you and then get you lunch. We'll make it home to do that. It's only twenty minutes." He took her to the car so they could speed home, hopefully with the way traffic could be. Then he could change her and they could lounge in the pool for a while.
She smiled. "That was a very good thing."
"Very. Does he do a lot of charity work?"
"Some. Mostly in person at Habitat sites and the like. Banned books got a donation." He smiled. "He was peeved when he heard he was on it."
"I would be too." He shrugged and they got back to business.
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