Rock and Roll.

Peter looked at his phone once he had hung up.  "Who put my phone number into Xander's phone?" he asked, knowing it had to be one of two people.  One was a few feet away doing the books for his bar, where they were sitting.

"Welcome," Max chirped from her seat with a smile.  "Especially since he's got to go to Detroit next week."

He looked at her.  It appeared he was wrong about who it was but Lorne would never let him kill her.  Pity.  "How did you get my number?"  She pointed at Lorne, who shook his head.  He didn't have it.  "I see."  He put his phone up.  He got a text message saying he was sorry the baby had gotten the phone and sent back a 'that's fine' and put it into his pocket.

"Who was it?" she asked.

"The baby.  She demanded I tell her a story.  Apparently she snuck the phone."  Lorne snickered, shaking his head.  "Though she's still calling me a puppy."  He sipped his drink.  He got another text message, which started with a 'last one I promise' and went on to tell him something he needed to know.  "My trainer is in New York," he said.

"Crap," Lorne said, calling someone.  "Micah, Shank's trainer is in New York.  Did he go up to Xander?"

"Invited himself to the lunch he was having just now."  He finished sending one back and put up his phone.  Xander had promised to erase the number until he had the right to have it.  It was nice how the boy understood he was a bit paranoid.  "How did he know?"

"There's a few of your former coworkers up there," Max said.  "Maybe they spotted you guys golfing."

"Perhaps."  He finished his drink.  "Let me go home.  The new publisher is quite a slave driver."  He went home to think about a few things.  He had no idea why Xander was going to Detroit.  Nothing bookish or authorish was going on there anytime soon that he had seen.


Xander handed his apartment keys to Tara.  She was going to stay with the baby and the cats while he was in Detroit with the Winchesters and half of everyone else.  He hugged Olivia.  "Uncle Xander loves you and you're a great and good girl, Olivia."  The baby beamed at him.  "You be good for Auntie Tara, all right?"  She hugged her auntie.  "Hopefully it won't make the news this time," he said quietly, kissing her on the cheek.  He climbed into John's truck with Faith between him and John.  "Thanks for the ride."

"Not a problem, kid.  Weapons?"

"I put 'em in," Faith said.  "She'll be fine, Xander.  Even if you fall, Tara's going to make her grow up to be a girly, smart girl."

"I know.  It's just that this is my first apocalypse battle without Buffy there snarking at things."

She laughed.  "True.  It'll definitely be quieter without the blonde mouth or Spike."  They drove off.   "When did she start calling you grandpa?" she asked John.

"During the last trip through here Tara read her a book about grandparents before they called Daniel's mother.  So she's decided I'm the grandfather I guess.  I could have worse kids than you two and mine."  Xander grinned at him.  "You're both really good demon hunters.  You have a career, Xander, and you've got that calling, Faith.  I could do without her mother but otherwise, you're pretty neat step kids."

"I'd hug you but you'd hit me," Xander said with a grin.

"Yup.  Probably."  He turned on the radio.  He swatted Faith's hand when she tried to change it.  Xander handed over the pre-loaded iPod for each of them.  That solved that problem.  He'd have to suggest it to Sam and Dean.


Dean looked up the morning of the battle.  "We told the general?" he asked quietly as Xander sat down.

"I left him a message.  I left messages with the agent in Homeland who stalks my dates.  Hell, I even told a few of my former dates."

Dean snickered.  "They could be helpful."  He stuffed his mouth.  Xander dug into his own breakfast.  John and Faith joined them.  It was a good breakfast for the battle later that afternoon.  They loaded up and went to check the weapons one last time.  Then they headed to the site where the demon was trying to form.  The local PD was cooperating because it would cause a lot more problems if the demon got free of the hunters handling it.  There were already religious people trying to protest.

Xander looked at them.  "People," he called, getting attention.  "If this thing gets free, nothing holy is going to bother it.  It's from another realm, not a hell realm."  A few booed him.  "If you're standing that close to the battle, we can't promise you won't get hurt and you can't sue us if you do.  So if it breaks free, I'd move quickly."

"How do you know?" one woman wearing minister's robes demanded.

"Last year one got sent here and it ate sixteen people before they figured out you had to rip it apart.  That one took out half a military unit."  She shuddered.  "It's not from a hell realm.  If we're lucky it'll be a tiny ball of claws.  If it's under two feet of razor sharp claws, we can shoot it with the artillery.  If not, run."  They complained but they let the hunters go handle it. 

The few PETA members were being held back by the cops.  They ignored all the delusional people.  When the demon finished appearing they attacked.  The PETA people screamed at them to leave it alone.  One broke free of the barricade and rushed for the creature.  John tried to stop her but she dove in front of it, between it and Xander and Dean.  The creature killed her. 

"Fucking great," Xander muttered.  She got floated out of the way.  "Thank you, Tara, for watching tv today," he quipped.  Faith smirked at him.  "Watch out, Faith, there's something forming behind you!"  She moved out of the way and they attacked the first demon.  The new one was blinking in and out as it fought to not be summoned.  Which was a bad sign.

John looked then back at the officers.  "Have those religious sort start praying.  That one's a hell born spawn and we don't have enough artillery for it!" he called.  The officers nodded, shouting that over.  They were more than happy to pray against that demon instead since it might help.  That first one had scared them.  This new one was still fighting.  They picked up the praying and more groups showed up.  Even the PETA people were praying.  That one was huge, it was mean looking, and it wasn't looking happy at whoever had summoned it.  John finished off the ball of claws and teeth, though they were all injured.

Xander turned and looked at the portal.  "That's going to suck."  He texted someone.  No answer.  "Crap!"  He looked at his bag of weapons.  "Faith, it's a sword one."  She got hers, he got his axe.  John, Dean, and Sam grabbed machetes.  "Behead it," he ordered.  They nodded.  "It's got a really tough, thick skin.  It's got a really bad temper and horrible breath.  It will bite.  It eats flesh, especially anything small and wiggly."  They nodded and broke apart to handle that.  "If we had more artillery, we could blow the head off."

"Beckett can't send it?" Faith complained.

"She's not answering.  The poker circuit isn't answering either."

"Crap, I hope that's not a problem at home," Dean muttered.

Xander looked at him.  "Bite.  Your.  Tongue."

"It'd never happen when Tara's there by herself," he reminded him.  "She'd take the baby to safety first."  Xander nodded and calmed himself.  The demon roared as it appeared.  Dean took a swing but it didn't do any damage.

"Understatement on the tough skin," John complained.  Xander moved in front of Sam since he had the longer weapon. 

Faith followed because hers was longer and she was stronger than the guys.  "Boytoy, move," she ordered.

He glared at her and took a swing, which moved the demon toward her.  "Call me a sheepdog."

"That'll work," she decided. 

The boys got the sides with their father while Xander took the back and her the front.  The demon threw Dean and Sam at the crowd when Xander managed to make a cut.  It spun to hit him.  He ducked but the second swat caught him in the stomach.  He got clawed but he was still able to stand.  He ached like hell but he'd handle it.  "Dean, toss me the red snap vial!" he called.  Dean tossed it over and he snapped it against his stomach.  He had to hiss as the potion hit him but that was the purpose.  He straightened up and dove back in. 

It forced Faith to move backwards but he managed another cut.  Dean and John focused on that while Sam and Faith got the front and distracted it.  Dean made the next slice happen and the demon tried to get him but Sam had just stuck his machete in the thing's mouth and cut it.  That pissed him off.  He batted Sam into the officers.  Faith ducked most of them but got a few claw cuts.  Xander and Dean worked on the open spot. 

Xander's axe got stuck in the spinal column.  He had to yank a few times to get it free.  The demon was whimpering and trying to get them but they were moving with it.  Xander took another swing and then they had to dive out of the way of the sound of the artillery launching whine.  The demon's head exploded.  They panted, looking at the guy with the weapon.  "You couldn't have come sooner?" Xander demanded.  The guy shrugged.  "Damn."  He looked at the demon.  He stood up slowly, holding his stomach. 
Dean made himself stand up, holding his shoulder with the deep cut.  "What's that snap vial?"

"Healing potion."

Dean got into the first aid kit, handing one to Faith, who was very injured, and his father, who looked like he was covered in blood.  Sam was being tended by paramedics.  Dean helped Xander over.  "Let's get healed."  They gathered the weapons and put them into the truck.  John locked it.  The officers nodded they'd guard it for them.  The paramedics wanted to take all of them to the ER.  "Dude, we usually do our own stitches," Dean said.

"Not this time you're not.  That shoulder injury is into your joint and you can see the intestinal wall on him."

"Boys, we'll move the truck to the ER," the watching officer noted.

Dean looked at him then tossed over the keys.  "Black Impala.  Kansas plates."

"I can do that."  They nodded and let themselves be taken to the ER.  They moved them there.  The officers didn't want to peek at the weapons.  It might freak them out.  The guy with the artillery had dropped it and run.  They'd find out who he was and thank him, then make sure he should have artillery or ask him to move to LA.  They had plenty of need for artillery out there.

The Police Commissioner showed up in the ER.  "Are we sure there won't be another one?" he asked.

Xander shook his head.  "They send three forward guards before they invade somewhere," he said quietly.  "We killed the first two.  They sent that third one.  Since it can't come back they won't invade here."  The commissioner smiled.  "Worry about whoever summoned that other one."

"I'm wondering how we'd tell."

"Ask Tara," Dean said.  "That's what we do."

"There's a coven upstate somewhere," John said.  "They should be able to tell where it was coming from if they were paying attention."  He looked at his phone, which was broken.  "I'd have a number of someone who could have one but I can't get into it."

Sam called Bobby.  "It's us.  Yeah, we're all alive, just banged up.  The coven here?  Any idea?"  He wrote down a town name.  "Thanks, Bobby.  Yeah, trying to figure out who summoned it.  Thanks."  He hung up and wrote down another name.  "He's local.  He's one of the top chaos mages."

"If we're talking Ethan, that's not his style," Xander said quietly.

"We are but he'd be able to tell if he felt it."

"We can ask him or them," the Commissioner said with a nod.  "Thank you.  Not to be rude but the religious protestors are getting antsy."

"We'll be going tomorrow," Xander said.  "I have a cabin in the Upper Peninsula.  We can rest there for a few days then go back to New York."

"That'll work, boys, and miss," he said with a nod at Faith.  He left them alone.

Xander looked at John.  "Are any of us fit to drive?"

"I will be within a few minutes of rest," John said.  "And a meal."

"I could," Faith said.  Dean snorted.  "Or Sam maybe."

"I have double vision," Sam admitted.

"I can," Dean said.  "I don't need my left hand for anything."  They nodded and got checked out then went to check out of the motel.  Xander changed his voicemail message.  Dean looked at him.  "Telling everyone we're good?"

"Changed my voicemail message so anyone who needed to knows where we're going and that we all survived relatively well.  That way no one can nag."  He turned off his phone.  "At least this time Buffy can't call and nag."  Faith gave him an odd look.  "After that snake demon, she called and nagged so much about me being *normal* that I handed the phone to Beckett and walked off.  Then Dean tried."  Dean nodded.  "Still think I'm normal?" he joked.

"Hell no.  You're downright weird and strange," Sam joked.  He grinned.  "But we like you that way.  And your battle axe."  They looked at the cars.

"Kid, in," John ordered.  "Faith, stretch out in the back of the Impala."  She nodded, crawling in to nap in there.  Xander got into John's truck and they took off.  "Rest, kid."

"I can't sleep yet.  I'm too wired."  He pulled out his laptop and read something he had written long ago that he used whenever he couldn't sleep.  Clearly it had been crap worse than his usual crap.  John shook his head, taking the laptop one-handed to close down when the boy finally napped against the door.  He knew the way to the cabin and it was a good drive.  A pretty day for one too.  They'd make it about dusk.


Peter hung up from calling Xander's phone.  Lorne had to remind him he had the number thanks to that call from the baby.  "He owns a cabin in Michigan?"

"According to his profile, one in the Upper Peninsula," Lorne said, looking at him.  The teleplay of the battle was being reshown.  "He's not badly injured."

"No, he is not.  Is still worrying."  He called again, walking off to leave a message.  He came back to get another drink.  Apparently Xander's life was sometimes more insane than any spy's life was.  Who knew demon hunting was that dangerous?

Lorne stifled his grin.  Shank would try to kill him again if he caught him grinning at him for being a worried boyfriend.


Xander got handed his phone when he woke up.  "How many?"

"Paula and Rick said that your hands had to be in good shape or else she'd kill you.  Rick also said that Alexis was going to baby you if you got really hurt.  Beckett said that next time tell her and she'd let you bring more artillery with you.  She thought you had over estimated how much you might need.  General Jack said he was sorry, he was off at a battle of his own. 

"And Peter said he wanted a call because he didn't know that doing this stuff was more insane than being a spy."  Xander blushed at that one, answering it first.  Then he called Tara to check on Olivia.  Olivia babbled at him, he had it on speaker so John could hear too.  Dean came over to talk to her, making her squeal his name and babble more at him.  It took her an hour to quit babbling at them but that was fine.  They needed the calming energy she gave them.


Peter hung up his phone with a head shake.  "He has been doing that sort of thing since he was sixteen, that was bad but not the worst ever, and he is truly insane but retired to only the bad things."  He took his swing and hit the ball into the water.  He swore in Russian, going to put his ball by the water and shoot it again.  His scores were going to need lying about today.

The other spies looked at him.  "Who, lad?" the older, British one asked.


"Ah!  That young lad you were teaching?"  Peter looked over and nodded.  "What was he doing?"

"The thing in Detroit."

"That poor lad.  Is he all right?"

"Is injured but moving and able to walk.  He assured me he is retired unless it's something horrible."

"So are we," another of the retired spy golfing group said dryly.  "Then we all jump in."

"Do not remind me.  My trainer is in town and is trying to scowl at me.  He wants Xander for himself apparently."  He took his new shot and put his club up.

The other spies shook their heads.  It was fun to watch but Shank would kill them if they smiled at him about being in lust with the young man.


Xander got home and found Olivia waiting on him and pouty.  "Why are you pouting?"  She pointed upstairs.  "No, it's too cold to go swim."  He gave her a cuddle.  "You're a good girl."  She smiled at him and got a book.  He held it up.  "This one, huh?"  He smiled, settling in to read to her.  Tara came out of the bathroom and smiled at them.  "We're back.  The guys are getting groceries.  John's taking Faith home."

"That's wonderful.  The cat that loves Dean will be happy to have him back."

"Did she get into my room again?"

"No.  I made sure."  She smiled at Olivia.  "Show him what I taught you?"

She smiled and pointed at something.  "At," she said with a grin. 

"That's very good," he said, giving her a cuddle.  He pointed at the words as he read them.  Maybe she'd get used to them that way.

Peter walked off the elevator with Dean and Sam behind him.  "We found the scary looking doggy wandering around the city," Dean quipped.

"Hi," Xander said, smiling at him.

"Good afternoon."  He came over to get a kiss.  Xander beamed at him.  "Good day, Olivia."  She pushed him until he sat down then sat in his lap with the book.  "Need read to?"

She pointed at a word.  "At."  She smiled.

"That's very good."  He patted her on the back.  She did it again.  He pointed at one.  "The."  She gave him an awed look.  He pointed at another one.  "The."

"At!" she said happily.  Then pointed at that other one.  "The!"

Peter beamed.  "Excellent job.  Go show your aunt?"  She took the book to Tara to show her that new word.  Xander beamed at him.  "She is adorable and quite smart.  Some day many of my successors will want to steal her to work on a project."  Xander burst out laughing and gave him a hug.  Then sat down with a wince and a hiss.  "Are you still injured?"

"Yes.  I'm fine though."

"Uh-huh.  We can make sure of that."

Xander grinned.  "You can do that after dinner?"

Peter grinned.  "I can, yes."  John came off the elevator with the rest of the groceries.  The baby ran over to hug him and show him her new words.

"That's very brilliant, Olivia," John praised with a smile.  "Help me make your uncle dinner so he has vegetables?"

"I need meat, not vegetables."

"You can eat both.  It'll help you heal," John ordered.

"I was going to take him to dinner," Peter offered, looking at Xander.  Who looked at Olivia.  "We can go somewhere less worthy of good food."

Xander grinned.  "Dean, go reconnect with your bitchy cat please?  If she can't get in your room she pees on my bed.  Or anytime I change your sheets."

"Sorry," he said, going to find her.  He stared from the doorway.  "You didn't pounce, I thought you might be sick."  She started to meow frantically as she got up and stretched then ran over to stretch up his leg and pat him until he picked her up.  He carried her down the stairs.  "C'mon, kitty wife."

John and Sam were snickering.  Xander and Olivia got pretty and went out with his boyfriend.  Tara was snickering as she gathered up her stuff to go home.  It was a good night.

"So no vegetables, right, Dad?  She's not here now."

"Shut up, Dean," he said with a grin.  "Pet your wife there."

"Fine."  He settled in to pet her and watch the entertainment tv station.  They were saying nothing about the battle for a change.  It was nice.  Last time they had gotten stalked for a bit.


Peter walked Xander and the sleeping baby back to the apartment, going in last.  Xander took her up then came back down to show him the warehouse.  He had asked to see.  They walked in and he stared.  "I need this in my closet."  Xander grinned.  They walked around looking at things.  There were many strange, disturbing things in there, and something he recognized as a poisoner's tool.  Xander made a note on the card in front of it before they moved on. Then they went upstairs to cuddle and let Peter check his injuries.  He was very gentle when he cleaned them.  Then he let Xander snuggle for a bit while he read to him.  Which the boy liked just as much as his niece.  He looked down at him.

"It's the accent," Xander assured him with a grin.  Shank grinned back and went back to reading.  Though now he did it in Russian.  Xander ended up doing a credible pounce from a lying position.  It was a nice night.


Olivia looked up the next morning, scowling.  "Bad you, go back to bed!  No nighties!"

"We didn't have nightmares," Xander said, giving her a hug.  "You should finish eating before I eat it on you or Dean does."  She pouted at Peter, who patted her as well.

"Puppy good boy?"

"Yes, I'm a very good boy."  She beamed and wandered around with her milk until they had eaten then she and Xander went to stretch on the porch.  Peter watched, grinning at the silliness.  Then she ran in and dove under the blankets on the couch.  He helped cover her and the hiding cat up.  "Is cold," he told her.

"That's why we can't swim.  It's much too cold," Xander agreed.  He looked at her.  "Want to stay here and watch me write or go to daycare?"  She pouted.  "Okay, you come see me when you get bored."  He looked at his boyfriend.  "She'll turn on the tv pretty loudly and dance to it."

"That's fine.  I can tune out distractions."  Xander grinned and went to his office to write.  Olivia turned on the tv and found the music station with girls of questionable looking virtue dancing in short clothes.  Shank stared then at her.  "You should learn better dancing habits.  Do you know what they're doing?" he called.

"Put it on VH-1.  Channel 19.  Or 136 is VH-1 Classic.  Or above 600 is music stations."

He picked something he liked and let her dance to it.  She was smiling even though there weren't any pictures. She was still shaking it like the dance girls but that was fine he guessed.  Her aunt would teach her better.  He stared at her doing one move.  "Where did you learn that?"

Xander came to the doorway to look and grinned.  "Her Auntie Buffy used to booty pop.  She nearly had me doing it at one point in time."  He went back to his current novel of frustration.

Peter smiled but got to work on his own proofreading needed.  She came over to look and pointed at a word.  "Of."  She smiled and danced off again.  One of the cats tried to sneak past. "Don't chase the cats," he said quietly.  "That's mean."  She pouted but went back to dancing around.  He heard a bell and looked.  She ran over to it and got the toy, teasing the cats with it.  He found her some blocks so she came over to build with them instead.  She clearly needed an attention span today.  "Did the Winchesters already leave?" he asked her.  She ran up the stairs yelling Dean's name. He laughed.

"Dean will make her cuddle," Xander called.  "When he hurt his back because she squealed at him in the shower, she'd pick things from the plants on the porch and then bring it up to him and make him read to her until he needed another nap.  She fussed over him *so* badly," Xander said with a grin.  He came out with his laptop.  "I'd go sit outside but it's cold and windy."  Peter smirked at that.  "It's probably too windy to go golf?"

"Proofreading?" he teased.

"Yes.  And the stupid book that will not end."  He sighed.  His phone rang and he looked then ignored it.  The house phone rang a minute later.

"Paula?" Peter asked.

"Yup.  Probably going to nag."

Peter answered the phone.  "Yes?"  He listened.  "No, he is busy, Paula.  Well, yes, I am here and he is busy."  He grinned at Xander.  "I promise both of us will send you at least ten pages later?"  He hung up on her pouty voice.  "She said we will and it had better not be a real life confession of how good I am."

"I never write sex scenes.  They get cut out."

"I do."  Xander leered.  He put his computer aside.  "Since it is too windy for golf."  Xander pounced.  "The baby?"

"Dean, keep her," he called.

"We're reading," Dean called back.

"Cool."  He kissed his friend and then moved on from there.  The music got changed to something more conductive to smutty couch sex.

Dean looked up at the first moan and got up to close his bedroom door.  "We'll read a second book today, Olivia."  She beamed at him and pointed at words for him to tell her.  It worked for her and she was learning things so he was happy.  He heard his dad get up and winced.  But apparently John heard the groaning and stayed in his room too.  Sam was asleep and wandering toward coffee but came back up when he got halfway down the stairs.  Sam knocked then came in, earning a grin from Dean.  "Should we give him the shovel talk?"

"Let Tara."  Sam nodded, coming over to sit on Olivia's other side so he could help teach her words.  John apparently used the elevator from the pool area to go down so they could get some breakfast. Xander wouldn't mind them having fast food.  And hey, any reporters John could make run for the hills.


Xander got an unprecedented call and went to City Hall for the meeting.  He had even put on a nice shirt over his jeans.  Olivia went to daycare, much to John's pouting, but yay.  He could nag for legitimate granddaughters.   He walked in and saw a nervous looking assistant sort with a clipboard.  He signed in and got the way to the room he had been asked to come to.  He walked that way, listening to things.  No noise that would indicate a large group or anything so no ambush tactics this time.  He knocked then walked in.  "Yes?" he asked the two people in there.  "You wanted to talk to me?"

"Mr. Harris," the mayor said with a smile.  "Sit, please.  We wanted to talk about our demonic community."

Xander sat down, looking at the other person.  Great, the archbishop of New York City.  "What about it?  It's one of the oldest established and most peaceful communities in this hemisphere."

"There's an older one?" the priest asked.

"There's been one in Central America of local demons that banded together to stay out of a few older culture's ways.  One's a hidden enclave and the other's mostly died out.  There's a few very long lived species left there but the last I heard they wanted to be isolationist.  And I think there's the rainforest enclave that's a bit older.  It was formed around the same time if I remember what I read right."

"That's good to know.  So it predates this being New Amsterdam?" the priest asked.

"I know it predates the witch trials, it predates the majority of the problems in Plymouth.  It predates the Revolution.  I'd have to look that up."  He texted Sam.  Who had probably read that book too.  He got back an answer.  "1623."  He looked up and smiled.  "Most of the larger cities groups are mostly peaceful.  It's usually someone from outside the community that causes problems that get attention."

"So all our local problems have mostly been outsiders?"

"Think of it like the cultural enclaves we have in town," Xander said.  "Like the newly immigrated sections and the older established Chinatown, those areas.  They're set up the same way.  They each have a hierarchy, they have the elders that've been there forever and set down rules.  They have the young punks who sometimes want to break out but most of them don't.  They tend to police themselves even more firmly because any notice by humans is unwelcome and can lead to their death.  A lot of the young punks will form area-specific gangs.  They only work in their areas because they know going outside would get them killed."

 That got a nod from both older men.  "Then someone from a non-enclave area shows up, wants to get notice so he can get some power, move up the ladder of success, so he does something showy.  Then someone has to deal with it.  The only exception to that are vampires, who are either feeders and cause problems or eat some other way that doesn't bring attention, and a few hive species.  Then you don't get the young punks."

"Do we have a hive species?" the mayor asked.

"Yes, you have three in town.  You actually have a few in city maintenance from one because they're recyclers.  They pick trash, use it to build nests and feed the young."  That got a single nod and a shudder from the priest.  "They live on metal so they recycle it.  It helps clean up things and they tend to live by dumps."  He shifted and leaned back. 

"The other two hive cultures, one's usually used in higher demon-run businesses and things as menial workers.  They can do assembly line stuff or they can do the form filling out, that sort of thing.  Drone jobs basically.  The other is a mobile culture.  They tend to be things like herbalists and those sort of issues.  They're farmers, herbalists, things that need growing.  They tend to live like a mobile clan sort of structure."

"Like gypsies?"

"More like the stories than the actual ones," Xander admitted.  "Very tight, no outsiders, live in clan tents usually around their chosen growing area.  Now, a few of those have been bribed into growing pot now and then, but that's mostly out west, the clan owed someone, and they got forced into it."  The mayor nodded at that, making a note.  "It's basically a blackmail situation sort of thing."

"I can understand that.  Are there dangerous species?" the priest asked.

"Anything can be dangerous, Father.  Hell, I'm a comic book geek and one of the most dangerous there is when you attack what's mine to protect."

"I understand that.  Beyond the normal human level of dangerous.  Outright attacking sort of dangerous."

"Vampires for the most part.  There's a few species that have warrior portions or clans.  That's for their own defense and earlier wars."  He rolled his eyes.  "There's one going on off-realm that's taking a lot of their attention right now.  It's a case I could support since the bastard in charge was starving everyone while having huge feasts and things."  That got a nod.  "They are flesh eaters but down there they tend to eat chicken and things.  On their own plane special celebrations are enemies you captured."  The mayor shuddered.  "It's one of those things that happen.  I'm sure there was something like that among human history.  Even if we didn't eat them."

"True," he admitted.  "Still gross by today's standards."

"Some of them are very...traditionalist.  Like looking at the wizarding in _Harry Potter_? They're the hidebound purebloods."  The priest looked confused.  "They're unwilling to think of new ways, do things any way but the traditional way.  That sort of being.  A lot of them that have warrior clans are that sort."

"So they're not going to change to modern ways," the priest said.

"No.  They think about computers like most watchers do, they're anathema and signs that Satan won sometime in the seventies."  The mayor snickered.  "They do for the most part."

"So I've heard."  He smiled.  "Outside vampires, how many of them could... say, perpetuate an attack on the city?"

"Most vampires wouldn't, that'd be stupid.  Most demons aren't going to work with terrorists.  Terrorists tend to be religious based and like Southern Baptists, demons make them scream at God for not telling them about their kind.  Which is why one church hates me enough to send me quarterly threats for exposing their world."

"I heard about some of those," the priest admitted.  "Very ill mannered."

Xander grinned.  "The few that like to burn books and a straw-stuffed Baptist and/or Pentecostal voodoo doll version of me, I send thank you notes for buying so many copies."  The priest burst out cackling.  "I don't have problems with many but the ones I do tend to be those and one Catholic church upstate."

"I've heard and talked to their priest, who is a hidebound man like the demon clans.  I should tell him that."  He smiled.  "So probably no attacks?"

"There's some that may want power.  They're not the average demons.  The average demon here on this plane wants to be unnoticed, have enough of a job or something so he can protect and take care of his family, and is usually a decent person.  There's times when they might be enticed or roused to a riot pitch by skillful minister types who want them to come up and gain a better spot."  That got a nod.  "The last two of those in the city Tara ran out after making them cry because they were going to try to attack her library, which holds a donated occult collection in a specially shielded room so nothing in there can be used to cause harm."

"I heard about that and asked," the mayor admitted.  "That's a good plan."

Xander smiled.  "My ex's books went there when she had to finish divesting herself before her final vows."

"Your ex?" the priest asked.

Xander tapped the table a few times.  "Back in Sunnydale, I was dating a former vengeance demon named Anya.  She had gotten fired for having her power center broken."

"As in Anyanka?" he asked.  Xander nodded.  "You have dangerous tastes, Mr. Harris."

"That's who's drawn to me," he said dryly.  "Anyway, she cheated."  The priest shuddered.  "There were over a thousand of them in her little black book.  I tried so hard to keep my temper, I ended up calling on her counterpart for scorned boyfriends."

"Ah, and you turned the libidinous young woman into a nun," the priest said.

Xander nodded.  "There's nothing keeping her there.  I just wanted her to find charity, peace, and happiness.  And she has.  She's in Spain right now.  We've talked recently.  We send each other letters now and then.  She agreed, she was out of control and needed the swift kick.  When I walked in on her and my best friend, Tara's former girlfriend, her excuse was 'she's good at it'."

"So she's found peace and happiness, so she's staying of her own free will," the mayor said.  Xander nodded.  "Her collection?"

"Is in there.  She was a witch before she got offered her former job.  Tara's already made sure her books are just as protected.  It could help someone protect themselves after we're gone."

"I can see that point and as long as they can't be used to cause harm then I'm fine with them," the mayor agreed.

Xander relaxed again.  "Tara likes to take lunch in there with Olivia because Olivia's a bit magical herself thanks to her mom.  She likes to float the books and talk to the books, making them talk back."

The mayor smiled.  "I heard how you got her.  She's an adorable girl."

"Tara tries really hard."  He grinned.  "But back to the topic.  Is there a chance that some demon who wants power will try something?"  He considered it.  "There's over ten thousand realms.  A thousand or so are considered to be hell realms, for some reason or another.  There's one that has no seafood.  There's one that has no music.  One of the adjunct members of the LA team is from there."

"So, hell is what you think it is," the priest said.  "I can understand that definition."

"The ones from hell realms, generally, are still usually peaceful.  There's about thirty species from about sixty of those realms that aren't.  There's also some remnants of the Old Ones that used to rule this planet."  The priest stiffened.  "Sorry, but the Council has history books going back that far.  Originally there were demonic kingdoms.  Then the humans overthrew them when they got tired of being deer, gladiators, and toys. Which was when slayers got made.  They passed down the creation story until there was writing."  That got a more tense nod. 

"Tara has a copy of one of the history books from a demon realm in the restricted room.  Some of them want to get power back.  That's beings like Wolfram and Hart."  The mayor shuddered.  "Their sort.  They tend to be political, play the politics game to get more power, make deals.  There's the possessing sort, which are the Winchester's sort of problems to hunt.  Those are the traditionally thought of demon for the most part.  They possess, take over, often have plans.  There's no way you can keep their sort from somewhere without wards.  Sometimes not even then. 

"Sometimes their sort and Wolfram and Hart's sort form an unholy alliance to create an apocalypse, do something major that will get them more power on the road to full domination, or even fight against each other for power which can cause other problems.  The possessing sort really want released and there's a lot that'll try that.  They tried to use the Winchester family for that."  That got a dual nod. 

"Beyond them, most of the huger apocalypse battles have been humans doing stupid shit to gain power.  The battle at my graduation was a human sorcerer who wanted to be a full Old One and spent a century working his way up to that.  He turned into a ninety foot snake, which is why the high school got blown up around him.  We've had chaos sorcerers doing things that brought notice.  The second demon in Detroit was summoned, not naturally occurring. 

"If I had to guess it'd be a possessing sort that wanted to get rid of us or a chaos sorcerer with a plan.  Personally I'd be seeing if anything else went off that day if it's the second.  One of the top chaos people came to Sunnydale once and made the candy our high school band was selling youth potioned.  Everyone mentally regressed back to their own teenage years.  They were doing that to distract our team especially and everyone else from the mayor's plan to sacrifice a lot of babies for his plan."

"So we're mostly looking at a select group of problem causing ones, ones that want power moving up, or humans wanting power doing stupid things to get it," the mayor paraphrased.  Xander nodded.  "The ones here?"

"The teen witches that opened that portal in a school claim they didn't know they were doing that.  They also tried to atone later on by trying to bind me to one of the Winchesters so they could have a happily ever after feeling."   The priest snickered.  "Exactly.  Detective Beckett had to get out of a bath to go kick their asses while we protected ourselves.  The last few we've had that I've heard about have been gang violence sort, a few at a poker game about who owed who kittens."

"Kittens?" the mayor asked.

"Yeah, for the flesh eaters.  It keeps them from notice."


"I don't much like it either, but I'd rather have them eating rats, stray cats, and pigeons than humans."

"True," the priest agreed.  "There's a kitten poker circuit?"

"Yeah, a huge one."  He grinned.  "It's all over the demon community.  It's a popular game.  I play a mean hand for information now and then, and sometimes weapons."

"Huh," he decided, looking at the mayor.  "I don't like it."

"I don't like them hurting cats, dogs, or rabbits," Xander admitted.  "But I'd rather let them control the strays than the homeless."

"I can see that point and agree, but I'd rather they find another way."

"Some only eat small animals.  Some that eat flesh do get some medical waste but there's only so much of that to go around.  Like some vamps go to get the blood bank rejects."

"So the ones that eat small animals are mostly in the circuit or get them through underground dealers or puppy mills," the mayor said.  Xander nodded.  "And the ones that use them instead of humans are disgusting but I'd rather they eat them than humans."

"One PETA member tried to nag a vampire about that.  He told her he could go back to eating people.  She volunteered and he drained her pretty well then turned her."  He grinned.  "She's nagging the other vampires into using non kitten sources until someone has enough and stakes her and her master."  The priest was snickering, shaking his head.  "There's a great tradition of torturing each other among the vamps."

"Is Anne Rice right?"

"There may be a species of vampire that's like hers.  I mean, we had the actual Dracula out there once to try himself against Buffy, but most of them it's 'find a hole and enjoy it'."

"Huh," the mayor said with a nod.  "Living, like rape?"

"They'd be called food.  Maybe a minion."

"Okay," he decided.  "How many vampire deaths do we have in the city?"

"Annually about thirty.  This year so far we've had twelve but that's since Faith moved this way."

"Good.  I like that lowering.  The other violence?"

"I think the gang kicking up the other night was because we were out of town.  They know Faith will kick their asses and slay them if their elders don't.  And their elders did from what we heard."

"That's good," he decided.  "How often should we anticipate something huge going on?"

"Generally, every spring something goes on somewhere.  Why spring was never clarified for me.  Sometimes there's an odd one in the fall.  That's usually human caused."  He called someone.  "Why is it that all apocalypse attempts are in the spring?"  He listened.  "Really?  No, I didn't know and Giles didn't either.  Huh.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "The local Council's historian said that back in ancient demon kingdom times the biggest celebration of their year would've been in early May but there were many celebrations leading up to it."

"So that's why springtime," the priest said.  "I suppose that makes sense.  Like pagans doing rituals on their holidays."  Xander nodded.  "The fall ones?"

"I've seen a few around Halloween.  I've seen a few before, one after, both minor and located in an area where the sorcerer was working and living.  They tend to be more minor or bad but not world-wide bad.  Spring ones are for major moving up events.  Take over bids, wars starting, things that end up with a peace treaty but it needs to be celebrated by a huge sacrifice.  Which John stopped last month in Iowa.  They came here for food sources for it."

"I heard about that," the priest admitted.  "Huh."

"It stopped a multi-generational war.  That war had been going on since the 1800's down here.  They're still celebrating the peace and unhappy that they didn't get the huge sacrifice for the blessing but they're dealing with it there.  Probably by prisoners of war."

"I can understand that.  Sometimes you'll do anything for peace," the mayor admitted.  Xander nodded.  "Would they do something like the Towers?"

"No.  If they want to destroy a bunch of people, there's a weapons pipeline to some species.  There's a few that would do what Black Thorn did in LA and open a portal.  They wouldn't use anything more technical as far as I know."

"So no hacking crisis?" the mayor asked.

"There's two species that can integrate into a technology-based machine by telepathy.  They're offshoots of the same species.  One moved planes and the rest wanted to stay.  It was basically a religious thing gone civil war.  They could.... but they tend to work for the highest bidder and tend to be more of the laid back stoner sorts."

"Are there pawn shop people?" the priest asked.

"Yes."  He grinned.  "There's a lot of different species that do own shops.  I know of at least ten different ones here in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn that I've visited for something specific I needed for a problem.  Various, just want to run a nice shop, get some money.  Some do some underground trading and some don't."

"So if you discount the different species they're like humans mostly," the mayor said.  Xander smiled and nodded.  "So how do we discover the dangerous ones before then?"

"Frankly, that's the local Council's job.  They're supposed to get that reported to them, police the problem, and handle it or ask Faith or me or someone to handle it."  That got a nod.  "If it's someone from outside the area that doesn't respect the Council or they're too high for the Council to deal with, then we usually find out.  You could meet with them and ask them to let certain officers who do know about the demonic and are comfortable deal with it.  There's agents who can do the same thing."  That got a nod and a note taken.  "I know that I've talked with Captain Turner more than once.  Especially when the hell goddess thought we had hidden her Key here and came to get it.  Which meant I had to blow up a storage warehouse on top of her."

"I remember that," the priest said.

"So do I, kinda.  I spent a few days in the hospital."

"Do you think there's some way to preemptively stop things from happening?" the priest asked.

"For that, I'd ask the local Council to step things up.  If you're honest with them and work with them they'd do the same.  Beyond that, even we couldn't stop everything.  We don't hear every leaked plot, there's not always a prophecy."

"There's prophecies?" the mayor asked.

"Many.  Some are crap, some aren't crap.  Some only make sense to whoever had it.  Some can be warped and some not.  After a while you start to get the feel of 'can be warped' or 'seer had a migraine and vision is screwy' but some of those are right."

"How does one get visions?" the priest asked.

"Some are born with that gift.  Some of us are gifted.  I've had a few thanks to the Powers, but they were only emergencies and only since that warehouse sent me to the hospital.  Some people see tiny future things.  Personal things, about their friends.  Some see huge things, like apocalypse battles, which is what I get.  Then again, some people die of theirs.  My ex Cordeila, on the LA team, was looking at a short life thanks to hers ripping her brain apart.  The Powers wanted them to be taken seriously so they come with pain, migraines, and seizures at times.  Even migraine medicine wasn't helping any.  They were saying she probably had another year, year and a half, with them."

"Yours?" the mayor asked.

"I get a headache but not like hers.  We're fairly certain mine either are a natural gift that got turned on or from another source."  He shrugged.  "She was getting them every few weeks, I get them every few months.  Though we're on the front lines to be taken out before any major apocalypse battle."

"Take out the intelligence network, make the war easier for the other side," the priest said.  Xander nodded.  "Are there others?"

"Healers.  Touch healers, Mohr demons, all those sort."

"So you and I heard Sam Winchester?"

"We're both pretty protective of ourselves and we get a head's up before most apocalypse battles get going so we can handle things.  His are from the one that tainted his family.  His are more like mine."  That got a single nod.  "Honestly, they're mostly just slightly weird people.  Some who eat cats instead of cows but mostly weird looking people."

"I get that.  I just didn't want any extra violence going on."

Xander looked at the priest.  "Can you have Father Morgan slap the hell out of two of your nuns then?"

"I will be.  I've heard."  He smirked.  "They were told to stop it."

"For peace loving nuns who believe in life, they tried to break into a nursery earlier.  They were dragged by their veils to Father Morgan from what I got told as I cabbed over."

"Then I'll make sure he handled them.  I heard he was working with one of you?"

"Willow's magic addiction."  He shuddered.  "Yeah, well, it happens sometimes. The great thing is the magic dealers who can hook you to draw you to them without you being interested.  Those I run out of wherever I am as soon as I hear there's one local.  There's one in town right now and I'm about to let Dean burn him down for me.  There's a few young witches we don't want to see going to him."

"Crackhead witches," the mayor said, making another note.  "As long as you don't cause overt property damage, Harris."

He grinned.  "Thanks."  He looked at the priest.  "You'd have to ask Father Morgan about how and why he got into the business of helping us.  I know that he about beat Willow to death for her problems after she kidnaped Tara.  She needed it at the time.  She was playing with memory spells and the like."

"Ow," the mayor hissed.

"Yeah, especially on her girlfriend."  They shuddered.  "There's a few within the abuse shelters who know about those things so if another gets help they can help them there too."

"That's excellent news."  He looked at him.  "Are there any of the rabble rousers here right now?"

"The two we ran out.  The magic dealer can cause a problem."  He texted someone.  He shook his head.  "The Council is saying it's mostly calm.  A few new out of town kids just moved in to try to get good jobs.  They're drones that are moving into a business oriented pack.  She said one of the local pack of succuba is about to give birth.  That could cause a problem for her block.  She'll release a lot of her pheromone power during it."  He looked up.  "I can set up a meeting if you'd like."

"Please.  I've got tomorrow at three open."

Xander shook his head.  "I know that won't work.  There's one of the higher up's new spawn's baptism that they're going to.  Mostly for political reasons because he's a dick.  He typed in another message, getting a nod back.  "There's an open spot within a closed council meeting in three days at two."

He looked at his schedule, nodding.  "I can take my wife to lunch earlier instead of later that day.  I'm mostly free, barring emergencies."

"Okay."  He texted that in.  "Father, are you going?"

"No, I'll arrange my own later on after I talk to my people."

Xander grinned.  "You know that fire and brimstone, absolute control church you liked?"  He smiled and nodded.  "The minister and half the congregation are from a pretty nasty hell plane.  They migrated here to get free."

"He's very blunt about that and I like his description.  I'll start talking with him.  Thank you."

"Not a problem.  New York is my adopted city and I'd love to keep it more peaceful.  Gangs are bad enough."  The mayor nodded.  He smiled.  "Have a good meeting, Mr. Mayor.  Father."  He shook their hands.  "Let me go rescue Tara's library from Olivia.  Her auntie was getting her new books."  He grinned and left.  He did make a report to the council but they had someone in City Hall so they'd get another one from them.  Then he went to save Tara.  He grinned at Olivia.  "There's my niece."

"Dean taught her a new word."  Tara handed her over with a grin.  "She learned dude."

"Aww, are you sounding like Uncle Dean?"  He cuddled her, taking the diaper bag.  "Thank you, ma'am.  Any fines?"

"Ten cents.  I paid it already."  She waved.  "Bye, Olivia."

"Bye!" she cooed, waving back.  She kissed her uncle on the cheek.  "Puppy?"

"He might be up from his nap."  He took her home and found Peter lacing up his golfing shoes.  "Oooh, I should send her to daycare."

Peter smiled.  "She would throw off your swing from a backpack."

"She might, yeah."  He went to change her diaper and clothes since Auntie had let her spill something purple on her shirt.  Then he came down redressed with her.  "Daycare," he said happily.  She squealed and ran for the elevator.

"She can stay with me," Sam called.  "Olivia, want Daycare or me?"  She looked at him.  "You can stay and I'll read to you instead if you want."

"Want Uncle Sam or daycare?" Xander asked her.

"Is she old enough to understand?"

"Maybe not.  You can have her later, Sam.  Let's let her play with the fishies."

"Okay."  He grinned.  "I'll go to the bookstore."  She moaned and went to cuddle him.  "Want to go to the bookstore instead of the daycare?"  She beamed.

"If she gets pouty that means she wants to go anyway," Xander called, grabbing his clubs.

"Sure," he agreed.  They left and he saw the pout.  "Find my shoes while I get a pretty shirt on?"  She ran to do that.  He put up his book and notebook since he had been translating something in Xander's collection.  He put on his shoes and took her hand, taking her down to get the babyseat Xander had left.  They got a cab and went to the huge bookstore he loved.  It wasn't one of the name brand ones but it was a used bookstore and it had some really neat stuff in there.

"Oooohhhhhh," she said, looking around.  She stared at him.  "Books."

He grinned.  "That's right.  This is a bookstore.  I know you like to read so we should find you and Grandpa some."  The sales clerk smiled.  "I'm hellion sitting."

"I can tell."  She pointed.  "Baby books are that way.  Older toward the back.  What section for your father?"

"Paranormal, preferably in latin or something."

She looked at him.  "You're Sam Winchester."  He grinned and nodded.  "Third floor.  Don't let her drool on those."

"Thanks.  She likes to pet the books.  She's learning little words right now."  He took her to look at his books, finding a few pretty quickly then down to her section.  She liked to pet the big people books but hers got floated off the shelves and looked at.  He put most of them back and stacked the ones she liked.  The clerk was giving him a long stare.  He grinned.  "We know."  He put one back. 

"You can have these."  She pouted.  He stared at her.  "I can't afford all those.  Here," he said, putting down the thirteen she had liked and two more he had thought looked interesting.  "Pick ten."  He held up ten fingers.  She started to grab them to hug.  He put down one finger for each one.  On the last one he put the others up.  "We can get those the next time we come in."  She pouted and reached, fussing a bit.  He stared at her. 

"You can ask Grandpa.  He can get you those."  She grinned.  "You can ask him later."  She helped carry the books up to the register, and Sam had to put one of his back but she put in the ten cents he was short for tax.   They got a brownie to share from the bakery across the street then went back home. 

"Books!" she yelled when she got in.

"Of course you went to get more books," John said from the couch.  He stared at her.  She climbed up into his lap, kissing him on the nose with a grin.  He grinned back.  "Thank you, Olivia."

"She wanted more than I had money for so I told her she had to ask you or Dean."  He smirked.

She stared at him.  "Books," she said with a point.  Sam handed over the ones for John, who laughed and nodded, taking her to a store he knew about.  They came back with Olivia dancing around with a plastic sword and crossbow, a foam staff, and two new books, plus a pretty gi.  Never too early to start with her.

Dean looked at them then at his father.  "Not even I got weapons that young, Dad."

He smirked.  "She should know how to use them since Xander has so many."

Dean pulled her up next to him and showed her how to fire the crossbow nerf dart at the tv.  "Do not fire it at the cats, Olivia.  We don't want to scare them.  All right?"  She waved her staff.  "No, those don't go near the cats.  Like the golf clubs, that could hurt them and then they'd have to go visit the vet's again."  She pouted but nodded.  "Good girl."  He hugged her and let her play on the patio area.  He closed the gate on the stairs so she couldn't sneak up too.  She was happily waving her staff until John got out there to teach her how to play with it, which she hated.  Of course.  Sam was snickering.  Dean was kicked back petting his cat while watching his father warp the next generation of hunter.

Willow faded in next to Dean.  "Wow, she's still really little," she said quietly.

"Disappear until she's taking a nap, Rosenburg," Sam hissed.  "You'll upset her." 

She nodded and faded off.  She could check on Tara instead.   Then Xander, who was with someone she didn't know.  "Hi," she said to the guy staring at her.

Xander looked over then took his swing.  "Crap."

"Ghosts can be distracting I suppose," Peter said dryly.

"Hi, Wills.  How is it on that side?"

"Pretty darn boring actually."  She smiled.  "What was Olivia doing with John Winchester?  I didn't want her to learn how to hunt, Xander."

"She's magically active," he said dryly.  She slumped and muttered something.  He smirked.  "You can tell Daniel she's still making books read to her in his voice."  She sighed, looking at him.  "She uses it now and then to capture the cat when she's too lazy to chase them."  Peter snickered, he had seen that and then Dean swat her for it after rescuing his cat.  "John's jonsing for grandkids so he's helping me be a good uncle to her.  Beyond that, her favorite things are books so she's clearly your little girl."

"I guess that's fine."

"She's still getting self defense lessons.  I'll be damned if I'm going to leave her vulnerable.  Daniel agreed with me on that."

"I know.  I hated it but I know why."  She grimaced.  "Anyway, is she doing okay?"

"She's learned a few little words.  She'll point at them and say them, then look at you to teach her a new one.  She's like Giles and your kid together.  She's going to be a book nerd."

"Aww.  That's my girl."  She beamed.  "We're still working on it."

"She'll be three soon," he quipped back.

"Crap, it's been almost two years here."

"I noticed you're pregnant again."  She huffed but held her stomach.  "Is that good for it?"

"No."  She faded out, going back to her body.

Xander looked at him.  "Some day she'll figure out how to come back and then we'll have to learn to let Olivia go.  Tara's going to be heartbroken.  Me too but she'll probably go see a doc so I have someone new to fuss over."

Peter patted him on the arm.  "You'll still get to see her and it will take time to let her get used to her family again.  Especially if she has new siblings."  Xander nodded at that.   "Let's hunt your ball down.  Should take hours."  Xander sighed but hiked off to find it.  Peter shook his head.  Xander lived an insane life some days.  "Why was Paula warning me about movies?"

"Is something being made into one?" he called back.  They were pretty much alone out here.  "Fore."  He hit it back onto the course and followed it back.

"She thinks one may."

"That's going to be some interviews.  Dress nicely on the red carpet and don't freak out.  I can tell you who they sent me to."  He grinned.  "A few other interviews to hype the book and movie."

"I would like little attention.  It could cause problems."

"Then wear a disguise."  He grinned.  "Remember, sales are everything and especially for movies.  They're working on the script for the second DCIS movie."  He moaned, he had finally gotten to read those.  Xander beamed.  "I'll have a few more interviews, the red carpet that night."  They got into the cart and rolled off after their balls.  "We can probably help you figure out a decent disguise so no one knows you're you. Fake accent, temporary hair dye if we have to."

"Not a bad plan.  I did learn some of that but Lorne is better."

"We can ask him or whoever Rick knows that can do that."  He grinned.  "Beard?"

"I look silly."  He rolled his eyes but he was smiling.  "Mustaches grow faster."

"Yeah but they're nasty when you're kissing."

"True."   They found their balls and parked, getting out to hit it toward the green.  It wasn't that far away.  "You're swinging too hard," Peter chided when Xander took a practice swing.  He moved behind him to correct his swing, which was probably why Xander teased him with such bad shots sometimes.  It was nice though.  Very relaxing and calming with no one trying to attack.  Xander did wave at a group of demons playing a round but Peter could only stare at the eight-arm being using the club.  "He chips too deeply."

"He only took it up last year.  His wife said he needed a way to get out of the house because his retirement was driving her nuts."

"Is why I took up golf again," Peter admitted.  They got a drink and went to the next hole.  "Baby has weapons?"

"John probably got her some play ones.  John really wants a grandkid to warp into the future god of hunting."

"Ah.  You would not want one?"

"I'm kinda infertile as far as anyone can tell.  The mermaid taint nudged things just a bit too much in the wrong direction."  Peter stared at him.  Xander shrugged.  "Before Olivia I didn't really want kids.  I thought I'd be a crappy father and I'm pretty rotten but I try my best.  I don't ignore her half as much as I used to ignore the cats.  Before, I'd write eighteen, twenty hours a day and fall into an exhausted sleep."  He took his next shot then got out of the way.  "Thanks to her, the muses are picking more odd times but they work around her schedule somewhat.  She does make sure I eat more regularly though."

"I'm glad I do not have that blessing," he admitted.

Xander grinned.  "Special gifts for special people."  Peter smirked at him for that.  "I'm sure you have a few of your own."   He winked.  "I can name a few off the tip of my tongue."

"Tease," he taunted, then took his own shot, which went wide.  Xander was such a tease. They followed their balls.  "You never went to visit things?"

"Hardly ever unless Tara wanted to go out.  Tara used to have to remind me to eat when I got involved.  That's how I was knocking out hundred page days."  Peter shuddered.  "Yeah, often.  I only type forty-something words a minute so that was an all day event and then there was proofreading on top of that.  Which is another reason I kept an editor."

"Now the muses are less hyper than the baby?"

"Most of the time.  Those days, she'll wander around after the cats, come in to help me by cuddling to listen while I type since I can use a say-and-type system.  Paula said my editor was very amused at how often he had to take out 'Olivia, quit chasing the cats' from stuff."  Peter snickered, nodding he had heard it many times as well.  "I love the little hellion but my past dates weren't all that good to have around her and my life was insane.  The major vacation I took from writing was when Miss Kitty, the kittens' mother, was murdered by the Council.  We had to hand-raise the cats.  Six weeks of feeding eleven kittens every two hours."

"Now you have time to take vacation."

"Now and then."  He grinned.  "But that's also book signing trips.  Paid travel to go see things and work a few days during it for a few hours."

"That is nice," he agreed.  He looked at him.  "Stitches must come out soon."

"I pulled half of them earlier.  I'll get the rest tomorrow or let John pull them."

"Your doctor does not like stitches?"

"She hates me hunting and any strange things I get from it.  She threw an absolute Olivia-fit when some demons gave me a demon plague to try to get me to spread it around to start an apocalypse."

Peter shook his head quickly.  "That is bad."

"Yeah, kinda.  But Doctor Lam from the SGC is really nice.  And kinda pretty.  She lets me flirt when she comes to stick me with the huge needles."

Peter shook his head.  "I saw her on something.  She was."  He drove them off.  "How did you meet her?"

"She fixed my rib when I moved next to Jack."

"Ah."  He nodded.

"Also when I got back from DCIS, before the European trip, she took out all the little data devices the DCIS me there put on me for the Jack here so he had a head's up."

Peter shook his head.  "That is strange."

"Yeah but it was handy and it helped them a lot."

"Good.  I'd hate to see them lose."

"Well, then I'd probably call on my way to grab weapons," Xander admitted.  "Because that's close enough to demons."

"The US has a great military," Peter reminded him.

"Yeah, who freak the hell out at demons or aliens.  Didn't read the Washington Post today?  They're trying to get two SGC boys out of the Marines for being SGC.  Said it's against the rules and they were part of a militia based force that was causing problems for the US and declared war without Congressional approval.  I sent Jack flowers in sympathy for the headache and candy to help his stomach."

"Was nice of you.  I hadn't read it yet."  He smiled.  "You routinely read that one?"  Xander blushed but shook his head.  Peter smirked.  "Is charming color on you."  He parked and they got out to find their balls.

"Yes, but Paula told me I was not to wear anything that would make people speculate.   That's why I mostly gave up my goofy t-shirt habit."

Peter snickered, shaking his head.  "You look adorable and young in them."   He hit his ball and it mostly where he wanted.  A bit too far.  Xander's went where he aimed it so that was good.  They had to hike to them this time.  Which neither minded.  They came back once they had sank their putts and got in to drive off again once their clubs were up.  On the way home, Peter treated to a quiet lunch without little fingers trying to help him eat his lettuce.  "Who taught her about vegetables?"

"Tara."  He gave him a look.  "I taught her about twinkies so Auntie Tara taught her about salads.  Though she really only likes ranch dressing outside the stuff she steals from your sandwiches."

"I was using the Caesar dressing," he admitted.

"So similar but a bit sharper taste.  Auntie Tara taught her about rhubarb pie too.  She came home puckering but wanting more."

"Kids seem to like sour things.  There's much of it on the market."  Xander nodded he liked them too.  They finished up and avoided the nosy reporter type for the most part.  They may get one picture but it was from behind.  Peter looked at him in the car.  "Do they always stalk?"

"Yes.  I'm usually incidental.  When we walked past the coffee shop I saw someone on Broadway getting their caffeine fix.  Rick gets photogs that hunt him.  It comes with so many higher selling books.  Thankfully I'm a humble fantasy author."  He grinned.  Then he snapped his fingers.  "I have to put up more of that fantasy porn story today."

"What?" Peter asked, giving him a sideways look.

"It's very far past Anne Rice-y fantasy novel porn.  Unfortunately it's kinda necessary to the plot line and Paula said she could not and would not publish it so I'm putting it up gradually on my site."

"Ah.  Is good?"

"Is making many people moan and if I put up two today, because the first has only a long tease, then I might even get candy from the fan club."  He grinned. "Definitely if I put up three since the major plot porn device is in that one."  Peter shivered.  "There's four books now and I'm slowly putting up the second one."

"I should read those," he teased.

Xander blushed and ducked his head.  "I'm not that wild.  I think that was the last muse fit I had."

"Hmm.  Still, sounds interesting.  Much nicer than guns."

"Oh, I don't know, I've used gun cleaning as foreplay before."

"In a story?" he teased.

"That too.  When you date an arms dealer...."

"Good point."  He patted his knee.  "We will go home and read?  I could use a proofreader."

"Sure."  Xander beamed.  "I'm not sure how good I'll be at it since Donny, my editor, says I have sucky grammar and so does Rick."

"I more need flow and continuity."

"I can definitely do that then."  They parked and went upstairs.  Xander looked at John trying to make her use the staff the right way.  "Be Xena, 'Liv."  She let out a squeal for a battle yell then attacked him to tickle him and beat him with it.  Peter and Dean cackled because she did knock John down.  "Good job!"

"She'll be a well rounded geek some year very soon," Dean teased.  He grabbed her when she walked past to hug her.  "Good job getting Dad, Olivia."  She beamed and kissed him, petting his cat.  Xander and Peter sat down to read things.  She climbed into Peter's lap, making him blush.  "I don't think that's an Olivia book."

"No, is not."

"But I have two Olivia books," Sam said, waving them.  She got them from him but he stole her to read outside with John.  "Did you feed her sugar, Dad?"

"One small thing that she begged for."

"Teach her to use the sauna," Xander called as he read.

"Why?" John asked.

"So she learns how to get warm this winter.  It'll be her first winter."

"We can do that later."  They came in and shut the door after doing a furry nose count.  Olivia pounced him when he went into the kitchen so he got her a snack she went to share with Dean.  "Boys, some day I want one of those for real."

"Sure, Dad, we'll find nice chicks and settle down," Dean agreed dryly.

"Sorry, Dad, it'll have to be more than a ten minute thing before I knock someone up," Sam said.

"I'm still infertile but ask Tara," Xander quipped.

"Why?" Sam asked.


"Never mind."

Peter grinned.  "Was confusing to me."

Sam nodded.  "Sunnydale gives every hunter headaches, even that one."  Xander nodded.  "Did Doctor Lam like weeding the hellmouth taint out of you?"

"She didn't get too much but yeah, probably."

"Taint?" Peter asked.

"A hellmouth is a thin place between realms," Xander told him, getting a slow nod back.  "It leaks energy, which draws demons."  That got a faster nod.  "I grew up within two blocks of it and the high school was directly overtop of it.  We used to research in the library that held the portal under the floor."

Peter looked at him.  "Would that be like radiation?"

"Not passable but everyone thinks that's why I draw bad girls."  He shrugged and grinned.  "I think it's my charming nature, my oral skills, and my love of weapons."  Peter snickered, shaking his head.  "Other than that, I wear a shield all the time to make sure that none of it leaks out because it can warp x-rays."  He held up that necklace.  "Olivia had some too because her mom went up there to remember a few times."

"Plus a lot of other magic from Willow blipping around the US," Dean agreed.  Xander nodded.  "Thankfully Tara's a true white witch and can help her learn control and how to not use it."

"Has Paula told you to put the first chapter into flashbacks instead?" Xander asked.  Peter nodded.  "She did that to me too."

"I have no idea how."

"You have him thinking about to where all this started."  Xander grinned.  "Looking back when meeting a new mentor maybe."  Peter nodded at that advice.  He was still reading.  Xander let the book suck him in.  It was a very good book.  The cats got absently petted and so did Olivia when she crawled in beside him.  She napped against his side so it was all right.  Even if John and Sam took pictures.


That night, Xander pounced Peter on the bed.  "Easy," he said, putting down Xander's laptop.  "Let me put that down before I break it and must buy you a new one."  He took a kiss.  Then he grinned.  "I take it you like?"

"I like very much."  He said something filthy in Russian.

"Hmm, very interesting idea but your accent sucks.  You pick up languages very well."  He said something back, making the younger man moan and shiver.  "Tonight?" he teased with an evil smirk.

"Unless you're into role play," Xander teased back.

"Not my sort of make believe."  Xander pounced again.  He said something and Shank shivered, stripping off his shirt.  "Sometimes I think you only like me because my accent and guns," he teased.

"The golf thing's really hot too," Xander teased back with an evil smirk of his own.  Peter laughed and they got happy and loud together.

John looked down from the library, shaking his head.  He went into Olivia's room to turn on her white noise generator.  She didn't need to hear her uncle having sex in Russian.  She was too young to hear anyone having any sort of sex.


Sam grinned at them when they came down for breakfast.  "What does that phrase mean?"  He repeated what he had heard.  Xander whispered it in his ear, making him and Peter blush.  "Okay then."  He ducked his head.  "Just remember, we'll kill you if you hurt him," he told Peter.  "Otherwise, we're all happy he finally found someone who's not on a list in Homeland somewhere."

"I may be but it was from former job."  Peter shrugged.  Xander smirked at him.  "He is on two.  Former director liked to make lists."

"Guys, Tara already promised to make him a pretty goldfish for Olivia," Xander said.

Sam grinned.  "Friends give the shovel talk," Peter reminded him.  "Mine has."

"True."  He took a kiss.

"Me!" Olivia demanded.  They both kissed her on the head, making her smile around her overly buttery toast.  She ate another bite and tried to feed Dean it.

"I need a big girl who's as good to me as you are, sweetheart," he said, eating a tiny bite then handing it back.  She pouted.  He ate a real bite then she finished it with a grin.  "I think Auntie Tara did a fantastic job teaching you to share and fuss, Olivia."

John came in from outside.  "Xander, I turned on Olivia's white noise generator."  He stared at them.  "She's too young to hear it no matter who's doing it."

"Gee, Dean, did you get noisy?" Sam asked him.  Dean punched him on the arm.

"Boys," John complained.  "Though, Sam, you did."  Sam shrugged and grinned. He rolled his eyes.  "You two are worse than I ever was."

"No brother to pick on you?" Xander taunted with a grin.

"Not that way.  My father would've killed us both if I picked on a sibling like they do."

"At least the incest speculation has stopped again," Xander quipped.  Peter choked.  Xander patted him on the back.  "The reporters wondered for weeks if they sought refuge with someone who understood what they were going through that way."

"Then I started to date and Dean got a lot of watching," Sam quipped with a smirk for his big brother.

"They caught me hunting at the club and focused on my fantastic ass, nerd.  Which they'll never do for you because yours is flat and useless in a club to get you laid."

"Enough," John ordered.

"Or hey, maybe some girl will want to kidnap you and feed you properly so you gain some booty."

"Boys!" John snapped.

Olivia swatted him with a scowl.  "Sit in corner!" she said with a point.  John scowled at her.  She scowled back.  "You, bad.  Sit in corner!"  She stomped a foot.  Dean and Sam were howling with laughter.

"Let him eat first then he'll have a time out to read to you, 'Liv," Xander said through his snickering.

"Did she just...." John asked.  Everyone smiled and nodded at him.  He scowled at her. "I'm the adult; I punish you, not the other way around, Olivia Marie Rosenburg."

"'Liv, want some toast?" Sam asked.  She beamed and took it from him.  "You're welcome."

"Thank you!" she chirped, taking a bite.  She looked at John then pointed again.  "You!"

"No.  You!"  He pointed.

"No," Xander ordered calmly.  "She told a few people at the police station that too."  Dean burst out laughing again.  "John, sit and eat.  'Liv, only I can tell people to sit in the corner."  He huffed but sat down.  "She's too young to understand that, John.  All she knew was that you were getting pissed off and yelling like that is bad."  He stared at him.

"Fine.  Even if she is very mouthy."  She gave him a buttery kiss on the cheek then chased off after the Homer cat.

"Olivia," Xander warned.  She pouted but came back to sit down with them.  "Thank you.  Did you get any fruit or did Uncle Dean and Sam feed you sugary cereal?"

"You're out of fruit," Dean said.

"For some reason she's fixated on the canned stuff."  He pulled some down and poured it into a bowl for her, letting her nibble with her fingers.

"I guess it tastes like baby food and it's baby sized," Dean said with a shrug.  "It's fruit even if it does have a sugary syrup."

"I buy the low sugar stuff."  He handed Peter a plate with a grin and a kiss.

"Eat," Olivia ordered.  "Not," she made a kissing noise.

"Are you your mother?" Xander asked her.  She blinked and then suddenly shook her head.  John and Sam got up to grab what they'd need to do the exorcism.

"It is very interesting breakfast rituals we have," Peter joked to Dean when he sat down.

"Some mornings, yeah." 

Olivia got free and ran off with a cackle but Xander caught her and handed her back.  "No!  Pretty!"

"I won't mess up your prettiness," Sam assured her.  "Even if the dress gets a bit damp we'll find you something more pretty."  She beamed and let them do whatever they wanted to do.  She chirped the words she could say in Latin back.  Finally the one watching from her head left.  She looked at herself then pouted.  Sam took her up to get her dressed.  She liked that and came down in something even more pretty, showing it to Dean, who patted her on the head and Peter, who praised it.   She ran to the tv and patted it until it came on.  She had no idea why it came on but it always did when she patted that spot.  Then she could dance to the music.

"Why is she club dancing?" Sam asked.

"Auntie Buffy taught her," Xander said dryly.  "And she keeps finding MTV2."  He ate a bite.  "Quit dancing like your aunt," he called.  She twirled around instead.  "Thank you."  He shook his head, eating another bite.  Peter was staring at him.  "I nearly started to booty pop thanks to Buffy.  She got infected before she was born because Willow can't dance.  Neither can Daniel."

Peter nodded once.  "We should go see that."  Xander beamed at him.  Tara came off the elevator looking pissed off.  "Should we shoot someone for you?"

"No.  Well, yes, but I'm suspended because the bitch who came at me with a knife is now a kitty."  She took Olivia to cuddle.  "You look very pretty," she praised when Olivia pointed at her dress.  She sat down to change the music station to something quieter and cuddle her.

"Why did someone try to attack you?" Xander asked casually.

"One of those two nuns.  I handed the kitty to Father Morgan's coworker."

Xander grinned.  "Good.  I told the Archbishop that he should let Father Morgan beat them both."  He ate another bite.

"Why were you talking with the Archbishop?" Sam asked.

Xander grinned.  "He and mayor wanted to find out how to find the dangerous demons that would cause the city problems before they did."

"Ask the Council," Dean said.

"That's what I said."

Peter nodded.  "They seem to unless they are political or higher up."  He ate another bite.  Olivia came back and stared at him.  He fed her a bite from his fork, making her look confused.  "You need to learn how to use so you have table manners."  He handed her a spoon.  She tasted it like she would ice cream.  "Good start."  Xander pulled her into his lap to show her.  She beamed at how much more she could get into her mouth at once without getting it on her clothes.  That worked well for her prettiness factor.  Then he let her go show Tara her new books.

She climbed up into Tara's lap.  "Me," she said, pointing at a word.

"Close."  She smiled.  "That's 'me' plus a 't'."  She pointed at it.  "That means it's met instead of me."  She looked confused.  She found that word.  "See, that's 'me'."  Olivia beamed and nodded.  She turned back.  "That's only part 'me'."  Olivia looked awed.  "That's a big word, yes."  She smiled.  "You'll learn those soon too."

Olivia looked then at her.  "Me?"



Tara nodded and showed her more tiny words.  "And."

Olivia looked.  "And?"

"That's right.  And.  And.  And," she said, finding a few more.  "This one likes run on sentences."

"She picked them out by floating her choices," Sam said dryly.

"She usually does.  I accidentally left her alone with the kids books while I helped a grandmother find something for her granddaughter.  I came back to find her floating the books out to stack them by color."

"That's advanced," John praised.  Tara smiled.  "Did she get it right?"

"Mostly.  She gets pink and purple confused and pink and red.  She's not real into shades of colors either."

"Most kids would like the primary and secondary colors instead of the shades and mauve half-shades," Sam agreed.

Someone rang the bell and John got up to answer the summons.  "Yes?"

"Is this not Harris's immoral house?" the voice said.

"Yes, Father Morgan."  He went down to let him in and bring him up.  Xander waved since he was chewing.

"Tara, there you are.  I was worried that you had stomped off to get the other one."

She looked at him.  "She tries to stab me and I will."  She went back to teaching Olivia words.  "Do you need me to change her back?"

"No, I managed that.  She tried to stab you?"

"Yup.  Rushed into the library with a knife.  My boss was horrified both by the new kitten and why she did it."

"I can understand why she was suddenly a very attractive tabby."  He grimaced.  "I knew we had problems with those two."

"Ya think since they tried to break in and kill everything in a demon nursery?" Xander asked.  "I was going to ask you to beat their asses too or ship them to Sister Rosemary."

Father Morgan shuddered.  "I talked to her.  She's very interesting and has found quite a home in our faith.  She's very content."  Xander grinned.  "She said you two had mended fences."  Xander nodded, eating a bite.

"I didn't know you and Anya were still writing," John said.  Xander nodded with a smirk.

"I'll talk to those two nuns for you, Tara, and I'm sure she'd be sorry."

Tara looked at him.  "I'm usually non-violent.  I'll make an exception."  Olivia poked her.  "Did you poke me?" she asked with a smile.  Olivia poked her again and pointed at the book so she went back to reading to her.

"This morning she tried to sit me in the corner," John said.

Tara cackled, hugging her.  "You're so great, 'Liv."

"She was a bit possessed too," Dean noted.  "Dad and Sammy got it out."  Father Morgan beamed at John for not making more work for him.  "Anyway, Father, what else is up beyond the racist nuns?"

"I wanted to know what had happened and if Tara was all right."  Tara nodded.  "You're off work?"

"I'm suspended for a week for turning her into that very pretty tabby."  She smiled.  "I was thanked for not spilling blood though."

"Next time, paddle her, Tara.  I'll talk with them both."  Xander got up and got a letter, handing it over.  "The monthly one from upstate?"

"There's another one of your order in Florida that hates me," Xander said dryly.  "The monthly one I handed to the Archbishop."

Father Morgan shook his head.  "Yes, I heard that they talked to you and now he's praying for you to become normal.  Hopefully with a nice wife."

"Still infertile," Xander said dryly.  "And."  He glanced at Peter, who shrugged and kissed him.  Xander grinned at him.  "And I'm kinda seeing someone at the moment.  Though it's up to him about whether or not I get his phone number."

Peter smirked.  "We'll see later."  Xander leered.  He said something in Russian and Father Morgan blushed and ducked his head.  Xander said something in Italian.  Peter choked and nodded.  "Golf?" Peter suggested.

"Golf's great but it's pretty windy.  Can we play when it's windy?"

"We can.  We just have to plan our shots better than you usually do."

"I can do that."  Olivia looked over Tara's shoulder.

"You're going to come help me grocery shop," Tara said.  "Uncle Xander can have you back later, after he goes to have a long walk with weapons."

"No guns allowed on the golf course," Peter and Xander said in unison.

Father Morgan shook his head.  "I don't want to know.  I don't need to know.  Tara, I'll talk to them."  He left, shaking his head most of the way back to talk to the nuns.  He pulled in their mother superior as well.  That way they could all yell.


Xander looked up from the twelfth hole at a yell.  He sighed.  Peter looked then took his shot, shaking his head.  "Want that one?" he asked.


Xander stared at the screaming nun with a knife.  "Are you mentally deficient?" he demanded when she got close enough.  Golf course security was rushing after her.  Xander tapped his fingers on his hips.  He knocked her off her feet and onto her back, hand on her throat as he started an exorcism ritual.  She started out cackling but then ended up screaming and kicking to get free.  Strangely enough the slight taint came out but not that much.  Xander stared at her.  He said something very quietly in Latin, making her shudder.  "Am I clear?" he asked more calmly.  She whimpered. 

"You touch Tara or myself or my niece, anyone I protect, and I will send you to my hellmouth.  And then into it."  She nodded, still sobbing.  He got up and hauled her up, handing her to the security guys.  "There's a priest in Manhattan named Father Morgan.  He needs to get her, guys."  He let them get the knife.   He stared at her.  "Is your anti-Catholic fit done?"  She sobbed on one of them.  He looked at the security guys.  "One of her group tried to attack Tara earlier at the library.  She's no longer a cat."  He grinned.

"That's very reasonable of you, Mr. Harris.  Thank you for being peaceful so we didn't have to dig up the sod or anything."  They walked her off.

Xander looked at Peter, who shrugged.  "You do what you must to protect those important to you."

Xander grinned.  "I am pretty badass at it when I have to be."  He looked at the field in front of him.  "Where did I hit my ball?"  Peter pointed.  "Let's go."  They walked off.  They left the cart there and would walk back to it.  "I need to go to the gym later this week.  Want to come?"

"I could, yes."  He looked at him.  "You do gym time?"

"I have to stay pretty for the interviews."  He smirked. "The reporters get mean if I don't. And I do range time every Saturday morning.  Tara has that day off so they go shopping for girl things."

"She does wonderful making her look very girlish."  Peter found his ball and set up his shot, taking it, looking at Xander, who was blatantly staring at his ass.  "My swing is off?" he teased with a grin.

"Slightly.  You went left instead of right."  He looked then nodded he had.  Xander got his and took his shot.  "I still suck at geometry.  That's why I can't play pool either, no matter how often Dean tried to teach me to hustle it like they do."

"I will remember that in case they ever challenge me."   Xander waved at someone.  "We know them?"

"They run the golf shop.  He's the guy that helped me find my clubs."

"He did nice job."  He followed his ball.

Xander paused when he saw the man stomping over.  "We need the walking so we'll walk back to it and ride to the next hole."

The golf pro huffed.  "It's not seemly.  We like people to ride because they can't get into trouble."

"Like the drunk guy that drove into the lake?"

"Good point.  Still."

"We ride between holes.  We need the exercise.  Or else I'd be in the gym."

"Fine."  He walked off shaking his head.

Xander followed Peter.  Who was snickering quietly.  Xander grinned.  "Like that teeny, tiny golf cart would be a deterrent to someone with smut on their mind.  Please!  One of mine wanted me to have sex on his motorcycle."  He heard Peter giggling and grinned.  "I turned him down.  I didn't want to ride down the interstate that way.  The tickets would suck."  Peter burst out cackling and walked off shaking his head.  "Seriously.  And it being the CHP there, who knows what they would've wanted to do with the enhanced pat downs."

Peter smiled at him.  "You are naughty today."

"That's because I have to go do an interview later."  Peter nodded he had seen that on his schedule.  And the note that Paula had sent saying that Xander had to make it to those events.


Xander let the production assistant mic him and looked at the reporter.  "Hi again."

"Alexian," she said, shaking his hand with a smile.  "I hope this time's going to be a bit nicer and easier going, even though I'm going to ask you about a rumor or two I've heard."

"My publisher told me about the crackhead who was complaining that her twelve-year-old was on my site."  He grinned.  "Got a computer?"

"Sure," she said, having one brought out and hooked up. 

He had to call Sam to get his official web address.  "I have it bookmarked," he quipped.  The tape was rolling.  They could edit by cutting and pasting.  "This is my official site.  If you aren't signed in as a member, you shouldn't even be able to see the story she was complaining about.  And by the way, why wasn't she watching her twelve-year-old daughter while she was online?  I'd be in the same room as Olivia at the very least and making sure it wasn't something she shouldn't get into."

"Some parents do," she admitted.  "Twelve is one of those iffy ages.  Some kids can handle things and some can't."

"In this case I think it was the parent who couldn't."  He got into the actual address for the story.  "This is the index page for the story itself.  As you can see, it pops up with a large 'members only' area and asks you to sign in or sign up.  If you sign up and you manage to somehow avoid the age box, which admittedly is only asking for which year you were born, there's another one."  He signed himself in.  "This is the trial identity that we used to test all that."  She nodded. 

"Most members, outside a few gifted ones, have this page pop up next for this story.  It would usually lead you back to a series page if there was more than one series but right now it's only this one.  As you can see, the warning says this series contains graphic scenes of sex, psychological manipulation, blood play, and issues that come with vampirism in 20 point font.  She still had to click on the 'I'm of age and know that I'll be reading graphic content' box," he said, doing that, "to even get to the story."

"That is a lot of warnings she had to bypass and agree that she was of age to," the reporter said with a smile for him.

"Some members said I overwarned.  I pointed out I didn't want this sort of situation to happen when some kid stumbled upon it looking for more Tral or something. I'm well aware my muses went on a 'I can't sleep' fit those nights and that my publisher said that they're too graphic and unable to be trimmed back to publishable standards.  They're meant as a treat to my older fans, those who are adult themselves.  Frankly, one sends me peppermints when I put up a lot."  He smiled.  "It's not *my* fault she wasn't watching her daughter lie about her age."

"No, and if it was my daughter and I caught her reading this, she'd be grounded.  I wouldn't be going on tv to complain about the author writing it," she said.

Xander shrugged.  "I'm guessing that's one of those 'it's never my fault' things," he mimicked.  "Beyond that, how did she even find out about it? I had my webgoddess look over the membership to the site.  She used someone else's name to sign up because the mother's name isn't on there.  Her daughter's name isn't on there.  If I could find her, I'd banish her."

"I think you're usually very reasonable about all that," she assured him, patting him on the hand.  "New books soon?"

He gave her a shy grin.  "Two?  Next month I've got one sci-fi and one fantasy one."

She grinned.  "I got a preview copy of the sci-fi one.  I borrowed it from a book reporter I know."  He grinned and rocked a bit on his feet.  "That's really sucking you in and I have no idea what it's about by the end of the first chapter."

He cackled.  "It's ... well, it's all going on in the girl's head.  I don't want to spoil anything but it's not her imagination, just inside her head.  That was one of the toughest things I've ever written because usually I can switch POV but I couldn't there.  I had a lot of things I wanted to put in but couldn't because of that."

"I bet."  She grinned.  "I'm hearing new DCIS movie rumors?"

"I'm hearing the same but no one's said anything to me officially yet.  If so you know I'd squeal and load me and the niece up on sugar to bounce around the park for a week."

She giggled.  "I remember the last one."  He beamed.  "I'm also hearing dating rumors?"

"I'm...  Well, I have went to dinner a few times with someone very nice.  A lot nicer than most of my usual ones.  They actually went on a rampage to get us apart or to kidnap me before I decided he was a nice guy."

"Anything you want to share?"

"No.  He's a very private guy and we're taking things kind of casually at the moment.  Though Olivia loves him.  We've all been teaching her new words.  She'll get one of her books, sit in his lap, and point at the words she knows, telling them to him."

She beamed.  "That's fantastic at her age.  Mine I was working on potty training."

"No, we're still working on that," he sighed.  "Reading is coming easier than big girl panties for her."  He leaned closer.  "She got upset at John yelling at his boys the other day and told him to go sit in the corner."  She cackled, swatting him and shaking her head.  He grinned.  "I have a great niece."

"You do," she agreed, smiling at him.  "Thank you for showing up to defend yourself again and to show us how hard the young woman had to work."  She shook his hand.

"Cut," the director called.

Xander took off his microphone. "I'd appreciate you guys leaving him alone," he said quietly.

"Not out?"

"He's legal but think about my taste in past dates."

She shook her head quickly.  "So someone might find out and kill him or you?"

"Yeah.  Especially that one nun."  He shook his head.  "But he has taught me golf."

"Aww."  She beamed.  He grinned back.  "Is he good?"

"He's very good, very hot, and has an accent," he said with a hiss and moan.  "Oh, that man."

She blushed but swatted him again. "I'm glad this one won't need to be arrested by Rick Castle's friendly detective."

"She's only met him once and then ignored the time she accidentally came out of the elevator to find us swimming."

She blushed.  "I would too."  He winked and walked off.  She looked at one of the field reporters.  "Any idea?"

"Two.  He's Russian.  He's pretty, and I think Paula has met him," she said.

"Interesting.  Shy?"

"With his past dates being people like arms dealers and assassins?  I'm guessing he's probably going to be camera shy forever."

"Probably, yeah."  She shut down the laptop and handed it back.  "Did we get all that?"  They nodded.  "If it was my kid, I wouldn't whine to the author, I'd beat her butt."  They all nodded.


Xander walked up to his publisher's house, where the idiot mother was protesting.  "What makes you think it's my fault you didn't raise your daughter not to lie about her age?" he asked.  A few people gasped.  "By the way, making a spectacle of your lack of parenting skills has gotten me some new readers, so thank you."  

He stared at her.  "She had to not only lie about her year of birth to sign up, she had to lie about being above the age of consent on a second page, and then there's a huge, graphic warning in very blunt language telling her that those stories aren't for lying teenagers.  If I was you, I'd invest in a kid monitoring and filtering program."  She took a swing at him and he moved.  "Do you feel better?  Because your spectacle just got bigger." 

He stared at her.  "I'm not going to let you trash me for putting out four whole adult books within a library of over sixty. Yay, I wrote graphic sex and things for four whole books.  Hell, even the stuff in the hunter series is veiled euphoniums.  I had people who rate things look at it and call them tame PG-13.  I made sure they got a rating." 

He stared her down.  "It's not my fault your daughter lied and you caught her lying.  Are you going to have the same reaction when she drinks for the first time?  Or go picket her boyfriend's house the first time she has sex?"  He looked around then at her.  "For right now, you're blocking a place of business and pushing my publisher's blood pressure up enough so she wants to come out here and lay out reality for you so you can hop into it with the rest of us. 

"Your daughter lied to get to it and that's not my fault," he said when she sneered. "That's your fault."  She hit him with her picket sign.  Which he ripped out of her hands and tossed in the street.  "Want to go to jail?"  She stomped off.  The rest huffed off too.  He waved.  "Have a better day, people, and please do an enema, it'll make you feel better to take a shit."  A few gasped but the rest just huffed.  He touched the bleeding cut and walked into the office.  "Got some paper towels?"

"Yes.  Did you have to bait her?"

"Yup.  Showed how stupid she was."

She blotted the small injury.  "Any chance of concussion?"


"You're counter-suing her."

"That's fine."

She dabbed at the spot, shaking her head. "I'm having someone arrest her."

"Then her kid goes in the system.  It won't do them any good.  It'll make me look vindictive.  No we won't.  Though we can send a nice legal letter saying that at this time I'm choosing not to have her arrested for her assault because I'd hate to send her child to foster care.  It can go with the nice letter about the counter suit."

"That's evil.  I'll have the lawyer write one."  She sent that email and came back to look at the injury.  "Are you sure that's fine?"

"It's fine.  Head injuries bleed a lot and do absolutely nothing but bruise."  She sighed but nodded, sitting down.  "You wanted me in today for some other reason?"


"We're nowhere near that stage.  He's still got people who might come after him so I can't even have his phone number yet."


"When and if we get there, some year far from now, of course."

She smiled.  "Thank you for being reasonable.  Rick went through hell with his first divorce."

"Unlike Rick, I know what deadly bitches some women can be," he said dryly.

"Good point."  She checked his cut again.  "It might need stitched, Xander."

"I'm heading home.  John can do it for me.  By the way, the news crew caught it."

"Good!"  She called the lawyer to have him subpoena a copy.  She called John to come get him too.  He, smart ass that he is, sent Peter.  "He said John could do his stitches," she said with a smile, taking the envelope from him.

Peter tipped Xander's face up.  "Only needs two steristrips."

"I haven't looked yet," Xander said with a small shrug.  "The stupid bitch did it."

"It was on news."  He smirked.  "You should tell Beckett if she's to be arrested.  She called and asked."

Paula called her.  "We're counter-suing that mother and Xander thinks having her arrested will look vindictive.  So we're sending a legal note of hatred instead."  She smiled.  "Peter said that he needs two steristrips.  Thank you, Beckett.  I do worry about that goofball."  She listened to Rick say something in the background.  "I'm still owed that last book.  No, it never got here."  She hung up on his assurance he'd track it.  "He messengered it because he was coming in for a case.  It better not have leaked."

Xander shrugged.  "One of mine did."

"True."  She stared at them.  "Xander, reduce your output again."  Peter cackled, shaking his head.

"I haven't done more than proofread in four days, and most of that was for him."

"Excellent!  Because I've got twenty-six books backlogged."

"You've had most of them for a while now," he said dryly.

She stared at him.  "No more Tral."  He shrugged.  "No more hunting series."

"I'm laying hints about visions."


"Sorry.  I can put those up on the site."  She beamed and nodded, handing him two.  "Fine."

"Thank you, Xander."  She looked at Peter.  "Your output level is fine.  It's a good, healthy thing.  Unlike Xander's where he can do five hundred pages in a week."

"Only twice since I got Olivia," Xander pointed out.

"Good!"  He smirked at her.  "How is she handling fall?"

"She still wants to go swim but most mornings our stretches end in a run to hide under a blanket for her.  Tara's gotten her tights and leggings for the winter."

"She did look adorable this morning but a bit formal," Peter admitted.

"That was her picking out her dress and John not saying no," Xander said dryly.  He smiled at him.  "He's having normal guy feeling and granddad feelings at the same time.  It's driving Dean nuts because he's not ready to settle down yet."  Tara walked in with the baby.  "Problems?"

"Doctor's."  She let Olivia down after looking around.  Olivia  hugged Paula, who hugged back, then Peter, then Xander, then went to watch the fish tank screen saver again.  She even got up on his desk to turn on his monitor to see where it was but Tara swatted her gently and got her down.  "You do not touch people's desks.  You can watch their screensavers but you don't turn on their computers."  Olivia pouted.

"I agree," Xander said.  He looked at Tara.  "Since I know she didn't have a doctor's appointment, anything I should know?"

She blushed, ducking her head and shrugging a bit.  "I...  I have baby envy," she sighed, sitting down.

Xander grinned.  "I'll be the best spoiling uncle, just like I am to her," he said happily.

"I haven't decided yet but he thinks I didn't take too many problems from the hellmouth.  So it might be okay.  There's a lot of options these days."

"Or you could find a gay male friend and use a turkey baster," he said dryly.

"True, I'm considering my options."

"I'm still infertile.  I had someone check last year when one of the bad girls society tried to claim I was the father of her child.  The doc said there's no way I'm putting out working swimmers and did the paternity test once she had it.  It's Bryce's."

"He spawned?  Eww," she said.

"With Marigold."

Peter cleared his throat.  "Bryce....  The assassin?"

Xander nodded.  "He wanted a lot but he was way too mean for my tastes.  And weird.  We had a dinner and he wanted more but I said hell no and walked off.  That was right before the European trip.  Marigold I met right after it.  She worked for some dictator wannabe."

"I know of her.  I know who wanted to kill her but wouldn't because she was pregnant.  I thought Bryce was snipped and sick."

"Possibly," Xander said.  "I wouldn't touch him with someone else's ten foot pole."  Peter grinned at him.  He looked at Paula.  "When are you going to put out that new series?"

"Next year."

He rolled his eyes but nodded.  She smirked.  "Fine."

"Something new for summer.  I've got some people looking at it.  By the way, some underground director liked the porn with a plot you wrote.  He contacted me about optioning the rights.  I gave him the standard 'stay true to the book' clause and the rates."  Xander nodded with a grin.  "But I'm not sure if he has a shot in hell of doing more than a low budget adaptation."

"Some of those can be good," Tara pointed out.

Xander grinned.  "Someone put up a bit that some college kids used to audition with."  She beamed at him.

Paula got into the site, finding that video in the restricted section.  She watched it, nodding.  "She's not bad.  He's rotten though."  Xander nodded he agreed and pointed.  She went back to watching.  The third of their little group came in and she shivered.  "He's good.  I know a few agents who like that book too."

"I know someone who lives that sort of desire and suggested it to him.  He said it was a playful read but he was much more hardcore."  Peter shrugged.  Xander hugged him.  Peter grinned at him.  "You're welcome."

"Did he get to .... no, I haven't put up chapter five have I?"

"It says it's going up today," Paula said.  "Apparently you had a formatting problem again."

"He might like that one more."  Peter patted him and he let go with an evil smirk. Olivia came over to stare up at Peter.

"Puppy sit," she said.  "Pretty," she said playing with her dress and pointing at Paula.  "Money lady."

"Yes, we are both listening to the money lady and you are quite pretty enough to sit and stare at."  She beamed and bounced off to babble at Tara again.

"How on earth am I raising Buffy?" Xander muttered.  Tara cracked up, hugging Olivia but shaking her head.

"John got her things for self defense," Peter reminded him.  "She will do more than be pretty and read a lot."  Paula was snickering too.  "Olivia, show her your words?"  She came over to climb up in Paula's lap, which she allowed.  She found them and said them, smiling at her.

Paula smiled and hugged her.  "You're brilliant, Olivia.  Good job."  She handed her the hershey's kiss from her hidden bag of treats.  Olivia beamed and let Tara unwrap it for her so she could eat it.  She sucked on it and moaned.  "Xander!" Paula complained.

"She likes chocolate.  I never give her any because she bounces more than I used to."

"Used to?" Tara asked with a grin.  "Still do."

"If there's a second DCIS movie, we're going to the park with a ton of candy and donuts."

"Donuts?" Olivia asked, her head popping up.  She looked at her uncle.  "Donuts?"

"Sure, we'll get you some baby donuts."  Tara moaned and whimpered. "She likes the glazed donut holes.  She knows she can have two."

"Uh-huh.  That's your limit too," Tara shot back.

Peter snickered.  "I'm sure they will wear it out as we are going to gym later."

Paula looked at Xander then at him.  "You both look fit but I know Xander has to stay in shape."  Xander nodded.  "The nun that tried to attack you?"  Tara waved a hand.  "No, he had one on the golf course."

"The other one," Xander said dryly.  "I had the guards have her handed to Father Morgan."

"Good!"  She smiled.  "By the way, you do still have a membership at the other place."

"Which is kinda full of snobs," he pointed out.

"Yes it is."

"I inherited it.  I doubt they'd take me without that."

"You meet their income criteria," she said dryly.  "You're paying dues."

"I have a year to decide if I'm keeping it.  They'd hate me being me, Paula.  The only one I'd belong to around here is still full of snooty people but Rick says it's nice."

"They're on the verge of bankruptcy unfortunately."  He nodded he had heard that.  "Are you going to give it up?"

"Probably.  It's just not my sort of people."

"Which one?" Tara asked.

"Holly Haven."

"She shuddered.  "Lots and lots of right wing snotty people who hate libraries and books."

Xander nodded.  "Which is why I didn't think awfully hard about keeping it.  I've got the letter drafted, and it's polite, but I haven't sent it yet."

"We can do that when we get home," Tara said.

"I know three people who go there.  I tried to kill one repeatedly."  Peter shook his head.  Paula stared at him.  He grinned.  "That happens."

"It does," she agreed.  "Are they sane?"

"Mostly.  Former agents with wives."  He called Lorne, who called them and they invited him out for a round.  "We will formally check it, as is proper, then hand in letter.  That means we cannot be driven nuts by those two holes."  Tara giggled.  Xander nodded that was fine.  "Sunday?"

"Good for me," Xander agreed.  "It'll probably be nearly empty."

"Probably, yes."

Paula handed Xander his sales check and they all got to leave for the bank and then the donut shop.


John watched Olivia come off the elevator with sticky, sweet things in her hands.  "Who let you have donut holes?"

"She's allowed two," Xander said, coming off after her.  Tara and Peter followed.

She showed the slightly smooshed things to Sam and Dean, who grinned.  Then to John, who patted her on the head.  She walked around eating them and wiggling to the music they had on.  Xander got his own and went to his office.  She looked then at Peter, pointing and grunting at the computer out there.

He smiled.  "I'm being naughty and not doing anything."  She scowled.  He patted her on the head.  "It means I can read to you."  She scowled slightly less.  "You are very fierce.  I know many higher ups who would think you were scary, Olivia."

She cackled and patted him with a sticky hand then tried to get out.  When the locked door didn't move she looked back at John then opened it and toddled outside and toward the stairs to the pool.

"You touch that gate, you take a nap," Xander yelled.  She decided to look at the plants instead.

John and Tara looked at Xander in the office then at Olivia.  "He's got her well trained," John decided.  Tara nodded, going to teach her about plants.

"I was watching, she checked you then did it, Dad," Dean said.

"She knows John doesn't like her to use magic," Xander said from behind his desk.  "Shit!"

"Bad problems?" Sam asked casually.

"Yeah.  Peter, your former trainer is still in town, somehow has my personal email address, not the one for the fans, and said that he's going to kill my pretty ass, and he put it that way, if I ever did so much as made you frown."

Peter went in there to read it, scowling at it.  "I will talk to him."  Xander hugged him.  He smiled.  "She is very smart."

"She's a little smartass most of the time.  She's been on good behavior."  He gave him a look.  "Or else she wouldn't call you a puppy."

"Good point."  He got the email address from his computer at home then wrote him one in Russian.  His former mentor cackled but yay.  He made himself clear and he was still a very dangerous man.  Xander walked past him and kissed him on the head, handing him a rice krispy treat.  "I need this?"  He unwrapped it and ate it anyway.

"It helps with heartburn.  That's my almost guaranteed cure for heartburn."  Xander went out there and kicked Tara on the ankle since she seemed frozen, going to get Olivia from the pool area.  They all heard her start to wail as he carried her back down the stairs.  "I said no.  You know better than to go anywhere near the pool without a big person.  Tell everyone night, you're going to take a nap."

"No!" she wailed.  He stared at her.  She gave him the most pathetic look she could.  "Pwease?" she begged.

"Hell no.  That can hurt the baby.  Then Tara would be very upset.  So would I."  He carried her up the stairs and got her out of her visiting clothes, putting her down for a nap.  He walked out and shut the door, making sure none of the cats were in there.  She laid in there and cried, which made him feel bad, but she knew she wasn't allowed near the pool or to magic her aunt into ignoring she was going near the pool.  He came back down, getting some milk.  He grimaced and poured it out.  He got koolaid instead and went to order groceries.  "What am I cooking for dinner?"

"Not a clue," John said, timing it.  She cried for a good ten minutes but she knew better.  Finally she quit and they all calmed down.  Though Xander went up to lock the gate up there as well.  He came back down.  "You think she can't open that one?"

"She gets doorknobs, not sliding locks or lift gates yet."  Xander grimaced.  Tara was still shaking it off.  "You good?"

"I'm fine."  She came in and sat down.  "That's dangerous."

"That's why she's taking a punitive nap.  She knew better when she did it."  He heard a meow.  "Let her nap, Homer."  The cat apparently left her alone and went to lounge in the library.  He shook his head.  "Some days I wonder if they're more than normal cats."

"Miss Kitty was a pretty normal cat," she reminded him.

He snorted.  "Not really.  How else do you explain her shoe organizer thing?  Or sitting on the back of my chair and eating my hair?"  John snickered.  "She did!  She had more hairballs from my hair than hers!"  He went back to the office.  "Now he said he's sorry he scared me."  He responded and the man had the nerve to laugh but Xander was going to kill him if he tried to hurt Peter.  Or him, Olivia, and Tara.  He'd like killing him maybe.

"Xander, he will not do anything," Peter called.  "Though, where are you storing such things?"

"Back of the warehouse."

"Huh."  He nodded. "Many dangerous things that aren't weird then."

"No, they're in the room with the basalt snake altar," Sam told him.  "The warehouse captured it mid-summoning and froze it."  Peter shook his head.  "You got to miss the blessed amusement park stuff.  It's blessed to protect the kids, even if it does have to come off that creepy looking carousel and eat someone.  It used to turn itself on anytime someone got near the doorway."

"It made a good doorbell," Dean agreed.  "How is it, Dad?"

"Bobby's got an eye on it.  Only one kid needed the protection of the fun house and one of the lions on the carousel had to come off to scare the crap out of a drunk father who was being an idiot.  The kid petted it and got a free ride."  He shrugged.

Peter shook his head.  "Do we have such things in Russia?"

"Yes," Xander called.  "You have a fine, ancient tradition of herbalist witches and nature witches of the stranger types.  It's like a cross between Tara and Santeria."


"Like the story with the house with the chicken legs," Tara said with a grin.  "Some of them are very good herbalists."

"Is good to know."  He got a new email and answered it.  Lorne.  He huffed.  "My trainer is in DC asking nosy questions."

"Tell him to go talk to General O'Neill.  I heard they had some Russian interaction so he might know him," Xander called.

Peter looked in there.  "General would kill us both."

Xander grinned.  "Jack likes to tell people I'm the scariest goofy, nice guy he's ever met."  He went back to what he was doing.  Which was answering fan mail.

"You are," John and Dean agreed, Sam nodding along.  Tara was giggling.  She turned on the news and turned it down from Olivia-volume.  "Damn," John and Dean muttered, calling someone.  They got told to stay there.

Xander came out to look and called.  "If I have to put back on clothes and come out there, I'm going to kill *everyone*," he assured whoever answered.  "Yup, this is Xander."  He grinned.  "Just got home and had donuts.  Olivia's taking an enforced nap...."  The demons started to shout that they were going to keep it peaceful to the press.  To not get Xander down there to make sure of it.  "Thank you."  He hung up, going back to the kitchen.  "So, dinner?"  He went to get the ordered groceries, paying the guy a tip since he had put it on his debit card.  "Thank you muchly."

"You're welcome, Mr. Harris.  Speaking of, the manager wanted to talk to you about your tab?"

"I thought I paid each time I ordered."

"So did I."  He shrugged.  "I don't know, sir."

"I'll call or come down later.  Let me make dinner first."  He nodded and walked off.  Xander went back up there.  "Okay, let's see what happened to my card this time."  He went to check.  He had money in the bank.  He knew he did.  His debit card wasn't working.  "How did I do that?"  He called them and they did fix it over the phone for him.  They also put through a payment for the grocery store.  If he overpaid they'd tell him.  He said a quiet thank you and got back to making dinner.  Tara was chopping vegetables.  "Did I order squash?"



She nudged him.  "It's good for you."

"It means you can be noisy again later," John quipped.  Peter looked at him strangely.  "He is.  I didn't hear you at all."

"Maybe I'll consider a gag then so we don't wake the baby."

"Nope, I've been taken a few too many times," Xander quipped.  "That or handcuffs, though I might bend enough for silk ropes."  Peter looked at him.  "Some of the past dates!  One of them kidnaped me to Singapore to show off her illegal gem mining operation and her brother's illegal weapons trade.  Thankfully I got bored and came back."

Peter shook his head.  "I wonder how many of them I knew from work," he muttered.  John got the boy's journal, which Xander shrugged about when he caught him.  Peter took it to look through, staring at some of the names.  He looked back at him.  "You were the one James moped over?"



"Oh, yeah, him."  He grimaced.  "Seriously, after one hand job and needing disinfectant, never touched him again."

"Yes, he was known for doing strange things."  He went back to reading it.  He knew most of the names in there.  Including one he had see in town.  She was not a good sign.  "You know Rachel Maddox?"

"Rach's a pretty sweet girl but when she called I told her I was casually seeing someone and wasn't up to teasing her last week.  Why?"

"I saw her earlier."

Xander nodded.  "She lives in Harlem.  I always went to her house for sex so she couldn't get into mine."

"I always liked that you only brought home the semi and lightly dangerous ones," Tara quipped.  "Even though they got noisy if they were female."

"Why?" Dean asked.

Tara blushed.  "Anya said he could do oral things better than any lesbian ever."  She got back to vegetables.

Xander shrugged.  "She liked it, that's why she wanted nine and ten a day."    He leaned his hip against the counter.  "I asked her once, early on in our thing, if she wanted so much because I had made it seem better than before and it was addicting her.  She called me a dumbass and said I was great and fantastic, but not that fantastic.  It was just a long dry spell."

Peter looked at him.  "You've apparently awakened a beast in many," he said in Russian, making Xander blush.  "That's why they keep trying to come back."

Xander laughed and walked over to kiss him on the forehead.  "As long as there's no more kidnaping attempts."

"Amen," John said, looking up briefly.  "It scared the shit outta us that the news was reporting you were torturing someone in a police standoff over Olivia being kidnaped."

"Two shallow cuts that were more psychological damage than not," Xander defended.  Peter snickered, nodding a bit.  "And for that matter, fuck them!  He shouldn't have taken Olivia from daycare.  Did he think I was going to suddenly turn into some happy camper who'd clap and sing that he had taken her?"

"Calm down," Dean ordered.  "If it happens again, shoot 'em.  Then the rest won't come."

Xander looked at him.  "I scared a few of them straight," he said bluntly.  Peter gaped at him.  "I went full blown hyena there for a few minutes in the station.  A few of them begged to be arrested.  If it happens again, I'll let her go and then I'll make sure it *never* happens again."  He got back to cooking with Tara.

She hummed.  "I about lost my temper and started to pull a Willow.  Thankfully I was at lunch because the breeze would've really wrecked the library."  He gave her a hug.  She grinned.  "Detective Ryan said to please warn him before I get to the point of angry breezes popping up out of nowhere."

"I think that's always a good idea," Xander agreed.  His phone rang.  "Oh, what now," he complained.  He answered it.  "Better be a good thing."  He listened.  "Excuse me?"  He tapped a foot.  "How in the hell? Yeah, be right there."  He hung up.  "John, take over dinner, watch Olivia when she gets up.  It'll take artillery so you're the granddad this time."  He got what he needed from his 'research cabinet and walked off shaking his head.  "Sit, stay, good boyfriend," he ordered when Peter tried to come help, getting a dirty look.  He kissed him and grinned.  "You don't know how to use a sword, dear."

"I can use artillery."

"It's blessed so you have to have some sort of gift."

"Oh.  I can watch."

"I'd rather have you guys watching Olivia in case someone gets a bad idea."  He nodded across the street.  "Like that moron I keep having arrested for making meth."  He grinned and waved.  "He's an idiot."  He took another kiss.  "You can help with the next one.  This is a drive up, shoot, come home to dinner thing."  He left, pausing in the warehouse to get what the rest of what he needed.  He drove them over, the radio going at a nice, loud volume, even if Tara did try to turn it down a few times.  They got out and stared at the multi-armed, multi headed things.  Xander got the back of the car open and pulled out the case, walking it to the hood.  He opened it and stared at the laughing being.  "Last chance to head home."

"You're still not a slayer," one head taunted.

"Ya know, I got enough of that from bitchy girls.  Are you one of those?"

He opened his pants.  "Come find out."

"Put it back or have it cut off," Tara warned.  The demon stared at her.  She was not a happy witch.  Xander hit him there with the artillery, making a few guys hiss and wince.  "You do not dangle that nasty, unclean thing in front of ladies or children!" she ordered.  "How rude is  that!"  He was whimpering and trying not to fall down.  "Really!  I've seen succuba with better manners!  And there's even a church nearby!  Do you really think they wanted to see your naked, dirty, smelly behind?"  Xander was snickering.  "What?" she demanded.

"Wondering when you joined the Springer audience member guild, dear."  He handed her her sword.  "Shall we?"

"Yes."  Faith walked around Tara and took it from her.  "Okay, I'll sit here and make it miserable for daring to not bathe and then exposing himself."

"Sure, you do that."  Faith looked.  "Sit, stay, good author," she ordered.  She attacked it. She got one head off and then it roared and came at her.  "I always get the wrong head first," she complained.  Xander got that one and she looked at him once it was down.  "Aren't you supposed to be doing something?"

"Making dinner with Tara actually.  Unfortunately he decided to show up to proposition Methodist women."  He pointed at the church.

She looked then at the demon.  "You'd never get them.  They like boys who bathe and you didn't."  She walked off, handing Tara back her sword.  "When are you off vacation?"

"I got suspended for turning that nun that attacked me into a kitty.  I can go back next Thursday.  Did you need something looked up?"

"Yeah but I can find it online I guess."

"Come see me tomorrow, Faith, and we'll go look."  Faith grinned.  She looked at Xander, who shrugged.  "Burn it?"

"Fire department's coming," one of the guarding officers quipped.  "Thank you, Mr. Harris, Miss Maclay."  They smiled and nodded.  "Have a good dinner."

"You as well," she said, pinching him on the cheek.  "If I liked boys, I'd hope they'd be as polite as you."  She got back into the car.

Xander grinned.  "Yes, his death releases a happy vibe.  No one's sure why but it lasts about sixty feet and about an hour."  He got in to drive them home.

The officers looked at the staring church women, who just nodded and went back inside.  Mostly to giggle.  They were mostly older women and the thought of that thing turning them on that way made them all cackle.  "Drink?" the officer Tara praised asked.

"Yup, you're buying."


"Suck it up."

"Then I might turn into Harris," he hissed, cracking his partner up.

When they got home, Peter smirked at him.  "I see where you got that order from now."

"He got many things off Faith, like leather pants," Sam quipped from his seat.

"No, those were roadtrip clothes," Xander said.  "But yeah, I think she is where I got that from."  Peter stared at him.  He blushed a bit.  "One of the other dancers said it'd do me good, especially in the clubs.  And hey, whenever I wear them, no one hits on me."  He grinned.  "Apparently I look like the evil vampire me."  Tara was snickering and shaking her head.

"Evil, vampire you?" John asked blandly, cuddling the baby.

"Yeah, that was a Willow oops and a Cordelia wish verse together sort of long event.  See, Cordelia wished Buffy had never come to town way back in high school because I accidentally called her by Buffy's name while we were dating."  Dean winced and hissed.  "Yeah.  So Anya answered it."  John and Sam shuddered.  "Instant wish verse where I was apparently one of the Master's favorite children and I loved to torture Angel.  Had turned Willow. Was apparently the evil me on steroids or something."

"How did that turn into a Willow event?" John asked.

"Anya tricked Willow into searching for her broken power center with temporal and realm magic.  So we got to meet vamp Willow once.  She called her the skanky, lesbian, leather loving her."  Tara was laughing but nodding now.

Peter looked at him.  "You may nibble sometimes but not that way.  I am thankful."

Xander took a kiss.  "You do taste very good."  Peter laughed but smirked.  Xander went to look at dinner.  "Hey, the food fairies did it."

"Good job," Tara told John, taking Olivia to cuddle.  They walked in to eat a real family style dinner.  They needed the peace and quiet.


Xander woke up to a strange noise.  He wasn't sure what it was but Peter was awake and stiff beside him.

"Here I come to save the day!" a male voice called.

"Idiot!" Olivia yelled then there was a thump.  She ran crying into their bedroom and crawled up.  "Falled!" she cried and pointed.  "Bad!"

"It's not your fault," he promised.  "Dean?"

"I have no idea who he is," he admitted, coming in to hug her.  "That was really nice, Olivia."  Xander scowled at him.  "But it wasn't your fault, dear.  I promise it wasn't your fault.  Superhero costume too."

"With what he was shouting, is he Underdog?" Sam called from his room.

"Two intertwined 'S's, Sammy," Dean called back.  "C'mon, you can come help the kitty wife and me nap."  She nodded, letting Xander kiss her on the head.  Then they went to cuddle.

Xander got up to put clothes on and went to see.  Peter right behind him.  "Jacques!" he complained.  The man moaned at him.  "Make that noise at me again in front of my boyfriend.  Watch me neuter you."  The man burst out crying.  Xander looked at the nearest clock in John's room behind him.  "It's two in the morning.  I'm not dealing with this."  He looked at the idiot again.  "Fuck it, you can wait for a decent hour."  He hauled him up and down to the living room, slamming him into a dining table chair.  He tied him very tightly, relocked the jimmied porch door, then went back to bed.  "He can wait until Beckett gets in the office."

"When did you meet that one?" Peter asked.

"He asked me out at a book convention."  They shut their bedroom door.

John and Sam shared a look then shook their heads and went back to bed.


Xander came down the stairs to a whimpering pathetically tied up idiot.  Who Olivia was showing off her words to.  "Aww, she's making you feel better.  Good job, 'Liv."  She beamed and waved.  "Who gave you chocolate milk?"

She beamed.  "Dean!"

"My fault.  It's all we had," Dean called from the office.

"Fine.  Is she playing nicely?"

"She checked his back for him then climbed up him to pat his mask, then sat and started to read to him," Dean said, coming to the doorway of the office.  "Dad, found that spirit that eluded you."  He went back to his chatting.  John came down buttoning up his shirt to help his eldest son.

Xander made coffee, handing Peter the pot once he had his own mug of it.  He opened the door and shivered so shut it.  He decided they could stretch right there.  Olivia slid off the idiot's lap and came over to help.  Peter stared while he drank the coffee, head tipped to the side.  Xander looked up at him.  "You need to arch your back more."  Xander nodded and did that but winced and went back.  "We will work on flexibility."  He sat on the couch to check his own email, start his proofreading for the day, and ignore the idiot tied to the chair.  "When does Beckett get in?"

"Two hours," Xander said.  The guy moaned and shifted, trying to cross his feet.  "Sam?"  Sam came down and helped him lift the guy, chair and all, into the bathroom down there.  Sam even helped him aim when they tilted the chair forward so he was leaning on the toilet while still tied up.  They tucked him back in and carried the chair back to the living room.  Sam made breakfast while Xander did his own email and things.  Including his morning comics.  Peter laughed when he read a few over his shoulder.  The poor wannabe hero was pouting but yay.  When it was time, Sam borrowed John's keys.

"Don't scratch the truck bed."

"He won't," Sam promised.  They carried the guy, in the chair, down to the truck.  He got slid in on his side and Sam drove them to the station.  Where they carried him inside, still in the chair.

"I thought you were dating," one of the officers complained.

"I am.  He broke in with the Underdog theme song and Olivia made him fall down the stairs."  He grinned.  "Then she fussed over him this morning and showed off her brilliant reading skills."  They carried the chair up in the elevator and put it down beside Beckett.

"Just what I wanted," she said dryly.  "A guy in a rental superhero costume tied to a chair."  Sam told her what had happened so she knew which forms to fill out.  They left him and the chair there.  They'd get the chair later.  She looked at him.  "We like Peter."

"Shank?  You actually like Shank?"

"I guess he earned the name before he retired."  She stared at him.  He slumped down as much as he could.  "Name?"  He wiggled so she got into his pockets and found his wallet.  "Thank you.  Is this the correct address?"

"This week."

She sighed but typed it in.  "No one's ever going to believe this story."  They got officers to carry him down to the booking sergeant so he could be released and patted down properly there.  Then Esposito got to deliver the chair back to the owner.  She looked at her other minion.  "Was I sane before?"

"Yes, but then you met Castle and he does mushy things to your brain."  He grinned.  "Just think, you used to think Xander was creepy and weird when you first met him."

"He was.  Now I'm just more used to it."  She got more coffee and sat back down.  "Why Underdog?"

"No clue," Ryan admitted.  "You'd have to ask the guy."  She went to ask that question.  She doubted he was a humble shoe shine boy by day.  Ryan shook his head quickly.  "Maybe he did bad things to all our brains.  Castle is clearly the carrier of mental infection.  Xander got him first," he defended when someone gave him a strange look.


to next story

back to writer index