Ten Years Later


Mack Wolfe walked into a new office, staring at one guy.  "I've got an issue."

"What sort?"  He leaned back.  "Big one?  Little one?  I heard they're retiring you."

"Yup, and I'm still watching over one young guy's life.  So I need someone I can trust and he will trust to work with him when he dates the next evil thing."

"Evil thing?" he asked with a smile.

"I've arrested his last seven."

"Oh, that sort."  He considered it.  "Lots of work?"

"I usually check on him every few days."

"That's not that much work.  He have a problem with military guys, natives?"  Mack shook his head.  "At all?"

"No, not in the least."

"Good.  I've got that new task force that I formed.  Since he might date some of the people on their list we can introduce them.  If not, two have been PD long enough to recommend someone."

"That'll work.  I'm going out later tonight."  The other guy nodded so Mack left him alone.


Xander opened the door, blinking a few times.  "You brought a date, Mack?  I can smell others."

"No, I brought a few other officers to meet you, Xander.  They did the unthinkable and retired me."  Xander shuddered but let them inside.  "Guys, this is Xander Harris.  Xander, these are three officers on a new task force.  You dated someone on it already."

"Oooh, yay.  Were they good or one of the sucky ones in bed?"

"Probably sucky.  They didn't have anything to note," one of them said.  "I'm Danny, this is Steve, and this is Kono.  She's the nice smelling one."

Xander sniffed and smiled.  "You all smell too pretty to be real cops."  Steve laughed.  "Come on in.  Gretchen, company."

"Then come get your mangy puppies out of the kitchen."

"Guys," Xander called.  They came running.  "Sit."  All but one sat.  She was bouncing around.  "I said sit."  She sat and barked.  "Thank you."

Mack smiled and petted them.  "You've done good training the dogs to be others' seeing-eye dogs, Xander."

"Thanks."  He grinned.  "Mine had puppies."  He led them into the living room. The puppies followed and flopped down on all the good seats.  "Human seating, guys."  They moved for the new people.  "Thank you.  If they didn't, pick them up and say 'human seat' then put them down somewhere else."  Steve had to do that.  "So, what can I do for you guys?"

"Well, since I'm going to be officially retired," Mack said.  "I figured I'd introduce you to people you could trust to call the next time an arms dealer promises you a rocket launcher for a blow job."

"She was bad at it," Xander muttered.  "And the rocket didn't work anyway."

"You're former military?" Steve asked.

"No, not quite."  He smiled.  "Long, involved story.  Really long, involved story that freaks some people out."

Kono blinked a few times at the housekeeper then looked at him.  "You know something about John's Bar."

"I do.  I make it over there now and then to get a glass of tea and have someone help me play poker."

Danny looked at her then at him.  "Where are you from, Xander?"

"About three hours north of LA.  Little town called Sunnydale."  Danny moaned.  "I take it you've heard of us?"

"Yeah.  A bunch of people from there moved to Cleveland and some to my former area."

"I was helping the town when I got acided."  Gretchen handed him a glass of tea.  "Thanks, Gretchen."

"Welcome, Xander.  I have tea and bottles of water if someone would like some.  Mack, I've set up the grill but once again it won't start for me."

"I can do that."  He went to start it for her.

Gretchen smiled at them.  "Xander's a very nice boy.  He's not picky.  He's very sweet.  Even if he won't let me fix that tile in the entryway."

"I'll hear if someone steps on it," Xander reminded her.

"Good point but it's a pain to clean around."  She went to get water and tea for them.  They accepted drinks and she got back to work on dinner.  If they were mean to Xander she'd have Spike show up to eat them for him.  No matter how tough she had heard one was.

Xander smiled.  "I've had Gretchen since just before I got the house.  She's been keeping me sane now for almost a decade."

"That's good," Steve agreed.  "What arms dealer was it that offered you that rocket launcher?"

"Ummmm...  Gretchen, what was her name?"

"Olin.  Gina Olin."

Danny looked her name up and nodded.  "She's pretty badass."

"She had bad suction and a gag reflex but enjoyed the oral sex a lot," Xander quipped.

Steve took the PDA to read, handing it to Kono.  "No wonder Mack wanted us to be introduced.  You've probably dated a good portion of the ones we'd be handling."  Xander grinned.  "So, no long-term thing?"

"No, the only long-term one I had was the dog.  She's not exactly cuddly that way.  She won't sleep anywhere except beside my bed.  I do take setups though."

Kono smiled.  "I'll see if any of my friends are single."  Xander grinned at her.  Mack shouted and they all reached for guns, including Xander.  "Can you actually shoot?"

"Yes.  A lot."  He walked out there.  "Mack, is it the snake again or someone else?"

"It's your neighbor, Xander."

"Ma'am, I may be blind but I'm not *that* blind."  She huffed off.  He waved.  "Have a nice time on Oahu."  He went back inside.  "She's been sneaking over to stare at me thinking I wouldn't realize it.  She wears a ton of perfume though."

Kono smiled.  "Okay, that's something I never learned.  How do you aim?"

"Breathing sounds.  Smells."

"We trained him," Mack called.  "It was necessary."

"My teacher Rebecca's husband hated that each time he snuck in to see her I shot him in the foot."  Xander sat down.  "So, anyway.  What do you guys do?"

"Major crime rings," Steve said.

Xander nodded.  "Did I date one of those recently?  Gretchen, is what's his name on their list?"

"Probably.  He's on my shitlist, Xander."

He giggled.  "She hated him.  Called him a sumo wrester wannabe."

Danny smirked.  "Yeah, we know him.  You two still on good terms?"

"Sometimes.  Depends on how needy he is.  He thinks I'm selfish.  I thought he was a bit boring but sucked nicely."  He heard a bark.  "Outside," he said with a point.  They all ran out there to pee.  "Thank you."

Mack smiled at the puppies.  "If any of them don't work as service dogs I might want one, Xander."

"Sure.  If so we can work that out.  I won't even charge you."  He grinned.  "Seeing eye dogs are really expensive," he told the other officers.

"I've heard they are," Danny agreed.  Gretchen refilled drinks and they went outside to help with the grilling.  Well, Xander played with the puppies and did some more training but that was okay.


Mack looked at the officers once they had left Xander's, staring at them.  "One thing I didn't say inside.  Xander's past means he's prepared in case of anything huge going on.  Like the Martians land, he's there and you'll probably have to take the artillery from him."  They all stared at him.  "Between those that he's dated and those that owed him some money from an underground poker circuit, Xander's prepared in case of anything happening."

"So he's got real weapons?" Steve asked.

"Yeah and they're like his puppies.  He had one of them longer than he's been blind."

Steve nodded.  "We don't bust him for that?"

"No, because the kid's past goes back to a group that was protecting a town."

"Okay," Steve said.

"Also, Steve, he knows some Rangers.  He said my cousin Jim's the only decent one he knows.  He said the rest were torturing wimps.  They were torturing wimps.  The ones that Jim arrested he wanted to beat the asses of."  They all nodded.  "Third, Xander's got a really soft center.  He's got a really soft spot for those who need help.  I've caught him stopping muggers.  Last year he stopped someone who wanted to hit a kid.  He knocked that one out and nearly got arrested for that."  They all nodded at once.  Mack smiled.  "It's not something we can really stop and I'd rather he have them than a lot of others.  Mostly because if I need something I can bum it."

"That's good to know," Danny decided.  He put his hands in his pockets.  "We're being introduced because of that?"

"Because sometimes the kid forgets he's not exactly the warrior of the universe.  He wasn't the best before, he was self-trained.  He took some training time with a local dojo to help with his balance problems.  He's still a comic book geek too."  Kono grinned.  "He's a great guy.  He's a nice kid.  I love the kid like a strange cousin."

"I can see that.  Though I'd love a list of who he dated," Steve said.  "I've met others that collected weapons but never wanted to use them.  Paranoid types usually."

"Xander's not exactly paranoid but he's certain some spring something's going to happen.  Especially since there's still a secret society and a law firm who would love to kill him.  And a few Rangers that Jim wants to help me torture for their project's screw ups."

Steve blinked hard.  "What?"

Mack got the file he had built on Xander out of his car, handing it to him.  "The current threat index."

They read it over, Kono giving him a few funny looks.  Mack grinned at her.  "We're sure he's sane?" she asked.

Mack nodded.  "He is.  Most of the time.  Now and then he'll drive himself nuts."

Steve looked over the list of past dates that Mack had arrested then at his coworkers.  He looked at him.  "So it's a watch out for him, arrest his dates, make sure if people try to kill him he's helped?"

"Mostly," Mack agreed.  "The kid still hasn't made a lot of friends.  He could use a lot more friends.  Steve, he's a very much like you in some ways.  I have no idea why the kid is tougher than some military vets but he is.  Oh, and he adores kids.  He's sterile so he'll fuss over any kids that come near him."

"Sure," Danny agreed.  "Is he as annoying as Steve is?"

"Hey," Steve complained.

"Last year for his birthday I got the kid two pounds of chocolate.  He and his dog bounced around the park for *ten hours*."

"Where is his seeing eye dog?" Steve asked.  "We didn't see her."

"She got shot by one of the lawyers last month.  Fortunately the puppies were weaned."

They all stared.  "Lawyers?" Kono demanded.

"Evil lawyers.  They've actually tried to start the end of the world.  They've tried to take over LA a few times.  They consider the kid some sort of mystical sacrifice.  The ones in England *hate* the kid.  We've dealt with five different attempts from them.  One of them Xander nearly blew up the house to get rid of them.  They're like roaches.  There's ten in the islands right now.  All young and cocky.  I'm expecting another attempt on his life any week now."

"I drove them off earlier," Xander called from a window.  "The last one's still under the neighbor's house probably.  Not the stalking one, the other one."  He shut the window.  Then he opened it again.  "I'm not that complicated, strange, or hard to get to know but I don't get out much.  Most things you can't enjoy as much if you can't see it."  He shut the window again.

"Sure," Danny said, heading the way Mack pointed.  They got to the house and found the husband or someone out there with a light.  "Sir, let us look," he said.  He held up his badge.  "One of your neighbors just told us he drove off someone who tried to break in."

"Please, Officer."  He got out of the way.

Steve leaned down to look.  "Get your ass out here," he growled.  "Now."

"Five-O," Danny said.  "Or we're going to see if we can get one of Harris' puppies to bite you."  They got the guy out of the crawl space and handed him to Kono to arrest.  She had cuffs and they didn't.  He looked at the owner.  "If you hear more, call 911 and we'll get them for you, sir."

He smiled.  "I thought it was a stray pet.  Maybe one of the blind guy's dogs."

"No, they tried to attack him earlier," Mack said.

"They're really stupid because the guy's a bit weird," he said, going back inside.  "Have a good night, Officers."

"You as well, sir."  They walked him off.  Mack slammed the guy against the car, staring at him.  "You're in my city.  I've vowed to come to England to deal with you before.  Do I need to finish booking my flight?"  The man sneered.

Xander walked out and held up a small bottle.  The man whimpered and backed away.  "Don't you have bigger problems than pissing me off?" he asked quietly.  "Because I don't care if the whole Council goes up.  I'm pretty sure there's people who will step in to train the girls without you.  So go the fuck away.  You breaking the treaty you called last year means I get to act now."  The man tried to break free and run.  Xander walked off shaking his head.

"Xander, put that back please," Mack ordered.  "Before we have to make you hide for a bit."

"Yes, Mack.  Though, the last one in New York was fun.  I got teased like hell at the strip club."  He walked off.  "Inside, whichever puppy you are."

"Go in," Mack ordered.  They ran in.  "Good dogs."

Xander grinned back at them.  "You're good at training too."  He walked in and shut the door.  Then the door opened and someone ran out wailing.  "Have fun with him."  He shut the door again.

Mack walked over to put the dog back inside then walked back shaking his head.  He stared at the idiot.  "Council or lawyer?"

"What?" he demanded.

Mack glared.  "Are you from the Council, a lawyer, or a Ranger?"

"No!  Not at all!  I just wanted to rob him.  He's supposed to be wealthy!"

"He's a lawyer," Gretchen called.

"Okay," Mack said with a smile.  "Good to know."  They got him back to the office to arrest him too.  They were not happy even though it had been a good dinner.  The kid seemed pretty nice.  They'd keep him in mind and keep an eye on him.  Before he ended up on their caseload for real.


Xander sighed, looking at the guy that Mack had hired.  "Why do I get a bodyguard this time?"

"Three assholes who want to kill you in a horrible manner."

"I usually beat them."

"This time they're sure you're scary, Mr. Harris."

"First, I'm Xander."

"Sure," the guy agreed.  "There's also news that your parents have filed to have custody of you."

Xander raised an eyebrow.  "Huh.  Interesting."  He walked off calling someone.  "I had to hear from someone else that you talked to my family?"  He listened.  "So it was thrown out but.....  Oh, charming.  Restraining order?  Anything we can do in case they try to run me over or something?"  He sighed and nodded.  "Sure."  He hung up.  "Fuck."

"Exactly, which is why Detective Wolfe decided you needed someone with my skills."

Xander turned back to him.  "Ranger or SEAL?"

"Neither.  Marine."

"What does the word 'Initiative' mean to you?"

"Not a damn thing.  Should it?"

"There were a program that my friends helped end."

"Okay.  Sound like assholes."

Xander nodded.  "Where did he want me to hide?"

"Miami or New York.  Maybe Boston but they think it'll draw attention to your priest friend."

"Hmm.  We need to warn Philip.  Gretchen?"

"I say Miami this time, Xander.  There's a lot to do and beaches.  It's warm like it is here.  New York's in fall so it's cooler.  Besides that detective you saw last time was a bit mean.  Maybe you'll find someone nicer as a distraction this time."

"Maybe," he agreed.  "Okay.  Gretchen, make arrangements.  The puppies?"

"Mack said he'd be out to work with them for you," the new guy said.

Xander nodded.  "They love their uncle.  He spoils them rotten by dropping food."  Gretchen laughed.  "I'll call Aria to tell her we have to leave town suddenly so she can help him."  He patted around until he found the phone.  "Dial Aria."  It dialed.  "Hey, it's Xander.  Mack found another person that wants to own or kill me in that special way.  I know, it happens so often," he said dryly.  "Anyway, he's hired me another bodyguard and gave me the order to go hide.  Which means he's going to puppy sit and train for a bit.  That'd be great.  Thanks, Aria.  Yeah, with Gretchen.  Me lost in a new city isn't a great idea really.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "Okay, she'll show up to help him."  He headed for his bedroom.  "Laundry?"

"Already done and put up, Xander."

"Cool."  He used his cane to find his suitcases and put them on the bed, going to the closet.

"Why is it separated?"

"She and I worked out a garanamials sort of system.  The ones on the right all go together.  The ones on the left all go together.  The neutral ones are in the other closet.  That way I didn't have to keep asking her if something matched for dates."  He touched the hangers.  "Which bag is the blue one?"

"The one on the right, near the pillows."  Xander nodded, bringing them over to pack them.  Gretchen came in to shoo them off and do it for them.  The new bodyguard was amused.  Especially when one of the puppies pounced him.  "Hi, little fella.  Free to pet?"

"Yeah.  They're not in harness and not assigned yet."  Xander sat down on his dressing bench.  "Gretchen, apartment or hotel?"

"Corporate apartment that rents monthly and has all the furniture and things.  I did specify that you're blind so they're getting us one in a nicer building with a doorman and no stairs."

"That's cool."  His phone rang and he found it, frowning.  "Yes?"  He listened.  "That's a really bad thing.  Can we put it back?"  He smiled.  "You let me handle that then.  Yup, thanks."  He hung up.  "They tried to steal from me, Gretchen."

"I believe that's screwing with you by the terms of that wish," she said dryly.

"I believe so too."

A guy appeared and kissed him on the temple.  "It's all back, Xander.  Don't wish to go technodemon for a few days so you can search their files.  Plus we pulled the wish's boundaries to help too."

Xander grinned and kissed him.  "Thank you.  I love it when you're mean for me."

"Us too.  It gives us happies."  He disappeared again.

"He's in vengeance," Xander said with a grin.  He called his lawyer back.  "Is it back yet?"  He looked and said it was.  Xander grinned.  "No, I saw Tomas.  Thanks, man.  Let me know.  Also if my parents are being dicks again."  He listened.  "No, that's not nice and I got ordered to evacuate the island by Mack because of those sort.  When?"  He winced.  "I think I can do that.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "Get me something nicer to change into.  We apparently have to go beat the parents in person this afternoon.  The judge moved their stupid motion up."  Gretchen handed him something.  "Suit?"


"Fine."  He went into the bathroom to change and came out running a hand through his hair.  He picked up his cane where he had left it.  "C'mon.  You're driving.  They won't let me."

"Yes, Xander."  The bodyguard followed, finding a nice modest sports car in the garage.  "This is pretty."

Xander grinned.  "Thank you."  He got into the passenger's side and buckled up.  The bodyguard got in and drove them to the courthouse.  He ran into a familiar smelling person and paused.  Then he walked around her.

"Xander," Willow said.  "I know you didn't see me so I'm not upset you didn't say hi, Mister."

Xander blinked at her.  "Are you helping my parents?"

"They said...."

"Go home, Willow.  Now."  She huffed.  He walked off, his cane tapping.

"Security line is in front of you by about two dog lengths," the bodyguard said quietly.  "Who's that?"

"Very old friend I'm still pissed at.  Clearly she's here to cause more damage."

"Oh.  Okay.  Any chance she poisoned you or anything?"

"I'm immune to most of them."  He stopped when the hand on his arm tightened.  There were only a few people in line.  They got to the front quickly.  "Hi, guys.  Which way to the municipal courts?"

"Up the four stairs, take a right, go about fifty feet and you run into the secretary's office.  It smells like orchids because she just got some today," one of the guards said quietly.  "She can tell you which office you need to be in, sir.  Anything like a weapon?"

Xander patted himself down and nodded, handing them over.  "Because I found out earlier someone's trying to kill me."  He grinned.  "I didn't even date them."

"Good to know, sir.  We have it in a lock box up here for you.  Here's your key."  He put it into his hand and hand-wanded him.  "There you go.  Thank you, sir."

"Welcome."  They walked that way.  "Two flowers," he murmured.

"Right," the bodyguard said.  Xander nodded and smiled as he walked in.  He waited, watching the redhead watch them.  Xander came out and they walked off to find the auxiliary building.  He had no idea but she had given him good directions.  They found a sour looking couple that looked somewhat like his charge and Xander signed them in.  It wasn't a long wait but Xander pulled out an e-book system that read to him.  "That's really nice."

"Thank you.  It's modified but it's pretty handy."  He grinned.  "More and more things are going out in electronic formats."  He went back to 'reading' until they were called.  He slipped it into his pocket and got up, tapping ahead of himself.  The bailiff held the door.  "Thank you," he said quietly.

"To the left side please, sir.  Your lawyer?"

"Should be here.  Better be here."

"I'm here, Xander," he called, walking up to them.  "Traffic's a bitch because there's a major bust of a guy selling drugs out of his car."

"Go Steve and them."  He patted the seats and took the one farthest from the aisle.  It had clearance to walk around it on the other side.  He sat down and got comfortable.  They all stood when the judge walked in then sat back down.  His chair had shifted too much but he had felt her doing that.  He calmly sat down again.

"I see we're here over a conservatorship hearing?" the judge said.

"Not by my choice," Xander quipped.  "I have one that watches over my accounts for me and even if they did get me he'd still be employed."

The judge looked at him.  "When were you blinded, Mr. Harris?"

"Ten years and three months ago.  A few days but I'm rounding."

"That's fine."  He made notes.  "Since that time have you had a conservator?"

"Your Honor, I'm his legal protection holder," Xander's lawyer said.  "I watch out for his accounts, make sure everything's handled if he has medical problems, and hire people if he needs something done."

"So you do the conservator job but mainly just the monetary side?" the judge asked.

"Mostly, yes, sir.  Xander pays his own bills.  His housekeeper grocery shops for him, usually with him.  I'm mostly here because two groups have a death wish against my client and keep trying to steal his money and things.  They tried again this morning."

"All right.  He has a housekeeper?"

"Yes," Xander said.

"An apartment?"

"No, I bought a house about ten years ago," Xander said.  "I own another one in Boston for hurricane season.  I recently got that one instead of the one I had in Cascade because up there an eco terrorist wanted to date me and I refused so they bombed my house."


Xander grinned.  "That can describe a lot of my dates."

"How much help do you need with your daily care?" the judge asked.

"None.  Gretchen does laundry for me and hangs it up in the way that we decided to sort things.  I clean, dress, feed myself.  I play and train the puppies my seeing eye dog had before she was killed by some lawyers.  I'd mow the grass but she won't let me.  I can mildly cook uncomplicated things when she's got a day off."

"So you're not considering this a disability?"

"No, it's a disability but I've been handy in working around it.  I was never going to sit in a corner and suck my thumb going 'why me' like my former friends wanted me to do."

"That's good.  Are you working?"

"No.  I thought about retraining myself to do something officey and then nearly got killed by those same damn lawyers."


"They're mystical idiots who think I'd make a great sacrifice.  There's a secret society in England that's not affiliated who has the same idea.  It's been over ten years of dealing with them."

"I'm sure you've told someone in the local police department?"

"Yes.  As a matter of fact, one that's now retired was helping me when I first got out here.  My first helpers handed me to him because we were attacked in San Diego by the secret society."

"Wonderful."  He made more notes.  "Your parents' filings say that you don't leave your house?"

"There's not much I can really enjoy without the visual component.  Things like cook-outs and pig roasts I like to go eat at and listen to but it's more fun if you can see them.  I don't really like classical music.  Now and then we go listen to movies."  The judge nodded.  "Even amusement parks aren't really the same if you can't see what's causing the adrenaline rush.  Though I have went sky diving."  Mack had complained for six months about that since it had been one of his dates that had taken him.  The judge was staring, he could tell.  Xander grinned.

"The ones with you, Mr. Harris?"

"My legal friend and the bodyguard my retired detective friend hired because he caught a few people that want to kill me showing up on the islands.  He just showed up today."

"Good to know.  So your security's well in hand?"

"Yes.  Including the fact that I can shoot.  I'm actually a better shot now."

The judge hummed.  "That's good to know.  Your parents say that you're dependent on your housekeeper for daily care, including feeding?"

"She does fuss if I don't eat, but no.  The most personal Gretchen has to usually get is popping a zit for me.  If I'm sick she'll bring me soup in bed and things."

"They also said that you're being stolen from by your present conservator?"

"No, I believe that's a different source that tries that," Xander said dryly.  "Though, I do want to make something noted here, Your Honor.  I left their house at seventeen.  I am not going back.  Under any circumstances.  I'll blow them the fuck up first."  The judge gasped.  "I do not want or need two alcoholics anywhere near me.  I don't want to listen to them sneering because I'd have my accounts locked in such a way that they couldn't get to it.  Which is probably all they want.  There's also a very high death rate in their town.  That's why my friends sent me away when this happened to me."

"It's down to thirteen percent," Willow complained.

The judge looked at her.  "All of Hawaii's, including natural disasters, is only two, young lady.  That's extremely high.  That's even higher than Detroit's."

"It had been higher," Xander said.  "I managed to get over all of my former life, my heavy drinking parents who liked to scream and hit me, and all sorts of things to move on with my life.  I don't really feel like backsliding."

The judge nodded.  "I wouldn't either.  Therapist?"

"Friends.  One introduced me to a priest who knew about my former life and the town.  He's in Boston.  We're pretty good friends."

"Good.  That's helpful.  Are you Catholic?"

"No.  He's just a really good friend."

"Okay.  Any religion of choice?"

"Not my thing," Xander quipped.  "Actually, the last missionary at my door woke me up after two days of not sleeping due to the flu and I pulled a gun on her."  He sighed.  "I so got nagged by my housekeeper for that."

The judge laughed.  "I've had that same mood only mine was my child's colic."  He looked at him.  "Who buys your clothes?"

"I do.  I take Gretchen with me to make sure it matches in with my chosen color scheme.  You know those little kids' clothes where you match the animals on the tags and the outfit will match?  We have my closets sorted that way."

"That's not a bad idea."  He looked him over.  "Do you have any needs that aren't presently being met by your present circumstances?"

"I could use a new lover but dating's a bitch.  Most of them see the cane and flinch or walk off.  The last one I dated is nicely still writing letters to me from the jail.  She stole something from a museum."

"That happens at times."  The judge looked at the parents.  "Why do you think he'd be better with you?"

"We're his family," Xander's mother said.  "It's our job to take care of him.  If his friends hadn't sent him away we'd have taken him back in."

"To get my checks," Xander said dryly.  "By the way, I didn't have the money then."  He grinned.

"You would've been put on disability to make sure you were a productive member of the family," his father said.

The judge stared at them.  "I don't think he seems to have a problem.  What problems are you seeing that he's not?"

"It's not right that strangers do it for us," his mother said.  "We're blood."

Xander leaned over to look in that direction.  "Were we blood when I was seven?"  She gasped.  "I don't think your argument holds water, I really don't.  Beyond that, who paid for you to file this?  And who told you I had money?"

"I got worried and asked Willow what had happened to you," his mother said.

Xander sighed.  "Even if you got me, my money's in a trust.  My present lawyer is over my trust.  That means he'd pay my bills and give me an allowance, which he'd arrest you for taking.  Beyond that, if this was a way for the lawyers to get me, they've already failed.  Because I know you two couldn't afford a trip out here.  It's one of the greater reasons I stayed."

Xander's lawyer coughed.  "Sir, I did have someone I know, who is an illegal source admittedly, look up this case in their records.  They did pay them," he said, handing the bailiff some papers.

"I know that law firm."  He frowned as he read it over.  "Hacked?"

"Yes, sir.  I have one keep track of anything they do in relation to my client since they want to kill him so much."

"I had no idea about that," Willow said.  "I just want Xander to be happy and protected."

Xander snorted.  "Do you honestly think they'd protect me?"  He shifted around.  "Since the CPS workers didn't think they protected me as a child I doubt they'd do it now if I needed it, Your Honor."

"That set of records burned a few years ago," Xander's lawyer told him.

"I know.  I even know who did it."

The judge looked at him.  "You are quite ...determined."

"I'll destroy them if they so much as come near me," Xander said.  "I am not going back to that hellish house.  Even if I would move back to Sunnydale I'd never go back there.  I lived there for six years without going anywhere near them.  Perhaps they should've taken the hint."

"If those lawyers did prompt this, would they hurt them?" the bodyguard asked him.

"Possibly.  No clue.  They killed two that failed to kill me but they were their people."

"Then we'll make sure they go home safely," the judge said.  "And spread that knowledge to their town's department."

Willow snorted.  "No offense, but our local PD has no officers right now.  Their boss sacrificed them.  Literally."

The judge looked at her.  "What?"

"The wacky that is Sunnydale," Xander quipped.  "Did he manage that demon summoning he was trying?"

"No.  One of the fire department killed him and it didn't work because he wasn't the original caster he said."

"Huh."  Xander relaxed again.

The judge shook his head.  "That town is in serious trouble.  I'll let others know."  He looked at them.  "Mr. Harris, what are your immediate plans?"

"I'm told some of the secret society sort are here and I was warned to get off the islands for a bit.  So I'm going to a nice, warm city on the mainland."  He grinned.  "My housekeeper picked which one so she could get some sightseeing in."

"Would you consent to meet with them in a less hostile environment?"


"All right."  He made a few more notes.  "I see no reason why Mr. Harris really needs a conservator at all.  I know it's so someone has hold over your money in case they try to hack it again.  I don't think he needs a physical helper really.  I would encourage him to go home and talk to them.  It may make him less bitter.  I am ordering that they talk before they leave the island."

"I'm leaving later tonight," Xander said.  "My death threat comes above them being used.  Beyond that, I've said everything I need to say to them.  And I'm not bitter.  I'm still a bit angry at some people.  My parents I don't feel a thing for."

The judge stared at him.  "Surely you can go to dinner before you leave?"

"Your Honor, his plane leaves in three hours," the bodyguard said.

"Oh."  He considered it.  "Could they come where you are?  That might protect them."

"If they want to move, they both have checks," Xander said.  "I'm not supporting their drunken lives.  I only support my own chocolate habit, no one else's."

"I can understand that feeling."  The judge tapped his pen a few times.  "Still, it might do you good to talk to them."

"About what?" Xander asked dryly.  "There's nothing they can say I want to hear.  The only reason they'd want to talk to me is to try to get money from me and I'm not paying them anything.  Then again, I'm also not going to be in public for the death threat to happen there.  Innocents might get hurt."

"True.  What about the airport?"

"We're helicoptering to another one probably.  That's how I usually do it," Xander admitted.  "We pick a different one each time."

"That's very security conscious of you."  Xander nodded.  "All right.  Though I am going to order that if his parents want custody they can write letters or call."

"I'm sure they'll love learning braille to write me," Xander quipped.  He stood up.  "Thank you."

"You're welcome, Mr. Harris."  They left together.   He sighed.  His masters were going to be pissed off but there was no way that boy wouldn't win on appeal.  They'd have to find another way.


Xander paused them from going near the car.  "I smell cordite."  The bodyguard moved to check the car.  He called someone to come handle the bomb.  Xander sighed and called someone.  "It's me.  Someone just put a bomb on my car at the courthouse.  We have but I got warned that they're back again.  No, my parents tried shit, Danny.  Thanks.  No clue.  Yup, going soon.  By the way, Mack does know how to get into my emergency supplies if you need them.  Okay?"  He grinned.  "Somewhere warm.  Gretchen picked it."  He hung up and leaned on his lawyer's arm.  "So," he said.

"We can get you to the helipad."  He called someone to come pick them up.

Xander got into the car when it came, calling Gretchen.  "Are you good?"  He listened.  "Bottles.  Don't forget them."  The car drove off and Xander pulled a gun.  "Let's go home."  The driver spluttered.  "Really."

"Sir, I'm not part of them."

"Uh-huh.  That's why you smell like one of them?"

"I...  Um, I'm Council."

"An even better reason.  Home."  He drove them that way.  Xander looked at his bodyguard, who was staring in horror.  "Yeah.  It's one of those days."  They pulled up and Xander got out, going inside.  He walked over Mack's unconscious, snoring body.  "If you hurt my dogs I'm going to kill you all."

"Good, you're here," the one holding Gretchen hostage sneered.

Xander nodded and shot him.  "Yes, I am."  He screamed.  Xander turned and held a gun on another one.  "Identify yourself."

"Calm down," Steve said.  "It's me, Xander."

"They were holding Gretchen hostage and you're not Steve.  His voice sounds different and you smell wrong.  Blind people do have other senses we tell by.  Especially with the hyena taint."  The demon changed back and rushed at him.  Xander killed it and he felt it change forms.  "Gretchen, where is it?"

"Here," she said, taking off the illusion choker.  She got him the two bags and the carry on with the bottles.  "Go, Xander.  I'll clean this up."

He stared at her.  "No!"  She gave him a shove because there were sirens.  "C'mon."

"No!  Go."  He huffed but left.  She calmed herself down.  Officers rushed in.  "They were holding me hostage.  My boss showed up to help me but there's a death threat so he's leaving the island."

"Ma'am, the system said the owner's blind," one officer said.  She nodded.  "How did he shoot someone?"

"He was a hunter before he got blinded."  She got some water and sat down at the table.  "This isn't the first threat on his life either."  She sipped the water.  "By the way, the snoring one is a retired detective that Xander worked with on his other death threats.  They clubbed him on the head."

They got an ambulance for him and the coroner for the other two.  One of the officers fought the programming but he did eventually draw his gun and point it at her.  "You're in their way."

"What the hell are you doing?" one of the other officers shouted.

"Harris has to die!"

"Melusia, attack," Gretchen ordered.  The hell hound that hung around and was the puppies' daddy showed up to eat him.  She sighed and sipped the water.  They all stared at her.  "The father of his guide dog's puppies.  They're in the bedroom.  Can you let them into the backyard?"  They nodded, letting one do that. Gretchen was rubbing her forehead.  "I need to catch up to him."

"It'll be a few days, ma'am," one of the officers said.  "Airport's closed right now due to an attempted stabbing."

She sighed but nodded.  "That's why we had him fly out on a helicopter."  The officer talking to her smiled.  "By now he's gone."

"That's good to know."  Their shift commander showed up.  One of the ones outside had called him.  "Sir."

"Boys.  Ladies."  He nodded at the two female officers.  "What happened to Wolfe?"

"Knocked out by the person who had me hostage to try to get my boss," Gretchen said, sipping her water.  "I have no idea which death threat they're from."

The shift commander nodded.  "Makes sense to me."  He looked at his officers.  "What did he do?"

"Pulled a gun and said that the homeowner had to die.  Some sort of dog appeared and attacked him."

The shift commander frowned.  "Are you high?"  The dog reappeared, staring at him.  "Oh, one of those."  Gretchen smiled.  "This is Harris' house."  She nodded, finishing her water.  "Him?"




"Good!"  The officers in the house pulled weapons and he got injured but got most of them.  Gretchen got wounded as well.  More officers showed up thanks to the ones outside trying to step in and not being able to tell who was the bad guy.  "Dog, get her to a healer," he ordered.  The dog grabbed her and took her.  He knew no demon would get fair treatment at any local hospital.  He was holding his wound and leaning against a wall when backup showed up.  "They pulled guns," he told them.

Steve McGarret nodded.  "Makes them dirty then."  His team waded in to clean up the injured officers.  Internal Affairs showed up to question and one pulled a gun on Danny but got it back from Steve.  They backed down and it was better.  "His housekeeper?"

"Healer," the shift commander said.  "I came in the second wave and they turned on me."

Danny nodded.  "Okay.  Any idea if they're Council or from the law firm?"

"Law firm," one of the paramedics said.  "This one has a law firm ID."  He handed over the wallet he had been searching for medical information.

"Wolfram and Hart," Steve agreed.  "Anyone not with them?"  The one the dog had attacked turned out to have a tie back to the Council they'd find later.  Steve called Xander's phone to give him the head's up.

No one wanted to see Xander have to protect himself.  Especially not in a city that wasn't used to him.


Xander walked into the local Council for the Blind office in Miami.  "Hi."

"Good morning, sir.  Did you have an appointment?"

"No, I wanted to know if you had information on the town. I'm in on a long vacation and my housekeeper is presently on medical leave.  I had a bodyguard but he decided to abandon me because I flirted with a guy of all things."  She giggled.  He grinned.  "So I need some help learning the town."

"Do you have a dog?"

"No, some lawyers shot her recently."  He sighed.  "I'm really not happy with them."

"I can see why."  She got him some information.  "Can you read braille?"

"Yes, in three languages."  He grinned.

"Wonderful.  Here is the bus system's information."  She handed it to him so he could feel it and tell it apart from the others.  "This is on the taxi services."  He nodded.  "This is on our services here.  Also I can see if there's someone who can do guide duty for a few days."

"That would be helpful.  Thank you."  He grinned.

"You're welcome."  She paged someone.  She came out.  "This is...."

"Xander Harris," he said, holding out a hand.

"Welcome to Miami, Mr. Harris."  She led him back to her office.  "Why are you in town?"

"The two constant death threats on me decided to team up and try again.  My housekeeper got injured so she's on medical leave.  I had a bodyguard but apparently me flirting with a guy made him huff off."

"All right."  She smiled.  "Are you laying low?"

"Mostly.  I don't think there's much chance of them finding me here unless there's a trial going on in town.  I haven't heard that they have an office in town.  I checked but I haven't seen them attached to any cases either."

"That's fine.  Have you talked to the local PD?"

"I'm going to let the detectives I work with out there tell them.  I'm going there after here to hand them my phone."

"That's good."  She smiled.  "I can get you a native guide to help you learn the area a bit for a few days."

"Thank you.  How much is their rate?"

"We don't usually charge."

Xander held up a hand.  "I have some money so I don't usually fall under the free guidelines."

She smiled.  "We don't have one.  It's strictly volunteer.  You can even help train a few new ones."  Xander grinned and nodded.  "Good.  I'll arrange for one to show up tomorrow?"

"That's fine."  Xander handed over the card he had gotten from the doorman.  "I'm there."

"That's not the best area."

"It's one of those corporate apartments."

"That makes sense.  I'll send one over."  Xander shook her hand and gathered his things to leave.  She watched.  "He's a nice guy.  I wonder why they're trying to kill him."


Xander dialed someone.  "Don't tell me you're in a car chase," he said dryly.  He rolled his eyes.  "Well, yeah, I was going to let you talk detective-to-detective about it happening down here.  If this is a bad time I can call back.  Sure, I can call him.  Do I have his number?"  He got it read to him and recited it back.  "Thanks."  He hung up and dialed that one.  "Chin, Xander Harris.  That's why I'm calling.  I'm in Miami.  I'm going to hand the phone to a detective so you guys can talk about all that.  No, he fled. I was flirting with a cute male attendant."  He grinned.  "Thanks.  Hold on."  He walked into the police department.  "Hi, I have two death threats on me so I'm hiding here.  I have a detective handling it on the phone to talk to one of yours."  He grinned.

She paged someone.  "Let me get a detective, sir."

One came out.  "What's wrong?"

Xander held out the phone.  "One of the detectives who helped stop the double death threat on me the other day at my house in Hawaii."

The detective walked him off, taking the phone to talk to him.  "This is Detective Tripp."  He listened.  "So....  Hiding is good, yeah."  He looked at the younger guy.  "Sir, do you have any helpers with you?"

"No.  I might be hiring a new bodyguard type but no."

"Okay, we'll look into that."  He sat the guy at his desk and walked off talking to the other detective.  "Let me get you on with another one as well.  He's with the crime lab and he knows more about that sort of thing than I do."  He found Horatio and waved him over, putting the guy on speaker.  "Okay, Detective Kelly.  I'm on with the head of our crime lab."

"That's wonderful.  I hope they have more fun than we did with Xander's house here.  Both death threats decided to work together.  His housekeeper got shot in the arm and a graze on the side.  He had a bodyguard sort but I guess Wolfe forgot to tell them he's bi."

"He's blind," Tripp told Horatio quietly.

"Why are there death threats?"

"I'm not absolutely sure.  I know one's because he was born somewhere particular.  They're lawyers.  We hear they keep trying to take over LA and then the world.  There's a sort-of secret society from England that hates him for helping their people before he was blind.  They're a bit too well known in certain circles to be truly secret now."

"The Council?" Horatio Caine asked.

"Yes.  Them.  They somehow brainwashed an officer yesterday into shooting his fellow officers when they showed up to help Mr. Harris' housekeeper."  Both detectives groaned.  "The others that decided to shoot the officers the law firm had paid off.  Internal Affairs is not very happy with their stack of paperwork.  They can't even have evil glee over the dirty officers there's so many."

"That's bad," Tripp decided.  "How can we help the kid?"

"Right now, I hope he's laying low."

"Us too," Caine agreed.

"They got him an apartment out there to hide in.  He's got a house in Boston but my task force's boss wanted him somewhere they wouldn't think to find him.  He and Wolfe talked about it yesterday.  Steve, you're back.  That bodyguard left Xander for flirting.  That means he's down there alone."

"I'll kill him later," a male voice growled.  "Right after I find the kid a new one."

"Until then, is there anything we can do to help beyond being aware?" Tripp asked.

"Do not let the boy date," Steve said, taking the phone.  "He dates arms dealers and things.  They're all highly protective of him.  We *love* that three of them earlier got into a fight about who was going to take out the law firm for Xander."

"Oh, dear," Horatio sighed.

"Oh, yes.  I like the kid.  I barely know him but I already like the kid.  He's a nice, goofy guy who somehow learned to shoot like a commando even without being able to see."

"Don't forget, part of yesterday's thing was the law firm bribing his parents to try to get custody of him," another male voice said.  "And one of his female friends is still in town."

"I'll handle her later," a female voice said.  "Is Xander all right?"

"So far.  We've got Miami-Dade PD on the phone," Detective Kelly said.

"Good!"  She clearly took the phone.  "Xander is a nice, sweet guy with bad taste that leans toward dangerous.  Last week he stopped a kidnaping while out for ice cream.  He literally kicked the guy around until the kid told him they were probably real sorry now so he'd stop.  Even the officer felt sorry for the guy he kicked around."

"That's good to know," Horatio agreed.  "We'll help him if we can."

"Please.  His lawyer out here, the one over his trust, had a suspicious car accident and is in the hospital but not critical.  We had to set an officer on him because someone tried to take him out in the ER."

"We'll help him however we can."

"I'll be getting him another bodyguard as soon as I can," Steve said.  "Today if possible."

"That will help as well," Horatio agreed.  "We'll talk to him and make sure he gets home safely today."

"He had information from the Council for the Blind," Tripp said.

"That's a good place for him to start so he's not totally lost and vulnerable in Miami,"  Steve said.  "I have no idea if Xander brought any weapons with him.  Also, tell him Wolfe's fine, he and Aria have the puppies and they're all fine.  Though the father of the puppies is a bit weird."

"I can do that."  Tripp rattled off his desk number.  "That's mine and it's always forwarded."

"Okay, got it," Steve said.  "Have a better day, guys.  I think we have another one that used to date Xander in town."  He hung up.  "I just saw Otis walk past the doorway.  Did the kid date him?"  Kono looked at the list Mack Wolfe had kept and nodded.  "Let's go talk to him.  Even if we don't currently have a warrant I want him to lay low for now.  Then I'll go chat with Rosenburg."

"No, that's my fun.  You can back me up," Kono said.  She grabbed some extra cuffs to take with her.


"Not the nicest of neighborhoods," Detective Tripp said, looking around the outside of the building.

"It's one of those corporate jobs.  I guess they figured I didn't need the nice views."  He grinned and they walked inside.  "Hey, Oscar."

"Mr. Harris."  He nods at his guest.  "No mail or anything for you today."

"That's probably a good thing."  He smiled.  "This is Detective Tripp.  The ones I know on Oahu are working with him about the reason I'm hiding in your pretty city."

"Good to know, sir."  He shook his hand.  "Mr. Harris is on the fourth floor.  Apartment on the right.  The one on the left is filled with lawyers from New York in on that case in the papers."

"Good to know.  Thank you."  He took Xander up there.  He handled things well enough on his own.  "The lawyers?"

"New York lawyers," Xander said.  "Not them as far as I can tell."

"That's good."  He checked the kid's apartment and watched him settle in.  "That one said he'd be getting a new bodyguard for you later today if possible."

"That's good.  I've arranged for a guide to help me get to the grocery store and a few other places tomorrow and the next day."

"That'll work.  If there's a problem...."  He took the kid's phone.  "That's my number.  I'm storing it in the phone book and here's the audio for you to push."

Xander did and said his name then set it.  He listened and nodded.  "Thank you, Detective.  I hope I don't make too much work for you."

"I doubt you will, kid.  Even if they show up, it can't be worse than a gang shoot out."

"We hope.  Don't jinx me please."

"I won't.  Need anything special?"


Detective Tripp laughed.  "Have the doorman order it for you so the don't associate  you."  Xander nodded.  "Good boy.  Call me if you need me."  He left.  He went to talk to Horatio about what they could do to make it as easy as possible for the guy.


Steve hung up with a contact.  "It wasn't the flirting thing.  It was someone killing him in the airport."  The others moaned and shook their heads.  "I'm going to end that law firm."

"Might be too late.  I'm hearing news from LA that there's something huge going on."  Chin put it onto the screen so they could see the news feed.

"That looks bad," Danny said.  He called Xander.  "Stay put.  There's something huge going on in LA."  He listened.  "They did what?" he demanded.  "No, fuck them!  You don't need to help.  Yes but you never practiced in a battle situation so stay.  We'll send Steve to help if we have to.  He was a SEAL and Wolfe said Jim's down near there so he's probably jumped in too.  Just protect yourself."  He hung up.  "The kid said the lawyers did cause it.  He heard they opened the portal that did that."

"They're so dead," Steve said.  "That's something for military people."  He got into his email and called a number he had stored in a hidden one.  "It's McGarrett.  Turn on the tv to LA.  Yes, literally right now.  Oh, I don't know.  An invasion a good enough reason?"  The guy did that and started to swear.  "The guy that hears things said that the law firm Wolfram and Hart started that.  No, he listens about them because they keep trying to kill him."  He grinned.  "If you can find a way to get me there, I can go borrow things in about a half-hour.  Someone get Wolfe to meet me at Xander's."  He hung up and left.  The others didn't have his training so they couldn't really help this time.  Wolfe had the storage area open and let him into it.  "Did you see LA?"

"From Jim's phone.  Blair was having a freak out.  Where's the kid?"


"Good."  Wolfe opened a box.  "He has someone do it for him."

"It's handy," Steve decided.  The boxes were about wallet sized.  He could handle that.  He grabbed a bag and loaded most of them into it, then called his buddy back, reading his GPS coordinates to him.  He went outside and was beamed off.  "Star Trek, yay," he said, opening something and using it on the rushing demons.

Buffy looked at him.  "Gee, you're like the seeing Xander."

"I'm a SEAL and I like Xander," he told her.  She backed down.  "Clearly you never appreciated him."  He fired off something else and got handed a headpiece from one of the military guys.  "I'm retired Commander McGarrett.  I borrowed off a friend who knows an arms dealer."  He fired off another one.  "I can advance on that target.  Do we have a method of shutting it down?"

"Blow it up really hard," Buffy called, killing another one.  "Please blow it up really hard."

He repeated that and they moved forward.  She followed him to guard him.  Which was nice of her.  More military people were showing up in the same Star Trek way he had and they dove into the battle too.  He appreciated that a lot.  He was closer to the building when the damn thing went up.  He felt the warmth go over him and looked around, calling for a radiation reading.  He winced when he heard a higher up shouting 'what the fuck was that' out loud and over the radio.  "No clue, sir."  He killed a few more of the demons.  "I'm damn glad all the ones in Hawaii are peaceful."

Buffy panted, looking at him.  "Can I vacation there?"

"The Council's there," he said dryly.

She paused.  "How did you know?"

"I know Xander and I cleaned up the last mess he had to create thanks to them, Miss Summers.  Plus I got the files associated with his dossier.  I *was* in Intelligence."  She shrank back.  More soldiers appeared and moved to clean things up.  Someone was stomping their way.  "Sir," he said with a salute.

"You're McGarrett?"

"Yes, sir.  I'm presently working in Hawaii with the State Police."

"That's fine.  Thank you."  He shook his hand.  "How did you hear?"

"One of my people saw the news feed starting and I've learned a bit from a resident I know about some of these things."

"The same one that knows the arms dealers?"

"Figures," Buffy muttered.

The general looked at her.  "Go do your nails or something, miss.  Please."  He looked at the retired soldier again.

"It's actually her duty to do all this."

"Wonderful.  Not anymore."  He smirked.  "The president is having a swearing fit like a two-year-old who can't eat candy in the middle of a candy factory giveaway."

"Then can you do whatever thing you did to get me here so I can go hide?"

"Definitely.  The weapons?"

"As far as I'm concerned, him having them means no one tries anything like this on any of my islands.  Because I can borrow whenever I need to."  He smiled.  "My team as well."

"Good.  That one?"

"Hiding from the same ones who started this and the ones over Miss Summers there.  They're Brits."

"The president's going to love that even more."  He walked off.  "We'll get you home in a few, Commander."

"Yes, sir.  Thank you."  He called.  "I'm fine.  When I get back, we're going for beers and I'm going to hide."  He hung up and walked off.  He saw the guy he knew and had called.  "Who did the bomb?"

"No idea who did it or what they used.  It wasn't nuclear."

Steve looked at his phone and called someone.  "Xander, did you have anything to do with the bomb?"  He heard Buffy choking.  "That's cool, yeah.  No, go back to hiding.  Please.  I'll talk to you tomorrow."  He hung up.  "A buddy of his let him buy it off him to use."  The other soldier smiled back.  "Then he had the hellhound puppy that knocked up his seeing eye dog deliver it."  He walked off.

"Okay, Hawaii's weirder than my job," he decided, heading in the other direction.  There was a general still swearing at the top of his lungs and he wanted to be *far* away from that before he got assigned to the clean up duty.  He got McGarrett sent back to wherever he had been and decided he wanted a beer because the President had been beamed out and was swearing at everyone too.  Especially one tiny blonde girl.

"Screw yourself!  I only heard about it last night and I did call others to get some help!  It's not like *I* get backup like *I'm* the military!   If you want someone else to do it, Faith and I will gladly retire to shop some more."  She stomped off.  "Pick up your own damn weapons."

"Language," Willow complained as she appeared.  "I couldn't get here.  There was some sort of field."  She hugged Buffy.  "Are you all right?"  Buffy sniffed but nodded, pouting as she walked off.  She glared at the higher ups.  "It's not her fault no one listens when we say there's going to be a demon invasion.  Next time don't laugh at us."  She huffed and walked off.  Behind her, the screaming generals and the president turned into hamsters.

"Hold it!" someone shouted.  "Right now!"  He grabbed her and slammed her into the ground.  "It's treason to change the president or a general into gerbils or something."

"I did not!"

"Bullshit!"  He hauled her up and pointed.  "Don't they look like it?"

"It wasn't me!  There's at least sixty other people in this city that do magic who could've done it."  She huffed and undid it.  "There, better?  Now get me out of these damn cuffs before I destroy you!  I do not deserve this!"  He laughed.  He turned into a miniature pony.  Buffy broke the handcuffs and walked her off.

"Change him back," someone shouted.

"When I calm down!  I can't think right now!"

"How did she do that!" someone demanded.

"Magic," Buffy said with a smirk.  "Willow, maybe you should try to change him back.  Before they pull an Initiative and arrest you for testing?"

Willow glared at her then changed him back.  "Poopy head."  She and Buffy finished stomping off into the sunset.

The president looked at the general next to him.  "Just think, they're the protectors of humanity."

The general shook his head.  "Not anymore.  We have a military for this shit, sir.  It can't be any weirder than my present job."  He walked off too, gathering his people.  "I want the names of the people who started this within an hour," he shouted.  "I have a firing squad waiting."

Blair bounced over to him, a bundle of jingling, wired tight nerves.  "According to someone I know it was partially this law firm we just blew up and partially a group of higher ups.  He's not totally certain who all of them were though.  He did say that Miss Summers' associate Angel knew them because he went undercover to find out as far as he had heard."

"How did he hear?"

"He plays poker with some of the non-harmful community.  That way he keeps track of them since they want to kill him."

"Is he here?"

"Miami hiding from them," he said, glancing around then looking at him.  "He's blind and they've been trying to kill him now for over ten years.  Them and that Council out of England that's over Miss Summers."

"Great.  Thank you and him."  Blair nodded and went to check on Jim again.  He went to tell the president that, getting a nod.

"I know about the Council sorts.  I know about Miss Summers. I know nothing about this law firm."

"According to some burning letterhead floating around in the blast zone, it's called Wolfram and Hart," a major said.  "One of the strange looking beings that was helping defeat the other strange looking beings said something about a Black Thorn, sir."  He saluted and walked off to check on his people.

The general smiled.  "That gives us three names.  Let me get my people on that since they're better hackers than anyone else in the government's employment."  Something tugged on his pantsleg so he looked down, taking the file the tiny little green thing that looked like a gremlin from the old _Bugs Bunny_ cartoons was holding up.  "On this idiocy?"

"Yes, general."  He smiled.  "The Knight said to hand that to whoever was screaming the loudest but that one I'm scared of because rumors say he could blow us all up."  He disappeared with a muted popping noise.

"McKay, you're scaring off information sources.  Vent later!" he yelled.  He looked at the folder.  "Huh. Black Thorn."  The president took it to read over.  The loud, venting one stomped over.  "Find these people.  Today."

He looked at the list of names and called someone on base to start for him.  "I don't have a computer with me.  Miko's starting on it though."  He looked around.  "That was a very compact bomb."

"Some guy bought it off someone," the general said.  "The commander that alerted my colonel said he got it off someone."

"Wonderful," Rodney sneered.  "We'll have to find them too."

Jim walked over and saluted.  "General, Jim Ellison."

"I heard about your rescue, Ellison.  Why are you down here?  Are you native?"

"No, sir, Cascade, Washington.  We were working on stopping this law firm for good after they blew up a few houses to try to get a young man I know and myself."

"Why?" the president asked.

"They've hated him for years.  Keep trying to kill him."

"McGarrett said that the guy he knew with the weapons contact kept them because this law firm kept trying to kill him," a colonel said.

Jim smirked.  "That would be Xander.  Between these yahoos and the Council, the boy's never safe."

"He dates arms dealers," Blair agreed.

The general stared at them.  "Why was he not here?"

"He's blind and they tried to attack him yesterday so he left the area for his own safety.  He's usually found in Hawaii."

"He's in Miami," Blair mouthed.  "We don't know if one of them is around here.  I know someone Council is."  He pointed.  "I'm told he got fired."

"Then maybe he can explain some more to us," the general said.  "Fetch, Colonel."

"Bark, bark," he quipped, going to get that young man and walk him back.  "The general and the president have some questions."  The man pointed at his throat.  Blair handed over some paper and a pen, getting a smile.  "The bouncy one there says you're part of a group that keeps trying to kill the guy who got us the bomb?"  Wesley wrote that answer out.

The president stared at him.  "We'll figure it out.  Whoever did this is going to die.  Even if I have to shoot them myself."  The group walked off talking.  He did ask about the young man as well.  The detective wasn't very open about him but he understood why.  Personally, he agreed with the commander that said he could protect himself.  Though he did put out a call so they could ask him what he had heard about all this.


Xander walked into the police station with a sigh.  "Is Detective Tripp in?"  The receptionist got him and he sounded less happy to hear from him.  "That's why I told someone.  They wanted to ask me what I heard and when?"

"They do."  He walked him to an interrogation room and called the agents who wanted to know.   A general showed up with two senior Secret Service agents and another person.

Xander sniffed.  "Willow, go the fuck away.  I'm really not in the mood for it since I killed Wesley's father earlier when he broke in.  Apparently someone let him out of jail when we wounded him way back when."  She gasped and backed out.  Tripp shut the door.  "Thank you.  She's fairly upsetting to me most of the time.  Thinks I'm helpless too."  He turned his head to focus on the area he heard breathing.  "You're...."

"Hutchinson, Peters, Secret Service, sir," one said.  "You're Alexander Harris?"

"I am."

"What is your part in all that mess out in LA?"

"I warned someone.  I was also working to get better weapons to the people I knew were there the night before.  I only heard the night before.  Someone let it slip that they couldn't pay me the money they owed me because the demons were going to take over the next day.  Though, most of the weapons I had sent out were ignored."

"We found them," Peters said.  "That's a good selection."  Xander grinned.  "How did we get them?"

"I asked some poker contacts, some former dates, a whole bunch of people.  I make some odd connections now and then.  I have for years now."

"How do you know the group of people you sent weapons to?" the other agent asked.

"I used to work beside them until I lost my sight.  Then they decided I was helpless.  Though it has meant I met some very nice people over the last ten years.  Including Detectives McGarrett and Ellison."

"Interesting," Peters said.  "McGarrett raided your stash."

"I figured he did.  He knows he's more than welcome to it if something huge is going on.  I'd expect him to run in, grab something, use it, then come back and nag about things."  He smiled.  "Or send Danny to nag."

"You're familiar with their unit?"

"Detective Mack Wolfe was the one that I was handed to when I got moved to Hawaii for my own safety.  He introduced us in the last year."

"That's good," Peters decided.  "They watch over this death threat you have?"

"Yes, both of them.  They also like to pick on some of the people I've dated that aren't real nice.  For some reason I draw not real nice people."  He shrugged.

"Good to know," Tripp said.  "Is that how you made all those connections?"

"The mostly harmless and fully harmless demon community has a kitten poker circuit.  Including at one bar on another island out where I live.  I played back in Sunnydale and I still manage a game every now and then."

"That's reasonable," Hutchinson agreed.  "It probably keeps you in the loop if those that want to kill you are making new plans."  Xander smiled and nodded.  "Does that unit know that?"

"Yes.  Detective Wolfe told them.  When someone tried the other day they helped clean up the mess."

"Even better.  We have his file on you, Mr. Harris."

"How right is it?"

"I'm hoping it's totally wrong and blown everything out of proportion."

Xander shrugged.  "Not like I've read it, guys."

"It says you blew up a high school?"

"With the ninety foot demon snake inside it.  Yes."

"Why was there such a large demon?" Tripp asked.

"Our mayor turned into one.  He had worked for about a century to do it.  He's the reason that Sunnydale had such a high death rate.  He was working with the harmful demons to get his change.  Since it's his minions now in charge nothing much has changed."

Peters licked his lips.  "Sunnydale's a whole other topic."

"I haven't been back since the day they moved me to San Diego while sedated."

"I don't blame you for that, sir."  He looked at his partner.  "Who is Angel?"

"Dark haired vampire cursed with a soul?  Champion for the Powers That Be?  Those who're over the slayers," he said at the cleared throat.

"I think I saw him but he's disappeared."

"Ask his son Connor.  Or Buffy.  She used to date him."

"Eww," Tripp complained.

"Yeah, I didn't think he was good for her either, and gee, I was right."  The agents coughed to not laugh.  "What can I help you guys with to clear up things?  We don't want the peaceful demons being attacked.  There's been a lot of those since it happened."

"I understand why and the president's making a speech today about them being peaceful."  Xander nodded.  "The Council?"

"The Watchers Council?"

"Yes," Peters said.  "What do you know about them?"

"Have McGarrett get into my safe.  Wolfe knows the combination if Gretchen isn't there. I have a very thick information file written in a few languages on them and the law firm for hell."

"Law firm for hell?" Tripp asked.

"Yeah, if a higher demon gets caught they defend them and kill judges, warp juries, whatever to get them off.  The law firm's upper reaches have tried to take over LA a few times.  This time it was only partially them."

"Phone?" Tripp asked.  Xander handed his over.  It took him three tries to get it to come on.  "McGarrett," he said, finding it in the phone book.  He hit send and the agents took the phone to talk to him.  Tripp patted the boy on the head.  "I'm glad you're mostly normal."

Xander grinned.  "I had to fight that stereotype for years.  This time that's not so bad."  The agents came back.  "Everything okay out there?"

"Your housekeeper is back and fine.  He's out there looking over your weapons anyway.  He asked her and she got the files for him.  He said only a little bit's in english."

"A lot of demons use their native language.  Like most immigrants, it's the second generation that usually learns the native language."

"I can understand that."  Tripp patted him again.  "Which boyfriend gave you the bomb?"

"Former girlfriend actually and she's in London today."

"Good to know," Hutchinson said.  "Is she an arms dealer?"

"Designer.  It was a tester model.  Or so she told me."

"Good!"  Tripp patted him again.  They heard a growl and looked.  "What is that?"

"Melusia.  He knocked up my seeing-eye dog.  C'mere," he said, patting his lap.  He came over to put his head on Xander's knee and be petted.  "You were very helpful yesterday.  I'm very proud of you for it.  You're a good hellhound."  The dog barked and sat beside him, letting himself be petted.  "He kinda adopted me a little bit when I found him after he got hit by a car."  He petted the step-dog he had.

Tripp nodded.  "Aren't seeing-eye dogs sterilized?"

"Hellhounds are super fertile and she had her tubes tied, not the full removal," Xander said quietly.  "So I have nine puppies I'm working on the  training of.  I still miss my girl.  The lawyers shot her.  They missed me totally, or at least I hope they were aiming at me.  Otherwise I'm going to fuck them up more than usual."

"You do realize you're blind, right?" Hutchinson said delicately, for an agent.

"Yeah, I had noticed that," Xander said sarcastically.  "It's never stopped me from kicking ass before.  I'm actually better now than I was before because I got some training.  The docs even fixed my inner ear problem that kept making me trip.  I have a lot better situational awareness now and it helps me figure out where targets are."

"Hold on, you said you got someone earlier," Tripp said.  "I didn't get called."

"No, but I did see someone from the lab, who was clearly thinking I needed a mommy."

"Male, female?"

"Male.  Youngish.  Smelled like a slut with how many sweat scents were on him.  Because they weren't all his unless he's wearing gardenia perfume."

"Delko," Tripp muttered.  "I'll talk to him in a few."

"He's probably arguing with Willow.  Someone is."

Tripp opened the door and looked out there.  "Horatio, your idiot boy had to answer a  body call for this kid?"

"I was not aware of that.  Which one?"

"Said he smelled like multiple sweat samples, one of them gardenias."

"Eric?" he called.  He came jogging up the hall.  "You had a body call at this young man's house?"

"I'm nearly thirty-four," Xander called.  "And I don't need a daddy.  Please quit treating me like I'm twelve."

Tripp snorted, shaking his head.  "You don't look your age, kid, and I'm nearly fifty so old enough to have diapered you."

"Anything's better than mine was," Xander quipped and waved a hand in the air.

"Xander, you had to hide from someone?" Willow demanded as she walked in.

"No, I outright shot someone.  It was the fourth time this goddamn week," he said dryly.  "I'm assuming some of them were lawyers too."

"They were," Eric agreed.  "Where were the other three?"

"Handled by the Hawaii State Police.  They had my housekeeper hostage."  He grinned.  "I got a bit pissed off."  The dog growled.  "You, behave."  He petted him.  "Sorry, he's highly protective of me."

"Sure," Eric agreed, staring at the dog he could almost see.  "What is it since it looks invisible?"  Xander tapped it on the head once and it came into view.  "Oh," he said weakly.  "A one of those things."

Xander nodded.  "Yeah, but he's a good step-puppy.  He's the daddy to my seeing-eye puppies."

"Aw," Eric said.  "Let me get those reports."  He walked off before the dog decided he smelled good.

"You have a hellhound as a seeing-eye dog?" Willow asked, staring at it.

"He's a part time one because he doesn't have all the commands.  He's just really protective of me."  He smiled.  "He probably smells Sunnydale taint on you."  She backed out and left the room.  "Thanks.  Your perfume's kinda strong again.  Clearly the dog likes you for that girlish reason too."  She fled.  "Bye now."  He waved at the doorway.  Then he rolled his eyes.  He sighed.  "Anyway."  Tripp burst out laughing.  "She tried to help the stupid lawyers bribe my parents into getting custody of me too.  I'm *so* asking Blair's mother to have a talk with her.  The vegan hippie chick and she should have a *lovely* talk."

"That sounds like someone I know," Horatio said.

"Is her name Naomi Sandburg?" Xander asked.

"It is."

"I know her son.  He helped me a lot after this happened and I was learning stuff.  He's in LA right now."

"She's here protesting something at the power plant."

"I'll go see her later."  He smiled.  "Tripp, can you text message Blair and tell him that his mom needs to talk to Willow?  He and his ride-along partner were at the invasion from what I know.  It could help him unwind."

"Sure," he said, getting into the phone to send that message.

"Let's get back to the topic at hand," Agent Peters said gently.  "Though it is nice that you're more focused than Miss Summers."

Xander grinned.  "Half of that's an act on her part.  Me, I just need caffeine."

"We'll get you a diet soda," Tripp said, walking off.  He got a few hallways away before he let himself cackle.  That boy was seriously weird but fun.


Out in LA, Blair Sandburg looked at his phone, then showed it to Jim while he drank something.  It'd keep him from either cackling or babbling about that idea.

"That might need to be on pay-per-view," Jim said.

"Naomi's being non-violent again."

"She still wants to fuss over and mother Xander, Blair.  She'll have a good time teaching the girl the proper earthy ways."

"Could be," Blair admitted.  He texted his mother.  "I wonder where Willow is."  He sent one to Xander's phone.  Since clearly someone else had it at the moment.  Xander couldn't text message on his phone.  It didn't have a keyboard and he couldn't get the hang of the counting system for letters.  "I need some stress relief, Big Guy."

"I'm not going to Disney even if there was an apocalypse and we had lost.  Even if it would save everyone, Chief."

"Universal Studios?"

"More adult.  Find someone to ride the rides with you."  Blair grinned and wrote an email to a friend who lived locally.  The whole downtown part of LA was still in quarantine so he wasn't working.  The guy showed up and took them with him.  He was going to have some fun to celebrate surviving anyway.


Xander got out of the cab and walked up to the protest line.  "Naomi, I want you to talk to someone for me," he called.  She turned and stared at him.  "Willow's in town."  His phone rang.  "It's me."  He listened.  "Where is she?  Is she still in Miami?"  He nodded.  "That's cool.  Thank you."  He hung up.  "She's just went back to LA but can you talk to her the next time you're near her?"

"Why?"  She came over.  "You need a haircut."

"I need a lot of things.  A good massage and a new boyfriend or girlfriend comes to mind too."  He grinned.  "She showed up to not only try to help my parents gain custody of me but also down here to tell me how fragile and damaged I was."  Naomi was muttering her 'keep my temper' phrase.  "I think a *real* woman of the Goddess could help her a lot."

"I saw Blair's text and I agree.  If I'm nearby I'll gladly talk to her.  Now, you go rest.  You look tired, Xander.  And eat something."

"I will.  I have leftover chinese."  He grinned.  She helped him back to the cab and he went home.

Naomi walked off calling her friends.  She had friends in most states and a lot of areas where Willow would be known.  How dare that girl try to undo all the good work her son had done with Xander!


Xander had called home to check on Gretchen, finding her cranky.  Her healer wasn't allowing her to come on vacation with him until all her wounds were healed.  Xander had multiple run-ins with the local demon community, who were not happy they were now exposed to the world.  Xander had pointed out that he wasn't responsible but they weren't happy with anyone right now so he had to beat the crap out of one that had actually attacked him outside his apartment building and another that had tried to kill him in a grocery store. 

Which had led to his guide freaking out but he had gotten her calmed down.  He had assured her that they weren't usually like that, they were just scared at the moment thanks to the invasion's consequences.  She agreed she was freaked out by it too.  The demon had apologized before Xander had let him run off and hide again.  Thankfully before the officers got there.  He knew no police department wanted to deal with demons at the moment.  That would probably lead to a lot of dead demons or officers if the demons tried to fight back. 

He had heard one of the harmful ones in New York had killed an officer trying to scare him away from a young woman.  Which was a pity but he had noted to the department tip line how to handle that sort of demon and then encouraged them to find their city's watcher.  They had to have a set of manuals if they were in the field.  He had even left a good idea of how to find them.  Not that many book geek British citizens in New York who ran bookstores on a certain street.  He had also gotten a list of the local watchers that had retired to Miami and the surrounding areas.  That way the nice detectives that were helping him could had that resource and share with other departments they liked a lot.

He was on his tiny balcony when he heard a scream on the street below him.  He listened but he couldn't hear what was going on.  He went inside to call the doorman, who told him to stay up there.  There was an armed gunman downstairs.  Xander agreed he'd do that and hung up, walking off to grab his gun.  There weren't too many reasons for an armed man to be in this building.  It might be a slightly depressed neighborhood but it was the middle of the afternoon - not the time you did armed home invasions.  The lawyers next door had went back to New York the day before so as far as Xander could tell he was one of three tenants in the building.  Which meant it was good odds the armed guy was here for him.

Xander heard the door rattle and put himself out of immediate view from it.  There was a nice dividing screen that created an entryway.  It was probably really pretty.  It was also effective cover because Oscar the doorman had said it wasn't see-through.  The guy finally managed to pick the locks and walked in slowly and carefully.  Xander listened.  He took a step, paused, then took another one and paused.  Xander waited one more step then put his gun against the guy's head.  "Who the fuck are you?"

"Mr. Harris, I'm here to talk to you about your disastrous life goals."

"I'm sure you are," he said dryly.  "It won't matter when I blow your brains out."

"You're blind."

"Ya know, people keep telling me that," he said sarcastically.  "It hasn't mattered in the past, has it?"

"Perhaps."  He started to move and Xander shot him in the leg.  "Damn it!  What the fuck are you?"

Xander grinned.  "A hunter."  He heard footsteps coming off the elevator.  "Got backup?"

The guy sneered.  "You tell me."

"Identify yourself or I'm going to kill this lawyer that broke in," Xander called.

"Miami-Dade PD, sir," a female voice said.  She slowly walked in.  "Are you Mr. Alexander Harris?"

"Yup.  This lawyer scum just broke in to kill me."

"Okay," she said, pulling a gun.  "I can get you both."

"Freeze," a male voice ordered.  "Before I shoot you both."

Xander looked around the screen at the voice.  "Who're you?"

"Lieutenant Caine, with the crime lab, Mr. Harris.  Your detective friends talked to myself and Detective Tripp."

"Cool.  I shot this one in the knee."

"That's reasonable and leaves us able to question him."

Xander looked at the grinding sound.  "A suicide tooth, really?" he asked, looking amused.  "How 80's movie you are."

"I'll never talk.  They'll kill me."

"From what I've heard, there's some presidents and generals who want to kill all your bosses first, and the slayer wants them even more.  Both of the slayers actually from what I've heard."  The lawyer shrank back.  "So, Miss Officer, who paid you off?" he asked.

"It's an open contract," she muttered.  She started to move but Xander had his gun in her face at the first shift.  "Can you actually fire that thing?"  Xander used his free hand to point at the lawyer on the ground.  "Okay."

"Some of us are fantastic at compensating," Xander said with a smirk.  "Now, why don't you put your weapons down.  All of them since I can smell a stinky liquid leaking."

"Do so," Horatio agreed.  She disarmed herself and stepped back at Horatio's point.  He glared at the lawyer.  "You as well.  I have *no* patience for this."

"Don't worry, we'll make sure your people suffer for him catching me."  He sneered at Xander.  "You're not that good."

"You have *obviously* been listening to Buffy," he said dryly.  "Since she thinks I'm helpless and I need to sit in a corner and suck my thumb.  Too bad that's not my style."

"Mr. Harris, why don't you sit down out of grabbing range," Horatio ordered calmly.  "That way they can't try anything stupid until my backup gets here."

"Sirens are about a block away," Xander told him but he did follow orders.  This guy seemed pretty nice.  He might just have to flirt with this one.  He sounded nice and his guide said he was cute when they walked past a crime scene.  That was pretty much his type as long as the guy didn't start to get pitiful about his problems.  "So, Lieutenant, is there anything else that I should hear about today?" he asked with a slight grin.  He was told it made him look cute and wantable.

Horatio looked at him.  "I was going to ask you the same thing."  He smiled at the young man.  He was clearly out of practice for flirting.  Officers came off the elevator and walked around him, heading to the young man on the couch.  "I do believe he's the victim," Horatio said firmly.

Xander sniffed.  "Guys, one's a lawyer that caused all those problems," he said dryly.  "I'm sorry but the invasion wasn't *my* fault."

"You're still a problem that the demon community would like to end," one sneered.

Xander got up and walked into the kitchen, bringing out a bottle.  "I can open it and bleed into it if you really feel that way."

They stared and the other one snorted.  "They're dead."

"No, they're cold.  The dead ones got destroyed."

"Don't you dare," a voice said from behind Horatio.  He walked in.  "Steve said you were not to open those bottles under penalty of being beaten to death when he has to finish borrowing your artillery for the next assault."

Xander stared in his direction.  "Lieutenant, this is Detective Chin Kelly.  His cousin Kono loves to beat up my former dates for me."  He grinned.  "They decided I'm a problem to take out because I had nothing to do with the invasion."

"Yay," Chin said.  He glared at the two officers.  "I'm going to let McGarrett take out his frustration on you two."  They tried to flee but Horatio got them stopped.  He took the bottle from Xander to look at.  "Wolfe told us what they are.  Does the cold bother them?"

"It might slow them down when they come out."

"Uh-huh.  No."  He put it back into the freezer.  "Good, you still have all eight."  Xander nodded.  He looked at Horatio.  "He's sorry he moved to threatening humanity, Lieutenant."

"What are those?"

"They contain three little ancient, powerful demons each.  It's how he keeps the higher demons and the law firm off him.  Because they'd be minions just like the other demons would."

"Those ones were the sort that used to rule the world before humans took over," Xander said.  "They all know if it comes down to me or them, I'll pick them.  Every single time.  I'm not dying by their hand or the Council's."

"Most people would say the same," Horatio admitted.  Chin glared at him.  "I would."

"Perhaps but if they can't be stopped, they might try to destroy humanity."

"The slayer would huff and kill it.  I told her I was going to destroy humanity and she said I needed to quit dating."  He grinned.  "Then she said if I did open one of them she'd just blow it up like we did the last one."

"I do not want to know," Chin ordered.  He sighed, looking at the lieutenant.  "Also, McGarrett sent you a note that we need to investigate."  He handed over the sealed letter.  He looked at Xander.  "Wolfe was drunk about his ME friend's bitchy attitude and told Danny that he needed to watch out for something huge?"

"Um....," Xander said.  "Did he say if it was about something *medical* or something else?"

Horatio opened the letter.  "Medical."  He looked at the boy.  "Should I worry?"

"Only if someone kidnaps me," Xander said, waving a hand at the arrested people.

"I don't believe they'll be able to tell anyone about that," Horatio said.

One of the officers stared at him.  "You don't have magic."

Horatio stared at him.  "I don't need magic."  The demon shrank down.  "Will I?"  The lawyer sneered and laughed.  Horatio stared at him.  The lawyer shrank away from him.  "Thank you for cooperating."  He looked at Xander.  "Let's get you all to the office."  He called in to make sure someone realized they had sent dirty officers to help him. He was promised more help immediately and Frank Tripp showed up as well.  He was huffing and stomping when he got there.  "Frank, do calm down," he said quietly.  "Mr. Harris shot one in the knee."

"Xander, please," Xander said.  "I'm not formal."

Horatio smiled.  "Fine, Xander then."  Xander grinned back.  "Detective Tripp, this is Detective Chin Kelly.  His supervisor sent him out here to help."  He handed over the letter.

Tripp read it, frowning.  "That's bad."  He tucked it into his shirt pocket.  "We'll be finding out?" 

Horatio nodded.  "As soon as we can get these people back to the station I believe we can run that test."  More officers showed up and he nodded at them.  "The officers tried the same thing the lawyer did.  The resident is not pleased."

"Any more I'm almost used to the death threats," Xander quipped.  "Especially from lawyers."

"You should not have to be," Horatio told him.  He helped him up, handing him his cane.  He took Xander's gun to make safe, taking it with them.  They'd have to test it for ballistics but he didn't want to leave Xander unarmed.  Detective Kelly followed texting someone.  Horatio smiled at him.  "Letting them know he's all right?"

"That way Steve can quit mentally swearing at the Council."  Xander turned his head to look back at him.  "They tried your house again but the fire department was very fast.  They barely burned the bushes in front of your doors.  Of course, we found they had done it because the bush shot spikes at them."

Xander grinned.  "I love my bushes.  The house and Gretchen's all right?  And the puppies?"

"Wolfe has the spoiled puppies at his place.  I think maybe they'll make good seeing eye dogs.  Or maybe body finding dogs.  They seem to be able to track."

"It's a skill I taught mine because it was handy," Xander said.  He got helped into a car and settled in.  "Why am I in a police car?" he asked.

"Because I'm riding with you," Tripp said.  Detective Kelly got into the back with him.  "That way you're protected, kid."  Xander nodded, getting comfortable.  "How did you know there was a problem?"

"I heard someone on the street complaining.  I called Oscar at the desk and he told me to hide because someone had a gun outside."

"We haven't seen Oscar but we'll look," Tripp said, telling one of the officers to search for him.  They drove back to the station, letting the ones under arrest be taken one direction while they took Xander in another to talk to him.  Horatio got their ME up to pull blood for them.  One of his CSI stopped him and Tripp to stare at them.  "What?" Tripp demanded.

"We see a lot of that boy."

"They just broke in to attack him," Tripp told her.  "He had to shoot a lawyer."

"Is he really blind then?  I don't know too many people who can do that."

Detective Kelly walked up to her.  "Harris has a history from before he was blinded.  He was dealing with a protection patrol thing in his former town.  No guns used from what I'm told but I know that his file did include some extra self protection training."

"How long has he been blind?" she asked.

"Ten years," Kelly said.  He smiled.  "He's done really good moving on no matter what his friends thought was right or good for him."

"Why does he have a file?" she asked.  "We found a sealed dossier in the federal systems."

"Because the group he had been part of stopped a special forces project."  She shuddered.  "When the two Marines his friends gave him to needed to hand him off after an attack, and he was barely out of the hospital, they gave the detective his full file that they could find.  Detective Mack Wolfe, the one they handed him to, said that his friends had to get drunk for nearly a week learning about the kid's past.  Though he never said anything.  Looking into it now still makes people want to drink.  Someone apparently hacked the lawyers and their file on him is either hopefully really wrong or we've all been protected by spoiled girls for years."

"I believe we've been protected by spoiled girls for years," Horatio said.  "I did some research on him myself and the files I found appear to be ...horrifying."  He smiled at his CSI.  "I believe that Mr. Harris is very surprising to many, mostly because he's had to be."  He smiled at the ME as she walked up to them.  "Alexx, we need to do some blood testing very quickly."

"I heard you say that," she said, smiling at him.  "I don't know you," she said with a smile, holding out her hand.  "Alexx Woods, the local ME."

"Detective Chin Kelly, Hawaii State Police."  He shook her hand.  "I got sent to check on someone."

"The same someone we need to draw blood from," Horatio said quietly.  "Especially with a group of lawyers who were behind that invasion the other day wanting him dead."

"The others are almost more horrifying.  They're over the girls that protect us all from them and they hate him for stepping in to not make it a solo duty," Kelly said with a smirk.  "They wanted it to be her, her watcher from them, and no one else.  They hate him because he helped her."

Horatio snorted.  "Then they're clearly bad for humanity."  He led Alexx to the interrogation room, letting her proceed him.  "Xander, this is Alexx Woods, our ME.  She's going to draw blood so we can test what's in the note."

"Mack said he found enough to be worried.  I can guess about a few of them."

"We can find out for sure," Horatio said.  "It won't take very long and then we can make sure that you're well protected."

"That might be nice.  I don't think I've slept well since I got here since I've been alone."

"Hell," Chin muttered.  "Steve was getting you someone else to guard you."

"Did Steve beat him enough to find out why he left?" Xander asked.

"He got killed before you took off from the last airport.  He got you on the plane and then dealt with whoever was following you but apparently they took him out.  The officers there aren't sure if it was demonic, lawyer, or council related.  When we found that out we sent them a synopsis on who wants to kill you.  Hopefully they'll figure it out."

Xander grimaced.  "Then I'm sorry I thought such mean things should happen to him because he left me for flirting."

"I'm sure he'd understand, though Steve did say he would've left you for flirting with a guy.  He didn't know that before."  He helped get Xander's sleeve up.  "Let's get this done," he said quietly.  "That way Steve knows how high he has to nag to get you someone."

"Can't Gretchen come out?"

"Not yet.  Steve doesn't think she's enough protection either."

"Maybe but I'd be able to sleep and she can straighten things out for me.  Do I even match this morning?"

"No," Chin said.  He patted him.  "I'll help you tonight."  Xander nodded, relaxing some.  Alexx drew the blood they'd need to test and cleaned up the area so she could bandage it.  "There, done," Chin said.

Xander grinned at him.  "Thanks."

"Not a problem, Sugar."  She walked off, taking Horatio to help her run the samples through the machines.  He knew what they were running it for. 

Tripp got a statement from him about what had happened this time.  Internal Affairs showed up fuming about the officer arrests without warning him when he was mostly done.

Xander looked toward the fuming man.  "Sure, next time I'll go psychic and tell you first when people break in to kill my pretty ass."  The IAB officer flinched, he could hear that and his step away from him.  "For that matter, I'll do the same for the ones in Hawaii that did the same damn thing.  And while I'm at it, I'll beg someone to come eat them so no one has any paperwork.  Anything else you want to demand I do since apparently I'm a divine being in more than the sack?"  The officer spluttered.  "Eww, spit.  Real men swallow."  The officer stomped off.

Chin burst out laughing.  "Nice job, xander."

"Thank you.  I hate huffy assholes unless they're huffy because I'm telling them they can't give me a blow job, male or female.  I have enough stress in my life without people like that.  Especially since some conservative asshole moved in next door to me.  I'm *so* putting up a pagan shrine so they have something new to complain about."

"Danny heard when they came over to ask if he had control of you," Chin admitted.  "He told them off pretty well and Kono finished it." 

Xander grinned.  "If she didn't think I was too adorable and dangerous to date, I'd flirt with that woman.  She smells really nice."

"Unfortunately she wants someone a bit softer," Chin said.  "Or else we'd let you as long as you didn't turn her mean.  By the way, Gretchen said that Monica said hi?"

"Huh.  Met her on a beach."  He grinned.  "She was a coed, really pretty feeling.  Went on to be a security guard and then a prison guard."

Chin nodded.  "Wow.  Well, maybe you'll find someone nicer now that demons are out of the closet and the Council is in trouble."

"That'd be great," Xander agreed.  "I could date without worrying if they were going to stab me in the middle of sex."

Chin patted him, shaking his head.  "We're all hoping you find someone nice."

Xander grinned.  "I want smart, kind of cute, and soft hearted without pitying me.  Plus a bit tough."

"I'll have Kono ask her friends."  Horatio came in.  "Already?"

"A bit longer.  I saw Rick?"

"He fled when Xander told him next time he'd go psychic and call him before an officer tried to kill him," Tripp said dryly.  "If you do, let us know too, Xander."  Xander grinned at him.  He grinned.  "You relax in here for a bit.  Call your housekeeper."

"My phone isn't working and I don't know why."

Chin took it to look at.  "No idea.  It says it has minutes on it."  He called.  No signal.  No automatic redirect to customer service asking for payment.  "I have no idea what's going on."  He called Xander's number and let him have the phone.  As soon as he touched it, it went dead.  "That's interesting."  He took it back and tried it.  No signal, nothing.

Horatio took it to look at, scowling at the device.  "What happened to that?"

"I don't know," Xander said.  "Is that why mine doesn't work?"

"Probably," Chin said.  "I'll get one later and we'll see if speaker phone will do the same thing."  Xander grinned and nodded.  "She's fine.  Mack's been over most days to check on her.  Mostly with the dogs so they got some running around the yard time."  Xander nodded.  "So we're sure she's fine.  I have no idea when she can come out with you though, or when they'll let you come home."

"Miami's pretty but I can't get hit on in the strip clubs.  Everyone seems to see the cane and sighs in displeasure.  I have no idea why they can't see past the cane to the fine man who likes to date."

"A lot of Miami is all about the shallow and prettiness," Tripp told him.  "I could barely get any play and neither does Horatio."  Horatio scowled at him.  He smiled back.  "You don't date enough."

"Dating is important because man is not meant to be alone," Xander said.  "Or else we turn into slobs who have a lot of dirty dishes and clothes."

"Fortunately Gretchen makes sure you don't have to trip over yours," Chin teased.

Xander grinned.  "Gretchen's nearly family.  I could never hit on her."

"I know."  He patted him again.  The Internal Affairs officer showed back up.  "Should I tell the person getting him a new guard that he has to be wary of most officers?"

"No," he sneered.

Xander glared at him.  "Sneer at my detective friend again.  Really."  The man backed up.  "Anyway, Lieutenant, how long before that's done?"

He checked his watch.  "Twenty minutes."  He went to check on it before he got into it with Stetler again.

"Were you an officer, Mr. Harris?" Stetler asked.

"No, I used to help protect my town.  I did that for five years and a bit because my town had a double digit death rate.  Which was really high for a town that has under a hundred thousand people if you include both colleges."

"Your department didn't mind?" Stetler sneered.

"My department never came out of the office unless it was politically motivated or they could get something on someone to get their happies for the week.  Hell, my town's officers actually attributed a high count of deaths to barbeque fork accidents."

"There's no way," Tripp said.

"Sunnydale, California," Xander said.

Stetler stomped off to look up that town.  He came back looking horrified and less sneering.  "How in the hell did they not get shut down?"

"We have no idea," Xander admitted.  "I know that most of the PD there got sacrificed by someone trying to summon a really high demon a few months ago.  I know before the mayor was making a lot of deals to help him turn into a giant snake demon.  He did it during our graduation actually."  Xander shifted and crossed his feet.  "Otherwise, I have no clue.  I haven't went back to Sunnydale since the day they sent me out drugged so I would quit fighting their plans to supposedly make me safer while I learned how to be blind."

"They're still protesting that Xander should be sitting at home being protected," Chin said.  "One showed up in Hawaii to tell him that."

Xander smiled.  "I asked Blair's mother to talk to her for me."

Chin patted him on the back.  "I'll stay tonight so you get a full nights sleep again, kid."

"You're not that much older than me," Xander complained.

"No I'm not," he agreed.  Horatio walked back in with papers not looking happy.  "That bad?"

Horatio put them on the table so he and Tripp could see them.  "How did you get exposed to some of that?"

"When I was working construction I fell into a native burial chamber.  The spirits hated me for it.  What else is there?"

"When did you get a hermoragic fever?" Tripp asked quietly.

"No clue unless that's what the Council tried about five years ago?  I know I got hellishly sick and ended up in the hospital for a good week or so and the nurses all smelled really afraid.  Can we tell when that was?"

"No.  They all read as older ones you've mostly gotten rid of.  You have a very small antigen count for everything but this one."  Chin said it in his ear.

"Oh!  That was the stupid lawyers last year."  He nodded.  "I got really sick and Gretchen called in a healer for me.  It came in as a gas grenade through the window.  Fortunately my dog was at the vet's for the night being babied over a stomach ache.  Which they probably gave her."

"Could be," Chin agreed.  He looked at Horatio.  "Did you send that to my people?"

"I did stop to call and fax it to Detective Williams."

"Danny's a really nice guy but he's got a temper," Xander admitted.  "Mostly with Steve."  Chin laughed and nodded.  "But his daughter's cute.  I ran into her out and about.  She and the puppy I was working with got along very well.  I said if one didn't go into training she could have one if they said it was fine."

"Her mother let you talk to her?" Chin asked.

"Yeah.  She was sitting right there and Danny was nagging me about something on the phone.  She heard her father's voice."

"Huh.  I didn't know that.  Do you think they won't all go?"

"It's a high bar to be a seeing eye dog.  Like being SWAT instead of a regular officer."

"That's good to know."

"Some of mine are too bouncy but they're good, smart, protective dogs.  Maybe three of the nine will make it and another three or four might get passed to those who train them for other purposes.  They'd do good with that.  Which leaves one for Mack if he wants one and one for her."

"She'd probably love a dog."  He looked at his phone when it rang.  "Wonderful."  He answered it.  "Detective Kelly."  He listened.  "No, for some reason I handed him my phone and it quit working.  I was going to let him talk to Gretchen since his phone died the same mysterious death.  Talking about that and his dogs.  Is Danny going to let him give the sprout one?"  He smiled.  "He said that was fine with him.  The dogs were good and protective so he wouldn't worry as much about her safety."  Xander nodded, grinning some.  "So now what?"  He listened, making notes.  "I can do that.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "You're to report for the meeting in Colorado in a few days.  He'll get you an escort from there.  He wants you to leave tomorrow if you can."  He looked at Horatio, who nodded they could handle that.  "Good."  He checked his phone, still dead.  "Huh."  Horatio texted the number that he had called and they were able to text in but not out.  Chin shook his head.  "I hate that magic shit."

"With my luck, it's Willow trying to prove to me that I'm helpless and need protected," Xander said dryly.

"If so, I'd like to talk to her," Chin said with a smile.

Horatio took the test results and kept them when Rick Stetler reached for them.  "Those are classified.  You have no need to know."  He stared at the young man then the younger detective.  "Go ahead and take him home so you can pack for that.  I'll trust you to protect him tonight?"

"Of course I am.  I can't let Xander show me up."

Xander snorted.  "I'm not that badass.  I never was, I'm just trained a bit better now."  He stood up and took his cane off the table to unfold.  "Been great, guys.  Thank you for all your help."  He held out a hand for Tripp and Horatio to shake.  "Tell the pretty smelling one that she can quit worrying.  I've never harmed anything that wasn't harming something or someone else."  He walked out with Chin guiding him.

"Interesting.  Calleigh?"  She stomped in, scowling.  "I'm sure you heard."

"I did.  He's not right."

"I don't really care," he admitted with a smile for her.  "As far as I'm concerned you're still one of the best CSI in the city."  She smiled back.  "Shred this without looking at it."  She took it to do that.  He looked at Frank then at Stetler.  "I caught a few of them trying to kill him and did take the poison or whatever it was off the other."

"They're already on their way to their arraignments."  He stomped off.  He wanted to know more about that boy before he caused his city more problems.

Horatio shook his head.  Sometimes Rick deserved the bad karma he got.  This was looking like one of those times.


Chin handed Xander to the waiting military officer.  "You're his guard?"

"I am."  He smiled.  "Colonel John Sheppard, just recalled for this meeting."

"Xander Harris.  That used to be my part-time, non-paying, thankless job."

John grinned.  "That figures.  Nothing that noble pays well."  Xander nodded.  "No service dog?"

"Lawyers shot her a few months back."

"Okay.  We can handle that.  We put you in the same hotel as most of the people invited to this talk."

"Just keep the blonde and the redhead away from him," Chin warned.

"We've heard."  He shook his hand.  "Thank you."

"It's not a problem.  Xander's a really nice, sweet guy.  Who dates really horrible people we get to arrest."  He walked off.  "I'll see you in a few days back in Hawaii, Xander."

"Okay."  He unfolded his cane and let John walk him off.  "You smell like you've been on the ocean."

"My posting usually is but I got recalled for a briefing with a few others.  Colonel Mitchell, who was at the invasion, arranged for the meeting to share information.  We have the files you have on both entities that we need to be concerned about.  And a lot of information on how the demon networks work."

"A lot are harmless or peaceful and I'd never want them hurt."

"We agree.  If they're peaceful, it's not our job to change that for them."  Xander relaxed and nodded.  "Bags?"

"Two.  Do I have my carry-on?"

"The detective handed it to me."

"Thanks.  I'm a bit scatterbrained since I didn't have anyone to watch my back when they sent me to Miami.  I got some great sleep last night and hopefully will again today."

"I'm sure you will.  The hotel's got a really soft bed, a lot of security right now because there's a few higher level generals in, and you'll have soldiers to protect you from those scary women you used to work with."

Xander grinned.  "Buffy could probably kick their butts."

"Maybe but there's more of us to jump in if she tries.  Or if Rosenburg turns more into ponies or gerbils."

Xander snickered.  "She's got a frog phobia."

"That explains why gerbils."  He took the ticket stub with the baggage tickets to get the bags while Xander waited on a bench.  When he came back, someone greenish-teal was talking to Xander quietly looking upset.  "Problems?"

"No, he wanted to make sure that I could remind the slayer that not everyone was involved," Xander said.  "If she breaks that I'm so calling her mother back from the dead to kill her."

The demon smiled.  "Thank you, Knight.  It is good how you've stood up for us, even after your accident."  He left them alone.

"I'd hope that no one would go after any peaceful being," John said.  He helped Xander up.  "One red, one blue?"  Xander nodded.  The bags got checked by airport security and they were allowed to leave.  "We are taking a cab back, I didn't have time to rent a car."

"I can rent a car as long as they haven't touched my bank accounts again," Xander offered.

"They probably have.  I know someone was trying something that way.  We were warned and one of my program's hackers torched their butts for it."  Xander grinned.  "They do it often?"

"Yeah and my financial guy doesn't seem as protective as he used to be.  I'll have to look into that."

"Sometimes it happens.  Even after ten years or so."  John got them into a cab and to the hotel.  The doorman got them a trolley for the bags and John walked him to the desk.  "Xander Harris."

"Yes, I have his reservation here," the desk girl said, pulling it up on her computer.  She looked at him.  "Mr. Harris, will you need any accommodations while here?" she asked a bit loudly.

"I'm mostly okay," he said quietly.  "I might need some directions now and then but I can usually find my way around pretty well."  He smiled.  "Thank you for asking though."

"Not a problem, sir.  We want your stay to be really great so you come back some day."

He smiled.  "Maybe some day I'll get to sightsee."  He winked and took the key card John handed him, walking off.  "Elevators are this way, right?"

"Yes, sir.  They ding pretty loudly."

"Cool.  Always handy," he quipped with a grin for her.  They got on the elevator.  "Was she giving me the pity look?" he asked quietly.

"A tiny one but not that bad.  It's nice she asked if you needed anything special, even if she thought you were hard of hearing too."

Xander grinned.  "Sometimes people think that the two go together.  I actually have very sensitive hearing thanks to being possessed in high school."

"How did that happen?"

"In a Xander method that only I seem to be able to do," Xander sighed.  John laughed.  Xander felt the sign next to the elevator and walked in the right direction.

"I know from experience you're on the other side of the floor so it's actually a few less steps this way," John said, guiding him and the cart.  Xander nodded, following along.  "Also, they're on that side."

"Then it's probably a good idea.  Can we walk faster?"  John smiled but got him into his room within two minutes.  Xander sat down with a sigh and flopped backwards.  "Which bag is on which side?"

"Red is on the headboard side of this second bed.  Need help with that?"

"No, they're color sorted so I don't look like a mismatched kid."

John nodded.  "That's wise."  He handed him the tv remote.  "There's a few music stations up around the two hundreds.  There's a good cable package here if you want to listen to something.  The radio on the clock is a bit staticky if it's anything like my room's.  The window," he said, opening the curtains.  "Why is there a guy hanging out there?"

"No clue," Xander admitted, turning his head that way.  He heard a whine.  "That's a weapon."  John and he moved to the bathroom before the thing finished firing.  John called for backup for them.  Two soldiers and a tiny blonde woman ran in to handle it.

"How dare you try to hurt Xander!  He's helpless!" Buffy shouted as she beat him.  "You don't hurt the Xander."

Xander walked out and stared down at where he could hear panting.  "Which one are you with?" he asked patiently.

"You're going to die, Knight!  There's no way you'll be allowed to exist and hold us all hostage!"

"If the Council and the law firm would leave me alone, I'd just dust the bottles.  Since they won't....."  He smirked.  "I have to keep shooting people."  The demon whined and tried to move.  Xander pulled his gun and pointed it at him.  "Are you really trying that with me?"

"No, Hyena Knight!  I'm sorry!  We're all very sorry!  I have a family, please don't!"

"Then I'd run back to your family and never think about attacking me again.  Because attacking me means that I go for that option, even though I'd hate to unleash it.  Am I clear?"  The demon whimpered but nodded.  "Out loud, it's not like I can hear nodding."

"Yes, Knight.  I will pass that on."  He got up.  "Thank you."

"Shoo.  You're screwing up the scent profile in the room with your aftershave."  The demon fled.  He sighed and walked out, heading for the soda machine.  He had change on him.  John followed casually behind him.  "How much is the machine?" he asked after feeling around.

"Dollar fifty.  Bit high but it's a hotel."

"Figures.  They really should put a little braille plaque on these so we can tell."  He checked his change then got out his wallet.  "One?"

"Five.  I don't see any ones."  He changed one for him and let the kid get himself a soda.  By the time they got back, Buffy had been forced to leave.  They had heard them forcing her to go away up the hall.  John smiled.  "Cam, this is Xander Harris," he said.

"Pleasure," Xander said, holding out a hand.

Cam shook it.  "It's a pleasure to meet you too.  That bomb you got however and had sent with the hellhound helped us immensely."  Xander grinned.  "The hotel is going to move you to a more secure room."

"That's cool," Xander agreed.  "I've had a lot of attacks over the years."

"What was he talking about?" John asked.

Xander walked in and patted down his carry-on, finding the little bag of bottles.  "These."

Cam took them to look at.  "There's tiny things in there."

"Ancient, powerful demons."  He grinned.  "It's what keeps the Council and Wolfram and Hart mostly away from me.  They know I only need a reason to release them so they can handle being minions."  He smiled.  "Because I'm not the bitch to screw with."

"Clearly," John agreed.  He put the bags back.  Hotel security showed up to escort them to the safer room.  Which wasn't really.  John looked around then at him.  "I thought this was supposed to be safer."

"It is, sir."

"With wall-to-wall windows?" Cam asked.  Someone knocked then walked in.  "Sir," he said, nodding.

"Agent Hutchinson," Xander said with a nod at him.  He smelled like him so it was a reasonable assumption it was him.

"Mr. Harris.  Let's get you somewhere safer."

"This is very safe," the hotel security person said.

"I'm Secret Service."

"Then I'll leave it in your hands.  Let us know if the hotel can help," the hotel person said, leaving them alone.

Xander shrugged.  "Not my fault."

"We know, sir."  He looked around.  "We can move him somewhere safer."

"That'd make getting him to the meetings harder," John said.  "Is there a less bright and sunny room?"

"Two.  Both are sub-prime and very bad," Hutchinson said.  Xander shrugged.  "Okay, we can arrange that."  He went to talk to the hotel's manager, who understood the reasons behind needing somewhere less open to being shot or attacked.  They decided on a block of rooms on a lower floor, moving Sheppard and Mitchell with him.  They weren't too pleased but they were still nice rooms.  They just didn't have a view outside a brick wall across the alley.

Xander sniffed and nodded.  "Well at least I'll be able to find it again easily."  John patted him.  "Which is which?"

"Blue is on the tv stand, red is on the chair," John said quietly.

"Thank you."  They went to their own rooms.  Xander laid down and turned on the tv to get some noise.  He slept better with noise.  It might even let him forget about the trash smells.


Xander walked into the meeting room the next morning, John following a few minutes behind him.  "Good morning, everyone."

"Morning," John said as he walked in.

"Why weren't you with him?" Willow demanded.  "He can't get around."

Xander located her by her perfume, which she had never changed, and swatted her with his cane.  "Shut up, Willow.  I'm not helpless."

"Wrong female," Buffy quipped.

"Then I'm sorry, ma'am, but you smelled like the bitch."

"No, I can pass that one on," she said, hitting Willow harder than he had hit her.  "Because even I know that's wrong."  She pushed out a chair.  "Here, you can make it up to me by sitting next to me so I'm distracted from the stupid things."

Xander grinned.  "Sometimes stupid things are necessary.  Like watching stupid tv shows like _South Park_ for stress relief."  He sat down and folded his cane to put in front of him.  "So anyway, why the meeting?"

"We wanted to know some things you all have partial knowledge of," the general in charge said.  "Mr. Harris, I know you're still fairly well connected to the demon community so you can keep track of those who keep trying to kill you."

"Yes, and recently it's been a lot that have decided that us fighting the invasion and winning was going to destroy all of the peaceful communities as well."

"I have no interest in peaceful ones.  I know one of the generals being put over the problem doesn't feel the same way all the time but me, personally, I don't care as long as they're not a danger to the US."

Xander nodded.  "They'd like to hear that."

"They might attack them," Buffy said dryly.

Xander nodded.  "Better them than me for you guys winning and me sending that bomb."  He shifted to be more in line with the general again.  "What did you want to know?"

"The demon networks, specifically the information networks to start with.  How do they operate?  Is there an agency, some sort of intelligence gathering group or species?"

"Some of it's the kitten poker gossip circuit," Xander said.  "Some of it's information from relatives.  Some of it's gathered by some groups off realm and spread."

"So there's more than one realm, right?" the woman next to him asked.  All the Sunnydale people nodded.  "How many?"

"No damn clue," Xander admitted.  "I know there's over a thousand.  There's nine-hundred-sixty-one that are counted as hell realms.  There's been a few wars that have wiped out some in the last century from what I heard.  There was a demon storyteller at the bar in Cascade a few years back who was going over history stuff.  I stayed to listen."

"That's fine," she agreed, smiling at him.  "How many more beyond hell realms?"

"Maybe at least another thousand," Willow said.  "No one's totally sure."

"If my phone worked I'd call someone to ask if they had an estimate but for some reason if I touch any phone it quits letting calls out and only a few newer ones will let calls in."

"That's an interesting curse," Buffy said.

"It has made staying in touch with my housekeeper fairly difficult," Xander admitted.  "Or the people training the puppies."

"You have puppies?" Willow asked.

"Yeah, Melusia knocked up my seeing eye dog."

"Oh," she said, sharing a look with Buffy.  "Is that a girl dog?"

"He's a hellhound."

"Never mind."

Xander turned his head toward the general again.  "As far as we know there's possibly millions and most of them don't migrate here.  I know of ten that're being migrated from currently, all due to wars, and one that we had a mass leaving from because of a drought.  We got some, some other realms got some."

"That's reasonable to me, sounds like what our people would do."

"Giles said that most demon realms are either demon controlled or they and humans learned to live together.  There's a few where their humans won."

"One of those has a drought and they went to another demon realm to conquer it in their name," Xander said.

"Wonderful."  He shook his head.  "So ours here are some immigrants, some leftover from the bad old days way back in history, and some that are summoned here?"  The three who knew nodded.  "Even better.  About this Council?"

"Did you get the files they got out of my safe?" Xander asked.

"We did and had someone drive themselves nuts translating most of it.  Thank you for putting some in braille, even if it was in German braille."  Xander grinned.

"Why would you put it in another language?" Buffy asked.

"So if anyone got hold of it they probably wouldn't be able to read it," Cam Mitchell told her.  "It's very tactically sound."  Xander nodded he was right.  "How often do you get to your local demon bar, Xander?"

"Gretchen and I go about every month so she can help me play a few hands of cards."

"Your housekeeper's a demon?" Buffy asked, frowning at him.

"Half, though no one's ever said anything.  She's been good to me and helped me a lot when I was still learning how to do things.  She even lets me cook sometimes.  The grill is my job whenever we're using it."

She and Willow shared a look.  "You don't worry about her?" Buffy asked.

"She's been with me for over ten years," Xander said firmly.  "You go near Gretchen and I'm going to kill your dyed blonde ass."

"Fine, whatever.  Just trying to look out for you."

Xander sighed.  "I don't need the help.  Or the constant put downs.  I do know I'm blind and yes, I do handle most everything myself.  Outside having someone watching over my accounts for whenever *someone* tries to hack it again.  By the way, Willow, how is your computer?" 

She moaned.  "The Council said if I didn't, they were going to kill Buffy."

Xander nodded.  "So you turned on one friend to save another and they're still going to kill her.  Congrats.  Buffy, I'd learn how to use a gun.  It might save you a few times."

"There's no reason to be mean," Buffy complained.

"I shot three Council people in the last month," he told her.  She slid down in her seat.  "They're still planning on how to wetworks you.  I heard the other day they've finally gathered a rare potions ingredient so they can kill you long distance.  It'll get any slayer imbued with the calling."  She stiffened, he could feel the tension.  "They may try to rush me but they're going to work on destroying you.  They really hate you just as much as they do me.  Plus, with demons being in the open, the Council got light shined on it and they hate that."

"Damn it," she muttered.  "When?"

"No clue.  It takes at least a moon cycle to brew it, can take up to three if you're doing the more complicated version, and their potions person has to be rescued from South Africa first.  So probably within six months at the latest."

She huffed.  "I'll have Giles talk to them."

"I'm going to release one of those bottles in their building."  Xander grinned.

"Then they'd want us to kill us," Willow complained.

Xander nodded.  "So?"  He shrugged.  "I'm safer if they're dead.  She will be too."

"It's not ethical," Willow said.

"Who said I had ethics?  I've been living on my wits for over ten years, Willow.  Not like I had a whole lot of support outside the detective who watched over me.  Usually I got to call him after something happened, not before.  Ethics means I would've been dead *years* ago.  Probably when they were first trying things.  I have very little ethics about the Council or Wolfram and Hart.  As far as I'm concerned it's them or me and I'm not going to go down that way."

"You really have ancient demons trapped in a bottle?" Buffy asked.

"Eight bottles with three each."  He smiled.  "They're very handy.  It keeps the attacks down to one every four or five months."

"Huh."  She and Willow shared a look.  "Maybe that's dangerous, Xander."

"Maybe I don't care, Buffy.  Me having them means me not dead."

"Oh."  She grimaced.  "It's still not right."


"Enough," Cam ordered.  "I see both points.  Xander has them on a very pointy rock to keep the attacks down and himself safe.  That's probably because he has no one to watch his back.  Mostly because you two sent him away from what I heard."

"Sunnydale's dangerous.  They could have turned him or taken him as a minion," Buffy complained.  "Beyond that, he can't take care of himself!"

"Yes I can.  Ask the guys in Miami who had to clean up all four attacks on me.  They were very impressed when they took me to the range and tested my marksmanship skills."  Buffy was giving him a horrified look, he was sure of it.  "They had to add breathing sounds to the target but it went where I wanted it to.  The same as it has for all the other attacks on myself, my house, and my housekeeper.  Hell, the same day that farce of people bribing my parents and Willow happened, I shot three.  Then the Council and the lawyers teamed up to try to kill me."

Buffy slunk down again.  "Whatever.  You still can't protect yourself.  That's why you have a housekeeper."

"Actually, I mostly have her so I don't have to vacuum or do laundry."  He smirked.  "And she's really good company when I'm shopping.  By the way, I just spent six weeks in Miami all by myself.  No housekeeper, no guard, nothing."  She got up and stomped out.  He stared in Willow's direction.  "I can feel the spell."

"What spell?"

He concentrated and it backlashed on her.  "Protections," he quipped with a grin.  She was whimpering.  "How much did they bribe you, Willow?  And was it both or just the law firm?"  She got up and huffed out too.  "Sorry.  They'll be back later I'm sure.  Probably to tell me I'm helpless some more."  He looked toward the general again.  "If you sink Sunnydale, send out a notice through Willie's Alibi Bar.  That's the demon hang out and they can make sure the local council there and everyone else hears."

"We can do that.  There's two colleges though."

"Adams should still be mostly shut down.  The other one, UC Hellmouth, is far enough away that if you sink downtown it won't get caught.  Unless you do something to the huge base underneath."

"No, that we filled with concrete," the general said.  "Are you sure they were bribing her?"

"Yup.  She showed up with my parents, who were being bribed, to try to get me into my parents' control again.  She hacked my account earlier by what the computer in the business room said.  My financial guy is clearly either bribed or under some sort of compulsion so I had Gretchen find me a new one or to fix him.  So we'll see pretty soon which one it was.  Especially since I had the bank allow a delayed curse on my funds for whoever steals it."

"How did you get that money?" John asked.

"Three of the bottles had faulty seals and had woken some of the beings inside enough that some died.  Some people bought them off me to destroy them.  I'm not intending to use them but if I have to, I know how to kill one now.  I'll open it in the offending party's offices and then kill it before it gets free."

"Without her help?" John asked.

"Yeah, without her help.  See, I seem to have a draw for the bad boy and girl society, including some that sell weapons.  That's how I got the bomb; I asked an ex."

"Over the years you've collected a few things to protect yourself," John said.  Xander smiled and nodded.  "How big?"

"That depends on what Steve brought with him to the invasion."

"Can we have an inventory?" the general asked nicely.

"No, but McGarrett can.  He has right of grabbing to use too."

"That'll work.  I remember when he was in the service.  I made sure it was him after the invasion.  I'll let him guard it with you in case something happens on one of the islands."

Xander grinned.  "There's a small sacrificial cult to one of the volcano gods, but they're not interested in humans and tend to shun us all as being evil, wicked, and dirty because we poop."

"Good to know," the woman beside Xander said.  "Does he know?  Your friend I mean."

"He never asked and if I thought they were a threat to humans I'd have told him.  Actually, when I was in Miami I got a list of all the watchers down there to give to the lab.  I sent it to the lab's email address.  I sent another to the NYPD tip line about the demon that had killed that officer and how to kill it, plus where I heard their watcher was."

"That's really helpful," John agreed.  "Are there any locally?"

"I heard that there's a Council guy somewhere in Denver, but that was a few years back so I'm not sure if he's still there or alive.  His wife's family needed them from what I heard.  If I could get my phone to work, I'd call."

"I can see if I can ask," Cam said.  "They seem to know my project pretty well."

John nodded.  "I had a 'thank you for saving your city' note with my coffee."

Xander smiled.  "You're on the flying city of misery?"

"She doesn't cause us misery," John said, but he was smiling.  "What have you heard about that?"

"Most of the misery was people being depressed that they're being eaten.  No idea beyond most of that and a note that the power issue was critical but someone had done something on purpose to show where an idea was.  Also that your head scientist was loud and I should flirt with him."

"He's straight, or else I'd encourage it," John said.  "He could use someone nice and so could you from what I've heard.  Rodney definitely wouldn't let you hide behind the dark glasses all that often.  You'd have to go out with him and eat with him, all that."

"That might be nice.  Most of my dates are dinner or a drink and then the bedroom. They never seem to want more.  I'd really like more.  I'd like to have someone steady again."

"Maybe sometime soon," John offered.

"I'll definitely ask some of my friends," the woman next to him offered.  "Did they say that they had any information on the city's structures or things?"

"There's a huge demon culture library on Pervada.  It's not open to humans.  It has historical records from all the known demon species.  I'd guess it might be in there.  If not, there's a few other ancient libraries floating around on the demon realms but again, mostly not open to humans. I can ask Gretchen to ask around when I get back."

"Please."  She smiled and patted his arm.  "It could really help them a lot."

"I'd like to see everyone be safe and happy," Xander said.  "If I can help I will."

"The one last night called you a hyena knight once," Cam said.  "Why?"

"Back in high school I was possessed by one."  He grinned.  "She's helped a lot since the incident that got me blinded."

"The knight part is because he's considered a white knight," a male voice said as they walked in.

"I am," Xander agreed.  "How're you, Spike?"

"Not bad.  Bint's pissed at you."

"Yeah, yay."  He shrugged.  "I pointed out some uncomfortable truths, including that the Council has a new plan to kill any activated slayers."

"That's gonna suck since Rosenburg added a few new ones after the invasion to help keep things calm."  Spike flopped down and nodded at everyone.  "Name's Spike."

"Spike's a master vampire," Xander said.  "The team worked with him after the Initiative got hold of him.  How're things otherwise, Spike?"

"Not bad.  You?"

"I'd be really happy and content if all this means that the Council and the lawyers leave me the hell alone."

Spike snickered.  "Might be nice, yeah.  Lawyers put out a new price on your head.  Thirty mil, dead and only dead."

Xander sighed but nodded.  "Did you tell Gretchen?"

"Yup.  She's not happy.  You know she's a halfie, right?"

"Yeah, I have known even though everyone decided to keep that from me.  She and I work pretty well together, even if she does try to remind me to be nicer to the community when they've just pissed me off.  I'm pretty sure a few of the higher ups have come to her to get me to relax and let myself calm down or something too."

"I heard rumors she was a plant by the community to keep track of you and your wild brained ideas."

Xander grinned.  "I'll gladly kill them once they've eaten the lawyers or the council."

"Could like that, yeah," Spike decided.  He looked at the general.  "Smuffy and Red will be back soon.  They're being girls again."

"Eww, TMI," Xander muttered.

"Couldn't tell?" Spike taunted.

"No, the hyena's senses aren't that sensitive to blood scents unless I'm actively using them to track something.  There's times I'm a fantastic scent dog."

Spike shook his head with a sigh.  "I heard about her."

Xander grinned.  "It was nice in a way."  He shifted in his chair.  "Anyway, General.  The answer you're probably looking for is probably in a bar in Idaho this week.  There are other sort of hunters.  Including ones that deal with possessed spirits more than the ones we deal with.  They have their research people and they have one that's a father to two boys - one a hunter, one in college.  He's in Idaho and you want him to help you. He's a former Marine.  He's been fighting the dark for years thanks to them taking out his wife.  And you want to get him today by what is being said from the air ducts.  Like now.  Then call him!" he shouted.

"We can't," the tiny voice said.  "He would never believe us."

"Fine, then get someone to send me and bring us back," Xander ordered.  "Spike, sit, stay, help."  He got up and the demon got him to one who could send him.  Cam had followed but they didn't send him.  Xander landed outside the bar and felt around.  "Great."  He unfolded his cane and got inside.  The bar was very quiet.  "Magic express, guys.  I got sent to talk to someone."  He sniffed and walked to him.  "John Winchester."

"Demon," he sneered.

"Nope.  Former hunter."  He sat down and stared at him.  "They want you at the talk the generals are having about how to handle the various demon menaces."  John choked and spluttered.  Xander stared at him.  "Part of the Sunnydale team is there.  I just made them huff off for their thoughts that I'm tragically unable to do anything.  Perry, I'm going to fuck you up if you touch me," he said suddenly.

"Sorry, Xander.  John, he is a hunter.  The law firm that did the invasion wants to kill him."

Xander nodded.  "A whole hell of a lot."  He looked at John again.  "Also, since I had that one attempted possession a few years back, I sent information around about a son of yours.  Did you get it?"

John sighed.  "I did."

"You're welcome.  He decided I wasn't right for his work."  He gave him a pointed look.  "C'mon, you can help me keep some egos in check."  He stood up with help from that Perry guy.  "Thank you as well.  Wallet?"

"Where are you staying now, Xander?" he asked, handing it back.

"Hawaii."  He grinned.  "Still with Gretchen.  The other house is by Father Philip."  He touched John and the demons took them both back. 

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