Xander stuck his wallet back in his pocket.  "Colonel Mitchell still here?" he asked.

"Calling from outside, Knight."

"Thank you."  Xander shook his hand and walked John out.  "Okay, whisk us away please, Colonel?"

"Sure."  He stared at him.  "The general was not amused."

"I'm not military and I'm not amused that he smells like he was in a playground earlier being real sweaty."

"He has twins.  It wasn't something more sinister."

"That's good.  I like that."  He grinned.  "I've always protected kids."  Cam got them back there.  Someone in the hotel gasped and started to babble.  "John is here for the conference," he called.  "Leave him be."  He walked them into the room.  "General, this is John Winchester.  Buffy, I can smell you.  He's the other sort of hunter Wes told you about that time in high school."

"Pleasure to meet you," she said from behind them, shaking his hand.  "How did you know it was me?"

"Perfume.  Blind people have better senses to compensate."  He sat down.  "Ma'am, can I still bask in your prettiness?"

She swatted him.  "Go ahead, Xander.  Mr. Winchester, I'm Colonel Sam Carter, PhD.  These are Colonel Mitchell, Colonel Sheppard, and General Westfallen.  The vampire there is Spike, he's part of the Sunnydale team."

"I've heard of their team."  He sat down in a free seat away from Spike.  "What sort of problems are going on?"

"Part of it is the demon community is trying to rise up and be noticed for the peaceful parts," Xander said.  "Which I personally don't have a problem with.  The peaceful ones have never had a problem with me."

"There's peaceful ones?"

"The ones we deal with, not the possessing kind," Xander said.  "They're almost always problems."

John nodded.  "They are.  I saw the invasion and if I had been closer I'd have stepped in."  He looked at Buffy.  "So that sort have a peaceful side?"  She smiled and nodded.  "How big of one?"

"Seventy percent of all the other realm and ancient demon offspurts are peaceful.  The rest are vamps and not real peaceful ones."

"Though, two percent of those are actually warrior class demons which are presently negotiating a peace treaty under penalty of someone giving me to them to kill them all," Xander said.  "Someone told me they had offered me as a peacekeeping method.  I pointed out I'd destroy the damn realm first.  They laughed but they agreed it was another good reason to have peace."

"So they wanted to date you too?" Buffy asked.


"Then why would they use you as a threat?  You're not exactly He-Man, Xander."

"No but I do have my skills and I put them to good use destroying people."  He grinned. "I always have."

Spike nodded.  "Too true.  Many groups started in Sunnydale until whelp there stepped in to nag and pick on one side.  Then suddenly they're fighting, they break up, and they try to move to other groups.  It was like a disease in some ways."  He lit a cigarette and leaned back.  "Whiny princess girl said he did that a few times to the law firm."  Xander grinned at him.  "How many want you more than their bosses?"

"Two that're still living.  It couldn't help Angel but it sure kept them off me sometimes and helped me when they told me there was another move against me.  One was genuinely interested in me.  We dated for four months before her bosses found out.  Then they changed her mind.  The other I was never sure if her hitting on me was her idea or not."

John looked at him.  "Who're you?"

"Xander Harris.  Formerly of the Sunnydale team.  Now I'm in Hawaii."

"I heard about the hunter out there," he admitted quietly.  Xander smirked.  "You're on good terms with the peaceful community?"

"Yes, I am.  They're very amused when every now and then I threaten to destroy everyone if the lawyers for hell don't leave me alone."

"I would be too," Buffy said, scowling at him.

He was clearly ignoring her.  Xander looked at the woman next to him.  "What sort of doctor are you?"


"So you deal with how to get to other realms and things?"

"I do.  I've been looking at how they're accessed."

"There's a group of demons that do travel agency stuff," Buffy told her.  "None near here but there's one in LA I know."

"The next closest to here is Vegas," Xander agreed.  "There is a group of them advertising a special trip to the Hellmouth for some sort of remembrance, Buffy."

"I hadn't heard."

"I got a brochure in case I wanted to go back.  I'm not sure what they're remembering."

"Okay," she decided.  "I'll have someone ask."

"Fifteen years since the mayor went down," Spike told them.  He grinned.  "They're holding a vigil for those who died and stoning an image of Wilkins."

"I may just go to that," Xander decided.

"No you're not coming back to Sunnydale.  It's still too dangerous for you, Xander."

Xander turned his head in her direction.  "Said who?"

"Said me and I'm the slayer."

He snorted.  "Actually, Faith is *the* slayer as the line moves through her dying, Buffy.  You're *a* slayer."  She gasped.  "The *the* part only comes if you die and another gets called.  So said one of the Council weenies I heard on a beach last year."  She swallowed.  "They hate Faith more than you but they'd rather remove you both and then move on from there.  So whoever Willow activated, I'd warn them about that plot too?"

"Yeah, I did," she admitted. "There's another three she activated to help out with the clean up and handle the uprisings."

Xander shook his head.  "You need to get the communities and councils together to teach them to have a peaceful civil rights movement.  The more stress they cause, the more of them that'll be killed.  Especially right now with everyone panicking."

"I get that.  I'm sure they do."

"I think most of them aren't thinking that way," Spike told her.  "But he's right.  I've pointed that out to a few who wanted vampire rights."  Xander snorted, shaking his head.  "They were thinking those who use volunteers and the sort that go to blood banks."

"That I might see.  The ones who attack in the clubs, they'll never have it."  Xander shifted again, crossing his feet.  "If you're going to whisper from the air ducts, just show up for the talk," he ordered.  The demon sighed but came out and pulled a chair in beside Spike.  "Thank you.  It's partially your future as well."

John stared at it.  "Is it peaceful?"

"Yes," Buffy, Xander, and Spike said.

"A lot are seers," Spike told him.

"There's one near me that runs a fantastic pawn shop and special grocery store.  I get my housekeeper all sorts of treats from them."

"He said you're very nice to him," the demon said.  "That you're mostly very reasonable and even when she's done something to piss you off on purpose you're still never that angry with her."

"Gretchen's become like family to me," Xander told him.  "Even if she does occasionally trip over the puppies or messes up my closets on purpose because she's mad at me for dating."

"She's a what?" Buffy asked the demon.

"Half Foret."

"Huh," she said, looking at Xander.  "She cooks good clearly."

"I made steaks last night but yes she does."  He grinned.

"How do you cook?" she asked.

"I chop up things by feel and using my fingers as a guideline.  I cook the normal way you do for the most part but my meat thermometer tells me when things are done."

"Oh.  So they make stuff for blind people to cook for real?"  He nodded.  "I didn't know that."

"Yeah.  And I went with an all matching wardrobe I could probably even do my own laundry.  I hate doing laundry so I'm really glad she does it for me," he offered with a grin.  "I do a lot of things for myself."

"Willow said that you probably had to help doing the simple things like taking a bath."

"No.  I've always showered by myself.  Took me a week to learn how to shave with an electric razor but I do all that myself.  Now and then Gretchen gets to pop a back zit."

"I guess that's good for you then," she decided.  "It sounds like Hawaii is good for you so we don't have to worry about you coming back."

He stared at her.  "Don't push your luck."  She sighed but nodded.  He rolled his eyes.

The demon looked down at her.  "You do know that he has defeated about twelve attacks on his life since one of my kind that moved out there?"

"No, I didn't."

"Shooting at the breathing sounds very handy," Xander said.

The demon shuddered.  "Yes, very handy."  Xander grinned at him.  "In Miami they were panicking and are sorry."

"That's cool.  I told the local community that I wasn't going to harm anything as long as the Council and those lawyers and everyone else that wants to kill me leaves me alone.  Then I'd just dust the bottles."

"We would all appreciate that," Buffy said.  She looked at John.  "Have you heard about Bottles of Ancients?"


"I have eight," Xander said.  "Three got destroyed and one got broken years ago but no blood inserted."

"Good to know.  What are you doing with them?"

"The Watchers Council and Wolfram and Hart want to kill me.  If they keep trying I'm going to open one and bleed into it in their buildings and then kill the demons after they've made a mess."

"Sure," John said, nodding slightly.  Xander grinned.  "Can you...."

"He dates people who like weapons," Buffy complained.  "Someone cute-ish took a bunch of them to help us during the invasion."

"Commander McGarrett," the general said.

"He's a detective now.  He's in charge of a task force for Hawaii State Police," Xander said with a grin.  "The guy that had been helping me with them introduced us because he was being retired.  That one's also the one that introduced me to Jim Ellison and his friend Blair."

"I met them there as well," the general said.  "Blair said to say hello."  Xander grinned. "You do make some very diverse contacts."

"Mostly due to dating them," Buffy said dryly.

"I haven't dated in a while.  They never want more than sex these days.  I'd like someone permanent again, like what I had with Anya only more healthy."

"I talked to her the other day.  She said she knows you're doing good and she's happy about that.  Chewed on Willow for saying you were helpless."

"Willow needs her ass kicked," he said bluntly.  "Especially since she tried to help my parents get custody of me for the law firm.  She's damn lucky I had to get home to protect Gretchen from another attack."

"Then you'd probably be the lizard known as Xander," Buffy shot back.  Xander stood up and moved his pants waistline to show off the marks there.  She moaned.

John looked.  "Most of the protections I know about against bad magic and chaos magic.  I'd want two more, Harris."

"They're on my lower back and right butt cheek."  He sat back down.  "It suited it more with what they want me for."

"That figures," he decided.  "So, General, we have what sort of plans?"

"Right now, we're gathering intel on how everyone does things so we won't be interrupting anything *decent* going on while still keeping the peace.  I know we arrested a few demons for dealing arms recently."

"One was going to off-world things," Spike said.  "They needed it."

"They took it back," the demon told him.  "Along with the rest of the weapons they found stored there.  It's helping against that higher demon who wants to take over."

"Is that the guy with eight arms?" Xander asked.

"Yes.  They keep trying to attack his private areas."

"He leaves that in his wife or girlfriend, whatever you call her.  That's why they take on something that's basically like a guide."

"Interesting.  I will let them know."  He made notes.  "She is protected?"

"Usually.  I would if it was me," Xander told him.

"Still, not that hard to take out a building if we must."

"Make sure she's not pregnant, he can reincarnate through any of his offspring," Buffy said.  "Giles was worried he'd show up in town."

"Earth air would kill him, especially the smog in LA," Spike told her.

"Too impure, too rich?" Sam Carter asked.  "Is that a normal problem?"

"Realm by realm," the demon told her.  "Theirs is more nitrogen rich but very clean.  They have gill-like breathing structures that have clogging filters."

"If it'll help, I'll find a way to create a canister of smog to send at him."

He smiled.  "I'll keep that in mind.  Some others need more pure atmospheres.  The ones the Knight holds might have to choke and gasp for a bit too at all the pollution you've put into the air.  Especially if he releases them on the Council in their building."

"Willow said parts of England are smog central," Buffy agreed.  "She went to visit Giles' estate and his horses."

"We heard," Xander and the demon both said.

"I got sixteen panicked calls telling me 'the witch is going insane' and to take her out if she came near me," Xander finished.  "Two weeks before I had to leave Hawaii for my safety I started to get them again.  I got a few very disappointed ones that I didn't take her out at the courthouse.  Then my phone started to mysteriously not work."  The demon pointed at the door.  "I figured it was since it's clearly a magical virus."

"Did you see him point?" John asked.

"No, the tiny bracelet he's wearing jingles when his arm moves and his aftershave is on his wrist so the smell changes too whenever it comes into the open."

"You're using the damn hyena's senses," Buffy accused.  Xander grinned at her.  "At least you're not attacking more pretty young women?"

"That was a 'join my pack or be shoved out' move, Buffy."

"So I beat her?" she asked dryly.

"To truly beat her, you would've had to kill us both."

"Fine.  As long as she doesn't like me anymore."

"No, she doesn't.  She might respect you."

"Hyena?" the general asked.

"I got possessed by one in tenth grade."  He grinned.  "She's real handy and she's helped me hunt for years when I needed to.  Adding her senses into mine has helped me a lot and helped with my whole situational awareness thing too."

"She keeps you from tripping?" Buffy snorted.

"No, that was an ear thing that should've been fixed when I was five and never was.  That got fixed by some minor surgery about nine and a half months after I got to Hawaii.  My eye doctor referred me on the dojo master's suggestion."

"You went to a dojo?" she asked.

"That's something I would've done so I wasn't so vulnerable too," John Winchester told her.  "He had to find whole new ways to tell an enemy and learn to protect himself."

"But we wanted him to be protected," she told him.

"I'm not the thumb sucking sort, Buffy," Xander told her.  "Beyond that, not real safe if they're breaking in to kill me.  The dojo master realized I was influenced by her skills and helped me learn to recognize where I was leaning on her and what else I could learn from her.  Though she did not like the ex that took me skydiving."

"Any hope with the new medical stuff on getting it back?"  He shook his head.  "Shoot.  I'd guess you probably want it back."

"I got asked if I really wanted it bad enough," Xander told her.  "They offered to change me into a half-demon that had aura sense and sight.  There's been plenty of times I would've liked that because 'sounds pretty' doesn't always count and then the next day I hear 'you dated *that*' from someone I know."

"Some people are shallow," Sam agreed.

"Shallow was Miami.  I couldn't get flirted with in a strip club even with a hundred dollar bill in my hand because I can't see how jiggly her fake parts were."

"That's sad," John said.  "No one to watch your back?"  Xander shook his head.   "If you go back that way, I'll see if Dean will give me the name of the club he liked a lot for easy women."  Xander grinned at him.  "You're usually in Hawaii?"

"I have a house in Boston, near Father Philip.  Some of Jim and Mack's friends introduced me to some of their contacts who dealt with demons and they introduced me to Father Philip."

"Irish guy?" John asked.  He looked a bit confused.  "Language expert?"

"Yeah.  Demons hate him more than me."

"I did not know that."

"He's retired," Xander said with a smile.  "Something about another ancient group, as old as the Council.  Deal with demons like your type of hunter does?"

"Legacy," he growled.

"I got introduced to some in San Fran.  Philip retired."

"I'll go to him for holy water then," John decided.  "Would he mind?"

"He knows that other hunters might hear because I talked to him for years about my anger issues.  He's a great guy, I adore Philip like a brother.  The last time we talked about demon things one had just tried to take him over and he was swearing at it.  I drove it off and he did an exorcism of the thing that it was hiding in.  The whole church shook."

"He's an anointed one," John said.

"No clue.  He's retired."

"Does he guard a special artifact or book?"

"No.  He's the guy that the ones needing the real exorcists called.  He told me this absolutely bitching story about a guy who had a Hand of Glory in a school he was working in."

"I know his type.  I know another of the Carnation Order."

Xander grinned.  "He does like white carnations but then he told me he retired shortly afterward."

"Good.  Then I'd definitely like to get to know him.  Even just as a source of holy water and maybe some translations that need it."

"He's got three spirits up there that he's been fussing at for months," Xander said.  "They won't stay gone when he sends them off."

"I can be in Boston in a few days after I get my truck."  Xander grinned.  "Thanks."

"Not a problem.  Philip could use more *friends*."

"Got it."  He patted the table.

"There's a group beyond the Council?" the general sighed.

"That one's been around forever but it handles the bigger, possessing demons that are almost always problems," Xander said.  "They're about as old.  They don't have specific warriors.  They have normal people doing the job, some with gifts like Sight and things."

"Most of the hunters that know about the demon community and those sort," the demon told him, "consider it to be two worlds.  A higher and a lower.  The higher, the possessing sort, are the ones that try world take over bids and possess people to enact bad ideas.  They're minions of Hell.  Us lesser ones are considered a slight problem for the ones that cause problems," he said with a point at Spike.  "But most of us are pretty well hidden so humans can ignore us."

"Humans ignore anything strange," Xander told the general.  "'Look at that guy's skin condition, he's smurf blue' sort of ignoring it.  Sunnydale has a large case of that."

"Yes it does," Buffy agreed.  "It's what lets the vampy vamps eat so many of them."

"Did Riley ever tell you that he broke into my house to talk to me?" Xander asked her.

"Is that why he got arrested?"

"Yeah.  Jim and Blair got him for me."  He grinned.  "He had gassed Gretchen.  I nearly killed his ass for that but Jim busted in and put him down for being a Ranger-wannabe and disgracing the uniform he used to wear."

"Is he single?" Buffy asked.

"Not real sure," he admitted.  "Try to date a normal officer."  She nodded she could do that.  "Did Sunnydale ever rehire the department?"

"No.  We have two officers now, who still do nothing.  Cousins of former officers so they're locals.  One tried to tell me the other day I looked like a pro.  He was going to arrest me on it and then rape me horrible from what he told Willow when she had him about ten feet in the air and was going to drop him onto the ground really hard."

"Well, maybe someone will come along and sacrifice them too," Xander said.

Spike snorted.  "Don't tempt 'em.  One's recently been turned."

The general whimpered.  "Is it always like that there?"  The Sunnydale team nodded.  "Are other places that bad?"

"Angel's team handles anything breaking the quiet in LA," Buffy said with a shrug.  "I've only been those two places.  Kendra was raised in Jamaica.  She snuck onto a plane to get to Sunnydale.  She might've known.  Unfortunately Dru killed her back in our high school times.  She was Council raised and hated Angel."

"Duh," Xander quipped.

"You hush."

"Hey, I was right.  You didn't listen."


Xander sniffed then turned his head toward Spike, who snorted and lit another cigarette.

"Local rules say no smoking inside any building," Carter said, snatching it and putting it out.  "It's bad for the rest of us who have to breathe."

Xander snickered.  "When he first joined the team, Willow nagged him about his smoking.  Giles tied him up in his tub and I taped him in my recliner when I had custody of him."

"Still owe you one, nummy," Spike shot back with an evil smirk.

"Come to Hawaii and tell me that, Spike."

"Too bloody sunny for my tastes.  Maybe next time you're in Boston."

"Sure, I'll buy you a beer."  Spike shook his head with a sigh.

Buffy moaned.  "Please don't date Spike."

"I'd never date Spike, Buffy.  I like mine *warm*."

"I'm going to tell Willow on you," she shot back.

"I asked Blair's mother Naomi to talk to her about the earth mother."  He grinned.  "Naomi's in town, she was heading to Cascade and stopped over to talk to a friend at the yoga center in town."

"Sandburg?" the general asked.  Xander grinned and nodded.  The general shuddered.  "She treated me like a naughty toddler more than once when she was protesting near my base."

"Her son works with Jim Ellison."

The general shuddered again, walking out to call someone.  He didn't much like Rosenburg or Ms. Sandburg.  So maybe they were a mutual cure to the other.  He found the number for the yoga center and called.

Xander looked at John.  "The hunters network, how many?  Relatively so we can see if they're spread about and if LA needs some clean up help."

"There's a few who went to help there," John said.  "A lot of us are in the midwest but a lot of us travel all over."

"Killer.  I know there's only been one in Hawaii since I moved in.  Does Perry still whine in his sleep?"

"Yup.  He fell asleep on a table and had puppy dreams," John said with a smirk for the kid.  "Any areas you've heard we need covered?"

"Here.  Because whatever project is here draws things that are waiting for a chance," the demon told him.  The soldiers all stared at him.  "Truth, people.  However you opened up that Ancient device draws them.  They think it's their signal from the Old Ones to move up.  You have a good twenty bad ones in town, even with a week of Buffy hunting."

Buffy nodded.  "Huge group of vamps I've been weeding down with Spike's help.  One group is hiding by the academy and I can't get on there to kill them."  She looked at Carter.  "One of the demons said that you were some sort of super brain and had something that could zap them?"

"A zat would," Xander agreed.  "I tried it on one I captured trying to break into a daycare to eat the kids.  I had heard and was lurking.  The local PD there was not amused when they caught me but they caught sight of the vamp and I shot it.  Two zaps and they're dust."

Buffy nodded.  "Can I bum one?" she asked Carter.

"We're Air Force ourselves," John said.  "We can escort you onto the academy grounds and help you.  Cam and I are both Special Forces trained and Carter was on a tactical team at one point."

Buffy beamed.  "Thank you."

"We'd want to stop that," Sam agreed.  "Any idea what is it is specifically that summons that sort?"

"If the Old Ones who bark show up, the demons know they'll take over humanity and the demons can beat them," he said.

"We defeated them for the most part," Sam said with a smile.  "They're not the current threat."

"No, the Oral Roberts-like ones I've been told about are bad," Xander said.  "The demons are very certain they can overrun them because there's a few who can eat ascended, whatever they are.  One was drunkenly making plans in Miami about who to call and when if they got down here.  Again, a let them weaken humanity for us since they'd take out all the smart ones that could stop them first, and then they'd take over from them."

"We can work on a plan against that," Cam said.  "Any idea when?"

"If they get down here, you're going to se it start," Buffy said.  "I heard one making the same sort of plans at our demon bar."

Spike nodded.  "Anything big, the demons would let take out humanity and then take over."

"The wraith they can't," John said.

"The wraith probably won't eat demons," Sam told him.  "They don't eat animals or anything that's too non-human."

"Which would save most demons outside vampires," Buffy said.

"Three species," Spike told her.  "Yeah, wraith are known about.  Bloody wankers are dumb as minions at times.  A lot of demons would gladly help you take them out but there'd be human casualties at the same time.  Mostly the smart ones that help protect humanity."  He looked at John and sniffed.  "If you bring her back here, you're going to have problems."

"Good to know.  We'll take that into account for our future disaster plans."

Buffy smiled.  "As long as I don't have to help.  I have enough with the bad demons trying things.  Especially in the spring."

"This spring I'm going to ask someone to teach me to surf and scuba," Xander quipped with a grin.  "To handle the mermaids that are off Hawaii who think I'm a cousin."

"Are they eating people?" Buffy asked.  "I'll take a vacation to your beaches to hunt them."

"They get about a surfer a year," he admitted.  "They migrate from Hawaii to some other, more protected island to the south.  They have a mystical chamber they visit every year under Oahu in an underwater cave.  They fast on the way in and take a surfer on the way out.  Hawaiian tradition states that no one fishes or surfs that week.  The locals who aren't native don't understand why but it's pretty widely adopted by everyone but tourists."

"Huh," Buffy said.  "I guess that makes sense.  I'm guessing slayers who were in Africa and Asia have a lot of the same when demons come near the natives that you see on National Geographic."  Xander nodded.  "Interesting."

"Mermen exist?" John asked.

"They look like _Swamp Thing_," Xander said.  "I got some mermaid taint issued to me when I went undercover on the swim team to find out why they were disappearing and turning up as black, slimy monsters."

"Your whole town needs sank," John Sheppard complained.  "Is that normal?"  Buffy nodded, so did Xander.  "Sam, can we blow up their town?"

"Yup.  Not that hard to do.  The general wanted plans on how to do that."

"Give us enough time to tell the demon bar so the harmless ones can leave," Buffy said.  "Angel will moan about being overloaded but he'll handle it."

"Where's the other hellmouths?" Xander asked her.

"I don't know.  There's got to be at least one more," she agreed, pulling out her phone to call Giles.  "It's me.  Xander just asked how many other hellmouths there are.  No, he's good.  He can even cook for himself, Giles.  No, he still can't see.  We all apparently underestimated how much blind people could do.  Including shoot Council people.  By the way, he said they're going to make a potion to kill all the activated slayers within six months."  He complained but gave her information she needed.  "He heard they need that root thingy, Xander."

"They got it last week," the demon told her.  "They're moving in on the potion maker in South Africa to get him free of the prison."

She repeated that and got another note to pass on.  "There's other hunters, like the ones Wesley told us about way back when.  They handle the possessing sort of demons instead of like I do.  Is there anything I should pass on to them?"  She made a note and handed it to John.  "Thanks, Giles."  She hung up.  "He said he hopes you're all right."

"I'm usually fine."

John nodded, sending that message to someone.  "I'm telling someone who knows which hunter would be out that way, Buffy."

"Thank you."  She smiled.  "Are there any cute, young hunters?"

"I have two sons but one wanted a normal life," he admitted, looking at her.  "I can introduce you to the other one."

"I wanted to be normal more than once," she sighed.  "Then I got pulled back in by moving to Sunnydale or having the cheerleading squad attacked.  Once it was an old boyfriend who wanted to be turned so he used me as a prize."

"Beer," Xander quipped.

"Shut up, Xander.  I can still kick your butt."

"I can shoot you before you move," he assured her.  "You can have a few weeks of limping and going 'ow, he was really mean to me'."

"No thanks.  That's why I don't like guns.  They might get used on me."  He smirked.

John shook his head.  "My sort of hunter finds them very handy.  What sort of weapons do you use?"

"Crossbows, swords, Xander had an axe he used to use."

"It's still well used," the demon complained, glaring at Xander.

"I told him not to fuck with me or I'd make him bait chunks.  He was on my back lawn taunting me."

"Jesus, you're all insane," John Sheppard said, shaking his head quickly.  "Swords?"

"Yup, very handy to behead," Buffy said with a smile.  "Lots of things take beheading."

"We use higher powered shotguns to blow them off," John told him.  "We have a variety of bullets we use."

"I mostly stake," Buffy told them.  "A lot because a lot of what I handle are a specific breed of vampy vamp and they take staking or beheading.  It's easier to hide a stake in a cute top and skirt combo."

"I'd never let a daughter that was hunting wear a skirt," John said.

"We have patrols," Xander said with a grin.  "Every single night most of the year."

"I'd still never let a daughter who was hunting wear a skirt," John said, looking at her.  "Don't you worry about it being easier to be ripped off you?  Or even flashing someone?"

"There's an appreciation society," Spike said smugly.  She reached over to hit him on the arm.

"They started back when she started to wear fashionable clothes on patrol," Xander said dryly.  "They used to stalk her around to see if they could catch a flash of thong.  They used to have a whole bulletin board of pictures but Angelus made them burn it and tried to kill most of them.  Andrew probably has copies though since some were human."

Buffy blushed.  "I never knew that."

"Yup.  Angel used to growl to scare them off a lot."

"Oh," she said in a tiny voice.  "That's good to know."

"Those backless shirts you used to wear?  *Real* popular with them too."

"They were taking a survey on which type of heels they liked you in best," Spike said.  "They decided the wedge ones because they were higher and you could do the fancy kicks in them."

"Yeah, I think I need to change my look then," she decided.

"Might not help," the demon assured her.  "The day you went out in the bodysuit and jeans nearly became a pinup look on the bulletin boards online.  They really liked the nice bra that barely peeked out and showed you off very well."

"It's nice to know that they don't think I'm tragically old," she said.  She shook her head quickly.  "I'm definitely too old for those backless shirts.  Xander, did your wardrobe mature finally?"

"Not really.  Gretchen helps me make sure I have two groups that match within that group."

"Aww, did she put little animals on the hangers?"

"Blue and red braille markers.  Though I do still look just as hot in a speedo."  He smirked.

"You're still very fit but I don't know too many men that wear them," John Winchester said, shaking his head.

"It's one way to get them to look past the cane and the glasses.  Or else they see that and want to pity me and maybe pity sleep with me.  One asked me if I was a virgin because I was blind."

"Did you lie?" Buffy asked.

"She was eighteen and it gave her status points."  He grinned.  "I told her I had gotten to oral sex before but no further."

Sam Carter shook her head.  "Most guys would."

"Yup," Cam and John said.

"We're all insane," Sheppard decided.

"It's where we're still young enough to party, old enough to realize how bad it is for us, and unwise enough to not care," Xander told him.  "The club I used to go to loved my dog when I brought her in.  The bouncers were a bit freaked out at first but all the girls cooed at her.  It drew in a lot more girls because they told them a cute blind guy with a dog was in to listen to the music and smell the sweat.  A few even bought her bottles of water and treats from the bar."

"I've heard of guys using dogs to pick up women in a park but not in a bar," Sam Carter said.  Someone knocked then walked in.  "Rodney.  Xander Harris, Buffy Summers, John Winchester, Spike, and I didn't catch your name," she offered to the demon.

"It's not pronounceable by your kind anyway," he said with a smile.  "Welcome, Loud One Who Makes Ancient Things Not Break As Fast."  John burst out cackling at that title.

"That's better than mine," Xander said.

"Or mine," Buffy agreed.  "Does John have one?"  She pointed at John Winchester since there were two.

"We just consider him scary," the demon assured her.

"Good," John agreed.  "Dean or Sam have one?"

The demon cleared his throat.  "Perhaps it would be good if you sent your younger son to Hawaii for guarding duties?  That way the demon that haunts you will not end up haunting him?  Because the Great Plan is worse than the one Harris has for humanity if he loses his temper on those who want him again."

"I sent him what I got from the demon that tried to possess me a few years back," Xander told him.


"Why?" Buffy complained.

"He wanted to see if I was useful for his purposes since I wasn't under the cloud of Sunnydale energy that kept his kind off me.  Then Blair taught me how to shield with his spirit guide."

"We believe in such things?" Rodney demanded.

"I met his.  Wolf was really nice about some things.  Blair's a shaman."

"Dirt," Buffy complained quietly.  Xander grinned at her.  "So anyway, their plan?"

"Final apocalypse," the demon said.

"Having Sam be the host body of a higher demon to open a hellgate," Xander said.  "Final apocalypse when?"

"That would send his brother to hell somehow, and once there they'd use him to break seals," the demon told him.

"No bloody way," Spike growled.

Xander shrugged.  "If he's nice and not of the pitying the Xander sort we can hang out if he's cool.  I don't mind new friends."

"He's at Stanford," John said quietly.

"Hawaii has a number of great schools," Xander said with a grin.  "Very good ones that have later degrees and beaches plus pretty things to stare at."

John pulled out his phone to call someone.  "Son, me.  Go get your brother from Stanford no matter what.  The demon wants him too."  He listened.  "I don't care, Dean.  This is more important."

Xander sighed, looking at the demon's place.  "Can you kidnap him?"

"He's around a protected being.  We think the demon after that family is protecting her to make sure she's around for his plans."

"Buffy, have Willow steal him."

She called her.  "It's me.  We just found out a hunter's son is being stalked by a higher, possessing sort of demon to use him to start an apocalypse and destroy his family.  Stanford.  Please?  Thanks.  I'm sure whoever that is would understand."

"If that's Naomi, yes she will.  She knows about demons.  She's very much the vegan hippie chick I once called her."

"Who protests a lot," John Winchester muttered.  Xander grinned and nodded.

Buffy hung up.  "Naomi agreed it was a good reason and then they'd go back to talking."  She stared at Xander.  "That was mean."

"She showed up in Miami twice to tell me I was helpless.  I was going to ask her to talk to both of you."

"Oooh," she said with a wince and a hiss.  "Ow.  A Mom talk."

"And then some.  She quit protesting nuclear power plants that could leak and cause birth defects to talk to Willow."  Willow appeared with the young guy then stomped off to go correct that *woman* about how she wasn't evil.

"Son," John said, standing up to look at him.

"You had me taken from right before a test?  I thought you hated witches, Dad."

"I do.  The demon is after *you*," he said quietly, staring at him.

"One possessed me a few years ago," Xander said.  "I passed on the information that it was going to do a replay, then wear you down until you were his host so he could open a hellgate."

Sam looked at him.  "Okay.  Who're you?"

"Xander Harris.  Formerly of the Sunnydale team."

"I'm Buffy, the slayer Buffy," she said with a smile and wave.  "That was Willow that stole you.  She's my witch for the patrol stuff and apocalypses."

John looked at him.  "We'll get you a makeup but if he's coming for you...."

"He is," the tiny demon said.  "Then it'd come down to that one using you to send your brother to hell so he could break seals.  Hence a *final* apocalypse."

Sam shuddered.  "Okay."  He stared at his father.  "I know you hate me having a normal life."

"This isn't about that.  We can argue about that later, son.  The demon knows about your girlfriend.  He's protecting her until he's ready."

"When was that going to be?" Sam asked quietly.

"He can only open the gate in the cemetery every so often," Xander said.  "I'm thinking it's within a few years maybe?"

"Damn it," he muttered.  "I love Jess."

"As Naomi says, detach with love and make it long distance," Xander offered.  "I live in Hawaii and we're pretty protected.  The whole islands have protections against most of the possessing sorts thanks to a sacrifice back about three hundred years ago or so."

"It's a good school," Sam agreed.  "I was thinking law school though.  Stanford would get me in faster.  Plus I'm full ride."

"I'm proud," John said quietly.  Sam nodded, slumping some while he thought.  "We have a choice here and we can head it off.  If he's gotten this time then Jess is safe.  So are you.  Then you can go have your normal life and all that.  If not, he's gunning for you."

"Any idea why he wants your family?" Xander asked.  They both stared at him.  "If he's doing a redo of what he did before, why?  Why you guys specifically?  Is there something in your bloodline?  Is there a gift in the family?  Something that could help him?"

"I've been trying to figure that out," John admitted.  "I have no idea."  He looked at the demon.  "Any idea?"

"Well, I can tell you that the young one there smells like he got infected or tainted," Spike said.  "Same as whelp here does from Sunnydale's mermaids, the possessions, and other things."

"So whatever he did before he burned my wife tainted you somehow," John said, looking at his son.

"Why your family?" Xander asked.  "That's a hell of a lot of work to possess someone, have them sneak in, kill your wife in a ritual manner without a ritual, and infect your son."

"I have no idea," John said firmly.

"Okay."  He looked at the demon and Spike's spots.

"You might ask a vengeance one," Spike offered.

"Anya!" Xander yelled.  She appeared with a squeal and hugged him.  He grinned and hugged her back.  "Dinner later?"

"I'll be in Russia."  She looked and blanched.  "Oh, shit, it's you."

"We're trying to figure out why him," Xander told her.

"There's a lot of 'into every generation one is born' things beyond the slayer one," she said, staring at the son.  "Including ones with gifts from bloodlines past, like sight, and maybe some healing or something?"  Sam growled.  She grinned.  "Also," she said, looking at John.  "You were returned."  John stiffened.  "Vengeance demons can always tell when someone's returned from the dead."  She kissed Xander.  "I'll pop around when I can."  She disappeared.  She had to report that Xander had stepped into the Winchester apocalypse plans.

"Being dead isn't fun," Buffy said.  "I've been there and Xander brought me back with CPR."

"I've never needed CPR," John said.  "She was who?"

"Anyanka," Xander and Buffy said together.

"My ex," Xander admitted.  "She was humaned for a while."

"Seer," Sam said.  "That would be a good reason to come after me."  John nodded at that, looking down.  "If it's that far back, how would it come active in me?"

"Demon blood can do that," Spike said.  "It did to Dru's when Angelus turned her.  It's what drove her batty."

Buffy nodded.  "Giles said that some species of demons can give you their essence.  I went telepathic after some got some blood on me."

"So essence of the demon to awaken gifts."

"Why would he want a seer to lead a demon army?" Xander demanded of Spike.  "That makes no damn sense."

"He only needs a minion to open a hell gate, whelp.  Not a body.  Even if he's the possessing sort, opening it gives him the power and then he'd probably take over a  stronger warrior to lead.  Not a problem for him to kill a body by moving on."

"Actually, both of my boys know how to hunt," John admitted, looking at his son.  "I tried to send Dean but he's on a critical hunt.  The demon was going after kids," he said quietly.

"That's fine," he said, pulling out his phone to call his teacher.  "It's Sam Winchester, sir.  I just got summoned by my father, who I'm at odds with, about my future.  No, I'm not in California right now.  He had me snatched.  Where are we?"

"Denver," John said.

"Colorado Springs," Cam corrected.  He took the phone to talk to him.  "Sir, Colonel Cameron Mitchell, US Air Force.  I'm here with your student.  His father did have him snatched because he heard someone was going to attack him.  No, not for money.  His father heard something from the invasion wanted him to kill as a sacrifice.  That's what I'm doing actually.  His father brought him to where I am to protect him.  He'll be back in a few days, once we can get that threat.  Yes, sir.  He knew he had a test.  He complained about that first thing.  Thank you, sir."  He hung up.  "You can have a makeup as long as you get there within a week, Sam."

"Thank you."  He looked confused.  "Why are we meeting?"

"We're figuring out how to integrate the soldiers that got told to hunt the bad demons trying things into the hunters and the others that do the work," Xander quipped.  "I'm a former hunter.  Buffy and Spike are from the Sunnydale team.  The little guy there is being helpful and putting in input for the peaceful community.  These nice others were at the invasion."

Sam nodded.  "Okay.  I left all that for a normal life."

"I tried that," Buffy sighed.  "Didn't work at all.  I'm the slayer," she said at his odd look.

"Oh.  I've read about you."  She smiled.  "Thank you."

"Not a problem.  I used to rely on Xander for moral support and jokes, plus sometimes ideas that worked even if I thought they were stupid."

"And artillery," Xander quipped.  "Or bombs."

"And them," she agreed with a smile for Sam.

"I still want to sink your town," Sam Carter told her.

"Cool!  Let me pack first?"


Sam shook his head.  "That's insane."

"There's a hellmouth under the old high school," Xander told him.

"New high school too," Buffy quipped, waving a hand in the air.  "They put it right back on top of it."  Sam and John both shuddered.  "We've kept the death rate down under twenty percent.  I'm considering that mostly a win."

"I'm sending Dean to help you, Buffy.  That needs a few extra hunters to help thin the pack of vampires causing problems."  He glanced at Spike.  "He'll tell all his friends in the hunting community about what the town needs and that you're open for dating a nice boy."

"Thank you."  She got up and hugged him.  "Can he send someone nice toward Xander?"

"I'm not sure if he knows anyone in Hawaii or not."  Sam pulled a chair from the stack in the corner over to the table so he could sit by his father.

"Okay, what do we most need to help integrate the people being told to handle things?" Cam asked.

"Training," Xander and Buffy said.

"Staking's not like stabbing," Xander said.  "Very small target, hard to hit, vamps are stronger and faster."

"Giles hates this idea but he has a lot of books full of research and prophecies that you guys probably need to bum for at least a copying time," Buffy agreed.

"Also, hunters *hunt*," John put in.  "We research what's going on in a given situation, what's doing it, and then act reasonably.  For spirits causing problems that's digging up a grave to salt and burn it.  For possessed people that's an exorcism, which can kill the host if you're not careful.  For others it's defeating a beast."

"For us once it was a hell goddess," Buffy said.  "Thanks for those weapons, Xander."


"So higher and lower weapons.  Research skills.  Self-defense or hand-to-hand training," John Sheppard said.  They nodded.  "Anything else?"

"A real good tolerance for the weird, insane, and things that make you want to drink," Xander said.  "The two Marines Buffy and Willow handed me to for protection when I was newly blind got *real* drunk when they looked up my background.  Their whole Special Forces group of friends all got real drunk with them when they heard."  He shifted.  "I had to guide Jim Ellison on a hunt when something was attacking officers in Cascade.  He said it was a lot like what he was taught as a Ranger for team stalking a target to take it out.  Plus research."

"We have that," Cam agreed.  "We're all real used to strange things too."  Sam Carter nodded at that.   "Are small teams reasonable or should it be a bigger group?"

"Sometimes you need one, sometimes you need an army," John said.  Buffy nodded quickly.  "I'm told their team has about four or five people all told."

"Me, my watcher, Spike, and a few part-timers like Willow," Buffy agreed.  "Xander was one of my backups.  Guys like John and his sons go out singly usually or maybe a couple if they're married?"  John nodded.

"So a small team would be reasonable, but they'd need to be able to act independently of the team," John Sheppard said.

"That would be for the best," Xander agreed.  "Some of it's real boring.  Patrols are still patrols.  You get the vamps as they come up if you're lucky and maybe a few more while you're out.  Those are more exciting than the guys coming up that you stake as soon as they make it out of the dirt."

"Club hunting is good but dangerous," Buffy said.  "Usually then you're a small group and there's a lot more of them than you.  I usually get about five or six vamps a night when I hunt in the club in Sunnydale or when I'm in LA doing one for Angel.  It can also lighten my mood when I get my tease on."

"Hunting isn't life affirming by any means," Xander agreed.  "The morning after the apocalypse when you're watching the sun comes up can be.  That's usually the moment I realize 'I did okay, I survived' and then I get up and snoopy dance."

"You can snoopy dance?" Sam asked with a grin.

"I can and I'm excellent at it," he said with a grin back.

"After the bad hunts it's usually a few beers and watching the sun come up when I'm that tired and want to retire," John Winchester agreed.  "I take a few days and then something comes to my attention that needs to be handled."

"You're all insane," Sam Carter assured them.  But she was smiling.  "Does it help if you have backup?"

"There's times a single person can do it when a team can't," Xander pointed out.  "There's times when all the Marines might be nice but a single person has to do it.  Those moments you start your mental 'oh shit, why did I start doing this' mantra and do it anyway.  Even if it means you die."  The other hunters nodded.  So did John Sheppard.

"I've had a few of those happen in my career," John Sheppard admitted quietly.  "Then I usually wanted beer or liquor that wasn't available."

"Anytime you do those things, we *all* want liquor," Rodney assured him.  He sat down beside Carter.  "The General?"

"Isn't used to the scooby meeting style so he went to talk to someone," Buffy said.  "We were squabbling like family because Xander's still real disappointed with us."  Xander nodded.  "And he probably hates us enough to have us eaten."

"There's days," Xander admitted.  "Others I'd stick with the hell beaten out of you both option.  Because it would've been real nice to have *support* when I was having to learn how to do everything again."

"I guess," she sighed.  "I still say it's too dangerous."  Xander pointed at the demon.

"Don't bring me into this argument please.  I can see both sides but the Knight has a disturbing habit of shooting people who attack him."

"He'd need wooden bullets in Sunnydale."

"I know three people who make them and wooden ball bearing filled shotgun shells," John Winchester told her.

"I don't like guns," she told him.  "They can be taken from you and used on you a lot easier than a sword is."

"She's never liked guns," Xander told them.

"I can see that point, but sometimes it's safer if you're farther away when you kill things," Sam told her.

She nodded.  "It might be nice but then things can go whoosh on vamps.  Xander used to pickpocket them while he staked.  Spike does now."

Spike nodded.  "It's come in handy.  Gets me money for smokes and blood too."

"It used to be our pizza fund for research times," Xander agreed.  "Chinese was too expensive so Giles popped for some of that."

"You're all crazy," Rodney assured them.

"Yeah but you don't go into hunting for the mental health benefits.  You go in because you need to fix something that happened or get something back for screwing you up," Sam Winchester said.  "You get into hunting because there's a little voice inside your head that says 'it won't happen again' and you listen to it."

His father patted him on the back.  "I know yours was never as strong as mine or Dean's."

Sam looked at him.  "I don't even remember Mom," he said quietly.  "For you it's a crusade that's more important that we were, Dad.  I never got that.  I need to do what makes me happy and makes sense to my little mental voices.  Including helping people as a lawyer."

"I get that now.  It took me a while.  Dean may still not understand."

"Dean's always been your mini me."

John smiled.  "You both make me proud in your own ways."  Sam grinned and relaxed again.  "You still can't really go back until we're sure the demon can't get her this semester."

"I can transfer for a year, study abroad or something."

"Do not go to Europe," Xander warned.  "The Council is heavier over there and they think all you guys are playing in their field.  They'd consider you an easy target because you were alone."

Buffy nodded.  "They've taken out a few different people who stepped into the supernatural community for some reason."

"They think it's their playground and their ordained jobs," Xander told her.  "They never got taught to share and play well with others.  The Council needs to go.  Even if one of the other more ancient groups takes over all the slayers."

"They have their good points."

"Tell that to how Kendra was raised," he said.  "Or you with what they did to you on your eighteenth, and how they're behind the tumor your mother had."  She stiffened.  "Yeah, it was on the underground.  I sent you a letter?"  She shook her head.  "Huh.  Them or someone else?" he asked Spike.

"Red.  She didn't want to worry her about anything else.  She decided you were whining about being in paradise in San Diego."

"I was in Hawaii for over a year by then," he said.

"We both thought you were still in San Diego until a few years ago," Buffy said dryly.

"That's your fault."

"Yes it was.  I'm mature enough to admit to that mistake."  Xander got up and threw a knife at the door, making something scream.  "How in the hells, Xander?  I barely got that on my slayer spidey senses."

"It stinks.  It stinks more now but it's dead."  He sat down and let John Winchester handle it.  "I found out if I aim for the breathing I hear I usually hit about chest height.  With a gun I usually aim about knee or hip height."

Sam Carter stared at him.  "You trained yourself to handle things very well."  Xander beamed at her.

Sam Winchester looked at him, noticing the cane and dark glasses indoors.  "How long have you been blind?"

"Just over ten and a half years thanks to a demon with acidic sweat."

"I still hear you screaming when I'm having nightmares," Buffy said quietly.

Xander looked in her direction.  "So do I."

She relaxed again.  "Well, that's a harmful demon.  A demon assassin.  So not good news.  I wonder who it was after."

"It has papers and a picture of..." John said, opening it.  "Him."  He pointed at Rodney.  John Sheppard took them to look at.  "He's on your project?"

"Yeah, he's my head geek."  He handed them down to Rodney.  "Looks like they're worried that you'll keep things going."

"Of course I am.  I'd hate for our base to sink."  He read it over, grimacing.  "Fairly low price.  The Russians had double that on my head."  He folded them up and put them in front of him.

"If it'll make you feel better, I'll give you a hug," Xander said.  "That way you don't have to out-macho the wobbly feelings."

Rodney stared at him.  "I'll consider that offer later.  I never hug in public.  Others might want one of their own."

Xander grinned.  "Sure.  I'm here."  His phone beeped.  "Whoo-hoo!  Someone ended the curse on my phone!"  He opened it to listen to the audio message.  "Or not."  He sighed and looked at Buffy.  "Write this number."  He repeated it.  "A text saying that my financial guy is possessed or something?  And to please ask Kono to ask her scary girlfriend, she'll know which one, to fix that for me?"  She nodded, doing that.  "Thanks."

"Welcome."  She got back an answer.  "They said they are."

"They're not."  He pushed his phone to where she was sitting.

She listened.  "Oh, that fuckhead," she muttered.  "Excuse my Greek.  I don't usually swear in English anymore.  Giles got upset with the last one."  She wrote them another message and then another one.  "Xander, do you want to fix the tragedy of the hotel trying to have you arrested?"

"Why are they trying to arrest me?"

"No clue.  You just got a message saying that the hotel was calling the cops on you."  She looked up.  "No clue why."  She got up and went to find the general.  "We've pretty well worked out what the hunters in the soldiers will need," she said, showing him the message.

"No idea," he admitted.  He went to interrupt them.

Xander came out to go to the business room and came back with a fax once he had signed one.  He heard the huffy person and held it up.  "Read that to me please?"  The paper was snatched and the man gasped, babbling at him.  Xander stared at him.  "Thank you.  That's what I thought it said."  He took it back and walked off.  "Willow, the people I know are *really* unimpressed with you hacking me again," he said when he walked past a room that smelled like Naomi Sandburg to him.

"Excuse me?" Naomi said.  She came out.  Xander hissed in her ear.  "Heck no."  She went in there to have a better talk with the young lady.  And to paddle her like her mother should have.  She didn't believe in violence but this one could screw up everyone.  She might even destroy all the Mother's works.

Xander shut the meeting room door on the wailing.  He sniffed.  "Sorry, we must be next door."  He walked out and went over there.  "Buffy, Council's next door," he said as he shut the door.  He locked it.  "It smelled like cigarettes and not the expensive ones.  Plus beer, not cognac."

"Crap, a bag and tag team," she complained.  She checked her stakes.  Spike checked for his metal ones.  Xander and the Winchesters checked their weapons.  She looked.  "Sam, they won't want to kill you yet.  Get behind one of the soldiery sorts?"  He nodded, handing over his knife.  She grinned.  "Thanks, I couldn't hide one in my cleavage today."  The door got kicked in and she threw the knife at the person who came in holding a gun.  Xander and John Winchester aimed to wound.  The other soldiers and Rodney dealt with the rest.

The general came jogging back.  "Who're they?"

"Council," Xander said.  "John?"

"Yup?" Sheppard asked.

"Other one.  Would you like it if Sam was in charge of the Council?  That way it'd make sense and he could do the research stuff?  He can finish his law degree in England or wherever?"

Buffy tipped her head to look around John Winchester at him.  "Is that a mean idea or a serious one?"

"Both.  I'm pretty sure Sam knows what hunters need.  I'm pretty sure he'd never hurt the girls.  I'm also pretty sure he'd love all the research stuff.  The watchers would be remade and actually *work*.  I could probably even ask some friends to see if another group could help them reform."  One of the Council people moaned at that.  He looked around.  "Winchester, is your phone warded?  I've still got that curse against phones."

"No need," D'Hoffryn said as he appeared.

Buffy stopped John Winchester from firing.  "He's the head vengeance demon.  We've seen him before."

"They're wish granters," Sam Winchester said.

"I am and that's a very good idea, Harris.  That's actually a wonderful idea.  It would stop them from summoning the First Evil to take out Summers."  Buffy moaned and kicked the nearest body.  "It would also allow them to reform under the Light, plus stop the Winchester apocalypse plans."

"They named it?" John demanded.

"Quite."  He smirked.  "It's not even demons who want the final apocalypse."

"Philip said angels had to possess people too unless they were fallen," Xander said.

"Yes, they do.  Father Philip is one we like to leave alone.  We have a non-bothering contract with him.  We don't go near him and he doesn't holy us to death.  He's the only one I've seen kill a higher level, fallen angel level demon by exorcizing it too hard."

"He told me about that," Xander said with a grin.  "But that would work?"

"It would stop bad things on both sides."  He looked at Winchester.  "You can give up your bright future as a lawyer for people who may or may not be guilty and a life of alcoholism when you're older because one was guilty and you helped get a mass murderer off so he could do it again."

Sam considered it then nodded.  "If I must to protect people, I can do it there and finish my law degree to help the slayers and hunters.  I planned on helping them anyway."

"Good!"  He clapped his hands and an older man appeared, one hand going to his gun.  "Easy," he ordered.  "I come bearing a plan to help stop the light from a huge mistake and stop at least six dark plans, Precept Rayne."

"Which one are you?" he demanded too calmly.  His accent was pretty strong because he was pissed off.

"I'm D'Hoffryn, Lord of the Vengeance demons.  The Council of Watchers has caused their last apocalypse attempt.  It is so mandated."  Derek nodded once at that.  "A plan was issued to stop the light and dark's plans for final apocalypses using a certain family by naming one of them over the Council."

"I'm Sam Winchester," he said with a slight wave.

"I know of your family," Derek said.  "The one that attacked you has done so to others in hopes of finding a good host body for his plans."

"That's one thing we were discussing," Xander said.  "I talked to Nick and Alex a few years back.  I'm Xander, this is the slayer Buffy."

Derek nodded at her.  "It is goot to meet you, Miss Summers.  I've heard of your work on the hellmouth."  He looked at Xander.  "Nick said your last letter cracked him up, Mr. Harris."  Xander grinned.  "Is that all of the plan?"

The demon poked him on the arm and showed him the notes he had been making.  "The peaceful community might like that.  Even though his father is the sort to take out all demonic beings, lower and higher, his son is thoughtful, good at research, and has ethics that we would all enjoy the Council suddenly having."

Derek read them, nodding.  "That is a goot plan."  He handed it back.  "Let me call someone?"  D'Hoffryn nodded.  Derek walked over the bodies to go in the hallway to call.  "Nick, calm down.  I'm fine.  A plot to start a final apocalypse was ended and they're gathering support to reform things.  Put me on with London's precept please."  He did that.  Derek spoke in his native language so no one outside the demons understood him.  He got permission and they agreed they liked it.  Derek hung up and walked back in there.  "The London House would be on call to help him if he needed," he said.

D'Hoffryn smiled.  "Thank you."  He looked at Sam, who nodded but had his lips pressed tightly together.  "Wish granted.  The Council shall sleep until you can go wake them up.  They will follow you."  He cast the wish out.  It broke protections on the Council that were so old no one knew who first cast them.  But it was making sure that they didn't become what they fought.  He looked at the Legacy.  "Some houses may use the same treatment some year soon," he warned.  "Vengeance is for my kind and his father's kind of hunter, not yours."  He disappeared.

"I will pass on that warning."  He looked at the others.  "Are we meeting to discuss the military involvement with the invasion?"  Sam Carter nodded.  Derek smiled.  "Then I should be here as well.  I belong to a group that is nearly as old as the Council and we do things like the roaming hunters do."

"We've heard good and bad things about your group," John Winchester admitted.

"Some of the old line are seriously in trouble," Xander told him.  "One in Paris summoned a higher demon to handle his divorce without a judge."

"That's absolutely charming," John Sheppard sneered.

"We handle those in-house and he was punished very fast," Derek assured them.  He looked at the blond man next to the demon.  "You are?"

"Spike."  He smirked as he held out a hand.  "You're in the Legacy then?"

"I am, Scourge of Europe."

"I miss those days.  Bloody chip won't let me hunt usually.  Get my kicks in helping the white hats kick butt now."

"Wonderful."  He sat down, looking at the young man.  "How are things, Mr. Harris?"

"They're mostly okay.  I think my financial manager's possessed or he's hidden an agenda for a very long time.  I'm hearing hints that Gretchen, my housekeeper, may be the same sort of thing but I don't want to listen to them right now.  I know others have put pressure on her to have me calm down in the past."

"Hmm.  Nick is actually in Hawaii right now to check on those bottles."

"They're in my bag.  With a mystical alarm on them."

"Goot."  He smiled as he called Nick.  "I am looking at Mr. Harris.  Please do check on his financial manager and his housekeeper?  Who would do such a thing?"  He grimaced.  "Thank you.  Please do."  He hung up.  "Someone attempted to poison your dogs but they are all doing well with the veterinarian."  Xander nodded tersely.  "He believes it was your neighbors.  Or they were the ones arrested for it."

"I'm having the conservative asshole eaten when I get home.  Why would he poison puppies?"

"He thinks you're evil for some reason."

"I don't party, throw parties, drink, do drugs, or anything else.  So am I evil because I can't see?"

"Perhaps.  They did not give me reasons."

"Buffy, can you text that number and see if they'll tell me why I have to destroy them?"

"Sure, Xander.  Anyone who would poison seeing eye puppies is evil in my book."  She did and got one back.  "You're evil because you're unmarried, don't have kids, and you're pathetic because you're blind.  Clearly their god made a mistake making you."

"They're being eaten when I get home."  She sent that back and got a message back.  "No?"

"No, they said they're in jail and the judge told them they were pathetic, not you.   Whoever this is said they're part of some cult that's trying to move onto the island."

"I'll storm their compound myself," Xander quipped.  "Then we'll see who's pathetic and which God or Goddess wins."  She sent that back.  She burst out cackling at the answer.  "What?" he complained.

"Whoever this is said that Steve said he'd back you up since they think all single men should have children by the time they're twenty-five or they should be sacrificed after being raped for being wrong.  He also said it's too late, he already did it."

"Good!"  He shifted in his chair.

"Are you looking at one of the puppies to replace yours?" John Sheppard asked him.

Xander nodded.  "I am.  When they heard a death threat against me shot my first one they don't want to get me another one, even if I pay the full going rate for one."  Melusia appeared and whined, putting his head on Xander's knee.  "I love you too, Melusia.  You're a good step puppy.  The puppies will be just fine or I'll go destroy people."  The dog patted his leg with a paw then sat in convenient petting range.

Sam Carter and Rodney both looked at the dog.  "What breed is that?" she asked.

"Hellhound," John Winchester said.

Xander grinned.  "He knocked up my dog.  He adopted me after I helped him when he was hit by a car."

"Aww," Sam said.  "He's clearly more friendly than most of them."  Xander grinned and nodded.  "Is he a good seeing eye dog?"

"Yup.  If he senses a threat he tends to bite them before I can."

"That's good," Buffy said.  "But a bit wiggy, Xander."  He shrugged.  "I know, it's a good seeing eye dog for you."

"He doesn't have all the commands down but he's doing a good job most of the time.  He's helped me train some of the puppies too."  He petted his step dog.  He loved Melusia a lot.  He was a good pet.  They got down to what each group did and didn't handle, where it handled it, and how to get necessary information to hunters when something needed to be handled because it was too huge to wait.  Sam had some ideas on that and how it could be accomplished.  He and Derek went over his ideas for the Council as well.  Buffy put in her ideas. 

Xander had a few of his own, including a technology center to help with some of the other problems.  Maybe a webpage with known troubles or something.  They were settling things when a sniffling Willow wandered in and hugged Buffy.  Xander looked up at the scents changing.  Naomi came in and fussed at his hair but gave him a hug, petting the dog, and then left them alone, dragging Willow out by her arm.  Xander grinned at Buffy.  "That's Blair's mom.  I thought Willow might like an understanding, earth-centered older woman to mentor her."

"It's clearly helped," she agreed.  She even sounded cheerful about it before he found her a mother figure to nag her about stuff.  John smiled at her.  She grinned back.  "She could use a good coven too."

"I'm sure Naomi knows a few."  Xander winked at her.  She whimpered.

The general came in and the military people saluted him.  He waved them down.  "Have we got a working plan?  Who're you?" he asked.

"Derek Rayne.  I head a house of people who do much the same thing."

"Oh, good!"  He smiled.  "It's great that most of the time you guys can handle it on your own.  How many bigger things are we foreseeing?"

"There's a whole library of prophecies in England," Xander said.  "Sam's going to help with that."  He pointed at him.  "Every spring there's something going on.  We're working on the plans for that right now."

"Even better.  We like it when we only have to back people up and perhaps handle the really big things, like Sunnydale."

"Sink.  It," John Winchester said.  Buffy swatted him.  "It'd save lives."

"I'd have to move.  I can't stand being in LA with Angel all the time.  I'd be an angsty, whiny Buffy again."

"Why?" Sam Winchester asked.

"Because I used to date Angel and I made him happy enough that he lost his soul.  Not one word, Xander."

"Fine.  Even though I was right," he sighed, waving a hand then going back to petting his step-dog.

"It could've been worse," Buffy complained.

"Yeah, you could've been dating Spike *and* Angel."

Spike shook his head.  "No.  I'd never share a bint with the poofter again.  Thanks anyway."  Everyone stared at him.  "He's a greedy hog, won't let you get a single taste of the blood or someat."

"I don't want to know," John Winchester decided.

"Vampires are easy sluts," Xander told him.  "If it's got a hole it's great.  If it doesn't, they might chew one for the fun."

"I definitely don't want to know," John said.

"Ah, the good ol' days of being a scourge," Spike sighed with a scary grin on his face.  He noticed the whelp whispering to his dog and decided he was probably going to be pounced.  Nope, it got the thing following the general.  It settled in to have a snack from it.  Spike looked then at Xander.  "How do you sense them?"

"The hyena's senses say that they stink.  Each breed stinks differently but they still stink.  Even your demon stinks to her."

"Her?" Sam Carter asked.  "Hyenas are matriarchal, right?"  Xander nodded.  "Were you...."  He grinned and nodded.  "Is that weird?  I know nothing at all about possessions."

"Not really.  Sometimes she wants cubs but she knows I can't do that.  She's never pushed her desire for a mate on me.  I've been bi as long as I remember.   No matter what Willow wanted."

"Why did she hate that when she's a lesbian?" Buffy asked, her nose wrinkling.

"There's any number of people who believe men being gay is wrong while women doing the same thing is acceptable," Rodney told her.  "No one's sure why they're taught that beyond their fathers liking lesbian pornography but they are."

Xander nodded.  "Her parents don't like her being a lesbian.  The last I heard, her mom was on tv defending Willow by saying it was just a phase.  Right now she was more asexual while exploring her ideology.  Since it was a call-in show I called in and pointed out I knew her daughter, she had nearly married Tara, and had in fact killed the people who had killed her girlfriend.  Also that her best male friend was bi, had been bi for all his life, and she was the reason that Willow had went bigot on him a few times even though her own girlfriend had been the best woman in the world for anyone to have as their own.  She demanded they hang up on me and go to station break."  He grinned.

"We haven't seen her since she tried to burn her daughter at a stake, but wow, what a cow.  My mother would've kicked her hiney all over that town."

"She's doing a call-in shrink show in Miami.  Screwing up all the shallow people better really.  The one before that call she had told it was perfectly all right if the girl worried about her weight even if the doctor said she was underweight because things like that mattered in a young woman's life.  Her mother snatched the phone and berated Willow's mom for telling her anorexic daughter who weighed less than a hundred pounds that."

"Yeah, my mother would've been all over the hiney kicking."  She shook her head.  "I wonder if we can do a seance and have Mom go talk to her."

"You're damn lucky I haven't called your mom back to talk to you."

"I know.  Thank you for not doing that.  It definitely wouldn't have made it any more happy."

"Uh-huh.  Remember that lesson?"

"Gladly.  You're not as helpless as I thought and don't need as much protecting.  You seem to be doing all right at the moment."  She looked at the staring dog.  "I'm not alpo, even if slayers are tasty.  Sniff Spike instead.  He likes hell mutts.  One likes to watch soaps with him."

Derek looked over the table.  "He's a finely conformed hell mutt.  Halfbreed?"  The dog growled.  "I meant no offense. You don't have the ruff."  The dog put it up.  "I did not know you could hide it."  The dog barked and settled back down to be a loving step-mutt.  Xander grinned at him.

The general shook his head.  "You're all insane."

Xander nodded.  "We have a very flexible way of looking at things because half the time we deal with things that other consider nightmares or too strange to acknowledge.  If we aren't mentally flexible then we'd break and start crying and have to sit in a pretty white, padded room without mirrors or windows.  The latched down bed."

Buffy shuddered.  "Eww.  No, please no."

"If you get that bad, we'll send you on a suicide mission," Xander offered.

She smiled.  "I could like that.  Thank you."

"Welcome."  He petted his dog and turned his head in the general's direction.  "So, how many units are they moving to population controlling places?"

"Three at the moment.  There's three approaches they want to try."

"We've heard," the demon said.  "Two are going to be suicide because they'll end up attacking any of the community that do things like protest that we are sentient beings."  The general stared at him.  "I was invited."

"He kept whispering suggestions from the air vent," Xander said when the general looked at him.  "It's his people and others of his kind that are having the issues.  If people were smart, they would've asked some of the civil rights people to the table too."

"Yes, they would have."  He cleared his throat.  "The one we like best seems to be General Merdeckers."

The demon shuddered.  "He's going to start pushing to put us on reservations.  While some of us were here first, we're not that sort of native."  The general spluttered.  "To quote the Knight in Miami: quit spitting, real men swallow."

"Xander!" Buffy complained.

"It was some IAB asshole who decided I was evil for having officers try to shoot my cute ass.  Beyond that, he smelled like a puss sucker."  He looked at the general again.  "What are each of the methods?  You have the biggest heads of the groups that deal with all sorts of demons.  You have a few representatives of them.  We can tell you where each plan is going to fail, and how bad that failure is going to end up in loss of life on both sides probably."

"It's not really open for debate."

"Then I'd move your assholes out of LA," Xander said with a grin.  The demon moaned.  "Because I heard earlier that they opened fire on a peaceful protest stating demons were more sentient than dogs."  The hellhound barked.  "He brought me a note."

The general swallowed.  "Who?"

"The military guys there.  I have no idea which unit it was but it was someone military in charge."  He looked down.  "Go snatch Gunn...."

"No, let me call," Buffy said.  She called his phone.  It said it was out of service.  She stared at her phone and dialed another number.  "Or not."

"Go fetch," Xander ordered.  The dog bayed and disappeared.  He came back with Connor, Gunn, and Wesley.  "The others?"

"No clue," Gunn sighed.  He pulled a chair over and sat down.  "Thanks for the saving, white boy.  They had us in *interrogation* about how bad the demon menace was and how deep their corruption went into the city.  How many people we had to eliminate to make sure that their taint was gone."

Xander rubbed his forehead.  "Ya know, I respect most of the military," he told them.  "Especially you guys' project.  I'm not going to let the government start another extermination campaign.  Fuck it.  I have the Initiative files."  Buffy whimpered, shaking her head.  "Yeah, all of them.  Mack got them for me."  He looked at the general.  "Are you going to stand up for mass extinction of species that are peaceful and in a lot of ways helpful?"

"No.  But I'm not over that unit."

"I can lend you my gun," Xander offered.  The hellhound barked and left, coming back with a damaged looking Angel.  "Crap, even I can smell the blood."

Buffy and Spike got up, taking Angel out to a bathroom to help him.  She let him suck on her wrist for a few seconds too.

"That leaves Fred," Gunn said.  He looked at the dog.  "Can you find Fred?"  The dog growled.

Xander stood up.  "Take me to Fred."

"No," John Sheppard ordered.  "Take me to Fred.  I probably outrank most of them and I'm damn sure not picky when I don't have to be."  He patted Xander on the arm.  "Sit.  This is real soldier's work."  Xander sat.   He and Cam left via the dog.

Sam Carter touched her earpiece a minute later.  "Sheppard just called for medical backup.  They had humans there being tortured," she told the General, glaring at him. "Put it all under O'Neill.  Even if he does hate the paperwork."

"I've heard rumors about him," Buffy said as she walked back.  "Xander, we're breaking into your room to get him clothes."  He held up his card key.  "Same room?"


"Okay."  She went to get him something to wear.

"Spike, does he need another donation?"

"No.  We're good," he called back.  He leaned into the room.  "They didn't realize he was a vampire until they started to torture him."  He looked at Gunn.  "She's gonna need some help."  Xander growled.  "Angel thinks so, yeah."  He left again.

"I'll fuck them up," Gunn promised.  Wesley patted him on the arm.  "Sure, you can back me up.  You and Connor can borrow some of Cordy's former pompoms from storage and use 'em."

Xander grinned.  "Need a weapon?"

"No, we found the ones you sent us," Gunn said dryly, batting him on the arm.  "Thanks."

"Welcome.  Damned if I want the world to end unless I cause it."  Sam Winchester cackled.  "I told the law firm if they pissed me off I was going to open those Bottles of Ancients in their offices and then kill the demons once they were all dead.  They thought I was joking too."

"Have you?" Sam Carter asked.

"No.  I did unleash a lesser one I found though."  He grinned.  "They had rented a house in Hawaii while planning on how to snatch and kill me.  The demon made a mess of the house, which I paid to repair, but they never doubted I'd take them all out again."  She gaped.  "I can't risk a weakness there, Colonel Carter.  The same as you can't because you're female and they'd see you as weaker."

"I understand that," she decided.  Wesley wrote something and held it up.  "I can definitely understand that but some horned demon named D'Hoffil or something appointed him as head of the Council."  She pointed at Sam Winchester.

"That's my son Sammy, Wes," John said.  Wesley looked at him and smiled, nodding his head.  He pointed at his throat.  "How?"

"Wesley was trying to get me away from my father due to a prophecy so my father ripped out his throat," Connor said.  "Though I still don't like Angel all that much, even after growing up on a demon plane."

The general blinked at him.  "You did?"  Connor nodded.  "How many various planes are there?"

"Holt never told me that.  He took me to a pretty bad one when I was a baby and I grew up there at an accelerated rate.  I grew up destroying demons.  That's why there's a prophecy that calls me a Destroyer."  Xander nodded.  "Though Angel keeps comparing me to him for some reason."  He scowled at Xander, who grinned.

"Xander's very much a do what's necessary sort," the demon said.  "Though you don't wear ugly clothes or quip as you slay like your near-stepmother, you are a lot alike in ways that count.  Including having loved Miss Chase."

"I do miss her," Xander agreed.  "She was my first real girlfriend and I've known her since kindergarten.  We were friends until she got popular."

"She was kinda like my mom but there was that whole 'not her' thing and the sleeping thing," Connor admitted.  "It screws up my mind to even think about it."

"I wonder if her gaspy noises still sound like barks when she's getting happy," Xander said, looking up.  Cordy appeared and swatted him. He grinned.  "So, Miss Higher Being Glowy Squid Girl, any wise advice?"

"She's a plant," she sighed.  "I'm damn sorry, Xander.  The community wanted you under watch."  He sighed but nodded.  "As for that shit going on?  Yeah, O'Neill's going to get it.  Fred's not the sort of girl to sob about it.   She'll beat someone to death and then quietly sob later on."

"I've got a guest room if she needs it," he reminded her.

"I'll tell her."  She looked at Connor.  "I miss you too, dickhead."  Connor grinned at her.  "For now, protect each other.  The law firm has one last shot."

"No they don't," Xander said.  He summoned the bag, looking at the little bottles.  "Awww, they took one."  He found the device in the bag and matched the dots to the bottles, then pushed one.  She gaped at him, starting to whimper.  He grinned.  "I've had enough."

"Yeah," she said weakly.  "Clearly.  How are you going to kill them all the way out here?"

"Did you ever meet Anya?  Not the one I took to the prom but the one from about three years ago?  She said she talked to you about me."

She shivered.  "Oh, damn."  He grinned.  "Okay, let me go start quarantine procedures."  She zipped off to warn others.  "Harris released a bottle but it has a specific disease to kill demons," she shouted into the group outside the current law firm offices.  A few looked at her and the news spread.  They fled the scene before they could get sick.

A higher demon walked out picking his teeth with someone's arm bone.  "That won't matter to me."  He smiled at her.  "You look... sweet."

"Not really, Queen C was never really sweet," Faith said and shot him with something Xander had sent her last week in case this happened.  The demon screamed and flailed, knocking the building down.  It died though which was the important thing.  She looked at Cordelia, who was giving her a funny look.  "X sent it last week in case one got free."

"That so figures."  She shook all over.  "Okay.  Well.....  Gotta go hide before more higher ups hate Xander."  She faded out.

Faith walked off, finding cop cars screaming up.  "Someone they had a contract on took them out.  You might want to watch out, he infected the demons he released with a huge demon flu so they couldn't spread too far."  She walked off shaking her head.

"Ma'am, who are you?" one of the officers called.

She grinned back at him.  "The slayer Faith."  She whistled as she strolled off, strutting just a bit.  She did have it to flaunt.  She deserved some nice staring at her ass.  She ran into a guy in a old charger, staring at him.  "What?  Too hot for you to handle?" she quipped.

"Ma'am, I'm a hunter."

She grinned.  "I'm a slayer.  I'm told some of yours are now at the conference in Colorado with Buffy."

He smiled.  "That's good!  What happened?"  She walked him off telling him about Xander and what had happened.  She was going to make sure that the hunters respected Xander more than his former friends ever did.  She owed it to him.


John Winchester got a text from a friend and gaped at the boy.  "The flu?"

"A demon version they weren't immune to because it occurred after they had been trapped."  He smiled.  "Did Faith get the other one?"  John nodded slowly.  "Wonderful."  He grinned.  "And boom, no more law firm threat."  He waved a hand.  The dog pounced it so he petted him.  "I'm sorry, did I quit petting, Melusia?" he teased, smiling at the dog.  He barked and got cuddly.  He even crawled up into his human's lap.  Xander let him and pet him.

The general was slowly shaking his head.  "What did you do?"

"I took out the rest of that law firm.  I warned them multiple times.  I'm a man of my word.  Beyond that, I made sure that they quit prompting bad ideas that would kill everyone for their pleasure."

The demon nodded.  "They were pushing some of the demons to step up for their rights and some of the soldiers to do horrific things."

"Is my financial guy possessed or one of them?"

"One of them."

"Huh," Xander said.  "Is Buffy's phone here?"  John took it and sild it toward him.  "If I touch it, whatever Willow's funky curse is will kill it.  Can someone text that last number she texted and tell them about that?"  Sam Carter took it to do that.  Then she handed Xander her phone.  Which quit working.  He turned his head in her direction.  "How new is it?  A few of the new android phones can get calls and texts in but nothing else."

"Huh," she said, taking it to pull apart and test.  She and Rodney went over it.  It should work.  It wasn't but it should.

"I'm pretty sure it's a curse," Xander admitted.  "I have no idea who did it if it wasn't her."

"It probably was," Buffy said as she walked in.  "Did you whammy my phone?"

"No."  She got it and sat back down.  "He fine?"

"Angel's resting in my room.  I won't even jump him later.  Is Fred all right?"  Sam Carter called to get a situation report and nodded.  "Good.  I'd hate to have to destroy the military for that."

"Amen, sister," Xander quipped.

She stared at him.  "What did you do?"

"I had the bottles booby-trapped," he said with a smile.  "A tiny vial of blood mixed with a flu sample."  She whimpered.  "And I sent Faith something to kill anything that made it past the flu."  Cordelia appeared, staring at him.  "I can feel you.  Am I still cute enough for you?"

"Sometimes evil enough for me," she said dryly.  "You missed the senior partners.  They weren't eaten."

"Do they get flu shots?"

She paused.  "I don't know," she admitted.  "The Powers are in comas from the backlash of power changing hands."

"Sorry, not a real deity, no matter what some people claim in bed."

She smiled.  "Good point."

"My house and puppies?"

"They're good.  You might want to talk to her."

"I might want to make sure my accounts are all there too," he said dryly.

"I think someone's doing that for you.  Clearly you get mean when they start thinking you're an easy target and helpless."  Xander grinned and nodded.  "Shit, this is going to be bad," she muttered as she disappeared.  She went to D'Hoffryn.  "They screwed with him."

"I know."

"I had to tell him about Gretchen."

"I heard."

"He's livid.  He's at the smiling kindly stage of livid, D'Hoffryn."

"I know."  He took a swig from a Pepto bottle.  "I can feel it.  I've had my people go reclaim what's his.  I've had them add punitive damages.  I had one of the other law firms' best people help him.  He will sell those other bottles if this is all settled."

"He said he'd dust them."

"He sells half to the Council.  Winchester can afford it at the rate they had before."  She nodded, going to put that into writing in front of Sam.  Plus that there were people helping Xander's things.  Then she faded back out.

Sam looked at it then at the weird guy.  "The glowy one gave me a note saying that the Council's buying half of the remaining bottles for the rate the first three were bought for and they've got someone working to get all your stuff back."

"Cool," he said with a slight grin.  "Thank you, Sam.  I'll appreciate the new twelve billion."

"Excuse me?" John asked.

Derek nodded.  "That's fair.  I know the demon community had them relatively cheaply because no one wanted to risk owning one."

"I got all of the ones I had for nine thousand," Xander said with a happy grin.  "Though now I have to hire a new housekeeper and a new financial guy."

"Nick knows some very nice people.  He'll see if there's some that are very protective."  Xander beamed at him and nodded.

Another general walked in.  "General, the President wants to talk to you.  He's at Cheyenne."

Xander tipped his head back.  "Is Fred all right?"

"She's under very competent medical care, Mr. Harris.  She's being fussed over and poor babied until she wants to scream and my people are highly offended on her behalf.  The ones that the colonels left are damn sorry."

"Thank you.  Fred's a really great woman," Xander said.  "I'd hate to kill anyone else who hurt her."

"So would we."  He patted him on the head.  "Cute dog."  It stared at him.  "I saw one of those in the mess the other day."

"He's a hellhound.  His name is Melusia.  Melusia, this is a general that we're told is decent."  The dog sniffed him and let him pet his ears.  "Good boy."  He petted the dog.  "The rest?"

"The president is very upset.  He's back to swearing."  That general walked out moaning.  "As for right now, the hotel is really upset that this meeting is turning out so weird."

"I know," Xander admitted.  His phone beeped.  "Hey!  Someone removed the curse!"  He took it out to listen to the voice reading the text message.  "Awww.  Thanks, Danny."  He texted back to him.  "I need one with a keyboard but I broke my last one beating the crap out of someone who broke in."

Buffy took it to text better for him.  "There."  She handed it back.  "There's an app that reads text messages?"

"Yeah, someone at one of the schools for the blind made one.  It's generally available for free through most of them."  He put his phone back.  "Thank you."

"Welcome."  She sat down too.  "So, General....."

"Landry, Hank Landry.  I'm over all three Colonels and Doctor McKay's project, ma'am."

"Buffy Summers."  She smiled at him.  "The senior slayer since I'm the longest called."

"Pleasure to meet you, miss."  He nodded at her.  Another man walked in.  "Jack, problems?" he asked quietly.

"I got nominated because I went off on some people who deserved it.  Since I could tell Sheppard to quit stomping someone's head into the grated floor and got Mitchell to quit beating the crap out of another one, it's my duty."

Sam Carter smiled.  "Nice to work with you again, sir.  Here's what we've figured out so far."  He read it, nodding slightly.  "We need to set rules for the soldiers doing the actual guarding and handling of any peaceful protests."

"Agreed.  There's no reason to make anything peaceful mad enough to change that.  It didn't work in the sixties, it doesn't work now."  He sat down in the other general's seat.  "Thanks, Hank."

"Welcome, Jack."  He left this headache in his hands.

John and Cam got beamed back.  "Sir, finished beating idiots until they learned something," Cam said, saluting with a grin.

"Thank you, guys.  I'm glad we could stop that.  Sit."  They sat down.  "What, exactly, happened just now in LA?"  Xander told him.  "Okay," he decided.  "You can have *one*."  Xander stared at him.  "My original group, which includes both colonels, both doctors, and a bunch of weird stuff, will guard the two that Winchester and the Council isn't buying.  If we have to use them, we'll release them on bad things that are attacking from the outside, like the wraith if you've heard of them."

"I have actually."

"I got the notes on how any takeover would go," Jack said.  "We'll handle it that way."  Xander grinned and slid two down to him.  "Thank you.  The self destruct?"

"The flu."

"Even better.  Hand Sam his three please?"  Xander did that.  "Thank you.  We want you able to protect yourself but being less paranoid, especially around those in this room.  I doubt anyone in here is going to hurt you."

"She's the redhead up the hall," Buffy mouthed.  She was watching Willow storm their way.

"How dare you do that!" Willow shouted as she stomped in and slammed open the doors.  "They're soldiers, Xander!"

"Who just raped Fred," Xander told her.  "Tortured Angel.  Had Wes, Gunn, and Connor to torture."  She growled.  The dog bayed a happy bark at her.  Willow tried to magic him but Xander protected him.  Xander sneered at her.  "You're so dark," he said.  "I don't think you ever could find your way back to the light, Willow."

"I'm not dark!" she shouted.

"Bullshit.  If you weren't, you'd care that your friends got attacked."

"Who said they're my friends?" she demanded.  Wesley cleared his throat.  "Even you!  You're more worthless than he was."  He punched her, making her fall down.

"Oh, crap," Buffy said, jumping on Willow when she got up.  Her hair was starting to change colors.

Xander took the easy route and pulled something out, weighing it in his hand before reloading his gun.  "Move, Buffy."  She whimpered, not moving.  "Now.  It's clear her magic addiction is speaking and the bribes from the bad people are still working."  She sneered and shot a spell at him.  He shot her.  She went down and started to cry.  "I don't usually shoot people in a fatal manner, Willow.  It leads to lacking later questioning."  He stared at her.  "You've been endangering me for years.  You've cost seven people their lives because you told them where you had set me up.  Even after I left they still attacked that apartment a few times.  Killed seven people."  She tried to back away from him.

"You burn bad witches, Harris, not shoot them," John Winchester said firmly.  "We can do that."

"Actually in her case, the bullets are special."  He popped the clip out and let him have it.  "That's a hollow glass tube with a potion that leaches powers back and taint back where it should be.  Two more of those and she'll be powerless forever."

John took the gun to reload.  "That's not a bad idea by my way of thinking."  He got up and walked Willow off, taking her outside so he could handle her.  Then they'd talk about her dark tendencies and how she had gotten powers.  She clearly wasn't a bloodlined witch.

"I don't disagree with binding her or whatever," Buffy said.  "I don't want him to kill her, Xander.  I can't lose any more."

"He won't," Sam said.  "There's nowhere to start a bonfire now.  You take her home later and keep her there."  Buffy nodded.  "Are you guys going back to Sunnydale?"

"I am.  Faith might stay in LA for a while."

"Let me know when I take charge."  She smiled and nodded.  "I'll make sure you girls are backed up.  There's no reason for trained people to be sitting on their butts in a library when there's a crisis going on."

"Thanks, Sam."  She sat down again.  "Xander, why did you bring those bullets?"

"Because there's been a few witches that've been trying me recently.  Things like the phone curse and one trying to poison me in Miami for being me."

"She does it to all hunters," the demon said.

"Good to know."

"The other two you've used them on have both warranted a good burning," the demon assured him.  "That one... I'm not sure what her problem is or if it's her problem or someone else's problem."

"If there's a someone else I'd guess that's a combination," Sam said.  "She's been said to have a magic addiction?  She nearly ended the world?"  Buffy shuddered but nodded.  "No.  We want people on the light, or reformed and back on the light's side, to help the slayers."  He looked at Spike.

"Most fun I've had in decades," he quipped with an evil smirk.

"The minute that chip breaks, you're a fun toy," Connor assured him.

"I like you, boy," Spike decided with an evil smirk for him.  "Should turn you into my next princess.  It'd make sense since Angelus made my last one too."

"Um, eww," Xander said.  "I don't want to imagine Angel getting down and funky with anyone, whoever his mother was included."

"Darla," Buffy said.

"Even more gross.  She was the blonde one, right?"  Buffy nodded.  "Yes, no?"

"Yup," Spike said.

"Then eww.  She's hopefully dead?"

"Went to dust when I was born," Connor sighed.  "Which is so fucked up."

Buffy stared at him.  "Language."

"Fine, step-mother."

"At least I didn't have labor pains with you," she decided, cracking him up.  "Gunn, are your people coming to Sunnydale for a few days?"

"We might," he admitted.  "It's probably safer if they're still scared of all this."

"Yeah, I called Willie and he said most of the demons are still hiding and shaking under blankies," Buffy told him.  "Lots of vamps though if you need to train some new people."

"Sure," he said with a smile for her.

"Whoa," Jack O'Neill said.  "Train them?"

"He runs a street gang that helps the homeless be protected from the vamps," Buffy said with a smile.  "They're real handy to have at my back too.  Faith got some flirting with them.  They appreciate that one of the ones Willow activated was from Harlem and another one from Senegal."

 "They're sweet girls," Gunn agreed.  "My guys could do worse than flirt with the slayers."

"We'd like the military to handle most everything," O'Neill said.  They all shook their heads.  "No why?"

"Because too many things have been going on for ages," Derek said.  "My group does a lot of artifact work.  The roaming hunters take care of smaller, regional problems or spirits causing a group problems.  The military cannot be everywhere."

"We'd like to have you handle the bigger things," Buffy said.  "Usually we have a good handle on what's going on.  A few times a year I handle something a bit bigger and then an apocalypse attempt in the spring.  LA gets about the same thing."

"Until you can sit a demon hunting-trained soldier at least in every county, you'll never be able to handle all of it," Xander said.  "Guys like John will still probably be hunting in this generation and whatever of the next has started.  For them, it's a clear case of 'it won't happen again' and 'I'll get that bastard'.  I've got some of that myself."

Gunn nodded.  "Me too.  They took my sister."

"I get that," Jack agreed.  "But anything too huge, I want the soldiers to handle."

Xander felt along the notes he had tapped out with a pencil.  "The midwest is mostly covered.  LA is covered.  San Fran and a few other cities in the world are covered.  How likely is it that another city is going to be targeted?" he asked, turning his head in Spike's direction.

"The next is due in London actually," the demon sighed.  "New York will probably not go up outside some localized gangs and some localized protests.  The same for most east coast cities and Chicago.  Denver has a planned protest next week sometime."  The general nodded, making notes.  The demon pulled out his phone to get into something.  He tapped out a message and got one back.  "The demons would be very honored for the most part if the soldiers would make sure that any peaceful protests stay peaceful. The locals are often trying to make anything peaceful less than peaceful.  Including trying to kill us."

"I can see that being part of the job," Jack agreed.  "Anything huge like a battle is our job though."

The demon smiled.  "That is not a problem for the peaceful communities.  I will bring you to the local council later so they can call a talk about upcoming things and any problems we hear.  That way we can tell you where things are planned and any rumors we hear of the bad things."

"Get him onto the D'A'Kar website," Xander said.

"That does have most of it," the demon agreed with a smile.  "Not all of the attacks though."

"There's a lot of rumors and the ones that aren't I'm pretty sure he's got a guy who can learn to play kitten poker."

"That is not a bad idea," Spike agreed.  "That'd help a lot.  That's how we got ours."

"Outside flipping through the prophecy books," Buffy agreed.

Sam cleared his throat.  "When the library's mine I'll gladly let their people browse and get what they need."

Sam Carter smiled at him.  "That would be appreciated, Sam."  He grinned back.  "How long do you think it'll take?"

"He said they'd sleep until I opened the door.  Wesley, can you come with me?"  Wesley smiled and nodded.  "Thank you."

"Wes, I'm sorry about your dad," Xander said quietly.  Wesley patted him on the arm.  Buffy was making a whining noise.  "He attacked my apartment in Miami."

"Maybe Sunnydale was safer," she muttered.  He smirked at her.  "Okay, so the prophecy things can be passed on, Sam?"  He nodded.  "That'll help.  I know Giles doesn't have a full set of books."

"I don't think anyone can," Xander said.  "Their library's said to be at least the size of UC Hellmouth's biggest building, including an underground layer full of possessed books."  Spike nodded, making a slightly moan-like tiny noise.  "What?  Your relatives were?  Wow, I thought Angelus only saved you from a life as a crappy poet."

"Not quite."

"You were?" Buffy asked.

"My uncle was," he corrected.  "They wanted me to join and I ran from them.  Boring, stupid shite really."  He was flipping his lighter over and over in his fingers.

Xander finally reached over and snatched it, tossing it in a corner behind him.  "Quit.  I get echos from that."

"What's wrong?  Too sensitive?" Spike sneered.

"No, if I was I'd ask Blair for help," he said dryly.  "That tapping echos."

"Fine, whatever," Spike growled.

"Keep it up, watch me set you up with someone."

Spike shook his head quickly, turning into a shudder.  "No, you have bad taste."

"Is that why Dru liked me so much?" he quipped back with an evil smirk.

"Proved she was evil," Buffy quipped.  "But she was a vampire, Xander."

"She's still a vampire."

"Bull, we killed her," Gunn said.

"Bullshit," Xander shot back.  "I got a letter from her last week in Miami.  She was in Mexico City."

Spike nodded.  "I've gotten a few of those too.  Not as flowing as they usually were so I can't be sure it's not her in a more sane mood."

"It sounded like her when I had my native guide read it to me.  I felt her blush too.  She was real blunt about what she thought kittens were good for."  He patted himself down.  "Did I bring down my brown bag?"  Sam Carter handed it to him.  "Thanks."  He found it and slid it across the table.

Spike read it and nodded.  "That's Dru's handwriting."  Gunn took it and blushed.  "She always did agree that you were the best hope for a childe between us."  He shook his head again.  "She's still batty though. You're not furry and don't have the ears."

Xander grinned.  "You didn't read the part where she was going to change me by magic, then turn me as a kitten and change me back?"  Spike stood up and snatched the letter to finish it.  He wanted to look, you could tell by the look on his face, but he was also wanting to scream.  Xander nodded.  "Yeah."

Buffy reached over to take it and read, blushing a lot.  She was bright red down into her cleavage.   "Yeah," she decided, putting it into her bag.  "We'll tell her you're not interested, Xander."

"Sure.  Have fun talking to her.  The princess is clearly a bit short of the true dark."

Spike sat down with a sigh.  "Any other shocks?"

Xander patted the bag and found something, tossing it at Spike's head.  "Found it in a store in Miami."

Spike looked at it, grinning.  "Blood flavored gum?"  He read the ingredients and the 'how we do it' section.  "Thanks."  He pulled out a piece and popped it in his mouth, humming in pleasure.  "Tastes right."

Xander grinned.  "Large goth population."

"Good for me, means I don't want a snack."  He leaned back in his chair chewing his gum.

Buffy shook her head.  "Eww."

"Some people like the taste of blood I guess," John Sheppard said.

Winchester nodded.  "Yeah, some do.  Still weird."  Xander pointed at Spike.  "Point taken, kid.  Can you maybe relax?"

Xander grinned.  "I am relaxed.  But tomorrow I go home to talk to my housekeeper and others."

"If I didn't have to go to England," Sam quipped.

"He has backup out there," Buffy said, waving her phone.

"I hope," Xander muttered.  "So, General, any other plans we have to make?"

"Not yet.  Are you going to be open for another conference say in January?  That way we can see if the bigger thing in the spring is going to need us?"  Everyone nodded.  "Hold it here?"

"Cali would be nice.  I'll probably be there," Buffy said.  "Spike too."

"I'm local," the demon said.  "I have an elder out that way who would probably sit if we nagged him into it.  He doesn't really like humans but it's better than an all-out war."

"Hozar," Xander said.

"He would be a good choice as well.  We can elect someone to speak for us," he decided, looking at the general.  "If we are still welcome?"

"I'd never want to bother anything that was already peaceful.  My plate's full without it," Jack told him.  "Elect someone."  That got a nod.  "Winchester?"

"I can be over that way.  I travel all over the country so I'll head that way around the holidays."

"Christmas and Yule is quiet," Buffy told him.  The demon and Spike shook his head.  "Not this year?"

"Two Old Ones are doing something in the midwest," Spike told her.  "Ancient Gods who got demoted."

Xander nodded.  "They're not real active though. And Samra's supposed to show up about then too."

"Samra?" Buffy asked, frowning some.  "Do I know that one?"

The demon leaned over to look down at her.  "No.  Your watcher should know the name though."  Wesley nodded quickly, writing out a note to hand to Buffy.

"Aw, Snorvil crap!" she muttered.  Connor burst out laughing.  "Connor, I might need some backing up."  She let him see it.

He nodded.  "Yeah, I can help you destroy that."  He handed it back.  "Can we check on Fred?"

"I can take you to the base so you can," Jack agreed.  He looked at the others, who nodded.  "Harris, are you going to be all right to get to the airport tomorrow?"

"Probably.  I can get a cab."


"If not, I'll be here tonight," Sam said quietly, staring at his father.

"I can get us a room," he agreed.  Sam nodded and they stood up when Xander did.  Sam took his new bottles of threat with him and Xander got his and his bags.  The hellhound puppy followed properly, like it normally would for a seeing eye dog.  Which the Winchesters thought was weird but Xander had proved he wasn't normal by any means.


Xander walked out of the airport and sighed.  He smelled the smog from the cars.  He heard a lot of chatter.  Not all of it good chatter.  He heard someone who jingled like they had a lot of keys.  "Are the cabs here?" he asked.

"Two doors up, sir, to the left."

"Thank you."  Xander and his dog walked that way, Xander pulling the trolley of bags behind him.  "Cabs, Melusia," he said quietly.  "Like cars for hire."  The dog barked and led him to one.  Xander sniffed.  "Foret."

"Knight.  Going home?"

"I am."  He let him take the cab and got into the car.  Melusia sat beside him.  The car took off and drove out of the congested airport.  "Big storm coming?"

"Yes, in two days.  There's no evacuations but a lot of people with second homes here are heading home."  The driver glanced back at him.  "What happened during the summit?"

"A lot.  We stopped the people that had the LA team captive.  We worked things out with O'Neill about when to meet next, how to integrate them into the hunters and other organizations.  I got some concessions from Buffy that I'm not actually helpless."

"We were told there was a wish made?"

"When I sent that bottle at Wolfram and Hart, things got unraveled.  D'Hoffryn decided Sam Winchester is the perfect person to reform the Watchers Council onto the Light's side."  He smiled.  "He seems pretty decent.  Educated, was going for a law degree.  Son of a hunter and brother of another so he understands the duty, not the bottom line."

"I have heard of his father and brother," the driver admitted.  "I will tell the others."

"Don't touch Sam.  His daddy's going to go bitch worse than I did on the world if Sam's hurt.  Especially since a lot were counting on the demons taking them out."

"Hmm," he said with a grimace.  "I've heard rumors."  He changed roads.

"We're going along the coast?"

"The other has school busses.  It'll take forever."

"That's fine.  Just wondering."

The driver smiled at the mirror.  "We know you're paranoid."

"After so many attacks in Miami?  Yeah.  Just a bit.  How's my dogs?"

"They're good from what I have heard.  Will they go into service?"

"Some.  Some may train as police dogs.  They have the right temperament."

"That's good.  Do they know they're half hellhound?"

"The ones that help me with them do."


"I'll probably bring one into my own service so Melusia can go to whoever he's been training himself for."  He looked at the dog, who lapped him.  "Thanks, pupkins."  The dog rested his head on Xander's shoulder.  "Any other news I should hear?"

"Not at the moment."  He changed roads again but this time it was back onto the main road where Xander's house was.  Xander relaxed again.  "Are the slayers well?"

"Yes.  And Sam Winchester allowed Willow to be bound and depowered so she could go back to helping Buffy.  Her magic addiction is still out of control.  Thankfully Naomi's helping her."  He smiled.  "She needs an earth-centered mentor."

"The henna-haired one?  The mother of the bouncy, smart, curly haired one?"

"Yup."  He grinned.

"Then I believe we won't have to much worry about her again."

"I did shoot her with one of those potion bullets."

"Even better!"

"Then John Winchester took her for a talk."

"Oooh," he said with a wince and a hiss.  "At least Buffy will not be missing her too much."  He changed lanes to get off the main road and onto the smaller road Xander lived on.  It wasn't much farther.  He parked in the driveway and got out, taking the bags to put by the door.  Xander held out a bill.  "That's a ten, Knight."  Xander got another one and the demon took a third, patting him on the arm.  He drove off, going back to his proper escort duties.  His elders had to know the Knight was back and not happy.

Xander ran his swipe card and pushed in the code.  He put his bags inside by the door and then turned and locked it.  He paused and listened.  Gretchen was in the kitchen.  He walked that way to lean in the doorway and listen to what she was doing.  "So, how much do they pay you?" he asked, making her flinch.  She dropped a glass.  "And are you my housekeeper because of them or because you want to be?" he asked quietly.

"You heard?" she asked, moving to grab the broom so she could clean up the mess.

"Yeah.  Found out from Anya actually."

"The disease doc?"

"My ex."

"Um...."  She straightened up to stare at him.  "Anyanka told you?"  He nodded.  "I...."

"I've considered you like family for years, Gretchen," he said quietly.  "And this...  This is fucking with my head worse than Buffy and Willow did.  So let's be honest."

"They wanted you watched."  She finished cleaning up the mess.

"Did you stay because of that?"

She looked at him.  "You are my client, Xander.  I may be a half-demon but you're not.  Possessions don't count."

"No, but you can make a family from those you're not related to.  Which I have for many years."

"Well....  I'm not on that track."

"Then I'd suggest that you have a nice life.  Preferably somewhere else."  She stomped off.  He turned to lean his back against the doorframe, sighing a bit.  The dog barked and he petted him.  "Thanks, Melusia.  You're a good friend to have too.  Who has the dogs?" he called.


Xander found the house phone.  "Call Wolfe."  Nothing happened.  He checked, it beeped so it was on.  "What did you do?"

"What?" she demanded.  He waved the phone.  "I didn't touch the phone, Xander."

"I know it's not the same curse that Willow put on mine the night of the trial."  She sneered.  "I can feel that you know."  She stomped off.  "Is that why the kitchen smells like rat poison too?" he called.

"I was making my grandmother something."

"I thought you guys were allergic to arsenic too."  He pushed in the number, not getting any signal at all.  "Fuck," he muttered, going to the office.  He found his spare cellphone in there and used it.  "Call Wolfe."  It dialed, going right to customer service.  "What happened to my phone?" he asked calmly.  She told him.  "No, I paid the bill already this month."  She read off what happened.  "I'm going to kill that man.  Please do.  No, it's not closed.  If he did I'm going to ruin him and then kill him.  No, ma'am, he's my conservator because I'm blind," he said bluntly.  She reran it but the payment wouldn't go through.  "Thank you."  He walked off, going to get something he had hidden in his bedroom, which wasn't there.

"The lawyers took it the last time they broke in," she called.

He sighed, walking outside.  He looked up then around.  "Fuck this shit," he muttered, going to build a fire in the grill.  He used what little magic he had to do a 'please call me' sort of summoning.  It let someone know that you needed them.  Then he walked off muttering.  Wolfe showed up a bit later with the dogs, looking unamused.  "Did you know that Gretchen was sent to keep watch on me by the community?"


"Or that my conservator decided to cancel my accounts, and no one knows where they are?"

"No, I didn't."  He got out of the car and walked over.  "Are you okay?"

"No.  If I drank I'd be shit roaring drunk and throwing things," he said bluntly.  "Thankfully I'm not."  He rubbed his forehead.  "Can today just be a very bad dream?" he asked quietly.

"Sure, we can consider it that.  Let's get the puppies inside before Melusia goes through my car door to nuzzle them."  He got the dogs inside with the boy.  Gretchen stomped off.  Mack followed her to the curb, making her turn around.  "Is that the truth?"

"I'm not his family," she growled.

"Humans collect those around them that are like family," he said firmly.  "He considered you close enough for that, Gretchen.  Was it all an act to watch over him?"  She got her arm free.  "Well?"

"It's none of your business, human."

"It is because I'll have that bar shut down," he told her.

She laughed, shaking her head.  "We have people all around the government."

"Yes, but I can call the governor."  She gaped.  "So can the kid."

"Not now," she said smugly.

He smirked back.  "Which means you're under arrest for aiding and abetting felony theft and embezzlement."  She shrieked but he did it anyway.  The cab company sped off when they saw that.  He called the local officers in Robbery to come get her and why.  They sent a demon officer.  Wolfe stared at him.  "Are you going to do the same thing?"

"Hell no.  Even if McGarrett did take all his artillery and Winchester has three of the bottles, no!"  Mack stared him down.  "The law's the law."

"Good.  Then find it for him please?"  He handed her over.  "She was *assigned* to watch over him."  He walked off, going to calm Xander down.  He was in the backyard petting the dogs while sitting on the ground.  "Hey," he said, squatting beside him.  "It'll be okay."

"I'm fighting my urge to kill."

"I know you are."

"Both of them."

"I know.  I called Robbery, they'll find it, Xander."

"I sensed the demon."

"He said he'd be following the law."  Xander nodded once and went back to petting the dogs.  "McGarrett did an inventory."

"That's fine.  I almost expected to come home to nothing.  Did he get the shelves in there and the little cave?"

"No.  I never showed him those."  Xander let out a weak smile.  Mack petted him.  "You're tired.  Go to bed for now.  Get up in the morning and hopefully some things will be fixed."

"Willow was working with them too," he said quietly.

"I'm pretty sure someone's going to stop them."  He helped Xander up and inside.  The puppies tripped over each other but followed to nap with him.  He looked at the hellhound.  "You're good to him," he said quietly.  The dog barked and went in there to get his own petting time in.  Mack went to the kitchen to bottle up whatever she had been cooking that stunk.  He wanted to test it.  He tested everything else that was open in the kitchen, just in case.  Someone knocked.  "Back here," he called, walking toward the open front door.  "Didn't I close that?"  The officer shook his head.  "All right.  What's wrong?"

"You're Mack Wolfe?"

"Detective, retired, but yes.  Why?"

"Our Commander wants you."

"I'm watching over the resident.  He's blind and his housekeeper turned out to be stealing from him.  I'd say he could call but she and her accomplice had the phones turned off."

The officer winced.  "He's going to scream."

"Tell him to come scream at me in person," he ordered.  "And if he doesn't like it, he didn't need me."  The officer nodded and walked off to call that in.  He handed Mack his phone to talk to his boss.  "Wolfe."  He listened.  "Yay.  Really."  He listened again.  "I don't think that stealing over ten billion dollars is legal, do you?"  The commander spluttered.  "That's what this resident is worth.  She was his housekeeper and acted in collusion with his conservator.  No, he's blind.  He's very competent. 

"No, we're talking about Xander Harris.  Look up the file," he said dryly.  The commander did and moaned.  Wolfe had gotten permission to add to it about the death threats, which were now prominently mentioned, and about the attacks in Miami.  "Do you really think I want to leave him alone since she has been with him for over ten years of lying to him?" he asked quietly.  "I'm staying here.  Thank you."  He hung up and tossed the phone back.  "Have a good shift, Sergeant."

"You have a better night too, sir."  He got into his cruiser and drove off.

Mack went back to looking over the kitchen.  He had no idea where the kid's money was.  His hacker friend couldn't find it either.  Maybe Blair knew a better one?  His phone beeped with an account number.  He called Danny Williams to read it to him.  "What's that?" he asked.  He looked it up.  "Banking is good.  His conservator closed his accounts totally and Gretchen was with him as an assignment.  Bed.  I had him nap," he said quietly, walking back outside.  "Where is it?"  He nodded.  "Can we get it back?  Yeah, I talked to them already.  Thanks, man.  Here.  Gretchen was doing something that smelled like rat poison."  He hung up and went back to cleaning up in there.  Maybe Xander needed a real change.  He called Father Philip to warn him as well.


Sam Winchester made it through Customs in England, getting met by someone holding a sign with his name on it.  He nodded cautiously at them.  "Who sent you?"

"Precept Rayne said to give you his greetings, sir."

Sam grinned.  "Thank you."  He followed him out to the car.  Anyanka had shown up to tell him what D'Hoffryn had done for his swearing in.  So they had good plans until something happened. Not all of the watchers had been stunned into accepting it.  The ones outside the building hadn't been.  He was expecting a fight from them.  Cordelia faded in next to him.  He smiled at her.  "Good evening, Messenger Chase."

She pinched him on the cheek.  "You have very nice manners, Sam.  Why are you with a watcher?"

"I was waiting for the trap to be sprung," he said happily.  He also pulled his gun.  Anyanka had given him a way to hide it from everything, even being felt during a pat down.  One person had seen it but he had seen his name and shuddered so apparently he had heard.  "How's everyone else?"

"Agents rushed in today to arrest Rosenburg.  She had been being paid on the side for years to be Wolfram and Hart's pet hacker."  He nodded once.  She grinned.  "Apparently she hacked into a great many things and that hotty general said he'd had enough."

"They hit Harris again?"

"His own people did.  So he's in a royally pissy mood too.  Between that and his housekeeper he's in the same sort of mood he was when he was first blinded.  If they hadn't gotten his accounts so thoroughly they could send him to Boston and Father Philip to calm him down.  Since we can't and his phone's dead, we can't get him to calm down.  Not that I blame him.  If I had the authority I'd send him to Boston myself.  Philip will hopefully be able to talk him out of destroying a good chunk of people this time."

"Was he always that way?" he asked.

"No.  Xander used to be the most giving, nice, goofy, loyal guy there was.  The girls decided he needed to be sent away for his own good.  Kept saying he had to be protected because he was helpless."

"I heard some of that."

"He avoids those two because that was light shooting back at them.  Back when it happened he nearly talked someone into taking him home so he could talk to them."  Sam shivered.  "Yeah, we couldn't allow that.  He would've destroyed *everything* in town."  She patted him on the hand.  "You know what you're to do?"  He nodded.  "Good boy, Sam."  She smiled at him.  "You'll do fine.  That's why the Powers nominated you."  She winked and settled in for the ride.  "At least it's a pretty country once you get outside all the smog in London."

"It is.  Like a lot of movies," he said.  "Our midwest isn't quite like this, it's more productive than just large fields of grass."

She smiled.  "It probably was at one time."  They made it to the Council's main building and they got out.  The driver was grumbling but yay.  She smiled at him.  "I'm the Messenger for the Powers That Be, buddy.  Be more respectful of my magnificence since you can't even *hope* to get something as good as I am."

Sam looked at the door and opened it.  People inside started to break free of the sleep spell.  He walked past them to the special room in the center of the underground library.  They had gotten him a map.  He did get lost once but that was fine.  He found a sword.  He bled on the stone obelisk in there, chanting the words that showed up as he had been told to do.  All around the building a gong sounded.  Those who were awake looked scared.  Sam strolled back, sword in hand.  He let Cordelia lead him to the office, smiling at his receptionist.  "Hi, Sam Winchester."  She whimpered. 

"It'll be okay.  Even the Powers like it," Cordelia assured her.  She opened the door and Sam strode in, pulling the former head of the council out of his seat and putting him on the floor.  "He'll wake up last," she said smugly.

"Wonderful.  They can arrest him for setting contracts on people's lives for all I care."  He sat down and the desk changed.  Everything he touched changed to suit his own tastes.  He got up and did the rest of the office.  "I like this a lot more than decorating."  She cackled.

Someone stomped in.  "Who're you, boy?"

Sam looked at him.  "Sam Winchester.  I was appointed head of the Council."

"You're not one of us."

"No, but my father's a hunter, so's my brother."  The guy's sneer got worse.  Cordelia snapped a few times for attention.  "She said so."

"You're that Chase girl," one realized.  She smirked and nodded.  "What are *you* doing here?"

Whistler showed up in a loud clap of thunder.  Not his usual style but sometimes you had to be official.  "Shut up."  They gasped.  "Sam is our choice to head the Council since you've gotten darker than Wolfram and Hart was."  He stared around then at Sam, who grinned and patted another bookshelf to change it.  "Not bad taste, kid.  You ready for your first called job?"

"Is it having Travers arrested for setting contracts?  Oh, and how do I buy those bottles from Xander?"

"I'll arrange that," his secretary said quietly.  He smiled and put them on the side of his desk.  She stared then at him.  "He only has three left?"

"We're only buying three.  The US military has two.  He still has one though and I'm told he's in an absolutely foul mood at the moment."  He grinned.  "For right now, I want a sit rep from everyone, every single research topic and all that.  That way I can see where we're already going against rules.  You're Whistler, right?" he asked the new demon, who nodded with a smirk.  "What did they need me to do?"

"Well, first, present the sword to the Queen," he said dryly.  Sam grinned.  "And second, the Mathiason project has got to go."

"Yeah, not really a good idea to summon more demons to this plane," Cordelia said dryly.

The watchers standing around nodded.  "I guess I'll get that with the sit rep," Sam said with a smile.  "If I don't get one from everyone within a day, I'm firing whoever I haven't personally talked to."

"Our families...."

"Fell off the railroad tracks," Cordelia told her.  "Down into the ravines of the dark."

"That's nearly poetic," Whistler told her.

She grinned.  "I'm not much of one but it fits.  They can climb out of them if they want."  She stared at them.  "The Powers said it's sad when the vengeance demons have to help them straighten out something that should be one of their strongest weapons for the light."  She faded out.

Whistler looked at Sam.  "She'll be calling for an interview soon.  Present her with the sword, Sam."

"Yes, Whistler."

"Good boy and you don't bark like Harris does," he sighed, disappearing.

Sam clapped his hands together with a smile.  "Also, you should all know that I'm a fantastic shot myself.  My father drilled guns into me at a very young age.  Being a hunter is like that."  A few moaned.  "I believe I asked for a sit rep.  Start with that project.  Within an hour."  They stomped off.  When a few had shown up within that hour, mostly because they didn't want to piss off the new head of the Council, he was really pleased.  The rest, Sam took the sword to talk to people and make new friends.  He was pretty good at making new friends.

to next part.