Notes: Mytryk and I were chatting on one of my last days in the library before the holiday and came up with this idea when she was telling me about her teenagers.
Elder God SWAT
Xander Harris woke up with a gasp, looking over at his altar under his nicer shirts in his closet. "Okay, Loki, we won't do it that way," he assured it quietly. He got up and took a shower to hose off the sweat from the dream/vision and then got dressed, kissing Anya before sneaking out of the apartment and down to his car. He called the east coast. Probably not kind with the time difference but his 'uncle' loved him anyway. "Uncle Greg, it's Xander. I need help." He listened to him tell him why he needed help to be calling him at six in the morning east coast time.
"I need more help than psych drugs, Uncle Greg. I just got a vision. No, it's not a tumor that's causing a psychosis. I promise. If it was, I would've called Uncle James. Well, remember all those times that I talked about Janus interfering in my life so I set up a shrine to him and Loki hoping they'd leave me alone?" he asked, hearing the sigh. "I got one from one of them about where Dawn is, Buffy's little sister, yeah, the one that got snatched and we haven't been able to find. Um, no, if the vision or whatever was right and I do it that way you'll have to write me in a military jail after I jump some of them while rescuing Dawn and my new clones or offspring or whatever from your hospital."
He heard the shudder and grinned. "I need sneaky people plans, Uncle Greg, not military or strike team plans." He listened to him. "No, I know where they are. I can get myself onto the base, I think. I'm pretty sure actually. I'll owe Willow a major favor that I'll have to welch on because I'll be leaving Sunnydale with them. Well, because if it's right, then I have a toddler version of me, one of them that age that they mixed with me and someone else, a teenage me, and Dawn to take care of, plus the other kids they had made, Uncle Greg."
He got to wince and listen as his 'uncle' threw a massive fit. "Not my fault!" he complained. "Though, I do need to introduce you formally to my fiancee, Anya." He listened to the new fit. "I did tell you about her. Prom date? That same girl." He switched ears since that one was getting sore from the yelling coming through the line. "Help me make sneaky plans and I'll gladly bring them out so you can warp the younger mes so they can follow you since I can't. That way there's a second generation of snark in medicine." He grinned. "Exactly. Then you can meet Anya too."
Someone unkind tapped on his window so he held up his stake, making the vampire pout off. "Sorry, minor minion wanting a snack. No, I'm in the car. Anya's asleep in our bed. She gets kinda cranky when I wake her up with problems." He laughed. "Okay, crankier," he agreed. "How would I make sure they're okay and set up somewhere for them to live, Uncle Greg? Well, I'm not going to do like my parents did and that would lead them to me anyway. I can work and I plan on working but I'll need to have housing set up nearly immediately. No, it's not just them. Sixteen," he said weakly, making his uncle growl.
"But they're all kids, Uncle Greg, and the *military* has them. I know my view of them has been colored since the Initiative crap and fiasco, but I can't let my clones, evil or good, or my offspring stay with them. Please?" He grinned. "Thanks, Uncle Greg. Yeah, I think I can do that. Bless you. Love you, see you soon." He hung up and leaned his head back, making mental plans. He was going to have to set some things up before he went on that rescue mission. And he'd have to leave Sunnydale. They'd come looking for him here. Plus he wanted them to be somewhere safer than the mouth of hell and the pit of all evil that was Sunnydale. So he had to find a good spot to hide them in if Uncle Greg didn't.
Xander looked at the wish demon he had called down for tea, smiling and handing over a cup.
"What did you want, Harris?" she sighed, sitting across from him.
"I need to talk to you about the vision I had last night featuring my clones that the military has," he said quietly. "And the child they have of mine."
She dropped her cup, staring at him. "Excuse me?"
He laid a hand on hers. "See it from me. If not, I'll describe what I got." She read him then looked up while searching. "Was it a true one?" he asked calmly, picking up her cup to pour her more tea. She burst out swearing. "My Uncle Greg did that this morning when I called to talk to him." He handed the cup back, watching her create a bottle of alcohol to put into it. "I'm not going to let them have them. At all, Hallie."
"I can understand why," she admitted once she had taken a drink. "You can't hope to raise them all, Xander."
"I know. For right now, I need to rescue them. Then I need to hide them. Then we'll see which and who can be told, including their other biological donors," he said quietly. She nodded at that. "I've got plans on how to start with that. I've got plans on what to liquidate and what to get from some unwilling sources locally so I can do that more easily. Uncle Greg is helping me with the sneaky part of the plans. Do you have an area you'd rather I took them to?"
She looked at him. "Why would you ask me that?"
"Because at least one of them probably could call on you and you'd know places that're safer to live in than it is here."
"True, there's many safer spots than here. I hear Mars is safer than it is here actually." She took another drink of her laced tea.
He leaned closer. "I'm going to ask Anya if she wants to come, Hallie." The vengeance demon over lost childhoods burst out laughing. "That's what I'm figuring she'll do too. Which means she might be getting her powers back, but I'm not going to be scorning her. I'm going to be doing what I have to do to take responsibility for my family."
"Which would be borderline if D'Hoffryn's feeling nice," she told him. He nodded. "Hmm, an interesting problem." She took another drink, mentally calling her boss. "Are you willing to give up hunting?"
"I figure there's a reason behind my altar set to Janus and Loki giving me that vision," he said plainly. "I'd have to fall back to protecting them and helping in whatever they were called to do." He sipped his own tea. "I won't be here for apocalypses. Willow's going to get pissed at me for that. Buffy might get pissed if I don't send Dawn back to her."
"Probably, yes," she agreed patiently. "How far ahead have you thought this out?" He handed over the notes he had made on the vision. She read them over then looked at him. "That seems more like your usual style."
"I figure it was a warning that I won't do them any good if I'm in military prison."
"No, probably not," she agreed, rereading over it. "This prophecy?"
"I tried to look it up but Giles got suspicious and wanted to know why I wanted to know. I told him I heard someone wishing it was happening now. He said it's a mythical prophecy?"
She put the notes down. "Not fully. There's going to be complications. Mainly from their other selves." She finished her tea. "They won't believe."
"I can send them DNA tests," he said with a small shrug. "I know from that at least one other is a hunter's clone."
"It is." She stared at him. "All right. We'll see if we can find you a good, safer than average spot. You tell Anya."
He nodded. "She's coming over in about twenty minutes if you wanted to be here to see if you can con D'Hoffryn into giving it back to her or to beg him to make me a quiet millionaire so I can afford it easier."
She smirked. "We don't work that way. There's always a downside."
"I'll have sixteen kids, Hallie. I think that is the downside."
"Then why do it?" she asked plainly.
"Because I'm not going to let my family stay with them. Even if they're the nice military sort, no. Not my family. The same as you probably couldn't."
"No, I couldn't. Especially not with what you've seen." She stared at him. "Let me talk with D'Hoffryn while you tell Anya." She disappeared, taking her tea with her. "D'Hoffryn, we've got a *major* issue coming. Loki sent Harris a vision about a prophecy of champions." He spluttered, turning to look at her. "His spawn and clones are part of it."
"He wants to get them, take them somewhere safer, and deal with it then."
"The military has them. You know how he is about them after the Initiative."
"Unfortunately I do." He considered it. "Is he asking for a boon?"
"He wanted to know if I knew of a safer place to stash them while he worked on it. He's going to tell Anya while I'm talking to you. He did jokingly suggest that we could give him a quiet million dollars so he could do it easier."
D'Hoffryn snorted. "Why would I?"
"This takes him out of Sunnydale, probably for good," she said simply. He looked all too pleased at that. "With sixteen kids."
"He's got a teenage clone, a younger clone that's a toddler, both with his memories, Dawn Summers is there, and a half-clone that was mixed with someone else. I can't tell who yet but that one has both of his parents' memories and he looks a lot like Harris."
D'Hoffryn burst out laughing. "Serves him right!"
"But this means the slayer doesn't have as much backup and we've got three major apocalypses coming soon, D'Hoffryn."
He considered it tactically, then grimaced. "It would suit the prophecy better if their other selves knew."
"He said he'd send them a DNA test or something to announce it." She shrugged. "He hasn't gotten that far yet. His semi-uncle, Gregory House, is helping him make, as he called it, sneaky plans."
D'Hoffryn consulted his higher ups and nodded at her. "Help him." She nodded at that. "You can use one of the safehouses you've set up but those children are not going to be helped during this prophecy. Our higher ups don't want it to happen."
"We'll have other problems," she told him quietly, glancing around. She manifested a copy of the prophecy, pointing at one. "The child of blood and sunlight eyes?"
He snatched it to read, then groaned. "That's going to suck."
"But that demon might like it."
"His clone wouldn't be tainted."
"Possibly. The *other* Loki made him."
"That's even worse. Fine, help him. Make sure he gets a copy of that one." She nodded, taking it with her to go calm Anya down. He watched, considering it. "If I return her powers, she'll make my life a living hell," he muttered. She stomped off crying. "Way to go, Harris. Make her feel scorned," he said bitterly. She called on him. "Oh, no."
Xander down on the planet looked up. "If you don't, she's going to go to Willow to take you down," he said quietly. "She just said she'll summon you and let Buffy have you." He felt D'Hoffryn leave to find a way to protect himself. He smiled at Hallie when she came back. "She's having a fit up the street and making plans to have Buffy take out D'Hoffryn so she can claim his spot."
"I heard. So did he." She sat down across from him. "I can do four things to help you." He nodded. "This is a copy of the prophecy." She slid it over, getting a grin. She could see why her best friend was attracted to this human. He shined power and strength, plus cunning and she had said he was good in bed too. "I've been authorized to let you have one of my safehouses I've got set up." He beamed at that and she felt her insides warm. "I can let you know that one of the ones called is a hunter. You will have problems with his family." He nodded at that. "And I can make it so you can get them easier."
He pushed over another note. "What Dawn needs to know. I was going to have Willow magic it to her."
"If she can't find her...."
"She's being taken to Uncle Greg's hospital this week."
"Ah." She stared at him. "Very sneaky, Xander."
"Thank you." He grinned. "They won't make it there. That way Uncle Greg doesn't get military people breathing on his cane."
"Even better. Any other help I can give you?"
"Know anyone who would want a paw from a large Braxonis demon?" She gaped. He handed over the box. "Found it in a warehouse that used to belong to the old Mayor."
She burst out giggling. "I know why she loves you for more than your sex drive now."
"She says she loves my tongue the best," he quipped back with a grin.
"I'm sure she does." She wrote down a few things. "The other hunter's numbers. Tell them first. One of them has one of the Highers on his tail to use him as a champion. If his clone is tainted, it can take him too." Xander nodded. "That's the safe house's address. I'll take that note to Dawn." She winked. "Thank you, Xander."
"Welcome, Hallie. I'm hoping I'm better than mine and you never have to be called about any of my kids."
"I hope so too. I won't be that nice."
"I don't expect you to if I turn into a shitbag like mine."
She stared at him. "You'll do fine." She left, phasing into the military base but staying invisible until Dawn was alone for a second. She handed over the note and left.
Dawn Summers, little sister to the slayer, saw the note and recognized the handwriting. It was put into her pocket before anyone noticed and she went back to what she was doing. It was about time!
Xander appeared in the seat of the military transport vehicle and knocked out the driver before he could react. He shoved him out. Fortunately they were on a more rural road at the moment so the guy wouldn't get hit with a car. He shifted over to drive, taking it to the next exit and checking for a chase vehicle. That was really stupid of them to not provide one. Then again, he knew they had a guy in the back with the kids. He even knew who it was now. He could put up with the other clone. Probably. He hoped. On the way he heard the radio start to spout that they had escaped so he called the hunter's number.
"You don't know me, Samuel Winchester, but I know who you are. We're in the same hunting business. I have a critical problem right now that involves your relatives and mine and the military. I'm taking all of them to safety and I could use some help. New Jersey, heading roughly for downstate." He smiled. "That's even better. Where can we meet?" He nodded. "I'm about an hour from there and they just sent out the memo. Thanks, man. Well, I could use a good sized truck to switch to since there's a bunch of kids they have." He hung up and went back to driving. "Dawn, calm them down," he called.
"Yes, Xander. Thank you!"
"Welcome." He found where his uncle had left the rental truck and pulled over, getting out to walk around to the back. He opened the canvas tarp over the back, looking at them. His clones sighed. "C'mon. You too, Jon. Not like I don't know about you too."
"Who are you?" he demanded.
He pointed. "I should look familiar and I know everything, kid. Including how you and they came to be and all that. We're going somewhere safe because there's shit you don't know. Now, let's go. If you're coming with us, so be it. Just don't call your other self and don't try to bring them down on us or else I'll have to fight back and I'm meaner than hell when I have to defend those who're my pack." Dawn gave him a hug. "Love you too, Dawnie. Truck. Now." He gave her a gentle swat. He grinned at Jon O'Neill.
"I'm also like her big brother. I know *exactly* who kidnaped her." The other clone groaned. "C'mon, guys. We're on a schedule here. Unless you want to go back to the base?" They climbed out with his help, going to the truck Dawn had started for him. He stopped Jon. "I'll show you why later. We're meeting a few people who are in the same boat I am with them. We're going somewhere safe from all sides. Just go with it for now please." He walked him that way, taking the radio with him. He made sure he hadn't left anything in the truck to identify himself then got into the new one to drive the kids off to a safer location.
Sam Winchester hung up his phone. "That was the strangest call ever."
"I heard your side."
"He said he's in the same business. He said he has our relatives and he's taking them to safety?"
"He mentioned kids, Dean."
"Uh-huh," he said, thinking hard. "Kids and our relatives?"
"Do you know him?"
"I didn't recognize the voice but there's a lot of hunters we don't know by sound."
"True. What did he need?"
"A truck to switch from if possible."
"We might be able to do that." He thought about the area. He'd been through here a few times. "It won't hurt to go along with it for now."
"That's what I was thinking. That way we can get a good explanation."
"Yeah, I'd like that one. Can you call him back?"
"Nope. Came up unknown number. So it's a cellphone. I did hear a military band radio going in the background."
"Even better." He sped up some, taking Sam to the truck rental place he knew about. They got a medium sized one and headed to the rendevous spot. They saw a panel truck there already and parked beside it. A young guy, about their age, got out and waved at them. He walked around to the back, saying something and coming out with someone. Dean stared. "No way in hell," he breathed.
"What?" Sam asked. He got gotten out of the rental truck and gotten into the car to talk to him for a minute.
"He looks just like you when you were six, dude." He got out and walked over carefully. "What the hell, dude?"
"Xander Harris, fresh off the team in Sunnydale, out in California." Dean gaped. "The military had him and others. Including some of mine. I'm taking them to the safe house we have set up with some help."
"They made us kids?" he demanded. "I mean Sammy a kid?"
"No, he's Sam, Dean. He's a clone," Xander said dryly, staring at him. "Yours is napping on Dawn's chest." He pointed. "The older guy in there is one of their people but he's cool and from the same sort of situation. He'll behave and all that until we can explain things."
"I'd like that now," Dean said, staring at the kid, who pouted back at him. "Any idea what's going on?" he asked his ...little brother he guessed.
Xander held out the copy of the prophecy. Dean read it and burst out swearing, walking off to kick his tire. "Think how I feel. I've got two and a son." He grinned. "Now, can we get on with the switch?"
"I want to talk to the kid," he said.
Xander checked his watch. "The military's twenty minutes behind us, Dean. Can we wait an hour?"
That got a nod and Sam got out to help them into the new truck, including the little Sam - who they both stared at until Sam spotted the little Dean. Dean winced when Sam's fingernails cut into his forearm but he looked at the little him and nearly melted. "I was adorable."
"He likes tits too," Dawn said dryly. "Let us get to safety, Dean. They took me with them but couldn't do it to me too." He nodded, helping her into the back of the truck. "C'mon, Jon. Hike faster," she ordered.
"I'm coming, you nagging thing," he complained. "This is why I'd never marry again." He checked the new truck and looked at Xander. "We're not bad people."
Xander stared at him. "Yay. Truck, now." He sighed but not into the truck and closed the back door. Xander checked, pulling out the one hiding under a seat. He stared at her. "Tara, we're not mean," he said quietly. "You know I'm not mean." He put her into the back of the truck then gave Dean the map. "There, guys. It's a safe house set up by Halfrek." He got into the truck and headed off.
"Halfrek?" Dean asked.
"Vengeance demon over Lost Childhoods," Sam said quietly, watching the truck leave. "You wanna leave Dad and Bobby this voicemail or should I?"
"I'm gonna wait until we're more fully briefed, Sammy. Because I don't want Dad to come in and blow him away yet." He got in to drive, Sam got into his passenger's seat, and they followed the truck. "Is this Halfrek an evil bitch?"
"No. She's a wish demon. One that abused kids call on to take out their parents."
Dean shuddered. "That's got to be a nasty, dirty job."
"Probably," Sam agreed. He pulled out his phone, hooking his laptop to it so he could get online while they traveled.
"What are you doing?"
"Looking him up."
"Sunnydale? Have we heard about that place?"
"Not since we were younger. Dad went on a drunken rant once, something about a lot of vampires trying to sleep with him."
"Oh, that one. I went to bed when he started." He called Bobby one-handed while he drove. "Bobby, it's Dean and Sammy. Listen, we've got a serious head's up going on right now in New Jersey. One that you and Dad both might need to know about. I'll let Sammy send you a copy of the prophecy, but I need to know what sort of wards we might need to protect Sammy from the family's demon if it suddenly shows up in a few days. No, not a planned attack, just a feeling I have."
Sam looked at him. "I haven't gotten a vision yet."
"If that's really yours.... he'll come," Dean told him. "Thanks, man. New Jersey, Sam's in his email, yeah. Thanks." He hung up and let Sam type in the prophecy for him. "Anything on that guy?"
"A few things on one of the hunter's bulletin boards. His ex-girlfriend got her powers back. He was dating a vengeance demon himself."
"No, Anyanka." Dean shuddered. They had run into her handiwork in the past. "So she's back. Their witch is pouting. They have a team out there." He looked more in depth while Dean drove, sitting up straighter a few miles later. "They had to take out a military unit. It was torturing and testing things on demons."
"Very. There's a ton of stuff on the slayer, the main hunter out there. She's cute. Your type."
"Okay, and what else do we know?"
"Xander was working construction. Been hunting since Buffy came to town in tenth grade."
"Buffy? Who names their kid Buffy?" Dean snorted.
"Apparently her mother. She's cute, blonde, petite, perky, former cheerleader sort. Has a high kill count and a bad habit of quipping and wearing slutty clothes while hunting." He let him see a picture of the group while they were fighting something. "Taken by her watcher. Whatever that is."
Dean nodded once. "She's cute. Why is she wearing heels?"
"Some women are like that," Sam said, going back to it. "They've had some major battles. It lists a true battle at their graduation. They blew up their school?" he asked, rereading that. He got into that file and went pale. "Oh, damn. They deal in bigger things, Dean. They blew it up to take out a huge demon that had just changed into a pure one."
"Define huge? Like a Higher or more powerful?"
"Like the size of a football field and a giant snake." Dean gave him a horrified look. "It's got video. The guy's helping protect the crowd."
"Okay, so he knows about hunting," Dean decided. "The military thing now?"
"Anything from Bobby?"
He got into his email and looked. "He said it's a mythical prophecy."
"Go ahead and tell him about the mini us's." Sam did that and nearly instantly got an email back. "He gagging at the cuteness?" Dean snarked.
"Nope. He's praying for Dad's sanity."
"Yeah, I'm kinda praying for ours too," Dean admitted after a moment's thought. "Clones?"
"No clue. What was that other guy's name?"
Sam typed that in, coming up with one classified thing. "Huh." He hacked into it and gaped. "Aw, shit." Dean flinched at that. Sammy didn't swear that often. "He's a clone too." He saved that page down then got out of the site before they caught him.
"Xander said he knew he was one of them. Said he'd tell him all about it later so his buddies wouldn't come get them. Or us I guess."
"Hopefully," Sam agreed. He slumped down, looking at the new information. "It mentions aliens, Dean."
"So the military thinks it's an other-dimensional being?"
"No idea. They say aliens, specifically Loki."
"As in the chaos god in the Norse pantheon?" he asked.
A twinkling in the backseat appeared and Anya leaned on the back of the front seat. "Exactly." They flinched but she just grinned. She loved making men flinch. "Technically they took on the roles of the elder gods to have some control over things. O'Neill's people are working with Loki's people, but not him because he's a psycho mad scientist sort, to stop other aliens that took on the persona of the Greek and Egyptian gods." Dean glanced back at her, giving her an odd look. "That's my former stupid-head boyfriend in front of you, boys. He broke up with me to do the honorable thing."
"That's only right to do," Dean agreed. "Do we know anything more about this prophecy?"
"No. But Willow will be seeing Dawn in a bit since she's got a demonic version of measles." She pouted at Sam since he could look back at her. "I miss my snuggly Xander sex toy."
"I don't need to know personal details," he said firmly. "I'm not seeing him."
"You should. It'd be very hot. And with the prophecy of the elder gods looking for new champions, it might be the clone yous together. Who knows." She shrugged and grinned. "Buffy's going to pout."
"I don't care," Dean said. "Let us find out what's going on first, okay? That way we can figure out plans and things?"
"Sure, but his Uncle Greg is going to have to come up soon and they might follow them."
"I doubt it," Sam said.
"No, they might. The boss over the project that was protecting them isn't too bad." She grinned. "I'll let them know they're in good, safe, non-telling hands but it might not stop people like Riley who're really scared. At least until the chaos gods get into it. Janus and Loki both love Xander. A lot. With three more of them....." She faded out and went to talk to the people who knew what was going on. She landed in front of Daniel Jackson. "Awww, I never got called on you. Pity. Geeks are some of my favorite toys."
He looked at her. "Who are you? How did you get down here?"
"I'm Anyanka, over women scorned. I'm a vengeance demon."
"Demons don't exist."
"The same as clones don't?" she asked archly, making him moan and call someone. She looked at the general coming in. "I know your daughter's husband. He was boinking a friend of mine for a bit before he got stupid, cheated on her, and then married your daughter."
General Hammond stared at her. "Who are you, miss?"
"Anyanka. He would've called me Anya. I was dating Buffy's best friend Xander when he was Initiative."
"Hmm, and you had three little Xander's and Buffy's little sister here. They're safe by the way. They won't be telling anyone but it was about to hit the fan. I never did understand that saying. Why would anyone want to throw poo-poo on a fan anyway?"
"It's to spread it out to fertilize the fields probably," Daniel told her, making her beam at him. "They're safe?"
"They're going to a safe house one of my coworkers set up. She's over Lost Childhoods." She stared at the general. "He's fine with them. If he hadn't, you guys would've have do deal with elder gods that aren't their alien counterparts." An old man with a scraggly, gray beard and an eye patch appeared behind her. "All-Father!" she squealed, giving him a hug. "I haven't seen you in *ages*!"
"Where is this spawn that Loki was cackling over?"
"With his other self. The other Loki, the little annoying, psycho one that gave yours too many power rushes, made him a clone or two and a son."
Odin All-Father shuddered. "I should chain him up again," he muttered, shaking his head. "This offspring?"
"Xander has them. Loki warned him not to take them out when they took the slayer's sister to the hospital for demon measles."
"Very well then. The prophecy?"
"Halfrek told him, All-Father. He knows. So do some of the other original selves. One of theirs has one as well and he's with them so they can get info from him without having to bust in and get their butts whooped by Xander or his artillery."
"Even better." He touched her head, reading her memories of him. "He is quite a warrior. I'd accept him in the hall if the girls would gather him." She beamed at that. "You're a good daughter of our kind, Anyanka. Behave and be nicer to the poor idiot men. You know a woman will always cloud a man's mind."
"Men should be stronger."
"True, but most men aren't warriors and strong enough to withhold the bad urges." He looked at Daniel, who swallowed hard, then at Jack O'Neill, Jon's original self. "Tell the littler version of my son to stop it before I plant my boot up his hind end and then let the Valkyries have him. He won't like it this time either." He faded out.
Anya spun to look at them, looking pleased. "Odin All-Father liked you, O'Neill. It's a high compliment." She looked at Daniel then at the general again. "Let Xander and us handle it. It's going to get weird and things but he'd have to break in here if you tried to take them from him. He broke up with me to do the honorable daddy thing. It even got me my powers back." She beamed and faded out.
Daniel slumped in his chair. "What are we getting into this time?" he asked weakly.
"I need a beer," Jack decided, looking at the general. "I'll call Mini-Me in a bit?"
"Do so. I want to be there when you do, Jack. Daniel, are you all right?"
"Just very tired."
"Good. One of you tell Thor or Loki that the next time we see them. I want a copy of this prophecy or whatever it is." He went to take something for his headache. He thought having the clones here was bad! And Dawn was worse than most of them! Now this? He did call Riley to check on that reference she had given him. Riley moaned but gave him a concise, unbelievable report once he had gotten out of his office so they could talk privately. He looked up their program and the notes they had on the boy, liking what he saw. "He's like a younger version of Jack. Even has the same smart mouth," he decided. So for now he would follow that advice. Riley Finn had given him the same advice. Let Harris handle it for now, then step in when things went to hell. Literally possibly according to him.
Xander parked and got out, walking back to open up the door. "Okay, guys, we're here. It might be a bit cramped tonight but we'll figure out the rest tomorrow." He gave Tara a hug. "We missed you, Tara." He grinned at her. "No hiding. No doing the kitchen stuff. You're not a house elf or a slaveboy named Harry." He let her go with a pat on the head. "Dawn, can you handle setting things up?" She nodded, taking the sleepy kids inside with Jon's help. "Let him call his people too." He sat on the back of the truck while Sam and Dean parked and got out. "So? Anything new on the prophecy?"
"Not really. Our kind think it's mythical."
"So did Giles until I got a head's up from Loki to not take out the military dorks guarding them in the hospital." He sighed, looking at them. "This is how far I've gotten in my plans. For right now, we've got to hide them from the military guys. We've got to make sure who has memories and who doesn't. If the kids want, we can contact their other selves to let them know but they've got to be told that the crap is going to hit the fan soon and it's not going to be pleasant to be around always. There's chaos gods getting a rush from this one." He looked at the house then at them. "I know Dawn has demonic measles so my uncle can come up to check on her soon." Buffy walked up to him and swatted him. "Ow, wench."
"Why didn't you tell me?" she demanded.
"Did you see the three mini-mes in there?" he asked patiently. She went pale, shuddering. "There's a *prophecy*, Buffy. The thing was trying to make a clone of her too and couldn't."
"Thank God." She looked up. "Thank you! One's enough!" He swatted her on the arm. "Hey!"
"She'll stay with the others since she's involved," he said simply. She nodded at that. "It's probably safer. Originally I was thinking about bringing them back to Sunnydale."
"Ooooh. No! No, no no no no! Spike would be traumatized. So would Giles and all the other demons, bad and good ones. They might try to make an apocalypse to keep them from the ho-hos. Bad idea, Xander."
"That's why I asked Halfrek and my Uncle Greg."
"Good! People with sense! I'll give Halfrek a pretty present later for helping with this." She walked inside to try to clear the mental images out of her head.
"I want to introduce the mini-mes to Spike anyway," he called after her. "Just to pay him back for the blood in my cocoa thing!"
Xander grinned at them. "Gotta make her have bad thoughts now and then. It's my sacred duty to make her quit being so slay-y and more friend-y and more fun."
"Driving her insane to help her sanity?" Sam asked with a weak smile. Xander nodded. "Do you have any idea how bad this looks?"
"Yeah, but I also know that I'm enough to take down that unit and make them beg. Three of me will probably destroy the whole base." He grinned sweetly and stood up. "I'm sure Willow's done what research she could on this prophecy by now if Anya told her about it. We can go set them into their beds for the night and I'll deal with dinner while you guys research. Then we'll figure out about original selves and all that stuff?" They both nodded. "There might be room for you two to camp out somewhere. I'm not real sure yet." He walked inside, going to check on the kids. "Down for a nap?" he asked Jon quietly.
"Yeah. Dawn and them are tired."
"Dawn has demonic measles. In a few days she'll sprout more spots."
"Is that why we were moving her to a hospital?"
"Yup. Your own docs couldn't figure out what it was. Perhaps with some magical assistance, not sure." He grinned. "We're meeting in the living room and I'm working on dinner if we have food."
"Of course we have food," Willow complained, walking over to where they were staring. "They're adorable little yous."
He pointed. "That one's only half me." He grinned at her. "I had to, Willow."
"I understand why." She pinched him on the arm. "C'mon." They walked back that way. Sam had the prophecy so she was working on it with Giles over the phone. He had Joyce help him by scanning and emailing pertinent sections of books. "Okay, what we have so far is that the elder gods want a new set of champions. The earth's in danger and it's not fully demonic this time."
Jon coughed. "My people deal with that, guys. We didn't need more help."
Xander looked back at him. "Your team is how old?"
Jon groaned. "We can go on for a few more years."
"And then you'll have the kids ready to go," Xander pointed out dryly. "Hand picked to take over the worst situations. Elder god SWAT basically if I took it right?" he asked Sam, who nodded. Willow did too. "So I take it we're going to have severe issues?"
"Very," Willow agreed. "But I can't determine what because it's not making much sense." She let Jon see it. "Does that make sense to your kind?"
"Nope." He looked at them. "You guys take things like this seriously?"
"We've seen plenty that have come true," Buffy said grimly. "Usually it involves people or demons trying to end the world. Then we slay and have dinner and go back to normal level of threats trying to take us out. Which is why Dawn is safer here."
Xander nodded. "She would be." He looked at him. "We'll deal with it, Jon. Willow, can you explain to him about Sunnydale and find some of those home movies and things with Buffy's help while I deal with practical things?"
"We can do that." She got up and dragged Jon onto the back porch with Buffy's help. It wasn't very large, just a slab of concrete, but it'd do for now. They could give him the whole talk and her computer had the files on them.
Xander looked at Dean and Sam. "If you guys want to call in extra help, make it subtle help?"
"Our Dad's still alive," Dean said quietly.
"From what I heard about your dad, he'd come in with a shotgun and try to shoot us all. Then ask questions."
"Well, yeah," Sam admitted. "He's like that when he's mad." Dean nodded to back him up. "Hell if I know."
"We'll tell him later, once we have a better handle on what's going on."
"Okay, but if you're staying, you guys need to take some responsibility to help me with the kids."
"Deal," Dean agreed. "I did a lot of Sammy's raising."
"Good." He went back to making dinner, finding Tara in there. "What did I say about you not being a slave?"
"I should cook."
Xander picked her up and put her on the counter to look at her. "I'm perfectly capable of cooking, Tara. You're a child, and I'm not like your parents or mine." She gave him a sheepish look. "If you want to help because you want something to do, so be it. If not, then you're still not a slaveboy named Harry." He put her down and gave her a nudge. "Sam and Dean aren't mean people. They're hunters, like we are. Willow's outside and you know she's going to hug you to death." He stroked over her hair with a smile. "We missed you, Tara."
"I missed you guys too." She looked at Dean and Sam, who were trying not to pay attention. "Did she do it again?" she asked quietly.
"She went off the deep end when you died," he admitted, grinning at her. "But we made her break and cry and then sent her to Devon for some healing time. She's on probation right now." She nodded at that. "You can talk to her."
She shook her head. "It'll be strange."
"Probably." He smirked. She moaned. "Go play? You're a kid now, Tara. You can play and all that good stuff. You can be as girly-girl as you want and I'm not going to mind."
"Really. Hey, if you're kids, I'm the new dad." They shared a look and she giggled, swatting him on the arm before walking out to look around the house.
Willow opened the back door, staring at her. "Tara?" Tara squeaked and jumped, turning to look at her. "They brought you back?"
"No, they took her to clone her before she died," Xander said. "Downloaded most of her memories too." He went back to cooking. Just some simple stuff tonight but it'd be good enough, he hoped. Willow had grabbed Tara to hug, sitting in a corner to hold her. "Told you she'd hug you to death, Tara." Tara laughed, squeezing Willow back.
Buffy looked and nodded the guys to join them. "That's her former girlfriend, who we just lost a few months back, guys. Let them have some privacy." That got a nod from them. "Do we have anything new yet?"
"A little bit," Sam admitted. "I'm still wondering if we're telling the...original selves of the other kids. They're going to freak if they're not hunters and don't know about this stuff."
"Which would probably get them taken from Xander and cause a problem," Dean pointed out. "Kidnaping charges or something."
"Nope, got that figured out," Buffy said. Jon nodded. "They were looking up who their original selves were to contact them about it. He said they pulled some major brains."
Someone pounded then walked in. "Xander, where is she?" Greg House bellowed.
"Back bedroom, to the right, Uncle Greg. Guys, relax, this is my uncle, Greg House. He's a doc." He came out to hug him. "I think I'm going to go nuts worrying."
"I didn't bring you the psych medicine I think you should have," he said dryly. He walked back to Dawn's room to check her over. "We're sure of the cause?"
"Yup, sure am," Xander agreed. "I had it. It lasted about a week. Itched like chicken pox. Willow has a tea that'll make them turn purple instead of orange and then she won't be contagious."
"Can we innoculate against it for the other kids?" House asked.
Willow walked in and handed him a case. "I got that off the healer in our town." She gave him a hug. "Hi, Uncle Greg." She bounced back out to talk to Tara.
"I see no one got her ritalin," House said dryly.
"Her or me," Xander said proudly with a grin. "Oooh." He dragged his uncle up the hall, opening the door to let him peek inside. "Aren't I adorable at those ages?"
House looked and nearly cooed. "You are, but they're going to cause hell worse than you did, Xander." He gave him a pat on the back. "Especially the son."
"Maybe he'll want to follow you instead of me," Xander offered with a grin.
"Maybe." He went back to checking over his patient then doing quick needle jabs of the others to innoculate against it. He looked at the tough looking young guy standing in the doorway. "Innoculated against this already?"
"No. What's wrong with her?"
Jon moaned, shaking his head. "How did she get that on our base?"
Xander shrugged. "Probably one of your janitors." He smirked and went to check on them. "Uncle Greg was making sure you guys don't catch what Dawn has," he told the awake ones.
"He's an uncle or an *uncle*?" one asked, staring at him.
"Technically he's my dad's former best friend. To me, he's the only sane, smart person in my family. He's a doctor." That got a nod. "So, I made dinner if you guys are still up or you guys can go back to your naps if you want." They shrugged. "Okay, well, no tv here yet and I haven't looked at the books yet so if you want to, go ahead." They went to look at the books, settling down with something to read.
Buffy looked at them. "You guys were geeks, right?" she asked. They nodded, smirking at her. "Good, figure out how to tell other selves without getting Xander in trouble?"
"That's going to be a loud fight in at least one case," the one with the curly mop of hair told her. "My big brother and father are going to scream."
"We're keeping our dad from coming in to shoot him," Dean told him. "Probably with rock salt at first, but still."
"If you see the guy with the shotgun, let us know," Sam quipped. "Good salad, Xander."
"Thanks, Sam." He looked at them. "Starting next week, things are going to start going stranger. We already know that much. I'm not against telling your other selves and I'd like to do that if you guys want us to. I'm not going to go to jail for it, but I'll gladly tell them and let you guys go with them if you want. I have no idea how that part of the plan is going to look." That got a nod. "The same as I know someone's going to be pissed. I'm not real pleased with the one who did this in the first place."
"At least he stabilized it," Jon told him. "I was only meant to last about sixteen days."
"You were the prototype," Xander pointed out. Jon moaned. "Yeah, they've been doing this for a while but for this situation, you're the prototype. Which is why you can stay here as long as you don't try to have us arrested for saving them either." A lanky, dark haired man appeared in a flash and he gaped then came forward. "Loki," he said, sounding awed. "Thank you for your help, Lord."
He smiled. "I do like the trouble you bring to me, Xander." He patted him on the head like a good dog. He looked at the boys. "It will only get stranger from here." He looked at the mini Xander that had snuck out and looked at Greg House behind him. "Xander."
"Lord Loki. Is there a true prophecy?" The god nodded. "Then what?"
"They need at least a team of champions to handle things that are going to come up in the future. They may need more at times and they expect to nominate from within this group. That other self of me picked for certain characteristics. You were picked for your strength and unwillingness to give up. As was Dean. Sam and those two were picked for brains. As for why there's three of you? My other self wasn't sure which would be the best solution. He was thinking about making it all teenagers at first but got told they'd have time to grow up and train more." That got a nod from those listening. "For now, learn and grow as normal children would. Even with those old memories there's things you can be taught." That got another nod. "Good." He smiled. "I wish you luck when they decide to lock you all in a room to weed it down."
"By then we'll be able to cooperate," younger Xander said simply. "Why would I want to fight them?"
"Good point and one they haven't thought of yet." He disappeared.
"Anyone freaked?" Dean asked, raising his hand. The kids did the same. So did Greg House. The Xanders and the rest of the Sunnydale team just shrugged it off. "An elder god appearing doesn't bother you guys?"
"We dealt with people who talk to Janus," Buffy said with a small shrug.
"I keep a shrine to him and Janus because Janus likes me a bit too much and I've been told many times I'm a force of chaos sometimes," younger Xander told him. Then he grinned. "Can I have some salad, older me?"
"Sure, go for it. Leave some for the others." He went to dish himself up some with Buffy's help. "Dinner's ready," he called. The others came out. Xander ended up making more for the adults but that was fine he guessed. He'd learn to cook for a horde.
Later that night, Dean and Sam were sitting on the concrete slab out back, watching the woods. "We've got to tell Dad. He'll freak if we tell him later," Sam said.
"We need to ward the mini you in case the demon comes," Dean told him.
"I got that from Bobby. He and I did it in chalk earlier all around his room. I don't remember being snatched long enough to have a cell mass taken and my memories downloaded."
"Me either," Dean admitted. "Who knows." He looked at his phone then at his little brother. "You call Bobby, I'll call Dad, we'll put it on speaker?"
"Sure." They dialed, getting their respective adults. "Hey," Sam said. "You're both on speaker on our end."
"Thankfully I got through to your father so he'd answer this time," Bobby said. "Now what the hell is going on?"
Dean coughed. "Well, long story short, a heavily classified military project rescued our ....mini selves from someone and then a hunter rescued them from the military since the shit's about to hit the fan for them," Dean told him.
"Excuse me?" John demanded coldly. "Mini selves? Someone made me a grandfather?"
"Not quite, you're still a dad, Dad," Sam said. He looked back. "You might as well come tell them with us," he told the mini Dean. "The other me asleep?"
"Stressing out but the little Xander is hugging him and trying to get him to calm down." He sat between them. "I'm going to assume it's Uncle Bobby and Dad by the voices?"
"Who're you?" John asked.
"Dad, this is me, aged about seven or eight," Dean told him. "There's a younger Sam who's about five. He kept almost the same age ratio when he did it."
"Who did what?" John snarled.
"Loki did it," Xander called. "Because he said the elder gods needed more champions. In the future they'll be needed to handle things once we're gone or outdated." He closed the back door after leaving those two a beer. He did not want to be anywhere near that talk. Not tonight. He was too tired. He went into Sam's room, picking him up to look at him. "I will never laugh at what you want to do or become. You can learn whatever you want. If you want to go back to hunting when you're old enough, so be it. And if your dad doesn't like it, oh fucking well," he said calmly, making Sam grin. "I'll sic Spike on him or something. That's enough to make his mind break for a few days at the very least." He put him down. "They're talking to them now." He went to help. He looked at the mini him, giving him a hug. "You did good, even if he doesn't understand why you get hugs." His mini self grinned and went to his own bed. Xander checked on the others then went to flop down on his own cot.
Sam snuck out and sat behind his Dean's back, looking at the phones. "Is the swearing done yet?"
"Not hardly," bigger Dean said with a grin. "You okay?"
"The little Xander gives nice hugs." He looked at the phones. "Guys, can we please quit fussing for now? There's more serious stuff going on. Like the fact that we're in the line of fire if the bad aliens come and those things."
"Aliens?" Bobby snorted.
"It was Loki's alien self that made us, Bobby," Dean told him. "Their own military rescued us and handed us to the military unit they work with down here." Someone made squeaky noises. "Sorry, Jon, but they need to know anyway," he called. "One of the others from there so they don't invade to try to get us back." He leaned on his bigger self's arm with a yawn. "I wasn't this tired the last time I was this size."
"We'll deal with it," Dean promised. "So, see, Dad, you're not a grandfather yet. No worries there."
"This had better be a very good, elaborate prank," John snarled.
Little Sam snorted. "Not even Dean's that good, Dad."
"True," little Dean agreed. "I'm a prank master but not that great. Yet. Though it was nice that Loki liked Xander when he showed up earlier. The god one, not the alien one," he said at the choking going on. "Xander said that Janus liked him so he kept a shrine to them so they'd leave him alone."
"I sent you pictures of them earlier, Bobby," bigger Sam told him. "That way you can remember how cute we were." He grinned at the phones. "So we're in New Jersey. Xander's going to help us. We're going over the prophecy but they said things'll start next week. We'll figure out what to handle and what to duck if we can by then." That got an assenting noise. Then Bobby started to swear. "What? We're adorable, Bobby."
"They look just like them, John," he said.
"We're clones," little Dean said. "Duh."
"Manners," John snapped.
"Yes, sir." He looked back at the little Sam. "He's tired, let me put him into bed."
"Both of you hit the sack and we'll be in soon," Dean ordered. That got a sigh but they went to do that. "So, guys, got any wise advice right about now? We're trying to see if we're parents or big brothers. Kinda freaked out a bit too."
"Just a bit but I was so cute," Sam offered with a happy grin. "And Xander said they could learn whatever they wanted to do. If they wanted to go back to hunting, they could do that."
"First, who is this Xander person?" John asked.
"Out of the Sunnydale team, Dad," Sam told him. "He's a hunter. They made him a son with someone else, a mini him and a teenage mini him."
"Shit," John said in a deep, painful sounding moan. "Where are you?"
"New Jersey. We're protecting the boys from the military wanting them back," Dean told him. "Plus other neat things."
"There's no way you boys can handle the two mini yous and the other three sanely," Bobby said.
"There's sixteen of them total including Buffy's little sister that they couldn't clone and Jon," Sam told him. "Buffy and Willow are here for now too, guys."
"You'll still need more help," John said firmly.
"Dad, we have all our old memories," Dean told him. "Up until about five months ago."
"We warded the younger you?" John demanded.
"I got it from Bobby and we did it earlier in chalk. If we're staying here, I'll do it in paint tomorrow," Sam agreed.
"Good. Where in New Jersey so I can come see them for myself, boys?"
They shared a look then shrugged.
"Go ahead," Buffy called. "If he gets too grumpy I'll knock him out and toss him in the woods."
"Xander offered to introduce him to Spike," Sam said with a grin.
"That's a worse fate if he turns into a butthole."
"I'll text coordinates, Dad, but do not pull your usual macho bullcrap with Xander. He's stressed and might hit you back," Dean said, hanging up on him. "So, Bobby?"
"Boys, you're in for a hell of a ride."
"Should we be like Dads or just big brothers?" Dean asked.
"No clue, boys. That's something you'll have to figure out, but I do want to see them sometime soon."
"Xander didn't say we couldn't take them away, just that the prophecy was set to snap into being in about a week and there'd be chaos gods and things," Sam offered.
"Then bring them out for a visit. Make sure they're healthy and stuff."
"Xander's uncle is a doctor. He came in to innoculate against demonic measles since Dawn has them," Dean told him.
"Even better. I'll see you boys soon with them littler boys. You two were too cute to stay in much trouble even when you both made some chaos god somewhere cackle with whatever you got into." He hung up, calling John to calm him down.
"We can figure out when once we've got the prophecy figured out," Sam offered.
Dean nodded. "Sounds like a plan." They got up and headed inside. "Night, Buffy. Wake us up when you want us to take watch."
"I can do that. Have happy dreams, guys." She went back to watching the area. No one military was going to be taking her little sister or Tara from them. Xander maybe but not the military. Especially not Riley's people since they got warned about them.
John Winchester pulled up to the parking area in the park the boys had sent him to, getting out to look at his younger son. "Dean let you take the car?"
"I had to bring back the rental van," he admitted. "Dean's getting some groceries for us." He grinned. "Hey, Dean?" The little Dean came out of the bushes, doing back up his pants. "Feel better?"
"I didn't have this problem when I was really this age," he complained.
John stared, blinking a few times. His mouth started to open then snapped shut. "Dean."
"Hey, Dad." He grinned that same shit-eating grin of his. "How was Minnesota?"
"We have all their memories from up until five months ago."
"Oh. It went about the same as normal I guess. I got a bit banged up but nothing unusual." He kept staring at him.
Sam coughed. "The little me is about three years younger. I don't know why he increased that age ratio since he decided to keep it at all. Makes no sense to us."
"Being your big brother was what made a lot of me into the man I am today," Dean told him, getting a nod at that. He walked over to his father, staring up at him. "Dad, you need a bath," he said simply. "You stink like you've been slobbered on by demon dogs."
John groaned, shaking his head. "I drove overnight from my last job, Dean."
"Obviously." The Impala pulled in and he looked over. "Hey."
"Hey." He got out, looking at his father. "I had that same reaction seeing the little Sam." He grinned. "C'mon, let's head back, guys." They nodded. John got into his truck to follow them. They could see him muttering in the rearview mirror. Probably swearing at Loki they decided mentally without having to talk about it. They pulled in and found a jeep there. "Hmm." Dean got out. "Xander?" he called.
"Okay." They got the groceries out and inside, nodding at the guy standing there. "Hey."
"Morning." He went back to staring at Xander. "You're in deep for this, Harris."
"No I'm not. Because after you guys, it's not like I'd trust anyone military to raise my other selves or my son, Riley." Riley shuddered. "There's no way in hell I'd let them keep me and I can make it very clear to whoever tries to charge me for it that you're not keeping me." He moved closer. "Now get off your high horse. They could have told us and didn't. That gives them the single strike they were allowed. Even if they're nice people and doing good work that means we don't have to."
"If they weren't military would you feel the same way?" Sam asked him.
Xander nodded. "Then I would've destroyed them." He looked at Riley Finn again. "I don't care what your bosses want. The kids have the right to tell their other selves before shit hits the fan with that prophecy. There's no way I'd let them keep myself or my kid there. Or Dawn there." Riley stepped back at that. "For the obvious reasons they couldn't clone her," he said dryly. "Especially not since I got a head's up from Loki personally not to just walk into the hospital and start taking you guys out for having my son. He's not going to end up like Spike did."
"We don't do those things," Jon O'Neill told him simply. "We're not the bad military or NID, Xander."
Xander shrugged. "I don't rightly care, Jon. You're nice enough and all, but with my past experiences with the military, no. Even if you guys were like nuns, no. Because there's always a higher power ready to step in and fuck things up royally and then the kids would be in danger. What little I know about you guys sounds nice and all but even you guys have been assaulted by the idiots in charge who think you're a science experiment." Jon went pale at that reminder. "So, no. Not my family. Ever." He turned to glare at Riley again. "You can quote me if you want, but I'll be damned. If they try to make it a stand-off situation to get them back, I'll leave Jon here and take the rest to somewhere safer."
"Their CO is pissed, Xander, and so are the higher ups."
Xander shrugged. "Then they should have told me before I heard it from a God's mouth."
"Whatever. You can still go to jail for this."
"And I can take them off realm within minutes."
Riley went pale. "You can't do that!"
"You can't do magic," he said firmly.
"Says who?" Xander shot back, smirking evilly now. "Yeah, I did learn a bit watching Willow now and then, Riley, and who said I'd need to do it that way?" He held up something. "Travel agency."
Riley whimpered, flopping down on the couch to sit and stare at him. "It won't be safe without a slayer."
"And while that's great and all, I do hunt with one. Dean and Sam hunt demons too. And I specified a safe realm that's not harmful to human children or the adults watching them."
Riley looked at Buffy. "Back me up here?"
"No way. They took Dawn. They didn't tell us they had Dawn when she was gotten back. There's a missing kids report on her since she was kidnaped. I agree with Xander. I wouldn't want you guys to have my kids either. There's no telling what your former bosses and that sort might put in them." Riley shuddered at that reminder. "Though, Xander? Magic bad for Xanders."
Xander smirked evilly at her. "You know, there's probably a world where I'm a good mage, right?"
"It's not here."
"It could be. We don't know what might happen if I actually got some *training* in it. Or hey, found that nifty shielding stuff Giles was teaching you when you went telepathic so I didn't get possessed again." She went pale at that. "Got it?" She nodded quickly, going to tell Willow that. He looked at Riley again. "Your bosses can eat me if they want. I don't care. They're not touching the kids."
"I'll let him know why."
"Let him know that if he pushes it, I can just make us go away. Then the prophecy has to be picked among the current fighters and you'll all die." He smiled sweetly. "Have fun with that." Riley stomped out. Xander glared at John Winchester. "I don't care if you don't like it. You hurt those boys and I'll beat your ass before feeding you to the nearest meat eating demon I can find. Are we clear?" he snapped.
"Crystal but I'd never hurt my family, boy. Family is everything to a Winchester."
"Good. They're in the attic looking at the stuff Halfrek left here." He pointed. "That way." He went to talk to his boys. He looked at Jon. "Do you really blame me?"
"No, but I'd probably go with you to make sure nothing hurt them."
"Then that's your thing, Jon. I don't mind or care about you as long as your buddies don't show up."
"Granted." He looked at him. "What did they do?"
"Look him and his project up, sparky." He walked off to finish putting up the groceries since Dean and Sam, the bigger versions, had retreated away from the battle. It would keep him calm for now. Dawn walked in and gave him a hug, making him relax. "Thanks, Dawnster."
"Welcome, Xander." She smiled at him. "It'll be okay. I promise it will be." She walked off to check on the kids again. "We find anything good?" she asked when she found them all upstairs.
"We evacuated away from the fighting," the little one with the glasses and mop of messy dark blonde, not curly hair said with a small shrug. "Why doesn't he trust them?"
"Because our town had a special operations project show up. They were torturing demons to test them," Dawn told him. "Riley was part of that program and they also tried to destroy the world. After that, NID came looking for the reason they went down a few times and kept zeroing in on Xander. I don't think my sister saw that but they did show up a few times. Xander had it proved to him that he couldn't trust most of them. Even if the ones that had us were nice, he's not going to trust them to keep their word and things." That got a nod from most of the kids. "Though he has said Jon can stay."
"That'll give him a bit more help," miniature Charlie Epps said. "When and how are we contacting our other selves?"
She shrugged. "I don't think he's fully figured it out yet beyond maybe mailing a DNA test to someone in your family. Or you directly."
"That would be a bit dramatic," Charlie said, grimacing some. "I'd hate that. It'd drive me nuts until I knew why."
"There's the option of walking up to yourself and saying hi," Dean offered. "We seemed to be shocked but handle it fairly well."
One of the other mini nerds shook his head. "I'm FBI. They'd probably try to tackle me." He considered it. "Though I can see calling him out and taking him to an area. It'd be dramatic but not as nerve wracking as sending a DNA profile to them."
"I'd still be driven nuts and I'd have to get my big brother into that," Charlie said.
"You'd tell him sometime anyway," Spenser pointed out.
"True. My dad's going to throw a loud fit at God."
The others smiled. "I think ours is already doing that," Dean told him, cracking Sam up.
"Oh, Dad's going to be louder," Charlie said, making an unhappy puppy face. "Guys?"
The mini Don Flack Junior shrugged. "I'll freak out no matter how we do it. And then I'll make Stella, Danny, and Mac freak out."
The smaller version of Ryan Wolfe nodded. "H is so going to scream and rant once Eric's done doing it for him." That got a him a pat on the back from the mini Tony.
"Just wait. I'll have Gibbs giving me strange looks and then a head swat. You can protect me from that if you want, Ryan."
The teenage Xander looked over. "We'll protect you guys. Don't worry about it." That got a grin and a lot of nods. "Think it's safe to sneak down for a snack?" They trooped down, sneaking hard all the way to the kitchen. They found snacks waiting on them with their name on it, grinning at each other. The big Xander remembered being their age well enough it seemed. They went back into hiding to let the bigger brains work out how to introduce themselves to themselves. Charlie was happy doing math, Spenser was happy helping by profiling. Oz and Tara were quietly talking to them to give them ideas. The one little blond boy that pouted because he didn't have an accent anymore was warning against giving them a shock so bad they'd have heart attacks. The other one was meditating, hoping that his mother wouldn't hear and try to take him from Xander or his bigger self and his sentinel.
John Winchester looked at his four boys later that night. "What are we doing about this?"
"For right now, we need to be here," the bigger Dean said. "Until we know how this prophecy is going to play out." That got a slow nod. "Sammy and I, the big ones, might go and come back to do some minor hunting around here to keep us all safe, but Xander could use more adult help than Dawn and Jon. The Sunnydale crew is leaving again tomorrow."
"Okay," John agreed. "Then what?"
"The brainiacs are figuring out how to introduce themselves to their bigger selves," little Dean told him. "That way we can do it quietly but not totally. We're going to try for after the first thing in the prophecy happens. Though I'm not sure I like the six brains to ten strong guys ratio we have."
"One or two smart ones on a team, the rest being warrior sorts," Sam told him. "Chase is a former doc. Is House still staring at him like he knows him?"
Little Dean nodded. "I asked him why. He said he's a duckling and he's keeping himself from doing his own swearing at Loki."
"Probably a good idea," big Dean said. "Okay, so anything else, guys?"
"We can't stay here forever," little Sam told him. "Someone's going to wonder about schooling and work stuff soon."
"Xander and Greg are working on that part," bigger Sam told him. "You guys might all be up there by him." That got an evil grin from Dean. "I know, you like the snarky guy with the motorcycle. Xander apparently took him as a role model." That got a few laughs. "Dad, any input here?"
"I wanted to see what plans you boys had first. I think you two should continue to hunt. We do have that one demon. It could come after your younger selves now."
"Which is why we'd go and come back often," bigger Dean agreed. John nodded at that decision. "If something really bad happened to Xander, we'd take our younger selves with us."
"That'll work for me. I'll be around as much as I can without endangering you boys," he told the younger set.
"If the demon's coming, we'll be six months old next month," little Sam told him. John grimaced but nodded. "Bobby wanted us to visit too I think." Bigger Sam nodded. "So we can do that?"
"Sure, we can do that," Dean agreed. "It'll give Xander a few days off while they talk to the other selves." That got an evil smirk from the boys. "Behave."
"We're planning on how to do it. We don't want to be drama queens but we can't just outright walk up to them and go 'hi, older self'. They'd freak and arrest Xander."
"True." He patted himself on the head. "Go bathe and hit the beds, guys." They groaned but did that. He looked at his father. "We're working on it as we go along, Dad."
"I don't disagree with the boy for saving them, boys. I think he should've had further plans." That got a nod. "But I don't disagree with why. I can't imagine what a military unit, even one that deals with aliens now and then, would do with a chaos god hanging around." Dean shuddered. "Exactly." He smiled. "So far we're doing fine. We'll keep in contact." He walked back inside to check on the boys. They were so little and he had made so many mistakes when they were at this age. Fortunately Dean was going to correct for it this time since he couldn't fully be there for them. Not with the demon hunting Winchesters.
Dean and Sam shared a look then played rock/paper/scissors for the first shower. It'd work itself out. It almost always did somehow.
Xander looked at the science guys he had. "Do we have a working plan or should I just bring a few of you guys to an area and let you introduce yourselves?"
"I'm probably going to want to know what's really going on," Charlie offered.
Xander nodded. "I figured you would. Dawn's working on that part. Should I start by sending the DNA scans the military did of you guys?"
"I'd never believe it or I'd angst that someone had taken cells and made a kid of me," Charlie told him. "But I can call someone and tell them to tell me to meet us somewhere."
"The only problem is that he'd tell his family too," Spenser said. "And you'd get his FBI big brother in your face. Like you will my team."
"Then have them wait together," Xander said simply, staring at them. "Get the bad shocks out of the system. Tony's too. Have them all meet at one point and try to figure it out for a night while we make sure they're not being followed by some of Jon's people or Riley's people, and then walk you boys in to let you do the introductions. While I stand outside and make sure no one interrupts until you've told them what they need to know."
"That's a bit dramatic," Spenser complained.
"No, if I was being a drama princess I'd have them meet in a specific room that had you guys hidden while a power point presentation went on to tell them why they were there and let you guys step out at the last screen."
"That's way too dramatic for any agent," Tony said, coming in to join them. "Gibbs would walk out."
"Ah... but you have a secret weapon with Gibbs, Tony. We know about Abby and McGee." Tony whimpered but nodded. "So tell one of them first and have them bring the others in?"
"I can do that." He looked at them. "Pick someone you trust in your former lives to bring you to them," he decided. "One of your team, one of Charlie's friends at the college."
"Larry would freak out," Charlie admitted, considering it. "But he'd be babbling questions for years."
"I can tell Derek, he's usually calm. Or Penelope," Spenser said. They nodded, going to call those people to meet them near Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital since they were all moving that way in a week. They'd only give them coded hints for now but tell them it was important to their other selves and it was a problem that their other selves had to handle but not something that needed an FBI team to come bust in on. Tony called Abby and she recognized his voice somehow. She breathed his name so he told her to meet him there on the same day. Then they went to pack their stuff and move to the house Greg had found them. Xander had somehow gotten some money, the kids had no idea how but Charlie figured he had to have stolen something and sold it, probably something big, and Greg had set up the new identities and house for them. That way they had a reasonable, if cranky, adult to help when Xander got overloaded. It was going to be a hell of a trip but more fun than the one the military had started them on.
Tony walked up to where Abby was getting lunch, sitting across from her. He stole a fry, watching her watch him.
"How?" she squeaked.
"Would you believe it if I said Loki did it?" he asked.
"I think a mini you would cause chaos, but I don't think a dead god could make you that size, Tony."
Tony pointed at his bigger self. He had been on vacation as he had found out. "You mean two of us?"
The older Tony DiNozzo sat down, staring at himself, aged eight. "Wow. I was cute."
Tony grinned back. "Yes I am. And we have a bunch of people around us who're just as cute and some who're smarter too."
"How did this happen?"
"No clue. I woke up when the military rescued us from Loki. Then we got rescued from the military by one of the other selves."
Tony blinked, looking at Abby, who was checking her forehead for a temperature. He let her check his too. "Normal?"
"Perfectly so." She sniffed her food then looked at him. "Gibbs is going to freak out."
"Especially since there's a prophecy saying that the chaos sorts can call on us to do things to protect others when we're older. We're all together at the moment, kinda like a huge, smartass family." He took another fry to nibble on. "We have to make sure of a few things before Gibbs jumps to conclusions and tries to arrest him. Or the others have their ties to the FBI bite him."
"Gibbs is here, he wouldn't let me come up alone when I told him I got hints something was wrong with Tony."
"We can talk to him," little Tony said with a grin. "I'm sure he'll freak out for a bit, but that's normal. I am adorable at this age."
"Hey!" bigger Tony complained. "I'm still adorable."
"Younger is always cuter. It's the innocence thing."
"I see you got all his memories too," Abby said dryly.
"Up until just over five months ago," he agreed, stealing another fry. She let him have them. "Thanks. I'm having stress nibbling. Did you guys bring Sheppard?" He pointed.
"Nope," Tony said dryly. He called Gibbs. "It's me; the director is here, we're evacuating and it's a situation we can't arrest during." He hung up and they snuck off before the director noticed. They met Gibbs where he had said to meet them, letting the little Tony go first.
Gibbs stared at the little boy, clearly a DiNozzo. "Tony has a son?"
"No, Gibbs, I'm not his son, I'm his clone. Or else I wouldn't remember helping you fix that one bench seat on the boat twice." Gibbs sat down heavily, staring at him. Bigger Tony and Abby joined them. "Yes, now there's two," he said with a wicked smirk. "Some day you'll have to find me a boss to work for when I join the team."
Gibbs swallowed, looking at the bigger DiNozzo. "How?"
"No clue yet, boss. He said Loki did it and the military rescued him but one of the other's other selves rescued them from the military."
Gibbs looked at the boy. "You know I hate strange crap like that."
"It's going to get worse since there's a prophecy with chaos gods." He shrugged. "Not my fault they decided I was too good not to clone." Gibbs was clearly clamping down on the hysterical laugh he wanted to let out. "Get some coffee, boss. You cannot hurt Xander for protecting us." That got a single nod. "Even if he did rescue us from a covert military unit. I checked through the system, there's no warrant out for him. When you're ready, I'll be here," he said, handing over a note. "I'll take these two with me so the director doesn't get them." They walked off together. Abby was babbling quiet questions once they got into the car. He had to defer most of them to someone more science smart but that was something she expected.
Charlie Epps walked up to where his best friend and girlfriend were waiting. "Amita. Larry." They stared at him so he sat down. "You can see why I wasn't direct. Though I did hold down the drama tendencies of the group. They were talking about a power point presentation and us coming out at the end of it."
Amita reached over to touch him. "But I saw you last night and you were normal sized."
"There's two of them," Larry said. Charlie nodded with a grin. "How? Cloning?"
"Indeed," Charlie agreed, beaming at him. "I have all my memories up to just over five months ago too." He looked at Amita, watching her blush. "It's all right." He patted her hand and looked at Larry again. "I couldn't go to Don about this, Larry. Think about his heart attack. Or Dad's."
"Putting it mildly," he said. He cleared his throat. "This is extraordinary."
"And there's more."
"Of course there is."
"Have you ever heard of town called Sunnydale? It's a few hours from us?"
"I've had a student from there. They said it was full of evil things. They ended up cracking up and being put into the hospital then found God and went to the monastery I was at while I thought about what I learned in space."
"Something like from there is going on. There's even a prophecy going on and chaos gods." Larry snorted. "Who do you think made us, Larry?" He went quiet, staring at him. "It's going to be very strange for a while but I had to let my older self know and then somehow break it to Don and Dad. I have no idea how," he admitted, looking at him, trying for pathetic.
"I can call Don to come talk to you," he offered. "But I am not telling him about this, Charles."
"Fine. We'll need stuff to sedate Dad probably." He grinned at Amita. "We have no idea if I'm coming home or not. It depends on what's going on next week when the prophecy starts."
"You believe in that stuff?"
"Not usually. This time it's been proven to me. We're already in the second stanza of it." She grimaced. "Us coming into being was the first one and enough strange stuff happens around Dawn that it's not funny. Not to mention having Loki show up to talk to Xander once." He looked at Larry again. "I don't know how to best approach this situation. Normally I'd run screaming for Don to help me because I'd consider it a threat to my sanity."
"I'm sure he will too. I'm not fully sure I'm sane at the moment," Larry admitted, checking his forehead. "No fever or dizziness. Hmm."
Charlie smiled. "When all else has been excluded, the supernatural is the only explanation," he quipped.
"Yes but I prefer rational explanations. Even the supernatural has some somewhere."
"I'm told Sunnydale is a haven of those sort of things."
"Are you going to be there?"
"Here if I don't go home."
"That's reasonable I suppose." He shook his head. "You'll have to tell your family, Charles."
"Which I have plans on doing, I just don't know how."
"They're going to freak out," Amita told him. "No matter how you do it."
He handed over the notes Dawn and Jon had gotten off the SGC. "That may help a bit. Don's going to want a better explanation than Loki and so will I."
Larry looked it over. "That might explain some of it."
"It also explains why Don cannot go after Xander," he said quietly, glancing around then at him. "Xander's protecting us and rescued us from them. Even if they're nice, I didn't want to be in military hands."
"I can see why." He put the notes into his bag and looked at him. "We can call them out here."
"Tonight. That way they can show up tomorrow or Friday," Amita agreed. "That'll give you, the bigger you, the weekend to figure something out."
"Sure. Or we could video conference," he offered with a grin. "They're a bad influence, I'm learning to like the dramatic."
Larry laughed. "Indeed it does look that way, Charles. We can start with that. That way the usual you can rant in peace before he tells Don and your father. Then we'll call back and see what they want to do about it." That got a nod and the plan was set. Larry took him back to his motel room so they could log onto his computer and hook up his webcam. He smiled when he saw Don waiting with Charlie. "Well, I've talked with the problem that brought me out here. Don, you'll want to sit."
"Why? Is it bad?" his voice asked through the speakers.
"Just...strange. A bit disturbing really."
Charlie leaned into view and waved. "I still don't like that shirt on myself," he told his older self. "I think it makes me look like I'm starving."
Charlie Epps, the big one, stared, mouth open. "That's not possible."
"Bull. They gave me your memories up to the Pronset case too, me." He grinned at Don, who had sat on the floor. "We told you to sit down, Don." He looked at his other self. "It devolves into the strange areas that you never wanted to believe in and it's about to get a bit worse but you cannot act against the one who saved me. At all. It's important, Don."
Don stood up, coming over to look at the screen closer. "How did they do that?"
"Loki cloned me."
"Loki? Is that the project's name?"
"No, it's the name of the mad scientist sort. Larry has the notes we rescued from the military unit we got rescued by and from." He cleared his throat. "Have you heard anything about a town called Sunnydale just up the road from us?"
"We're going to end up dealing with things like them. One of the people from there has a teenage other self, a younger other self, and a son from the same guy."
Don shook his head quickly. "This is a bad dream brought on by bad burritos Colby got us for lunch," he said, walking off.
Charlie looked at himself. "I couldn't find a way to do it that wouldn't make him have a heart attack."
"That'll be Dad when he sees you."
"We're in New Jersey."
"Where?" Larry sent the email with the information he had. "I'll be there by tomorrow with Don."
"Say hi to Ian if he's there. Edgerton and Xander are a *lot* alike in some ways but Xander's less trained." He hung up and looked at Larry. "That went better than I thought."
"It did. No one needed an ambulance."
"I calculated the odds of one of them being carried off at sixty-seven-point-two percent. I'm glad we blew the curve this time. Though there's an almost perfect certainty that Don and myself are going to be drunk later on." Larry beamed. "Want to come meet Xander?"
"I'll do that tomorrow with your other self. Is that how you're thinking about it?"
"Or big brother. Either works for me." He got off the bed. "Take me back there so you can lead him to it tomorrow?"
"That I'm more than willing to do." He got up and drove him back to the house, letting the young boy run inside so he could call Charlie. "You are a most extraordinary little boy, Charles Epps, and you drive me nuts every now and then. He's very glad you blew his math this time and didn't need an ambulance. He did say you'd probably be drunk with Don by then. I have his address for the morning, yes." He hung up and went to get something to eat while he thought about this. He had thought about having a child in the past but what about having a clone instead? It might be easier on him to raise himself instead of a child, which would be an unknown personality and probability matrix. Much less risk involved.
Spenser Reid walked up to where Derek was waiting on him, standing in front of him while his fellow agent stared at him. "Imagine my shock when I woke up and I was eight," he said dryly when the horrified look started. "But they're nice. They rescued us from the military after the military rescued us from the guy who created us. We have to wait and see how bad next week is going to be before we can go home or anything but I think it'll take at least that long before Hotch calms down and quits throwing a fit anyway. And you cannot let Garcia hug and cuddle me to death. Try to protect me, Derek, please?"
"Yup." He grinned. "I know, big shock. How's the older me?"
"He's.... been having some nightmares again. Hotch is kind of worried about him. Garcia is going to mother you to death and there's nothing I can do about that."
"Damn." He shrugged, climbing up beside him. "Then I'll figure out how to duck her and make her hug the older me."
"I just saw you a few hours ago."
"Oh." He considered that. "We can't do that yet."
"Who said we did it?" He gave him a look. "There's sixteen of us. There's a mystic prophecy thing going on; it's all sorts of weird at the house. You cannot and will not hurt Xander for protecting us though."
"Protecting you how?"
"The military rescued us from Loki, who made us, and he rescued us from the military since they had made two of him and his son."
"Ahhhhhhhhh......" He trailed off then swallowed. "I have no idea how to tell the bigger you this." He handed over a note. "What's this?"
"Fax this to me. Only he reads it." He grinned. "He'll understand and have a clue about this before he gets here so I don't have to see myself having a heart attack. At my age, survivability of a heart attack is better, but I'd have to quit working and that would suck."
He looked at the message, texting it to Spenser's phone. He got a message back, 'prove it', and let him read it. Spenser took the phone to type something else in. Derek took it back when it rang. "Yeah, Morgan." He listened, handing it over. "He's a bit hysterical."
He took the phone. "You cannot let Garcia smother us to death, older me. No, I have them all up until five months ago. Just over really." He grinned at Derek. "He said he can't protect me from her. New Jersey but you cannot pick me up until we see how bad the mystical prophecy is going to end up. It'll give Hotch time to scream and rant anyway. And hey, you can even tell Giddeon the news so he can be horrified. Maybe he'll come back." He beamed. "Good idea. Yeah, I'm safe. We're in New Jersey. I can introduce him to the one who saved us and is watching over us during this prophecy stuff. He's from Sunnydale. I know that, Spenser. Duh as the Xanders say." He hung up and handed it back. "Buy me lunch?"
"Why?" he asked with a grin. "You already owe me one."
"Because otherwise Xander's going to have to make more food. This way I don't have to make him stress too much until dinner."
"Fine. I want a better explanation."
"You want to explain it to Hotch?"
"No way, little man. Ain't no way." He took him to his rental car and to lunch then back home to watch over the other kids. Damn this was going to be a mess.
Charlie looked at his brother when he finally found him in his favorite bar. "We have to tell Dad."
"There's no 'we' that have to ruin Dad's heart for good," he said dryly. "There's no way I'm going to be there while he has a heart attack, Charlie."
"Fine. I'll tell him."
"Have your phone on you so you can call EMS when he falls down so they get there in time to save him."
"I will. And beer." He grinned. "I'll even buy the beers. I'm leaving tonight to go see him."
Don Epps looked at his insane little brother. "The math did this to you, didn't it?" he asked.
"No!" he snorted, giving his brother a dirty look. "It's not absolutely impossible that someone has figured out how to do that, Don. Besides, if there is one of me there, I want him here so I can make sure he's all right and all that stuff. You know Dad's going to want to fuss over him. Me. Whatever." He grinned. "I'll make dinner and buy the beer. You can collapse on the couch so you don't have to worry about getting a cab home once you're drunk. You can even do background checks on this Xander guy if you want. I tried and I ran into a classified file."
Don gave him the oddest look. "Classified file? Above yours?"
"Above yours, mine, and everyone else I know's. Including my former boss at the NSA."
Don moaned. "No. Not something covert."
"It's not like they'd be doing it in the open, Don."
"Point, I guess," he muttered.
"And he did say that Xander rescued him from the military."
Don sighed. "Fine, I'll make sure Dad has a beer then go back to drinking myself into a stupor on the back lawn."
"That'll work. Thanks, Don. C'mon, I'll drive." Don handed over his keys and they left the bar together. Charlie did stop for beer, a good brand of bottled beer that their father liked a lot. They walked in together. Don helped with dinner while he tried hard not to think. Charlie was worrying but he was right to worry. This was like suddenly being told he was a father and there was no mother so he had a baby all by himself. His father came home.
"Hey, Dad. Want a beer now or later?" Don asked, holding one up.
"Am I going to need one?" He hadn't even taken off his jacket yet. This was going to be a long night.
"Yup," Don agreed, handing one over and taking his plate out to the back lawn. He didn't want to hear this fit. He'd come back when the paramedics got there.
Alan Epps looked at his younger son. "Am I really going to need the beer before dinner?"
"You probably will throw a fit."
"Are you leaving again?"
"Only for about a week and I'll be in contact. I'm not going on a new assignment for the NSA or anything, Dad. Don't worry about that." Alan nodded slowly. Charlie opened the beer for him and handed it back before making him sit down. "What would you do if I said I got a call today from where Larry went to check into something that was going to affect this family? He got an email about something that relates back to me and went to check on it for me so I didn't have to freak out. The email said it'd be a good idea."
Alan stared at him. "Don't go into hypotheticals, Charlie. We'll never get to the point with as nervous as you are." He looked around. "I see Don took his beer to the backyard?"
"I told him he could have the couch since I found him in a bar after the call earlier from Larry." He started to pace, doing mental math to figure out how best to tell him. "You have to promise you won't throw a massive fit, Dad."
"Son, just tell me."
"Can I show you instead? I saved down the call and Larry sent it to me too in case I didn't save it down." He looked at his laptop. "It's not going to make you very happy at all though. I should probably tell you and then run to hide behind Don."
"Just give me the laptop, Charlie." Charlie handed it over and flopped down next to him. "What's it called?"
Alan did a search for it, coming up with a few files. "No, that one's calculus that you mislabeled." Charlie selected the right file and let him see it. He stared at the picture. "How do I rewind this?"
"Use the mouse to push the button or drag the seek bar back," Charlie said weakly.
"Do not move, son," he ordered when Charlie tried to fidget. He rewatched it a few times. Then he carefully put the computer down, looking at his younger son. "When is he coming here?" He took a drink of the beer. Must've been Don's idea. Charlie was too nervous to be that practical.
"He said he can't come until next week but I'm flying out to New Jersey tonight on the red eye. I can't do a background on this Xander guy. It's in a classified file that's sealed above my rating and Don's."
Alan nodded slowly. "DON!" he shouted. He came in to toss out his empty bottle. "Are you coming to New Jersey with us?"
"If you want."
"You can't arrest Xander for saving my son or whatever from the military, Don." He opened another email. "I got one earlier that said there's more FBI agents involved. Apparently one of them got the same treatment." He let him see.
"That's one of the profiler corps. We worked with them a few years back." He called his boss. "Hey, boss, it's Don Epps. I need some emergency time off. The rest of this week and this weekend. We don't have call? That's good at least. Charlie got a caller earlier from a relative on the east coast that's having a problem. We have no idea but he got an email saying there's other agents involved already so I need to go help him. Tonight on the overnight flight to New Jersey. He mentioned that town up the road that drives us nuts, Sunnydale, and the military when he called for help. I did not know that there was a classified project up that way but I doubt it relates this time so I won't ask you to tell me anything, sir. Hopefully we'll be back by Monday. No, he told his boss at the college and she passed out. I'm not sure if she's awake yet." He got another beer and opened it. "No, right now I'm waiting on my father to need EMS," he admitted before taking a drink. "It's one of those situations, yes. No, I don't need to be wary of a DUI. I'm at home right now. Thanks, boss." He hung up. "Make a reservation for me too, Chuck."
"Thanks, Don." His father was drinking his beer and pacing. "Dad, you can't get down on the guy for saving him. Please?"
"You hear some strange stuff from up toward Sunnydale. When I worked for the state they had a lot of strange things up that way."
"If the mini-him or whatever was right, the kid who saved them is like Edgerton only less trained," Don reminded him. He called him. "Hey, Ian, Don Epps. Which coast are you on? Because there might be a situation soon but I'm not real sure and I trust you to hold the tranq rifle to use it on me, Charlie, or Dad without killing us." He took another drink. "Beer, not coffee. Not FBI related even. Though I'm told there's other agents involved somewhere. We're going to New Jersey tonight. That's why I wanted to know which coast you're on at the moment." He smirked. "That might help, yeah. Thanks, man." He hung up. "He's in DC getting a new assignment at the moment," he told Charlie. "So if we need a tranq rifle or if we need to rescue the kid, we can do that."
"That's a good plan," he decided. "I'll make the reservations for that and rooms at the same motel Larry's at. He has the exact address. He said he drove him back home and the kids were all sitting out back reading." He moved to do that while his dad got another beer and some dinner to make sure he didn't have as bad of a hangover on the flight up. It was going to be a long weekend.
Aaron Hotchner, Spenser Reid's boss, opened his phone. "What's going on, Derek? I expected a call earlier. No, I'm nowhere near my email. I can..... Why no going to Garcia?" He listened. "Okay, it'll take me about twenty more to get home. Should I be worried, maybe put the team on alert?" He nodded once. "Okay. I'll read it first then call you back." He hung up and sped up a bit, heading home so he could get into his email. Derek had said he sent him a picture about the reason he had been called to go to New Jersey since it wasn't case related.
He found it easily enough and opened it, staring at the picture attachment. Then he slowly found his phone by touch, calling Spenser. "I have a photo in my email you should see right away, Spenser." He listened to him. "What?" he demanded. "That's not scientifically possible!" He groaned. Of course someone like Spenser had considered the options available thanks to cloning. "I'd like a better explanation, Spenser." He hung up when the young man said he had went down to think in the gym, though he had no idea why beating things was stress relieving, and had ended up staring at the heavy bag for a few hours while he had went over this situation but he could accompany him to New Jersey the next morning if he wanted.
Hotch was not going to believe this one. He called Derek back. "A clone?" He gave him more details, including that it had all of Spenser's memories except recent ones and was eight, but he ate like a horse. "You bought him lunch? No, I guess that's reasonable. I have no idea what's going on. Do you have anything more to add?" Derek gave him rundown of what he knew and had guessed at so far. "So we're going places that not even Giddeon would see as possible mystical thinking and unreasonable. What did he want us to do? Yeah, I guess it's good he warned us before he showed up one day at the office. I wouldn't want to do the paperwork when JJ passed out." He rubbed his forehead. "I'll be up with Spenser tomorrow." He hung up and called him back. "Make me a flight reservation with yours." He hung up and went to take a nap. He had a headache all of a sudden. Even if the picture had been a cute little Spenser. How did you deal with the genius clone of a genius? Without going insane?
Jim Ellison looked around, trying to see where that familiar scent was coming from. He finally found it on a child staring at him. "There's no way," he breathed.
The child walked over. "Mad scientist. I just talked to me and he's freaking out badly. Yanking our hair freaking out." He slid into a seat across from him. "How've you been?"
"Not bad. How did this happen?"
"No clue. I woke after the military rescued us from someone named Loki and then Xander rescued us from the military. By the way, don't get down on Xander. He's protecting us and we're going to even stranger places than what you can do, big guy." He grinned. "I'm not expecting to join you back in Cascade but I had to let you both know I was out here. That way Blair can cover if someone tells Naomi."
"There's no way," he said bluntly.
Blair shrugged. "Not like I did it to myself, Jim."
The elder Blair Sandburg stomped over. "I do not and can not believe how this happened," he told his clone. "Spirit guides maybe, but not Loki."
Who shrugged. "Not my doing. I didn't ask. You didn't ask. They decided it based on a prophecy and what was needed. Yell at Loki." He looked at Jim again. "You get to tell the other guys but please don't tell my mom, man. She'll freak out worse than I am and then she'll try to smother me with attention until she leaves again. Xander might shoot her to protect me and I'd hate to go missing my mom."
The elder Blair sat down, staring at his younger self. "That's the least of your worries. Are you legal?"
"I'd assume so since we're starting school next month if we're here." Blair moaned. He patted him on the hand. "Have some chamomile tea, older me. It'll help you calm down. You can find some of that nice orange blossom tea up the street if you want it instead."
Jim moaned. "Now there's two of them." He got up and walked off shaking his head to try to clear it before he got stuck in the bad thought loop. He came back. "There's not one of me, right?"
"Not that I know of."
"Good!" He walked off again to go mutter in peace about the strange crap taking over his life and why couldn't he be normal and have normal people problems.
The elder Blair looked at him. "He'll get over it soon. So will I once I process."
"That's cool. I had to do a lot of meditation about this myself. Then we'll see about this prophecy crap and figure it out next week. Then I'll figure out if I'm coming back with you or not."
"That's acceptable. By then I should have Jim calmed down. Do you need anything?"
"No, we're pretty good. Xander's not the best cook ever but he's pretty decent. He feeds us pretty well. The other adults in the house are nice and one's like me only older. There's an older female, she's fifteen. She'll probably slug Naomi if she shows up."
"I understand why. Let me go process and we'll have breakfast?"
The younger Blair grinned. "I'd like that." He got up and walked off to meet his ride back home.
The older Blair went to get some tea and find a good spot to meditate on this so he could process the idea that he had a clone. Usually the psycho mad scientist sort only wanted to kill him, not make another of him. It was very strange even for him.
Xander looked at Tara. Then at the mini-Oz that was helping him make dinner. "You call your other self yet?"
He nodded. "He said 'huh, a clone, that's interesting, be there in a few weeks,' and hung up." He shrugged. "I think I interrupted his meditation."
"That's cool. Are you going to change? If so I've got to make a small cage in the basement."
"Not real sure until it starts to happen."
"If it does, let me know; I'm sure Dean has a tranq somewhere." Oz nodded. "Thanks." He gave him a hug and a grin. "Think about the insanity that's going on."
"Loki is clearly having fun," Tara said quietly, cracking the guys up. "Do we know anything more about the prophecy, Xander?"
She went to do that, hesitantly tapping him on the wrist. He grinned at her. "Th..the prophecy?" she stuttered.
"Relax, Tara. I'm still working on decoding it. I've found another version in another language online so I'm working on it with Willow. For right now, I know next week they'll appoint you all as champion possibles. Then the gods will start to choose their chosen one for the later fights." She nodded, staring at him. "I don't know how they'll choose you. It could be a contest, it could be something they put into your life to see how you deal with it. Dean thinks at least one line says that they'll put the guys who're more warrior oriented in a room to make them fight it out. You're the only witch though so you're probably pretty safe and just have to retrain this body and get back in touch with that stuff." She nodded more quickly, giving him a shy smile. He gave her a hug. "You're adorable. Some day I want a daughter like you." She squeaked and ran back to the kitchen.
Both Deans looked over from cleaning and sharpening the weapons. "She is cute," the older one agreed.
"We'll probably need to protect her from mean boys," the younger one said.
Xander leaned out. "She likes girls, guys. Keep all boys off her." He went back to his cooking.
"Sure, we can do that," Dean agreed. His younger self nodded and so did both Sam's. "Sammy, should we hide from their other selves?"
"I don't think Hotch and them will be looking at you for now," Spenser said from where he was reading. "Use a pseudonym."
"We can do that."
"Go back to the one we used when we were my age the first time?" little Sam teased.
"Harry Vice? We can," Dean agreed.
Spenser moaned and shook his head. "That's a horrible pun, guys."
"Dad nearly beat him for that one," bigger Sam assured him with a grin.
Xander came out to look at them. "Just be Harris' for a while, guys." He looked at Spenser. "Your team is going to bust in here when?"
"Tony asked his people to talk to my people so they wouldn't make you hide from them with a weapon." He smiled at him. "It should be fine, Xander. Tony found out there's no capture order on you." Xander relaxed and went back into the kitchen. "Where are Don, Ryan, and Chase?"
"Uncle Greg took Chase with him to freak out his other self. Don and Ryan went to New York earlier with Dean and Sam's dad escorting them to tell Don's other self and get word back to Ryan's. That only leaves Ray's other self who has to hear."
"I called my Mountie buddies and let them know. They'll try to break it to me easy and let me freak out on them for a bit," Ray called from his room.
"Okay, that's all of us then. Dinner's in about an hour, guys." They got back to work so they could finish up and clean up.
House walked into his office, waving the mini Duckling in to hide in his private part. Then he paged the annoying one down. He was sitting there smirking when he came in. "How's your blood pressure today, Wombat?"
"Why?" he asked, looking cautious. "Are we doing experiments again? You know someone will complain to Cuddy if you torture us to see what happens when you do something."
"No, I'm not being quite that nice today." He waved at Wilson. "Talked to Xander," he called. Wilson snickered, looking much happier all the way down the hall. He smirked at his fellowship doctor again. "Was it low, high?"
"I haven't taken it in a day. Should I?"
"Sure, let's see how bad it is now."
Chase took his own blood pressure with the automated machine at the nurse's station then came back. "One thirty over ninety. Not bad but Cameron has been complaining for the last three hours that someone vomited on her new shirt."
"Ah. Yes, the sounds of young doctor frustration. Hey." He leaned back, watching as Chase looked over at his office door.
Chase stared, head tipped slightly to the side, mouth slightly open. "Who are you? I didn't know House babysat."
"He doesn't, and I still say it sucks that I don't have my accent anymore," he complained.
"Accents are based on raising, not on genetics," he reminded him.
"Still sucks." He walked over, staring up at his stunned older self. Then he grinned and waved. "Could be worse. They made three from another guy."
Chase sat down suddenly, checking his pulse. "How did this happen?"
"We're not that advanced yet."
"Who said the US did it?" he said dryly. "There's a horrible tale of military doctors with even less humor than House and Cameron. Stuffier people than if they had a child and it was raised by Doctor Wilson. More strangeness than even House can take sometimes too." He got out of House's way, letting him check his older self's blood pressure. "I still think it's not fair that I don't have the accent. Girls seemed to like it back in college."
The older Chase swallowed then nodded slightly. "Yes, they did," he agreed quietly. "Um..." He looked at the reading. "Am I having a stroke? Is that why you needed to know my blood pressure?"
"Getting up there, but not quite that high," House said with a smirk. "My nephew helped rescue him from the military." Chase swallowed again so he wouldn't whimper. "For right now, you needed to know and if you want to take custody you can. Xander said that strange things are going to happen Monday so watch out for them."
"Stranger than a clone?" he demanded.
"With what my nephew deals with? Yes. Especially since he claimed some chaos gods got into it because he has three of them."
Chase did whimper at that. "Is he as mean as you are?"
"More warped, slightly less snark, doesn't look as good on a motorcycle yet but I haven't had daily contact with him for years. And I'm an uncle in quotes."
"Oh, I see." He looked at his clone again. "I think.... I need ice cream," he decided, standing up.
"Sounds good to me too. All the Xanders and Deans are sugar magnets. Any sugar is drawn into their bodies by osmosis before any of the rest of us can get it."
"Hey, at least we're not playing 'what disease do you have' for you," House quipped. "He's clearly not a case of Lupus." Chase glared at him but walked his clone out so they could go talk. They'd both ignore that House was cackling very loudly in his office.
They ran into the hospital's administrator, Cuddy, on the way down there. "Oh, you have a little brother in. Going to talk up House and medicine?" she asked with a smile for the boy. "I'm sure you'll be a good doctor when it's your turn, little guy."
Chase nodded. "I do hope so, yes." He hurried for the elevator.
Cuddy gave their backs a strange look. "Was I wrong and it's his son?" she muttered as she walked off. "Foreman, is the little one with Chase his brother or his son?"
"He has a kid with him?" he asked. "The last I saw of him he didn't but House paged him."
"Maybe that's what it is." She went to ask him but the cackling made sure she stayed far away before she got involved in it. She did not want to be part of anything that made House cackle that way.
Don Flack Junior looked at the kid who came up to where he was on a scene, nearly having a panic attack right there. There was no way he had a kid that old and no way that kid was anyone but him. "Please tell me I had a stroke and this is some sort of strange sci-fi dream?" he demanded.
"Wish I could. Think we can freak out Danny enough to make him go into high drama queen mode?"
"Ya think?" he shot back with a weak grin. "Hey, um, Mac?" he called, spotting him. "I gotta... go do something." Mac glared at him so he pointed at the kid.
"Actually," Ryan coughed, coming into view. "I need Mac to call my other self down in Miami so Horatio can have Eric throw a fit for him. Maybe?" he asked hopefully. "I don't have their phone numbers memorized. They're all in my phone."
"Yeah. Your city's gonna go up in flames, kid." He looked over as Mac stomped over. "Guys, I'm sure you know Mac Taylor somehow."
"Only by reputation," Ryan said, holding up a hand. "Ryan Wolfe. My older self just joined Horatio's team. Nice to meet you, Detective Taylor."
Mac stared at them, shook the kid's hand, then looked at Don. "Did I get drugged?"
"If you did, I did."
"Do we have a logical, scientific explanation?"
"Loki made the clones so we can be chosen champions of the gods," Don said with a grin for him. "We're in New Jersey right now but we're in on a day trip to do the informing."
"I see." He looked around. "Stella?" he called, bringing her over. "Were we drugged and am I hallucinating?"
"I asked if I had a stroke and this is a strange sci-fi dream," bigger Don told him.
"I wish." He rubbed his head. "Stella?"
"You two are cute," she told them. They both beamed back. "How in the hell did you have a son that old, Flack?"
"He's not my son, he's me," Don told her.
"Let's not go eighties here," mini Don said. "Hey, Danny?" He looked up and went pale. "C'mere please?" He slowly trudged over. "Hey. Long time no see."
"Who did that?"
"Loki. Then we got rescued from the military. The one who rescued us is protecting us. We're in New Jersey. "
"I'd hate that," bigger Don said.
"We're near Princeton, the nicer part of New Jersey, not the toxic parts," Ryan told him with a grin. "Can one of you guys please tell Horatio that I'm around here too?"
"I can do that," Stella said grimly. She called, she had the number from the last time she had worked with him. "Horatio, Stella Bonasera. No, I'm okay but there's a slight problem. Well, do you have someone who's dark blonde/light brown haired, looks like he'll be stocky but not athletic looking?"
"Named Ryan?" she asked. He said he did, he was looking at him. "I'm looking at an eight-year-old version of him. Or possibly nine."
"Probably closer to eight." He took the phone when she held it out. "Hey, H. Yes, I'm serious. Let Ryan have the phone, he can verify it." It was handed over. "Hey, me. Did you *ever* get that grass stain out of the blue boxers?" He listened to him splutter. "That's because I'm your clone and I'm in New Jersey, or will be tonight. Well, it's a bad thing, but the Winchesters are helping and someone from Sunnydale too, so we'll see. Loki actually. Sure, this is how I'm informing you, dumbass. Hey, let H have Eric rant for him. That should help." He handed the phone back.
She listened to him complain. "So I take it it is him?" she asked bluntly. She nodded. "Okay. They say they're near Princeton. They're here to inform Don Flack and to get us to call you so they didn't have to fly to Miami probably. Sure, if we can."
"I can make sure they get home," John Winchester said, coming over from where he had been sitting in his truck. "Be nicer, boys."
"We do try," Don told him, grinning at himself. "You can freak out Dad with me."
"I'm not sure we won't be taking him to the ER. And me."
"Sit down," Danny ordered. He looked at him. "How in the hell did Loki make you two?"
"No clue, we woke up when the military rescued us," Ryan told him. "Then Xander rescued us from them."
Danny hummed while he thought. "Strange shit?"
"Prophecy," Ryan told him. "And yes, I do know that life. Or at least I did when I was younger. My uncle hunted."
"Knew you looked familiar," John admitted. He looked at the stunned CSI. "Things will start happening next week but we had to notify you guys. Xander agreed that we should."
"And hey, we got to miss the Feds coming for their own people," Ryan offered with a grin.
"Thankfully. Charlie and Spenser are both bigger brains than I want to deal with on a regular basis," John said. He wrote down an address, handing it to Danny. "For when he's back to reality again." He walked the boys off, taking them back to New Jersey. Then he'd come back to watch what happened around them with the agents coming in. In case his boys needed saved. Or Xander. He was doing the best he could. He could appreciate that in the boy.
Don Flack snatched the address, standing up. "Heading to New Jersey. Tell my boss, Mac." He jogged to his car, driving off in a peal of tires.
"Hmm, sounds like it's not a good night for him," Stella said. She had read the address off for Horatio. That way he could come up and beat whoever himself. "We need to get back to work."
Mac nodded, shaking himself free of his bad thoughts. The military was cloning people? His military? There was no way any Marines would accept that going on.
Don Epps looked up as a few other agents met him on a certain street. Including Edgerton. "Got tranqs?" he asked lightly.
"Many of them. I scouted ahead too." He laid the layout of the house in front of them. "The main guy is hiding in here right now in case you guys throw an absolute fit." He looked over as Gibbs walked over. "You going in too?"
"We saw Tony yesterday." He handed over something. "The Xander that saved them." He looked at the agents. "There's a problem group who're already trying something against him but it's been blocked at the highest levels. Also, the other adults." He put that down. "Jon O'Neill. His father works on the base where they rescued the kid. Harris let the boy come with them so he could feed information back to them, knowing who he was, to keep them off his six. The girl is Dawn Summers. She's friends with Harris from her hometown and there was a missing and kidnaped child report on her. The other two.... they're not legal but they have their own tiny versions in there and they've been helping."
"Are we taking them?" Hotchner asked.
"No. Not right now. I want to know their part in it." He held up something. "On the people who want these kids. Harris and his group had to talk with them in the past when their old unit was canceled by force. Torturing others as experiments." They all shuddered. "They want the kids badly for some reason. Also, another frequent visitor. Gregory House. Doctor. Diagnostician at the local teaching hospital. He leads back to Harris. He and Harris' father were friends so he's an honorary uncle. He's got one of the kids with him." That got a nod. "Summers is ill, he came up to treat her."
"Good to know," Derek Morgan agreed. "What are we going to do about this?"
Jon O'Neill snuck over and put something on top of the reports Gibbs had brought. "From General Hammond out at Cheyenne, where I'm from, guys. We're not in danger here. Xander's doing a good job protecting the kids. Even if we're all a bit freaked out, it's okay. This isn't a strike team situation. No one needed vests."
"Bet me," Edgerton snorted. "Harris is rated as unpredictable."
"No he's not. He likes weapons. He can plan. He almost did this dramatically and let the kids announce themselves after a power point presentation. He's a goofy, nice guy until you threaten one of the kids. One of the neighborhood dogs did last night and Xander nearly bit it back but otherwise he's a nice, normal guy with some past combat trauma. Somehow." He looked at Gibbs. "Xander said he has no problem if the kids want to go home with their other selves and they handle whatever's going to happen via distance methods. Whatever ones stay he's said can stay with him and he'll take care of them. Like he will be his three."
"How did he get three?" Charlie asked.
"A teenage version, a young version, and a son that they mixed with someone else. That one has memories downloaded from both parents but won't tell us who the other one is so we can tell him." He shrugged. "So anyway, we're about to sit down to pancakes that Xander made with big Sam's help. You guys are more than welcome to join us but we'll be running out of milk soon." He walked back to the house, leaving the door open.
The agents looked at each other and headed in there, still being cautious.
Spenser looked up. "Way to overreact, Hotch. If I was in trouble, I would have told myself or Derek that yesterday." He went back to eating.
"I've got to be about eight and a half. I've got weight on me. I was between growth spurts. The rest of the time I was scrawny."
"Dawn made me eat or else she was going to tie me down and feed me," he said with a grin, eating another bite. "Xander, they're here."
"As long as they're nice, I'll come out."
"There's no capture order for you," the elder Tony DiNozzo called. "Someone blocked the person that was trying to."
Xander came out to stare at him. "Was his name Finn perhaps?" he asked with a tight smile. Tony smirked and nodded. "Knew I should've shot him." He looked around. "We have extra plates if you guys want breakfast. Did someone bring milk?"
"I can get more," Edgerton said, sneaking off to do that while cackled himself sick. The little mathematician was so bed hair'd and adorably messed up. Even Don Epps was melting at that kid. Alan was nearly bouncing like it was a new grandchild. He came back with two gallons, getting paid back instantly for it. "Thanks."
"No, thank you. They need milk to grow bigger and stronger." He poured more milk and handed him a plate. "Here you go." He went back into the kitchen to get his own, coming out with it. "For obvious reasons, some of them disappeared earlier."
"I saw," Edgerton said. "Their kids?"
"With them at a breakfast buffet." The others stared at him. "Don't even think about it."
"Fine," they muttered.
Xander called Buffy's phone. "It's us. For some reason your ex is wanting the kids very badly. Yes, that ex, not Angel. Though, can I introduce the mini mes to Angel and Spike sometime soon?" he asked with a grin. "I know they'll go insane, but a bit of insanity is good for a mind. It lets it restart and get rid of all the junk thoughts." He ate a bite. "Thanks, Buffster. Half asleep over her pancakes. She'll call later." He hung up.
"Will she handle it quietly or should we be ready for an assault?" Edgerton asked.
"Buffy's going to get onto his wife, who's going to chew him a new one. Then she'll kick his butt and make him a sorry bastard. Then Sam, his wife, gets him." He smiled sweetly. "Hopefully by then he'll have sense so I don't have to step in and you don't have to see me in DC for a while."
Spenser, the little one's, head popped up. "That would be a bad idea, Xander."
"Yeah, I know. I can do it at his home instead of at work and embarrassing him."
"Still a bad idea," Charlie told him.
"Fine. Spoil my fun." He ate a bite. "So, guys, what're we going to do?"
"I have no idea," Charlie admitted, looking at himself then at his father. "Is he going to be safe at home?"
Xander looked at Tara, who shrugged and handed over the notes the bigger Sam had given her. "Our research geeks got into the prophecy thing for us." He read it over then handed it over. "At the very least I'm seeing a lot of 'may your life be interesting' sort of things to sort out who can do what and which one should choose who. We're not sure where it's going, they didn't give that much information to us. Other than that, that's all we have figured out. If the kids want to go with you guys, that's up to them, but they will always have a home and safe haven here with us. Because I'll be damned if Riley's people get them." Someone pounded on the door. He looked around. "Ryan? Probably yours with the way you said your notification went."
The little Ryan Wolfe went to open the door, staring at the guy standing there. "What are you doing up here? How are you up here?"
He stepped in, staring at him. "Duh, Ryan." He looked him over. "H sent me." He smirked. "Or at least he wished really hard."
Xander looked over. "Wow, a good wish demon. Welcome to our brood and home. I'm Xander. I used to date Anya when she didn't have her powers."
"She's presently upsetting D'Hoffryn by having a conscience." He walked in with the boy, looking at him. "You'll do."
"That's nice to hear." He ate another bite. "Pancakes?"
"No thanks. I had Denny's on the ride up." He sat down, looking at the mini Ryan. "H is on his way up. He's stressed, freaked out, and morbid. Your other self is with him."
"I told him to let Eric rant for him."
"Not cute, kid. Though, doing well to take over my smartass spot." He ruffled his hair. "You'll do too."
"Any idea if they'll be safe to go home?" Xander asked. "You sure? We have more milk too."
"I'm good. It should be safe but within a year things will start happening around them to show where their strengths are. Including things that will get them noticed." He looked at the non-clone among the group. "Your other parent is in deep shit this week but he'll handle it." That got a nod from the kid. "You'll handle it and if you want to dodge this whole mess, take a test to place higher and then go to college to follow his uncle." He looked at Xander again. "You won't be in this battle."
"So the teenage me will be standing in or I'll be in a military prison?"
"Neither. They're going to knock you out if they have to so you're not involved. Too much chaos floating around you. The other yous should be enough this time. Any later problems after that? They can use your touch or you can retire and do normal things with hunting on the side, Xander. Also, Greg? That little Chase is being mean to himself. He keeps wondering why the mini-him doesn't have an accent and Foreman, another of the ducklings, is nearly having a stroke trying to figure out how it happened. It will get worse before it gets better, people. The chaos will tell us who gets a final placement spot. Though it sucks to be Tara and Chase, they're the only chosen ones with their gifts."
"Not necessarily and one of the mini-mes can easily learn medical stuff," Xander pointed out. "I did." Speed smirked at him. "Uncle Greg could teach any of them that wanted to learn it. Chase seems nice. Very nice. A bit sweet too."
"He's one you should see if you can date the older version of," the messenger said. He looked outside. "I've gotta head since they're here. Don't tell them I was here unless you want H to shut down totally, guys." He faded out.
Ryan went to get the door, staring at Horatio. "You clearly needed to sleep on the plane, Horatio. You look tired."
"I am tired, Mr. Wolfe." Ryan was staring at himself. "Are you all right?"
"We're having breakfast with the agents who came to talk to the others." He let them inside. "Pancakes and milk, guys?"
"Please," Ryan agreed. Horatio nodded, taking some milk but refusing some pancakes.
Xander looked over at him. "You should eat. It's going to be a long day full of hard thinking. It'll probably be harder on you than the time our neighbor's dog ate three pounds of cheese all at once." A few of the agents groaned at that. "It did," he defended.
"That's a bad thought," the bigger Ryan said, looking at himself. "I was cute."
"Everyone seems to think that," he agreed with an evil smirk.
"It's an easy thought to have so you don't get stuck in worse thoughts that make you want to kill yourself to make them stop," Ryan pointed out.
Charlie Epps nodded. "Mine was to keep me from getting stuck in the bad thought loops."
"You still did, Charlie," his father assured him, grinning at the other one. "He was babbling and pacing, went into a hypothetical situation to try to tell me, all of that."
"It was the only way I could see that didn't end in a near certainty of visiting you in a hospital, Dad," the younger one said. "Or a funeral home when you died of the heart attack. That's why I went through Larry first."
His father shook his head. "Thank you for that."
"Welcome." He looked at his other self. "I did see a near certainty that you got drunk last night."
"We all did," Don assured him, getting a grin back.
"And others too," Ryan Wolfe agreed, cracking a few agents up. He looked around. "Anything we should know right now?"
"Figure out if you're taking them home after they're chosen on the sixteenth or not," Xander suggested. "If not, then I've got to do some dinner planning and work on school and work stuff."
"I think Charlie can come home sooner than that," Alan told him.
The little Charlie shook his head. "There's no telling what sort of strange thing can happen when they start happening, Dad. It's possible it might blow the power grid or something."
"It's more likely to make them do all sorts of funky things," teenage Xander said. "Glow, float, that sort of thing."
"So we'll stay home with them that day," Spenser said, looking at his younger self. "Unless you want to stay?"
"I don't care either way. Though I don't want to be an inconvenience to you or the team."
"You won't be," Hotch said.
"I will be," he countered. "Because I don't have a mother to leave me with when you guys go out of town, like usual."
Hotch sighed, shaking his head. "That is a problem but Garcia stays home most of the cases. You can consult with her from there. Be our backup to point out facts we're ignoring."
"I might but she'll fuss, Hotch. You know she will."
"Pity but none of us want to shoot her to death to save you, Spens," Derek said. "Once she finds out, you're going to be mothered to death."
Xander, the youngest one, looked at him. "Come running back if it gets too bad. You can hide under my bed. We're used to scary women. If she's that bad, I might even try to date her. Or my older self might anyway."
"Thanks, Xander." He grinned. "Who is your other father?"
"Doesn't really matter. He's not around here right now. He's off saving the world somewhere else."
Jon O'Neill sat up, staring at him. "Don't tell me they did it to Sheppard," he ordered.
Littlest Xander smirked. "I can't do that," he said in a sing-song voice. "They made it so they couldn't do it to you. He's the next strongest carrier so Loki decided he was fun and fair game."
"Damn it," he muttered. "They should just name you the God of Smartasses then."
"We can call him GoS if you want," Xander the eldest said with a smirk of his own.
Jon moaned, holding his forehead. "I just had a sudden vision of you walking up to someone on .... that place and asking what something is. One of them told you it was a weapon and you said 'I know that, dumbass, does it fire bullets, energy, magnetic beams, what' and making them totally choke on their tongues."
Littlest Xander considered it. "Only if I can do it to Rodney or Ronon, maybe Radek Zalenka. They'd give a great reaction if they didn't know who and what I am. Rodney would definitely growl and scowl and stomp off. Ronon would just scowl at me until I explained something to him or let him play with the weapons."
"I'd like to meet your other father," Xander the eldest said with a sweet, kind, goofy grin. "Maybe we can send him a 'congrats, you have a son' email?"
"He can't get home right now. He's handling a severe issue where he is," Jon told him. "Like my old job only worse."
"Can we send him one anyway to make him twitch and go off on them to solve it sooner?"
"That might work," he admitted, texting that back to Daniel's phone. He got back a 'bad idea, kiddo'. "Daniel didn't like it but who knows. Dad might." He looked at Xander. "How did you know?"
"Because the Loki that wasn't the one who made them gave me a nice vision that explained some things so I didn't break them out of the hospital Uncle Greg works in."
"Even better." He looked up. "Thank you for having some sense." He went back to his breakfast, shaking his head. Xander went back to eating as well. The others were staring at them. Jon looked back. "Yes, it's always like that around him. Sunnydale's just that way. Xander's from there so they like him. Or so it was explained to us." He went back to eating.
"I thought the project's name was Loki," Horatio said.
"No, it was Loki," Xander told him. "He was feeling a bit thwarted and wanted to have some playmates." He pointed. "Scions of chaos forever and ever."
The adults shuddered at that and a few took some rolaids or other medicine for their upset stomachs.
"Anyone want another pancake?" Xander asked with a grin as he got up. "I can make some more."
"No thanks," everyone said in varying keys and ways. A few of the kids got their own but it was fine with him. They'd work this out. Hopefully soon.
"I'm sorry but this is all so illogical," Charlie complained later that night. His other self and family were back at the motel talking about what to do. They had no idea what to do either. "Magic is not logical."
Spenser looked at his roommate. "Who said that it had to be logical?"
"Everything has to conform to some sort of universal rule."
"But it being illogical doesn't mean it doesn't conform, just that it conforms to one that you
haven't discovered yet." Charlie slumped at that, looking at the paper Xander had given him earlier when he was trying to think. "Besides, you've seen Dawn do it. You saw Willow and Buffy disappear in a shower of light. How can you doubt something you yourself have seen?"
"It's still not logical."
"It might not make sense to most versions of physics but who said that we know all the versions of physics out there?" Spenser asked.
Charlie looked at him. "This is going to drive me nuts."
"Did you see the hype over the Harry Potter books?" Charlie nodded. "In them they teach a class called Arithmancy. Magical math. If math is the basis for the universe, then find our version of arithmancy, Charlie."
"Do you think I could?"
"You can try. I have no idea if there already is one or not. You'd have to ask someone like Willow. Maybe Tara."
"Huh. Maybe there is one then." He went to Tara and Dawn's room. They shared one since they're the only girls in the house. Dawn opened the door. "Is there a magical math book somewhere? This is going to drive me nuts."
"I don't know. I wasn't trained like that. I was kind of training myself behind everyone's back. I can ask Giles, see if he knows. He got formal training and stuff from the Watchers."
"Sure, Charlie." She gave him a hug. "Quit stressing over it. Some things you don't have to think about, only feel. After all, you can't really quantify emotions since everyone feels even the basics differently."
"Maybe, but you can. Someone has."
"Then someone had to take into account that everyone felt everything very differently and probably didn't get more than a baseline 'this is how people feel' thing going. Beyond that, nothing in our current science explains you. That makes you an anomaly outside physics too." He looked awed at that. "Now, go to bed. No math tonight or I'll have to toss you in a mud puddle tomorrow."
"It hasn't rained in days."
"It's not that hard to make mud, Charlie."
He blushed but went back to his room to lay down and think. Tara followed to tuck him in with a sheepish grin then went back to her own room. He laid there looking at his ceiling wondering if his other self was doing the same thing. Because this magic stuff was going to drive him nuts. His hair was going to start looking worse than Einstein's.
to part 2
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