Note: set before Agent Afloat.

Crown And Court Settling On Your Shoulders.

McGee looked up from his typing.  "Did you know that there's an actual Hellfire Club?"

"There were historically a few versions," Tony said absently from his own pile of paperwork.  "Mostly before the American Revolution in England and Ireland."

"There's one in New York."

Tony shook his head.  "Posers and wannabes.  Mostly art crowd sorts, Probie."

"How do you know?"

"I went to school with people like that."  He looked over.  "They want the thrill of pretending to be so powerful, like the originators of the club."

"I heard they had sacrifices and things," McGee said with a grimace.

"Not really.  They were pagan God oriented but mostly it was the pleasures of the flesh and other mild sins that most people would laugh at behind their backs."  He shrugged.

"How would you know?" Gibbs asked.

"I did a great report on them in high school for Politics class."  He got back to work.

"What about that other group?  The secret society fraternity group that I can't remember the name of."

"Wasn't that a movie?" Gibbs complained.

"No, there's a real Skull and Bones group, Gibbs," Tony told him.  "About eighty percent of all upper level politicians belong to it.  There's been very few presidents that haven't been members.  Though the movie sucked.  I saw it to laugh at it."  He looked at McGee again.  "The Court and Crown Club however is more about power and assets that can be used.  A few of them aren't the rich elite sort, they were taken in for their useful abilities."

"You know a few?"

"Again, I went to school with a few," he said dryly, getting back to his paperwork.  "I also live in the building with one."

"At Ohio State?" Gibbs snorted.

Tony looked at him.  "High school, Gibbs.  Some of us did go to elite boarding schools.  Kate and I probably both knew future members in school."  Gibbs gaped.  Tony stared back.  "They had to pay educational costs even after kicking me out as the primary heir.  It'd look bad to their coworkers if not."  He got back to work.  "I went to school with a few other finance types' kids, a few diplomats' kids, two who were displaced royalty, and a few mafia princes and princesses."

"Did they help you any?" McGee asked.

Tony gave him a dirty look.  "If I had wanted to be president, I would've started on that long ago and been taken back into the family almost immediately, McGee.  I also would've taken the offer from Yale instead of Ohio State, and would've went to law school instead of stopping at my undergrad.  I'd probably already be pretty big in some upper level city or lower level state government position working my way up.  The ability to choose the right elected position is more important than some of the bigger names.

"Being mayor is good.  Being the mayor of a city that has no problems, has a good budget, no public problems, and a low crime rate is better.  Go from smaller, well done mayor to a state elected spot to governor to senator or directly to president.  Which is why the Mayor of New York or LA or Detroit will never be president.  They went for the big name, not the jobs that got them noticed for doing *good* at the job."

"Someone suggested?" Gibbs asked dryly.

"Yeah, a few times."  Tony smiled.  "It would've gotten me in good graces years ago.  Or me going to medical school, which someone else suggested."  He got back to work.

"I can't imagine you being a doctor," McGee said.  "I really can't."

Tony looked at him.  "I'd make a fantastic doctor.  I'd be very caring, very sympathetic, yet a hardass on the bad patients.  Though I don't think I could be a generic surgeon.  A lot of daily pressure.  Maybe an orthopedic surgeon.  They make great money, have good reputations, and are a highly sought after specialty."  He got back to work.

Gibbs shook his head.  "I can't see you doing anything like that.  You'd hate being puked on and having to stitch people," he said.  "Or you'd be a GYN so you could hit on the girls."

"I'd never hit on my patients, Gibbs.  I'd know where they'd been," Tony said dryly.  "And I couldn't be a GYN for that very reason.  You're not allowed to hit on patients.  As for stitching and things, I do know how.  I've had plenty and watched them while they did mine."  He smirked.  "Strangely enough mostly since I've been here."  He got back to work.  "And those are ER docs, not orthopedic surgeons.  Orthos are people who do joints and bones."

"Who're the guys that do the cleft palates in that program overseas?" McGee asked.

"Maxiofacial mostly.  Sometimes plastic surgeons or oral surgeons do them."

"Oh."  He shook his head quickly, getting back to work.

Gibbs glared at Tony for that crack but got back to his own paperwork stack.  "Why didn't you go to medical school, DiNozzo?"

"It's a lot of hard work and very little praise for years of stress and tension.  As a resident you have a lot of long hours and a lot of run-on days for very low pay.  So I'm not real sure after working here."  McGee snorted.  "My grades are good enough.  I talked to someone last year about a graduate degree."  McGee stared at him.  Tony smirked.  "Yes, me.  Really."  He got back to work.

"I thought you needed all 'A's," Gibbs said.

Tony smirked.  "Life experience, boss.  It makes up for a lot.  Also the MCAT test.  I took all the GRE, LSAT, and MCAT to keep my options open.  Also to gauge myself against others.  I scored in the high eightieth on most of them.  A few lower on the MCAT.  It was heavily chemistry and it's been years since I took one."

"You didn't add that to your profile here," Gibbs said.

"No, I didn't.  I don't have to.  Me thinking about a graduate degree doesn't matter here."  He got back to work.  If they knew what he knew, they'd freak out.  A lot.

"What about cadaver class?" McGee asked.

"With as many dead bodies as we've had here?" Tony snorted.  "Do you think I'd pass out or something, Probie?"  McGee slumped and shook his head.  Tony rolled his eyes.  "Anyone want anything from the coffee shop?"  Gibbs held up money.  So did McGee.  He went to get them, shaking his head most of the way to his car.  His coworkers were idiots at times.  They really were.

"Look those up.  I want to know how he did," Gibbs ordered.  Something wasn't right.  His senior agent was hiding things from him.  That meant something was very wrong with DiNozzo.  The last time it had been a secret undercover for the director.

McGee got into the local university's file on Tony, frowning.  They all did their continuing education through them so it'd probably list it.  "Tony took his MCAT ten years ago.  It is in his Ohio State profile.  He took his GRE recently and scored a 750 on the verbal reasoning, a 780 on quantitative reasoning, and a 6 on the writing."  He looked up.  "That's a perfect score on that part, boss.  The others go up to 800.  His LSAT was 160.  That's up to a 180 scale.  His original MCAT, because I'm seeing two now, was 40T and 41T.  That's three section scores up to 15 and the letter is the writing score."  He looked over at their boss.  "That's fantastic."

"So why didn't he go?" Gibbs asked.

"Because he's Tony and slightly a slacker?" McGee suggested.  "He could probably go back now."

Tony came back with their coffees.  He spotted the results.  "My last testing session is being reported soon."  He handed Gibbs his and sat down with his own.  "Then I'm taking a few final classes."  He got back to work.

"Does that mean you're taking advanced credits?" Gibbs demanded.

Tony stared at him.  "Would it matter if I said yes?"  Gibbs glared.  Tony got back to work.  "Beyond that I doubt my degree would help me here.  It's just something I wanted."

"You had some really good scores, Tony," McGee said.

"Thanks, McGeek.  Get out of my file at UVA."  McGee got out of it.  Thankfully, before he found out what he had been taking.  Virology would tip them off but he had the plague so it was reasonable to want to take.  The other ones didn't have that excuse.

"Is anything going to be helpful here, DiNozzo?"

"I'm taking advanced Italian and Spanish," he said dryly.  "That could help I suppose.  So could my updated computer class since I now type faster."

"What's your major?" McGee asked.

Tony looked at him.  "Don't worry about it.  When I get it, I'll throw a party."  McGee rolled his eyes.  Tony finished up and got up to deliver them where they needed to go.  Even if McGee had gotten into his file, he had two of them.  The admissions people had been sensitive to his need for secrecy and he did need the accounting classes.  So the MBA would look nice on paper, though he had taken all the classes online, and the other degree he was really working on would look nicer to him.  He called someone to let them know his coworker was snooping.  That way they could cover him a bit better.

McGee browsed a bit more.  Some of the classes looked odd for an MBA, but like Tony had said, he was doing what he wanted not what was good for his career.  McGee got out of it and went back to his paperwork.   He hated paperwork days as much as Tony did but he didn't cause a disturbance most of the time when he was bored.


Tony met his neighbor in the hallway that night.  "Hey, Bill."

"Tony."  He smiled.  "I heard your last paper got accepted?"

"I hadn't yet.  Really?"  Bill smiled and nodded.  "Wow.  That's wonderful news.  Thanks for telling me, man.  Did McGee get into it again?"

"He's still lost in the cover of your MBA."

"Good.  I have no idea what I'm doing about anything later on."  Bill smiled, walking off.  Tony let himself into his apartment, picking up his mail.  Sure enough there was a letter from UVA's medical school.  He had passed all his course work and only had to do his internship hours.  Which might be a problem.  But he'd figure it out.  He always did.  He went to make himself a good dinner for doing so good and then sat down with his favorite movies.  He read the other letters.  His MBA was waiting on one class.  They knew why.  They were nagging about it too.  So maybe he'd finish that and let them think he was done?  He'd have to consider his options.  It was a practical application thesis project and he could easily pull one up from his experiences.  Which would let him walk in the spring.


The next day, the new Director, Vance, called him up.  "Agent DiNozzo, we seem to have a problem," he said when Tony walked in.

"Why do we have a problem?" he asked.

Vance stared at him.  "Why are you here, DiNozzo?"

"I've asked myself that many times, Director.  Especially after getting the plague, getting shot multiple times, and enough concussions that my doctors are starting to worry about the same sort of trauma boxers take."

"That's not what I meant and you know it."

"Why do you stay?" Tony asked.  "You could have a political career much easier in other agencies, get higher up the food chain as well.  NCIS is a small hill of an agency for you to climb when you'd be in the upper ranks of the FBI or the CIA by now."

Clearly Vance had thought Tony was going to be honest with him, he wasn't sure why he had thought it'd be an easy talk.  So he switched directions, like in an interrogation.  "Why is it that I have people with clout telling me that you need to do some educational things?"

"I'm about done with my MBA.  They like encouraging me."  He grinned.  "I shouldn't need any time off for that, Director."

"I don't think that's what they were talking about, DiNozzo.  Why did you take the MCAT's twice?"

"Because your scores are only good for so long and I wanted to see where I ranked after I got the plague."  That was at least the honest truth.  He had restarted his medical education after that problem.  "I also took the LSAT and the GRE."  He shifted, staring at him.  "I scored pretty damn good too."

"I saw that.  Why isn't that in your records?"

"Why should it be?  It's not required.  I'm not claiming it within the agency.  I'm not claiming my MBA when I get it either, Director.  Non-work related education certificates or degrees don't have to be reported.  I didn't report that I have a certificate from cooking school either.  I took that in high school over the summers."

"What sort of time off are you looking at, DiNozzo?  Honestly.  I have to find some way to let Gibbs let you go since your *friends* insisted."

Tony smirked.  "I can do a lot of it now and then when I'm on injury leave.  I get enough of it," he said dryly.  "I need to do some intense hours in New Jersey in a few months.  But then again that's what unpaid vacation time is for."

"So you were going to take a short leave of absence for what reason?"

"I'm going to New Jersey to work with a doctor who's a great diagnostician about my plague.  I have the feeling he'll find that someone can still distill it and I want someone world class to help me figure out what I need to do to protect myself.  Especially since some of Ziva David's coworkers have heard about it."

"You don't trust her?"

"I don't trust them.  I don't trust most of this agency either actually.  There's too many that could see this as a useful thing to deal with."

"That's not a bad idea," he admitted dryly.  "When are you going?"

"Six months.  Before then I have two evenings a week with a doctor I know."

"Fine."  He stared at him.  "What if I gave you a better cover story?"

"With Gibbs, Director?"

"Does that actually matter to you, DiNozzo?  It seems like you don't trust him at your back."

Tony considered that.  "Things have changed," he admitted more quietly.  "I'm not sure I totally trust anyone anymore.  Even my team.  Especially not after that little shipping crate thing."

"I heard."

"My ER bill was subtly put in for reimbursement," Tony said dryly.

"I saw.  You were damn lucky."

"I'm not the one that shot inside a metal box."

"I know.  So do we have a problem?"

"No, I have quiet plans."

"Fine.  Your residency year?"

"Who says I'll be here then, sir?  I never make plans more than a year ahead for those things.  I tend to get shot or get another concussion."

"Good point.  They're saying you're getting boxer's trauma?"

"Yup, that's why I have an MRI tomorrow.  You have the day off paperwork for that already.  I went around Gibbs for that by the way.  He's going to growl but yay."

"Fine."  He stared at him.  "Tell them to quit being so helpful?"

"Nope.  I like them more than I do a lot of others, Director.  It's nice that they weren't pushy.  We're still getting used to your style of political hacking at things.  Though, if you want to go higher, the neighbor thinks you should quit following Sheppard's lead because she was bad for your career."  He smiled.

Vance stared at him.  "I had some of her rules I disagreed with," he said dryly.

"We had more than a few.  Also, can you undo the things she did to the break rooms?  I know Ziva hates that the machines don't have chocolate.  So does Abby."

"Gladly.  Every now and then I need some myself."  Tony grinned and left.  Vance got that form from his secretary, signing it and going to hand it to Gibbs.  He hated that team.  DiNozzo was still high on his shit list even though he had well connected friends.  "Gibbs."  He handed it over as he walked past him.  He had a few others to hand over.

Gibbs looked at it then at DiNozzo.  "Why didn't I get this first?"

"Because you would've complained and my doc said I'm getting that MRI even if they have to drive the trailer with it in it here."  He stared at him.  "You've turned down my last three doctor's appointments, Gibbs.  Including my yearly physical that I need to do this job.  Therefore I'm going to go have the assessment of all the damage I've taken from concussions tomorrow, and then my yearly clearance physical."


"Isn't qualified to do either one," he said simply.  "By the agency by-laws he's not allowed to.  It was put in there specifically that he could not do the yearly physicals.  And the last I knew he wasn't a neurologist."  He got back to work.  "Also, fair warning, in six months I'm taking an unpaid sabbatical to work with someone over my little blood problem to make sure that no one else can use it."

Gibbs stared.  "No."

"Tough."  Tony looked at him.  "Do you really want to see me kidnaped and killed for a few liters of blood?  Because the FBI got one the other night and told me that they had me on the list."  Gibbs glared.  "Call Fornell.  I'm sure he's heard, boss."  He got back to things.

"Why in six months?" Ziva asked.

"Because before then he's got a lot of fellows he's got to deal with.  In six months he's going to be more free to spend more time with me.  This way I don't have to commute back and forth."  He looked at her as he typed.  "He's already agreed that it was probably a good idea to have done a few years back but Gibbs told Dr. Pitt that I wasn't going to need it.  Thankfully, someone in *your* agency decided to tell someone else about it," Tony finished sarcastically.  "So thank your coworkers for the extra work you'll be doing, Ziva."  She blanched, shaking her head.

Gibbs called Fornell.  "What was this about a blood hunter?"  He listened, making notes.  "How did they hear?"  He winced.  "Damn it.  Thank you."  He hung up.  "It was a Mossad contact that told them," he admitted.  Tony nodded.  "You knew?"

"Yeah, someone at the hospital told me that my files had been requested by another agency.  I have no idea why the State Department wanted them so I talked to a friend over there.  Who told me it was a hush-hush higher up thing."  He smirked.  "So yeah, I'm going to disappear to work with him."

"You could go sooner."

"He doesn't have time before then.  If I go sooner, I'll still be there at the end of that time off."

"Doctors...." McGee said.

"Hospitals are gossip factories," Gibbs told him.  "Including down to the janitor level."  Tony nodded.  "Him going when there's less chance of people finding out is good."

"I can go now," Tony offered.  "Not a problem there, Gibbs.  I can finish my MBA there too.  I only have a project left.  I found that out when I got home last night."

Gibbs stared at him.  "I don't like these secrets."

"As proven, I have a reason for mine," Tony shot back, staring at him.  Gibbs glared.  Tony shrugged slightly.  "I can go today."

"They think there's others."

"I heard that.  My building's doorman is alerted and he's former FBI.  Got injured so he had to go to a less stressful job."  He got back to work.  "Let me finish my backlog and I'll do that."

"I was going to use that information to send him as an agent afloat," Vance said as he walked back.

Tony looked at him.  "I doubt that'll help and that'll be a lot of unknown people who could cause problems, Director.  How hard is it to stick a plant on a ship or pay someone?"

"Good point," he admitted.  "I do have some open."

Tony pulled out his sabbatical paperwork and changed the date, handing it over.  "Gibbs wants me to go asap."

"Can you go that long without a paycheck?" Vance snorted.

"Yup.  I sure can."  He finished up and sent them over then packed things and smirked.  "See you guys in March."  He left.

"March?" Gibbs demanded.  "It's barely april!"

"Yup.  I'll be back at the end of March."  Tony got onto the elevator and headed down to the garage.

Gibbs snatched the paperwork to read over, growling.  McGee was hiding behind his monitor and he realized that but oh well.  "Fine, since I can't change it."

"It's safer for him to go now anyway," Vance said.  "I got information someone was hunting for him?"

"Fornell's bringing over the file now."  Gibbs handed them back.  Vance signed them and handed McGee a copy.  "Mail that to him," Gibbs ordered at his confused look.

"Sure, boss."  He fled.  That was a good errand at the perfect time.  Ziva 'went for coffee' and to listen in.

"Officer David, I can still see you," Vance noted.  She walked further off.  He looked at Gibbs.  "Did you know Tony had pushy sorts in his background?"

"I've met his father," he said dryly.

"Not that sort, Gibbs."

"As he put it, he went to school with them, Director."

"That doesn't really surprise me with his background."  He went up to his office to file that paperwork.  That solved DiNozzo getting out of line and screwing things up too badly around his agency.  Now he could make it what it should be.


Tony strolled into an office and smiled at the doctors.  "Hi, Doctor House.  Tony DiNozzo."

"You're early."

"Blood hunters showed up in DC."

House stared at him.  "Seriously?"  Tony nodded.  "Huh.  So you're doing your other hours here?"  Tony smirked and nodded.  "How long do we have you?"

"I'm taking off a week for Mardi Gras but otherwise I'm yours until the end of February if you want me."

"We'll see.  Children, this is your new classmate," House snarked.  "These are my present ducklings of stupidity."

"Hi, Tony DiNozzo," he said with a smile and a wave.  "I'm in my in-school and Doctor House needs to monitor me as a project."

"Why?" the female asked.

"Classified," Tony said with a smile.  "Don't worry though.  I promise I won't bleed on you."  She glared.  He looked at House.

"He's right, it's classified," House told her.  "Chase, get me stuff to pull some of his blood for testing."  He went to do that.  "Sit, DiNozzo.  Any idea what the disease of the moment is?"

Tony looked at the white board, tipping his head slightly.  "If we didn't have the liver complication I'd say an autoimmune but with that isn't it a type of liver disease from drinking or too many chemicals?"

"Chemicals maybe," the female said.  "I'm Cameron, that's Foreman, the other guy is Chase and he's Australian," she said dryly.

"I know a few nice Aussie's.  Great surfing and pretty country down there."  He sat down.  "If his or her liver toxicity is that high, why hasn't it shut down?"

House looked then at him.  "There's a decimal point."

"My aunt's shut down at half that from a lifetime of drinking."

"True, it could be.  I'd lean more toward chemicals.  They're a chemist," House said dryly.

"Were they maybe doing the mad scientist thing and testing on themselves?"

"Who really does that?" Cameron snorted.  House raised his hand with an evil smirk.  She groaned.

"Geniuses rarely have common sense," Tony quipped.  "I've worked with a few."

"And Ducky," House said dryly.

"And Ducky is our ME," Tony agreed happily.  Chase came back so Tony took off his jacket and rolled up a sleeve.  "The left side is usually a bit easier."  Chase smiled and took the blood for him.  House wrote out an order and Chase sent it to be run.  "Thanks, Chase."

"Welcome," he said as he sat down.  "That liver toxicity is going up, House.  I checked her last labs.  It's went up two points."  House changed that.  "I still think it's autoimmune."

"Not with that liver report," House said.  "Though I'm not going to rule out that she might have one underlying that we don't know about."  They all nodded, going to test for that.  It was clear to them that House wanted some time alone with him.  "Yes, you have to put up with her."

"I had a director like her recently, House."  He got a smirk for that.  "Seriously.  Then she died after slipping away from my half-team's monitoring so the present one hates me."  He leaned his arms on the table.  "Thank you.  I know it's unusual."


"I do come with some extra skills though.  I took all the virology because of that.  A lot of others that weren't necessary as well."  He slid over an envelope from his pocket.  "From my docs down there."

House read the reports and grimaced.  "Concussions?"

"All too many," Tony said quietly.


Tony snorted.  "Even as a beat cop I never got shot at like I do now."


"Good.  Still have good feeling, still have good flexibility, not even a cracking of the knuckles."

"What did you want to be when you finished growing up?" he quipped with a sardonic look.

"I used to think an ortho.  Now I'm thinking someone needs to handle things like me.  Or maybe one of those quiet docs."

"That's not a bad career."  He stared at him.  "You'll still need more hours."

"I have things rearranged for when I get back to do the rest of my hours with people who have night clinics."

"Do your regular bosses not know?"

"No.  I don't want them to either.  They'll find out when I'm ready because they'll throw ungodly fits."

"Fine."  He stared at him.  "Paperwork?"

"Done.  I talked with the admin too.  She also reminded me a lot of my old director."  House snickered.  Tony grinned.  "I'm used to gruff, slightly rude, and sarcastic, House.  That's why I chose you and the guy upstairs."

"I'm all those and more."

Tony grinned.  "Better here than doing some hours on a ship."


"Well, yeah."  He grinned.  House smirked back.  "So....  I'm okay until I have to go back.  Doctor Pitt...."


"Yeah.  Brad Pitt.  I actually played against him in the game that I broke my leg in at Ohio State."

House shook his head.  "Any potential worries?"

"Blood hunters?  Someone in the Mossad was nicely handing over that information to get some other intel.  They got it from the State Department in a hush-hush cooperation deal.  Apparently they were willing to let me kill them all to stop anyone coming for me."

"I bet," he sighed.  "That won't happen here."

"I'm hoping not but I am licensed to carry concealed in this state."

"Even better.  Do you have to check in with your bosses?"

"No.  I'm on unpaid sabbatical.  If he wanted me to check in, he'll call."

"Even better."  He stared at him.  "I'm not going to go easy on you because we're in Crown and Court together."

"I don't expect you to.  I pull my own weight, House.  It'll be nice to only pull my own weight."

"You don't have to go back."

"I'm considering things.  Really, I used to love the team and the work.  And then things went to hell."  The others came in.  So did someone else.  "Hi, Tony DiNozzo," he said, holding up a hand.

"James Wilson, Oncology.  I thought you were coming in a few months."  He shook his hand.

"So did I but someone came looking to kill me."  He grinned.  "So I came up early."

"That's fine.  More hours getting done I guess."  Tony nodded.  "Are you coming our way?"

"I arranged to do my oncology hours with Doctor Leonard."

"He's an idiot," House told him.

"I don't think it's a field I want to do but I need to learn the basics and how to deal with things," he pointed out.  "The same as you probably took some hours in fields that you had no idea why."

"I did a stint with an ME for that," Wilson admitted.

"I did one in virology," House agreed.

"And here I'm doing you guys," Tony quipped, cracking House up.  He grinned at Wilson.  "Did you need a pack mule, I mean a resident?"

"No," he said with a smile.  "Maybe later to help with some charts."  He left with a smile.  "House, meeting."

"Damn it," he muttered.  "You three help him get settled around the hospital.  Page me with those results.  Cuddy said she'd kill me if I missed this one and she has PMS so she probably will."  Tony hummed _Taps_, making House smirk as he limped off.

"Let's do the tour," Cameron said.

"Sure," Tony said, looking at the guys.  "Then the locker room and changing area so I can put stuff in my locker?"  They nodded and took him to show him all the resident and fellowship student areas.  Including getting him his locker and parking sticker.  Chase asked him about which speciality classes he had taken so they knew what he had learned but he was nice about it.  Tony also bragged on his cooking certificate so they all relaxed.  He was a nice guy and only a threat when you made him be.

"Special Agent DiNozzo," Cuddy said as she walked up to them.

"Administrator Cuddy."  He smiled and shook her hand.  "They were helping me get the necessary things done."

"That's good.  You have a local office you have to check in with?"

"No.  I'm on unpaid sabbatical.  If my team leader wants me he can call.  Why?  Did they call?"

"Not yet.  Do you know where it is?  Someone informed me you should probably hear that suggestion and that you should also call someone named Fornell?"

"Deputy Director Fornell is FBI.  He had the case of that blood hunter."


He smiled.  "My feelings on the subject are a lot more graphic."  She laughed and walked off.  "Thank you, ma'am."

"Welcome.  Don't learn the wrong things from House."

"My team leader can scowl Doctor House into a coma, Doctor Cuddy.  I know more grumpy people than him.  Including a pouty goth lab tech."  She cackled at that.  He grinned at his coworkers.  "I'll look it up later to make sure in case there's an emergency.  Caf?"  They nodded and showed him the various places they had to eat.  Tony did text Fornell in the elevator.  "Oh, I have a trial next week.  They're arranging for it to be done by phone."  He noted that on his calendar and put the phone back.

"So you're an agent?" Cameron asked.

"Yes.  NCIS."  He grinned.  "Naval Criminal Investigative Services."

"Huh."  She got them off and to the better cafeteria.

"So, investigative and crime scenes?" Chase asked.  "Or ships?"

"I'm on an investigative team out of the DC office."

Foreman looked at him.  "And you're doing resident hours under *House*?"

"Because of my blood issue," he agreed quietly, glancing around.  "He's one of the few people that's trusted with this sort of information."  They all nodded and Cameron was looking constipated again.  Tony bought her a muffin with a grin.  "You looked like you needed some bran," he said quietly then walked off with the guys.

She glared at his back but ate the muffin.  She'd get him back later.


House looked up when Tony walked in that night.  "I thought I sent you all home."

"I went home, cooked dinner for us, and came back, House."  He handed over something.  "Sausage and pesto penne with peppers."  He sat down with his plate.  "How high was my count?"  He ate a bite.

House sniffed then nodded.  "I heard you told them you had a cooking certificate."

"During high school."  He grinned.  "I spent a full year's worth of cooking school."

"Great.  We're holding all dinners at your place."  He dug in, moaning.  "That's really good."  Tony grinned.  "It was abnormally high."

"It's the flu shot I had to get probably."  He ate another bite.  "Pitt noticed when I got the flu last time it shot up with my white count."

"I'd guess it would.  It does with other long-term antibodies."  He ate another bite and Wilson came in.  "You can trust him, DiNozzo."

"I know why he's here, House.  There's only so many in the DC office that got the plague."

Tony nodded.  "Definitely."  He ate a bite.  "Want some, Doctor Wilson?"

"No, that's fine."  He smiled.  "I heard you had a cooking certificate."  Tony grinned and nodded.  "You might see if Chase needs help.  I've only seen him eating salads and microwave stuff."  He looked at House.  "Home?"

"Later.  Sit."  Wilson sat and House got into the report, letting Tony see them.

"That's higher than when I had the flu the last time," he said, handing them to Wilson.

"That's a bad antigen count," he agreed.  He looked at him.  "Why?"

"Unless someone slipped me something for that blood hunter I have no idea," Tony admitted.  "I know they decided I was expendable."  He ate another bite.

House shook his head.  "They're idiots, DiNozzo."

"I know that."  He grinned.  "I've worked with a great many idiots and those who want to take all the credit for things and even a few decent ones that the system had eaten into a hollow shell."

"It's a good thing you're out of DC for a bit then."  House dug in again.  "This is really good."

Tony grinned.  "I have enough for lunch tomorrow if you wanted to make Chase steal it.  He was looking a bit anemic."

"He is," Wilson agreed.  "He's been running himself ragged again."  House smirked at him.  "Not all because of you either."  He looked at him.  "We need to reduce it."

"We need to figure out if we can distill it," House corrected.  "Because if so, someone's got to take some measures."

"Which is another reason I'm up here.  There's only so many people that can put in a switch properly."

Wilson nodded.  "Do we have one?"  House waved his fork then ate another bite.  "You're not supposed to do surgery."

"I can instruct one of the little dweebs in surgery fellowship."

"Fine."  He looked at Tony.  "Are you going to go into practice?"

"Probably within five years," he agreed.  "I don't know if it'll be as a virologist or as an ortho or as one of the underground docs who handle agents who're undercover."

"They're all good fields," Wilson agreed.  "And that last one is probably necessary."  Tony nodded with a grin.  "For that I'd be a regular, high priced doc so no one asks too many questions."

"I was thinking I could do that on the side."

"That's reasonable," House agreed.  "Two diverse fields though."

"Yeah but I've been under good and bad of both fields," Tony pointed out.  "I wanted to strangle the guy who was treating my leg in college because he was a moron.  Told me it wasn't broken like I thought when he had the original x-ray right there.  Tried to tell me it was only bruised.  I turned on the ESPN replay for him and he winced when they showed the closeup of the compound fracture.  Complete with bone sticking out."  He ate a bite of dinner.  "He huffed off and his partner was excellent to me."

"Figures," House agreed.  "A lot of young docs come in saying 'I'll never be that bad' and half of them are."

Tony nodded.  "But we can't all be super special like you are, House.  I'm not a robot, my brain isn't as huge as yours, and I know my limitations.  A lot of those kids aren't really socially ready for interaction with real people or used to working."

"No they're not," he agreed.  "And if I have one more fellow that ever calls off on the day after payday they're getting my cane up their asses."

Tony grinned.  "I mastered the art of curing the hangover quickly back in high school.  They needed better trained in college at the very least."  Wilson snickered, shaking his head.  "I was a frat boy at Ohio State.  I had more than my fair share of parties."  He finished his dinner and tossed out the plastic fork and paper plate.  House finished his too.  "So, how best can I help?"

"Do what you did earlier," House told him.  "They need some competition.  Foreman needs to drop his god act.  Chase needs to toughen up.  Cameron needs to have some head suctioning."

"Suggest she do some time in a charity clinic overseas?" Tony suggested.  House stared for a second then cackled.  "It's a very good learning experience and it's good for a soul.  It'll stretch her as a doctor too and help her empathize with patients."

Wilson was laughing.  "It'd kill her.  It really would.  Chase maybe.  Foreman I can see it doing the most good.  He's still thinking in terms of zebras, not horses."

"I'm told we all do that sometimes but House gets the zebrasses and ligers of the disease world anyway."

"Very true," House agreed smugly.  "I expect you to try your best."  Tony nodded.  "And learn."

"I'm sure I will.  I can also probably teach them a bit about real people.  Oh, Cuddy said I'd have clinic hours?  Are those on my own since I'm a resident?"

"No," House said.  "Not on your own.  You can take one of the ducklings with you to look over your shoulder."  Tony grinned.  "I only go down there under penalty of death."

"She does remind me a lot of Sheppard," he said quietly, looking at the hallway then at them.  "Our last director."

"I heard," House said smugly.  "The others in the group raged about her a few times."

"Think how I felt underneath her.  She even had me going on a long term undercover with some arm dealer's daughter.  We nearly got married.  Which she would've encouraged."

"Jesus," Wilson muttered.  Tony nodded.  "At least we're more reasonable."

"Not from what I've heard," Tony quipped.

"No, that's just for fun," House assured him happily.  Cuddy walked in with someone.  "Why are you bringing in an idiot in a suit?"

Tony looked back.  "Masser."

"DiNozzo.  What are you doing here?  We heard you were getting an MBA."

"Yeah, that too."  He grinned.  "If you tell anyone I'll kill you."

"Fine.  What's going on?"

"Why are you up here?" he asked.

"Blood hunter?  Fornell got suspended for yelling at someone because they decided you're expendable."  He handed over the folder.

"When I had the plague."

"I heard.  I remember.  There was all sorts of fits and hair pulling by the FBI and Homeland earlier."  Tony smirked.  "You?"

"I did let slip last night that I had found one to Fornell and a friend who went to Homeland.  That's their job, not NCIS's job."

"Good point.  You went evil?"

"No, if I had went evil there'd be some begging people.  I'll be evil later on the people who decided I'm a shareable toy."  Agent Masser laughed and walked out shaking his head.  "Thanks."

"Welcome.  Anything to get away from Abby being pouty."

Tony looked at the file then let House see it.  He looked at Cuddy.  "Why I'm early."

"I figured it was something like that.  Will your old casework interfere?"

"I have testimony on Wednesday afternoon but we can do it by phone call.  I told the JAG in person that I was going to be up here.  He knew about my little blood problem already.  He got the nice story that I'm up here working on a way to reduce it and protect myself and others."

"Even better."  She left them alone.

Tony looked at Wilson.  "It was actually on the news but most people didn't put it together with me and most of those forgot about it."

"What are you going to do?"

"I'm going to have some fun."  He grinned.  "The things you learn to look up when you're an agent."  Wilson moaned and left them alone.  He looked at House.

"I heard they took you in because you were a hacker and meant to be a consort to someone."

Tony nodded.  "Yup, mostly.  What're we doing as a next step?"

"Distilling it.  That way we can start an antibody strain going."  Tony nodded.  "I'll have them starting on that and you going up to work with them on that so you get those hours too."  Tony grinned.  "Go home, let me plot and plan."  Tony took the file back to talk about with the hospital's head of security.  In case any of them showed up.  House went up to virology with the test results.  "Dr. Paul Will."

"House."  He shook his hand.  "Are we starting on DiNozzo early?"

"He showed up today.  Someone sold his blood out of his body."

"Pity.  He good?"

"Yeah, he's fine.  They caught them."  He handed over the result.

"Oh, crap," he said, staring at it.  He looked at House.  "This is sad."

"He said they gave him a flu shot recently.  Last year's flu made it worse too."

"We can work on that antibody and vaccine tomorrow.  When do you need him?"

"I have him scheduled for mornings with me and afternoons with you but Wednesday he has to testify by phone."

"Good deal.  Thanks, House."

"I don't want that to get out."

"Even better.  There's an odd result coming up out of a hospital file in California.  Someone in the CDC sent it to me because they heard I'd be working with DiNozzo."  He let him see it.

House stared.  "Those are dead strains.  How in the hell?"

"I don't know.  Can you kidnap him?  I figure you have that little tact most of the time."

"Of course I do.  I'll talk to DiNozzo about him."  He walked off, going to talk to Tony about him tonight at home.  Tony opened his door.  "There's a kid with a problem like yours.  He's twenty-two in California."

"Xander Harris."  He grinned.  "I've talked to him already and suggested he show up here to let you do the same thing you're doing with mine.  Though he's in the strangest of strange business.  And construction."

"He's Council?"

"No, he's working with their girl against the Council's will.  I noted the contract on his life to the FBI office in LA so they could handle it."


"He fell into some remains."

"Charming," he muttered.  "Get him out here."

"I'll call him tonight."

"He's in the hospital for something unrelated."

"Even better."  He grinned and went to call out there.  House walked in since Tony had left the door open.  "Hi, this is Doctor DiNozzo at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital.  I need to talk to someone about a patient you have that's a match to one we need to help."  He was transferred over.  Xander had said their local hospital was crappy and sold parts.  So why not a whole patient.

He made the arrangements and had them ship him, still alive, out to them.  The boy fought but Tony talked to him.  Tony promised to get them help in his place and it'd take a few days.  Then he could go back.  Xander agreed and let it go.  Tony paid their online account and it was done.  "He'll be here tomorrow," he told House, turning to look at him.  "He has to go back though.  They're having a battle soon."

"Good to know."  He left, going to consider things.  The kid was going to drive him nuts.  Harris too probably.  DiNozzo was just too damn cheerful.


Tony picked up Xander, smiling at him.  "You good?"

"Dizzy.  Still walking into things," he said quietly.  "Why the emergency call out?"

"They got noted in a local system."

"Shit.  That means CDC knows."

"Yup.  And others.  I had a blood hunter recently, Xander."

"Double crap."  He followed Tony to baggage claim to get his two bags then out to the car.  They drove back to the hospital, Xander taking a short nap.  Tony kept the radio quiet.  When they got there, Tony took him right up to House, who sent the other ducklings away so he could close them into an office.  Tony drew the blood test for him and had it run while he and House talked.  Tony came back up with it.  He handed it to House.  "It's that bad?" Xander asked.

"It's that bad and worse," House complained.  "What's this strange result?"

"Probably the mermaid taint I got in high school?  Or maybe it's where a vamp actually managed to bite me in the hospital last night before I woke up to stake him?"

House stared at him.  "I thought I was fucked up."  He went back to looking.  "We're going to start the distilling later, kid.  That means we'll be sucking off a pint or two in the next few days.  You don't look anemic or anything."

"You can have my spare bed," Tony said with a smile.  "Did they do anything about that contract?"

"The Council got blown up a few months ago."

House stared at him.  "Why?"

"We're fighting the First Evil in a few weeks.  Which is why I have to get back."

"Fuck," Tony said.  Xander shrugged but nodded, looking down.  "Okay, we can handle that."  He looked at House, who called someone.  It'd be all over the group by later that night.  "We'll see if we can get you guys some help.  For now, let me drop you on my spare bed and we'll do the blood sucking tomorrow?"  Xander nodded, smiling at him.  "It'll be okay but this way we have a good antidote or treatment at the least."

"We'll be doing a more in-depth look of your bloodwork too," House assured him.  "That taint?"

"A few chromosomes.  Probably."

"Did anyone look at it?"

"They said they detoxed it all with the blood transfusion.  I know I can't eat shrimp or seafood anymore.  Part of that's mental though."

"Yeah, I'd probably do that too," Tony decided.  House drew more blood for the DNA testing and then he got Xander back to his place to rest.  Tony came back to find the Ducklings wondering where House was.  "He's probably in the lab.  Another person with my problem showed up so I spent the morning getting him from the airport."  They all nodded and got down to what they needed to be doing.  Tony made sure the reports weren't on the desk then did the same thing.  Cameron gave him a dirty look.  "I wasn't joking about it being classified, Cameron," he said quietly, staring back.  House stomped in.  "He's taking a nap."

"I realized I left those forms out."

"No, they're not," Tony told him.  "I looked."  House went to check.  Security rushed in a few minutes later to check things.  Tony came in to take fingerprints for them.  The ones he lifted he knew on sight from years of weeding them out of possible scene contamination.  "Gibbs."  Everyone stared at him.  He pulled out a photo.  One of the security guys had noticed him so they had him picked up and brought back.

"He's not a virologist, DiNozzo."

"No, I'm the master of the strange shit that happens in people's bodies and we're working with the virology staff upstairs," House said firmly.  "Are you trying to get him killed!  They've already sold him once!"

Tony checked the papers.  "Not all of these are mine, Boss.  I'm not the only one he's working with."

"He..." Gibbs started with a point.

"Shut up," House ordered overtop of him.  "It's clear you're one of the people that would've let him be taken and killed for some of his blood."

"He's usually not," Tony corrected, staring at him.  "Boss, this is the guy who I need to work with.  House has to figure out what it does to the body overall and long term.  Virology is working on a treatment and vaccine strain."  He sat down.  "I'm spending plenty of time with virology every afternoon and all morning I'm House's packmule and assistant."

"You need to be back in DC where we can protect you," Gibbs ordered.

"They're the ones that sold me to the Mossad so they could use me as a bargaining chip," Tony said dryly.  "I don't trust Ziva as far as I can throw her."  Gibbs glared at him for that.  "Since they arrested nineteen people for that plot, I'm safer if I go to China."

"We need this work done in case they manage to get some," House pointed out.  "Because even a pint can start it off.  His last bloodwork showed it was elevated for *some* reason.  Especially since further testing showed an immune suppressant."

"No, I'm supposed to be on a booster, like cancer patients get," Tony told him.  House found that and showed it to him.  "I'm not supposed to ever get that."  House stared at him.  "Is that an IM drug or something that could be crushed and put into my food?"

"It comes in intramuscular, intravenous, and pill form," House told him.  "It wasn't your flu shot.  You tested positive for that."

"So probably someone put it into my food and since I haven't eaten out or ordered out except for coffee it had to be in the office," Tony sighed.  He texted that to Fornell too.  "They'd have to call in Fornell or our Internal Affairs people to find that out," he told Gibbs.  "I'm perfectly safe up here, boss.  There's not going to be anyone bothering me. The town's smaller so I'd notice them faster.  The hospital is a tighter environment so I'd notice them coming here faster.  I don't have to worry about anyone here selling me out.  Probably."

"Did you do a background on him?"

Tony smirked and nodded.  "We have some mutual friends too.  That's how I set this up when we realized my count had gone up when I got the flu last year.  We stupidly thought we had time."

"It's high enough that all they need is a pint to start the sample growing," House told him.  "Possibly as little as a vial of it."  Gibbs shuddered.  "None of us want that.  Plus he's getting good experience in administrative levels of healthcare in case he has to switch jobs to protect himself and everyone else from getting it."

"I'd hate to turn into a bean counter like you said Cuddy is," he complained.

"With your MCAT scores, you could go to medical school," House quipped, smirking at him.

"Cool!  I can count these as residence hours."  He grinned back.

"That means he'd have to give up his personal life for work," Gibbs said sarcastically.

"And cases where we don't get out until three in the morning a few days after the case started haven't?" Tony shot back, glaring at him.  Gibbs backed down at that.  "I'd spend less hours than I do on your six at work, boss.  That's why I'm taking the time to go to Mardi Gras.  I deserve it."

The security guards look at House.  "Is he being arrested?"

"I'm sure he thinks he had DiNozzo's best interests at heart," House said dryly, glaring at him.  "I'm not certain I want him free to get him more attention."

"I protect my people, Doctor House."

"Uh-huh.  We'll see.  Don't come back.  You're leading them to him."  Gibbs stomped out.  He looked at the guards.  "There's another one under this same sort of threat, guys.  He's young, twenty-two, has a missing eye on his left side.  White boy, dark hair, brown eyes, overly big jeans and t-shirt earlier when DiNozzo picked him up."  They nodded, going to add that to the file.  The kid's picture was found on the earlier surveillance cameras.  House looked at Tony, who was clearly pissed off but trying to hide it.  "We all scream in the parking lot," he said bluntly.

"Gibbs taught me to box," Tony said, looking at him.

"He's toxic."

"I know but he's made me the agent I am today."

"With so many concussions you're starting to look like Ali?"

"That too.  Some of that is my own stupidity though."

"Yeah, that's what abusive spouses always want you to think," House shot back, walking out.  "C'mon, we have patients, DiNozzo."

"Sure, House."  He followed him out, avoiding Cameron's glare.  "And the next one who gets into my blood results without authority will get arrested.  Unfortunately Gibbs was being overprotective."  He sat down.

Chase looked at him.  "I did some background checking," he said bluntly.

House smirked at him.  "Smart wombat, you deserve a cookie," he said sarcastically.  "Keep it to yourself."

"Letter?" Chase asked.  Tony nodded once.  "The other one?"

"Similar but not exactly the same," Tony told him.  "He fell into a burial chamber's remains."

"Ow," he muttered, rubbing his own side.  "All right, we can handle that.  What's his name?   So we can keep him calm when he comes in?"


"That's fine."  He smiled.  "He seemed like a nice boy."

"Like me, he's nice until someone attacks."  He shrugged.  "He's just trained to attack back differently."

"Figures."  Foreman looked at him.  "How classified?"

"What Chase knows is enough to get him taken in by the FBI for questioning."

"Then I don't know a thing about you other than you were an agent," Foreman decided, looking at House.

Cameron grimaced.  "It's odd that you're working with House."

"Who else is going to be able to figure out the long term effects from that versus everything else that I've been through?" Tony quipped with a grin.  "Do you need another muffin?  You have that constipated look again."

"Never mind, they sent you to House because you're like him," she decided, looking at House.

"No new patients.  Take him to the clinic, kids."  They sighed but did that.  "DiNozzo, one pm, virology."

"I know.  Thanks, House."

House shook his head, going over the expanded results that were waiting on him.  Cuddy stomped in.  "Thank you for that earlier help."

"Who was that guy?"

"His boss at NCIS."


"Someone was giving him an immune suppressor in his office."

"Charming!"  She looked around.  "Clinic?"  House nodded.  "Good, it can help his hours."  She looked at him.  "The new one?"  He held up those results and she whimpered.  "How in the hell?"

"He fell onto some remains."

"Only someone like you."

"Yes, I'm told he's a little smartass at times too," he said dryly, taking them back.  "We're doing the same thing without him needing hours."

"Even better.  Anything I have to know?"

"Security already has a handle on it and added the new kid to that file."

"Even better."  She left, going to watch how DiNozzo was doing with patients.  Though he did talk a nurse into giving Cameron some ex-lax for some reason.   She must've looked angry Cuddy decided.  It did make her look constipated.  She left them alone since he had a pretty good hand with the patients.


Xander walked in the next morning.  "Did we find out anything?" he asked.

"A few things.  Your DNA is screwy," House said dryly, looking over at him.  "It's affected your other body systems."  Xander winced.  "If you're craving salt, I know why.  And what caused the liver/gall bladder/heart damage?"

Xander considered that question.  "Would being hit by a lot of energy at once do it?  About seven times while trying to stop someone?"

House stared then nodded.  "Yeah, that's a 'duh' moment, kid."

"We had a witch go magic addiction and lose it.  I stopped her when she was trying to destroy everyone," he said, glancing into the other room then back at him.  "She kinda hit me with blasts of magic about seven times."

"Should we start calling you Harry?"

Xander grinned.  "I went as him last Halloween because I had to handle the shop."

"What do you normally do?"

"Construction worker.  Patrol dweeb."  People came in.  "So, more blood work?"

"We're doing DNA tests, kid. It might help us later on."  Xander shrugged and rolled up his overshirt's sleeves.  House looked.  "What's with the bruises?"

"I ran into a vamp last night when I was getting a soda from the store on the corner."

House stared at him.  Then he rubbed his head.  "Is it gone?"

"Yup.  It wasn't one you could stake but the other way worked."  He glanced out there then at him again.

"Unless we have a patient, someone get me stuff for DNA and organ function testing," House bellowed.  They went to do that.  "No, DiNozzo stays," he called when Cameron grabbed him.

Xander leaned out.  "He said Tony stays."  He walked back over to sit down.  "How bad do we think this is?"

"I can take a pint of blood and make a new sample," House said bluntly.  "That means a terrorist or someone can."

"They never come to Sunnydale.  Well, outside of Wolfram and Hart's people a few times."

House nodded.  "The CDC knows, they'll come."

"That's what I figured.  Which is why I never wanted anyone to take any blood.  Unfortunately the ER did when I came in because my eye had been popped."

"I wasn't going to ask unless it was relevant."

"Minion.  Super high minion.  Dirty thumbnail," he sighed, getting comfortable.  "Spike saved me before he got the other side too."

"That's good to know.  Have you noticed any other odd changes going on?"

"No, not really.  I can eat more twinkies now without bouncing but that might be getting old."

"You're not old," House snorted, giving him a dirty look.

"For hunting demons, yeah I am."

"That's a good point," Tony said as he walked in.  "That is harder on your body than being a pro athlete."  He sat down too.  "What's up, House?"

"We need to do a DNA workup and see how well his organs are working.  Apparently he got hit with a few times.  The bloodwork showed some lack of proper working.  So you're going to do an ultrasound of his major organs."  Tony nodded, taking notes on what he'd need.  "Do what you need to do a DNA workup to figure out that strange things the fish DNA did and if it's related to the organ problems."

"Okay.  Anything else?"

"Take a full history, medical and otherwise."

Xander shrugged.  "Pretty well nothing, Doctor House.  I didn't really see doctors.  I had a broken arm in my senior year."

"Anything to declare sexually?" House asked.

"As far as I know Anya didn't have anything.  I didn't pick up anything at the strip club I ended up working in because my car broke down."

"Was Anya your only girlfriend?" Tony asked.

"I dated Cordy but we didn't get beyond groping.  I slept with Faith and she tried to choke me later on.  She was a virgin and so was I then.  Anya was a vengeance demon for over eleven hundred years."  House whimpered, shaking his head, squeezing the bridge of his nose.  Xander grinned.  "Giles does the same thing whenever Anya talked about sex stuff."

"We can do that swab test too," Tony decided.  "Just in case.  Because we need to know how these are affecting your body long-term," he told Xander.  "That way we know if we need to do anything to support any damage.  Because you can't hunt with a heart condition."

"Okay, I guess.  Am I paying for this?"

"No," House said.

"Thanks.  I'm having visions of scary huge hospital bills thanks to complicated machines."

"That's tomorrow," Tony quipped.  "C'mon, we'll go do that."  He took Xander down to the clinic to do all those.  "Ladies, this is Xander, who is seeing House for the same reason I am."  They all smiled at the boy and one patted him on the shoulder.  "House wanted a full organ ultrasound and stuff to draw blood for DNA testing and organ function tests."

"No biopsies?" one nurse asked.

"No.  Not at this time.  We don't need it."

"Use room 3," that nurse said with a point.  "I'll get the ultrasound and needles."  Tony smiled and walked Xander that way.  She got what she was pretty sure he needed, knocking before walking in.  "Are we doing a swab set?" she asked, seeing him down to his underwear.

"Yeah, just in case.  He ran into a dead strain of syphilis thanks to falling into some remains.  Thank you."  He grinned.  She handed over that kit as well and left him alone.

"She's from a nice clan," Xander said quietly.  Tony stared at him.  Xander shrugged.

"Okay."  He started with the basic things.  The neck veins were important and what he saw made him swear.  He captured pictures as he paged House.  The heart issue was even worse.  "Want the truth?"

"Please," Xander said quietly.

"I'm seeing a little extra part of your heart and your veins are too thick.  They're not flexing right.  Have you been feeling dizzy?"  Xander shook his head.  "Check your pulse."  Xander did that and frowned as he searched.  "That's them not flexing right."  House walked in and shut the door.  Tony showed him the heart scan.  "His neck veins are thick too.  I can't find a pulse and neither can he."

House looked at the scan while searching for one.  He took the wand to get a better look, and redid the neck veins.  "What the hell?" he muttered.


"CT," House corrected.  He checked the other ones.  His liver was distended in one area.  "Do you drink, kid?"

"Hardly ever.  I have alchie parents."


"No.  Not unless I get poisoned on patrol."

"Add a tox panel," House ordered.  He checked his lungs and winced.  "Thicker there.  Short of breath?"

"No, not that I've noticed.  I can still run mostly across Sunnydale and do construction all day."

"Okay, so you're adapting beautifully," House said dryly.  "Do you breathe easier in water?"

"I haven't been in a pool since they tried to turn me."

"Huh.  We'll try that.  We have a pool here for water physical therapy," House decided.

"If I'm going to turn black and slimy I'd rather not," Xander said, staring at him.

House looked at him.  "Instead of not knowing?"

"Yeah.  I can die with what I know now.  If I know more, I might die by accident instead.  I'm stubborn but I know very well your mind can sabotage you."

House nodded.  "There is that.  We can knock you out," he offered.  "Because if this isn't that DNA taint, it's something you got exposed to."   Xander slumped but nodded.  "Let's do the CT first."  Tony nodded, calling radiology to set that up for that night.  "We can sedate you if you want, kid.  I know that it sucks badly at times to be truly sick."

Xander nodded.  "Yeah, I'm starting to have that thought process.  And I still have a battle in a few weeks."

"We're hoping it's not your last," Tony said as he hung up.  "Let me check his ankle for circulation problems."  He took the ultrasound wand to do that.

House looked.  "Thicker than normal but not as bad as his neck ones."  House felt along the boy's legs, frowning.  "Good muscle tone but a bit wide I think."  He checked his arms.  "Construction does you good, kid."  He checked his head and neck then sat him up to look at his back.  "Do you itch in this spot?" he asked, touching it.

"Yes!  Please scratch!" he begged, wiggling.  Tony did that.  "Scales?"

"A scaley patch."

"They did a blood transfusion to detox that."

"Uh-huh.  We might get to do more of that," House admitted.  He and Tony took the blood they needed.  Tony did the penal swab and the mouth swab.  Then they got him redressed and to the pool.  Xander stared at it but they could tell he was feeling pulled.  House stared at his face.  "Feel like going home?" he asked quietly.

"Which is scaring the crap out of me," he admitted quietly.  "If I grow gills will they go away?"

"Probably," House said.  "Can't be sure until you do that."  Xander nodded once then stripped down and dove in.  House timed how long he was under water, looking at Tony.

"Xander, it's been five minutes," he called.

"Kid!" House yelled a minute later.  He came up.  "Six and a half minutes, Xander."  Xander was feeling his neck.  "Breathing better?"  Xander was pouting but nodded.  "Come here, let's look."  Xander pulled himself up and out.  They checked.

"His chest skin feels thinner," Tony noted, checking.  "His stomach feels the same."

House checked his neck.  "The pulse is a bit easier to feel."  He swatted the kid on the back of the head.  "We've got to fix that before you turn into Swamp Thing."

Xander shuddered.  "Don't remind me.  Please?"

"Really?"  Xander nodded.  "Huh."  He let him get dressed and they went back to the office.  The virologist was waiting.  "We're waiting on DNA results for this one."

"I've been looking those ancient symptoms up."

"Anything on organ changes?" Tony asked.

"No, not really."  A nurse walked in with a lot of papers.  "That was fast."

"This is from the earlier set."  She handed them to Tony.  "There you go."

"Thank you."  He grinned.  She smiled and left.

"If you flirt, they want you to follow through, DiNozzo," House said dryly.

"I date all the time."  He looked through them, grimacing.  "That's sucky and mine."  He handed them to House and the virologist.

He looked then sighed.  "That's a huge suckfest," House complained.  "DiNozzo?"

"I need to go on something to boost my immune system," Tony said.

"Yes," the virologist said.  "Want the usual one?"  Tony pulled out his usual bottle.  "I can give you that," he agreed, writing out the prescription.  "Today."

"Yup, this afternoon.  Him too?"

"With what we're seeing, not yet," House said.  "Diet, kid.  I want to know everything you nibble for the next few days.  Estimate how much you're drinking."  Xander nodded.  "If you want to swim go ahead but if you feel you're growing gills, get out and dry off."

"I can do that," Xander agreed.  "I need to call my friends."  He pulled out his cellphone, calling out there.  "Willow, me."  He listened to her babble.  "No, it's not great news.  They're finding some liver swelling from the fishy stuff.  I got into a pool again and suddenly found amazing breath holding abilities.  Can you email me everything you have on the fishy stuff?"  He listened.  "I know that, Willow.  I'm coming back in three days to help with that and then coming back here after the battle."  He listened.  "That'll work.  Please.  Because they need to know in case I grow gills.  No, we didn't clear it enough.  That's what they're trying to do now.  So that information may stop me having liver failure in some soon month."

House leaned over and snatched the phone.  "Miss, Doctor House, his doctor.  We're projecting that his liver is going to fail inside a year and with the thickening of his arteries, if we don't reverse it quickly, he's going to pass out and probably die from oxygen deprivation to his brain sooner.  We believe this is all due to the exposure to foreign DNA he got.  Yes, I'm totally serious," he said.  "I'll let him go back for the battle since he's so insistent.  Yes, he should be fine that long but he has about three weeks before it becomes critical.

"No, I don't believe the way you did it last time will help again.  I'm in one of the best teaching hospitals in the country and I have specialists here in DNA warping and his other issues.  We can and will help him handle it but we need to know what it was.  I heard what it was from him.  He was very honest and I've seen others like that," he assured her.  "Yes, including that mermaid taint."  He smirked at the virologist.

"We're even looking at the things your local hospital told the CDC."  She muttered something.  "Exactly.  So we'll send him back and then he's coming back here before he has to go live in the ocean.  That'd be great.  Thank you," he said, hanging up.  He looked at Xander.  "You need someone more supportive.  She sounds bitchy."  Xander shrugged.  "Are you okay?"

"If I turn fishy, just put me down mercifully?" he asked quietly.  "I'd rather not start eating people."

"Gladly," Tony said, patting him on the arm.  Xander relaxed again.  "C'mon, I'll get you back to my place."

"I can walk.  It's not that far," Xander said, standing up.  "Other doc?" he asked, looking at him.

"Let's get that work done and then we'll work on the other things, kid."  Xander nodded and left them to talk.  "That bad?"  House nodded.

"Worse," Tony said.  "His organs are swollen or growing a few extra inches.  His veins are thicker than they should be.  He managed six and a half minutes underwater and would've kept going."

The virologist nodded.  "Then let's weed that out and then work on his diseases.  Yours?"

Tony winced.  "I'll go get that filled."  He left them alone.

House smirked.  "He's not bad.  He's good with the patients and he's got a good touch with other things too."

"He's a nice boy.  He'll make a good doctor.  Send them to me tomorrow, House.  We'll start the new culture for the treatment."  House nodded.  He went back upstairs to make notes on the sealed file he was working up on Harris.  The poor kid was only twenty-two, it was sad that he'd die if they didn't fix it.


Xander showed back up in Sunnydale the day before the battle and drove himself back to the mansion.  Giles and Buffy met him at the door.  "I'm back for this and then they're going to do a kidney detox through my blood."

"Why?" Giles asked.

Xander lifted his shirt.  "I was in the pool last night.  I made over twenty minutes under water."  Buffy whimpered, staring at the thin skin and dark lines.  He put his shirt down.

"Oh, dear," Giles sighed.

Xander nodded.  "They think they can detox me fully, outside the DNA taint, and that'll only leave the diseases from Thanksgiving and they're going to work on a treatment from it in case someone steals some."

Giles nodded.  "I can understand that."  They let him in.  "Are you in pain?"

"No, not in the least.  We've got good plans so after this, I go back to New Jersey.  There's another guy with a similar issue that's working with Doctor House."  He hugged Willow when they ran into her.  "They figured out they can do a dialysis treatment to get rid of more of it.  It'll only leave the DNA taint."

"What liver swelling?" she demanded.

"They got it down yesterday morning.  Apparently I ate some fish."  She slumped, shaking her head.  "But they'll be working on it after this."  They nodded and settled in to help him make plans.  He had been doing them long distance.  They agreed on it and got the girls ready to go into battle.


Tony picked Xander up again, staring at him.  "You look like hell."

Xander looked at him.  "No comment?"

"Sure."  He smiled.  "Hospital?"

"Must I?"

"Yup.  You're being admitted tonight to start that dialysis."


"We'll do it while you nap, Xander."  Xander relaxed and nodded.  "C'mon."  He got Xander back to the hospital and checked him in with House.

"Check him for new injuries," House said when they walked in.

"House, give him some quiet time," Tony ordered.  "He's just out of a battle.  A real battle.  He's still uptight and needs some quiet."

House stared at him.  "Mouthy shit," he said but he was grinning.  "Fine.  He's ready to be checked in and tell the nurses he needs some quiet meditation time."

Tony nodded, taking things to admissions and then walking Xander up there.  The nurses cooed over him and let him get into his hospital gown for now.  Tony tucked him in, watching the kid sniffle.  "Hey," Tony said, hugging him.  "We all do it."  Xander nodded, forcing it back.  "Calm down, or do you need another cuddle?"  Xander shrugged, wiping at his cheeks.  Tony gave him a hug.  The kid let it go and it was better for him.  One of the nurses leaned in but he shook his head.  She left them alone.  Tony let him work it out of his system until he fell asleep then he tucked him in better.  He walked out, shutting the door.  "He was in an attack a few weeks back, ladies.  He needs to calm down."  They nodded and made a note to put on the door that they needed to knock first.  Tony went back down there.

House looked at him from the whiteboard.  "The kid that upset?"

"He was muttering Anya's name.  I have the feeling there should be a remembrance since there's no body to bury."  He turned on the tv.  "That's where he lived."

House looked, grimacing.  "That sucks."

"That did, right into a hole."  Tony turned it off and sat down.  "He's sleeping."

"Good.  It could help him a lot."  He got back to the current patient.  "Any idea, DiNozzo, since the others are idiots today?"

Tony looked at the board.  "Not at that level.  Any other symptoms like twitches, bad breath, cold feet, blood sugar results?"

House looked at the board.  "Blood sugar?  Really?"

Tony pointed.  "The bottom three are often found in Type II diabetics who've had it for a while but aren't controlled.  Isn't that neuropathy related?"

House considered that.  "The last two, the next one up is more about kidney problems, which actually can be the same thing.  Go take an A1c on her," he ordered.  Cameron huffed but did that.  "Any other ideas?"

Tony shook his head.  "Did we do a tox panel and liver function?"

"Yes.  We're waiting," Chase told him.  "I always have them run just in case."

"About half the time it's unnecessary," House said dryly.

"Not always."  Tony looked outside then at him.  "What is that?"

House looked.  "I'm hoping it's a construction machine.  What're you seeing?"  Tony came over to look and pointed.  "That's a squirrel, DiNozzo.  I'm pretty sure they had them in all those cities you lived in."

"Then why is the squirrel showing a shadow that's bigger than the construction crane's one?"

House looked again.  "That's a very good question."  He walked out onto the room's balcony.  "If you're going to cause us problems, go away."  The squirrel stared.  "I mean it."  It fled.  He came back inside.  "Nice catch," he said quietly as he walked past Tony.

"I'm hoping it's not coming for him."  He sat down too.  Foreman was giving him an odd look.  "The kid lost his eye the night before he showed up here.  He just lost his former fiancee.  He was in a real battle where people died.  He was under stress," he said firmly.  Foreman looked away.

"Play nicer," House warned.  "He's not that sort of boy, DiNozzo.  Even though you're clearly trained to be a warrior cop."

Tony grinned.  "Thanks for that compliment, House.  At least you didn't say geek."

"No, someone told me about your teammates.  By the way, someone thought they heard Ziva planning on visiting."

"Hell of a drive from DC.  I guess we'll see.  Have we swept for listening devices recently?"

"Right after your boss stomped off," House quipped.  Cameron walked in.  "You're late."

"It took me a while to draw her blood.  She was concerned about a rash on her arms.  It looked like contact dermatitis."  She added that to the list.

Tony stared at the board.  "That's...  the one Doctor Lemara went over that Saturday.  Said he had been ready to publish it but she had died."  He got online on his phone, finding his former teacher's published article.  He handed it over to House.  "That?"

House glanced over it, then at the board.  "That is that.  How did she get an African disease?"  He handed it back and went to ask that very important question.  She hadn't said anything about any recent travel.  He found out no one had asked and went to bat Chase on the head.  "You didn't ask about travel?"

"She said earlier on that she never gets out of the house.  I didn't think I needed to.  Though I only did her preliminary in the clinic.  Foreman was supposed to do a more comprehensive one.  You told him to."

"I thought you had already done one," Foreman complained.  House batted him on the head with his cane too.  Wilson leaned in already laughing.  "Tell me you have something for him to do?" he demanded.

"No, sorry, guys."  He grinned at Tony.  "How's your patient?"

"He's upstairs resting so we can do the detox later."

"Good.  He seems like a nice young guy.  We should encourage him to maybe do stuff with what's in his background check.  Some agent gave a file to Cuddy about him."  He walked off.

House went to get that, Tony right beside him.  Cuddy was sneering at it.  House took it to read over.  "That's going to explain some things," he decided, walking off.

"Mermaid?" she demanded loudly.

"His swim team coach in high school wanted his team to win finally so he dosed them with some parts and blood in saunas," Tony said quietly.  "That's that DNA taint and why he has phenomenal breath control in the water."  She went pale.  "Things like that happen in that town, though that town was the one that just sank.  He lost his former fiancee during that battle, Cuddy."  He stared at her.

"I'll talk to him later, when he's calmed down," she said dryly.

"Thank you.  I doubt he'd deny talking to you about those things if you wanted to know."  He left, following House.  He looked at the file in the elevator.  "That's only half his.  I found his with Homeland."  House looked at him.  "Super classified," he said with a grin.  "But so very bad."

"Anything we have to know medically?"

"Not as far as I could tell.  Unless the magic that went wrong around him was something.  I'll get it tonight."

"Thank you."  They walked off together, going back in there.  He put that file into his locking desk drawer.  Then he came back out to go over that article.  The ducklings were, which he was happy to see.

"Should we start her on an antibiotic now?" Cameron asked.  "In case it is this?"

"It'd interfere with the other problems," Chase said.  "Which would lead to later problems and probably an organ shutting down if it's not the right one."

House took it to reread, shaking his head.  "No, antibiotics weren't working on her.  It clearly stated that."

"I think he said he used anti-virals," Tony said.  "So I'd like that new generic that came out, which is anti-viral but has some antibiotic properties as a side effect and as a water pill for helping along urine production.  Her kidneys don't look too bad and it might help to flush them a bit."  He looked up that medicine and showed House.

"It's nice when the new kid can show up you three."  House nodded.  "Good choice.  Let's get back that one test result I had running and we'll see.  If not, it's into the CT."

Tony grinned.  "The CT of Doom?"  House glared at him.  "All the nurses are calling it that when you send patients down, House."

"Nearly let one patient die," he said dryly, tossing back the phone and going to his office.  Cameron snorted at that dramatic statement.  "Get me those results.  Foreman, you haven't been in the lab recently," he said without looking, knowing that Chase had gotten up.  Foreman huffed but left.  "Cameron, pull anything else on that disease."  She left to do that.  He looked out there.  "Chase, I'm reading you in just in case something happens to me, the virologist, and Wilson," he said bluntly.  He got the folders and came back out.

"Is that a good idea?" Tony asked.

"Yes.  He's an internist and we'll need his help with Xander's treatments if not yours."  He looked at him.  "How did you know that the bones he hit were in his side?"  Chase gaped.  "You were rubbing your side when you heard about it.  The same spot he got punctured."

"I don't know," he admitted.

"Every heard of Sunnydale?" Tony asked.  "Or the Watchers Council?"

"Little bit about them.  They do things that gave me a headache I drowned in beer."

"Xander did those same sort of things," Tony said quietly.  "Which is why he got his infections from a few spirits after falling into their burial chamber.  Plus mermaid DNA taint thanks to a swim coach."

Chase winced.  "That's bad."

"That's very bad.  He's slowly shifting," House told him.  He got the test results to let him see them.  "You are not to talk about that."

"Mine's still super classified and if anyone realized about Xander, his would be too," Tony said quietly.  "I can hear Cameron bitching."

"Of course she is."  Chase handed the files back.  "We're going to start with a dialysis."

"He'll need some of the infected blood to steady his organs.  Like doing a transfusion without antibodies into a body that has them," Chase said.

"We're not hopeful that the first two treatments will weed out more than maybe two percent total," House told him.  Chase nodded at that.

"He could also use a friend," Tony said quietly.  "He just pretty well lost everything he's cared about except a few people."

"I noticed he had cried on you and it's something I understand," Chase assured him.  "I'd like to meet him, he seemed like he was nice."  They smiled at him.  "So, dialysis, then detoxing his blood?"

"We're hoping to get the mermaid taint out faster," House told him.  "That's the primary problem.  The blood diseases we can work on later."

"We can draw some now to hold in reserve," Tony offered.  "Mark it for his use only."

"I've already ordered that done tonight before the treatment."  House looked at Chase.  "If I'm not here, it's you and DiNozzo only on his case.  The virologist is helping.  Wilson knows because we had mutual contacts and I needed someone in case I crashed the bike or something."

"I can do that," he promised.  House nodded, putting the files back.  He looked at Tony.  "Yours was very high."

"Thanks for reminding me I need to take a pill soon, Chase.  They put me back on immune builders.  We still have no idea who slipped me the suppressants at work."  He checked his watch and took one then his phone beeped.  "I've got testimony later."  He looked at House, who nodded for him to go upstairs.  "I'll be in virology."  He left.  Technically he knew he was supposed to be getting twenty hours a week in his current rotation position, but he was working eighty hour weeks to get done with them sooner.  "Hey, Doc," he said as he walked in.  The virologist smiled.  "I'm all yours until JAG calls."

"That's fine, Tony."  He let him see what they were doing and Tony stepped in to help.  That's what he had been training for.

House looked at Chase.  "I don't care if you think about confessing it to a priest or anyone else.  It doesn't leave your mind and you'd better pray no one pops up as telepathic."

"I won't tell a soul, House.  I'm not that way."  Foreman walked in grumbling.  "Go all right?"  They got handed the results.

"That's positive."  House wrote out orders.  "Get her started on that.  Slowly work up the dosage."  Foreman nodded and left.  Cameron texted that nothing was written about it as far as she could tell so House did his own searching, finding a few things online but they all agreed with the treatment of choice.


Xander blinked up at the sandy haired guy checking his vitals when it woke him up.  "I don't know you.  I'm not supposed to flirt with strange doctors.  They might want me more."

Chase smiled.  "I'm Doctor Chase, I work with Doctor House.  Tony and he told me about you in case they needed more help."  He checked his forehead with his wrist.  "A bit warm.  Usually it's chilly in here so you do get a bit warm to compensate."  He smiled.  "Do you need to ask any questions about the dialysis tonight?"

"I looked it up online at Tony's."

"Good.  Any questions?  Concerns?"

"Is it going to hurt?"

"No.  The needle sticks might.  If you've ever donated plasma it's much the same process.  Only it's weeding out different materials.  Before then we're going to take a pint of blood and store it in case you need some later on."  Xander nodded.  "Good boy.  Any other questions or concerns?"

"How many?"

"We'll start with an hour or so tonight.  See how well that did.  We're hoping for about a two percent reduction in each side's problems.  If so, we'll increase it to two hours tomorrow night.  You can rest through it but you can't move."

"I'm a really active sleeper and kinda bouncy most of the time."

"I'll make sure they know to leave you extra length on the tubing them."  He smiled.  "Any other concerns?"

"Can I have a soda?"

"Later on.  Afterward."  Xander nodded.  "Let me draw that blood now.  Just relax."

"I can do that I guess.  As long as they won't mind."

Tony walked the machine in.  "We told Chase and House said you can trust Chase."


"Give him extra room, Tony.  He's a bit of a fidgeting sort."

"I'm bouncy and kinda hyper," Xander said dryly.

"Me too sometimes," Tony assured him with a grin.  He helped Chase draw off that bag of blood and then hooked up the machine.  "All right.  This is the sucking tube and this is the return tube," he said, not sticking him with that yet.  "This is called Hemodiafiltration.  It uses two different types of dialysis at the same time.  One's meant for heavier things in your blood and one for lighter so we think this will work best."

He started the loading process, letting Xander watch it.  Then he stuck the other one when the air was out of the return tube.  "There, how's that?"  Xander nodded he was okay so he taped them down and let it run.  "It'll run, suck, return.  You may get a bit chilly."  He got him another blanket and Chase got him some water to sip.  "There.  Anything else?"

"Remote?" Xander asked.  Tony pointed at it.   "Thanks."

"Welcome, kiddo."  Tony ruffled his hair.  "It'll be okay."

"I haven't called out there yet today."

"I'm sure you'll do it tomorrow.  Today was a long day with the flight and all that.  They'll understand."  Xander shrugged a bit but slid down in the bed and turned on the tv.  "We'll see you in an hour, Xander."  They left, Chase taking the blood to the blood bank to put it in storage for only the kid's use.  Tony went to get something to nibble on.

Chase smiled at the technician.  "This is for personal use only.  He's got odd antibodies so we do not want anyone else exposed but he's in dialysis right now."  He filled out the form.  "Only for him."  He handed it over.

"I can put that in the system, Doctor Chase.  Thank you for the warning.  HIV?"

"No, he got exposed to some ancient remains and got sick."

"Like the mummy's curse?" she asked, looking confused.

"Something like that."  He smiled.

"Then no, we don't want to even think about that getting near anyone but him."  She put it into the storage area herself to make sure it was all right.  She came back out.  "It's all settled.  How many more are we expecting?"

"One every few days just in case."  She nodded and Chase left.  He went to talk to him.  Xander probably needed to talk about things.  He looked depressed, which he supposed was normal.


House walked up to the local meeting club, tapping his cane on the door.  "Let me in or I'm going to perform illegal experiments on all of you."  The doorman let him in.  He looked back at the growl of a car's engine, smirking at Tony.  "Following me?"

"I had no idea where the local clubhouse was."  He walked up to the door.  "DiNozzo.  I'm usually in DC."

"We heard you'd be up here, sir."  He let them in and let them go greet the others.  The doorman/butler knew his place was not to question things.

House flopped down in front of the local chapter's head.  He was fifth in command overall.  "I have a quandary."

"Does it come with bloodletting?" he asked dryly.

"Yes.  Xander Harris is under my care."  The man stiffened, staring at him.  "For his blood issues.  The same as DiNozzo is while he's getting some hours in."

"Good work on finally getting that all done, DiNozzo.  I'm told your thesis project was well liked."  Tony grinned at him.  "Are there others we might want to look at?"

"Robert Chase," Tony said.  "He's one of House's ducklings."

"The Australian one," House added.  "Why him?" he asked Tony.

"Because he puts up with you, I'm pretty sure he's got a light empathic gift, and I think he'd make at least a good consort."

"He's pretty but uptight," House quipped.  "Wilson might agree with you though."

The head guy considered it.  "Do they know?"

"Probably not," Tony admitted.  "Chase might.  Xander's very construction guy, hunting demons guy, practical guy sort but I think he has skills we need.  We need a new guardian of the society.  We also could get him trained in things he could be good at if he doesn't go back to hunting.   Plus he's cute, young, open minded since his now-dead former fiancee was a vengeance demon."

"That is very open minded," the local head agreed dryly.  "How ill is he?"

"We're weeding the mermaid taint out," Tony said.

"I'd like to see how that happened and what it did to him," he noted to House.

"I'm doing a full research project on it," House assured him.  "This whole group has a lot of people who can only do things like that.  That way I know what to do next time one of us does something unpredictable."

"That is true," he admitted, smiling at Tony.  "Usually those are picked for consorts."

Tony nodded.  "Definitely.  Usually those who were admitted around my year."

"Oh, yes."  He stared at the boys in front of him.  He was older than them combined.  "We'll consider them."  They smiled and went to talk to the others in the converted house.  He got up and went to the office to call his fellow higher ups.  "Boys, we had two put in for background checks for possible admission."

"Interesting," the head of the club/society said.  "Who nominated who?"

"I have Gregory House and Tony DiNozzo up here.  They nominated one of House's interns and one of his current patients.  Both as consorts.  Doctor Robert Chase and Alexander Harris."

"I know that name," the head of the society, and the DC club, said dryly with a smirk.  "How is his treatment going?"

"They're working on the mermaid taint.  Gregory said it's so he knows what to do when one of Tony's yearmates gets into something unpredictable."

"Definitely necessary.  Yes I believe we can start checks on them.  Both of them have nice files to look at for a start," the head of the New York office said.  "Harris' with Homeland is contradictory though."

"I believe that's probably because of *why* they created the file," the DC head said.  "Some of that was done to tear apart the group.  Some of it was a truer look back at what he had done.  Some of it is clearly biased against and some in awe.  I think the truth will be perpetually amusing considering who his last girlfriend was."  The others on the video conference stared at him.  "He had been dating Anyanka, boys."  They all whimpered.  He smiled.  "I had heard he lost her during the battle."

"I'll ask Tony if you want."

"No, that's fine.  We'll talk to him soon.  Start those checks.  Has anyone else put someone in?"

"No but I do want to protest that some of ours in another galaxy," the New York head said bitterly.  The one from Texas nodded his head as well.  "Can't we fix that?"

"They're doing important work and someone like Xander would be drawn to that as well.  From what I've heard said, he and John Sheppard are a lot alike though Xander would rather create than fly."

"Well, John could use a consort," one of the others said.  "We'll see."  They all nodded and went back to their own group fun.

The local one went to talk to Tony.  "Did he lose his last girlfriend?"

"I let him cry on me," Tony said from one of the member's lap.  "He was still torn up about it and he was so battle tense when he got back I helped him release it."

"Excellent work.  Someone compared him to John Sheppard."

Tony laughed.  "Yes, quite a lot.  Only he hates flying."

"Then we'll see how that goes.  They're considering them both."  He left them to their fun while he went to find his own consort.  Tony was an unattached consort, he could have whatever fun he wanted.  If the senator was teasing him evilly it might have a purpose with Tony's current employer.  The hospital was facing budget cuts and so was NCIS.


Xander looked up the next morning as Tony and Chase came in smiling.  "Have better nights than I did with Atilla the Nun who hates me?"

"A lot better night than you did," Tony said dryly.  "She said you annoyed her all night."

"I went to the bathroom and she threw a fit like I'm not allowed to move."

"Sounds like her," Chase said dryly.  "She's a floating nurse, Xander.  You shouldn't have too many times of seeing her."  Xander grinned at him.  "You didn't eat breakfast?"

"No, it looked like bloody guts and oatmeal.  I'll starve, thanks."

Chase looked at the menu, then nodded.  "The sausage was undercooked.  Eat lunch."  Xander pointed at it.  Chase and Tony both poked at it.  "That's insane," he decided, taking it down there.  He handed it to the ladies.  "I have a person on dialysis who got fed that.  I doubt those are low in salt."  The head cook sneered.  He stared back.  "This is for Doctor House's *personal* patient."  She snatched it and got him something else.  "And he missed breakfast because you gave him bloody sausage he said looked like guts so please add an extra sandwich.  He's a growing boy."  He took the tray back up there, finding Tony talking to him.  "Here, Xander."  Xander beamed and hugged him, digging into the food.  "Didn't you eat dinner last night?"

"Nope.  They didn't bring me dinner last night."

"They put you here because the nurses are all scared of House," Chase explained.  He checked his vitals.  Tony had drawn blood for blood work.  Chase went over what would happen next.  Xander agreed and they told him the day's schedule.  Then they went to check in with House.  "I had his lunch tray fixed," he told House when he walked in.

"That bad?"

"Did you see the sausage this morning?" Cameron complained.

"No, I ate at home."

"Xander said it looked like guts and oatmeal," Tony quipped as he sat down.  "Chase even got him an extra sandwich."

"Good.  The nurses?  Because I heard he had problems?"

"Xander said he went to the bathroom and Nurse Tiffany threw a fit," Foreman said.  "I asked when she complained to me on the way out the door."

"The other nurses said she's on the rag," Tony told him.  "That she kept leaving last night for long trips to the bathroom."

"We all think she's snorting drugs," Cameron said dryly.

"That's what the others thought."  Tony shrugged.  "Personally I think she's just a bitch.  She glared at me for no reason."

"She does that to me too for being Australian," Chase told him.

House shook his head.  "The nurse hates everyone, DiNozzo."

"That's fine.  I know not everyone likes me."  His phone beeped so he looked at it with a frown.  "Huh, Xander has a temper."  He got up and went to check on him.  He found Xander pacing and shouting at the phone.  The nurses all gave Tony a dirty look.  "I have the feeling he's talking to his friends."  He walked in and shut the door, staring at Xander.

"Here, please tell my *friends* I'm not actually a demon."

Tony took the phone.  "Which one of you is this?  Yes, I do know, dear.  Which one are you?  Well, Miss Buffy Summers, no he's not.  Hmm, no.  See, DNA taint doesn't work that way.  It works like this, something gave him a poison or a drug that increased the mermaid taint that didn't get detoxed last time.  And why does he have it?" he said at her new complaint.

He listened.  "Uh-huh.  Because you were going to find out how it was happening?  No, I've read his federal file."  He smirked.  "Yes there is one on all of you.  No, not from them.  That's part of it but not all of it.  It contains material from high school."  He smirked at the kid.  "Then perhaps you should figure out what poisoned or drugged him so it came out.  Because it probably wasn't growing before that.  No, he had a few chromosomes.  That's less than what would make you a true blonde.  Ask Willow, Buffy.  She'll explain that to you."  She huffed and someone took the phone.

"You must be Mr. Giles.  Doctor DiNozzo.  I'm one of the doctors over Xander's care.  No, he was not.  You detoxed it quite a lot but something or someone gave him a drug or a poison that made the leftover chromosome taint start to grow.  That's what we're working on as well as making sure we have treatments for what he got from that tomb.  We're working on that taint first since it's the thing that's going to kill him if we don't.  It's a good thing we heard he was going to be killed in the hospital and got him out here, huh?"  He listened.  "No, that's not it.  It was the drug or poison.  Xander, do you have any idea when that was?"

"I started to feel a bit weird about six months ago," he said from the bed.

"Any idea if it was a poisoning on patrol or someone else?"

"Yeah, it was after the blue thing tried to eat me and Buffy laughed because it could bench press a truck but it was only four feet tall."

"Unless you had a gun, you couldn't have fought it probably," Tony said.  He repeated that to Giles, who yelled at Buffy about that and she whined.  "Does it have a poison?"  He listened.  "They're allies of the merpeople, Xander.  He probably thought you were being repressed and kept human."  Xander shrugged.  "That's good to know.  Can we get information on that poison or drug to make sure it's all out of him?  Because it will mean less dialysis treatments hopefully and him getting back to you sooner."

Xander snorted.  "That was what the fight was about, me going back," Xander told him.

"If we can get that detoxed out of your system I see no reason why you can't go back, Xander.  That would reverse the swelling we've seen and the thickening will ease."  He listened to Mr. Giles.  "Yes, it'll be perfectly easy for him to come back.  We have a gym here so he can keep his tone and health up.  He'll be in great shape when we're done with him.  No, no lasting health problems that we can tell.  We'll check him about once a year to make sure that nothing came back out but otherwise he's going to be perfectly fine."

"I can go to the gym?" Xander asked, staring at him.

"Yup, next week."  Tony smiled.  He listened to Giles.  "No, that's not.  He'll be fine.  Yup, exactly.  So whatever her histrionics are about, she's wrong.  I'm sure he could go find a rewarding, less dangerous career and let her die on her own," Tony offered.  "Yes, we do have federal files on all of you back to high school."  He smirked.  "Exactly.  No, not at all and I'm a former federal agent while I did medical school, Mr. Giles.  I'm fairly sure it's not a problem since I asked some other agents."

He leaned against the wall, crossing his feet while he listened.  "That's fine.  I'm sure she'll complain because she keeps forgetting things that have happened.  Sure, let's let all the younger slayers learn that 'I'm so special' thing that got mentioned repeatedly and sounds like it's a recurring mental rash."  He smirked at the boy.  "If so, I'll help him figure out what he wants to do and if he wants to keep hunting on his own.  There are roving hunters you know.  You have a great day with them."  He hung up.  "You need more supportive friends, Xander."

"They're the only ones I have," he said grimly.

"Buffy sounds like she needed drugs."  Xander frowned at him.  He stared back.  "The hairdye got to her brain."

"We really have files back that far?"

"Yup."  He put the phone back and walked closer to check him over.  "Calm down."

"I'm trying."

"I know.  No pool time in case it brings more out."  Xander nodded.  "But we do have physical rehab that can help you get used to not having an eye."  He made Xander look at him.  "The files say that they go back and forth on this."


"So let's look at what you can do.  I'm not sure if you can work construction with your eye missing, there's that pesky depth perception issue."

"I hadn't thought about that."

"We have someone here in PT that can help you learn how to compensate outside a battle.  Including probably making sure you can drive and all that."  Xander grinned.  "And we have a vocational rehab person who you can talk to about job options."

"I need a college for most of it."

"Not necessarily.  We'll see.  I can have them come talk to you?"

"Please," he said quietly, looking away.

Tony ruffled his hair.  "It's what good doctors do."  He grinned when the boy looked at him.

"I should go to the patient housing thing."

"You're not a problem.  I spend so much time here you're like the burglar alarm that I don't have to pay a monthly fee to," he teased.  Xander laughed, shaking his head.  "Good boy.  Calm down and we'll do great things later."  He winked and walked out.  "Nurse Brenda," he said with a smile.  "Let's get the PT up to see how much compensation he needs for the eye.  He only lost it a month ago."  She nodded, making that note.  "And see if our vocational rehab person can talk to him about his options for careers since he was working construction."

"They're in PT so I'll see if they can come up to do both," she said, calling down there.  She smiled.  "We like you more than House, DiNozzo."

"I'm very sarcastic when I need to be," he teased with a grin, walking off.  He waved at Xander.

She hung up and smiled when the PT wasn't busy so he came down.  "Xander, this is Victor."

"Hi," Xander said quietly with a short wave.  "Tony said I can't go into the pool."

"That's fine.  We can do other things."  He came over to check his eye hole and talk to him about what he had done since then and how off-balance he was.  Plus what he had been doing for a job before.  They worked out when he'd come down to use the machines to keep his muscle tone up and on some balance skills.  He also got Xander a book on different career paths and an interest survey he could take sometime when he was ready.  It was hard starting over and Victor understood that.  He told Xander about how this was his second career after hating his job as a stock broker.  Xander relaxed and told him that he was having problems with some headaches due to it.  He put that into his file and let her tell House.

Xander got comfortable, reading the book.  He ended up putting it down a few minutes later when his head started to ache again.  The nurse brought him some advil, earning a smile.  "We'll be making you an eye appointment as well, Xander.  I think your eye might be a bit weaker with the compensating for being alone."  He grimaced but she smiled and left him alone.  They had learned not to give him much choice in the important things or he'd try to divert their attention and act like it was too much of a problem for anyone to help him.


House walked into the room Xander was laying in.  He checked the machine.  "How long has that been going?" he asked.

"Two hours and fifteen minutes, thirty seconds," Xander sighed.

House shut it down and let it return the blood.  "I said two hours."

"They're busy across the hall.  Someone screamed."  He let House tape his arm.  "Thank you."

"Welcome."  He stared at him.  "We're going to take blood tomorrow."  Xander nodded.  "Anything you want to complain about?"

"Complaining about my friends won't make them change."

"It's nice you're reasonable."

"I was raised by Willow."

"Figures."  He checked him over.  "How are we feeling otherwise?  Pain?"

"Small headache.  The nurse is bullying me into an eye exam soon."

"I heard.  Headache otherwise?"

"Some.  Now and then."

House removed the eye patch, watching the boy look away.  "Not like you could have avoided it."

"I know, but it's still an ugly scar that'll keep me from ever dating again."

"Plenty of people date with an injury.  It's never stopped me."

"Yeah but canes can make you look hip and cool.  A missing eye makes you look like you're a pirate or a dock worker.  If I had tattoos it'd be worse."

"Tattoos are cool these days."

"The combination means I should gain fifty pounds of gut and arm muscles and buy a pickup."

House snorted.  "Not really."  He checked the hole.  "How was it popped?"


House shined a light in there and grimaced.  "It's grungy.  Did you clean it since it happened?"  Xander shuddered.  "Did they clean it after removing it?"

"It was hanging out.  They cut the hanging stuff in the ER," Xander said quietly.  "Then admitted me."

"Fuck," House muttered, calling someone.  "Come see me now please.  Four West."  He hung up.  "That is not how you're supposed to trim the optical nerve because it'll create a constant pain problem."  Xander looked at him.  Another older white guy with a beard came in.  He was a lot more gray around the edges and had brown, sparkling eyes.  "They removed his damaged eye in the ER."

"They used the little, tiny cuticle looking scissors," Xander told him.  "I was raised by a female friend so I only know what they're used for girl things, not medical times."

The doctor nodded.  "They're not supposed to do that."  He took House's penlight to look.  "How?"

"Thumbnail.  Minion idiot who wanted me to see differently because I saw too much but no one listened to me.  Someone saved me before he did the other one."

The doctor looked at him.  "That's interesting."

"My former town was like that."

"Uh-huh.  Are you moving?"

"It got sucked into a hole."

"Oh, you're from there.  Well, maybe it's better it's sunk then."  He checked carefully around the edges.

"How high is your pain tolerance?" House asked.

"Pretty good.  I didn't scream when that happened."

"Does it hurt a little bit when I press?" the ocular doctor asked.  He did the series again.  Xander nodded.  "House, have you taken a head CT?"

"Neck, not head."

"Let me get some scans of that hole, kiddo.  Then we'll see if there might be a fracture that's still healing."  He stepped back with a smile.  "I think I can feel a fracture on the cup's cheek side but I'm not certain."  Xander nodded once.  "They schedule you for an eye exam yet?  Because when you go from them compensating for each other to just one it can expose some weakness in your vision."

"They're doing it tomorrow," House said.  "X-ray or CT?"

"CT, muscle and bone," he said.  He smiled at the boy.  "We can't do a cast but it'll matter to putting in a replacement."

"Which would mean you wouldn't need the patch," House told him.  "That way you don't feel like a pirate or a dock worker."

Xander gave them a shy grin.  "Thank you," he said quietly.

"Good."  The ocular doctor left to make notes on Xander's chart.

House looked at him.  "That'll help a lot."

"Is the dialysis helping?"

"A lot.  You went down five percent.  Give us a week and we'll see how much it's gone down.  We think it'll be about two weeks worth."

"I thought if you went on it you can't go off."

"No, it's not affecting your kidneys.  It's weeding things out of your bloodstream for a different reason.  Your kidneys weren't really affected by the mermaid taint and there's no signs that this is lowering their job.  If so, we'll fix it."  Xander nodded.  "We do this with OD's at times too."

"That thought had occurred to me, but it was long ago," Xander sighed.

House smirked.  "There was some fugitive in the papers who said he was going to OD in Yellowstone Park and let a bear eat him."

Xander cackled.  "That's when you know your life sucks."

"Yup."  He smirked.  "I like you, kid.  You're like a more physical version of me.  I was sporty at your age."  He smirked and left him alone.

"Thank you," Xander called, going back to the career book.  It had a lot under the physical work category.  Some of it sounded interesting.


Tony looked at the virologist they were working with.  "How bad was it since you scowled at me when I came in."

"It was downright horrible, Tony.  Did you have to use the wrong solution?"

Tony looked.  "That wasn't mine.  I was working on the flu sample yesterday."

He frowned, looking at the records.  "They logged in under your log-in."

"Wasn't me.  I know how to take responsibility for my actions and I would've asked.  I've never worked with that sort of sample.  It's too rare."

"It is."  He looked in another section on their system, growling.  "Brad!" he shouted.  Tony left to do his own work.  He didn't need to hear that ass chewing.  The virologist pointed.  "Was that you?"

He looked then shook his head.  "I wasn't here yesterday, Doctor Will.  I know DiNozzo wasn't working on that.  He sent me a picture text of an unusual microscope picture grab."

"What was it?"

"Mutated and blended flu samples.  I was working with seasonal flu and that was a bird flu sample," Tony said.

"Did it come that way?" Doctor Will asked.  Tony nodded, handing over the sample.  He looked at it under the microscope.  "Who made this slide?" he muttered, looking at it.  "DiNozzo, they signed your name again."

"I haven't logged in yet," Tony told him.  "Yet it said I am."

He looked, finding that desk.  He went to beat the crap out of that fellow and fire him.  He was screwing up many things.

Tony got into the system and got back to work on the flu samples.  Only Doctor Will was working on Tony's blood samples because it was so dangerous.  "Do we have Xander's started?" he asked when he came back.

"I have one started but it's clearly warped."

"We're doing dialysis to weed some of that taint out."

"Wonderful."  He looked over Tony's shoulder.  "That's ...  That's not the flu."  Tony let him see the sample's label.  "That fucking moron!"  He went to yell at him some more.  Brad came hurrying over to help Tony straighten that out.  His other boys were at least good.  Even if this one wasn't.


House got the notice that the background checks had gotten an 'interesting' rating.  He walked into Xander's hospital room and closed the door since Tony and Chase were already in there.  "Boys, what do you know about the Crown and Court Guild?"

Chase considered that.  "Not a lot beyond they're an influential group with a lot of senators."

"They're like the Illuminati light," Xander said dryly.  "But they dabble in my areas and yours.  A lot of subtle people.  Why?"

"It was suggested by someone that you would both be interesting pledges," Tony said.  "In the group there's the main guys who do important things and those who do 'support' functions.  I'm one of those not only for this but for a few other things."

"He's actually a pretty decent hacker, which was the primary reason they picked him up," House said with a smirk for Tony.  He looked at Xander.  "There's also guardians.  There's researchers, there's all sorts of support staff.  Some of them are considered 'full' members and some are considered 'consort' members, which means they'd be encouraged to help someone specific in the group."  Xander grimaced.  "It's not pushed, it'd be your choice, and up to you two to work that out."

"It's actually really fun," Tony told him.  "I've had two."

"One hated his future job and the other died," House told them.

"Car accident," Tony added.

"So they're considering us for inclusion?" Chase asked.  House nodded.  "As support staff?"

"Yes, I'm a full member and you'd be the secondary group doctor," House told him.  "We've had some others over the years.  Usually researchers and those that can handle it if someone gets attacked.  There's a few others in other cities."

"Okay," Xander said.  "Why me?"

"Because you have skills that we could use, especially if we need a new guardian," Tony said.  "There's some artifacts we guard."  Xander nodded.  "Also we think even if you go into plumbing it'll be helpful because the sort of things that we counter seem to find you."

"I hate being a demon magnet," Xander admitted.

"That's probably not going to change," House assured him with a smirk.  "Which means we'd probably run into you repeatedly."

Xander nodded.  "So I'd be the plaything?"

"Only if you want to be," Tony told him.  "There's a lot of consorts that play and tease.  There's some that take a partner.  There's some that tease from their partner's lap because it's like a society marriage.  You'd be like their mate."

"But...." Xander started.

"Your eye is not going to matter," House told him.  "Or your age.  We took in DiNozzo young but he never got touched until he was old enough to beg sweetly for it."

Tony smirked at him.  "And I went to my first mate that night.  I picked him and taunted him until he agreed I was a good bit of happiness for him.  We ended up parting ways because he didn't want me to go into law enforcement."

"Oh," Xander said quietly.  "This is really....  Weird."  They smirked at him.  "Those federal files?"  Tony nodded.  "So they know about Sunnydale and what happened there?"

"A lot of it," House assured him.  "We have people in some of the damndest places.  Not always the top spot but always an influential one.  Being the guy in charge brings a lot of attention."

"I think I need to think," Xander said.

"That's what we want you to do," Tony assured him with a smile.  "We can talk about it amongst ourselves."

"Are there others in the hospital?" Chase asked.

"Jimmy," House said with a smug look.  "He's actually an unattached consort too."  Tony nodded.  "He's thinking about a new one."  He smirked at Xander.  "By the way, two fractures."  Xander groaned, covering his face with his hands.  "And the dialysis is working.  You're down ten percent of the mermaid taint."  Xander looked at him.  "We're a bit worried that the antigens from the germs are being worked out too much and can make your liver overreact or your bone marrow put out more.  Which could be dangerous."  Xander nodded.

"That's why we've been taking the extra blood," Chase said.  "We can weed the mermaid taint out of that and leave the germs for now."

"I've had one started that way.  They think they can do that," House agreed.  "They're working on it tonight but you're giving more tonight and not doing any sucking at your arm."

"That'll be nice.  I'm kinda sore there."

Chase looked at his arm.  "You're a bit bruised and the extra day off can help with that.  Fortunately the mermaid taint is helping you heal faster."  He smiled at the boy.  "Is it bothering you in the gym?"

"He doesn't let me do much with that arm."

"PT?"  House asked, looking at Tony.

"For his balance rebuilding and things," Tony said.  "Plus career help."

"Good.  I didn't even think about the balance issue."  He frowned some.  "Driving?"

"I have and we talked about it," Xander admitted.  "He wanted me not to until he was sure I could compensate."

"Even better," House decided with a nod.

Xander looked at him.  "Are you being nice to me because of that offer?  The nurses all called you the grumpiest bastard ever and one asked me if I was your *special* blow job friend so that's why you were so nice to me."

House burst out cackling.  "You're cute, kid, but I like mine older and with breasts."  Xander smirked at him.  "Though the group, yup, it's helping."

"Okay," Xander decided.  "I can stand sarcasm most of the time.  Buffy quips pithily when she stakes."

"Yeah, they don't use guns," Tony told House.  Who shuddered and shook his head as he walked off.  Tony grinned at Xander.  "Think about it.  It's a great thing.  Some of them are dirty old guys, but it's nothing like virgin sacrifices or anything.  Well...."  He reached over to shut the door.  "If you're a virgin, they'll make it special."

"I've had a girlfriend, one who was a nympho," Xander said.

"I don't think they mean that way," Chase said dryly.  "Though I have to admit I am to that."

"Yeah, as far as I know I am," Xander agreed.  "Willow had a run of memory spells," he said at Tony's look.  "There's no telling what I may be missing."

"She needed beaten for that," Chase said.  "If I'm understanding correctly."

"It was part of her magic addiction; stopping her when she got lost in her grief got me blasted with that magic," Xander told him.

Tony shook his head.  "She still needs beaten and there's a few in the group who do research those things."  He stood up.  "Anything new to report today, Xander?"  He shook his head, staring at him.  "Okay, think about it.  Don't talk about it outside of us.  Let me know if you make a decision."  Xander nodded so Tony strolled off, chatting with the nurses who were trying to flirt.

Chase looked at Xander.  "I have no idea either."

"It could help your career but I don't have one of those right now."

"Maybe they'd help you find something."  He tucked him in and left again.

Xander grinned.  He was really starting to like Chase.  Chase was a great guy.


House smirked at Chase when he cornered him in his office that night.  "You look suitably confused.  It's much better than the pouty look you wear sometimes."

"If you weren't such a bastard I might not pout," Chase shot back.  "Did you nominate me because you were considering me that way?"

"You're cute and all," House said with a smug look.  "But I can't imagine having you bent over every day and night for me.  I need one who's waiting at home, not doing incredibly long hours.  Or else I'd have taken Jimmy in."

"That's good then.  Thank you for being honest."

"Of course, if you ask...." House said smugly.

"No, probably not.  I'd need someone nicer to be mine."  He walked off.  "I want to know more."

"We'll talk this weekend."

"Thank you."  He left the office.

House went back to what he was reading.  That was a good sign; he knew a lot of people in the society that would love Chase's tight little ass and accent.  And a few who might beg for Xander's.  House put down his book and went to call one of the girls that the society keeps on retainer in.  He needed


Xander hung up on someone he was talking to when Chase walked in.  "Sorry."

"For what?"

"Being in a bad mood."

"Quit calling them, Xander."

"Then they'll never let me go back and help.  They need the help."

"They need emotional help first," Chase countered.  He listened to Xander's heart.  "Well, that's strange."  Xander gave him an odd look.  "You have what sounds like an extra valve."  He got an ultrasound machine brought in with a technician.  "We found some swelling," he told her.  "I'm hearing what sounds like an extra valve."  The technician looked confused but Chase helped Xander out of his shirt so she could scan it.  Chase stared.  "Pause it there."  She went back and he stared.  "I'll be damned."  He called House.  "Come see me in Xander's room.  Yes, vitally.  Like a new heart chamber."  He hung up.  "Which way is that flowing?"

"From the lungs it looks like."  She scanned the rest, shaking her head.  Chase pointed at the liver area so she did that.  "Is that another gall bladder?"

"Possible," Chase admitted.  "We knew there was swelling."  House stomped in.  "Look at this."

House stared at the screen, taking the wand.  He checked the whole liver and then the heart, scowling at the monitor.  He checked his neck veins.  "Still thicker than it should be but better."  He looked at Xander.  "You get to visit another machine," he said dryly.

"I'll schedule the CT," Chase said, going to the nurses desk to do that.

"I haven't been in the pool," Xander said quietly, looking confused.  "Why is it still going?"

"Maybe in response to all the weeding out.  Not totally sure yet."  Cuddy walked in looking confused.  "What?"  He went back to looking at the heart.

She looked over his arm.  "Is that an extra chamber?"

"Yeah, it looks like it.  We're doing a CT."

"That's fine."  She backed off.  "Any idea?"

"We've been doing good weeding out that DNA tainting problem," House said.  He handed back the ultrasound wand.  "Copy those for me," he ordered.  She nodded and rolled her machine off.  House was scowling.  "Well, you're an anomaly now, kid."

"All the killer girls say that when they squeal thanks to me," Xander quipped back with a grin.

"That's always a good thing," House agreed with a grin.  Chase came back.  "Today?"

"Tonight.  Ortho is doing a lot today."

"That's fine.  It's not bothering his pulse rate or anything," he said.  He walked off shaking his head.  "Make sure you're there to read it, Chase.  Do all the organs."

"Yup."  He looked at Xander.  "Well, hopefully you won't grow two full hearts," he teased with a grin.

Xander grinned back.  "If I do, can I have a sonic screwdriver?"  Chase chuckled, filling out his chart and leaving with Cuddy.  Xander looked at his chest and shrugged.  "Maybe I'm growing my own evil twin or something.  Who in the hell knows what Sunnydale did to me."


"Jesus!" someone in the hallway shouted as they ran off in another direction than they had sworn at.

Xander looked up, frowning.  There were very few things that caused that reaction.  "Demons, here?" he muttered.  He got out of bed and unhooked the pads to the twitchy heart machine that was keeping him up.  He turned it off too, waving at the nurse.

"Get back in bed!" the nurse yelled.

Xander walked out, looking around.  He smelled the demon.  He heard the demon.  He went inside to get into the bag Willow had sent him, at his demand, finding a dagger.  No sword, like he had asked for.  No stakes, like he had asked for.  He was going to paddle her later.  He walked out, knife palmed for now.  He strolled that way, finding the demon.

"What are you doing?" the nurse demanded, following him.

Xander stared at her.  "What I do most of the time back in Sunnydale."  She gasped and moved away.  Xander looked at the demon sniffing him and stabbed it.  It batted at him so he fought it back.  It went down and Xander stabbed it again.  Then he sighed.  "I really should cut off your head."  He considered things, looking around.  "Willow fucking Rosenburg!  You left me unarmed with a huge ass demon here!" he shouted as quietly as he could.  She came off the elevator scowling.  He pointed.  "Eating patients."

She stared.  "Oh, dooty."

"Ya think I might've had a reason to ask for a stake and a sword?"  She summoned one and backed off.  He beheaded the demon and handed the head to her.  "Thank you."  He walked off with the sword.  "I need the rest of my stuff too since you didn't think I could do anything again."  He slammed his room door.

Willow winced.  "He has PMS."

"Boys don't get that," the nurse sneered.

Willow glared.  "I'm Rosenburg, demon bitch."  The nurse ran.  Willow and the demon disappeared.  She handed the head to Giles.  "It was eating patients where Xander is.  I only sent him a knife and he's a bit pissed off."

"Oh, dear lord, I forgot things were drawn to him," Giles muttered.  "When you send the rest of his clothes, send him his axe and a few other weapons, Willow."  She nodded, going to tell Buffy.  "Did he behead it?"

"Yes.  After I summoned a spare sword."

"Good!"  He stared at the demon, it was not a good thing.  Buffy stomped in and groaned, staring at the body.  "It was at the hospital that's helping Xander."

Willow came back with the trunk she had packed.  Then she left and came back with his axe and a few other things, tucking them inside.  "He said it was eating patients.  He yelled because I only sent him a dagger.  He had it down but needed the sword to behead."

"I usually need a sword," Buffy said.  "They hit you really hard."

"Xander has always excelled at doing what he had to do," Giles told her.  "You grossly pissed him off probably."

"No probably about it.  He was scowling and I still say he has PMS, no matter what the demon nurse said."  She took the trunk back, pushing it into his corner.  She smiled and summoned a Hershey bar from somewhere and handed it to him.  "Sorry.  Buffy didn't think you'd need it."

"Buffy's about ready for a rude awakening considering the vampire network online says that they're going to be attacking the house," he said dryly.  "And Angel's growing a huge ass problem."

"Poop," she muttered, heading back with a sigh.  She went looking for those.  "Damn it, we'll need battle plans."

"We can do those without Xander," Buffy said.  Giles popped her on the back of the head.  "Ow!  What was that for?"

"For being an idiot since neither one of us knows how to do that."  She groaned, going to look at the information.  Giles would start mending fences with Xander in the morning.  The boy would be pouty and angry all night tonight.


Tony came in the next morning, seeing the trunk.  "Clothes, Xander?"

Xander looked then at him.  "Yeah, the rest of mine and a few things I needed."

"Hide any weapons from Cuddy," he said dryly.  "What happened last night?  I've heard a lot of rumors."

"The cranky nurse that hates me getting up to go to the bathroom wanted the demon to eat people."

"Awww, that's so sweet of her."  He checked the heart monitor.  "Nice job replacing those."

"I had to get the nurse to put the one on my side back."

"That's fine.  Any injuries from last night?"  Xander shook his head.  "Okay."  He patted him on the head.  "Be a good boy.  Remember, you have PT later."  Xander grinned.  "Let me know if you need anything."

Xander pointed.  "My leg is twitching for some reason and the muscles tried to cramp last night."

Tony moved down to check it.  "It's building a lot of muscle mass.  We'll check."  He left, going to tell that to House, who was scowling in a way that had made everyone else run.  Still only half as strong as Gibbs' scowl.  "The nurse that hates him wanted him to leave the demon eating patients alone."

"I heard," he said grimly.  "So has Cuddy."

"I told him to keep all weapons out fo her sight."

"Good idea."  He looked at Tony.  "Anything I should hear?"

"His legs are getting overly muscled for some reason."

"It could be that he's overworking them in PT, but might not be.  I'll keep an eye on that."  He let Tony see the film from the security cameras.

Tony watched.  "He needs taught how to move."

"He does.  I have the feeling he was self-trained."

"Probably.  The file said that no one trained him."

"Huh.  The redhead?"


"Interesting."  He turned it off.  "Cuddy has a migraine."

"That would probably give me one too."  Tony walked off.  "I'm going to do clinic hours for the week."

"Fine.  Find one of the ducklings and make them help."  Tony nodded, waving back at him.  House shook his head.  "It's nice he's not scared of me.  Strange but nice."


Chase saw an older man show up to talk to Xander, calling House.  "There's an older man here to talk to him and Xander's looking pissed off."  He hung up on the swear.  "House must be in the middle of something."  Tony came off the elevator and strolled over with a smile, waving at Chase before walking in.  "Huh.  Well, Tony has tact."  House came off the elevator a few minutes later.  He walked in and slammed the door.  Xander left them to talk, coming over to shelter behind him.  "If they yell, I'll yell back," Chase promised quietly, smiling at him.  Xander grinned back.

They both winced, with the nurses, when House raised his voice.  Chase texted Wilson, who was the only person who could calm House down.  Chase got back an answer and went to lean in.  "House, Doctor Wilson needs your help in radiology.  His current patient with a brain tumor has a strange side effect and rash he wanted you to look at."  He closed the door and walked off at Tony's dirty look.  Yup, that was a bad discussion.  He walked Xander off, taking him to the gym.  "Tony said your leg muscles are building too strongly.  So let's look at those."

"Okay.  If it means Giles can't yell about stuff that's not my fault."  He took off his t-shirt and sat down on the bench to let Chase check them and then onto the weight push bench so he could see them in action.

Giles walked in while they were going over various muscle groups.  He paused, watching Xander's movements.  His muscles were shown very well.  Leg and arm.  Chest.  Back.  "Have you been doing a lot of exercise?" he asked kindly.

"No.  A lot of this is from construction work.  I'm mostly in here to work on any balance issues and to see if other muscle groups are growing like the extra chamber they found in my heart and extra gall bladder-like thing on my liver."

"You did?" he demanded.

Chase nodded.  "It's a bit worrying but doesn't seem to affect him any so we're only monitoring those," he said quietly.  "You must be Mr. Giles.  He's talked some about his friends."  He shook his hand.  "I'm Doctor Chase."

"Pleasure to meet you.  How much longer is Xander going to be here?"

"About a week more of dialysis treatments and then we'll start working on the blood diseases he has."

"Is that necessary?"

"Yes.  We've found out that a few demons took some blood one night when they knocked me down," Xander told him, glancing around.  "Hi, Victor."

"Hi, Xander."  He came over.  "I graded that test.  It came out what you were thinking but it came up with some nicer options as well.  You came up higher on languages and a few other research oriented skills."  Xander beamed.  "We'll talk later.  Visitors are important for patients to feel better faster."  He looked at his legs.  "We've been watching those calf muscles, Chase."

"So are we.  We're not sure why.  Have you noticed anything related to a heart murmur?"

"No, should I have?  He was supposed to tell me."  He scowled at Xander.

"They found an extra chamber," Xander told him.


"Over a week ago," Chase said.

"I'm growing my own evil twin, one organ at a time," Xander quipped.

Victor smiled but swatted him on the hair.  "No, I haven't noticed anything, Chase.  Want me to run a heart strip on him when I have him working out?"

"Please.  They're saying those orbital fractures will be healed within a week as well."

"Even better.  I'll make myself a note and talk to you later, Xander.  Pleasure meeting you," he said with a nod at Giles before walking off.

"Orbital fractures?" Giles asked quietly, staring at him.

"Yeah, I have two in the hole on the cheek side."  Xander shrugged a bit, leaning his elbows on his bent knees.  "The ER in Sunnydale didn't even check and we found out they shouldn't have clipped the optic nerve in the ER either."

"The shock of it could've killed him," Chase told Giles.

"That doesn't surprise me considering how horrid that ER was," Giles said.  "That's why Xander was taught how to do stitches."  He adjusted his glasses, looking at him.  "The girls are sorry."

"Often," Xander said dryly.  "It's like leftovers for breakfast.  Reheated, picked over with a fork for the good bits, then tossed out."

"They've seen that they do need you."

"Because they need battle plans?" Xander asked dryly.

"In some ways, it made them look at things.  Then Wesley had a talk with Buffy about how you had done that job for a long time."

"I have."

"Her mother would be most upset."

"If I could call Joyce's shade back to haunt her....." Xander said dryly.  Giles smiled at him.  "Anyway, I might be able to make it for the battle again but I need some compensation training and we need to get this settled.  And the blood contamination gone."

"I can agree with that."  He adjusted his glasses again.  "Are you secure here?"

"Yeah, once they let me go I can find a part-time job while I figure out what I want to do now."

"There's a few less than demanding jobs for college students," Chase told him with a smile.  "Including a call center and things."

"I can do that," Xander agreed.  "Or maybe try construction again?"

"If you don't have any depth problems," Chase agreed with a smile.

"Thanks, Chase."  Xander hugged him.  "So a week?"  Chase nodded.  He grinned at Giles.  "Is that all the clothes I sent out?"

"I believe you had a storage area but I'm not sure what's in it or who's dealing with those."

"It was auto-drawn from my account, and I have to file for Anya's life insurance," he sighed.

"I believe Willow was handling all that paperwork."

Xander stared at him.  "No.  I don't want Willow touching Anya's things."  Giles nodded at that.  "I'll handle that later."

Tony strolled in.  "Handle what?"

"Getting Anya's and my things in storage sent to somewhere more local and file for her insurance."

"I know some people who can help with that," he said with a wink.  Xander grinned.  "Is someone else trying?"

"Willow was filing the insurance paperwork for everyone," Giles told him.

"That would let her take it into the Council's new accounts instead of giving it to him if she's supposed to," Tony said.  Giles winced and nodded.  "Is there someone who could...mentor the young woman perhaps?"

"I have a whole coven who'd *adore* having her visit," he admitted.  Tony grinned.  "I'll get those sent to you, Xander."  Xander nodded, smiling at him.  "Good.  Let me know when you get out and what you're doing.  We'll make plans for when you're able to come back.  And if it's before the battle, we'll see if we can deal with that issue."

"I was in the last one."

"I know.  This one may be worse."  Xander nodded.  "Oh, dear."

Xander wrote down a title on some paper from Chase's pocket.  "Look at *what* they do, not why they do it but *how* and then imagine that to a demon realm in downtown LA from what I've heard."  He handed it over.

Giles stared at it.  "One of the younger girls adores that show.  The ring... a portal?" he demanded loudly.  Xander smirked and nodded.  "Oh, dear Christ.  I'll look into that, Xander.  Thank you.  I'll talk to you in a few days."  He walked off muttering.

"I'll be here," Xander called.  He looked at Tony.  "I'm not sure if she would or not."

"Too much of an option," Tony decided, calling someone.  They promised they'd find out and look into that for him.  He put his phone up.  "Okay, let's look at these leg muscles again."  He felt them.  "Not bad.  Still a bit larger than they seem like they should be."  Tony grinned.  "I'm going to maybe be an ortho when I grow up."  Xander grinned back.  "Chase?"

"Victor will run a heart strip the next time he works him out."

"Wonderful."  He stood up and helped Xander up.  "C'mon, your room's free of House's ear smoke and mine."  He walked the boy back up there.  Chase followed.  They found someone waiting.  "Who're you?"

"He's from Wolfram and Hart," Xander said.  "Anya didn't have her things through you so why are you here?"

"We were appointed over Miss Emmerson's estate," he said smugly.  "Mr. Harris, it's a pleasure to meet you."

Xander stared at him then kicked open his trunk.  The lawyer looked then nodded once, understanding the subtle statement that axe made.  "We've heard from Cordelia a few times about you guys, Mr. McDonald."

"I'm not here for that.  Though the senior partners would like your soul."

"Unfortunately it's kinda bound with the hyena and soldier," Xander said dryly.  "Also, I'm told I'll be a seer someday soon."  The lawyer gave him a horrified look and sent that to his bosses.  "You might also tell them that we're not in a really happy mood because Willow and I are fighting again."

"Agreed, sir," he said, getting a message back.  "All right, the senior partners say it'd be nice if you did stay out of things."

"I'm here for the next six months.  After that, no clue."  He smiled.  Willow appeared, glaring at the lawyer.  "Stuff for Anya's insurance policy?"

"I can handle it."

"Wouldn't that be fraud if you sign his name?" Tony asked dryly.  He held up his ID case.  "While working my way through medical school."  She backed off.  He put it back and smiled at the lawyer.  "Other than that....  Mr. McDonald wasn't it?"

"Lindsey," he said quietly.  "I know about you, Agent DiNozzo."  Tony grinned.  "Are you helping him?"

"Yes, I am."  He looked at Willow.  "Since he's not dead, or in a critical way, he can spend some of his boredom time filling out tedious paperwork.  That way you can worry about all the other things you have to fill out."

Xander looked up.  "Mr. Palane?" he called.  The demon showed up.  One of the nurses went running.  "He's peaceful but a lawyer.  He won't eat anyone."  He looked at the lawyer again.  "Anya filed her will through you.  Why was someone else appointed?"

"I have no idea.  No one's filed for her estate yet."  Lindsey pointed at Willow.  He looked at her.  "I believe you weren't mentioned in her will, Miss Rosenburg."  She huffed and disappeared.  "Should I do that, Xander?"

"Please.  I know you guys have a standard five percent fee."

"I do.  We know not to ask for any soul parts or anything."  He smiled at Lindsey, handing him a file.  "That is Miss Emmerson's will.  I'll meet you in the judge's office in a few hours?"

"I flew the human way."

"That's fine.  Tomorrow then?"

"Agreeable."  He shook Xander's hand.  "Thank you for your time."

Xander smiled.  "Angel said some semi-decent things about you so I wouldn't care but I'm sensing a subtle problem."

"Probably."  He left, calling the bosses to let them know.

Xander looked at the demon.  "Thank you," he said quietly.

"It's not a problem.   There's some things in her storage area that are fairly old."  He left, going to file those papers with the court.  And block Rosenburg's plans for whatever it was she wanted.

Xander leaned back on his bed, shaking his head.  "I don't know."

Tony smiled.  "It'll be okay.  Only five percent?"

"I saved his son's life a few years ago."

"Huh, that's a great thing."  Tony checked him over then kissed him on the head.  "Be a good boy.  Don't play with the weapons and let the nurses fuss.  It'll calm them down."  Xander grinned.  Chase shut the trunk and they left, going to finish calming House down.  House was pacing and muttering into his phone.  "Someone is helping Xander move his and Anya's stored stuff.  The demonic lawyer showed up to help him with Anya's will since Willow was trying to file it for him."  House stopped pacing to stare at him.  "The lawyer that got appointed thanks to Willow knows that she's not in the will so he's agreed to meet with the other lawyer at the judge's chambers to discuss it.  He's only charging him five percent to do it."

"Even better," House agreed, hanging up.  "So it's set up?"

"We're working on it."

"Great."  House nodded, smirking some.  "Was that why the nurses freaked out?"

"Yup."  He sat down.  "Mr. Giles has said he'll stop her.  He has a nice coven waiting to mentor her."

"Even better."  House smirked.  "Good job, evil minion."

"Aww, thanks.  You're not nearly as evil as my last boss though."  He put his feet up.  "So, how was your morning, Foreman?"

"Less interesting than yours.  Demons?"

"Yeah, like that thing Xander killed the other night," House said dryly.  "What he's been hunting the evil of for years now."

"It was one of them that got his eye," Tony said.

Foreman shook his head quickly.  "I don't want to know."

"Then ignore it," House ordered.  "Go find me a patient in the clinic and take DiNozzo for some more hours."  They left together.  House called his mentor in the society again to tell him what Tony had arranged.  Now he saw why the society had wanted Tony so hard.  Beyond him being cute with a tight ass.  He might bend Tony over to see how tight he was sometime soon.


Tony strolled into the house and smirked at the man staring at him.  "Am I underdressed?"

"No, Tony, you look very nice," he said, looking him over.  He took a kiss.  "Your former mate is in."

"That's great."  He smiled, going to greet him.  It got him a deep kiss and a butt squeeze.  He came back out.  "They're still thinking."

"I heard you told them?"

"Senior Philip said they were going to be offered."

"I hadn't heard that."  He went to check that.  Tony showed him the text message.  He nodded, getting one that agreed with it.  "That's fine then.  Do they have a decision?"

"I think Chase knows it could be good for his career.  Xander even told him that."  The local head smiled.  "If I could get him and Sheppard together it'd be great and I'm pretty sure he'd agree to mate with him and go help him."

"I can see him doing that, yes."  He smiled.  "You're not in trouble.  Go relax."

"Is anyone from DC here?  I'm hearing bad rumors."

"Your former mate was just there."  Tony nodded, going back to talk to him.

His mate smirked at him.  "How was DC?"

"Interesting rumors going around."  He stared at him.  "Strip for me, Tony?"

Tony smirked.  "Don't you have a mate?"

"No," he sighed.  "He said I'm a bastard."

Tony laughed.  "I know about those."

"His huffed off to Rio for a long vacation," another member said with a grin.  "He's filing the formal severing letter tomorrow."

Tony smirked at him.  "That means you're a married man."

The head came in.  "He filed it from Rio, Tony.  He's free to play."  Tony took off his shirt.  He sat down to watch.  Watching was fine but touching someone's mate was always frowned upon because it brought trouble and strife to the group.  Tony stepped out of his shoes.

"Nice rumors in DC or bad ones?" Tony asked.  He undid his belt.

His former husband stared at him.  "Gibbs has been in an extremely bad mood.  The FBI has banned him from their building again."  Tony winced and shook his head, pulling his belt free.  "Homeland is very interested in what you're doing with Xander.  Who seems fairly interesting."

"He's a very interesting young man but he could use some guidance about what he wants to do with his life."  Tony stepped out of his pants.  "I adore him like a little brother, only less brotherly."

His former husband patted his lap.  Tony slid into it and kissed him properly.  "Do you think he'd make a good consort?"

"I think he'd make a great guardian but he'd never be the pretty lap candy sort of consort.  He'd be like I am."

"Which can be very thrilling because you're very headstrong," he teased, stroking over his butt.

House walked in and flopped down in a chair, putting his feet up.  "Did I miss anything?"

"He's hearing rumors out of DC," the head said.

Tony smirked at House.  "Bad day, boss?" he teased.

"Yup.  Cuddy hates that demons showed up."

"That nurse summoned them."

"She's fired her and hates Xander.  Xander introduced her to Buffy since they were talking so she's got a migraine now from the braindead blonde."   He shifted, spreading his legs better.  "Did he tell you that the present director you have is trying to decide if you can come back or not?"

"I have not decided if I'm going back yet," Tony admitted.  He looked at his former husband.  "Really?"

"Vance hates you."

"Sheppard got away from me and Ziva to get into trouble and got shot."

"He also wants more agents like McGee."

"Which means he must really hate Gibbs since he can't even use his cellphone."

"He's too high to do more than annoy him because he's nearing retirement age."  He patted him again.  "I need someone calmer."

"I may be going back to NCIS or another agency," Tony warned.  "Being an underground doc.  I haven't decided.  Either that or virologist or an ortho."

"Those are all demanding fields with some longer hours," he pouted.

Tony nodded.  "Sometimes.  Surgeries or really sick patients I'd have to stay in quarantine with."

House nodded.  "In either of the medical fields he'll be doing about eighteen hour days for the next few years."  Tony nodded.  "As a virologist half of the time he'll be in the lab."  He looked over Tony's body.  "I was planning on bending you over something before you left PPTH."

Tony smirked, shifting to show off his hardening cock.  "Just me?"

"Wilson's too close to me and Chase is hot but mouthy."  Tony smirked harder.  "C'mere, my resident."  Tony strolled over and settled himself carefully on House's good thigh.  "Nicely done."  He stroked his cock.  "Nice size and weight too."

"And I'm very good with it," Tony assured him.

House took a kiss.  "I'm sure you are."  He snapped the band of Tony's briefs.  "I can't believe you wear those."

"It makes the nurses think I'm very vanilla so they only flirt, not hit on me.  Someone should warn Foreman the next time he wears a thong in."

"Don't talk about him.  That is a disgusting thought."  He snapped them again.  Tony got up and took them off.  "Pretty but you need to clean up."

"I haven't had the time to shave."

"It happens."  House looked him over.  Tony turned to let him see his ass.  "Very nice."  Tony smiled and leaned down to kiss him.  House's belt was taken off and his pants yanked off by Tony, then he settled himself astride House's lap so he could lube him easier while they teased each other.  House didn't play around very much.  Two fingers went into Tony's hole with lube while he stroked his cock with the other hand, kissing him to make him moan and pant.   House finally got tired of stretching him and poked him on the side.  "Turn around."

Tony stood up and turned around, sliding down the cock House was holding steady for him.  He leaned back against House's chest to nibble on his neck while House rode him and stroked his cock for him.  "You're a bigger guy than I thought you'd be," he teased in his ear.

House shivered.  "Yes I am."  He pushed up harder.  "Ride me, DiNozzo, don't be lap candy.  I can get that from any easy chick in the bar."  Tony sat up and rode him better, making House moan and keep stroking Tony's stomach and cock.  Tony was whining and whimpering so House pushed him off and stood them up, turning Tony so he was kneeling in the chair so he could ride him harder.  He slid back in, making Tony yelp but moan back at him.  He rammed into him a few times then leaned down to nibble on his shoulder.

Tony tipped his head to the side, letting him do whatever he wanted to his tight body.  House spread Tony's cheeks farther apart and dove in again, a nice, hard, forceful rhythm that made him squeal when he found his prostate.  House smirked and spanked him, hitting it over and over until Tony finally moaned and came.  "Naughty, clean that up," House ordered.  Tony licked up the spilled come and House finally let himself go over.  "Good boy."  He sat down with a moan of pleasure, letting Tony settle into his lap to kiss him and soothe him.  "That was good."

Tony smirked.  "I'm better in a real bed."

"Don't tempt me, Tony."  He spanked him again.  Tony shifted and kissed him.  "That's very nice.  Go get me a drink and a sandwich and I'll let you follow me home?"  Tony got up, still naked, and went to the kitchen for him.  House smirked, grabbing some of the wet wipes from the tissue container to clean himself up.

"Tony is a very sensual lover, Gregory," Tony's former mate said.  "He has a mouth of sin."

"I noticed he kissed very well."  He took his lunch and let Tony hold his plate once he had sat down again.  "Am I feeding you?" House teased.

Tony kissed him, chewing the last of that bite House had had.  "No, I ate before I came over."  He grinned.

"He's very willful at times," Tony's former mate sighed.

Tony smirked at him.  "You enjoyed me like that."

"I did."  He watched Tony flatter House into a long night for them.  Apparently they had tomorrow off.  James strolled in and leaned down to kiss Tony.

"Hi, Doctor Wilson."

"Hey, Jimmy," House said, taking another bite.

"Boys."  He smirked at Tony.  "Was he good enough?"

"He's not bad but it's always better in a bed."

"Yes it is."   Wilson looked around.  "Just us tonight?" the head guy nodded.  "Pity.  I need the stress relief."  He sat down on the couch and put his feet up.  Tony slid to his knees and crawled over, sucking on him through his pants.  "That's very nice of you, Tony."  He petted his hair, letting Tony soothe him for now.  It had been a bad day.  Tony's mouth was perfect.  Warm, just the right amount of wet, no teeth, and he swallowed him all the way down.  Wilson finally came and went limp, kissing Tony.  "Thank you."

"You needed it after Cuddy bothered you all day about Xander."

"I didn't mind that.  It was her panicking that got on my nerves."

House nodded.  "Definitely."  He patted his lap and Tony came back.  "I won't make you brush your teeth but you're doing that for me next."

"Of course.  On the bike or in bed?" Tony teased, grinning as he teased House's shirt buttons.

"Bed."  He spanked him.  "Go pick a nice room."  Tony got up and took the dish and glass back to the kitchen then did that.  House got up with a moan and grabbed their clothes.  "I'll see you tomorrow, Jimmy.  Have fun with the call girls."  He strolled off, his cane tapping in the quiet house.

Wilson looked up a few minutes later at the noisy squealing.  "House must've pounced him."

"Tony is still pleasingly loud," his former mate sighed with a smile.  "I wish I could have him back some days."

Wilson smirked at him.  "You'd hate waiting on his job.  His last boss kept him in the office for days on end from what I've heard."

"More than once," he agreed.

James called the call girl service they used and got a few of the pretty, tight, young things over to play with them.  They weren't all lucky enough to get Tony.  Though if Chase came over, Wilson might consider him.


Chase brought Xander back to Tony's, finding him on the couch semi-naked watching a movie.  "Sorry," Chase said, backing out the door.

Tony looked over.  "I'm not ashamed of my body, Chase, and you're a doctor.  You've seen them before."

"In the mirror too," Xander quipped, sitting down.  "Want some alone time, Tony?"

"No, I'm good.  Just enjoying being naked."  He grinned.  "You finally free?"

"For a few days."

"That's fine.  Go nap if you need to," he said when Xander yawned.

"I have to call the lawyer in a bit."

"There's an alarm clock in there," Tony teased with a grin.  Xander nodded, going in there.  Tony smiled at Chase.  "Problems?"

"Is it....expected?"

"No, I played last night and I'm in a good, comfortable, sensual mood."  He took a kiss from his fellow student doctor.  Chase moaned and kissed him back.  "You're very good at that."  Chase blushed.  "Need to talk?"

"What do consorts do?" he asked quietly.

"We do our support stuff for the group when needed and if we're lucky we find a nice mate.  If we want to and we're unattached, we can play around.  Your mate is not allowed to lend you, share you, or anything like that.  He can hire someone to watch you with them but anyone in the group is not allowed to touch you.  It's one of the rules."

"I can understand that.  People might fight and it'd cause problems."

"Exactly.  Most consorts are lap candy sorts but there's ones like me who are really support staff instead of a pleasurable relief system."

"So if they asked, and I wanted, I could play as long as I'm not attached?"

"Yup.  And if one wants you as a mate, they get to date you.  Like a normal relationship.  Some will be upset that you have a career but if you don't want them don't have them.  They cannot make a consort pleasure anyone they don't want to.  Even the head guy."  Chase nodded.  "But when you're blessed and inducted, you can pick whoever you want to teach you how to do things if you want.  Or not."

"I know a bit but I never went beyond hand jobs."

Tony smiled.  "Hand jobs are nice but I'm told I have a sinful mouth of fun."  Chase blushed again.  "You'll do fine, Chase.  We're fun, we do it for pleasure, not for favors."

"That's good.  I was worried about that.  What about my career?"

"If your mate bothers you about things, you have the right to break up with him.  You file a letter with the local club."  He brushed his fingers over Chase's cheek.  "It's all up to us."

"That's good to know."  He glanced toward the bedroom then at Tony, who shrugged but grinned.  "I...."  He let that drift off and looked at Tony again.  Tony kissed him hard and fast, making Chase moan and clutch at him.   Tony let Chase stroke his covered cock against his and it was good grinding against each other.  The extra scratch of the fabric helped him a lot.  Chase came with a moan and panted, pulling back from Tony's mouth.  "That was nice."

Tony smiled.  "It was very nice.  You'll have a lot of fun, make a lot of very good friends to have, and probably find someone who respects you for your mind and body, Chase.  If not, you can play until then."

"I could like having someone who wanted to be with me because I'm me."

"That's a great part of dating, yes."  He patted his covered ass.  "Go clean up.  That's got to be wet and sticky in there."  Chase got up and went to do that.  Tony cleaned himself up and turned off the movie.  Chase came back naked and cleaned up.  Tony smiled and pulled Chase down, rolling them onto their sides.  The back of his couch tipped back because it was made to go back to a forty-five degree angle.  It helped and Tony could teach Chase how to give a great blowjob.  Chase was a quick study.  He had a very warm, overly damp mouth but he'd learn how to swallow his spit eventually.  It was good and satisfying.  Chase came and Tony swallowed.  Chase whimpered, letting Tony thrust gently into his mouth.  Chase swallowed as much as he could when Tony finally came.  Tony came up to lick at the drips, then kissed him.  "Good job."

Chase smiled.  "That was incredible."

"You have a great start on it, Chase, and it'll be fantastic."  Chase shivered but Tony played and teased him until Chase gave up and went limp for him.  It was great and Tony even cuddled.  Chase liked that.  They smiled at Xander's room when the alarm went off but he stayed in there to talk to the lawyer.


Xander looked over the paperwork the lawyer had given him, sighing.  He had been home for three days and there had been a stream of phone calls to Mr. Palane's office over the will.  "So that's really all that I have left of her?"

"Your storage areas are local," he said, handing over those keys and the rental form.  He smiled.  "You did have a lot of good pictures."

Xander nodded.  "I loved her enough to almost marry her.  If they hadn't interfered I would have."

"I know and so did she, Xander.  She said many happy things about you to the others, even after you broke up.  I'd feel much the same if I lost my mate."  Xander nodded.  "Now, all that we have left is the account in Europe."  Xander winced.  "It's not bad."

"That's going to be tons of paperwork, right?"

"Not really.  They're in a demon bank so I had that moved to a human one."  He let him see it.  Xander whimpered.  "That does mean that you have what you need, which is why she left it to you instead of anyone else.   You supported her, listened to her, and helped her regain her humanity.  Even if she did curse you for that because it meant she gave up her job and lost Hallie."

"I know she was in talks with someone about Hallie's stuff.  About some pictures I think?"

"She did get those.  Hallie left Anya and one other demon everything."  Xander nodded.  "You've inherited that as part of her estate and the other demon is scared to death of you so he gave you any pictures of the two of them.  That left him with her material assets but he's pouty."

"Hallie always seemed really nice when she came down to talk to Ahn.  Even if she did screw up Spike a lot."

Mr. Palane smiled.  "I heard that story from Hallie."  He patted Xander on the shoulder.  "It'll be fine, Xander.  You'll finish grieving and maybe you'll find someone just as great for you.  Her will did state that she hoped you went gay so you never compared another woman to her but it wasn't made a condition or a binding issue."

Xander grinned.  "So much boiled down to sex with Anya."

"Yes, and even after eleven hundred years you taught her things she did not know."  Xander grinned.  "So finish the paperwork and I'll let you finish grieving."

"Did the Council get anything?  Or the group?"

"A few of her magic books with the instruction Willow was not to get into them, ever."  Xander nodded, looking over things and signing them.  "Thank you, Xander."  He stood up and put them into his briefcase.  "That leaves one matter."  He held up a small envelope.  "Your insurance policies.  I fixed those as well.  She was using a demonic firm for that as well and changed yours over, which is why your premium went up."

"She said it was better coverage."

"It was and it did have a maiming clause so they did pay you.  Your premiums for your regular life insurance policy are still on-going and are being automatically drawn from your new account."  Xander nodded, staring at him.  "From now on, you can make your own decisions, which was what she wanted.  She was always afraid Buffy or Willow was going to get you killed on patrol some night."

"There's days I would've accepted that as something that was meant to be," Xander said quietly.  "Because that's the job."

"Yes but a lot of demons believe you have a wonderful career and life ahead of you.  Including messing a lot of things up for demon kind again just by being in the right place at the wrong time."  He winked and left.

Xander looked in the insurance policy envelope, moaning.  "Oh, damn."  Tony knocked and leaned in.  "Insurance policy check."

Tony walked in and looked.  "You need to go to the bank.  Today."

"I do.  Where is the bank?"  He showed him the name on the new account.

"That's by the hospital.  I can drop you there.  Change clothes."  Xander changed shirts and Tony went to change.  "I have to go talk to Doctor Will in virology anyway.  My new antibody counts are due in."

"Do I need to?" Xander asked.

"No, you can do that tomorrow when we pull you in for your physical.  I want that at the bank before something happens to it."

"Anya had other money, Tony," he said as he came out, looking at him.

"I figured she had saved some over her long life."  He grinned.  "The society knew about her.  A few of us had run into her professionally."  Xander snickered.  "Exactly.  C'mon, I'll drop you.  Got your wallet and bank book?  All that?"  Xander went to get the papers and came back out with the whole stack.  He took him out to the car.  "What's your plan now?"

"Maybe an apartment?  I like staying with you but I need somewhere I can brood and throw things and all that stuff.  I feel like I'm cramping your style."

"You're not, but I can see that need.  You're young and need something that's just *yours* because you've lost so much recently."  He backed the car out of his spot and drove them to the bank.  "Go ask to talk to an account person.  Or...."  He got out and walked him in there to the sign-in desk.  "Hi, this is Xander Harris.  He just inherited and had an account started for him.  He needs to ask some pertinent questions and arrange for later deposits."

"I can sign him in with our senior account specialist," she said with a smile for him.  "It's confusing at first but we can help you set it up the way you need it to be, Mr. Harris."  Tony grinned and let Xander sit down while he went to the hospital.

The account specialist came out, looking at the young man.  The account was the talk of the bank.  "Mr. Harris?"  He jumped and smiled at her, holding out a hand.  She noticed the eye patch first.  "I heard about your loss of your former fiancee, Mr. Harris."  She shook his hand.  "Let's go over what you were told and what you have."

"I also have the life insurance policy check," he said, handing it to her.

"That's going to be a healthy balance," she said happily.  She led him to her office and went over what was in the account, how it was set up, and how he could make a drawing account or anything like an investment account.  Apparently his fiancee was good at that but he was new to the thought so she set him up with some very safe, low return, short term CD's for now.  He had years to teach himself investments and that was insured so he wouldn't lose them.

He had things set up and she went over his current needs, agreeing with most of them.  She didn't know why he wanted a motorcycle but she guessed with only having one eye it'd be easier than driving.  She did suggest a scooter but he said he wanted a wild ride, just the once.  She could understand that.  She had went to Europe before college for that very reason.  It was all set up and she gave him some good ideas of where to look for apartments.


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