Xander got summoned back a few months later and sighed.  He packed everything before going to see John.  He pulled up his email to show him.

John stared at it then at him.  "I have no idea."

"You might want to check yours."

John did, nodding.  "I did get summoned back.  And it looks like it went to McKay and Evan Lorne."  He paged them to check their emails.  He looked at Xander.  "Did you pack?"

"Yup, just in case."

"That's fine.  If we have to we can send the tools back."  They shared a look and John shrugged.  "I have no clue, Xander."

"Let me see if Tony got one."  He walked off, going to the infirmary.  "I got a 'come talk to someone' letter," he told Tony as he walked in.

Tony grimaced.  "Keller, get into my email?"  She did that and grimaced, nodding.  "That's going to suck for my hours."  She laughed.  "We'll go together," he assured Xander.

"You, me, John, Rodney, Evan Lorne."

"Huh."  He nodded once.  "Interesting."  He smiled.  "Relax, it's not that bad."

"NID forwarded a request to the Secretary of Defense," he said very quietly.  "To look at me."

"Destroy.  Them," Tony said bluntly.  "I'll warn Gibbs when we get there."

"Thank you."  He walked off.  "I'm packed so find out when we're going."

"Yup."  He called John then got back to his chart maintenance chores.  "We're apparently going tomorrow, Keller."

"That's fine, Tony.  We'll miss you for the few weeks you're gone."

He smiled.  "Of course you will."  She laughed, shaking her head.  Tony went to pack his trunk again and then went to talk to Evan Lorne.  "So," he said.  "Why did they call you back too?"

"I'm due to reup," he said, frowning some.  "Why would they call Harris?"

Tony stared at him.  "Do you belong to any fraternities?  You look familiar."

Evan coughed.  "Yeah, I should, DiNozzo.  My uncle tried to get me to marry you once so you probably saw my file.  Oh!"  He stared.  "Harris is?"

"Consort," he said quietly.

"Well, shit."  Tony smirked.  "Huh."  He went to swat Sheppard and McKay, who were in the office already strategizing.  "I did not think about your consort being one of us."

John stared at him.  "You are?"

Evan smirked and nodded.  "Yeah, out of the New York club."

"I got introduced in Texas," John said.  "Though Xander's introduction was in New Jersey."

"Interesting."  He stared at him.   "So why just us?"

"I don't know," John admitted.  "That's what we're trying to figure out."

"Harris is worried about the NID."

"I'm about to offer some people I know guardianship jobs if I have to," John said bluntly.  "Did he get that email sent off?"

"Yes, I made sure it went in with mine," Rodney said.  "Both of them.  The other was to his financial manager."

"That's fine," John said.  "Thank you."  Rodney nodded.  "We'll go at 0900 tomorrow, guys."  They left him alone to plan.  This was not a good sign.


Xander walked out of the gateway and found someone already sneering.  "Do I know you?" he asked dryly.

"You're a poor white boy with little education and no manners, I'd be more respectful, boy," he sneered.

"Actually, I'm worth, as of the last I knew of it, approximately 130 million dollars," he said dryly.  Landry gasped.  The guy backed off, looking scared.

"Really?  I thought your inheritance was less than that," John said.

"I never touch it.  It's all in investments and safely away from any relatives I have left."  He looked at him again.  "As for little education, I learn best outside the classroom.  That's why I read six languages, three of them ancient human ones, fluently speak two more demon ones, and partially speak another four."  He smiled.  "And who the hell are you?"

"Agent Simmons, NID," he sneered.  Xander pulled out a gun and shot him in the gut.

"Congrats, you're part of a group I helped shut down a few years ago," he said, staring coldly at him.  "How do you like missing your Initiative days?  Did Finn send you?"

"Stand down," a voice called.

Xander looked up.  "Do I know you?"

"That's Gibbs, Xander."

"Oh."  Xander put back up his gun.  "Sorry, some past history there with their torturing, sicko program that wanted to dissect beings for shits and giggles.  Didn't want to be next."  He stared at him.  "Aren't you so lucky he's keeping me calm?"  He smirked.  The man tried to scoot back.  "No, you don't get to do that.  Willow!" he bellowed.  She appeared, looking startled.  He pointed.  "NID weenies want me."

She stared then at him.  "You're back a few minutes and this happens?"

"Hmm, because *someone* gave them intel on my DNA taint and other things."

"Shit," she said, shuddering at the look on his face.  "Okay.  Well, if parts of Arizona go missing or turn into a steaming crater, I'll know why and come rescue you."  She stared at him.  "The president said I'm not allowed to ever torture someone again.  Even if they do break into the house."

"'Scuse me?" Xander demanded calmly.  "Who in the hell?"

"One of them trying to get Dawn and Buffy."

"Hmm.  They're safe?"

"Yes.  Giles has them safely hidden."  She smiled.  "So we're kinda busy."

"Sure, I can torture him.  No one's told me I couldn't yet."  He smiled.

"No, if there's going to be torture, I'm going to do it," John said firmly.  "Back down, Xander."

"Fine," he muttered.  John smirked.  He grinned back.  "So anyway...."

Willow waved a hand.  "By the way, your parents are now toads.  Your uncle's a ferret.  He was having a pureblood rant."  She shrugged.  "Dawn did that one."  She disappeared.

"Cool!  No more begging relatives."

"Can I have someone do that to mine?" Tony quipped.

Xander grinned.  "Dawn would crush so hard on you."  Landry walked in with Gibbs behind him.  He smiled at them.  "Do I get to go destroy parts of Arizona now, General?"  He looked at Gibbs.  "And do we have orders?"

"No," Gibbs said.  "The president said you could handle it.  Someone wanted to offer you up as a sacrifice, kid."

Xander cackled.  "That's so sweet of them," he said dryly, smirking at him.  "I'm not the nicest of people when I have to be.  Hunting does that to one.  I thought I could calm down now.  John assured me his higher ups weren't like the Initiative."  He looked at John.  "I don't blame you.  They clearly lied to you too."

"They're not usually like this."

"We do have to play nice with other agencies," Landry said.

"No I don't."  Xander shrugged.  "I don't have a do a goddamn thing for anyone.  I'm not military.  They have no hold over me.  They never will have a hold over me.  What're they going to do?  Try to confiscate my money I inherited from my former fiancee?  I lived without money for years.  I made my own way a long time ago and hey, I can go back to hunting."

"There's no need to make such rash statements," Landry said calmly.

Xander stared at Tony, who shrugged.  "I'd say show him, Xander."

Xander looked at John, who nodded.  "Go ahead."  Xander went full hyena and growled, stalking Landry across the room.  "Xander, don't eat him," he ordered.

"What the hell?" Gibbs demanded quietly.  "DiNozzo?"

"Xander was possessed by a hyena back in high school, boss.  She's still a very dominant personality in his soul.  They're soul bound actually.  There's a lot of demons who're a bit scared of him going hyena permanently.  Apparently she's a real bitch over her pack members."

Gibbs shuddered.  "Harris, back down," he ordered.

Xander sniffed him.  "Tony's pack."  He smirked and lapped him on the cheek, getting a disgusted look.  "Tony's good pack."  He stared at the general again.  He sniffed him.  "Smells like greed and fear."

"Xander?" John called.  He shook off the hyena and looked at him with a smile.  "C'mon, let's go have dinner."

"Okay.  Steak?"

"Steak's good," he agreed.  They walked over the NID person.

Evan Lorne looked at him then at Gibbs.  "I'm with them."  He walked off.

Tony strolled off too.  "Definitely.  Rodney?"  He nodded, following along asking questions about hyenas.

Gibbs let the doctors take the NID weenie as the kid had called him.  He looked at Landry.  "I don't think whoever had that plan is very wise," he said bluntly.  "And I doubt that's within the law."  He walked off.  "We'll see though."

"Take him into custody," Landry ordered.

"I'm not touching Sheppard or his people," one of the MP's said bluntly.  "They've done nothing wrong, sir, and if this idiot was threatening one of them so be it.  I actually knew about the Initiative because I was on the shut down and clean up team.  What they did disgusts all real soldiers.  You can court marshal me."  He walked off.  "Gibbs, I'm going on report for failing to obey a stupid order," he said as he walked past him.

"Go for it," he agreed.  "The JAG said the NID idiot is to be arrested.  We're to leave Harris the hell alone."

"Good!  Sheppard too?"

"Definitely though I'm not sure why."

"That's still classified I hope."  He went to put that one under arrest.  "By orders of the JAG commander, you are hereby under arrest," he said when he put handcuffs on him.  He read him his rights and McGee came down to get him to be sent off.


John watched Xander pace in their hotel room.  "Calm down," he said quietly.

"I'm going to go hunt."

"It's not safe," John reminded him.

"No but it'll be blowing off steam and I doubt they'll try it this soon."  He got a few things and changed shirts.  "I'll be back in an hour or so."

"I'm coming," John said.

Xander stopped him, staring at him.  "No.  Because I'm going to go be violent to bad things.  I don't want people to see me this way."  He swallowed.  "Hunting isn't pretty and it's not military, John.  It's not a battle.  It's ending the bad things."  John nodded, moving back.  "I'm sorry you had to see me that way today.  I thought it was behind me."  He walked out, going to hunt down the local vampires.  They were always fair game.  And he was better now.  He had learned a lot from Ronon and Teyla.

John changed and followed him.  He wasn't going to leave Xander out there by himself.  Even if it was something that would hurt him greatly to see, he wasn't going to let Xander put himself in danger.  He tracked him to a cemetery, watching him stalk a few vampires in there.  They had a victim, which meant they were legal targets in John's books.  One spotted Xander and screamed, then tried to flee.

Xander got him with a crossbow and stared at the other one.  He carefully put down their victim and backed up a few steps.  Xander stayed where he was.  The vampire rushed him and Xander kicked him around then staked him.  Whoosh, no more monster.  John frowned but watched Xander check the victim and call it in then move on.  John paused.  CSPD was pretty fast so he followed Xander when they got there.

Xander turned to look at him.  "John, really."

"Even if you're turning into a bastard who kills for no reason, you're my mate," he said quietly, staring at him.

"I honestly thought I was down to the apocalypse battles," he admitted.  "Maybe a mugger now and then.  Not the nightly hunting feelings, the patrol feelings.  This is my dark side and I don't want to horrify you or your people.  I'd like to keep some respect and I feel I can't if you see me hunting."

John shrugged.  "I've went off and killed whole Genii compounds," he said quietly.  "They had me hostage."

"Bit different, dear."

"I know."  He moved closer.  "It's not going to horrify me, Xander.  I realized what you meant when you said patrol and hunting before."  Xander slumped, shaking his head.  "It's not sending me screaming into the light."

Xander looked at him.  "It's still not pretty and it's not nice of me."

"No, it's probably not, but it's helpful."  Xander nodded.  "I can't fault you for that, even if I was like our PETA member."

"I don't think she'd mind me staking vampires."

"Probably."  He touched his cheek, getting a shudder.  "Me?"

"No one respects me when they see me hunting," he said quietly.  "I'm going to lose another relationship to demons only this time it won't kill you."

"You're not losing me, Xander.  Even if you turn out homicidal all the time I'll help you get right again.  I don't give up like that."

Xander slumped.  "I..."

"C'mon.  We'll finish this on the way to clubhouse.  There' s a minor one in town I hardly ever visit because no one's ever there."

Xander nodded, walking that way, John walking beside him.  "It's still not pretty."

"No, but sometimes the unpretty things have to happen."

Xander nodded.  "Sometimes, yeah."  He saw one giving him a pitied look.  "I shot the fucker and any others of them come near me, I'll expect to at least get an audience when I kill them all," he told it.

The demon blinked at him.  "There is no way you can do that."

Xander snorted.  "Based on what?"

"They're the government."

"Yeah, they are."  He smirked.  "And they're evil."  The demon shuddered.  "Hell, if I have to, I'll summon something highly evil and slay it afterwards."  The demon whimpered and shrank down.  "Yeah, I'm in a great mood.  Where's the feeding vamps?"

"They have a club they feed at but it's consensual around here, Knight.  You have not been of this temper since that night they tried to send you away."

Xander stared at him.  "No, I'm more livid now.  And I have more weapons."  The demon started to cry.  "We all know I only hit the bastards though."  Xander smiled.  "So, where?"

"Dalton.  There is a demon fight club."

"I might go show my ass a bit," he decided.  "Thanks.  By the way, this is John."

The demon stared at him.  "I can see why Buffy said she would steal you if you ever broke up with the Knight."  He ran off calling someone on his cellphone.

John looked.  "They have smartphones?"

"Yeah, a lot more do than humans."  He walked off.

"Let's go to the clubhouse to talk to the higher ups," he said.

"I'm still pissed off," he said bitterly.

"Me too."  He walked him that way.  He walked in and the Higher gasped, staring at him.  "No, I don't think the NID is going to win," he said bluntly.  "I think we need a conference call though."

"The Highers have said it was better to sacrifice you two than to expose us."

"The Highers have nothing on what Xander owns."  The man gaped at him.  "So by rights, he outranks you in status."

"Anya was over a millennia old," Xander agreed.  He went running for the office.  Xander followed, John behind him.  Tony was in there.  "Hi again," he said dryly.

"I was waiting on you to show up so we could call the Highest together, Xander.  So we'll call DC."

"He's on vacation," the local higher said.  "Get out of my chair, Consort."

"I outrank you," Tony sneered, dialing another number.  "Xander sure as hell outranks you.  I helped him when he got his inheritance."  The computer video started.  "Good morning, Craig.  I need your mate desperately because this Higher and possibly a few others have decided to sacrifice my beautiful ass as well as two other members."

"To the NID," Xander said dryly.  "I might wear out my temper sometime this year."

"You're dangerous to us all," the local higher shouted.  "You're not fully human!"

"I was exposed to it and they've detoxed everything but a tiny bit of the DNA.  I'm no less human than you are."  The man took a swing and Xander hit him a few times.  "Pitiful.  Simply fucking pitiful."

"Xander," John soothed, holding him.  "Highest."

"Sheppard.  Xander.  Tony?  You called?"  Xander told him what had went on earlier.  "Your temper has a good reason."

"I thought I was going to get to retire from the dangerous shit," Xander said bluntly.  John gave him a squeeze.

"You should have.  I have no idea what their issue is."

"Apparently both our DNA warping makes us less than human to them," John said.

"I have never considered it that way," he said bluntly.  "Is he not in his office?"  Xander pointed down at the floor.  "Unconscious?"

"Sobbing pitifully," John said, hauling him up and shoving him into a chair.

The highest looked then called the others.  "Let me make myself clear.  I have known about Xander's DNA problems, about what's in his blood, and why since he got them.  My underground contacts are as vast as his are."  They all gaped.  "I also know all about John Sheppard's ordeal with the iratus incident.  I knew before most others."  He stared at them.  "These two have no problems with us.  At all.  Our founder was a quarter fate demon.  It's in the history if you don't believe me."  He stared at them.  "So I will expect there to be no more issues from this."

"Who did what?" one asked calmly.

"They tried to give Xander and I to the NID," Tony said dryly.  "And John too if they could capture him."

The other highers shook their heads.  The highest smirked.  "If I should find the others in this conspiracy of stupidity, it will be worse than a trial.  Am I clear?"  They nodded.  One raised his hand.  "Yes, Elbert?"

"Highest, why is Xander a consort?"

"Because that's where his gifts lay, to support John beautifully in all that he does.  He could be a full member but he is a guardian and he is better at handling things while someone else does the outward show of force."  Xander nodded.  "We like him like that."

"I like him like that," John agreed, grinning at Xander.  He got a grin back but it was a weak one.  "I like being the husband sort, Xander."

"I don't mind.  But we never have time for sex anymore."

"No, we don't.  We'll have to make more time for it."  Xander grinned and hugged him.  John squeezed him.  "So I take it this incident is closed and no one else is going to try to make us destroy parts of Arizona?  Since that's where he said their base was."

The Highest looked at him.  "If they had captured him, every member in the society would be duty bound to offer their support, John.  If they had gotten all three of you, we'd have seen an assault team in action.  The guardians are good at that as well."

"Then I need to learn that," Xander said.

"You shall.  Right now, learn how to guard artifacts, Xander.  John can teach you assault theory."

John nodded.  "I can, yeah.  I haven't had the time to work on your training as much as I should have either."

The Highest smiled.  "Bring your fantastic city home, John.  That way she can be fully fixed properly and outfitted for a true war."  John smirked.  "That is an order by the way.  Craig, tell your supervisor that there's a problem I want to talk to him about."

"Xander shot the NID guy who sneered at him in front of Landry," John told them.  "Gibbs saw it too."

"Gibbs will have someone like that arrested.  He was warned what they might be trying to do."  Tony gave him an odd look.  "We told Jethro exactly why Xander is to be guarded, Tony.  Relax.  He knows nothing about us."

"Gibbs would have freaked out at the society," he said quietly.

"Quite probably."  He smiled.  "I talked to him myself."  Tony nodded at that.  Craig, his consort, came back with the phone.  "Reggie," he said fondly.  "Boys, go relax and play."

"Why didn't anyone tell me Evan Lorne was one of us?" John asked the guy in New York.

"We're surprised you didn't guess.  He is our type, John."

"Good point."  He shrugged, taking Xander back to their room to relax and cuddle.  Xander needed a cuddle.  John was superior at them so he'd help him calm down.  Rodney gave him a pointed look but he waved him off.  He took Xander to bed and just held him for now.

Rodney watched through the partially open door.  He slumped back in his seat.  Evan stared at him.  "Why?" he asked quietly.

"I don't know."

"It sucks that you have such bad timing," he said bluntly.

"I'd never," Rodney said quietly, shaking his head.

"Good.  I can only imagine how bad that'd be."  Rodney nodded, settling in to email some friends and close acquaintances that he was in the US for a while.  "I wonder if we can get someone to make us a gift basket like he got," Evan said.

"I'm sure we can all go buy some snack cakes," Rodney said dryly.

"It was nice they carried so well though."  Rodney snorted, shaking his head.  A young woman appeared, glaring at the ceiling.  For some reason he didn't reach for a gun.  That was odd and disturbing in a few ways he'd have to look at later.  "Do we know you, Miss?"

She stared at him.  "Where's Xander?"  They pointed.  She walked in there.  "You didn't send me a letter for my birthday."

"I sent you a video file," he said, holding up a hand.  She crawled in and he cuddled her.  "John Sheppard, this is Dawn Summers."

"He did.  I saw him record and send it.  I made sure it was sent."

"Then someone needs shot up the ass."

"Don't tempt me," Xander said dryly.  She stared at him.  "NID showed up earlier to get me."

"Why didn't you call?"

"I called Willow."

"I know she disappeared then came right back to finish helping Buffy with her hair."  She called her sister.  "It's me.  Did you know the NID wanted Xander?"  She listened.  "No, he called Willow.  That's where she disappeared to."  She hung up with a wince.  "Buffy's just horrified her date by slipping back into commando swearing."

"Hmm.  Wonder why."

"I don't care," Dawn said, snuggling in.  "I missed you."

"I missed you too, Dawnie."  He smiled at John.  "She's like my own sister."

"I get that."  He petted her hair.  "As long as she doesn't try to break us up."

"Mister, I will beat you with a shovel if you hurt my Xander," she said firmly, staring at him.  "You'll be a shiny, blue blooded blob of being when I'm done with you."

"I'd never hurt him, Dawn."

"Good.  Just fair warning then."  She smiled sweetly.

"Xander does that too," he said, tweaking her ear.  "He must've learned off you."

"I probably learned off him."  She snuggled in again.  Her phone rang.  "What?" she answered.  "Because I'm getting Xander cuddles, Faith."  She listened.  "Excuse me?  According to..."  She listened.  "And what about me?"  She smirked at Xander.  "Willow made a deal with the VP of the US and the guy in England to hand both of us and your mate over to protect the rest of the slayers.  That way all the attacks would stop."

John called someone with that information.  "We'll see about that."

"She was trying to protect the girls," Xander said quietly.  "But I don't like it."

"She figured you'd call down some help."

"They wouldn't come near the NID people.  Most of them are scared that they'd be captured."

"Yeah, that's what Faith said she pointed out.  Willow's sobbing in misery."

Xander swallowed.  He hugged her.  "There's nothing here to hunt and kill."  She hung up and cuddled him back.  John cuddled them both once he hung up.

"Oh hell no!" Rodney shouted suddenly.  "That's it, you're all moving to Canada."

"Hellmouth is in Cleveland," Dawn called.

"I don't care if Cleveland falls in," he snorted.  He started to call people.  There were going to be some very unhappy people soon.  Including Dawn when she suddenly found herself guarded by a commando team for the next few weeks.  "Why her?" he called.

"Glory," Xander called back.

"What?" Evan called.


Rodney looked that name up.  Tony got him onto the demon site and sat back.  He stared at it then at Tony.  "She's that artifact?" he asked quietly.  Tony nodded.  "Interesting.  She'll be well guarded in Canada."  He noted that to someone else.

Tony waved a hand.  "Gibbs will kill whoever gets near me."

"Twice now from what I've heard," Rodney said bluntly.  He calmed himself down and made other plans.  Xander's wealth was protected.  And it was more than he thought.  He really should learn how to deal with such things.  John's was protected.  His own was protected.  "Major, did you protect your assets before you left?"

"My grandfather is."

"Fine.  DiNozzo?"

"Not that much to protect," he said dryly.  "I'm a member because of my skills and how pretty I am."

"Wonderful."  He got back to making people miserable.  Certain higher ups needed a swift kick.  And some didn't need to be able to fly again, right?


Dawn showed up at home and glared when she found Willow there.  "It may have been to protect the girls but if I *ever* see your ass again I will kill you," she said firmly.

"Dawn!" Buffy complained.

"It wasn't just Xander, it was me too, Buffy, and you know what?  I stopped off somewhere to ask.  No demon would've shown up, even if we summoned them formally and correctly.  Because none of them want to be caught by those sort."  Buffy shuddered.  "So she leaves this house right the hell now or I leave this house right the hell now.  Xander's promised he'll pay for me to go to school in a safe country."

"We can work this out," Buffy said, trying to stay calm.

Dawn looked at her.  "No we can't because I had to shoot three people a few hours ago when they tried to bust into the hotel room and kill us so we wouldn't fight back."  Buffy gaped, stepping back.  "Xander killed another four.  His husband got six of them and the others got the rest of the military unit.  A full unit.  Oh, and by the way, Sam Finn's dead.  So's Riley."  Buffy burst out crying.  "I don't give a damn," she said calmly.  "One of us is packing and leaving."

Giles walked out.  "Dawn, are you injured?"

"No.  I'm pissed like Xander is.  John can't get Xander calmed down.  Xander called down the demons that have some congress members and blew poker debts to have them recalled for this."

"Oh, dear."

"I promised if they came near me again I'd kill everyone even if it meant mine and my sister's lives."  She shifted her weight.  "One of us is going and they're going within ten minutes or I'm walking out and never coming back.  Fuck you all."

"But it was to protect the others," Willow said.

"I'm not expendable," Dawn snarled.  She walked off.  "One of John's friends is arranging for me to go to school in Canada."  She went to pack.  She came out and found Buffy in the hallway.  "Have a good life, Buffy.  Don't get dead because of her."  She walked downstairs, finding a few military guys there.  "Who're you?"

"Doctor McKay asked us to escort you to school, Miss Summers," the leader said.  "He found another plot to get you and your energy thanks to her telling them about you.  He said to tell you the crystal key is green."

"Okay."  She walked off with them.  "Thank you," she said in the car.

"That sucks huge," another of the team said.  "Evan was so pissed he wasn't verbal."

Dawn swallowed, looking at the house.  "So am I," she said quietly, tipping her head back.  "Can I nap?"

"We're using an airport in another town for safety reasons," the leader said.  She nodded, letting herself drift off.  That message had meant Rodney had sent them.  She was safe with them and maybe sometime this year she'd let her temper come back down.


John walked up to the guys Evan had chosen.  "Guys."  They stared at him.  "I'm Colonel John Sheppard."  They nodded.  "This is Xander Harris and Tony DiNozzo.  They're going to New Jersey for safety reason.  I'll be joining them in a few days."  That got another nod.  "You're to guard them.  Tony is a former NCIS agent and is now a doctor.  Xander's from the Council.  There are agents who want their blood."

"Exposure to something or otherwise?" the team leader asked.  "I remember hearing about DiNozzo being sick."

"That as well," John said.  They nodded.  "They're to get delivered to Gregory House at PPTH.  You're to make sure no one NID, no one outside me, Evan Lorne, Rodney Mckay, or whoever Gregory House says can, gets near them."  They all nodded.  "Xander is used to protecting himself but his temper is very high."

"NID would do it to anyone," the team leader said.

John smirked and nodded.  "I'm handling them."  He looked at Xander.  "Be safe?"  Xander nodded.  John kissed him gently.  "I'll see you in a few days, after I borrow some of the stuff you packed."

"Okay.  You and Evan be safe."

"Of course."  He smirked.  "I'd send McKay but he's in the mood to rant at people and can go rant at diplomats."  He let them walk off.  "DiNozzo's made some quiet travel arrangements."

"That helps," he agreed.

Tony handed it over.  "It's a friend's."

He read it over, nodding.  "We're not going directly?"

"No.  They might guess since Xander has a house there and he's fond of Doctor House as a mentor but I'd rather we flew to a more major area and then traveled."

"We can do that," he agreed.  He changed the destination and added people to the manifest that weren't there.  All very scary names to screw with who wouldn't mind being on an imaginary flight.


Gregory House looked up as a young, fit male walked into his consult room.  "Can I help you?" he demanded dryly.

"Doctor Gregory House?"  He nodded.  The guy handed over a note.  "From your resident, sir."

Greg read it and nodded.  "Are they safe?"

"Very.  They're at a house that I do not know the owner of."

"Grecian?"  The military guy nodded.  "Good.  I'll be there tonight.  Do they need anything?"

"The younger one was bending over and holding his stomach earlier.  DiNozzo said that it was because of the shower?"

"I know what that means.  We'll handle it."

"We're to stay until Colonel Sheppard shows up.  We're taking up positions around the house."

"Even better.  With the ones who want him, it's a great idea."  The military guy nodded and left.  House calmed his own temper.  DiNozzo knew how to help the kid.  They could handle it.  He got up and stomped off to tell Wilson and Chase they were back but were in trouble.


Rodney showed up at the house in New Jersey a few days later and the higher stared at him.  "John will be here tomorrow."  Evan walked in and shut the door.  "Did you find him?"

"I found Robert Chase."

"House is here right now.  Xander got sick last night," the higher said.

"Why?" Rodney asked.

Tony came jogging down the stairs.  "Water differences plus there was fish tacos last night and no one told Xander they were fish."

Rodney rolled his eyes.  "Again?"

"Lesser.  We've been working on it."  He nodded at Evan.  "John?"

"Tomorrow afternoon.  He had to talk to his brother."  Rodney walked up the stairs.

"Top level, to the right," Tony called.  He grinned at Evan.  "He's finally calm."

"Good.  He was kinda scary in Colorado Springs."  Tony nodded.  "We good otherwise?"

"We're fine.  The president is having seizures over this.  Vance had to tell him what was going on.  So Vance is presently hiding for his life.  The president walked up to someone named Maybourne and kicked him.  Literally kicked him.  Then he started to yell, scream, and rant like Rodney without coffee."  Evan shuddered.  "So we're all on vacation.  He walked up to Landry and kicked him too.  He sent video of it."

Evan grinned.  "Good.  O'Neill would never have allowed something like that."

"Is O'Neill the older guy with silver hair, Air Force guy?" Tony asked.  Evan nodded.  "He was following the president and just glared at Landry, said 'I thought you'd do a better job'."

"Wonderful."  He followed Tony back upstairs.  Xander gave him a pointed look.  "He had to stop off to talk to his brother."

"Okay."  Evan smiled and petted him.  "I'm fine.  It's happened before."

"I know.  Still kinda sucks."  He sat down beside him.  "Are we good otherwise?"

"Yup," Tony said.

"Well, I do have some news," Rodney said, smirking at Xander, who gave him a confused look.  "Your projects?  I've been sharing them with someone I know in a very good civil engineering program.  Including the problems you've solved and how you made things that would work.  He's the one that's getting you help."  He stared at him.  "He wants to meet you to interview you for your last project, which you've already passed."

"What?" Xander asked, looking at Tony.  "He's being a bigger brained geek than I am."

"You have an interview to make sure they want to give you a Bachelor's degree," Tony said with a grin.  "He arranged it through me when I was still down here."

Xander looked at Rodney.  "You can't do that."

"I can so and don't argue with me or I'll have Sheppard paddle your ass."

"I'd break his hand."

Rodney smirked.  "Good!  It's good you won't let him run over you.  Though you both need more time off.  That way all those stupid rumors about you two breaking up are stopped."

"It's not our fault there's too much work."

"No, it's not," Rodney agreed.  "If you could find a way to kill all the wraith however...."

Xander looked at him.  "Puppy dogs and kitties?"

"Huh?" House asked.  "Are you siccing defenseless animals against them so they go 'aww' until they die?  Or are you using attack animals?"

"Dawn made him puppy and kitty grenades, Doctor House," Evan said with a grin.  "Cute little leather ears and all that."

House shook his head quickly.  "That's warped but I can appreciate that."

"She's like my little sister," Xander said with a grin.

"Clearly.  She shares your love of the strange weapons," Evan said dryly.  Xander grinned.  "How long before you feel better?"

"I feel fine."

"He's to stay in bed for another day," House overrode.  "Just in case gills show up."

Xander looked at his abdomen then at him.  "They were already there."

"Is that what those are?" Evan asked.  Xander nodded.  "Huh.  I would've thought your throat."

"No, he has very thick veins there," House said dryly.

"We're hoping he doesn't have to save any other people who fall off the city," Rodney said.

"I'd hope so too," Xander said.  "It sucks when you fall off a city."  Rodney swatted him but was smiling.  "Why are we all gathered here?"

"Your house is rented," Tony reminded him.

"We came to bother you," Evan said with a smirk.

"Cool.  Tony won't let me do anything."

"No, because if you go downstairs, someone would expect you to flirt."

Rodney nodded.  "They would."

House smirked.  "I was here his first night."  Evan pinched him.  "He was very sweet and blushed a lot."  Chase walked in.  "Did you remember to pick up his medicine?"  Chase tossed over the bag, letting House check it before handing two to Xander along with his glass of water.

"Thank you, Chase," Xander said, taking them.

"It's no problem though Cuddy is wondering if you're back."

"No, not officially," House told him.

"I told her we were sending them to him since he's doing a military contract."  He sat in a chair.  "Now what are we doing?"

"You're waiting in bed like a princess for your husband," House said sarcastically.  "I'm going to take DiNozzo downstairs and molest him greatly.  McKay can come down or he can tell you about your new degree.  And the good Major can have Chase if he wants."  He stood up.

"You know, Gibbs heard," Tony said with a smug look.  "He told me if I'm just fucking you to have fun but if it's serious he's going to kill you if you try to take me off the team.  So he'd have you recruited forcefully as our newest ME or we'd all come up to the local office."

House snorted.  "He's possessive and wants you a lot, DiNozzo."

"He doesn't like boys, House.  Otherwise I probably would've been bent over his worktable."

"He's in denial.  All men want an ass as tight as yours."

"I'll gain more weight then," Xander quipped, yawning at the end.  "That way John doesn't have to glare at anyone."

Rodney laughed.  "He makes it clear in other ways, Xander.  Trust me."  He walked off.  "I'll introduce you in a few days."

"Yes, Rodney."

"Thank you."  He smirked at him before leaving.  He went to talk to Chase, who was charming when he blushed and very smart.  It was charming, though Evan was watching Tony a bit too hard.  So perhaps they'd have another Atlantis society couple.


Xander woke up to someone hugging him.  "I'm married," he mumbled.

"I know you are and it's very hot," John said in his ear.  Xander turned over to hold him.  John let Xander nuzzle his throat, then winced when he got bitten.  "What was that for?"

"You didn't let me destroy anyone."

"I like to destroy things when necessary and you get hot when you watch me."

Xander blinked at him. "I haven't seen you destroy anything."  John kissed him.  "Though you are really hot with bantos rods or a gun."

"I am," John agreed smugly.  "Are you sick?"

"They fed me fish."

"So you're on bedrest?"

"House is pushy."

"Good."  He rolled Xander onto his back, kissing him.  "And you're even naked."

"I took a shower a few hours ago and couldn't find clothes."  He grinned.  "They said you'd be here this afternoon."

"I left sooner.  My brother's wife is on the baby thermometer and today was their day."  Xander grinned, pulling him down to kiss him.  John moaned, letting it all go.  They were safe now.  Things were going good.  Xander was warm and living and ready for him he hoped.  He teased Xander's neck.  "I want to do dirty things."

"I could use another shower," Xander teased.

"Good.  We could both use a good bath."  He winked and moved down farther to tease Xander's stomach.  The gills were touch-sensitive.  Drawing his tongue across them made Xander shiver and arch up against his mouth.  "They taste good."  He moved down, teasing the hard cock.  Xander had a plug in place.  "Desperate?" he teased, pulling it out and dropping it off the side of the bed.

"Ready for when you showed up.  House was going to let me go downstairs and climb into your lap."

"I would've adored that."  He teased him until Xander was begging and sild into his body, making them both groan.  Xander hadn't stretched himself very far.  He was still so tight and it was a great thing to slide into.  Xander wrapped his legs around John's waist so he could have better leverage.  John gave him a long, slow ride.  They were both dripping with sweat by the time John was ready to speed up.  Xander bit him, making him hiss.  "Biting is wrong," he taunted, riding him harder.

"You taste good."

"I'll feed you steak later."  Xander flipped them over and rode John, making him hold on for dear life.  "Xander!" he shouted.  "More!"

"Of course I am," he panted, working it as best as he could.  "Touch...touch.  Please touch!"

"You're keeping us up," Rodney yelled.

"Good!" John yelled back.  He stroked Xander's cock and it was all he needed to spray and go limp.  John smiled, flipping them back over to finish a bit more tenderly.  Xander was mewling because he was sensitive.  John came after a few strokes and sighed, laying down next to Xander.   He pulled him closer to cuddle.  Xander snuggled in, teasing the little bit of chest hair John had.  "Sorry about Rodney."

"He's your best friend, they do that."  He bit him again.

"What was that one for?"

"For not letting me tease you."

"You get to tease me later.  No biting."

"Fine.  Anya liked biting.  It kinda became a habit."

John took a quick kiss.  "I'm not into pain play."  Xander nodded, staying snuggled in.  John smiled as his mate fell asleep.  John wiped his face off but stayed there.  Xander needed cuddled.  This had really shaken him.  It had shaken John but Xander was insecure and could only really trust his temper right now.  So he needed to be a support pole.  He could do that.  Xander did it for him all the time without John really realizing it most of the time.  They'd get up and bathe later.  Though he would have to teach Xander not to bite.  He winced and disconnected the teeth from his nipple.  Xander chewed on his finger instead.  "I hope this isn't any more than that," he said quietly.

Xander hummed and blinked at him.  He let the finger out of his mouth.  "What?"

"I was hoping you biting me in your sleep wasn't anything."

Xander blinked a few times.  "I don't think so.  We can ask House later."

"Okay.  We can do that.  Because I'd hate to be dinner, even if I am a snack."  He grinned.

Xander stroked over John's stomach.  "You're a good snack but not very filling.  That's why I have to keep coming back for more."

John grinned.  "Want to take a bubble bath?"

"Yup."  He got up and helped John up, taking them to the bathroom to run a bath.  John picked the bubbles, Xander ran it very hot.  John hissed as he sank into it.  Xander climbed into his spot and it was good.  Very relaxing.  John fell asleep and Xander slept on John's shoulder.  It was good.

House came in an hour later and stared, smirking at them.  He left the medicine in plain sight before leaving again.  He'd check on them later.  After he got Rodney some earplugs.


John looked at House, staring around then at him again.  "He's been biting," he said quietly.  "Even while asleep."

"It's not the taint.  He just likes to bite.  It comes from having to cohabitate with a neutered vampire.  His taint is down to under three percent.  Maybe if it was over five percent."

"He still has gills?"

"They might not sink in again.  They were only partially sank in when he left to be with you."

"I saw them but I can feel them separating.  I don't want him to be hurt."

"I'll check it."  He looked around.  "Is he awake?"

"He's getting dressed.  The medicine?"

"Immune system booster.  It's helping lower that taint.  DiNozzo needs to be on it too."

"As long as he can get enough shipped."

"I'm sure we can work on that.  They're not something someone would abuse."

Tony and Xander walked in together.  "House, his gills are out."

House put Xander on the table so he could check his stomach.  "They are."  Xander flinched and wiggled when he ran his hand up his stomach.  He petted them back down.  "Everything else is looking less."

"Maybe they're meant to be out then," Xander sighed.  "Or maybe it's something Willow's doing, who knows."

"We can have her sniped," John said.

Xander looked at him.  "I've known Willow since kindergarten, John."

"I get that."  He gave him a hug.  "Will it matter to anything, House?"

"No, and if he's biting," he said, checking John's throat.  "It's probably not that.  He's down under three percent."  He pulled back.  "Is there a way to check for magic?"

"No clue," Xander admitted.

"I'll talk to Mr. Giles later," House said.  "He's asked to talk to me anyway."

"Why?" Xander mouthed.

"He didn't tell me."


"He didn't say."

"Uh-huh.  Okay.  Tell me how that goes?"

"I'll do that.  For now, eat something not fish."  Xander nodded, sliding off the table and getting stuff to make breakfast.  John moved to help.  Xander took a kiss with a grin.

"You make a good breakfast."

"Is that why you kiss me every morning?" Xander teased.

"Yup."  He took another one, making Xander moan.

House shook his head but he was smiling.  "Goofy love."  He walked off.  "Chase, I need something to take goofy headed love out of my head."  They all winced at the spanking noise.  "Ow!  Not that way!"

"You deserve it," Chase said dryly.  He leaned into the kitchen.  "Xander, did you take your medicine?"


"Good."  He walked off and they heard him spank House again.  "That way you have dirty thoughts later on when you have that meeting with Cuddy."


"You can leer at James."

"I usually do."  He strolled off, getting onto his bike to head back to the hospital.  "Chase, are you coming?" he called.

"No.  I'm off today."

"Fine.  Make me do it all by myself."  He started his bike and zipped off.

Chase went back inside.  "House is safely off menacing others."

Rodney came down the stairs.  "Good.  The loud couple?"


Rodney kissed him, getting a smile back.  "You'll be a good lunch."  He walked into the kitchen.  He pushed Xander back into his chair when he got up.  "I'm an accomplished cook, Xander.  Sit your ass down and tease your husband so he can keep others up again."

"Why were you listening that hard?" John snorted.  "If I knew you were a voyeur I might've made out with Xander in front of you."

Xander shrugged.  "Anya was all for sex in public and I did do those few nights as a stripper when the car broke down."   He ate a bite of egg.  "Though I sucked at it."

"I'm sure you'll be better now," Rodney said dryly.

"Maybe.  Not real sure."  He ate another bite and stole a piece of John's sausage, getting another one handed to him for one of his pieces of toast.  Xander grinned.  "Thank you."

"Welcome.  Walk in the gardens later?"  Xander nodded, digging in again.  "Slow down.  We have all day.  No one's going to bother us for at least a day."

"That's cool.  Go for a ride on the bike?" Xander offered.

John smiled.  "I like that idea."  Xander grinned and they put their empty dishes in the dishwasher before going outside.  John talked Xander into teasing him with a lap dance in the outdoor grotto tented area.  There was a soft cushion bed under the gauzy tent.  Xander turned on the radio and it was good.  John was definitely enjoying it and Xander made him very happy.


John got off the bike and looked at Xander, who smiled and got off to walk over with him.  "General," he said.  "I expected you tomorrow."

"I've had my ass chewed all day, so I'm escaping."  He smiled.  "It's nice to see you happy, Sheppard, and Harris healthy."

"I've been healthy," Xander told him.  "Just that stupid taint came back a little bit."  He sat down on the park bench, looking at him.  "So what're we going to do?  John said I'm not allowed to go destroy their base."

"That's my job," John said smugly.  He sat down too.  "What're we doing, General?"  Evan showed up on his rented bike.  "I forgot you bike."

"I do," he agreed, strolling over.  "Though it's cute he lets you drive."  He sat down on Xander's other side.  "What was Landry thinking?"

"He was thinking that they'd find a way to give those gifts to soldiers that needed it and he hated that people told him to butt out of Xander's life," Jack O'Neill admitted.

"I only told him the once it was classified," Xander told him.

"I know.  Though it was funny that him coming up here pissed him off the worst.  Because that doctor wasn't scared of him in the least and treated him like he was a school boy."  He looked at Xander.  "What about Rosenburg?"

"I'm beyond pissed.  I'd love to beat the shit out of her but I've known her for most of my life.  I can understand her wanting to protect the girls, but I'm still really pissed off."

John petted his back.  "I'm really pissed on your behalf.  If I see her, I'm going to kill her ass."  He looked at the general.  "Who screwed with our emails?"


"Did he screw up anything else?"

"Yup.  Want the honest truth?"  Both military guys nodded.  "Your files are sealed."

"As in KIA sealed?  MIA sealed?" Xander asked.  "Sealed like they were covert and killed?"

"Mostly that last one but the last entry states it was sealed due to the project you were on exploding.  Body unrecoverable."

John and Evan shared a look then nodded once.  That explained their relatives' reactions when they showed up to talk to them.  "Does that mean I don't have to reup this year, sir?" Evan asked.

"No, I spent all yesterday fixing that.  The Secretary of Defense got read into the program and spent the first six hours screaming at me for daring to use his military people that way.  Then I told him about the gou'ald, the ori, the wraith, and the genii.  He spent another four hours screaming about bringing new wars to earth.  Wasn't the Council bad enough, and on and on and on."  He smirked at Xander.  "Then I told him you were there fixing the city.  He had a slight heart attack but when they released him from the emergency room he fixed everyone's files."

"Does that mean the girls will get military backup for apocalypse battles?"

"Not a chance," Jack said dryly but he was smiling.  "He said he doesn't want to know.  I asked if I should prep my people for the next one."

"May," Xander said.

"Good to know."  John was looking at Xander.  "It's a small one so they can get used to that and how sometimes bullets don't work."

"The small battle before the larger battle theory works for us," Jack said.  "And if we see it, we'll step in, Xander."  Xander grinned at him.  "Even if only Daniel can use a sword on the whole base."

"Ask your geeks," Xander said dryly.

"I have.  Only Danny boy can use one."  He tapped the table a few times.  "We've come to an agreement however.  Sheppard, the president wants Atlantis back here.  That way you're not trying to fix damage while you're having battles.  We can make you new weapons, get you all you want, and the president can get over his migraine from some peculiar higher ups chewing on his balls.  Would you know anything about that?"

"We and McKay have some friends in higher places," Evan said.

"I heard from your grandfather.  Someone read him into the program and he's not supposed to know."

"Not me."

"No, the Chief of Staff."  He stared at him.  Evan grinned but shrugged.  "Fine.  He ordered you to come back before you die.  I was also ordered to make sure you can breed him a proper heir in case you turn heroic like Harris.  And he did cite him as an example."

"How does he know me?" Xander asked.

"He led the inquiry after the LA apocalypse battle," Jack said smugly.  "Including back into Sunnydale."

"Well, I'm sure he's not demonic since Evan's not so he won't hate me for it."

"No, he thinks you're heroic and about to turn tragic, which would upset his grandson.  Speaking of," he said, looking at John.  "The president has given our whole program a pass on DADT and he's promising to get rid of it somehow.  Apparently his Chief of Staff having a boyfriend shocked the hell out of him."  He looked at Xander then back at John.  "How do they know about you two?"

"Those same friends," John said.

"Is there something I can't know?" Jack asked.

"Yes."  John smiled.  "Old friends."

Jack leaned on his forearms, leaning closer.  "There's all sorts of conspiracy sorts in DC.   Are we talking Illuminati or something similar?"

"Powerful but not conspiracy sorts," Evan said.

Jack stared at him then at Xander.  "Since your inheritance?"

"Since just before then."


"Xander's the best consort I could ask for," John said with a grin for him.  "No matter how many scientists are jealous they can't have one."

"I've heard.  Landry had notes about it.  A few he encouraged."  Xander grimaced.  "Not the poisoning though.  That would hurt their other plans."

"Fuckers," Evan muttered.

Xander nodded.  "They were."  He patted him on the arm.  "Thank you."

"Welcome.  Like I told you, I want Sheppard happy and content.  And if he ever breaks up with you, you can come tell me how bad it was and all that.  I'll make sure the city doesn't attack you for it, Xander."  Xander grinned and nodded.

"Why would he?" Jack asked.

"There's a lot of people who think best friends shouldn't hover," Xander told him.

"Ah."  He nodded.  "They're idiots."  He looked at John again.  "We hear rumors now and then about a pseudo-royalty group?"

"Yes, you do," John said with a grin.

"Fine.  Good enough."  He held up a hand.  "We don't care as long as it's consensual and DiNozzo is staying.  It's safer for him and Harris since Landry told them about the whole 'classified blood issues' thing he got told.  And they promptly planned on giving it to some allies."

"Fuck them," Xander said.  "I'd kill them."

"I'm sure you would," Jack agreed.  "How many weapons are on Atlantis?"

"I left most of them."

"Thanks," Evan said with a grin.  "They probably appreciate them.  The pet grenades?"

"No, those I packed."  He grinned.  "And the bullet families."

Jack shook his head.  "I saw a picture of those."  He looked at John.  "How long will it take you to get the city back here?"

"A crapload of ZPM power," he said bluntly.

"Damn, but we have three waiting on you.  Sam Carter was working on recharging based on the whole strange void thing we accidentally did."

"Have you told McKay?  He'll kiss you," John said, texting him.  Rodney showed up a few minutes later and kissed Jack, making him moan and wave his hands for balance.

Rodney sat down.  "You do that fairly well.  Pass that onto Sam for me?"

"Not a chance," Jack said dryly.  "She'll smack me around, McKay."  He hit him on the arm.  "Pain in my ass."

"Only if you want me to be," he said with a smug look.

"Someone got too much sex," O'Neill complained.

"Yes, and it was fantastic."

John patted Xander on the back.  "You can bite him later."

"I'm not sleeping with Rodney.  Why would I bite him?"

O'Neill shook his head quickly.  "I don't need to know."

"Sorry," Xander said with a grin.

"No you're not.  I wasn't when I was in that stage of my marriage.  Anyway."  He tapped the table a few times.  "The president said I'm allowed to know so I can protect you."

John nodded.  "I trust him, Xander.  He's been with the program from the beginning.  We all trust O'Neill.  He's a lot like you."

"Pot, kettle," Evan said dryly.  "Though yeah, O'Neill is the official deity of the SGC, Xander."

Xander considered it then nodded.  "How much of my file did you get?"

"Nothing.  They wouldn't let me have it."  John called someone and it was brought to them.  Xander checked it, frowning and making a note in the margin.  Then he handed it over.

Jack read it over, including that note.  Then he looked at him.  "Maybe we're related," he sighed.  Xander grinned.

"Keller knows some.  She did erase the scan," John said quietly.

"I knew the full thing," McKay said.  "I gave that file to John."  He looked at that note, then at him.  "You weren't absent that night?"

"No, I'm the one that undid the bomb."

"Interesting."  Xander grinned.  "That explains that gap, yes."  He looked at the general.  "Locally, House, Chase, DiNozzo, one virologist, Doctor Wilson in Oncology all know."

"Doctor Will in virology," Xander said quietly.  "He worked on mine and Tony's."

"That's a good way of doing that," Jack said.  "Doctor Paul Will is at Area 51 now to protect him.  I was wondering about that."

"They kidnaped him to get our samples and a few others," Xander said quietly.

"So it's probably a good thing.  I'll check on him.  Make sure he's happy."  He looked at John.  "You knew?"

"All of it.  I asked him when we started to get to know each other."

"Good."  He considered it.  "DiNozzo is never to go off world again.  I'll let him stay on Atlantis for now but there's no telling what they think they can do and a few of the other places can boil things like that down.  Xander, I know you don't have a reason to."  Xander nodded.  "Good.  We want you to fix the city.  McKay is hiring you a few others to help you once you get back to earth."

"Okay, I've run a crew before," Xander agreed.  "It'll definitely be easier to get wires."

John nodded.  "It would be.  Or the next time someone blows up a bathroom."

"I heard," Jack assured him, looking smug.  "Were they stopped?"

"Oh, yes.  Ronon had a lot of fun with them, sir."

"Great."  He smirked.  "Okay.  You guys go back on the next ship, which is in four days."  John nodded.  Evan nodded too.  "I want you back in the mountain in two."

"Agreed," Rodney said.

John nodded.  "I can do that."  He looked at Evan then at Jack.  "I want to nominate a second assistant, sir.  There's a lot of work for just me and Evan."

"Agreed.  By what I've seen you do nothing but paperwork and your consort does nothing but fix things for fifteen hours a day."

"That's one reason, yes, sir."

"Granted.  Any idea who?"

"Have Mitchell give me ideas?"

"I can do that."  He smiled.  "He'd be thrilled.  We have a few who love paperwork."

"I'd love them to do mine," John said.  "Are we keeping the IOA?"

"For now."

Xander's phone beeped so he looked at it.  "Ummm."  Evan took it since he was reading over his shoulder.  "McKay, do you have your laptop?"  He nodded, pulling it out to log on.  "Get on CNN."  McKay got onto the site through his satellite hookup.

Jack leaned over to watch the video of Willow Rosenburg's mea culpa on national tv.  Including how she was trying to protect Atlantis.  "Shit," he muttered.  "That's it, I'm paddling her."

"I don't want to hear about it," Xander said honestly.

"I understand."  He called someone.  "Sir, O'Neill.  CNN.  Rosenburg."  He hung up and waited.  Ten minutes later his phone rang and someone on the other end was shouting.  "No, sir, we can't take out the Council.  She's the one that sold two members out to protect the other slayers.  They had nothing to do with it."

"Buffy's going to freak the hell out," Xander said, taking the phone.  "Sir, Xander Harris," he sighed.  "Buffy emailed me she hasn't seen Willow since she kicked her out the day we got back.  Yes, him.  No, Dawn's in school.  I'm paying for it for her.  Canada.  Somewhere Rodney McKay found."  He listened.  He handed John his phone.  "Call Buffy?"

John called.  "You must be Mr. Giles.  This is John Sheppard, we need to check a fact with you and Miss Summers.  Yes, it's critically important.  CNN," he said dryly.  "He guessed Willow did something else."  He winced at the yelling.  "So you did not allow that act?  That's what we wanted to know, sir.  Thank you.  Yes, he's fine.  Right next to me where he should be."  He hung up and took the phone.  "Colonel John Sheppard, sir."  The Secretary of Defense, huh.  "They did not know.  Mr. Giles asked what she was doing this time and I said CNN.  He started to scream and rant in Latin and Spanish."

"Huh, that's a new language.  Usually he swears in Latin then Egyptian, and then one of the demon ones that make everyone who knows duck and cover," Xander said.

John nodded as he listened.  "Yes, sir, they had no idea.   He vowed he was going to kill her for this.  It looks bad on them as well.  Thank you, sir.  Yes, sir, but Mr. Harris would destroy anyone who tried.  He's like that and happy to do it."  He smirked at Jack.  "Yes, sir, I'd find pompoms," he said sarcastically, making Evan shudder and shake his head while muttering.  "Major Lorne said he'd help, sir.  Thank you, sir.  Here's the general."  He handed it back.  "They will not order a strike on the Council."

"That's good," Xander said.

Jack answered his phone when it rang.  "Sure, I'll hold for the president to swear at me," he said when the secretary said to hold for him.  He walked off wincing.

"I'm sure she's sorry," Xander called.

"I'm going to kick her like I did Landry," Jack called back.

"I could watch that," Xander admitted.  "There were a few times I wanted to do that when she went magic addiction.  Instead I got magical liver damage."

Jack turned to stare at her.  "She's what sort of addict?"

"Magic.  My power makes me next to the Goddess sort of addiction."

Jack repeated that.  "How did that translate into liver damage?"

"I felt like Harry Potter seven times," Xander said dryly.  "While stopping her."  Jack gaped.  "House knows."

Jack repeated that.  "The apocalypse she almost did?"  Xander nodded.  He said that and walked off muttering.

"Wow, if the higher ups are swearing does that mean he wants to be a higher up?" Xander asked.

McKay burst out cackling.  John and Evan were staring at him.

Evan patted Xander on the back.  "You need to do more than tease your husband, Xander.  He can help you cure that."  Rodney cackled harder.  "Before the bad ideas spread."

"I'd vote for him," John said with a shrug.  Xander blushed, giving him a shy look.

Jack was staring at McKay then shook his head.  "I don't want to know.  It might be contagious.  He's too evil for it to be a good thought."

"He just noted that you swore like a higher up, sir," John called with a grin and a wave.

"Harris, no more bad thoughts," Jack ordered.  "Please.  I'd have to shoot you if I got elected to something."

Someone shot at John, making him flinch when it hit his shoulder.  Xander got him down on the ground and Evan covered them.  Rodney was under the table and moving closer to help Xander.

"I need a bandage," Xander ordered a bit too calmly.  He was pressing on the wound.  "The bullet's still in there."  He flipped out his pocket knife.  "Shirt, something, McKay."  Rodney took off his shirt and let Xander have it.  Xander worked the bullet out and took the shirt to cover the wound.  "That'll help."  He shifted his weight to put more pressure on it.  John moaned.  "I know but it'll be okay, John."  He glanced around.  "Aren't the guards still around?"

"Yes," Rodney said.  "I'm hoping they got the sniper."

Xander nodded.  "No they haven't."  He grabbed Lorne's knife and threw it at someone, making them scream.   Evan turned and shot them and their partner.  Two others rushed and Evan held.  They were the guard team.  Xander concentrated.  "Behind us, Evan."  Evan turned and the guards shot the person running their way.  Xander looked down at John.  "Hi."


"Sorry.  The bleeding's slowing down.  You'll be okay," he said quietly and calmly.  "And then I'm going to fuck up someone."  John patted Xander's hand.  Paramedics and cops came rushing over.  "I got the bullet out."

"Sir, you're not supposed to do that," one of the paramedics complained.

"I'm one of the field medics for the Council.  Shut up.  He needs a pressure bandage.  The bleeding is slowing down."  The other paramedics got him what he needed and they bandaged it.  He kissed John on the forehead.  "He goes to PPTH.  His doctor is House."

"Okay," that paramedic said.  The other was checking the people who shot at them.  They got him loaded and more paramedics for those ones.  He and his partner took John and Rodney off.

Evan helped Xander off the ground.  "That's mine and General Jack's job," he said quietly.

"No it's not."  He walked off, going for the bike.  "Who were they?"

"Another capture team," one of the guard team said, following him.

Xander turned to look at him.  "Stay.  Guard McKay, he knows enough to be their favorite target of all."  He got onto his bike and zipped off, looking pissed off.  He had recognized one of them.  They were going to pay hard.


O'Neill finally caught up to Xander when he was standing on one's chest with a gun in his face.   Not what he had expected but he had seen the temper-related destruction in the other areas of the building.  "Xander?"

"Initiative people," he said, staring down at him.  "Who wanted my mate."

"That's good to know.  We can arrest them."

"They're going to go after the girls too.  They tried Dawn at school.  Fortunately they have security there."

"I heard from McKay.  Let me have him?  I have John in the car."

Xander looked down.  "My mate would be unhappy if I killed you.  Maybe."

"Probably," John said as he walked in.  "Xander, you destroyed most of them.  Let him be a messenger.  That way people know.  They'll be in prison within minutes if you get off him."

Xander looked at him.  "You don't look good."

"I ache like hell but if I take something you'll keep going."

Xander shook his head.  "I expected them to keep you tonight so I was going to show up to fuss in the morning."

"I'd appreciate some fussing."  He took the gun from Xander.  "Let me.  I get to protect you since they were after you."

Xander shook his head.  "They were after us, John.  Willow spread the blue stuff."

"I heard.  They were still trying to capture you.  They were going to kill me."  Xander growled.  John hugged him.  "Please?"

"Are you sure?"

"I'm certain.  General Jack is our God because he brings pain when he needs to.  Please?"

Xander stared down at him.  "You'd better be lucky he's so reasonable."  He walked John off, checking his shoulder.  "Are you in a lot of pain?"

"Little bit.  It's a clean wound, all closed up."  They got beamed back to the club in New Jersey.  Evan quit pacing.  McKay sat up.  "See, we're all okay.  I need some fussing."  Xander nodded, putting his head on John's good shoulder and holding him.

John held him.  It was good to calm down.  "Bed," Evan ordered.  "Xander, he needs to lay down.  You kept him from losing too much blood but he still needs to lay down."  Xander nodded, walking John up to their room.  He gave John a sponge bath then tucked him in, running down for dinner and then back up to help him eat the soup and sandwiches.  John let him fuss and it was good.  Evan looked over as O'Neill showed up.  "I had Xander put him down for a nap."

"Good.  He's scarily like me," Jack sighed.  He looked around then at Evan again.  "Are you guys secure here?"

"Yes, sir."

"Then I'm going to go find a room.  I'll talk you two at ten or so.  I'll call."  He walked off.

Evan sighed, sitting down.  "It's good they won't try it again."

"It's very good they won't try it again," Rodney said dryly.  Evan stared at him.  "I would've went to kill them instead."

"I know.   Xander made sure the only person who could stop him had what he needed to be safe and heal faster."  Rodney smiled.  "You need to relax too, McKay."

"I do but everyone else is missing."  Tony strolled over reading a book and kissed him.  "What are you reading?"

"The updated Virology 2 textbook."  He settled into McKay's lap, putting the book aside.  "I'm tense and I knew Xander would stop if asked."  McKay smirked and got them both undressed.  Tony was a good distraction.  He was a good kisser, great at blowjobs, and went limp in his lap like he was lap candy.   It was very good to ride him into less stress.

Evan smirked at James Wilson when he walked in.  "Doctor Wilson."

"Major Lorne."  He shook his hand.  "How are things?"

"Xander's fussing over John. "

"Good!  House was worried he'd kill too many people and people might want to make him do real work."  Evan pulled him closer to kiss.  "You that hard up?" James joked.  "I'm not one of the young, firm things like you are."

"You're incredibly sexy, Doctor Wilson, and I'm sure it's been a while since you were made to squeal in pleasure."

"Very long," he moaned.  Evan pulled him to the couch to play with him.

Tony kissed Rodney's ear, earning a smirk.  "James is very pretty."

"They're both very pretty."  He stroked over Tony's hip.  "I need more."

"I'm definitely up for that."  He walked Rodney off to the room he liked best.  There were a few toys, a set of fuzzy handcuffs, and Rodney would look adorable with them used on him.


John looked up after eating, letting Xander fuss over him.  He pulled Xander next to him, cuddling him.  "Thank you," he said quietly.

"I knew he'd take care of you," Xander whispered, playing with John's sling.

"He would've pushed you out of the way."

"I know."  He took a kiss.  "Is there ...."

"Rodney's never shown an interest in my body, Xander.  Even then, I'm yours and we'd have to get permission to try a two member, one consort relationship because it's against the rules to share you."

"I got told that."

"I'd never do that anyway.  Besides, Rodney's not into me that way."

"If you did, you'd tell me, right?"

"I would."

Xander hugged him carefully.  "Then I'd be okay with it.  As long as you told me."

"Is there some doubt?" John asked.

"Rodney was trying really hard not to cry."

"I didn't see that."  He considered it.  "I doubt we could make it work.  We're too...  We rub each other the wrong way.  We make pretty good friends because of that but I can't imagine making Rodney scream for me."  He looked at him.  "So don't worry."

"I'm not.  I'm just making sure you'd tell me so we could talk about it."

"We would.  I'd never do that to you."  Xander nodded, snuggling in.  John smiled.  "Feel better?"

"No, I still want to go stomp on more people."

"Me too."  He kissed him on the head.  Xander let him fall asleep while he thought.  John woke up a while later because his shoulder was aching.  He looked.  Xander was finally asleep but he was licking his stitches while asleep.  John petted him.  "I'm okay," he whispered.  "They're clean and not infected, Xander."  He heard a chuff.   "Yes, your mate is fine," he soothed.  The hyena retreated and John smiled, letting Xander cuddle.  It was good she liked him too.  He shifted around Xander and went back to sleep.  It was good to have a consort.  Even if his consort was slightly like Ronon at times.


Evan looked at John the next day.  Xander was getting him a drink.  They were out in the tent in the garden.  "You good?"

"I'm good," he agreed, smiling at his goofy warrior consort.  "I woke up around three to his hyena licking my stitches to make sure they're clean."

"You did?" Xander asked.

"Yeah, but it was sweet and she went back to sleep too."  Xander climbed into his lap, letting him have the bottle of beer.  "You didn't get one?"

"I don't usually drink."  John stared at him.  "I don't care as long as you're not drunk."

"No, I hate being drunk."  He sipped it and put it down.  Evan stole it.  "I should have Tony pounce him," he told Xander.

Who grinned.  "He's making Rodney get loud and huffy about his ass being a playground."

"Awww, that's sweet of Tony."  House walked out, leaning on his cane as he stared at them.  "They're clean."

"Apparently I made sure last night," Xander said.

House walked over to check.  "They are clean."  He looked at Xander.  "Didn't shower today?"

"John had me doing yoga naked a few minutes ago."

House sat down and put his bad leg up.  "I got the worst visit from people who would love for me to stick my cane up their asses for complaining."  Xander gave him a look.  "No, not your friends.  Well, Rosenburg showed up and I did brain her with the book I was looking something up in.  She yelped and pouted and then disappeared when I told her she screwed up beyond redemption this time.  I did get a call from Mr. Giles, who wanted me to tell you to calm down."  Xander gave him a dirty look.  "I told him going to destroy people was a good response to having your mate shot."

"It is," Evan agreed.  "He impressively turned into Ronon."

Xander looked at him.  "I did not.  No dreads."

John patted him on the butt.  "You should do more yoga."  Xander actually blushed, making him grin.  "You can be clothed if you're uncomfortable in front of Gregory or Evan."

"Maybe later?" he offered.

"Okay."  He patted him again and Xander shifted.  "That wasn't a hint to move, Xander."  Xander curled up on his good side and it was nice.  He smiled.  Evan grinned at him.  "Any other bad news, House?"

"The Highest in DC likes O'Neill."

"He's our deity at the office," Evan quipped, taking a drink of beer.  Rodney walked out alone.  "Tony sleeping?" he taunted.

"Yes, he is," Rodney said, sounding smug.  House pulled him down to kiss him.  "Yes, I am a sexy bastard."  He sat down, tipping his head to look at Xander.  John grinned.  He could feel that Xander was asleep and drooling just a tiny bit.  Rodney stretched out.  "Wasn't O'Neill supposed to call by now?"

"He said about ten," Evan said.  "But he may be with those same screaming higher ups."  Rodney nodded.  One of the other consorts that was local for college served them iced tea, leaving a glass for Xander beside John's.  Then he kissed Evan, House, and walked off.

"He's cute but young," Evan said.

House nodded.  "Fairly young but he's got a sinful mouth.  He's pre-law."

"Member or consort?" Rodney asked.

"Consort.  He's Paul Metter's son."

"I remember his father squealing quite prettily."

House smirked.  "He doesn't squeal but he can suck your tonsils out of your cock.  I swear last time I turned deaf for a bit."  Rodney smirked at him.  "He's very good at it."  He watched Xander shift.  "That's a nightmare," he said quietly.  John petted Xander and it eased it.  Xander wrapped around him more tightly.   "He did a good job.  If I could get him into medical school I would.  He has a point though, it's a lot of book work."

"Which he doesn't excel at.  I put him on with my friend at Drexel before John got here.  He's got his bachelor's coming in a few weeks."

"That was sneaky but good job," House told him.

Evan looked then at McKay.  "Think we can find someone to make us those little care package boxes?"

"I think, if those ZedPM's work, we'll be back on earth in six months."

"Woolsey won't let us off the city," John said quietly.

"He won't have much choice.  We'll throw him into the water and let the fish eat him."  Rodney sipped his tea.  Someone walked O'Neill out.  "Here he is."  Jack walked into the tent and stared at Xander for a moment before smiling at Sheppard.  "He's a lucky bastard," Rodney said.

"He is.  Thank you," he told the young man pulling a chair over for him.  He sat down.  The kid handed him a bottle of water and disappeared.  "I'm back in charge."  They all smiled.  "The president had conniptions for hours earlier."

"The IOA?" Evan asked hopefully.

"Leashed.  The president assured the others that he would keep the Council from sending slayers to their countries.  Mr. Giles agreed he could switch their cities of residence around.  He said some of them were worse than the old Council heads.  They all got offended but got the point.  Especially since Mr. Giles promised if something happened to him, Buffy was to take all the girls and join the SGC."  Evan cackled so Jack smirked.  "The French President hated that so much he choked for ten minutes.  They had to heimlich him."

"So we're good?" John asked.

"Get the city back here ASAP for retrofitting and fixing.  The IOA has a set list of 'don't piss me off' already.  They know I'm back and they don't like it, which I could care less about.  They're not going to be happy.  And yes, if Woolsey won't give you leave time, you can throw him overboard and keep Xander from saving him."  They smiled.  Jack watched as a few young, naked people ran down to the pond behind the house.  "Huh," he said.  "I didn't know this was that sort of club."

"Two of those are future consorts and the others are full members but they're in college so they're allowed to be naked and skinnydip," House said.  "And later on if they want to pounce us for fun, we'll gladly let them."

Jack nodded once.  "Okay then."  John laughed.   "Not what I'm used to."

"It's all consensual," John assured him with a smile.  "And if we marry within the group there's firm rules about not sharing."

"So it's a fraternity where you guys play," Jack said.  They all nodded.  He looked at McKay.

"They came over after the Revolution," he said with a smirk.  "We had no idea the good Major was one of us."

"Of course.  That's why I showed up when you guys were mediating the storage area fights."

"They were fights," John said.  "I was worried what sort of weapons he had stored.  I didn't know at that time that he had presidential permission."

"He still does," Jack assured him.  "Though anything you guys presently have you can confiscate and share with him if you wish."

"I'll keep that in mind.  Are we going back on the ship or via the space gate and Midway?"

"Midway.  We'll break that rule this time to get the ZPM there faster.  The president wanted you back last month."

"Understood," Rodney said.

"Thanks, guys."  He stood up.  "Let me go before I want a young husband of my own."  He left, going to take down some egos.

John petted Xander, looking at the playing consorts.  "We should go help."

"You're taken," Evan said smugly.

"I like to swim."  Rodney pointed at Xander.  So did House.  "I know and the stitches.  Can we work out some way for him to swim?"

"He can't wear a diving suit," House said.  "He felt suffocated."

"I'll keep that in mind."  They went to play with the young things.  John relaxed and drank his tea then Xander's tea.  Xander could have some when he woke up.


John walked back through the gate first.  "People, meeting," he called over the comm.

Tony uploaded the new permission files directly to the server.  "This is DiNozzo, there are new laws that are particular to Atlantis only on the server.  Please make sure you are acquainted with them today, people."

McKay called Radek.  "Full base meeting.  Get everyone to the mess hall.  Now."  He hung up and they walked that way.  John and Evan leaned against the lunch service line.  Xander sat by Radek.  Tony sat behind him.  Rodney walked in last reading something.  "Radek, we have to prepare the ZedPM chamber," he noted.  "Today."  The Marines he had given the cases to put them down delicately beside him.  He looked at John.

"There have been some upheavals at Stargate Command," John announced.  Everyone got quiet.  "It started with an NID plot to take some of us in as experiments and went from there to assault teams, a begging witch who outed Atlantis, and Jack O'Neill being in charge again."  A few people looked nervous.  "If I find out *anyone* on this city had *anything* to do with the NID plot, you're gone and I'll kick your ass first, let Keller heal you, let Ronon kick your ass, and let O'Neill drag your ass to jail while you're half dead or closer."  He looked around the room.  "Am I clear?"  They nodded.

"I've set up a small summary of the last two weeks along with the new rules that were made specifically for the SGC and Atlantis," Tony said.

"Why?" one of the Marines asked.

Tony smiled.  "I'm not just your bone doctor, I'm also your NCIS agent afloat."  That Marine groaned.  "With my new medical degree, I saved them a lot of money."

"You do and some of my paperwork, which I adore," John said with a grin.  "Secondly, speaking of paperwork, there's going to be an assistant who loves doing paperwork for you to file things with.  His name is Gunnery Sergeant Neil Masters."  That got some nods.  "So all those leave requests and those things go to him.  I get the other head guy paperwork I shove off on Major Lorne."  That got a few snickers.  "Third," he said.  "We're going home, people."  That shut everyone up again.

"The president said since we were outed, we're going to finish the retrofitting and fixing of our beauteous city on earth.  Once we get there, Xander will have a few new helpers to help him fix things."  He looked around then smiled.  "We're ordered back as soon as possible to retrofit, fix the wiring and other issues, and to rearm."  The Marines smiled at them.

"Which leaves two people with some options," John said, looking at Ronon and Teyla.  "They can tell me in private."  They nodded.  "We have a tenuous schedule of lifting off early next month.  That gives us three weeks to make her air ready."

"I need to finish ripping that building.  It'll wobble and collapse," Xander said.  John nodded.  "And we'll need to look at the east sub-pier's weak plates.  It'll probably be a weakness and there's thrusters underneath it."

"Radek, help him with that," Rodney ordered.  "Anything not critical to us getting home is pushed back until we're home.  Any questions?"  They all shook their heads.  "Good.  Then let me announce that our wonderful handyman now has a bachelor's degree from Drexel."  The group clapped.  "Doctor Keller, we have a private message for you and your staff."  They nodded.  "Everyone else, do something to make sure we get home."

"Question," a female Marine called from the back.  "When we get there are we being allowed leave time?"

"Yes," John said.

"We'll see how that works out," Woolsey said.

"O'Neill said yes," John told him.  "You should read those new things, Woolsey.  The president told the IOA to suck him to be blunt."  Woolsey gave him an alarmed look.

"It's time for his pain medicine, people," Evan said.  "Because one of those assault teams shot him in the shoulder."  Everyone looked at Xander.  "No, O'Neill had to stop him from destroying a good few people.  Cause I couldn't."  John nodded at that.  Rodney shuddered.

"It wasn't a fun vacation," Xander agreed dryly.  "Doctor Keller, Tony has his painkiller in his bag and my new medicine too."

"Good to know.  I'll see you in a few minutes, Xander."

"Okay.  Radek, two hours, that pier?  That way you have time to check the ZPM stuff?"  Radek nodded.   "Cool."  He stood up.  "Are we done, Fearless Leader?  You told me to build an altar to O'Neill so I can start learning the many prayers to him, our deity at the SGC."

"Do that later," John said dryly, smirking at him.  "We did introduce him to the cult of O'Neill while we were down there."  The SGC long-term personnel all laughed.  "Get back to work, people."  They walked off.  He walked over to Keller.  "They're clean stitches.  Xander pulled the bullet."

"He can?" she demanded, looking at him.  Xander nodded.  "Huh."

"And then he went on an anti-NID rampage," Evan said with a smirk for the younger guy.

"They decided I was only worthy of an experimental cage, not the worship I'm accustomed to," Xander quipped.  "So I corrected them with members of the bullet families."

"Dawn had to make him whole new neighborhoods of bullet families," John joked.

"What new medicine and am I allowed to know why?" Keller asked.

Xander sighed and asked the city to please close them in there.  Nothing happened.  He looked at John, who closed them in there.  Tony handed over the file he was carrying, letting them read it from Xander's laptop.  "He's on an immune booster.  It helps some with the gill problems."

Keller pulled Xander over and looked at his stomach.  "They are out."

"They fed me fish," he admitted.

She went back to reading.  "That answers a lot of questions and is worse than I thought it could be."

"Mine's just the pneumatic plague," Tony said dryly.  "And Xander got his from ghosts."

Xander nodded.  "I only had symptoms for a few hours and then we got the ghosts gone so the symptoms went with them."

Keller stared at him.  "Seriously?"

He grinned and nodded.  "Anya complained that one of them was blood syphilis, so she couldn't have sex until I was better."

She whimpered.  "John is so much better for you.  I read the new statement from the president."

"Oh it got worse," John said dryly.

"Rosenburg sold him and Dawn Summers to the NID to save the rest of the slayers," Tony told her.  "And then went to tell CNN about it and the city."

She whimpered.  "Bad, so bad."

"Yup," John said.   "So we need to be aware that they want all three of us now.  Lam's already getting someone to write an encryption program for the medical databases."

"Good!"  She looked at Xander.  "No fish, no berries, no swimming still?"  He nodded.  "I can handle that."  She pointed at her staff and Xander shook his head, pointing at John.  "Okay.  Guys, this is still highly classified."

"Why does he have gills?" Doctor Biro asked.

"Because when I was in high school someone exposed me to mermaid DNA," Xander said.

"They don't exist."

"They do exist," Evan sighed.  "One came up to him and tried to carry him off."  Xander grinned.  "Not even one of his former swim team.  In Denver no less."

"I didn't know there were freshwater ones," Xander defended.  "Though she was nice about it when John told her she couldn't have me."

"That was a girl?" John asked.  Xander nodded.  "Huh.  How can you tell?"

"Vocal range."

"Oh.  Never mind.  They freaked me out enough that I don't want to see another one ever again.  It certainly didn't look like Disney's merpeople."  Xander punched him on the arm.

"Let me look at your stitches," Keller ordered.  John sighed but pulled off his shirt.  She checked and nodded.  "You've kept them very clean, Xander.  Thank you."


"Tony, I'm assuming you're on an immune booster as well?"  Tony nodded.  "Good!"  She stood up.  "Let me go read the rest of the stuff Tony put up.  Let me know what I need to do to help."  She walked off and her staff followed.

Xander looked around then hugged John.  "Be safe.  Don't fall or anything.  Don't lick the ZPM to see if it's tingly like a battery."

John laughed.  "I'd never do that.  McKay would beat me to death."  Xander smiled and left the room.  Or tried to.  The city stopped him.  John looked up.  "Atlantis, let Xander go.  He has to get to work.  We need you ready to take back so he can properly fix you and put new weapons on you, so we can come back to kick wraith butt."  Still no response.  Xander walked back and hugged him since they were alone again.  John cuddled back and kissed him.  "There, go work.  No climbing over the balconies either."  Xander nodded and this time she let him go.  "Thank you, Atlantis."  He went to the chair room to talk to her AI about what was going on.  It turns out Atlantis listened to gossip and she only wanted him to be happy.  Though she had decided if they broke up it would be Xander's fault, not John's.   He had to fix that thought before she hurt him.  Again.


"Back away from the edge of the pier before you fall in and we have to make you a giant fish tank," Evan ordered as he walked up behind Xander.  They had been back for four days and things were going along well.  They did not need a health crisis right now.

"We have a huge storm coming and two of the anchors aren't connected," Xander said quietly.

"We have to have someone on base with SCUBA experience," Evan said.

"We don't have tanks or a wetsuit."

John walked out.  "I'm not Eric," he said dryly.

"How do you know the name of the prince in _The Little Mermaid_?" Xander asked him with a grin.

"How do *you* know?" Evan asked dryly.

"I grew up around girls.  I've seen every single girl and dress movie ever created," Xander said dryly.  "Buffy and Willow made sure of it.  Hell, I can even put on a corset properly."

John shuddered.  "That's a bad image.  What's going on?"

"Huge ass storm," Xander said with a point at the clouds.  "Two free anchor cables."

John winced, calling Rodney.  He couldn't do it remotely, someone would have to go down.   John called over the general intercom to see if anyone else had any diving experience.  No one answered.  "Damn it," he muttered.

Xander smiled.  "We'll have to do the little ball thing again."  He stripped off his shirt and stepped out of his shoes, then his jeans and tool belt.

"What's your breath holding capacity?" Evan asked.

"I know at least six minutes.  House pulled me at after six minutes the once.  Tony thinks twenty probably.  I'll come up before I drown, guys.  Really.  I have dinner to look forward to tonight."

"You do," John agreed calmly.  "I want to see you every twenty minutes, Xander, and take a safety rope."  Xander got one and tied it to a ring on the side of the pier then hopped into the water.

"I know you didn't let him do that," Keller complained over the intercom.

"No other choice, Doc."

Evan looked.  "I can't even see him.  The water's too murky."

John stared then at his watch.  "I'm going to yell and scream if he drowns."

"I doubt he could," Evan said quietly.

"Let's hope not."  He kept track and after twenty minutes he started to tug on the line.  He met resistance.  He tugged harder.  The line went loose.  "He untied himself!" John complained.

Evan snickered.  "It's nice to see you in worrywart mode, Colonel."  He looked down there.  "Xander, come up for air or he's coming down after you!"  He came up.  "Why did you untie the rope?"

"Because the fish that ate cable did it."  He dove back down.

John huffed, glaring at the water.  Keller stomped out.  "He's fine.  So far."


"He was down over twenty minutes," John said quietly.

"Wonderful," she said sarcastically.  Xander came up gasping.  "Problems?" she asked dryly.

"Amazon River fish."  He threw one at her.  She yelped when it bit her on the ear.  "It's like the rats turned into fish."  He went down.  Then he came back up and climbed up the rope, John helping him the last few feet.  "Both cables are connected the but the main anchor was being chewed through.  We need to run a current down it or something."  He took the towel Keller was holding to dry off with.

She scanned him.  "Those gills had better recede soon."

"I don't feel like I'm suffocating but I probably can't put on a shirt right now," he admitted.  He wrapped the towel around him like a girl would, under his armpits, and let John grab his clothes.

"What did you do?" Radek demanded when they ran into him.

"The rats turned into fish and ate the anchor cables.  You need to electrocute the main line because it's coming undone too and I can't fix that."  He walked around him.  Radek gaped, looking so confused.  John patted him on the arm as he walked past him.

"I have headache now but am quite sure why," he complained, going to tell Rodney that.  Maybe he'd understand.


Xander looked up from his exam when Woolsey came in.  "Did they get the fish I tossed up?"

"They said it's an evil little predator-like fish."

"Like the movie?" Xander asked.  Woolsey looked clueless so he looked at John, who nodded.  "Cloaking and all?"

"I think it was the teeth."

"Huh."  He nodded.  "Okay.  We still can zap the main line, right?"

"Yup.  Rodney said so when he was doing that.  They say they're not able to be eaten, pity."

Xander nodded.  "Yeah, you guys could have a good fish dinner with all of them that're down there."

"Just ... don't turn into a redhead."

"A Weasley, me?" he teased with a grin.

"No, Ariel you."

"Hell no, no tail."  He looked at Keller, who was trying not to laugh.  "He made the joke first."

"Uh-huh."  She gave him a shot.  "Your immune booster early and an extra bit of regular human protein."

"Cool."  He grinned.  "Can I go shower again?  I feel itchy."

"No."  She smiled.  "You can do it here."

"You guys filter the water differently in here," John said more quietly.

"I forgot.  Take him to the gym since it's the closest shower."  John nodded, walking Xander off.  "Check for any patchy skin."

"I will."

"You have twenty minutes," she called.  "Then I'm coming looking."

"Yup," Xander called.

She shook her head, making notes.  "Problems, Richard?"

"Wondering a few things.  Why did they call for a diver?"  She opened a blind to show him the storm clouds.  "That looks bad."

"That is bad and some of our anchor cables had been eaten by those fish."

"Oh, dear."

"No one else could."

"That figures."  He walked off shaking his head.

Rodney rushed into the gym.  "We can't shield."

"Why not?" Xander asked.  "Did I fix the wrong thing?"

"No, the storm's a magnetic storm."

"Can we lift off now?" John asked.

"We have three hours.  I believe we can but if we run into problems we're screwed."

Xander considered it.  "Ronon and Teyla."

"I'll talk to them."  He jogged off.  "Rodney, check him for scales."

Rodney came over to look, finding a few, which apparently itched so he scratched them.  "They're coming off."

"Good.  I don't want to be black and slimy like the others turned into."  He frowned and got out, putting on a towel and letting Rodney walk him back.  "How hard would it be to move sooner?"

"You'd have to suspend all work on the piers.  We'd have to pull our shields back."

"Biology's sample room."

He called the head to tell her that.  She agreed they were already moving them back to the main room.  The ship could meet them halfway.  Rodney had good plans but a lot of things had to be sacrificed or pulled in.  Xander could help move the most critical things.  Ronon came out to help.  Rodney looked at him.  "We might not be coming back for up to a year."

"I know.  I don't have any reason to stay."


"Is staring at her son.  Her people are still scared of her.  She's not sure."

"If we had to, we'd keep Midway, right?" Xander asked.  Rodney nodded.  "Then she could come back to Midway and get dialed to another area."

"That's true."  Rodney told John that since Xander didn't have a comm earpiece again.  They got everything but the trees moved.  They couldn't move those.  Xander and Ronon shoved one of the planter boxes and looked.  "That leaves one outside a good shield radius."  He pointed.  They went to move it.  On the side of the city, they hadn't done much but one building had a few things.  They were moving that.  Rodney and Radek went to the engineering room and it was set to go.  Rodney sent out a two minute warning so everyone could get some last fresh air in.  Woosley came stomping his way but John was in the chair.  The ZPM were ready.  And they were going home.


Xander braced when the ship lifted off, turning green.  "I think I need some dramamine, Tony."  Tony got him some and let him lay down.

"He can't fly?" Ronon asked.

"We're pretty sure it has something to do with the DNA taint," Tony said.

"Oh.  Because it's part fish," Ronon realized.  Xander nodded, one arm over his eyes.  "At least you have medicine for that."  Xander nodded again then went to puke.


John noticed the ship.  "Colonel Ellis," he greeted.  "We had a huge magnetic storm coming our way."

"That's reasonable," Colonel Ellis said from the Apollo's bridge.  "Let's escort you back, Sheppard."

"First, I have two people that need beamed over.  And I need to bum a nurse.  Ours are exhausted.  It's been a slightly bumpy ride."

"I can do that.  Where are they?"

"Locked in quarters.  McKay, send their room numbers over please."

"Already sent," he called back, walking into the room with Xander, who gave him a quick kiss.

"Thank you," he said with a grin.

"Welcome.  Lunchies?"  He held up the tray.

"I could definitely eat," he agreed with a grin.

"Sheppard, we have them and have transferred over a nurse for Keller."

"Thank you.  Guard us back, Apollo.  It's going to be a long flight without working hyperdrive engines."

"I thought you had some."

"We did until someone decided us being here was a better idea."

"Oh, I see.  No wonder."

"Only one of them.  The other went into freefall panic when he saw the hyperdrive field."

"Okay.  We can sedate him."

"Thanks."  They moved off again.  "The hyperdrives?" he asked McKay.

"Still broken.  He did a fine job breaking it.  Radek and I are working on parts but we're going to be missing six.  And we can't get to the ones in the storage building right now."

"Okay," John said.  "Would anything in there fit?"

"We could make a few of the pipes work for tubing.  It's not perfect.  It might last us a few days, which would cut a few weeks off the trip."

"Do what you can, even if you have to beam them over."  Rodney nodded.  John took another kiss and Xander let him eat.  It wasn't taxing him right now but any little problem could cause the rest of them hell.  He had to be ready.


Sheppard interfaced more directly with the AI.  "We're not going to Antarctica.  They don't have the power to shield you.  You won't be safe," he said quietly.  "Pick a warm spot."  She picked two and he considered.  "Ellis, by Manhattan or the Gulf of Mexico?"

"Pacific, Sheppard.  O'Neill said so."

He thought that at her and she denied it.  "She said no.  Old programing said it's not a safe area due to the quake issue."

"The Gulf had a huge oil spill and there's tons of drilling rigs," Xander said over the comm.  "Manhattan is in a shipping lane so have her move a bit to the north or south?"

John thought that and she picked a spot.  It was nice.  It was right off New York.  They were within sight of Manhattan.  They settled in and John relaxed, shutting down things, making sure the cloak was on, and lowering the space shields for the planetary shields.  John popped his neck and changed frequencies on his comm.  "This is Colonel Sheppard, we've landed," he reported.  "She hated the Pacific due to the unstable ocean fire ring."

"We saw where you landed, Sheppard," O'Neill said.  "Good parking job."

"Thank you, General.  We're back in cloaked city mode."

"Good job.  I'll be there shortly.  We'll arrange things like primary leave time for making plans in a few hours.  Ellis, join us."

"Yes, General.  My guest?"

"You have a *guest*?" Jack asked dryly.

"Yes, sir, because we used to have a hyperdrive," John said bluntly.  "The other had a space freakout."

"Okay," Jack decided.  "Ellis, keep him for a few.  Then I'll deal with him.  Meet me on Atlantis in the gate room in an hour."  He hung up.

John put it back on all comms.  "People, General O'Neill will be here in an hour," he said.  "We'll be going over primary leaves and plans for the city at that time.  For right now, do a bit of cleaning up.  I know we were all slobs on the trip."  He heard a few laughs so hung up.  He got up and stretched, groaning as his back popped.  Xander appeared and took out his comm earpiece, tossing it into the chair before stealing a kiss.  "That is a hero's welcome," he teased with a grin.

"You are a hero," Xander agreed.  "I would've spaced him."  He walked John down to his room, getting him a soda and a snack cake before settling in to work the tension knots out of his back and shoulders.  John groaned, letting him do whatever he wanted.  Someone knocked and Rodney came in.  "He's got knots."

"I figured he did."  He handed over some oil.  "O'Neill's early and talking to Ellis about his guest."

Xander looked at him.  "If I had any idea that Woolsey would be that bad, I would've knocked him out sooner."

"No being mean on presumptive evidence," John said.  He smiled and took a kiss.  Xander let him go.  "Thank you, and for making sure I ate."  He walked off looking happier.  Rodney followed and Xander followed him once he had a shirt on.  "Sir," John said, saluting.

"At ease, Colonel.  You look tired."

"I am tired.  Xander was just working the knot out of the back of my neck for me."

"That's what a good spouse does," Jack agreed, smiling at Xander, who grinned back.

"I don't need to know," Ellis said.

Xander shrugged.  "That's your thing."

"Fine."  He looked at Sheppard.  "He sabotaged the hyperdrive?"

"Things were going to be radically different once we got back here," Rodney said.  "He was going to lose power, he was going to have to answer to the new laws.  He didn't want to deal with O'Neill."

"He tried to tell me the city's water supply didn't need fixing," Xander added.

"So he failed to find reality," O'Neill said.  "Okay, I can deal with that."

"I have one to transfer to Lam for his space freak out."

"We can do that in a few minutes.  Let's go sit down, kids."  They went to the mess hall to do that.  That way Xander got one of his sodas, Rodney got coffee, John got to finish his soda and snack cake, and Ellis got to get some coffee too.  They settled in to go over the problems that desperately needed fixed, what it would take, and what needed to be done after the critical repairs.  Plus a dream list from Rodney and Xander on weapons.

"Can you actually make one of those?" Ellis had to ask.

"There's three geeks in my former town that had them.  Andrew is the kitchen mother at the Council and he's the last one of them."

John smirked at Jack.  "We'll see if we can borrow his design skills," O'Neill said.  "Once a geek, always a geek."

"He might," Xander agreed.  "Ask him."

"I've talked to your people a few times, kid.  They mostly seem pretty nice and sane.  Though why some of the girls go bikini shopping in February I'm not real sure."

"That means there's a big battle coming up.  It gives them incentive not to get too injured."  He texted Faith that he was back.  She sent back a squeal.  "Someone hijacked Faith's phone," he said, grimacing.  "She doesn't squeal."  It rang.  "Yuppers?"  He listened, leaning on the table.  "When did Faith's phone get hijacked, Buffy?"  He listened.  "Huh.  Bikini shopping why?"  He winced.  "Yup, here on the city I do.  I have plenty.  Why?"  He shuddered briefly.  "I could travel to Italy for an invasion yeah.  We're not the ones invading, right?"  He listened, considering it, looking at O'Neill.

"It's in your contract that you can go for apocalypse battles," O'Neill assured him.

"Cool.  Let me know exactly when and where.  What we need too.  Yup, I'll call my contacts to make sure.  If not, what's later this spring?"  He grimaced.  "That's sucky.  Any other one?"  He nodded.  "That's better then.  Sure, let me call some people and find out, then we'll talk in a few days?"  He grinned.  "Decent.  Laters."  He hung up.  "There's a group of demons massing in Italy, we're not totally sure why yet.  And if not, there's one in Colorado Springs in April."  Jack whined.  Xander grinned.  "Something about a hellgate and you guys opening it.  So I'm guessing it's a gate malfunction of epic fail proportions."

"Could be," Jack sighed.  "I'll want information."

"When I get some I'll spread it to John."

"Thank you."

"I get approval of everything you take weapons wise so I make sure you have enough," John said, staring at him.

Xander grinned.  "I can do that."

"Cool.  Go get me another soda?"  Xander nodded and went to break into his stash for him.  The other four shuddered once he was out of sight.  Xander came back with a six pack of soda, a bag of chips, Major Lorne pouting with Radek following, and Ronon in handcuffs.  "Breaking in to steal sweets?" John guessed.

"Ronon was stunned by the thing on the door that bit me the other day.  He was flailing and Radek put them on him to make sure he'd be okay but he can't get them open.  The other two, yup."  He sat down to pick open the handcuffs, letting Ronon go free.

"You can buy your own snack cakes," Jack ordered.

"Yes, sir," Evan sighed.  Xander let him steal some chips.  "We should celebrate."

"The base is sending over dinner tonight, guys.  Including pie."  They grinned and left.  Jack called Walter, his assistant, to arrange that.  And to get MP's up to the Appollo.  The base cooks appeared with rolling trays and boxes.  The local ladies of the food and hair nets hurried to help them set things up.  They smiled at Xander.

"Guys, the base sent a congrats dinner," Xander called over the comm.  "Including pie."  People were there almost instantly.  The whole base was on stand down so even the guys on guarding duty got dinner and pie.

It was good to be home again.  Maybe things would be more sane.  That way they could get used to consorts, pushy friends who showed up at the wrong time and interrupted sex, and recruit to fix his city, give him weapons, and go back to finish off the wraith with him.

That ceiling panel with the flickering light popped open and dropped a rat on top of Rodney, making him flail and scream to get it off him.  O'Neill kindly shot it once Xander had knocked it off for him.  "After we tent the city," O'Neill decided.   "We don't want them breeding with New York City rats."  He called Walter to set that up.  Which meant everyone got a week off the base.  Even more reason to celebrate with pie.

The End.

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