Not A Pretty Consort.

Sam finished inscribing the symbols in the circle he had drawn on the dirt.

"Why are we doing this?" Dean Winchester demanded.

"Because it's a last ditch effort but I know someone who might be able to help get this stupid contract fixed.  He owes me."

"Why does a demon owe you, Sammy?"

"He's not a demon, Dean."  He smirked as a flash went off in the tree next to them, showing a pretty black and silver phoenix sitting on a branch.  "That's new."  The bird stared at him.  "I need help, Xander."

The bird ruffled his feathers and launched himself off the limb, flying closer and landing in human form next to his friend.  "What sort of help, Sam?  I figured it'd be pretty desperate if you called me."

"Okay, first, what the fuck," Dean demanded, reaching for his knife.

Xander looked at him.  "Was it done on purpose or as a ruse, dude?"  Dean gaped.

"Xander got sent to Hell as a consort by someone else's wish," Sam told his brother quietly.

"Yeah, if any ditzy blonde ever says 'I wish you'd learn something to help patrol go easier or die or something' just fucking run, because a demon will show up and take you against your will," Xander quipped.  He stared at Dean.

"I died," Sam said.

Xander nodded once.  "And he saved you."  Sam nodded.  "All right, not totally undoable without killing you probably.  Do we have the contract?"

"Lilith has it," Dean said quietly.

"That'd be hard to do because I killed her before coming back."  They both stared at him.  He stared back.  "Though there have been a few who've adopted new names to slide their way up the power ladder the easy way.  I know it wasn't the original, her head's still on my wall."

"Interesting decorating scheme," Dean quipped, looking upset.

Xander smirked.  "It helps more than therapy."

"Why were you in bird form anyway?" Sam asked.

"I was heeding my therapist's advice and not killing the bitch.  I'm very proud that I lasted over three hours tonight."  He grinned.

"You're in therapy?" Dean asked, starting to look confused.

"It wasn't my idea to be taken as a consort, Dean.  And yeah, I know who you are.  There's been some rumors recently and I've been looking into a few things."  Dean gaped.  "I owe Sam a life debt.  He helped me when I got free."

"How did you get free?" Dean asked.  "For possible future reference."

"I killed a whole lot of people working on my anger issues.  I had an axe, a few swords I picked up here and there, and a whole shitload of pissed off Xander going.  Fortunately they had a lot of demons who wanted to stand in my way.  Some ran, pity."  He stared at him.

"You're a super hunter?" Dean asked.

"No, I was the normal guy that jumped in to help the slayer we worked with."  Dean whimpered.  "She's the one that had PMS and thought I was too normal to help after 2 years."

"Shit," Sam muttered, looking down.

"Which is why the ditz made a wish that got accepted by a demon, who proposed he teach me all sorts of fighting styles and things, but since she had added in a 'go away or die or something' at the end, I got taken.  The only good thing was I was still a virgin so no one could touch me without my consent.  Even when the one demon showed up to try to claim me as a poker debt and I took off his head because I finally managed to fully lose my temper past the block the demon was using on my mental state.  Then my demon holder laughed and said he wasn't aware I could do that.  He got *real* amused looking when I attacked him until I lifted his head off."

"You feel like a demon though," Dean said.

"Yeah, killing the higher levels in Hell is a lot like Highlander with Demons.  You kill one, you absorb part of their skills and powers.  I presented the assholes' head to his boss.  And killed him.  And presented both of them to the court and killed a bunch of them.  Most of them ran."  He grinned.  "So not really fond of hell."  He looked around.  "I can do three things.  I can try to help.  Which I will because no one deserves that for not letting his brother be killed in a demonic overlord plan.  I can counsel you in case you end up down there, with some nice hints, and I can help you beat the shit out of whichever one took over her place."

"Why would I need counseling?" Dean asked.

"I was down there for six months and four days, real world time, Dean.  I was literally down there for over ten centuries."  Dean gaped.  Xander stared at him.  "They don't have to play by many rules, but there's a few.  They can torture you until you give in.  They can make you want so hard to make it stop that you beg for them to do whatever they want to do.  He tried that really hard with me until he realized that proved I was never going to let him have my ass.  Even when he tried to woo me instead of torturing me he didn't get my ass.  I was the suckiest deal he ever made," Xander said dryly.  "So yeah, they'll do their damndest to make you give in to whatever they want.  And most people will eventually give in after a few centuries of being tortured."  He stared at him.  "Which is why I have a therapist."  He shrugged and snapped his fingers, bringing a lesser demon.  "I want his contract."

"Lilith," the demon started to moan.

"Isn't her.  I know damn well it isn't her."  He opened a portal and pointed.  "See, it can't be her."  The demon looked and started to cry.  "I get Dean Winchester's contract and anything else on this family, including any relatives down there that shouldn't be, or I will come back," he snarled.  He banished the demon.  It came back ten minutes later with a scroll and a box.  "Thank you.  Dismissed."  He took them to look over.  "Pretty tight but not totally tight."  He hopped up in midair to read it over.  Sam took it carefully too.  "Forgot you were of the lawyer persuasion, Sam."  He looked at the box, then tossed it to Dean, who opened it.  Two souls floated out and faded off.  "Old souls."

"So probably been there a while," Dean said.  "Our Dad managed to work his way out."

Xander nodded.  "He's lucky.  Most souls can't."  He looked up then around.  "I can feel you, might as well come out."  An older man in a trucker cap with a shotgun came out.  "I'm not a demon.  I was given away by a wish from someone else."

"They have to own you to do that," the older guy said, glaring at him.

"Saving her life created a bond according to the demon that took me."  The old guy gaped.  "I'm Xander by the way.  Sam saved me when I managed to fight my way out and I was a bit delirious."

"Just a bit," Sam said quietly, looking at him.  "It took me three weeks to make you quit burning with the fever from the infected cuts."  Xander nodded and hugged him.  "Thanks, Xander."

"Welcome, Sam, and we have got to fix that blood taint."  Sam stared at him.  Xander nodded.  "Yeah, like soon."  Sam nodded once and got back to reading.  Xander looked at Dean then at the old guy.  "We're seeing how I can help since I owed Sam a life debt and he called it in."

"Why would a demon take you?"

Xander smiled and pulled out his original drivers license, holding it up.  "I was born there.  I was helping our slayer.  I warp prophecies and as I later found out I have latent seer skills.  Also, I keep memories from possessions a lot easier than everyone else seems to."

The old guy shuddered.  "That's a bad thing, boy."


"Xander then."  He stared at him.  "They called you the Virgin Consort."

"Yup, wished away by my bitchy slayer."  He smirked.  "My therapist is very proud I haven't destroyed anyone in the group yet."

"So'm I," the old guy admitted.

"I said I wanted film," Sam said dryly.  He pointed at something, letting Xander see.  "Is that a countering point?"

"No.  That's standard but I'm not sure how much innocence he has left.  To break that they'd probably have to make him agree to give in and help them, basically starting down the road to demonhood himself."  He stared at Dean.

"Is there a quick way to make me a virgin again?" Dean asked.

"Won't help with soul purity but it'd keep your ass from being plugged up."  Dean shuddered.  "Sorry, really blunt but true."  He looked over as another demon showed up.  He knew her.  "What, Marigold?"

"Are you helping them?" she demanded.  "They're not in favor."

Xander stared at her.  "Do I need to come back down there to remind people I was a hunter?"

"Well....  The higher ups are looking forward to having that one.  He's highly anticipated."

"Which means there's a prophecy for an apocalypse," Xander said dryly.  "Wanna tell me or should I make you?"  She glared and growled.  He exerted some power, making her whimper and come closer to kiss him.  "Thank you.  Who and why?"  She whispered to him.  He nodded.  Then he kissed her again.  "Thanks."  She smirked and left.  "Even before I got taken, I only drew dangerous women.  She was probably the nicest thing that's kissed me in years, hell time and real time."  He shook his head, looking at Dean.  "If you break, they'll start down the road for a *final* apocalypse.  Including calling back the big guy to earth for it."

Dean stared at him.  "Are we talking end of days?"


"Shit," Dean said dryly.

"Yup," Xander repeated then grinned.  "They *really* want you guys."

"They can suck me," Dean said dryly.

"You know, they don't give very good blowjobs.  Which I always thought would be better incentive to join them, especially for the mega-brain set."

Dean moaned and shook his head.  "You're so warped."

"Yeah but I was warped before I got taken.  Sorry."  He grinned.  He looked at the old guy.  "It would draw them faster."

"Possibly.  When I was young and stupid, I might've went with a succuba for that."

"If the highest did it they'd have an easier time and any virgins would probably consent too," Xander said dryly.  "If they didn't realize why they were asking permission."  The old guy nodded he agreed with that.

Sam looked at him.  "Still warped, Xander."  Xander grinned.  "What can we do to counter it?"

"Well, we can challenge whoever took over Lilith's title.  Which is risky.  We can play it totally safe and just go take him back once he's gone.  Which isn't all that hard if you can get into hell, and I can.  We can do a combination of both of them and work on protecting him so the hellhounds can't take him.  I have absolutely no rapport with them," he told Dean.  "There's ways to protect against them but I can't call them off or anything.  They're strictly owner loyal."

Dean nodded.  "Okay," he said.  "So we work on the protection, and make a plan in case it comes down to option B."

"We can do that, but remember, it'll be longer there than it is here."  Dean nodded once at that.  "What can I do to help?  Do you guys want to come to my place in Cali and figure it out?  Do you need to travel somewhere else?  I can do some talking to others, because half of everyone knows that it was Sam protecting me when I got free, and just meet you guys somewhere."

"So they'd wonder why he didn't call sooner?" Dean asked.

"A few have hinted that I should check on Sam.  Though they're all lower and appointed demons, not hereditary ones.  Ones like the wish demons."  Dean nodded at that.  "But I have a nice place up the highway from San Fran that you guys can bum a room in for now.  It's fully protected and all that."

"We need to be heading east," Sam said.  "There's evidence of bigger things moving that way."

Xander nodded.  "Quite a lot," he said dryly.  "And if she's there, it's not going to be pretty.  Drawing her away from that area might help that not take as many lives."

"That's a good point but I'm not enough to draw her," Dean said quietly.

Xander stared at him.  "If they want you that much and there's a prophecy, yeah you are."

"Can you help beyond that?" the old guy asked.

"Of course.  I'd never let anyone go through what I went through.  Unfortunately you can't usually bring C-4 with you to hell when you go."  He shrugged a bit.  "I rescued someone last month who had been sent by her mom.  They made me leave the explosives at home and just bring swords."

"I wonder if that would extend to gun powder," Sam said, considering it.

"Yup.  I couldn't bring a gun."

"Huh.  Good to know," Dean decided.  Xander grinned at him.  "Is there any sort of safe, neutral place around here?"

Xander searched and nodded.  "There's a priestess around here but I'm not sure if she'd help.  She's a Goddess muncher and doesn't like hunters.  She wrote a witch I know complaining that she hadn't taught her to help with our needs."

"Yay," Sam said dryly.  Xander grinned at him.  "Let's hit the motel."  They all nodded and Xander turned back into a phoenix.  "That's a lot more noticeable, Xander."  The bird shook his head and took off, blending into the night sky.  "Huh."

"How many Highlander moments did he take?" Dean asked quietly.

"Over six hundred demons but he only keeps eight heads," Sam told him with a small shrug.  "I'd be proud of killing them too.  They're all really high ones."  Dean just nodded and walked toward the car.  Sam scuffed over the marks so no one else could try anything before following.

The old guy looked up and prayed that this would help.  It had to help.  He didn't want to see those boys in hell.


Xander got there as Lilith struck her blow and took Dean down, touching him lightly so he could go with him.  Dean gave him a startled look so he smiled back.  "Relax, Dean."  He took him to his section and killed all the demons pretenders trying to take it over, then back to the human realm.  Dean's body gasped as his soul reentered it and Xander did a quick healing spell.  He looked up at the screaming demon, smirking at her.  "Hi, Arabella."

"I am not!" she shouted.  "I'm Lilith."  She sneered.  "Puny consort."

"Yeah, the one who killed the real Lilith."  He stared at her then shook his head.  "You're almost not worth my time to kill."  He swung at her and her head came off.  The powers misted up and he kept them from going toward Sam when they wanted to.  "No, Sam doesn't need your taint too."  He absorbed it and used it to heal Dean a bit more.  "He could use an ER, guys."  Bobby helped Sam carry Dean out while Xander cleaned up some of the mess.  Which included a huge ass fire.  He walked off, nodding at the cops pulling up, flashing his phoenix wings.  "Fixing a tragedy."  They all stared in awe so he left.  He appeared in the back of the Impala, holding Dean's head.  "Hey, I know you're in there.  I put you back in there."  Dean blinked at him.  "Welcome home."

"It stunk," he hissed.

"Yeah, it usually does."  He petted his head.  "We're going to an ER.  You're not in horrible shape but you need some stitches and a tetanus shot."  Dean smirked at him.  "Then we'll let you guys rest, recuperate, and we'll move on."  Dean nodded.  "And if you need me to, I'll give you my therapist's name."

"No thanks.  Not into all that talking stuff," he whispered.

"You're not dying, Dean.  Quit trying to pass out on us."  He petted him again, which gave him a tactile comfort and anchor into life.  Sam pulled up and Xander got out.  "He got mauled by some dogs."  The guard got a nurse and they came out with a gurney.  Sam followed.  Xander went to talk to the other hunter.  "Hey."  Bobby pulled up a shotgun.  "Really?"  He stared at him.

"It was nearly an hour," Bobby complained.

"It was mere seconds down there."

"Oh."  He put the shotgun down.  "They in the hospital?"

"I told the guards that he had been mauled by some dogs."  He sat down on the crappy motel room chair.  "There's still that prophecy.  Someone's still going to push the end of days thing."

"I heard."

"I don't have much that could be used as a reference about that side of things but if I have it you're more than welcome to bum it."  The older hunter stared at him.  "I jumped in when they took my best friend.  The guy I had known since before I could talk real words.  That's why I was helping a slayer before I got taken," he said quietly, staring at him.  "There's no way in hell, any version of it, I'm letting either side try to end humanity this year."

The older hunter stared at him.  "It wasn't hell's plan?"

"Partially but others took...notice shall we say and it worked well for theirs."

"Huh."  He nodded once.  "Why them?"

"Something in the family, not real sure.  I know Sam has gifts that taint of his awakened."  The older hunter stiffened.  "You don't get gifts from demon blood, Mr. Singer.  You get them woken up and made stronger.  They don't just magically appear."  He stared at him.  "This new one has nothing to do with the original reason of why Sam and Dean as far as I can tell."  He disappeared, going home to get a drink and mark his new kills on the tapestry he kept track of them on.

Bobby Singer considered that and nodded once.  He had some clues that sounded like the other side was just as evil.  He had to do some checking soon.  He called Sam to get an update and calmed him down.  Told him Xander was home again.  That they'd figure things out when Dean got out of the hospital and regroup to fight the others causing problems, just like always.  Then he laid down and prayed that the consort had been told wrong by whatever demon had liplocked him.

After all, demons lied, right?


Dean looked at the man who was walking toward him.  "Who're you?" he demanded.

"I was the one commanded to pull you out of hell," he said, staring at him.

Sam texted someone, shaking his head.  "But you didn't, dude.  So why the visit?"  He looked up.  Xander appeared in human form, without a shirt on.  The angel stared at him oddly.

Xander stared back.  "What?  Never seen a shirtless guy before, Angel?"  Dean moaned.  Xander patted him on the shoulder.  "Calm down."  He looked at him again.  "Yes, I rescued him."

"I was ordered to."

"Your bosses are trying to cause an apocalypse.  I'm telling the slayers on you."  He smirked.

The angel stared at Dean.  "You know of his kind?"

"He was wished away against his will," Sam said firmly, staring at him.

"Oh, I see."  Castiel stared at Xander again.  "Who are you?"

"Xander Harris."  He smirked.  "And you're Castiel."

"I am.  Consort."

"Not by choice.  And that's not my favorite title, dear.  Use the other one."

"Slayer of Highers."  Xander smirked at him for that.  "You saved him."

"I did.  I got told about your coworkers' plans.  Watch me stop that one too."  He waved a hand and two spirits floated in, being angelic but not possessing a body.  "I'm coming up there if that attempt at the battle is started and I'll do to you like I did to hell."  They both gaped in horror.  Xander manifested all his power.  "Killing Highers is like being in Highlander's world, guys.  You end up soaking up some." 

He stared at them.  "Let's not have an angelic apocalypse this year."  They all whined.  Castiel was covering his ears because something was screeching to him.  The angels got banished back home.  "The Winchesters, like my fine ass, are off limits to both damn sides.  If there's any sort of apocalypse started with them *ever* the hell again I'm showing up to kill *everyone* who's not one of them.  Am.  I.  Clear?" he demanded of the angel.  Who nodded and disappeared.  "Good!  Now I'm fucking cranky!"  He smiled at Dean and Sam.  "So, hi again," he said quietly and calmly.

"Um," Dean started.

"Frustrated, Dean.  I'm tired of apocalypses.  Especially since Buffy just wrote to get help with one."

"That takes balls," Sam snorted, staring at him.  "A real one or a minor one?"

"Real one.  The First Evil."  He waved a hand in the air.  "I'm about to go kill everyone there too."  He looked at Dean.  "C'mon, you can stay where you're protected so the mean shits on that side can't get you either.  I'm going home, Sam.  I took over the place you hid me."  He and Dean disappeared.

Sam looked at Bobby.  "How would you stop angels throwing an apocalypse?"

"Get them with the First Evil thing?" he offered.

"Huh, maybe."  He and Bobby left, traveling out to California.  When they finally got there two days later, Xander was on the roof in phoenix form and Dean was chatting with a blonde about her upcoming battles.  Sam walked in shaking his head.  "You're already hitting on someone?"

"She's got an apocalypse too," Dean admitted.  "Xander's keeping his temper."

"I saw Xander," Sam admitted.  He stared at her.  "I'm with his plan of killing your dumb ass by the way since I'm the one who protected him when he fought his way free."  She shuddered, shrinking down some.  "If it wasn't an apocalypse, you'd have little support from us."  She nodded, looking down.  He looked at Dean.  "Ours?"

"Haven't seen a single one," Dean admitted.

Xander landed on the back porch's railing and changed, opening the door.  "There's two watching the house, Sam."  He pointed.  "One's Castiel, who doesn't feel like he agrees totally, and the other's a higher up."

Sam nodded, walking out there, staring at the angel.  "I think Xander was pretty serious and he's really not in a good mood since Buffy's here."

Castiel considered that.  "What is she doing upsetting him?  I looked into his past and it would seem foolhardy of her."

"They're facing something called the First Evil."

"I see," Castiel said.  "They'll need seven slayers and the scythe."  His higher up glared at him.  "We do not want to lose the world to her, do we?"

"No," he ground out.  "We require your brother, tainted one."

Sam snorted.  "I don't give a damn what you want.  We're not starting any apocalypses.  For either side.  Angels doing it means they're just as fucking evil as the demons."  The angel reared back.  "Maybe you got missed in the purge?"  He walked off.  "Buffy, you need seven slayers and a scythe."

"What scythe?"  She came to the doorway.  "Said who?"

"Said the younger, more confident, less evil angel."  He pointed back at them.  She went to pounce him before he could disappear so she could find out what that meant.  Sam shut the door, looking at Dean.  "You okay?"

"I'm fine.  She seems sorry about that."  He leaned back, getting comfortable.  "We might have to help them too, Sammy."

"No, that would be going into the hellmouth to stop her," Xander said, getting the book for him.  "Hand that to Her Blondeness.  I'm going to go crap on the higher angel.  Since he's the one starting the apocalypse."

"Got the colt?" Dean asked.

Bobby handed over the remade Colt, a gun that could kill any demon.  "Not sure if it'll work or not."

Dean got up and took aim, shooting the higher one that he hadn't met.  It died with a scream of pain and a large flame.  The other one stared at his former spot then at Dean in horror.  "I'm not being used for any apocalypse.  Pick on another family."  He slammed the door again.

Xander patted him on the shoulder.  "Nice shot."  Dean grinned at him.  "You can go save him if you want.  If you can get him to tell the others that it might help."  Dean nodded, going out there to get Buffy off him.  Xander changed down to a mouse and ran for the basement.  He was going to hide for a bit.

"I'm not mean today," Sam called, following him.  "Xander?  Do you want to talk?"

"They're all fucking insane," Bobby muttered.  "Every last one."  He went to talk to the good angel.  Dean gave him a curious look.  "Xander's back to hiding from Sam."

"Sammy probably went chick flick again.  He does that sometimes.  I have no idea why."  He looked at the angel.  "Will that thing be stopped?"

"He said that you broke seals, Dean Winchester.  "That it started off the End of Days prophecy because of it."

"How did I break a seal?"

"You gave in and did what the demons wanted."

"No.  Xander rescued me within seconds of getting to hell.  No demons touched me outside the hellhounds that killed me."

Castiel looked at him.  "Interesting.  I will tell the others."  He disappeared, going to talk to the other angels.  "Dean did not break a seal," he announced.  They all glared at him.  "He was not in hell long enough to be tortured.  The former Consort saved him before they could grab him."

The higher angels in on the plan all started to talk about it.  Those who were more cautious went to check.  One came back shaking his head.  "The seals are still intact except of the one in Sunnydale."

"Slayer Summers was bothering her former friend and Dean Winchester about the First Evil showing up," Castiel told him.  "The consort was holding in his temper but she and Dean were talking when we arrived.  I let slip about the seven slayers and the scythe because I knew we did not want to face a world where that one won."

"No, we do not," the new head angel said quietly.  "Will they be able to handle it?"

"Perhaps.  The consort may even help.  He is feeling torn I do believe.  Dean and Sam would both do what was necessary.  The former consort would probably cause a mess, much like he did escaping his former holder."

"Which consort?" the new highest angel demanded.

"The Virgin One that Slayer Summers sent with an ill-worded wish during a patrol.  The Hellmouth Childe."

They all stared at each other.  "That is not good," another angel said quietly.  "He is strong."

"He's still pure," Castiel said.  "No one has touched him."  They all moaned.  "I felt the heads of some of the demons he slayed on his walls."  They all nodded.  "He warned me that both Winchester sons are under his protection.  That if we used them to start this battle, that he would find a way to come up here and do the same as he did in Hell."

The highest angel snorted.  "He can't do that."

Castiel pointed at the mouse in the corner.  "You might want to ask him that."  Xander reappeared looking smug.  "I did warn them."

"I know.  I heard.  Thank you for passing on my message.  It's nice that I can get C-4 up here when I can't in Hell."  He tossed something at them.  "I said leave humanity alone."  He disappeared again.  Most of the angels looked confused at the blinking thing.

"That's a bomb," Loki said, backing away.  He fled.  A few more smart ones did as well.

"Human things cannot hurt us," one sneered at their fleeing brethren.  "We'll deal with their cowardice later."  And then the room disintegrated.  With them in it.

Castiel showed back up to look at the destruction, shaking his head.  "I feel sorrow for their loss, but not sympathy for what they wished upon humanity."  He disappeared again, going to watch Dean and Sam for now.  There was another apocalypse that had to be handled apparently and they would be there.  He'd keep track of the problematic hunters until the rest of the angels figured out what they were going to do.  He found Xander on the roof again in phoenix form and settled beside him.  "Did it help?"

"No," the bird said.  "I killed over a thousand demons getting free.  Even if I killed all of you, I'd still be tainted to that side."  He looked at him.  "Doesn't mean I want another apocalypse to start."

"Neither did I.  I was to bring Dean to Michael for his needs."  He watched the boys and the slayer.  "What of hers?"

"I don't know," he admitted.  "I honestly don't think I can deal with it right now but I have months and a therapist on speed dial."  The bird looked at him again.  "He keeps telling me I need to work on my anger issues."

"Quite," Castiel agreed.  "A human bomb is not a nice way to get into heaven."

Xander's wings shrugged.  "Seemed to work to stop the stupidity."

"Perhaps.  We'll see where the others wish to go."  He looked down as another angel appeared.  "Gabriel."

"Loki," Xander said.

"The same."

"Huh."  He flew down and stared at that angel, getting an odd look back.  "I believe in peace most of the time until you cause me stress.  Then my therapist has to nag about my anger issues."

"I would not want to set off your anger issues," Angel Gabriel assured him with a smile.  "You are quite different for a human."

"Yeah, well, time and energy, dude."  He flew off, going back up to the roof.

"You could talk to me," Buffy called.

"I can also kill your dumb ass."

"Point," she sighed.  "Are you ever going to forgive me?"

He stared down at her.  "Why don't you go to hell for a few days and then tell me if I'll forgive you."  She shuddered and got under the roof.  Xander settled in again.  "Maybe I'll move to an island without people."  He spotted a car.  "Hey, it's my therapist.  Maybe he can nag me some more about my temper."  He flew off, landing on the hood of the car and changing back.  "Hi, Bill."

"Xander."  He stared at him.  "I haven't heard from you since you hung up saying that she was here."

"She's still here.  Since then I had to help Dean and Sam again."

"All right.  Is she still alive?"

"I hate making zombies.  They're gross."

Bill the therapist nodded with a smile.  "I'd assume they are."  Dean opened the front door to stare at them.  "I came to check on him, sir."

"Dean, this is my therapist Bill."

"Hey," Dean said, head nodding at him before shutting the door again.  "His shrink's here."

Gabriel looked.  "He's not normal."  He manifested out there, making the therapist stare at him.  "You are not a human."

"No, most humans would decide I'm psychotic when I talked about my time in hell," Xander said dryly.  "He's a half demon."

"He's not," Gabriel said.

"Is he related to the First Evil?" Xander asked.

"No," the angel admitted.  "He's a higher being though."

Xander looked at him.  "Really?"

"At the higher levels we're pretty much all the same," he admitted.  "I nearly sent Doyle to you instead of Angel."

Xander snorted.  "Why would I need a seer, Bill?  I've got that latent gift already."

The therapist stared at him.  "I did not know that."

"He is the Hellmouth Childe," Gabriel told him.  "Which is why I think it odd that someone like you would help someone like him."

"I'm rebalancing some of the wrong done," Bill said firmly.

Xander whistled.  "Guys, include me in this talk or I'll find another sword."   They both backed off.

"Temper," Bill complained.  "We keep nagging you about your temper, Xander.  You have to control it."

"I am in control of it but I hate being the yo-yo of the higher ups."

"Not this time, kid.  This time we want you far out of it."

"Was that solved by my use of C-4?" Xander asked.

"I didn't know you could get it into hell," Bill said dryly.

"I didn't.  There won't be another apocalypse from the other side though."

"When did this happen?" Bill demanded.

"About an hour ago," Gabriel told him.  "The ones in charge of that faulty plan have become one with the universe."

Bill paused.  "Wonderful.  Xander, that was not in the plans."

Xander stared at him, shrugging a bit.  "Like I give a damn about their plans?  Did I make that plan?"  Bill slowly shook his head.  "Then why should I let anyone go through what I went through?"  He stared him down.  "There's not going to be any more apocalypses if I have my way.  Even if I have to go destroy the seal in Sunnydale."

"Stopping that one would be for the best," Bill said.  "We were going to use the angelic one to clear out some of the worst parts of humanity."

"Like free will?" Xander asked dryly.  "A 'let's scare everyone back to the dark ages' thing?"  He shook his head.  "Can't let you do that.  Too many innocents who'd end up like I did."

"But...." Bill started.  Xander popped him on the head.  "Ow!  No physical abuse, Xander."

"Shut up."  He stared at him.  "Watch me end all the higher ups if they keep trying to remove humanity from itself."  Bill shrank back.  "You guys let me be made, no matter how much I tried to get away from him.  You could've given Giles a hint that he had the answer in his library.  You could've hinted at Buffy how to slay that demon.  The Powers That Be decided not to because I jumped in to help her and they didn't like their warrior not being lonely.  So blow me.  Any other apocalypse attempts and I'll end the fuckers, no matter which side starts it and no matter which higher up believes it's a good idea!"

"Okay," he said, backing down.  "I agree, it's a bad idea and it needed to be stopped but to bring C-4 to heaven?"  Xander nodded.  "Wasn't that a bit extreme?"

"Saved my shoulder.  It's a bit sore today," he said dryly.  He got off the hood of the car.  "I'm going to go hide some more since she's coming."  He changed into a bird again and flew off.

"Some day someone will take pictures of you in that form and throw fits," Gabriel called after him.

"The Wizarding world would think I'm a bad omen," Xander shot back.  "Then I could go kill *their* stupid higher ups."  He hid in a nearby tree and got comfortable, seething that his house had been invaded not only by Buffy and angels but by higher beings with plots.  Maybe he needed to move.  That island idea sounded very nice.  Bill told Buffy what she needed and helped her get back to the bus station.  Castiel and Gabriel gave his tree a long look before disappearing but he knew one would be back sometime.  They were nosy and in your way that way.  Sam walked over to stare up at him.  "Yes, I'm cranky."

"Want a hug?" Sam offered.

"No.  I still can't stand for people to touch me."

"That sucks, Xander.  Come down and I'll make dinner?"  Xander shook his head.  "You're not cranky, you're pouty."

"I'm not sure she didn't infect the house."

"She didn't.  Dean already lysoled everything so there's no Buffy germs."  Xander stared at him.  "I did a blessing too so nothing of her spirit is left."  Xander shifted on his branch.  "C'mon, I'll make some good soup, maybe some cheesy garlic bread?"

"I guess."  He flew down and changed before landing.  Sam slowly hugged him, which he was expecting but it still hurt.  "Ow, Sam."  Sam let him go.  "Sorry."  He looked down.  "I've been working on that one but apparently I got betrayed again since my therapist was a higher being."

Sam patted him on the bare arm.  "We'll work on it."  Xander shrugged.  "I can help."

"I know.  You have a lot of things you have to handle though."

"I think it's safer if we're here for a bit if you don't mind."

"No, I could use the company.  It'll take my mind off things."

"I know.  It'll do the same to Dean."  Xander nodded, walking inside with him.  "Guys, I started soup for dinner."

"I added some more water," Dean told him.  "Bobby made some salad."

"That's fine.  I can add some cheesy garlic bread."  Sam and Xander went in there together to work on that.  Xander found cooking a simple, mind clearing thing.  But for some reason Xander flinched away from the bathroom.  Sam went in to look.  "Dean, come toss this trash bag out," he called.  He came back and leaned against Xander's back.  "I'll do something in there to send away any taint her blood left."  Xander relaxed again.  "Good boy."  He got back to his cooking while Dean handled that and Bobby did a sage burning cleansing.  Xander finally finished relaxing once the trash bag was out of the house.  That was more than they wanted to know about Buffy's personal life.  He gave Dean a look.

"Hey, Xander, can we camp for a few days?" Dean asked.

"That'd be great, guys.  It'll help take my mind off things."  He smiled.  Dean grinned back.  "I'm in the blue bedroom down here.  So any of the other rooms or couches are free."  They nodded, bringing their bags up to their chosen rooms.  Xander relaxed further.  He liked not being alone but no one ever wanted to be close to him.  Even if he could stand being touched no one wanted to be close to him because he radiated like a demon.  Maybe Bobby would have some idea how to undo that.  Or at least hide it.


Dean woke up from a nightmare of what could have happened and made himself calm down.  He listened to the house.  Someone was up and in the kitchen but it sounded like Xander.  They weren't looking in various areas, just humming while they did something.  Dean got up and went to look in the library, finding a large tapestry with embroidered names.  Some in gold, some in silver, some in black.  He touched one then moved away from it.  Clearly this was really Xander's therapy.  He went to look at the books, finding a whole magic section.  Including what looked like textbooks. 

He moved on, finding the demonology section of classification manuals.  Bobby didn't have them that he knew of but someone had taken a book out because there was a gap.  He found a few fun reading books and smiled at the silly, funny fantasy novels it contained.  Xander clearly was a lot like Sammy - a goofball who could beat your ass to death.  The last wall of shelves held jars.  Lots of little jars.  Dean looked at one.  There was a slumbering fairy or something female with wings sleeping in it.  The one next to it had a miniature sleeping horse with wings.

Xander looked over his shoulder.  "Someone was selling them," he said in Dean's ear, making him jump.  "They're trapped souls but if we break them out it can kill them and us.  The horse is going to burn down the house because his horseshoes create sparks and he blows fire from his nose.  This one," he said with a point.  "She's special but if I remove her we'll all die.  See, that's Rosenburg's power core.  She's powerful, abnormally so.  She's the one that called Buffy back to life after she died fighting the Initiative and that started the First Evil."  Dean nodded.  "But if I give that to her, then we're all going to die in a flaming spell when she pouts." 

He pulled him over.  "This is the most special."  Inside the tiny jar was a  black heart.  Not shriveled, not decaying, but black and beating.  "It's also mythological.  It was taken from a higher being and kept on hold to keep him from feeling so he couldn't create his own apocalypse."  He looked at Dean.  "They were scared that if he felt things, he'd overreact.  So they took it from him.  It turned him into a Vulcan but a decent ruler.  He asked for it back once because he wanted to feel love when he married. 

"They gave it to him for a year and he nearly destroyed everyone when he found out his wife wanted him for his power and his future kids, not for his love.  She told him he had never loved her so why should she love him?  When he told her he had gotten it back for a year, she basically said 'that's going to destroy humanity, how dare you use me that way' and killed herself."  He touched the top of the bottle.  "He gave it up and loved his son that she bore him right before her death as best he could but he was never the same."

"Were they right to take it?"

"No, it was mostly self fulfilling.   He nearly ended everything in a massive war because of the betrayal.  His emotions nearly led him to have all the women and girls killed."  Dean shivered.  "If he had learned to keep his emotions and gained control of them then he wouldn't have had that problem.  His son pointed that out before he killed the beings who had done it."  He smirked.  "He was the biggest badass ever in that society."


"No, actually an ancient demon race that was here before the demons that used to rule this planet.  We humans took it from the courts that used to rule.  The first one died out because they couldn't bring themselves to care enough anymore and let them have it."

"Huh."  Dean looked.  "Why keep them?"

"Here they're safe.  No demon can use them to start a problem.  No one on the other side either.  Also, they're a good reminder that there's a reason to keep going sometimes.  If that one could be turned against all of his version of humanity because he had emotions, then maybe love is something worthwhile.  If the sleeping fairy princess put herself to sleep because she decided it was better than betraying her betrothed and starting a war, mostly because they had done an illusion spell and tricked her, then there's hope that some of humanity will learn that sort of feeling." 

He tapped that bottle.  "They tricked her but she had wanted her betrothed's love instead of a political marriage that it was.  Her father's enemies tricked her because they didn't want the alliance marriage to go off.  When her future husband was told, he sneered that he couldn't ever love her.  That it was just political and she'd have technical honor in his household but they'd only have the one child to maintain the lineage.  So she'd be basically locked in a household full of people who hated her."  He smirked a bit.  "She also cursed him and the ones who had tricked her for that.  It was the end of two of the biggest fairy societies ever.   That curse made it so no one could marry for anything but actual emotion."

"So they died out?" Dean guessed.

"Yup.  Took about three generations.  A few survived longer because they did find love.  They mostly outbred.  Her father was said to be very proud of that because she had stood up and done what was right due to the betrayal but a bit pissed when he realized it meant that no one was going to have kids ever again.  That all the schemes, the plots, the wars had been for nothing."

"Are they all emo stories?"

Xander grinned.  "Nah."  He pointed at one that held a sword in a bottle.  "That's Excalibur.  Our version not the thing that went with the people that died out.  There's the mystical and the technological one.  The technological one is dead and hidden to humanity until they can find out about it.  The mystical one is in there.  The Sorceress put it in there for safekeeping when Mordred and a few others tried to claim it to claim the throne.  She said that only someone who had holy intent could open that and have the chance to claim the sword.  She warned the knights that their downfall would kill all of everyone everywhere if they did not contain it and quit hoping to be so blessed as Arthur was."

"So she locked it up and put it in hiding, and whoever now can open the bottle and claim the sword?"

"There's a huge castle in Ireland that would call out to them.  Then they'd become Lord of the Keep and start to call others like them to it.  It's a prophesied thing that when that happens, humanity will have new champions and a new age of grace.  I used to dream about being able to open that bottle.  Now, I can't even pick it up without it burning me."

"The taint?"

"The fact that I took the barbarian road and killed for necessities other than food and battles.  Patrols counted against that and so did other things."  He looked at Dean.  "Interestingly enough, Sam can pick it up but he doesn't want to.  I came out of hell with that one and two others that they were hiding from the Light.  Sam could touch them when they burned the fuck out of my hands."  He walked him off.  "Nightmares?"

"Dreams of what might've been."

"That's then trying to get you to play on their side, Dean.  Though I'm not sure which side is sending them."  Dean grimaced.  Xander went back and found a book, handing it to him.  "On shielding.  There's some small shielding spells in there but I'd never presume to do them for you."

"You've always been honest about what happened to you, Xander.  That's better than a lot of them."

Xander grinned a boyish, happy grin.  "Thanks, Dean.  That means a lot to me."  He hugged him.  "Go read in bed.  Castiel's still watching the house."  Dean nodded, going back up there.  Xander went to be happy by sharpening his swords in his living room.  Sam came down the stairs about five and found him still sharpening swords.  "No, I still don't sleep all that often," he said quietly.   "I told your brother about the bottles."

"That's cool."  Sam patted him on the head.  "Is there a best way to solve the current problems going on?"

"Killing the seal and then going to the wizarding world and manifesting as myself to kill a whole bunch of stupid bitches?"

"Beyond that?"

"Not really for either situation."

"Huh."  Sam sat down beside Xander, taking the sword he was working on.  "You're going to work the blade down to nothingness, Xander," he said quietly.

"Gotta do something when I can't sleep and I hate working out."

Sam gave him a shoulder nudge.  "I get that.  Are you still seeing things?"  Xander nodded.  "Anything that can help?"

"They figured out a while back that I could see from that spot and moved it to one of the torture areas."

"Huh.  Maybe we can find a way to break it then."  He stroked his arm.  "C'mon, let's make breakfast?"  Xander nodded, going with him into the kitchen.  Dean would need a lot of food to deal with things.  Bobby came down first and made his own toast.  "I made them," Sam told him.

"So?  You got 'em too dark," he complained.  He got his very light toast and some jam out to sit down and eat once he had some coffee from Xander's hands.  "Anything new going on?"

"Dean's getting sent nightmares by them," Xander said.  "I gave him the book on shielding."

"Would that help you?" Sam asked.

"No, I tried back when I was at full power and not tired as often.  It won't seal off the link."  Bobby stared at him.  "Somehow I created a small point of link.  Anytime I fall asleep I see what they're doing.  When they figured out I had it, they moved it to a torture chamber."

"We can't plug that?  Can they get it from your mind?"  Xander shook his head.  "You sure?"

"It's like a video surveillance camera.  I've heard nothing but problems about them not being able to use it back."

"Huh.  Shielding won't work?"  Xander shook his head.  "Is that the Braxton book?"

"Doesn't work at all for me since I keep spirits," Xander admitted.  "That's one from the wizarding world.  It works on other things but not that."

"I know which one you need but I have no idea where we can get it for you," Bobby admitted, eating a bite of toast.  "Anything else you need to help you heal?"

"Untainted," Xander snorted.  "Won't happen though.  And even if I could suddenly be untainted, I still couldn't stand to have someone touch me."

"There's ways of siphoning off taint like yours, an energy taint, into something," Bobby said.  Xander shook his head.  "I've done it."

"Bill tried it once when I first started to see him.  It made it grow in some strange way he wasn't sure of.  I basically sucked up the siphoning spell and the containment vessel."

Bobby nodded.  "There's a better way then.  I know someone working somewhere technical and they can do that."

"If you're talking inside a mountain, they're so going to screw up," Xander told him.

"Probably.  They seem to."  He smiled.  "How do you know?"

"Got some theory shoved into my head and I have books I rescued from hell's libraries."  He smirked.  Bobby snickered and went to look.  He looked at Sam.  "The librarian demon said I no longer have lending privileges."

"So you take them all, destroy the library, and it weakens hell?" Sam guessed.

"Did that with a smaller one on ancient things."  He shrugged.  "Not sure what's in there.  They put up shields on the others."

Sam nodded.  "We'll see what we can do."  He finished his part of breakfast.  Dean was still asleep apparently but Xander looked up there.  "Let him sleep."

"He's not sleeping.  He's having another nightmare shoved at him."  He concentrated and started a spell to make it backfire on whoever.  He sighed and clutched the counter.  "Someone told Willow he's a bad guy, Sam."

"I'm going to end her.  You get Buffy."  They shared a look.  Sam went to wake up Dean.  "Hey."  Dean flinched awake.  "Rosenburg sent it."

"I'll gut her."

"I'll do it, you cheer me on.  Breakfast?"

"Not sure I can eat, Sammy," he admitted, sitting up.  He rubbed his face.

"At least come get some coffee.  Maybe some toast."

Dean nodded, getting up and getting dressed so he could go try to eat.  He looked at the few pieces of toast Xander gave him and gagged when they morphed into maggots.  Xander put a hand on his head and used a spell, which made it turn back into toast.  "Shield?" he asked.

"No.  That's next."  He finished the other two spells.  Then he looked to the south.  "I'm going to destroy them both."

"Let me help," Sam said gently, moving Xander away from Dean.  Xander slumped but nodded.  They settled in and Bobby came back to get some more light toast and eat it while he read.  "We need to destroy parts of Sunnydale, Bobby.  You in?"

Bobby looked at him.  "Do they need it?"

"One of them was cursing Dean for some reason."

"Huh.  Wonder why."

"Not real sure," Xander admitted.  "I don't really care."  That got a nod from the hunters.  "But if we go down there I'd have to end the First Evil stupidity too."  He settled in to figure out how to do that.  The hunters let him handle that idea while they got Dean healed and better.  It'd have to happen soon.


Xander looked at the glowing spark of fire in the bottle he was holding.  He looked at the seal's opening.  Then he threw the bottle on it and chanted the short spell.  He could hear screams from inside the hole.  Apparently the super vampires hated that.  He added a second spell then walked off.  "We need to leave now," he ordered.  "It's reacting to the faults."  Sam nodded, letting Dean get in to drive.   "Let's duck into the wizarding entrance," he ordered. 

He pointed at it and Dean suddenly saw it appear.  "Go in there.  It's a tight market but it's a sub-realm.  I can feel the ground sucking."  They drove through the doorway as the gateway crumbled and made it.  They paused and found everyone staring at him.  Xander got out and smiled.  "I just destroyed the seal in Sunnydale."  He got back in as people fled.  They drove where Xander directed and got out the other entrance outside of town.  Dean stopped the car and they looked at the damage.  "Huh."

Sam looked at him.  So did Bobby.  "That's all that gets?" Sam asked dryly.

"Yup.  I was born there and I had plans to destroy the bad things in it.  Guess that happened."  Dean gave him an odd look.  "I can feel Buffy, she's off to the west so probably at Angel's mansion."  He pointed.  "That'd be in that area."  He looked.  "Looks like it sucked in a good ten blocks around itself."  He nodded.  "Cool!"

Bobby shook his head.  "What about the people there, boy?"

"They would've went wherever they needed to go."  They stared at them.  "Beyond that, there were less than thirty souls in that area.  It looks like they were mostly around City Hall so were probably the corrupt ones that the old mayor had in his pocket when he was going to ascend to a pure demon."  Bobby shivered.  "That was our graduation."  He shrugged.  "Most of the other beings that went were probably demons and vampires.  Mostly the harmful ones at that close to the hellmouth. 

"Maybe a clan of the energy suckers that were peaceful but their feeding habits were opening the stupid hole further.  Oh, and since I used Rosenburg's power core, well, she's not ever going to be that powerful again.  No more sending at Dean and no possible apocalypse from her magic addiction."  He leaned back.  "See, army of girls who think they're more special than they are."

Sam watched.  "That is the slayers that I know of."  The girls were investigating.  "That's Willow with white hair?"

"Power bleaching," Bobby told him.  "Why did you have some of her powers held?"

"Her magic dealer confiscated it for his fee to feed he black magic," Xander said with a small shrug.  "The seal wasn't absolute though so she could still draw some of it from the bottle.  Which was how she was tormenting Dean for no reason."  Dean nodded at that.  A flashing light started in the hellmouth.  Then a column of light.  Then an explosion of light.  When the lights stopped, the town was destroyed.  The humans were still there.  The pets, but nothing material that wasn't alive.  "The last of Wilkin's spells are dead," he said quietly.  "Now the hellmouth will drive everyone off."

Bobby nodded.  "Good.  Any idea if there's another one?"

Xander considered it then pointed.  "I can feel one flashing that way in Cleveland."  Bobby called a few people to warn them.  "There's a kraken on top here.  Probably is there too."  Bobby nodded, adding that.  Xander stared at the confused looking slayer mob.  One was staring toward the car.  "Aww, Buffy's mad."

"Fuck 'er," Dean muttered.  He started the car and drove them off.  "Anywhere near here to eat, Xander?"

"About an hour from here for safety reasons there's a huge cafeteria style place the last I knew," Xander offered.  "All sorts of food."

"That'll work," Dean decided.   Dean found the directions for the town on the signs and it was nice.  The cafeteria place was pretty clean and had a lot of good looking food.  They settled in to eat and make future plans.  Castiel sat down as they were coming back with pie.  Dean looked at him.  "What?"

"Very nice work, boys."  Xander shrugged.  "Thank you."

Xander looked at him.  "Get off your own ass and solve more of them, Castiel."

"We are trying that, yes.  The slayers do hunt whoever did that."

"Yay.  She was having Willow send things at Dean on purpose."

"One of us told her it was for the greater good."

Xander looked at him.  "I didn't know that headmaster was one of yours."

Castiel shuddered.  "Not hardly.  Though if you wish to meddle there's a good spot."

"Yup, considering that."

"Thank you."  He left them alone.

Dean stuffed his mouth.  Bobby looked at Xander.  "Why would you?"

"Huge bad guy who thinks like a nazi."  Xander ate a piece of pie.  "There's a little kid who's the hero."

"That's a good reason," Sam agreed.

Xander nodded.  "Definitely."  He ate a larger bite of pie.  Dean gagged and Xander undid the spells on him again.  That solved that problem.  And Willow's because now her nose was dripping blood as her brain swelled.  The backlash was horrible.  Xander finished eating and then got some ice cream.  Sam smiled at him for that.  He got Dean some as well.  "So, now what?" Xander asked finally.

"Go home, finish recuperating, see if we can block off that surveillance thing," Bobby said.  Xander grinned at him.  He looked like a normal guy when he did that.  "You okay?"

"I'm good actually.  I have been good all day."  That got a nod and they finished up to drive to the house.  It was a long drive.  Xander fell asleep during it.  Bobby wouldn't let him nap on his shoulder but Xander didn't seem to mind any.  Sam was napping too.  Bobby looked at Dean, who shrugged.

"I'm good," he assured him quietly.

"You sure?"

"As long as that spell stops, yeah, I'm fine."

"Good."  They finally got there around dark and found lights on in the house.  And music.  Bobby went in first while Dean guarded the two sleeping guys.   "Who're you?" Bobby demanded.

"This is my house," she said with a smile.

"Bullshit.  Boy named Xander owns here."  She gaped and shook her head.  "Dean, let Xander in?"

Xander walked in and stared at her.  "Merideth."

She swallowed.  "They told us this house was free.  That the old owner had died."

"No, I didn't die," Xander said dryly.  "I closed the stupid seal but I didn't die."  She whimpered.  "Shoo.  Send whoever said that up here?"  She fled with her radio and dinner.  Xander sighed, going to find a sword.

"Boy, I say you died," he sneered.  Xander cut off his head.

"No, I don't think I did."  The demon's head looked shocked and horrified.  Xander smirked and wiggled his fingers.  "I'm not that sort of immortal.  Thank you anyway.  Who said I was?"  The head mouthed something.  "Huh, my former therapist.  I'll go behead him too."  The demon went up in flames once Xander let it.  He summoned his therapist, who gave him a horrified look.  "No, I didn't die."  Dean shot him with the colt.  "Thanks, Dean."

"Welcome, Xander.  I hate things like that interfering."

"Hmm."  Xander called someone.  "It's Xander Harris," he said in greeting.  "For some reason my former therapist, who was some sort of higher being hiding by trying to work on my temper, decided I had died.  He was wrong."  He listened.  "I'm at home," he said bluntly.  "Come make sure.  Just don't try to appear in the house.  The wards will kill you guys."  He hung up and went outside.  The two demons and the demonic judge appeared.  The judge tested him and then he scowled.  "A plan?"

"Yes," he muttered.  "You didn't even start to die?"

"No.  I killed the seal.  We went into the wizarding world for a few miles to get out of Sunnydale, had an excellent lunch, I stopped Rosenburg's thing against Dean again, and then we drove home so I could nap in the backseat."  He grinned.

"It was probably the gateway that did it," the judge decided.  Xander went to phoenix form and he shuddered.  "No, that would not affect you, would it?"  Xander changed back shaking his head with a grin.  "So the plan is ended," he decided.  "I shall let the others know."

"By the way, these are my two heirs, Dean and Sam Winchester," he said with a point back at them.  "In case someone tries it again.  This way it's officially noted."

The judge looked then at the boy.  "Do you know who they are?"

"Yeah, Sam helped me when I fought my way out of hell."  He grinned.  "He was very good to me while I healed, even through the three weeks of fevers.  Dean's his brother and I helped Sam help him recently.  I respect that sort of loyalty.  I used to have it for my friends."

The judge nodded.  "Very well, I'll have that noted."  He and his guards disappeared.

Xander looked up.  "Since this is the third false statement of my death, I'd like that inheritance," he called.  Around them the world shuddered and then reformed.  "Thank you."  He went back inside.  "Sorry."

"Inheritance?" Sam asked.

"It's an ancient prophecy about one who escapes hell.  Said that after three times of being dead yet not, that the inheritance of the ages would come to him.  Most everyone thinks it's allegorical," Bobby told him.

"Yeah, I don't," Xander said with a grin.  "The one thing I learned from girls was to be a vindictive bitch."  Dean snickered.  "Really."  He bounced back to the kitchen.  "Dinner, guys?"

"Sure," Sam agreed, following him.

"I should head home tomorrow," Bobby admitted.  Xander pouted.  "You could move somewhere more calm."

"That would mean more people that might accidentally get hit with my taint or try to touch me," Xander said.

"True."  He patted the boy on the arm where Sam did.  Xander grinned.  "You can have the two idiot boys here if you want."

"If they want to stay for a few more days I wouldn't mind," he said with a grin at Sam.

"I'd like some more calming down time," Dean admitted.

"Cool!"  He got back to dealing with vegetables for the dinner.  Sam made good soup.


Castiel showed up to Sam a few days after they had left Xander's house, staring at him for a moment.  "There are those who would like to ask a favor but they believe they'd be smitten within moments of appearing before they could be respectful and ask."

"Of me?" Sam asked dryly.  "I haven't killed a demon in days, Castiel."

"Not just of you."  He looked at Dean then at him.  "You and Xander actually.  The situation he was thinking about butting into."  Sam nodded once at that.  "There's many among us, including Gabriel and myself, who believe that their hero will turn into Xander if not helped."

"Probably," Sam agreed.  "I'm against anything that makes a little kid fight a war.  I'm not sure how I could help though."

"You could easily go with Xander and out-dark the dark lord," Castiel noted.  "Both of you have taint that is very awe inspiring if you're on that side."

Sam considered it then looked at the trunk where he felt a bit of magic going off.  "Xander, the angels want us to go keep the hero kid from turning into you."

Xander climbed out of the trunk in mouse form, looking at the angel.  "What makes you think the dork lord would survive meeting me?"

"There's a prophecy that only they can kill each other."

"Uh-huh.  Is that because the kid's tainted by it?"  Castiel nodded.  "Sure.  We can go be impressive and put him down as an inferior specimen.  As long as you go, personally, to stop Willow from trying to regain her powers."

"I can do so," he agreed, bowing his head slightly.  "Thank you, Alexander."  He disappeared.

Xander turned to look at Dean.  "Anytime he gets near you two it makes Sam's aura flash in a way that sets off a wiggy feeling in mine.  I have no idea why.  No one I know of has any idea why.  That's why I stole so many books from the library in hell, to try to figure that out.  It does work for higher demons too since last night I scared off the one who wanted Sam as a consort.  Ruby's not happy with me," he said dryly then disappeared.

Dean checked his roof's paint job then nodded.  "Good to know."

"Yup."  Sam nodded.  "What does one wear to put down a dark lord as pitiful?"

"Leather," Dean said with a smirk.  "Look like an evil badass, Sammy."

"I can do that."  He called someone and had them send something to the town they were in.  It'd take a few days but they had to get the current ghoul anyway.


Xander flashed into being on Sam's shoulder, nibbling on his ear.  "Leather?" he cooed.  "I like leather."

Sam petted his head ruff.  "I know you do."  They walked off, getting a lot of attention.  It could be that Sam was in a pair of green, very tight leather pants that matched his eyes and an extremely tight black t-shirt, plus biker boots.  It could be that Xander was back in black and silver phoenix form and the wizarding world considered them a very bad omen.  People went running.  Sam smirked.  "Nice, thank you."  They ran into people with wands drawn and body armor.  Sam snickered.  "Good afternoon, aurors."

Xander looked at them.  "We're not a bad omen if you're not already on our side," he cooed.

One stepped forward.  "Who are you?" he demanded.

"I'm Sam."  He smirked.  "I'm here to look over your idiot dork lord to see if he's actually evil.  Which, as far as we've heard, he isn't."

"True, he can't even hope to take out all the demons I have," Xander said.  He shifted and ruffled his feathers.  "Ah, better."  He looked at the funny haired one who was clearly used to muggle things.  "By the way, a Messenger from you guys' side asked me to look at Potter as my next petting slave."  She shivered and shook her head.  "It seems they think that this will make him move to our side because of the way he grew up."  He bird-smirked at her.  "I need new petting slaves.  Sam hardly ever grooms my feathers."

Sam snorted.  "That's because I have more important things to do right now.  I'll give you a good grooming later, dear."

"Sure," he chirped cheerfully.  He looked around.  "Hmm, cold, sucking feeling.  Aww, he's trying to greet us."  He flew off, manifesting in all his glory.  The dementors backed off and screamed as they fled.  He flew back, landing on Sam's head.  He leaned down to look at him.  "They're pitiful.  Less evil than succuba."

"I'll keep that in mind."  He grinned and held up a banana.  Xander scarfed it peel and all.  He grinned at the aurors.  "So, this dork lord of yours?"  One of the aurors coughed and the others glared at him.  "Seriously, Xander here killed over a thousand demons in his day.  Is he worse?"  He walked off.  "We'll find them ourselves.  You guys go back to hiding in your offices like the good little puppets you are."  He waved and they disappeared thanks to Xander.

The aurors shared a look and most of them went to tell their contacts to be very careful.  Especially the ones that knew Potter.


Sam and Xander appeared in front of an ancient house.  Sam sneered.  "How very typical."

Xander cackled.  "He's trying very hard to appear evil."

"I guess he thinks if he kills enough it'll be a better rep."  He shrugged and they walked in, Xander stunning all the minions on the way.  Sam didn't have magic so he couldn't.  Sam walked into the throne room and sneered.  "How very cheezy."  The man on the throne looked horrified.

Xander flew off and over to land on the arm of the throne, staring at him.  "Definitely not worthy.  I've killed more higher beings than you have muggles.  Though that proves patheticness, not evilness."  The bird coughed.  "Really bad stink too.  Did you do the transformation for a reason?  Because, dude, not scary."  He flew off shaking his head.  He spotted one and landed on his very blond head, staring down at him.  "Are you related to a vampire named William the Bloody?  You look a lot like him."  The man was making horrified noises.  "Huh.  I think he only made those at his Dru baby but if you are, he did survive us shutting the hellmouth."  He bird-smirked.  "We had fun shutting the hellmouth and seeing the spells unravel to destroy the whole town.  All it took was a single spell."  He flew back to Sam's shoulder.  "He does look just like Spike."

Sam looked.  "I've only seen Spike from a distance but he does."  He petted his friend's chest feathers.  "What do you think?"

"I know imps more fierce."

"Crucio!" Voldemort shouted, pointing his wand at him.  The bird intercepted it and cackled through it.  Voldemort shuddered, shrinking away from him.

Xander changed, fluffing out his hair.  "Ah.  Been years since I was tortured."  He looked at the wizard and sneered.  "I'm more evil than you'll ever be and I fought on the side of the light for years, Tom Riddle.  You're very unworthy of the Dark Lord title.  You don't carry the responsibility well.  You're pathetic at inspiring the right sort of respect from fear."  He sniffed then smirked evilly at him.  "And you're not even a member of your own crusade.  Doing hate crimes because you hated your muggle daddy is really, totally pathetic and unworthy of much of anything beyond a spot in hell.  I'll talk to some of my contacts to make sure your place is nice." 

He changed back into a bird and flew to Sam's shoulder, nuzzling his ear then cackling at the stunned people.  "You didn't even research the leader you want to follow?  Talk about boring and tiny brained.  I'll make sure all your spots are nice too."  He and Sam disappeared back to their hotel room in London.

Sam looked at Xander, moving him carefully off his shoulder.  "You good?"

"I've had worse on patrol and from dates before I got sent, Sam.  It's supposed to cause pain though so I'm glad I blocked it from you."  He blew a kiss and changed back, which made Sam let him go.  "See, I'm fine."

"Okay.  If you're sure."  He patted him on the arm.  "Go shower.  You're sweaty."

"Can I be a kitty cat next time?" he asked as he went to the bathroom.  "You sure you don't want the first one?"

"No.  I've seen worse poltergeists."  Xander grinned at him.  Sam settled down to send Dean an email and watch some tv.  British tv wasn't as uptight as he thought it was.  PBS had lied about how boring it was.  Xander was singing in the shower so Sam grinned.  Xander needed more fun time.  Xander came out naked and without a towel.  "Are we out?"

"Someone's bothering the kid."  He disappeared, landing next to him in bird form.  He gently settled on the table, staring at the two people and the other phoenix.  He nodded and the bird nodded back.  He looked at Harry.  "Hate and anger lead you to join me," he said dryly.  "So does being used as a pawn."  He glared at the older man.  "Children are not meant to be warriors.  This is not the dark ages and no *child* should ever be used as a pawn in a war.  That makes you just as evil as the other side."  He looked at Harry.  The spell hit him and did nothing.  Xander looked at him again.  "I've had worse from friends, Headmaster."  He looked at Harry again.  "The prophecy isn't valid.  Your parents didn't defy him three times, did they?"  Harry nodded slowly.  "Name them."

"They fought against them.  They hid from them and had me."

Xander changed into a human but clothed himself with illusion.  "I was in the shower," he said with a grin.  "That's not defying him.  Defying him is standing in front of him and then turning and mooning him or something."  Harry gaped in horror.  Xander stared at him.  "Neither of you fit the prophecy, kid.  And you're too young to be a warrior."  He turned and got the headmaster since he was trying another spell.  "I've had enough," he snarled and summoned a helper.  "Teach him what respect means.  And why the *light* has been missing him for years."

"Yes, Alexander."  He took the headmaster with him no matter how much he struggled.

Xander looked at him.  "We're at the Regent," he said quietly.  Fawkes was starting to get upset so he looked at her.  "Calm down.  I'll undo his binding in a minute.  I'm saving this one first."  The bird calmed down.  He looked at Harry again. "Harry, you've defied him three times.  Your parents fought but that's not the same as defying him.  It's a fundamental difference."  The kid was going pale.  "Come see me and Sam, Harry."  He changed back into a phoenix and looked at Fawkes, undoing the spell on her.  She flamed up and then came back.  "Welcome, Fawkes.  Pick better next time, sweetheart.  You're too rare to be used that way."  He nuzzled Harry's hair.  "With the way the three of you defied him, you'd better start some family planning, Harry."  He disappeared.

Harry looked around.  "Wait!" he called.

Xander reappeared.  "Regent Hotel.  London."  Harry nodded, swallowing.  "Have them go over what the word 'defy' means, Harry.  They'll still help you.  And we can perhaps negate it further.  Sam and I found him woosey in the extreme.  I know imps and succuba tougher than him."  He disappeared again.

Harry got up and petted the phoenix.  "I'm glad you're free, Fawkes."  The headmaster reappeared, panting and pale.  Harry blinked at him.  "How would my parents have defied him?"

Dumbledore glared at him.  "I'll finish explaining that to you later, Mr. Potter."

"Of course, Headmaster.  I'll be in London later."  He walked off.  Dobby popped in and took him to somewhere private.  He looked around then at the house elf.  "What's this?"

"This is private spot," Dobby said, staring at him.  "No bad things here."

Sam appeared with Xander back on his shoulder.  "We've been demon hunters for a long time, Harry.  Xander got given against his will, that's why he reads as evil and a bad omen."  He grinned and patted the house elf on the head.  "Very nicely done."

"Dobby says that is evil," Dobby complained, pointing at Xander.

Xander jumped off Sam's shoulder and changed, looking at him.  He held out a hand.  "Read me.  You guys can read auras."  Dobby nodded and touched his hand with a finger, then shuddered.  "I'm not evil.  I've killed a whole bunch of hell and a few angels who wanted an apocalypse battle."

"Dobby thinks you can help Dobby guard the great Harry Potter."

"I think that's why one of the angels against the apocalypse battle sent us," Sam said with a grin.

Dobby nodded.  "Angels not usually stupid humans."  He looked at his master.  "They will help Dobby protect Harry Potter."

"Actually, we just found out the prophecy isn't him, it's his kid," Xander told him, making the house elf squeal at him and hug Harry.  He grinned at Sam.  "It said they'd defy him three times."

"My parents fought him," Harry said.

"That's not defying him," Sam said.  "Defying him would be cackling at him and walking off, even if he cursed them.  Not fighting against his forces in a battle."  Harry slumped.  "So we'll work it out.  That way you don't have to have kids for a while."  He grinned.  "Xander's a champion of warping prophecies."

"I have to warn Hermione and Ron," he told them.

"Dobby deliver," Dobby assured him.

"I'll deliver it.  The headmaster might try to track you, Dobby."  Xander took the note and changed form, heading back to the school.  He found them on a walkway talking in secretive tones.  He landed on top of the mess of curly hair, looking down at her.

"What the bloody hell are you doing?" Ron Weasley said in horrified awe.

"Delivery service," Xander said, smirking at him.  He took the note from his claw and handed it down in his beak.  "Translation error in a certain prophecy, ducks."

She blinked, taking it.  "Can you get off me please?"  Xander hopped over to sit on the railing of the walkway.  "Thank you, you were a bit heavy."  She opened the envelope and stared then at the bird.  "You know where Harry is?"

"Dobby helped move him."  He smirked again.  "The headmaster is not pleased we got asked to show up and evaluate the stunning lack of anything but a hate crime in action."

Hermione swallowed, handing the note to Ron.  "I'd have to look at what we know about what they did."

"Fighting isn't defying?" Ron asked.

"No, fighting is fighting.  Defying is a blatant stating of 'hell no' given to someone giving orders.  Like saying 'eat me' as you walk off cackling.  You defy it in person or else everyone who hid would be eligible."

"Or the same thing as you kill their soul piece?" Ron asked, chewing on his bottom lip.

"That'd work.  Did for me a few times," Xander agreed.  He changed back into a human, grinning at them.  "I got sent because I backed up a slayer for a few years on a hellmouth before she accidentally gave me to a demon."  They both groaned.  "Who I killed, and a lot of other ones."  Ron gave him a horrified look.  "Sam, the other one with me, got sent because he's defied a few demons and one angel's plans for apocalypse battles.  He also helped me when I fought my way out of hell."  Hermione shivered, wrapping her arms around herself.

"We're about as dark as you can get on the light side.  Which kinda sucks for those who think that the greater good includes torture."  He looked at Ron, who blanched and shook his head.  Xander smirked and nodded.  "I already proved that point.  Anyway, since he's coming."  He changed back.  "He's safe with us.  You two go be safe and don't have kids for a few years.  All right?"  They nodded.  "We'll see if we can end it long before that prophecy matters."  He disappeared.

Ron looked at her.  "This means that some future Weasley is going to be the Chosen One," he said dryly, making her chuckle even though she wanted to cry.  "Your's will be too uptight to do anything but research."  She swatted him.  They walked off together.  "Bet there's a shitstorm going on if he appeared to others that way.  Black phoenixes are definitely bad news."

"I've never even heard of them."

"They're seriously bad omens.  Usually. Apparently that one's just cranked."  He went to talk to Neville, who cheered up at that news.  The phoenix was right, if they went on the definition of 'defy' as fighting Voldemort, half the UK's wizarding society was eligible.  Pity about their kids though.


Xander appeared in front of the funny haired auror who had summoned him.  "Technically," he said dryly.  "I'm not demonic.  I just killed a whole bunch of them."

She wet her lips nervously.  "Good to know."

"Someone higher up on the light's side asked us to come help the kid before he got turned into the man I was before."

"Even better to know."

"I found Voldemort to be really fucking pathetic though.  I know imps who're badder than him."  She cackled, shaking her head.  "Seriously.  A bit of magic doesn't make one scary, even if you kill with it.  It makes you pathetic.  Especially since every one of you walks around with a weapon on you and there's spells to protect against those sort of spells if you look in books that certain old coots have hidden."

"There are?  They never told us that."

"They got locked up after Grinderwald," her partner said from the doorway.  "That way no one else could use them to do the same things he did with them."

Xander looked at him.  "Think maybe it's a good time to find them?"

"Can't.  Ministry considers it dark."

"Magic isn't dark or light, people.  It's intent driven.  It's like saying electricity is evil because some countries use it to put criminals to death."  The aurors gaped.  "Really.  Magic just *is*.  It doesn't come with a flavor or a taint without someone putting it on there."

"Yeah but they'd throw us in prison if we used 'em," Tonks told him.

"Yeah, you guys have a major idiot in charge."  She shrugged.  "Anyway, you called?"

"Who are you really?"

He bird-smirked at her.  "Ever been to California?"

"No.  Heard of it.  Lots of sun and fit people," she said dryly.  "Movie stars and the like."

"Ever hear of a hellmouth?"

"Yup.  Did a school paper on it once for defense.  Oh, damn, you're from that town."

Xander nodded.  "I was helping the current slayers as well.  Then one of them said the magic 'wish' word."  She shivered.  He smirked again.  "Almost four years as a demon hunter."

"Ow," she muttered, rubbing her sore shoulder.

Xander looked then healed it.  He grinned.  "An interesting note.  If defying meant the same as fighting his forces in a war, the eligible parties would be *vast*.  Much more vast than two kids, or the three that've actually faced him down to defy him."  She gave him a horrified look.  He smirked.  The other auror was moaning.  "Anyway.  Any other questions?"

"We'd like you to not scare the crap out of the Alley again," she said.

"Hmm.  Well, it was a flashy opening but I've got another one I want to test the evil of."  He winked.  "I'll do that tomorrow though."  He disappeared, going back to the hotel.  Sam looked up from checking his email. "The funny haired auror."

"Cool."  He went back to checking it while Xander laid down to watch some tv.  He knew Xander probably wouldn't get much sleep so he'd drift off when he was ready.  Xander could watch late night smut tv.  It was nice England had that, especially the girl in the skimpy clothes who cleaned house.  Dean would love late night British tv.


Xander flew around the next morning, finding the idiot in charge spouting off about something.  He paused then decided it was a grand idea.  He flew down and landed on top of his head to lean down and stare at him.  "It's wonderful when the supposed leader of a country is dark and draws one like me.  Especially since you've turned all sorts of things that could protect people into things that're just as dark as you are."  The reporters were quiet and staring, a few taking pictures.  He smirked at the sweating idiot. 

"If you hide the spells that can protect people from the unforgiveables, then you're helping the dork lord's plans a lot.  Not that I find him all that evil.  Or you really.  You're just a puppet of slightly evil.  Mostly because ....  Well, I'm guessing the inbreeding caused your lack of sense.  Or maybe bad grades.  Who knows with how bad the school is or how behind."  He smirked.  "You're making my job much more fun and making sure that the next dark lord comes about the same way.  Really, Voldemort's upbringing was almost stereotypical of how to make a dork lord.  But clearly that's what you wanted to have happen since you tried it with others." 

He flew off, making Fudge yelp as his claws released his hair.  "Maybe my next petting slave will actually be more than a pissed off orphan or someone who hates their family for not being pure and dropping them into an orphanage," he called as he flew off.  "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem, Cornelius.  The more you let the kids be driven down the same road, the more dark lords will come."  He dodged a spell and smirked at the young, stupid thing.  "Ah, another relation to William the Bloody I think."  He landed in front of him.  "You can't capture a phoenix that way, kiddo.  Nor can you capture me that way."  He stared at him.  "A-plus for trying though."  He smirked.  "One day you'll be just like me.  At that time, look us up."  He winked and flashed out.

Minister Fudge was sweating.  "What was he talking about?" he demanded to his aurors.

"Well, Voldemort was an orphan," one of them admitted.  "With a muggle father."  Fudge gaped in horror.  "And the current crop of orphaned kids aren't getting much better treatment than he did.  Pity them in about twenty years or so."  He stared at him.  "As for the spells that you keep considering dark when they're not.  Some of the ones Grinderwald used would protect a soul from a Crucio.  A few more would protect against an Imperious.  But you and Dumbledore had them made dark magic."  He shrugged.  "Seems he got sent as a warning."

"I want that bird captured," Fudge sneered.  "He's evil."

"He's a phoenix," the auror shot back.  "They're not good or evil.  They're birds.  Beyond that, that one's not just a phoenix."  He smirked.  "Did some digging about that one.  He's a former demon hunter that got given to Hell as a reward once."  A few of the reporters shuddered.  "He came back in that form.  Used to be said that he was the strength on the Light's side really.  Kept the slayer pure and on the straight and narrow."  Fudge shivered.  "Now he's like that.  Seems he hasn't fully slipped from the Light's side since he came to *warn* us."  He walked off.

"I want that information file," Fudge sneered.

"Yup, it's been on your desk since four this morning."

"I haven't been at my desk yet," he blustered.  Which everyone knew was a lie since they had pictures of him in his office this morning.  They had been taking them for the official Minister's Broadcast that was later that day.

"Who oversees orphanages?" one reporter shouted.

"I don't think anyone does," he said, then shuddered.  "Why would we?"

"The muggles do and theirs turn out evil less often," one of the other reporters noted.  "We don't have anyone who takes care of the kids beaten to death by their families or any of that."  She looked at her fellow reporter.  "Or who sets standards for orphanages.  Some of them are downright nasty."

"I guess that's what makes a new one then," that reporter decided.

"It breaks them," Sam said from behind them.  "Anyone can be broken that way but if they're treated poorly and tortured it's more likely."  They stared at him and he grinned.  He was in jeans and a normal t-shirt today.  "There's been some fascinating work done in the muggle world on the subject of serial killers and the like within the psychology field.  If you look at what they went through, then make sure it won't here, a lot fewer dark lords will come to be and you can have people who stop them in the making."  He shrugged.  "It's what we do.  For having over half a billion people in the US, we only average four serial killers a year."  They gaped.  "The rest are single unit killers like the guy who shoots his cheating wife or fellow criminal."


"Been around since the 1890's," he said dryly.  "You should really try looking at things that we've found in the twentieth and twenty-first century, dear.  You're over a century behind in everything we've done.  Even academically.  How you can share a country with one of the most learned groups of people and not learn anything from watching them I'm not sure.  The US wizarding community is a lot more modern."  He shrugged. "You might look at how they stop dark lords. It seems to work."  He smiled.  "Have you guys seen my errant bird?"  One pointed.  "Cool.  Thanks, guys.  Have a better day."  He walked off.

"Stop him," Fudge ordered.

Sam pulled a gun and shot him.  "No.  I don't think so."  He stared at the whimpering, sobbing man clutching his arm on the ground.  "Any other stupid ideas, Fudge?  That was even more dumb than your usual level."  He walked off shaking his head, his gun going back into the holster.

"Hold it," one of the aurors said, jogging after him.  "We've got protections on not bringing weapons like that into Diagon."

Sam blinked at him.  "No there's not.  Nothing paused it at all."  The auror gaped.  He shrugged, letting him test the gun.  "See, no extra magic."

"I'll check on that.  Still shouldn't have wounded him."

Sam smirked.  "The idiot needs shot in the head for moving you guys backward and making it so you can't protect yourself and others."  Xander flew down and landed, smirking at him from the auror's shoulder.  "There you are.  You were missing when I got up for breakfast."

"I wanted an early morning fly."

"C'mon, we'll go eat."  Xander hopped over to Sam's shoulder, nibbling on his ear.  Sam grinned at him.  "I like to groom you too.  I'll do it after breakfast."

"Cool!"  Sam walked off with him.  "We have no idea how you guys managed to move ahead by centuries but lose half of everything you knew," he called back.  "We're only harbingers."

"I...  I'll go look in some older books," the auror said.

Sam grinned.  "The Council of Watchers might have some.  We're not really fond of them either for the way they treat their slayers."  Sam bought them some fruit and other breakfast things then went back to the hotel.  Harry was waiting on them.  "Sorry," Sam said with a grin.  "He went for an early morning taunt."

"I heard.  It's all over the WWN."  Sam smirked, handing Harry some of the food.  Xander changed back and they got comfy to talk and go over ideas on how to help him.  Especially with the part of Voldemort in him.  That really needed to be fixed.


Dean Winchester looked up when Castiel showed up.  "They in trouble?"

"So far they've set the entire wizarding community on its ear and your brother shot Minister Fudge in the arm."

"Figures."  He smirked, sipping his beer.  "Other news I need to hear?"

"A few things.  The slayers are looking for Xander."

"They can't have him back."

"They're worried about Willow."

"Weren't you supposed to make sure she couldn't destroy the world?"

"I have.  We are all watching out for her."

"Hmm."  Dean looked around him to the demon that had appeared.  "Well?"

"No, she can still sacrifice for power."

Castiel sighed.  "I did not even think of that."  He disappeared.

Dean looked at the demon.  "Do the same."

"I came to talk to Sam.  Where is your brother?"

"England with Xander."

She gaped then shuddered.  "That's not fair."  Dean waved a hand as he took a drink of his beer.  She pouted.  "Will you talk to me then?"

"Probably not unless you're giving me information on some evil bitch I have to take out."

She pouted. "Maybe."  The motel manager stomped over to harass Dean about the bogus credit card.  "I can solve that," she cooed.

Xander appeared and looked at the manager, who shrieked and went to his knees.  "Dean and Sam are both under my protection," he said patiently.  The manager nodded.  "I'm sure he'll find a way to repay that," he told Dean.  "Because his clan are warriors."  He looked at the demon, earning a whimper.  "Who sent you?"

"Helda.  She wanted them to take out her rival."

"Didn't I kill them already?"

"The new one," she told him.

"I'll kill them later."  She disappeared.  He looked at Dean, shaking his head.  "Tell the slayers I said to have a nice life *somewhere far from me*," he said, emphasizing the important part for the demon.

"Yes, Lord Xander."

"Thank you.  We'll be back soon.  Any idea how to remove a soul piece from a kid's head?"

"No," the demon said.  "You're butting into that?"

"I got asked by the same angel that was going to deal with the apocalypse."

"Oh," the demon said with a nod.  "Damn."

"I'm having fun," Xander said with a grin.  He disappeared.

Dean looked at the demon.  "I'll go hustle some pool.  Sorry."

The demon stood up, looking at him.  "I've gotten hit by six different hunters so far this year and it's only May."

"Want me to put out that you've got a quarter demon on staff?"  The manager smirked and walked off.  Dean called someone.  "It's Dean," he said.  The woman on the other end swore.  "Actually I'm passing on some news.  There's a quarter demon, yes, one of those, at the motel I'm staying at.  Very peaceful but he has an unnatural ability to sense hunters.  Traveler's in Aberdeen, Michigan.  Yeah, he let me know since I know Xander and Xander knows about their kind. 

"Guy's perfectly harmless, Ellen, but he can sense us and then he tells the manager so they can watch us harder.  Said they've caught about six so far this year.  No, just scaring the crap out of him and making the others locally panic even though they're not that sort of demon. Yup, the manager asked me to let you guys know.  Apparently the panicking is getting bad to the locals."  He opened another beer and took a drink.  "Sam's in England somewhere.  Yeah with him.  Helping a kid who needs it.  Castiel asked.  No, I'm on my way through to the spirit in that old abbey.  It apparently came back."

The manager looked out of the office at him.  "She's a former nun, of course she's stubborn."

"Good to know.  Thanks."  He took another drink.  "Not what happened, Ellen.  Ask Bobby, he met the kid, talked to him, all that.  Please?"  He smiled.  "Thanks.  Later."  He hung up and grabbed his shotgun, getting the demon sneaking toward his car with a knife.  "Don't touch the car, dude."  The demon wailed but fled.  Dean finished his beer and went to bed.  He almost missed his dorky little brother but he was sure he was being all huggy and mushy with Xander.  Xander needed it so he wouldn't pout about it.


Xander appeared in phoenix form in front of a watcher he didn't really like but his son was decent enough most of the time.  "Wesley's father."  The man stared at him, going stiff.  He grinned.  "Need something to help a teenage boy who's been unfortunately infested with a soul piece from their dork lord."

"What?"  Xander took him to look at Harry.  He stared at him.  "I've seen the reports about what's going on, Mr. Potter."

"Unfortunately their dork lord left a piece of soul in him," Sam said from his seat.  Xander hopped over and Sam sighed but smiled.  "You're so high maintenance."  Xander slumped.  "Teasing, Xander.  Teasing."  He hugged him and groomed him.  "I don't mind helping you.  If I minded I'd pout at you."

"I know."  He rubbed his head against Sam's shoulder, getting a hug back.  "Thanks, Sam."

"Welcome, Xander."

Harry looked at the older man and shrugged.  "I don't know.  They showed up to help me."

"An angel asked us to move our plans up to help you," Sam said with a grin.

"You're Sam Winchester," the elder Wyndham-Pryce said.  Sam grinned and nodded.  "And if that's Xander, that means that's the Harris bastard."

Xander changed back, looking at him.  "Not like I did it on my own."

"I heard that report."

"Including how I got sent?"

"Yes.  Travers cackled until we pointed out this meant you could hunt all of us and all the girls."

Xander shrugged.  "Willow activated most of them."  He smirked.  "Can you help Harry?  I promise I won't touch most of you outside of shiving Travers if he survived.  Since he sent Buffy a congratulations present."

"He didn't survive."


"What happened in Sunnydale?"

"I had some of Willow's stored power thanks to her magic dealer."  The watcher shuddered.  "I shut the hellmouth and it sucked.  It ended Wilkin's spells."

"Good!  I'm hoping all that drama is stopped."

"I'm hoping she can't keep going magic addiction," Xander countered.  "Can we remove the soul piece?"

He checked it and nodded.  "We have an artifact that can do that."  Harry beamed at him.  "We'll get it and bring it later."

"We're here in the Regent," Sam said with a hand wave.  "Unless they try to take him back."

"Bring him to the old Council building," he ordered.  "The archive."

Xander looked at him.  "I have no idea where that is."

"Come get me later then."  Xander nodded.  "I hope you manage to heal more, Harris.  Especially since you seem to radiate."

"I fought my way out."

"Oh," he said, blinking a few times.  Xander smirked.  "How many?"

"I think I'm up to seven or eight thousand by now.  Only ten important ones grace my study wall."

"And about ten angels for wanting to start an apocalypse," Sam added.

"Thank you!  We were wondering who had stopped that.  Get me back there and I'll get that artifact tonight, boys.  Come get me about ten."  They nodded and they all disappeared right before the motel got broken into by aurors.  The elder watcher shook his head as he walked off.  "Come back here at ten, boys."  They nodded and Sam decided to take Harry to the big ferris wheel in London.  They needed a bit of fun.


Harry walked up to where Fudge was spluttering the next morning, handing him the sealed jar.  "We found a way to remove the piece of soul he infected me with.  Here, so you can destroy it personally, Minister Fudge.  By the way, it was pointed out that the prophecy had a better chance of being my son than me."  He walked off again.  "I'm going to change schools.  Let me go look some other ones up."

"Why are you changing?" a reporter asked, nearly pouncing on him.

Harry looked at her.  "You really have to ask that?"  She backed off, giving him a horrified look.  "Would you want to be me?"

"No," she admitted. "Not with the way the press has treated you."

"Exactly.  I'd like to go to school to learn things, not to have to fight another house's students, you lot, him, and the headmaster."  He walked off.  "Have a good life."

"What is that?" Fudge shouted.

"Ask the headmaster."  Harry waved and disappeared.

"Go retrieve him.  He's not allowed to apparate yet."

One of the aurors coughed.  "I asked someone.  If he has taken part of a magical contract that would require him to be an adult, then it holds that he's legally considered an adult."

"So?" Fudge demanded.

"The tournament," the auror said.  "It was a magically binding contract and you have to be an adult to partake in it."  Fudge spluttered.  "Bring me something to lock that jar in," he ordered.

"Already coming," the one in the back noted.  It was handed over a few minutes later.  He carefully put the jar into it and sealed it magically.  "Figure out what that is."

"I think I'm pretty sure what it is," Tonks noted as she joined them, moving closer to whisper in his ear.

"Said who?" he demanded, trying to look calm.

"Said a few sources that I put together late last night."

"Figure out how to destroy it."

"That I'm trying to do."

"Thank you.  Tell me later."  She nodded, taking the box off to lock in the dangerous materials vault.

"I want a report," Fudge noted.

"We can do that," the auror assured him.  "We should go, sir."  He nodded and they left.

"Do we know any more about that person and his bird?" Fudge demanded.

"Yes, sir, and what I'm told is that they're both demon hunters who've been unfortunately tainted by killing a bunch of them.  Apparently they've been stopping bad things for years."  Fudge paused, gaping in horror.  The auror nodded.  "Our contact at the Watchers Council told us more but that's the basics.  The one that's usually human is a bit more normal.  The phoenix was on the hellmouth until something happened.  He's also the reason that the hellmouth out there shut recently."

"What's a hellmouth?" Fudge demanded, looking confused.

The auror sighed.  "That's a longer talk, sir.  That's a whole defense class by itself.  I'll get you the book."  He walked off.  He knew Fudge wouldn't read it but maybe he'd learn something.


Fudge made a big deal of killing the horcrux when he found out how.  He had his closest personal friends who were reporters in to watch him stab it with a basilisk venom laden bone knife.  He got blown back and the reporters got a first hand look at how doing that killed a wizard.  The aurors watching, who Fudge had ordered to let him do it, called for help.  One checked the horcrux, one Fudge.  She stabbed it again and got blown back but not killed.  Her boss tried and he was knocked out but not killed.

Xander appeared and stabbed it hard.  It flashed up and out, then wailed and started to leak black fluid.  He sneered then smirked.  "It takes a *strong* wizard to kill it," he told the watching auror.  "Using it you can probably find the other things he infected.  Isn't that the contagion principle?"

The auror swallowed.  "I can't do that but I can call someone, sir.  Who're you?"  Xander smiled and turned back into a phoenix, making the auror chuckle in a hysterical sounding way.  The other aurors ran in.  "No, don't touch him!  He killed the horcrux!"  They backed off.   "He said we can track that to find any others by the contagion principle?"  One nodded, moving to do that.

Xander nibbled on her ear.  "Good auror.  Very smart.  The two who tried second and third should be fine."  He disappeared.

She shivered and found them.  "Got locations."  She wrote them down and the aurors went to find them.  Even if they had to wake up every single Goblin in the bank.  "One's hidden," she said, holding it out.  "I don't know where."

Tonks got up with a groan, taking it to look.  "That figures," she murmured.  One of the mediwitches took her.  "That'll take some skills.  My mum took me there once.  Said her family liked it."  They nodded, going to find her mother.  Tonks let herself be led off to be treated for the concussion.  Her boss got floated off.  Fudge got covered and they'd deal with him in a few.  The reporters went to spin their stories.  The headlines in the morning were going to be huge.


Draco Malfoy watched the stupid phoenix fly around and sneered.  He would catch that thing.  It would fit his future plans very well.  No matter what else it was, it was just a phoenix.  He could do great things with such a beast on his shoulder.  He blinked when the phoenix appeared in front of him.  "Morning."

The bird changed into a human, shaking his head.  "This is my natural form, Malfoy."  Draco gaped.  Xander smirked back.  "If you want it that badly, go kill a bunch of demons like I did."  He patted him on the head.  "You're cute and slightly evil but I've slayed bigger evils than you."  He changed back into a phoenix.  "Beyond that, earn respect, not fear.  Respect gets you farther.  And hey, if you play your cards right you can ascend to places your father never could.  But first, lose the snotty, entitled attitude.  No one would ever believe you had skills with the way you posture and act like you're owed the world, kid."  He flashed out.

Sam stared at him.  "What?"

Xander grinned.  "He needed to hear it.  Maybe he can do something decent."

"He's a pureblood snot," Sam complained.

"And to rule the world that he thinks he's entitled to he's going to have to learn about it."  Sam gaped.  Xander beamed.  "Are we done?"

"We're checking out in an hour."  Xander changed back and went to use the shower of sin they have.  Sam grinned and checked the room again.  They had only brought one shared bag.  Xander came out naked and changed back when it was time.  Sam got the clothes into the bag too.  "Thanks," he said dryly.

"Aurors are coming," Xander quipped.  They checked out and Xander took them home.

Dean stared at the two beings who appeared next to him.  "Way to stay undercover, Sammy."

Sam smiled and waved at the people staring at them.  "Mystical travel agency."  They groaned and went back to their own things.

Xander leaned over to nibble on Dean's hair.  "Let me head home.  Later, boys."  He disappeared.

Sam sat down, shaking his head. "He was naked."

"Figures.  Though I don't need to know what you two do."

Sam shook his head.  "He still can't stand to have someone touch him."


"It left him really... touch sensitive and a few other problems.  You can touch him but if you try to touch too much of him at once it overloads him and causes pain.  Especially around his ribs.  Beyond that, I'm about the only one that doesn't flinch when he's very close because of his taint."

"I get that," Dean admitted.  "I feel it some but it doesn't drive me off or anything."

"Dean, we're not usual," Sam reminded him.

"Good point.  It go okay?"

"The kid's settled into a better school.  The problem linking him is out of his head.  Their Minister was grandstanding and decided to handle it himself but it killed him."  Dean nodded once.  "Xander ran into a little snot-nosed kid who thought he deserved a bird like him."  Dean nodded once at that.  "He told him to find respect instead of fear raising."  He shrugged.  "Other than that, we saw some of the sights.  The hunt order on Xander got removed.  I helped him raid another library down there."  He smirked.  "It's at the house."

"That's good.  Any other good news?"

"We're not sure if some of his taint is lowering or not."

"We can only hope," Dean decided.  He finished his lunch.  "You going to pout that he's home?"

"No.  We're buddies but not like that. I can be a friend who helps him heal but I can't be the lover that helps him heal. I'm not sure if he can ever fix the touching thing."

"That's cool.  I think Dad would be proud."  Sam grinned.  "Beyond that, we have nothing to do for the next month."

"Wonderful.  Where are we heading?"


"Sure.  Whenever you're ready."


"I had a great breakfast.  It was included."  He smirked.

"Decent."  They tossed out the trash and went back to the car, driving off in a blast of music to find a hidey hole until they could find a new hunt.


Xander was on his back porch when someone appeared.  He stared at the blond boy.  "What?"

"Where is this?"


"Oh."  He nodded.  He looked around then at him.  "You honestly think I can be Minister for Magic?"

"That depends on what you want.  Can't do much worse than the last one," he said dryly.

"No, no one can."  He looked out at the view again then at him again.  "How would I go about doing that?"

"Well, first, you have to figure out what's good for your world.  Because the agendas haven't been.  Especially with the lower pureblood birthrate and how many are coming from normal Britain.  They have different morals, goals, skills, knowledge, technology, all that."

"Yes but it's inferior," Draco noted.

"No, not really.  We can fly across the world if we want.  It just takes more time and money.  We can talk to people all around the world by video or by phone.  We can find information nearly instantly on the internet."  Draco was looking uncomfortable.  "Spend six months with a muggle learning about what they know, can do, all that.  You'd be surprised at what we have that you don't.  Including a higher birth rate."

"I don't know any muggles."

Xander had a sudden idea.  "There's a witch I know.  Earth witch, not wand witch."  Draco nodded once.  "She's struggling with a magic addiction."  Draco grimaced.  "She's even sucked up black magic.  There's higher beings trying to keep her steady and grounded.  She does love to teach though and she works with slayers."

Draco considered that.  "That's not so bad.  I could definitely show her the weakness in her form of magic while looking over what they can do."

"She's got some newly called slayers that are from more natural areas she's teaching the same things to."

"That might help, yes.  Do you know how I could contact her?"

Xander looked behind Draco.

"That is actually an excellent idea and would help not only his society but her as well," Castiel agreed.  "Can you get him there, Xander?"

Xander sent him.  "Done."  He pushed his sunglasses back up his nose.  "Let me sun, Castiel."

"Of course."  He disappeared, going to calm Willow down.  "It is the orders of the higher beings that he learn the differences between your art and his," Castiel told her.  "His wizarding world is facing a turning point and he is a scion of one of the more influential houses."  He stared her down.  "It is also felt that he can firm up your own approach to magic."  She sneered.  He stared back.  "So is the Higher Angel's command, Willow Rosenburg.  Unless you wish to waste this last chance to redeem yourself?"

"No, I can help him understand the normal people world," she said calmly.

Castiel smiled.  "It was felt you could ease his transition as well as you have magic and he needs to learn the difference between the styles, plus the benefits and drawbacks of the normal lifestyle."

"Definitely.  I'm giving some of the same lessons to the more primitive living slayers."

"There is an inherent grace to living in the natural world," he told her.  She nodded she knew that.  "In truth, some of those slayers are some of the best because they have been hunting for their families for years."

"I know. I didn't mean anything by it."

Castiel nodded.  "Good.  You have him for six months. If he chooses to stay longer that is on him," he told Draco.  Who nodded.  "You might also teach him to drive, Willow, as most of you cannot.  It could be helpful in an emergency."  He disappeared.

She sighed.  "I'm sorry you had to see that.  Draco, was it?"

"Draco Malfoy," he said, holding out a hand.

"Welcome to the slayer house in Cleveland, Draco.  Let me introduce you to the girls.  They might be a bit squeeish but be polite or Buffy will kick your ass."

"What's squeeish?" he asked.

She smiled.  "Teenage girl noise, Draco."  She walked him into the kitchen.  "Ladies, and Andrew.  This is Draco Malfoy.  Castiel wanted him to learn more about the various forms of magic and us normal people because his sort of wizard are in transition to more modern times.  Also, he suggested I teach him how to drive."

"I will," Andrew said.  "You drive like a slayer, Willow."  He shook his hand.  "I'm the house mother.  If you need stuff let me know.  I'll get you a room in a minute.  Bags?"

"I can call home for something."  Andrew handed over the phone.  "What's that?"

"A phone.  You call with it."

"Fireplace?" Draco suggested.

"Fire in the baking oven," he offered. Draco called home and his father was not pleased but Draco saw Castiel show up there.  A few minutes later a house elf popped in with a bag for him.  Andrew stared.  "I've seen one of you on a movie but I didn't think you were real."

"House elves are wonderful," Draco said with a smug look.  "They cook, clean, move things, do the gardens...."

Andrew pouted.  "Then I wouldn't have anything to do."

"You could use one for a helper," Buffy offered.  "That way you don't have to mow."

"I could," he agreed.  He stared at the house elf.  "Are you guys hard to summon?"

Draco shook his head.  "You can find them at the house elf agencies.  I'll see if there's any in the US."  Andrew beamed.  He looked at the house elf.  "Was there something else?"

"Mistress send letter, Master Draco."  It handed it over then disappeared.

Draco read his mother's precise, cramped writing and nodded.  "I'll answer her later."  He put it into his bag and smiled.  "Hopefully this will be much nicer than another few months in Hogwarts learning minor things that are never going to be useful in my life.  How many times will I need to turn a mouse into a teapot after all."

"You can?" Willow asked.  She walked him off to find him a room while they talked about the different styles of magic.  They could each do things the other couldn't.

By that night he was starting to get scared about how powerful she was.  He could see why he had been sent to help tame her.  Perhaps some of the strictures of wanded magic would slow her apocalyptic growth to a magical overload.  Plus he had some capturing crystals for when he leaked during his sleep.  He was up the hall from her room so it could help.  He took one to her.  "These help suck up any magical overflow we put out during our sleep."

She took it to sense, nodding.  "That's really handy."

"I slept with one next to my bed during my schooling because I tended to overextend my shields so I couldn't leak annoyingly."  He smiled.  "In fact, some teenage witches do wear one on a necklace to help with...female surges."

She beamed.  "I'll look into that.  I know I have those too.  Thank you, Draco."  He smiled and went back to his room.  She put her new pet crystal beside her bed.  It was something she could definitely use in her life.  She knew she did leak a bit of excess magic now and then.  It made the plants around the house grow fantastically.


Sam walked into the bar and stared at the people staring at him.  "What?" he asked.  He hadn't realized it was a demon bar.  This was not going to be a good day.  Especially since Dean was off working on the car.

"Lord Samuel," one said quietly.

"Um, no, not Lord anything.  Just Sam."

"The higher Hosts said that you have taken the one who tainted you's place since you killed them."

Sam shook his head.  "No I haven't.  Xander?" he called.

Xander appeared in a flash.  "Yup yup."

"They said I took that demon's place?"

Xander blinked a few times.  He looked at the demons.  "Not that I've heard."

The demons all nodded.  "It's said that you both took up your positions."

Xander snorted.  "No, I haven't."

"Me either," Sam agreed.

"It's also said that you two went on a honeymoon?" one asked.

"No," they said in unison.

"We were asked by Castiel to go do that," Xander said.  They all sighed.  "It's not a honeymoon.  We had separate beds.  For that matter, I haven't had anyone since before I left."

"Would you take him as a consort?" one asked Xander.

"Sam's not that sort.  I'm told he likes smart women."  They pouted at Sam.  "Let's not spread this rumor, guys.  Really.  I'd hate to go destroy the rest of hell.  I will... but I'd end up pouting for weeks."

"I'd help with that destruction," Sam said.

Dean walked in.  "What's up, guys?  I just got a phone call from Castiel of all people."

"They can use cellphones?" Sam asked.

Xander shrugged.  "Maybe his host body had one."  He looked at the demons.  "No, neither one of us has taken our enemy's jobs.  We're not married."

Dean shook his head.  "If they were, I'd have known.  Since they haven't said anything...."  He shrugged.  "Not reality, guys."

"Would that one that you sent to the slayers be a consort?" one asked.

"No," Xander said.  "He's learning some about us and she's learning some about them."  He grinned.  "He's also learning some about magic addictions and things."

"That could be helpful for them," Sam decided. "Beyond that, Draco's too young for either of us."  They groaned.  "Sorry, people.  Let me... go be freaked out about that rumor in private."  He and Dean left.  Xander got a beer and left to go back to his house.  Once outside, Sam shuddered.


Xander looked up from sunning himself while reading when Bobby pulled up and got out of his truck.  "Hi, Bobby."  He grinned.  He noticed he was staring up and looked.  "What?"

"How long has your house had a pet, kid?"

Xander got up and walked over to look.  "Hi, Hannah!"  The tentacle disappeared.  He shrugged.  "We became friends when I was killing a whole bunch of demons in one section.  They had her captive."

Bobby looked at him.  "Have you taken more taint?" he asked.

Xander shrugged.  "Not that I'm aware of."

Bobby splashed him with holy water, not getting any reaction.  "Huh."

Xander shrugged.  "I think she came to visit."

Bobby nodded.  "I came to borrow the library."

Xander beamed.  "Cool!  I haven't seen anyone in days."

"You need to get out more, kid."  He walked him inside, taking the book from Xander's towel to look at.  He noticed Xander had moved to the back porch and was petting and hugging the tentacle.  Bobby shook his head.  "Does Sammy know her?"

"I never introduced them," Xander said with a grin.  He searched for Sam's aura, finding him frustrated.  He patted the tentacle.  "I'll be right back. I'm going to get Sam so you can be introduced, Hannah."  He disappeared, finding him and Dean fighting.  "I'm introducing him to a friend.  We'll be right back."  He beamed and took Sam.  "Sam, this is Hannah."

Sam looked at the ten-and-a-half-foot tall tentacle without a body.  He'd usually be shocked or horrified but this was Xander.  So this being odd was normal for their friendship.  "Hi, Hannah.  Nice to meet you."  He patted a sucker cup and she stroked him.  He grinned at Xander.  "Where did you two meet?"

"I was freeing a section near the lake of fire and they had her hostage."  Xander hugged her.  "She's really nice."

"She seems like it."  He spotted Bobby.  "Hey, Bobby."

"Sam."  He looked at the bright blue tentacle.  "She seems nice."

"She's very nice," Xander assured him.  "So, what're you doing now?"  A few of the tiny hairs on her tentacle moved and he beamed.  "Really?  That's very cool!"

Sam blinked.  "How did she do that?"

"That's how she talks."

"Huh.  Interesting.  I've never met a being who telepathically talked that way."  He patted her again, letting the tip of her tentacle pet him.

"I'm going to start some coffee, boys," Bobby said, going to do that.  He could watch the boys be petted by the giant tentacle from the kitchen.  It was safer.  She might like him too and he doubted the giant tentacle wanted to live in his salvage yard with him.

Xander looked into the house.  "She said you're too uptight for her to want to keep as a human pet."  He went back to chatting with his friend.

"It's where I'm set in my ways," he called back.  "Too stubborn to change."  He made sure his coffee had holy water.  Just in case other demons wanted to make him their toy.  Though Hannah seemed really sweet.  She was still petting Sammy like a cat.  He wished he had a camera for Dean.

"Office, second drawer on the left in my desk," Xander called.  "Behind the two dead thing books."

Bobby went to find that, looking at the books.  He had no idea why the boy needed those but he'd talk to him later about that.  It turned out the camera was a digital video camera so he got to take film for Dean.


Dean heard Sam's phone beep and dug it out of his bag, opening it to see what was going on.  Email from Bobby, that was promising.  He sat on the bed to boot up the laptop so he could get into it.  He found the email easily enough and ran the film he had been sent.  He stared.  Giant blue tentacle petting his dorky little brother.  Uh-huh.  He looked up.  "Xander, I want Sammy back before you warp him more," he called quietly.  "Now please."

Willow appeared, staring at him.  "Who're you?"

"I did not call you, Rosenburg."

"Do I know you?"

He stared at her.  "I saw what you were trying to do by sending me horrible visions of things that weren't my fault."  She shook her head.  "Yeah.  Before Sunnydale fell in."

"The angels said....."

"They had just lost their bid to use us as apocalypse firestarters," he sneered.  "Get out of my hotel room."

"Hey!  I was just following orders."  He shot her with the gun in his back waistband, making her shriek.

"I doubt that, bitch.  You're evil.  You're still going evil.  Hell, even Hell doesn't want your stupid ass you're so evil."  She sobbed as she went home.  He called out there.  Sam answered sounding happy.  "Tell Xander I shot at Rosenburg for him.  She's got a wounded shoulder.  And get back here before you become a tentacle pet for good, Sammy."  He listened.  "No!"  He huffed.  "One day."  He hung up and packed, heading out to Xander's place.  It was an all night drive but he hoped he didn't get there and find Sam *playing* with the tentacle.  That would gross him out worse than Rosenburg's visions did.


Bobby looked at his watch the next morning when he heard a car pull in quickly.  "He made decent time."  He went to open the door and stopped, staring at the person getting out.  "Boys aren't here."

"Where are they?" Bill the former therapist/higher being asked.

"Helping Hannah the tentacle."

Bill paused, considering that.  "Hannah the tentacle?"

"Big, blue one Xander met somewhere in hell.  She needed some help taking over the spot they had her captive."

Bill stared at him for a minute.  "I'm apparently still misunderstanding?"

Bobby looked back at the back porch.  "Hannah, he wanted to meet you, sweetheart."  She came around the house and stared at Bill for a minute then swatted him hard.  Bill yelped.  "She's a good friend of Xander's apparently.  Petted him and Sammy all night."

Dean pulled in and parked, getting out.  He stared at the tentacle.  "I was hoping I wouldn't show up and find you eating, fondling, or screwing Sammy," he told her.  For some reason he heard cackling.  "Is that you?"  Bobby nodded, sipping his coffee.  "Well, at least you don't have teeth.  Maybe you'll help Sammy and Xander be more normal."  She petted him gently and used a sucker to kiss him on the cheek.  Then she swatted Bill again before disappearing.  Dean blinked a few times.  "I shot Rosenburg on the shoulder," he told Bobby, walking past Bill's limp form.  "She showed up to see why I yelled at Xander."

"Too bad you missed," Bobby complained.

"Cas has her helping his special project.  Though she tried to justify things as the angels told her to."

"Huh.  Still not a good idea."  He looked him over, handing him some holy water.  Dean drank it and went to get some coffee.  Bobby smiled at the groaning higher being.  "So, needed something else?"

Bill blinked at him.  "Most hunters would freak out."

"She seemed pretty nice and all.  Thought I was a bit uptight.  Thought Sammy and Xander were cute."  He shrugged.  "I can appreciate peaceful beings.  She said the boys would be back in a few hours if you wanna come back."  He took another drink of his coffee.

Bill groaned, pulling himself into his car so he could go find out what was wrong with this hunter and if some higher being had already touched his life.  Just before he reached town, the giant blue tentacle came back and slapped his little compact car.  He flinched when the suckers grabbed it and brought it with it.  This was not how he wanted to help rearrange Hell's power structure! 

It was nice that Xander used him to distract them from making him take on a job.  Or Sam.  Strange but useful. 

Though Xander would be paying for his car.


The duo reappeared with Hannah, who petted Dean's hair until it laid down.  Then she petted her friends so they'd remember her.  She went back to her newly reorganized and enlarged section of hell.  The boys had done good arranging things for her and that higher being had been nicely competent arguing on her behalf.  It was so nice of them to help her.  She made sure Bill got back to his own realm and patted him as well for his help.  Then she disappeared to find a few new toys to play with.  The winged ones were great fun to catch.

Bobby gave both boys holy water, letting them drink it.  "You good?"

Sam grinned and nodded.  "She needed some help getting more room for her expanding family and needed us to rearrange things."

"Yeah, she's having a two-sucker pregnancy."

Dean looked at them.  "They can't be passed on, right?"

"No," Sam complained.  "She can't knock you up, Dean.  You don't have suckers."

"Then congrats to her," Dean said happily.

"At least she's not a harmful thing," Bobby said.  "Too many of those on this plane."

"Yeah but they don't come near me," Xander quipped.

A demon appeared with a scroll.  "It is the ruling of the High Council of All Hells..." he started to read.

"If you finish that, I'll destroy you and them," Sam assured him with a mean smirk.  "Happily."  The demon carefully rerolled the scroll.  "I'm not consort material.  Sorry.  Don't really like gay sex.  Neither does Xander."

Xander cleared his throat.  "Actually, I still can't stand to be touched."  He stared at the demon, who started to smoke.  "I'm fairly certain they can't do that.  After all, we're still human even if we are tainted.  Therefore we're not bound by whatever crackhead plot they're cooking up this time."

"You both have spots due to right of conquest," the demon messenger reminded them.

"Which we're not going to take up," Sam said with a mean smile.  "Or else I'll come rearrange other things down there."  The demon messenger nodded, bowing his head and backed up.  "Hell, we might just have an amusement park by the time I'm done."  The demon whimpered quietly.  "You go tell them that while I like Xander as a friend, we're not together.  All right?"  He grinned.  The demon nodded, not daring to look at him as he disappeared.  Sam looked at Xander.  "I like you a lot."

"I know."  He smirked.  "Everything with a bit of taint loves me, Sam."

Sam nodded.  "Could be, yeah."  He punched him on the arm, making him yelp.  "Anyway," he walked off.  "More coffee, Bobby?"

"Please," he said, giving Sam's back a confused look.  "Is he possessed again?" he asked the other two boys.  Who shook their heads.

"Sam's in evil planning mode," Dean assured him.  Xander nodded, looking around.  "When he rescued you?"

"Yeah, that's why I have heads on the wall," Xander admitted.  "He helped me trap and kill a few of them."

Sam came out with the coffee pot.  "I thought it'd do your trauma good."

"It has," Xander said, blowing a kiss.  "Thanks, Sam."

"Welcome, Xander."  He poured them more coffee then took the pot back inside.  He came out with a bottle of water he was mumbling at then opened it and threw it on the demon trying to hide from them.  It screamed and went up in flames.  "Hi."  He grinned.  The demon started to cry.

Xander looked.  "Pity it's not high enough to go on the wall or the tapestry," he said.  He found a sword and gave it to Sam, who killed the thing.  The body thumped down.  Xander banished it back to hell as he floated a book out so he could work on his tan.  Sam grinned at that idea and went to get his own.  He laid down in another sunny spot.

Dean and Bobby shared a look.  "It's where they're younger," Bobby told him.  Both boys cackled.  He and Dean went inside to go through the new library and start dinner.  Clearly they were going strange from hunger.


Hannah appeared, waving frantically.  Xander heard her and woke up, going out to see what's wrong.  "What happened?"  She told him.  "Fucking idiots!" he shouted.  He ran to get dressed, grab weapons, and yes his specially devised and hidden thing he had gotten in Diagon Alley.  That got the guns and a few nice bombs.  Then he let Hannah bring him back with her.  Xander appeared in a new area, watching what was going on.

"Ah, and our special guest," one of the demons in charge sneered.

Xander shot him.  "Yes, and you all make me feel so happy," he sneered back.  The demons screamed and ran.  He untied Willow and the two slayers.   "Who else was with you?"

Willow blinked at him.  "Xander?" she asked hopefully.  "Get us out of here!"

"Who else was with you!" he demanded.  "I heard there was more and we're not leaving anyone down here, Willow."  She blushed.  "Willow Goddamn Rosenburg," he growled.  She squeaked.  "Fine.  We'll do it my way!"  Two more bodies appeared, both in bad shape.  And that wasn't all.  He could sense it. " Give me the wizard too," he shouted.  A demon showed up with him wrapped in a rug.  "Fucking morons!"  They fled.  Xander got them all back to the Council building, which set off alarms.  He stared at Giles and Andrew.  "I don't care what the fuck Willow was doing that sent them all to hell.  I don't rightly give a damn if it was a battle or not."  Giles flinched.  "She had no right taking *innocents* there."

"She...."  Xander pointed.  "Oh, shite.  Andrew, get our medical people up."  He was already calling.  "We'll get them treated, Xander."

"Hopefully better than Sam had to help me with."  He looked at the two then at Draco.  "C'mon.  You can heal at my place.  We've got better ways of helping with that stuff."

"No, our medical team has a true healer," Giles offered.  "Her mother was gifted with it when she begged and it's passed on."  Xander nodded, letting the medical team gather people.  "How did you hear?"

"Hannah.  I helped free her when I was getting free.  She popped up to tell me."  Sam appeared in a dark flash of light.  "Bill?" he guessed.

"Yup.  Let's get Draco and the other guy so we can go."  He got them both checked over.  "Well, you need some stitches, kiddo."  The healer looked at him.  "True healers are great and all, but there's also a leak."

She tested it and nodded.  "Someone is siphoning off his abilities."  She broke it and Willow screamed.  "I will not touch that one, even if that angel comes back," she announced.

"No, you will not," Castiel said.  He looked at Draco, who was barely awake.  "We had no idea she would do this.  We are sorry, we had no intention of you coming to harm, Malfoy Scion."  He helped Xander and Sam get those two back home.  He looked at the other one.  "He was ascended.  He is not from this plane."

"We'll figure it out," Xander promised.  "Thank you, Castiel."

"It is no problem.  I will help the other slayers."

"What was she trying to do?" Dean asked from the doorway.  "Bobby, get the medical kit."

"Library, under the desk," Xander told him.

"Library, under the desk," Dean called.  "Castiel?"

He shook his head.  "I'm not certain.  I believe she was targeting a future problem and trying to take him out."

"Did I get them all?" Xander asked.

"Two hunters were there.  I cannot feel them."  Xander nodded and went to rescue them.  Castiel helped Dean and Bobby stitch Draco and then the other one's injuries.  Draco already had a fever but Sam knew what to do about those thanks to nursing Xander back to health.  Xander showed up with the other two hunters, who were stunned but not badly injured.  "Hunter Bobby, tell him where they need to go?"

"Gladly.  Bring me with you," he told Xander, who nodded and took him where he was thinking about.  "Hold up," he ordered when people reacted.  "This is Xander, he's not a demon, he fought his way out of hell."  A few shuddered.

"I rescued these two hunters from hell just now.  Willow was trying to do something and got the whole team sucked in."

"I figured you'd know if they had relatives or hunting partners," Bobby told one woman, who nodded.  "Neither's real badly hurt it looks like."

"Are you the same Xander that stopped the hellmouth battle?" one asked.

Xander nodded.  "Yup, because everyone wanted me to make nice with the bitch who sent me."  He handed them over carefully.  "They've only got a few injuries and it looks like they were trying mind games," he said more quietly.  "They may be showing them something stronger but that's not a gift I got from killing a whole bunch of them."

"How did you get free?" another one asked.

"I killed the one who had me, took him to his boss, killed him.  Found a sword, had a temper tantrum....."  She swallowed.  He shrugged.  "And when I finally found a way out, I was sick, fevered, infected wounds were pussing up, and I managed to fall at Sam's feet.  Thankfully."  He shrugged.  "I like Sam and his family for that and for themselves."  He smiled.  "Sam's a great guy to help me.  Even if they do want me to take him as a consort."  Bobby snorted.  "We've got two others with worse injuries.  Can you handle them?"

"We can  and will," the older woman said.  Xander nodded, taking Bobby back with him.  She took a calming breath.  "Someone get me the medical kit.  And Sascha.  She has gifts to shake them free if necessary."  They started to call around while they helped the hunters get cleaned up.  They were still trapped in their heads but they could help them.


Xander figured out what an ascended was and went searching for someone who could tell his people he's okay.  He found a demon type that could and called one at the local bar.  He left to meet them, which worried Sam horribly when he found out he had snuck off.  He sat down across from the demon.  "Hi."

"Oh, shit," he muttered.

"I'm here on a mercy mission," he said with a smile.  He handed over the polaroid picture.  "This one was found in hell when I was getting Willow and the others out.  They said he was ascended and from another realm."

He nodded.  "I can find that realm, yes."

"Can you get a message to them?  I have no idea how they'd get him home."

"I can see if they have our type there.  And if not, I can do something practical like mail a letter."  Xander beamed and handed over a note.  "I'll tell them."

"Thank you.  It sucks when you're in another realm against your will."  He got up and walked off.  "We're at home."

"Sure, I'll find it by tracking the demon heads you supposedly have on the walls," he said once the guy was gone.  He shivered.  He went to his people to get one of the priests to help him.  When a Great One came to you for a favor, you did it.  He found where that one belonged and his friends, who were having problems.  He dropped the note in front of one of them and then manifested just enough that the ones threatening them suddenly ran off.  The warriors looked confused but the note moved and they noticed it.  Which was what was important in this case.


Draco woke up fully and blinked a few times.  Sam was sitting beside his bed with a bottle of cold water and a cool towel.  He stared at him.  "What happened?"

"Willow.  No one knew she was going to do that.  Even Castiel apologized for not realizing that."  He handed over the water.  "Xander's been kicking his own ass about suggesting that idea."

"I did learn a lot and she's clearly what our dark lord would want to become," he said weakly.

"She still claims she was trying to do good things, even though she was siphoning off you."  Draco growled.  "It was ended by a healer there.  Which is why you have a headache and a slightly empty feeling probably.  She said it would refill within a few weeks.  Willow didn't do any major damage because she'd only been sucking at you for a few days."

"That's good."  He opened the water and took a sip, nodding.  "Thank you."

"I have four more in the fridge if you want some, Draco."  He smiled slightly.  "I'm sorry."

"No, I got a good look at what a true dark lord is and ours is pathetic next to her."  He took another drink.  "And I did learn a lot about the variations of magic, plus demons and muggle things.  Some of which seem to combine.  I'll never understand a computer."  Sam grinned at him for that.  "I can see why they wanted someone like me to learn such things, because our people are going to be slammed with it some year."

"Probably," Sam agreed.

Draco finished the water.  "My things?"

"Buffy sent them via Castiel."  He pointed at the bag.  "When a house elf showed up we sent a note home with it about what she had done and that you'd be fine with some rest.  You did have to get some stitches."  He handed over a mirror.  "I'm not sure if you guys can heal those further."

"Probably."  He sat up and winced, rubbing his back.

"There's another ten or fifteen cuts back there," Sam said quietly.

Draco nodded.  "I'll have our family's healer deal with it.  Thank you, Sam."

"It's not a problem, Draco."  He grinned.  "Still want a phoenix like Xander?"

"No, I believe that one would be a lot of work.  At least feeding him since I can't cook."  Xander grinned from the doorway, handing him a plate and another bottle of water.  "Thank you as well."

"I'm damn sorry she did that, Draco.  I had no idea."

Draco shrugged.  "Thanks to her, I now know why our dark lord is so pathetic."  He dug in and hummed.  "Very well done, thank you."

"Not a problem."  He grinned.  "The house elf showed up wailing that it needed to get you home as soon as you woke up."

Draco nodded.  "I can do that.  My mother must be very worried."

"If she's the cool blonde lady who sneered a lot, yup," Sam said.  "She called."

"Probably, yes."  He finished up and took a careful shower once Sam had covered the cuts with a waterproof bandage.  Xander took him home, letting him relax as the wards wrapped around them.  His parents came rushing out, for them, and fussed over him.  "I'm fine," he said calmly.  Xander smiled and let him go.  "Thank you for the rescue."

"If I had known, I would've kicked her ass and let you learn from Andrew."

"I did learn a lot from Andrew actually."  Xander beamed and left.  Draco sighed, handing the house elf his bag.  "I need a healer to look at the cuts they had to sew closed."  He rubbed over a bandage.  "And we need to talk, Father."  His father gaped.  "Father...  I'll put it in a pensieve."  He walked off.  "Let me go to my room.  I missed my owl."

"I'll bring it up there," Lucius said.  He looked at his wife, who was already summoning their family's healer.  That one ran up to check on Draco, healing all the cuts for him.  He had a few light scars but nothing too bad.  Lucius brought up his own pensieve and let Draco use it to copy the memory down.  Lucius watched it, coming out thoughtful but scared.

Draco looked at him.  "They're probably going to end her this year."  His father nodded once.  "But there's no way I'll follow ours, Father.  She's much scarier and worse.  Plus *happy*."

"I saw, my son."  He considered it.  "I wish to show it to our Dark Lord."

"If you do, the slayers will kill him, Father," he said quietly.  "There's a bunch of young girls there with supernatural gifts.  They will kill all of them who attack."

"I'll...."  Lucius considered that information.  "Why did they want you to learn?"

"Because all the half and muggle borns we have, they all know this.  There's more of them than there are us.  Fairly soon, probably within my lifetime, there's going to start being social changes."  Lucius shuddered.  "All their schools have computers.  All of them past a certain age can drive, Father."

Lucius nodded he understood that.  "It will ruin the wizarding world."

"I talked with some in the American society.  It was a very hard transition but they did make it.  I'd hope we could arrange things to keep our ways but let them stress less.  We don't need civil revolution."

"No, we do not," he agreed.  Now he could see why they sent Draco on that mission.

Draco smiled.  "If we bend, and even twist some things, and possibly give them their own more updated academy that's American style, that may help things."  Lucius looked stunned.  Draco smirked.  "That way they can have their computers and the like while we don't have to add them to Hogwarts.  Eventually Hogwarts will have to move forward a bit but that would be a good step as an intermediary and could also up our own education."  He dug out the books and handed them over.  "From their academy I toured."

Lucius looked it over.  "They learn what?"

Draco nodded.  "Plus muggle classes so they don't get in trouble with the official sorts or can go to university at the end."  He sat on his bed.

Lucius looked through them again.  "That is...  Very interesting," he decided.  "I wish you to give a report on this to others."

"Of course."  He snorted.  "After facing down a fifty-three foot demon who only wanted to see if I was a natural blond, I'm not scared of much anymore."

"I saw that," his father assured him.  "You did better than I would have expected."

"I still don't understand computers."

His father smirked.  "Good."  He walked them and the pensieve off, taking them to make a report to the other top level death eaters.  Voldemort showed up.  "We were going to come to you with conclusions, My Lord, not just a report."

"Why is it necessary?"

"Because some higher beings wanted my son to see where we're heading quickly and find some way to control the upcoming chaos."  Voldemort nodded.  "He did caution me that if those he housed among were attacked, they would feel no problem attacking back as a great many are children with special gifts."

"That's reasonable," Voldemort said.  "I know what a slayer is."

"He also said that the witch that hurt him so much was being handled by their own."  He let them see the memories and then handed over the books.  "From one of the American schools."

Voldemort considered it.  "He thinks Hogwarts must change this much?" he asked after looking them over.

"No, he suggested a separate school that could live up to their standards.  It would gradually allow Hogwarts to upgrade but it would keep them from getting too uppity and pushing a civil rebellion."

The Dark Lord considered that.  "I would rather they not infest our people."

"My son also pointed out that we number *much* less than them."

"That is true."

"We have barely one pureblood child to ten of them," another said.  "Most of us can't have more children because the cruciatus harms fertility.  Both casting it and having it cast on us," he said at his Dark Lord's look in his direction.  "There was someone in the hospital studying that during the last war, My Lord.  She proved that there was a definite risk of heart damage and against fertility as well.  Even the first time you cast it."

"I did not know that," Voldemort admitted.  "I wish to see that research."  He summoned a house elf to get it for him.  The house elf brought it back and gave it to his master, who handed it down.  "Lucius, is your son fit to give a real report?"

"The healer said he took no lasting damage.  He managed to heal all the cuts the muggles had stitched for him.  They managed to weed out any ill effects from his short time in hell as well.  Or from that draining."

"Excellent news."  He looked up.  "What else did he learn?"

"We had not talked on that.  Beyond the fact that he considers Rosenburg a more scary dark lord than yourself because she's cheerful and mostly does it by accident."

Voldemort laughed.  "I would consider that scary as well.  Though I would rather she be destroyed so I do not have to deal with her."

"If we attack the Council, the slayers will fight back."

"They do serve a purpose, even though they are menial drudges to a higher power.  I would rather they fight the demons that have plans to take over humanity instead of having to stop our plans repeatedly to do so.  When we're settled, we'll deal with them last."  They all nodded at that plan.  Draco walked in.  "Mr. Malfoy."

"Son," Lucius said, giving him a dirty look.

Draco looked at him.  He handed over a note.  "From Castiel."  He walked off.

Lucius looked at it then handed it over.  "From the angel that arranged his placement."

"Angel.  Are we sure?" Voldemort asked.

"Quite," Draco called.  "He's an archangel and some of his got stopped from their own apocalypse bid by Xander being pissed off.  We talked a few times."  He let the door slam as he walked out.  Castiel said he had a plan that would not harm his father.  His father walked out to come see what he knew of that being.  Which was when the hosts of heaven appeared and blew up the building.  Draco blinked.  Lucius blinked as well.  "Castiel said that many of them were tired of that problem."  His father was looking stupidly horrified so he smirked.  "They feel the same way about him that he felt about Rosenburg, Father."  Lucius whimpered.  "We should leave before the aurors get here."  He sent them both home.  Lucius fell to his knees in the entryway of the house.  Draco went to tell his mother.

Things like that didn't compare at all to fighting a battle on the hellmouth.

After hell, everything else seemed pretty trivial as a threat.


Castiel appeared, pushing back his hair.  "Thank you for making those devices for us, Xander."

"Not a problem," he said with a slight grin.  "Any idea on how we can get this one home?"

"They have a device there that can travel realms.  I have no idea if they can set it or not."  He checked.  "He'll wake up soon."

"Castiel, can you see if we can help those hunters?" Dean asked from the doorway.  "They can't get them out of their heads."

Castiel looked up then nodded.  "One will go check on them, Dean."  Dean grinned and punched him on the arm.  "Thank you."

"Xander, food," Dean reminded him.

"I just ate."

"Yesterday," Dean reminded him.  "You haven't eaten today and Sammy's going to nag soon.  We're trying to save you that fate worse than death, dude."

"Sure, I can do that."  He rewet the cool compress on the guy's forehead and wrung it out, then put it back on his forehead.  "I'll be back in a few minutes."  He left, Castiel following him.  "Any idea what his name is?"

"Daniel. I checked on his line before showing up."  Sam grinned at him.  "We'll make sure his people can get him or we can find a way to make them connect."  Xander grinned and punched him on the arm.  "Is this punching thing a human male ritual?"

"Something like that," Bobby said dryly.  "Behave, boys."  They nodded and settled in to eat.

Castiel went to check on Daniel's people before he got punched on the arm again.  He did not understand mortals at all sometimes.  Worse than Draco had.  Maybe he never would.  Maybe he wasn't meant to understand humans since they were so different from angels.  Then again, Dean was reminding him a lot of Gabriel at the moment so....

The End.