Demon Criminal Investigative Services: Finding a Spot
"You should bow to me," a female voice whispered in the dream realm Xander was currently on.
"What is it with you guys and dreams?" Xander demanded, looking around. "By the way, suckier than the demon's version."
The female voice laughed. "It does not matter. You are not the one who makes these decisions. I am. As is my calling."
"And who are you?" he asked dryly, crossing his arms over his chest. He looked down at himself then changed from the bunny slippers and boxers he had on to real clothes he could fight in if necessary. "Might want to give me a clue, woman. Not like I care."
"You are one who has gone up to heaven and come back, yet you do not know a God?" the voice demanded.
Xander snickered. "Lady, wrong mind. You want Daniel. He lives in the other building. I'm Xander. If I ever ascend, heaven's going to be one big orgy of bad girls."
She snorted. "Then we shall see, won't we? A fitting warrior to add to my loyal forces. One who will be there when things fall in on that pathetic mountain."
He laughed. "Yeah, right. Because Jack and them can't handle you? They have been for *years* and not like you're going to get me to be loyal to you. I've got plenty of women in my life already. Thanks anyway. We done yet? I actually need the sleep I'm missing. The girls are going to be *so* pissed with me being cranky in the morning. By the way, who are you again? Haven't given me a name yet."
"I am Ammit. Eater of the dead who are judged to be faulty."
"Uh-huh," he said, feeling another presence show up. "And why are you bothering my sleep? You can't be too good at it if you're in the wrong head, lady."
"You will be mine," she hissed.
"Nope, don't think so. You're not my type." He looked around, shrugging at the body he could feel in the mists. "Anything else? I've got to go now."
"The pathetic mortals will fall to the Gods, boy. Then what will you do? Who will you serve?"
Xander manifested a sword. "Lady, if the mountain falls, all the people have to do is ask. Not like I haven't fought against demons in the past. Fake gods?" He snorted. "Please! Don't make me laugh. If you can be killed, you're not a god." She appeared and he glared at her. "Not like I'd serve you. You're hideous. You're pushy. You're arrogant, and I'm better than you'll ever be." She rushed him and he stabbed her then cut into the back of her neck, severing the symbiot like he had been told to do if he ever ran into one. He leaned down, kicking her onto her back. "Now, anything else, lady? Not like you'll win. This isn't the old days. People are a lot tougher."
"We are gods. Yours doesn't come when you call on Him."
"I don't do that faith. Sorry." He smirked, wiggling his fingers. "Not my thing. Mine come when I ask politely. Remember, there are older ways." He stood up again, staring down at her. "A *real* God couldn't be killed." He stabbed her in the chest, making her die. "Later." He concentrated and made himself wake up. "Damn it, I hate those," he muttered. He got up to write it out, just in case.
"Who is Ammit?" Dean yelled.
Xander smiled. "Worked with Anubis to eat the bad souls," he called back. "Danny's former job and she thought I was him. Go back to sleep, Dean."
"Thank God. Not another one already," he complained but he went quiet so Xander decided he was going back to sleep.
Xander finished up and went to hand the report to Danny, who glared when he opened the door at his knock. "One of the bitchy snake hos thought I was you." He handed it over. "Pity."
He walked off. "Xander, if she shows up, they have a pheromone that makes men slaves."
Xander looked back at him. "After Anya making me hers, no one else is going to get that chance, Danny. If she shows up and she's evil, I'll flirt with her until she attacks then do like I did in the dream. Pheromones don't affect me that way. Remember, part mermaid." Danny gaped. "She said the mountain's going to fall. Have fun talking to Jack."
"Yeah, sure, thanks," he said, closing his door so he could call his friend. He faxed it over first. "Hey, Jack. I know it's two. Xander just got visited by a Gou'ald in dream form who thought he was me." He put him on speaker and curled up in his favorite reading chair. "I faxed it to the office."
"Are you sure you don't want to come back here, where it's sane, Danny?" Jack asked, sounding tired.
"I get plenty of sanity here, Jack. Beyond that, I haven't found an assistant director like the President ordered yet. Tony wants me to hire an english major so they can do reports."
Jack snorted. "I wish I had one of those."
"Don't make wishes, Jack. You never know when a wish demon's around," Danny ordered patiently.
"Crap," he muttered. The sound of paper wrinkling. "It got slid under my door. Thank you, Kripton!" he yelled. "Bastard, giving me paperwork at two." He came closer to the speaker again. "They confused who and you?"
"The mini you, Jack."
Jack laughed. "He's not my kid or my clone, Danny. The mini-me is in high school up the road. Neither of us would say he'd flirt with the snake before killing her."
"Xander had a good point. Pheromones don't work right on him thanks to the mermaid taint he got given. So if we get hooked like we did with Hathor, he can save us."
"Sure, I'll tell the guys here to let him. They'll *love* that," he said dryly.
"Jack, every agent is bothered by Xander. The Marines can be too," he shot back. He yawned. "Looks like another attack. So if you need help, let me know."
"Sure, Danny. Which one is Ammit?"
"The Eater of Souls. When they're judged before the Scales of Justice and found to be less than good, she eats them. Xander said he'd flirt with her if she showed up."
"That might give us time to take her down. What did he do in the dream? Never mind, it's on here. Nice shot. Good point too, Gods don't die." He sighed. "He's pagan?"
"No clue. Never asked." He read his copy. "He did say he's not Christian so I'm guessing so." He shrugged. "If he is, it works for him and I'm not going to bother anyone about their preference unless they're sacrificing unwilling people. Though, I might sic Xander on Horatio and Speed's case since they have one of those." He yawned again. "Want the AD job, Jack? We're much more fun."
"Hell no. More paperwork?"
"Proofreading reports. I do the budget, the overall passing on of reports and two other pieces of paperwork monthly. Tony set me up a sweet system," he said smugly.
"Don't tempt me, Jackson."
Daniel laughed. "If you do, Abby's pouting because McKay hasn't written recently. She's seeing him like a strange brother creature. Chew him a new one for me or bring him down?"
"I can do that. Sam's up there. I'll pass this on in the morning. Any idea where she is?"
"No but we do monitor all newspapers and broadcasts for demonic activity. If we hear about this one, I'll send it on. You do the same?"
"Sure, if we hear, you'll hear. Thanks, Danny. Go sleep. It's two in the morning." He hung up.
Danny smiled, going back to bed. He'd figure out why the Gou'ald got Xander instead of him later. And why he had felt Dean there.
Xander looked up as Danny walked over to him at breakfast. "She's making new coffee, boss."
"I know, Xander. Why did she get you instead of me?"
"Not another one," John moaned.
"No, one of the things from my former job, John. It got Xander and thought he was me."
"Somehow he set himself up as the guardian for the base," John reminded him dryly, glaring at Xander.
Xander shrugged. "It helps the girls. Jump off, John."
"It's got to be disturbing your sleep or draining you or something."
"No, having research cases is draining me. I haven't had to do anything but make bullets for months in the armory." He grinned sweetly. "In this case, Ammit wanted Danny to be her slave and I said no." He looked at Danny, who was laughing. "What? I did." He shrugged. "It happens. I'm more worried why Dean got pulled into it."
"That linking spell?" Dawn said dryly.
"My fault, I started it," Dawn admitted. She looked at him. "Should we be on the watch for the snake ho wannabe goddess?"
"Please. She can emit a pheromone compound that will turn men into willing slaves for her."
"Hey, if that happens, she's a bad girl. Xander can flirt and kill her," Dawn said dryly. "Or screw her and make her beg to go good. Right, Faith?" Faith choked.
"She didn't beg me," Xander said dryly. "It took a while for her to get back to that point."
Faith reached over to swat him. "Stop it."
"No, she's right. It didn't work on me but I was only mildly bad at the time. With how you warped Anya into having a conscience and made her not want to be a demon when she got it back, I'm sure you can make the worse bad girl go straight too."
He smirked. "She'd squeal and hug you for that."
"Yeah, that's what I'm scared of," she said, shuddering some. "Huggers. Eww."
Dean looked at her. "We'll hide you if the dead ones come back for Halloween this year," he promised.
"Thanks. Need that." She looked at Daniel. "Is this a slayer squad thing?"
"If you find someone doing that, and she can take host bodies, arrest her and bring her back, Faith." She nodded. "Then make sure to keep her away from men. We're not sure if Xander's mermaid taint is strong enough to withstand it or not."
"Mermaids too?" Faith demanded.
"You weren't there but I had to go UC on the swim team," he said smugly.
"Tiny speedos from what Buffy said," Dawn told her. "Very tiny speedo."
Xander gave her a dirty look. "Still not going to be yours."
"Thank god. I'd go bad too. My teachers would be really pissed." She smiled sweetly.
Xander rolled his eyes. "Why don't I get respect?"
"Because you're our big brother," Dawn said smugly.
"Yeah," he snorted. He looked at Faith, who looked confused. "The coach had been exposing the guys on the swim team to mermaid blood and muscle tissue in the sauna to make them faster. We got a few knock-off Monsters of the Black Lagoon running around." She gaped. "They did a full blood transfusion to take it out of mine but some of the taint stayed. The same as Danny reads as tainted because of his Buffy-like times, so do I. Only for other reasons."
Daniel swatted him. "I did not."
"Jack said you died more than she did," Xander said dryly, giving him a look. "You two are still known as undead yo-yos."
Daniel walked off moaning, shaking his head. "Are the other swim team members still around, Xander?"
"No clue, boss. They went off into the ocean near Sunnydale. Haven't seen them since." Tony looked over at him. "What?"
"How close to the original movie?"
"Black, slimy. Looked more like a black, oily Swamp Thing to me but ya know how girls are about descriptions and monster movies. Willow named it that and that's what stuck."
Tony sighed. "Should the Coast Guard know about them?"
"Maybe. They might already know. No clue. Don't care." He beamed. "Not my fault and I went undercover to find out why the first two changed. Now there's five."
Tony just nodded. "I'll add it to the threat database. Do we have a report on what happened?"
"Ask Willow or Giles."
"I can do that," he decided. Gibbs gave him an odd look. "What? It has to go into the database."
"I can pull blood to see what the mermaid taint looks like," Abby said cheerfully.
"I talked to Jack, he's going to have Sam swat McKay since they're in the same place at the moment," Daniel told her.
She beamed. "I like you." She gave him a hug then went to get a needle from House. She found Cuddy down there. "I've got to weed out the mermaid taint in Xander's blood so we can put a chemical profile of it into the threat database with the new report."
"Mermaid?" House asked dryly.
She nodded. "Back in high school."
"He said the swim team coach did it to make them faster. That's why he went undercover when the monster appeared."
"Charming. Would it show up in the last bloodwork we did?"
"Do we have any left?"
"Yes, and there was that odd chemical signature," he reminded her. She found the reports and looked it over, taking the needle and vial with her anyway. He shook his head. "She's having PMS. She wants to see blood." He looked at his boss. "It's not my fault I forgot to find another doctor in the middle of all we've got done here."
"Are you coming back on time?"
"I can't leave until I have a replacement. Chase can."
"No, Chase can't. I'll extend you both for another month, just in case. Let me know one way or another." She walked off, going to get some breakfast before they left to go back to New Jersey.
House glared after her. At least until he heard her shriek about the unicorn. Then he went to see what Digger had done. The newly crapped-on shoes made him grimace. "Infirmary, Digger. I'll give you medicine for that." He trotted that way, tail waving behind him. He sighed, going to dose the unicorn, smiling once he had turned around. He loved the little beasts.
Cuddy went to clean off her shoes before they left, pouting the whole way. Why didn't the unicorns like her? She wasn't that mean. They liked House and he was meaner than she was. Chase gave her an odd look. "Digger's having bowel issues."
"He had that once before. Means he ate mushrooms." He handed her the cleaning wipes from under the sink, letting her have the bathroom for now. He went to get some coffee and snickered all the way over then back. She had probably deserved it.
Daniel returned the phone call to the president. "Sir, you left a message on my voicemail?" he asked.
"Do you not have a secretary, Jackson?"
"No, sir. I don't have that much to do. If the AD, if I ever find one, can proofread reports, it'll take eighty percent of my job." He looked at the phone then went back to proofreading Ryan Wolfe's latest report, circling a few words that needed to be fixed. "I always thought voicemail was more efficient anyway, sir. I don't need someone to fetch me coffee, make appointments or anything like that."
"How goes your search for an AD?"
"It doesn't. I put an ad in all the Federal notice places and posted one within the database for hiring. No one's sent an application. I didn't make it too difficult. Military, administrative, or service as an agent preferred. Easy duties. A decent salary equal to what Tony gets." He shrugged. "I've tweaked it twice, sir, and no one's sent a resume. I even made sure of the mailing and email address. Nothing's come in."
"Sorry, sir, but we do have a reputation for handling the stranger cases and most people don't want to deal with it. Which is why Homeland is pushing you to get us our own budget category so we're not under them."
"I have agreed with that. The FBI was most adamant they didn't want you either. Well, the FBI director said he didn't want DiNozzo and Harris but he doesn't want the rest of you either," he said dryly.
"Xander and Tony are perfectly nice as long as you're not threatening someone, sir," he said patiently. "It's not Xander's fault that he has the memories of a soldier and the training to back it up. He's a combat veteran."
"I know that and they tend to creep agents out too until they're through with their training and know all the proper ways. Your boy there can't even manage to wear a tie to testify."
"He said it was choking him. I did suggest it and made Tony help him buy one."
"Only one?" he asked, sounding amused.
Daniel smirked at the phone. "Sir, if I made Xander buy more than one tie he'd kill me. He hates the suit he had to wear to testify, he doesn't like dress pants or shirts. We're lucky when Xander wears a button up shirt on out of town cases."
"I understand why. You can't really chase someone down in a suit."
"Exactly and Xander's used to combat, that's where his fashion sense and mind is still set. Until it's not, well, he's probably never going to be comfortable in a suit. Unless someone who wears one possesses him," he finished dryly.
The president laughed. "Please, let's not."
"Thanks. Any idea about what'll happen if the other guy for the open spot on the intelligence committee wins, sir?"
"Not yet. We did sit down and talk at the White House about your agency and he still hates you."
"It's us or he has to do it."
"I pointed that out. He said it's better you do it and he's going to ignore you guys. Is someone...predicting the incumbent won't win?"
"None of the people here with that gift give a damn about the election, sir. They only see the next threat. Which may or may not be a Gou'ald down here."
"Why?" he moaned.
"One tried to get me in my dreams last night and got Xander instead. I already warned Jack."
"Good!" He sighed. "If I have to take the SGC out of a military category, I'm merging you two together so no one has to deal with any of the strangeness."
"You tell Jack that, sir. I have a headache after being woken up at two by the charming news Xander gave me. I don't want to listen to him yell."
The president laughed. "Good point. You warned him?"
"Called and faxed."
"Good. Very good. Less I have to deal with. As of right now, your agency is set up and your budget this year increased."
"That means I can replace our cars," Daniel said. "We have two that're thumping wrecks."
"We do have a purchasing plan in place, Jackson," he said patiently.
"That's where I got the three cars we have, sir."
"I see. What about DiNozzo's car? I know he had a baby."
"A mustang. She's here. He likes to take her on long drives when he's not busy."
"Have him suggest what to get."
"I can do that. Anything else I need to worry about, sir? Like meeting him if he does win or the swearing in security?"
"I've got someone drawing that up. I'll remind them to include one or two of yours."
"Yes, sir. Thank you for the budget raise."
"Welcome. You finally straighten out Harris' paycheck?"
"I did. And then I made an account for him in town so it was direct deposited; that way he would quit forgetting to have it cashed." The president laughed as he hung up. He went to talk to his boys and few girls. "Guys?" They all looked at him, Stella putting someone on hold. "A few things. Still looking for the assistant director and no one's answering. Kinda put the word around?" They all nodded. "Also, coming up on inauguration time. At least one of us is going to be present. Not you, Xander. You're still freaking out agents."
"Good. I want nominations of who's willing to go. There's a few problem seats open at the moment. One of them is the head of the Intelligence committee. If we get the new person in that seat, he's got enough sway to cause us problems. He may just pretend we don't exist or he may end up cutting our budget totally. He's one of those 'I'm not going to see you, deal with you, hear about you' sorts." That got a few smirks. He looked at Tony. "Find me a decent set of cars to replace the wrecks with. We just got a small budget raise." Tony nodded at that. "The president wanted to make sure you still had your baby here."
"I do and she purrs."
"Even better. Xander...." He went to get something and came back with it. "Since you have such a hard time remembering to cash your paychecks, we fixed it for you once we fixed the salary issue that made you be paid like a maintenance guy." He handed him the checkbook. "Yours. It's direct deposited for you. I had John forge your signature." He smiled sweetly. "That way none can expire on your dresser again." He looked around at the laughing faces. "Also, since this has come up, court clothes? Out of town case clothes? Speed, I love you being comfortable but be a bit more proper than your Anthrax t-shirt next time? Please?"
"They got me out of bed."
"They realized that when you nearly bit someone. An overshirt maybe?"
"I can do that. I did in Miami," he sighed. "Does this mean I can get my racing bike back?"
"Sure," Danny agreed. "What about when it snows?"
"I'm still thinking about that."
"Whatever you want. You have a parking space like everyone else." He patted Xander on the shoulder. "You could do that too so you could go to parent-teacher conferences."
"Can I bite Anna's teacher?"
"I would wish you wouldn't," he offered with a small smile.
"Can I bite the maintenance guys that keep making me fall on the sidewalk ice and made her fall and refracture one of the old breaks?"
"That I'll do," he said. "Get me incident reports." Xander handed them over. "Thank you. I'll deal with that. Now, anything I missed?" They all shook their heads. "Then back to work, people. Before the president decides to make good on his threat and merges us with Jack's department." They all groaned.
Tony gave him an odd look. "They didn't want to deal with that so we'll be stuck together like freaks in a high school?" he guessed.
"Basically," he agreed. He went back to his office to look at the complaint forms. Then he went to tour his base. He nearly slipped on the ice so the maintenance guys were in for it now. He could find maintenance guys so much easier than he could a new assistant.
Jack looked at the video feed the next morning, waving at Sam while he took a sip of his coffee. "Morning."
"Afternoon here, sir. Is there a problem?"
"Three. I just got off the phone with the president."
"Are we being canceled?"
"No but he said if the other guy wins the critical seat in Senate, we're being moved under the DCIS umbrella."
Sam gave him an odd look. "We are?"
"We are. All the strange, freaky things together, Captain. That way they can ignore us and possibly cut us out easier."
"Uh-huh. Do we have absentee ballots, sir?"
"I have them on the ship going out yesterday, Captain." She beamed at that. "Send them back immediately. This is a preview of what may happen during the next presidential election."
"Yes, sir. I'll let that be known as well."
"Good. Two other things." She lost her smile. "Ammit tried to talk to Daniel and got Harris instead." He took a sip of his coffee while she spluttered. Sheppard leaned into view, giving him an odd look. "Eater of the dead souls that didn't measure up."
"So, a Gou'ald?" he asked.
"Yup. She warned the mountain will fall. Xander stabbed her in the dream. Said he'd flirt with her since she was so evil." Sam choked.
"He does like bad girls," Sheppard said patiently. "Are we expecting a real attack, General?"
"Possibly. The dream hinted one might be coming. No idea where she is yet or if others will try. If so, we've probably got it and Danny said we can borrow some of his guys. I emailed you a copy of that report, just in case. Along with the message that your people have been making Danny's lab geek Abby pout?"
"I'll remind him. He's been up to his elbows in an issue with our gate," Sheppard told him. "Any other cheery news?" He smiled.
"If the new guy wins, we're being umbrellad with DCIS. He's got enough sway and enough people are uncomfortable with both of us it'll easily happen." Sheppard gave him an odd look. "Exactly."
"Well... At least they won't ask questions, sir."
"No, he won't. Though he is still looking for an AD."
Sam shook her head. "I'd quit the service first, sir."
"Me too," Sheppard admitted.
"The president said you're taking over his or my spot some year, Sheppard," Jack said with an evil smirk. "I've got someone coming to take over for me soon. After him, it's you or you're going there."
"That's one hell of a reward for saving this galaxy," he complained.
Sam burst out laughing. "The president has a sense of humor, sir?"
"Nope," Jack said with a grin. "Not that I'm aware of, Captain." Everyone on that side moaned. "Just to let yo know." He waved and signed off. On that end, someone was probably swearing enough to make Sheppard blush at her turn of phrase.
Sheppard walked out and called a base-wide meeting. "We just heard from Stargate Command and General O'Neill." Everyone stared at him. "We have absentee ballots on the ship that recently left. If the new guys in a few key seats win, SGC will be moving oversight under DCIS."
McKay spluttered. "You're joking!" he demanded.
"No, the new guy leading the push hates us and them so we're going to be lumped together," Sam said. "They should be here soon. You have *a* day to vote and get them back to Caldwell, people. I won't tell you how to vote. If you want us to go to DCIS instead of the Pentagon, that's your choice. I personally am not sure yet but who knows. We are not going to make you vote or make a choice for you. Just, if you're registered, you might want to take the opportunity to be heard this time." McKay gave her a very disturbed, horrified look. "Not my doing. The president told Jack earlier. Then he said that Sheppard either gets the spot after O'Neill's successor or he takes Jackson's place."
McKay looked at him. "I'll get you shot on duty."
"Thanks. Just make it a clean kill." The others laughed. "Also, Abby's pouting about lack of emails?" McKay slapped himself on the head. "And there may be a new Gou'ald push on the base. We're not sure yet. Someone got a warning. One of the females tried for Jackson and got Harris. Who managed to brush her off. Somehow. We're still figuring that out." They all groaned. "So if you hear, we might have to mobilize to help go back there. Not sure yet, but all team leaders go over on-base assault maneuvers this week. It can only help us in case they come here again." They nodded and the meeting broke up. He looked at Sam. "You had to announce that?"
"This way they know to watch out for you. Better you than me." She smiled and patted him on the back.
"No, not really," he said with a smirk. "I got told if I did then McKay was coming too."
"So?" She smirked. "That's fine with me." She went to handle the last administrative detail then went to help in the lab. McKay shoved her out so she went to botany instead. She didn't need to hear him throw a fit. Though she did wonder why they were going together. Had she missed a few clues? Maybe don't ask, don't tell was in effect for them? Nah, McKay hated people. Couldn't be.
John went to the gym to beat his head against a wall then take the bad images out of his head. Tiff met him in the hall, giving him a hug. "Thanks, Tiff."
"It'll be okay. Even if they do send you, Xander won't drive you nuts."
He smiled. "I can respect Xander and his experiences. The demons would drive me nuts."
"I understand. Want to spar?"
"Please." He went to work out with her. She needed to spar, he needed to think other thoughts. He gave her sportsbra she was wearing an odd look when she took off her t- shirt. Then she skimmed down to bike shorts too. "Why are you changing?"
"I'm warm. I don't want to get that sweaty. I need to do laundry and my time's not until tomorrow."
"As long as you're not making it like the other girls."
"Please! Do I look like I can hit on trees?" He laughed and she lunged, starting the session. It was good to get physical with him. He was a good match for her speed and agility.
Xander got called into the office then came out pouting. "Tony, Danny said I have to buy another choking, strangling suit of doom for testifying. The last one has some rust on it and other stuff. The girl going through my closet said so."
Tony looked at him. "How did you do that?"
"The chair down there had rusty screw tops."
He nodded. "We'll go this weekend if we're both here, Xander." Xander nodded, sitting down to sulk. "It'll be fine."
"I hate suits."
"I know. We'll get you something decent. You can use it the next time you manage to snag a bad girl."
Xander smirked at him. "The girls forbid me to date any more females. You know that."
"I do. It'll still happen." Xander nodded.
Speed looked over then at H. "You should probably do some winter shopping, H. Maybe you should help them?" he suggested.
"I could help," Horatio agreed. Xander pouted at him. "I wore one daily, Xander."
"His are nearly mythical, they make him do stupid things," Calleigh agreed. Eric laughed at that, putting someone on hold. "That's not polite."
"I'm talking to my father. He's nagging about there not being good girls up here."
Tony gave him a look. "There's too many good girls, Eric. That's why we don't get the easy lays."
"Good point." He went back to his father. "I was reminded why I can't get past the first date, Poppi. Because all the girls are too good. Like marble saints. Exactly. No, I'm looking, Poppi, I promise. Make momma calm down." Daniel came out to give him an odd look. "I used my calling card."
"Thanks." He looked at Xander. "You can do it, Xander. Tell all three Winchesters they have to help."
Xander looked at him. "Two of them have one."
"That's because they were pretending to be federal agents," Tony said dryly. "They look like Matrix agents. They can get a new one too." He smirked. "I'll let John know, Daniel."
"Thanks. Maybe they can make sure they can act in one if they have to." Xander moaned, nodding a bit. "Good boy, Xander." He patted him on the back. "Also, no more hawaiian shirts on cases," he said quietly. Xander grimaced. "Please?"
"Thank you. Plain t-shirts are fine." Xander nodded. "Pack a bag for out of town cases and leave it packed." Xander nodded at that. Daniel went back to his office.
"We'll get you something you can wear and work in," Tony promised. He went to talk to John. "Xander has to buy a new suit."
John looked at him. "I haven't had one since the day I got married," he said bluntly.
"Fix that. That way Xander doesn't feel left out and it's something he can hunt in if something happens."
"Suits aren't going to be comfortable for that," John said patiently.
Tony shrugged. "I have to be able to chase people in mine."
"And then you have to pay a lot to dry clean the suckers," Dean muttered.
"Yes, but there's a reputation thing. Remember, sometimes all of you might have to testify." He smirked. "Like during the hearing in New York about the lab building that needs to be rebuilt." They all groaned. "Dean, you and Sam look like Matrix bad guys in yours. John, deal with it. Move on. Buy one. Just one?" John growled but nodded a bit. "Thanks. Because we know they're going to call Xander and Buffy. They could call you."
"Good point. We can have one to hang up in the closet."
"Like Xander, you can pack it and not look at it as long as it's not wrinkled if you need it," Gibbs told him. "Someone get onto Jackson about Speedle and Harris' ugly shirts?"
"We'll work on it with them."
"Horatio needs to do some shopping too. We were going to go this weekend."
"Fine," Dean muttered.
John nodded. "We'll help them pick out something that's not too uncomfortable."
"Horatio wears silk, guys. Stretchier, comfortable in most weathers, not that tight or restricting?" Tony suggested.
John looked at him. "There's no way a suit can be comfortable."
"We'll see," Gibbs told him, looking at him. "I found one I can tolerate. Ties are still evil though." Dean nodded quickly at that. "Didn't Sammy have some since he was going to be a lawyer?"
"Burned," Dean said simply.
"I forgot, sorry."
"Not a problem, dude," Dean promised, smirking at him. "He might be able to tell us how to get a decent fitting one."
"Let me, guys. Mine are comfortable," Tony promised. "Horatio can help too." He walked off, going back to his desk. "All right, all three Winchesters are going with us, Horatio. Anyone else need in on this outing? Speed? Eric? Flack?"
"Have plenty," Flack promised.
"I wear separates and a coat when I absolutely have to," Eric told him. "Though I do need more sweaters. It's damn cold up here."
Xander snickered. "Tell me about it. I nearly froze my first winter up here since I'm from near the desert." He gave Tony his most pathetic look. "Must I?"
"Yes," he said patiently. "We're all going together." Horatio laughed. "We can. You and I can help them find something comfortable that they can react in." That got a nod. "How much is in your account, Xander?" He shrugged, "Shouldn't you see?"
"Probably." He got into it, frowning. "Eww. Did I get a raise?" he called.
"We were paying you like a maintenance guy, Xander. Now you're making agent money," Daniel yelled back. "Make Flack get some ties that won't get remarked about on the front cover of the Times since you're both being called about the lab building's destruction in New York in two weeks."
"I have a few," Don called back, shaking his head. "Unless we want to take an agency wide shopping day?"
Stella looked at him. "If we do, we have to take the girls."
"They're ISC, not DCIS," he teased. "If you wanna go shopping with the girls, go for it. They tied up Dean and Sammy to make them go bra shopping once. They could use a big sister's help."
"They did?" Calleigh asked, starting to laugh. Speed nodded and groaned. "We'll help the girls."
"The next scheduled slayer shopping trip is after Thanksgiving for holiday presents," Xander said firmly. "Clothes is after New Years." They all snorted at that. "I know they take their allowance and go but the shopping card goes then." They all nodded at that. "Unless they hit a growth spurt or one of them needs her first bra or something."
"Yes, Xander," Stella said. "Spoilsport."
He looked at her. "They prove they have stealth training by sneaking off base to go shopping." Eric and Horatio both laughed at that. "It's better than their panty raiding issues."
Ryan nodded. "Please. Some of mine are missing again. I told John."
"We'll do another contraband inspection soon," Xander promised. He looked at Tony. "Must I?"
"You have to look good so you don't make the agency look bad," Tony said patiently. "Yes, Xander."
"Fine," he muttered, getting back to his last report. He finally finished it and did the proofreading he could, then sent it to Daniel's office. Daniel sent it back an hour later with corrections so he got into those. When it got sent back again he went to ask. Daniel showed him what was wrong and he fixed it then handed it over. Daniel read it over and signed it, putting it into the box with the case notes. Xander went to make sure he didn't have anything else to do. He went looking for problems coming up with Halloween in a week. Just in case. What he found did not amuse him. "The ball's on this year," he said. Calleigh's head shot up. "Yes, the vampire ball from your neck of the woods." He read it over. "They usually stay quiet."
"I'll warn some people down there," she said, emailing some friends on the New Orleans police force. "Anything else coming up?"
"That's what I'm looking for." He kept going. He found a mention of one person screwing up. "We might get a case file from lower New Jersey. A young chaos sorcerer is promising he's going to be as badass as Ethan Rayne. No idea what he's doing." He kept going, finding something else going on. That one made him groan. Tony rolled his chair over. So did Ryan. He let them see.
"They're holding a Survivors of Sunnydale event in LA," Tony read. "That's bad?"
"Yup." He picked up his phone to call the Hyperion. "Gunn, Xander. Have you heard there's a Survivors of Sunnydale banquet and dance on the night before Halloween?" He listened to him complain. "In your town, yes. Looks like the Hyatt. Might want to. Please?" He smiled. "I know you can handle it. Let us know if you can't. Warn Don too, just in case. No telling, man. It doesn't say who's behind it. It's a news announcement. Thanks, Gunn." He hung up and went back to searching after printing all three threats out. He found one that made him sigh in displeasure. "So not good." He texted Sam, bringing him running from the library. "What is that?"
Sam read over his shoulder then shuddered. "That's probably a bad thing. Why are they having a Halloween ball in the middle of a cemetery?"
"I don't know. Want us to watch it?"
"No, our kind will. I'll ask Dad's opinion about sending a girl." Xander printed it and they watched him find all the other problems. Including a major issue but it was in Lebanon. He carried that to Daniel, who looked and groaned, faxing it to the White House. "Xander's looking for evil things coming up."
"Good to know. Anything too bad?"
"One for the girls. The vampire ball that used to be held yearly. A chaos sorcerer in lower New Jersey, by the Delaware border." He shrugged. "We're checking." He went to gather the other watchers together to go over that incident while he looked more of it up. Maybe whoever was sponsoring it wasn't an idiot and had a clue about the occult instead. He finally looked up, looking very unhappy. "Zombies."
John groaned. "Zombies? We're sure?"
"One of them runs the Zombie Emporium, dad. Yeah." He let him see, getting a light growl at the monitor. "Xander handed this one over."
"We'll send a few of the older girls," Wesley decided. He called Rupert to tell him that. That was his job after all. "Rona, good. We have a situation coming up on Halloween. No, not the costume thing that was giving Buffy nightmares but do alert her that a chaos sorcerer is going to be acting by Delaware in New Jersey. We found a zombie party going on in a cemetery that night. Yes, I know you hate zombies, Rona. There's still six other girls." He smirked. "Exactly. You and Caridad can since you answered the phone. That way you don't have to stink later," he promised.
"Lemon juice," John said. "That take the stench off you."
"Ah, John knows how to take the stink off, Rona. Lemon juice." He smiled. "In the little bottle?"
"No, like cut in half and squeeze over yourself," Sam told him. "It doesn't look too massive, Wes. Two or three at the most."
"Good. Rona, tell her to send two or three girls. Yes, even of the ones here. I can do that." He hung up. "Brenda, Rona tapped you to help with the zombies," he called, spotting her cutting class.
John looked over. "What are you doing here?"
"I walked out of school before I decked the teacher for trying to put the moves on me," she said, sitting next to John to get a hug. "I about beat the leach to death."
"We'll go talk to the principal," John said, standing up.
She looked up at him. "I'm suspended in school tomorrow, John."
"You hit him?"
"No, I threw a screaming, ranting fit in the halls." She grimaced. "I lost my temper," she sighed, looking down.
"We'll go talk to him," he ordered. She nodded, brushing off her jeans as she followed him to his truck.
"Hate to be that teacher," Sam said, shaking his head quickly.
"He nearly pulled apart the one that hit on me at the joints," Dean agreed dryly. Sam gave him an odd look. "In Oxford, North Carolina? Way back when?"
"You were thirteen."
"Dad turn her into the cops too?"
"Yup, after she was sobbing she went to confess. Dad was not a happy person that week."
"Let's hope this one lives," Wesley said dryly.
"Aren't all her teachers female at the moment?" Gibbs asked. Everyone nodded. Yeah, John was going to be going off soon. They paused to listen but there was no yelling that they heard from the town.
Xander came out ten minutes later. "Why did I get a call to come to the school?" he called as he walked to the sedan garage.
"Brenda walked off after a teacher hit on her," Dean yelled. "Dad went with her to talk to someone official."
"Crap," Xander muttered. "Guess I'll hold in my temper then." He checked out a sedan and went to save the principal from John. He parked and got out, smiling at the guard. "Yelling?"
"Office, Mr. Harris."
"No clue." He walked him that way then came out to watch the grounds. When he saw a teacher go running for her car he was clearly amused. "Wonder what she did to the base girls."
John came out looking calm, nodding at the guard. "Are the police here yet?"
"Not yet, sir. Why?"
"The gym teacher hit on one of the girls."
"No wonder she went running for her car." John nodded. "Why?"
"Momentary stupidity according to her. She wasn't sure." That got a nod and a cop car pulled in.
Xander walked out. "If you do not take that disgusting bitch into custody today, you won't have to worry about her," he shouted. "I am not going to let some diseased, confused, mindless little twat near any of those girls and I'll be *damned* if that one gets near any of my girls ever the hell again!"
The cops getting out blinked at him. "Okay," the driver said. "Who did what, Mr. Harris?"
"The gym teacher approached one of the girls in a carnal manner," John said more calmly, patting Xander on the shoulder. "Brenda threw a swearing fit and stomped back to tell us. She just left."
"She ran for her car like they were going to shoot her," the guard said.
"Don't. Tempt. Me," Xander snarled.
The cops nodded at that, coming over. "Let's go take a report. I'll have the boss bring her down, Mr. Harris. Can you stay a bit more calm and let us handle this?"
"I nearly got eaten by one of mine, guys. I loathe teachers like this."
"Good! We don't like them either!" the second cop assured him. "Let us do our job and if the judge won't find her guilty, then you can have her. Okay?" Xander nodded, kicking at the ground. "Office?" John nodded. "Calm down and come join us, guys." They went in there, nodding at a curious looking teacher. "Problem with a teacher, ma'am. Don't worry about it."
"Oh, dear. The chemistry teacher or the gym teacher?"
"Gym," John said as he walked in. "The chemistry teacher?"
"Oh, god, flashbacks," Xander moaned, holding his head. He looked at that teacher. "Is this one a beautiful woman who wants to eat the kids?"
"No. He's a fairly disgusting older man who likes the girls in the middle school but we've never had proof. Just rumors."
"Well, that's something at least," Xander decided, heading for the office. "I'll let the girls know."
"Thank you, sir," she said with a wave at his back. She looked at John. "Is he new to town?"
"We're at the base, ma'am. That's Agent Harris, second head of the Slayers Council."
"Oh. No wonder there was screaming." She nodded and went back to her classroom.
The cops looked at him. "How many jobs does he do?" the driver asked.
"Too many," John said dryly. "That's why he lost his temper." They walked in there together, going to keep Xander calm, keep Brenda calm, and take the statement they needed to arrest her. Before Xander called out a hunt on the teacher. She didn't quite deserve that at the moment. They left and went to find the teacher in question. They found her huddled and hiding in her apartment closet but she went willingly when they promised to keep the girls and Harris away from her.
Daniel came out to meet the sedan, stopping Xander from getting out. "What happened?"
"The gym teacher propositioned Brenda."
"That would explain why I got reports of you screaming at the officers?" Xander groaned but nodded. "Do we perhaps need anger management lessons?"
Xander looked at him. "After one of mine nearly ate me?"
"Good point," he sighed, letting him out. "Can you stay calm and reasonable?"
"I am now. I agreed, I don't have to do anything unless the judge finds her not guilty." Daniel smirked at that. "Then I can relieve some of the anger that I got from the praying mantis shape changing demon."
Daniel mouthed that phrase. Then he finished with a classic. "Huh?"
"She killed the old teacher after he fertilized her eggs. She took his place to have easy access to other virgins. She got me and one of the football players to come over for her egg making project and locked us in the basement. Where she was going to have sex with us so we could fertilize her eggs then she'd rip our heads off too, like she did the teacher she replaced."
Daniel groaned, rubbing his forehead. "This was..."
"Tenth grade. By the way, bat noises drive them off."
"If we run into one, we'll do that," Daniel decided, giving Xander a pat on the arm. "The cops said you were acting like a reasonably upset parent when I called. Next time, throw a less voluminous fit?"
"Huh? I thought voluminous meant big."
"In this case, a quieter one," he said calmly.
Xander nodded. "I'll try. There's only one other and they only have rumors. If we tell the girls, they'll try to bait him so we're not."
"Good plan," he agreed quietly. "Can you try to dump some of this anger and stress, Xander?"
"Usually I have it under good control," he complained, looking pitiful.
"I know you do. You do a good job but you need to find a way to dump it better."
"I used to put it into the construction stuff."
"Then go help the crew with the new building when you have nothing to do. Okay?" Xander nodded. "Good. I'm glad I could help. Next time, yell more quietly. Even the grocery store called."
"They're on the other side of town. No way did they hear."
"One of the delivery boys lives near there and called his boss to see what he should do. His boss called." Xander rolled his eyes, shifting his weight some. "You're not in trouble."
"Sometimes it seems like I don't fit in around here. I'm not like Tony."
"No, but you have valuable skills."
"But I don't like suits. I don't do lab stuff. It's like I'm the dumb grunt guy."
Daniel grinned. "I don't do the lab stuff either."
"You don't have cases with the perfect posse."
"No, I don't." He smiled, giving him a hug before pulling back. "You're you and we like you for being you. Even if Paul does give you dirty looks for your habit of pulling out guns. Even if you don't wear suits, do lab stuff, understand science, any of that. We like you for you. Yes, there's times you need to fit in a bit better. Usually it's because you wear some really hideous shirts, Xander." That got a grin. "But that's part of being you. The guys are used to working with agents and cops like them."
"I'm the only non-cop in the group."
"You are but that might change. You're doing really good fitting in most of the time. You're a valuable member of this agency and a friend." Xander relaxed, smiling at that. "I could want you to dress better on out of town calls. I could want you to try to not give them looks like they're stupid when they go to the lab. Sometimes they feel the same way."
"It makes me feel dumber than I am," he said quietly. "Maybe I should fall back to the armory."
"No, I want you on the team, Xander. You've solved more cases here than Tony has. Really," he said at his odd look. "You have. You take on more research cases than they do. Tony's only had three this week. You've had five, including that stupid urn you just finished." Xander nodded at that. "You solve them faster, you solve them with fewer problems. If I could find other hunters to bring in, I would. If Sam wants to join, I'd gladly take him. Dean too. John would probably try to skin me."
"Yes I would," John called as he walked over from the parking area.
"See?" He smirked at him then looked at Xander again. "It's not that you're not fitting in. The guys all like you. Most of this is in your head, Xander. You fit in very well even if you can't stand the lab."
"No, not maybe. You do fit in. Some of the new guys are really uptight. That's why they haven't relaxed around you yet. The ones from Miami especially I think. Mac's still scared of you for some reason." Xander shrugged at that. "Good. Then trust me here. You're fitting in better than you think. This isn't high school. I don't allow cliques. You're not an outcast. You can wear whatever you want on base as long as only we see you. If you have to video conference or leave the base, find a better shirt."
"Thank you. Do I make you feel that way?"
"You have how many Ph.D.'s?"
Daniel smiled. "Not everyone can be me, Xander. I had my reasons to get into college so young and to push myself. If you had those same reasons, you probably could have. You have a good hand with languages you know. Maybe you should look into that?"
"I'm never here."
"I noticed that. You're still doing twice the work. Two new cases came in today and I had to hand them around your desk because the other guys said you stole work from them."
"I got bored."
"I'm sure you did but so are they. You're impressive. We love you for it. The only thing we don't like is the ugly t-shirts. Yours and Speed's." Xander smirked at that. "Really."
"Thank you. But you still have to buy a suit so we look good during the New York hearing about their building being collapsed by a dragon."
"Yes, boss," he muttered, looking at John. "Do you think I should fall back to the armory?"
"No. I think that takes more experience than you have, kid. I think you're good but Calleigh has ballistics experience you don't." Xander pouted. "You're good on use and on finding what you need. She's good at identification and that stuff, which is what the armory needs for casework. Though, am I making new rock salt shells tonight?"
"I made a case last month," Xander said, looking confused.
Xander nodded. "Along with another case of the holy water rounds."
"Where are they?"
"The gun vault. Where I usually put them." He walked them in there, finding them in there. "See, a case of each."
Daniel looked at the case then at him. "That's not a normal case. That's a shipping case."
"Had to be done," Xander said. "Plus it gave me thinking time. Do you want me to have her do it?"
"I don't mind if you putter in here," Daniel decided. "Make bullets when you have to think. Clean guns with Ryan if you want." Xander relaxed again. "But the armory isn't your job unless we're having an emergency. I know I have to hire someone. I'm going to make Calleigh and Tony do it." He looked around again. "Can you show her how everything is so she can tell whoever?"
"I tried," Xander told him.
John nodded. "She's one who gives him looks like she doesn't understand why he's here," he agreed.
Daniel sighed. "I've seen a few of those. I'll straighten that out. You're here because I want you to be an agent, Xander. Am I clear?" Xander nodded. "Good. Because I could have moved you back to the ISC post you have. That's more than enough work for everyone but you."
Xander smirked. "I live on the stress. Not like we had it easy at home. Full time job, girlfriend, slaying patrols, apocalypses, all that at once some days."
"You're better than I am. I doubt I could handle a full time job and hunting all the time," John admitted. "Especially since you were doing construction work. Usually I get banged around and spend the next day aching."
"I did too but that's why someone smarter than me invented tylenol." Xander grinned at him. "Want to help me clean guns tonight?"
"Sure. We can clean the lockers too." That got a nod from Daniel and he left them alone. "You good?" he asked quietly.
"There's been plenty of days when I wondered why I was an agent," he admitted, looking at his mentor and friend. "Some of the new guys give me the looks most of the time. Flack gives them to me now and then when I come up with something he thinks is stupid. Taylor really gives them to me. Horatio does." He shrugged. "I feel like the bastard child that had to be taken in some days."
John patted him on the shoulder. "You're not. You and Tony ran this agency before Daniel got here. You keep it going, you've protected them. Like hunting, no one's going to thank you and half the time they won't understand until they have to deal with it themselves. Their first field cases they're going to come in looking differently I'm sure." Xander nodded at that wisdom. "Now, sword, machete, that practice? Still on for Sunday?"
"I was going to ask Dean to spar with me tonight. Or Faith. I skipped last week due to having the runs."
"That'll work. I'll join in then we'll come clean weapons." Xander nodded. "Go find more horrible things coming up. We have no idea what this spring's apocalypse is."
Xander sighed. "I have the feeling we're having one over halloween," he said quietly. "I can't find it though."
"It could be one like the dragons. One that's not in the books."
"Could be," he sighed. "But I think it's going to be magical."
"If so, we'll handle it and have Dawn's teacher help us if it's her or Willow." Xander nodded at that. "Did you get any sleep last night?"
"Until the fake goddess woke me up." John gave him an odd look. "Ammit."
"How are you getting those?" He knew what it was but the process of how it happened had never been explained to him.
"Somehow, when I helped with the protections Dawn was putting up I put myself on as the base's guardian. She wanted Daniel and got me."
John moaned. "That's another thing we'll have to shift back to a not fully your job thing, Xander. It can wear you down like too much magic wears out Dawn."
Xander nodded. "I know that. It doesn't happen that often. I'm kinda surprised I pulled in Dean."
"That we're working on." He gave him another pat. "Go back to your desk. The girls will be back soon." Xander nodded, going to do that. John looked around then closed the vault and left to tell Dean and Sam about the night's schedule. They needed to spar anyway. Dean was antsy. Sam was having near visions. Something would start to tickle his mind then stop. So there was something coming but no one was sure what. Yet.
Xander walked into the room, finding everyone staring at him. "What? I had to yell at the teacher. She hit on one of the girls."
Horatio blinked. "Not that. What do we need in the armory?"
"Someone who can process guns we find on cases, take inventory, clean the ones in the lockers, make bullets. It's not a hard job. I pretty much fill in right now. By the way, those who don't have it, someone has to figure out how to qualify people on the range this month. Ryan, you're about up."
"I can do that," Mac said with a small smile. "We hand make the bullets?"
"Mostly. We get the lead ones from someone else but I can make those if we need to. The stuff we dip the wooden ones into to jacket we get from somewhere else too but I generally lathe the wood since I'm the only one who seems to know how. That would go faster if we could get it in pressed wood form but not totally. It's not that hard to make the holy water tipped ones either." He shrugged a bit before sitting down. "Benny Ray and I sat down to make most of our bullets. He took my wooden bullet idea and jacketed it differently so it went better and had less compacting after being fired. He helped me make the first holy water tipped rounds." Tim nodded at that. "We worked together pretty well. Especially on the artillery closet that we took out of what we busted in New York that time. Speaking of, I have to show you new guys how the portals work." They all nodded at that. He made a note to himself. "Mac, if you want to do range qualifying, it's under the gun vault. The stairs are that small door beside the entry."
"How many stalls?"
"Three. Moving targets or steady targets but no walk through."
Mac nodded. "I can do that. Who else needs to qualify?" Ryan, Tim, and Eric all raised their hands. Tony grimaced but did too while he continued to type one handed. "I can do that this weekend."
"Sword practice is back on for Sunday night since I don't have the runs this week," Xander announced. Everyone nodded at that. "The new guys have to at least learn how to hold and block with one. After that, it's necessary to prove you can hold off an attack if it comes. Dean teaches machete styles and I teach real sword work but not fencing. 'Cause not my thing. Wesley can if you wanted to ask him. Also, anyone without a gun locker, we need to know, people."
"We keep our guns in the lockers on base?" Calleigh asked.
Ryan nodded. "Most of us do. It's easy enough to get into them. Only we have our keys and there's only one master key. They keep a reload in most of them."
"I'm checking them when John and I are cleaning them tonight," Xander promised. He looked at Ryan. "Yours?"
"I do mine."
"Okay. If you need me to, let me know."
"I can." He smiled. "Are you falling back to the armory?"
"No. Danny and I talked about it, I volunteered, but he said he needs me here." They all nodded at that.
Tony looked over. "Of course we do, Xander. You do twice the work we do, you kept me sane when I was running this place. You helped me set it up so it worked well together. We have half the floor being new to field cases. Yes, we need you to stay right there. No matter what. Give the new guys more of your research cases so they can get used to handling the research end of the work." He went back to typing. "Abby said McKay's scared of having to take over down here."
Xander smirked. "Wasn't that a running joke? If Jack takes Danny back, then we get Sheppard, McKay comes in over R&D, and Abby's over the lab?"
"I thought so." Tony shrugged. "By the way, she did find the mermaid taint. We did add that to the threat database in case they ran into one and a fishing boat did capture one by accident. They found it munching the fish in the nets. When they let it out, it dove off the boat and they only got a picture. The Coast Guard was not happy and tried to say they were drunk. When we uploaded that they wanted to know what else came from you guys that might impact them."
"As far as I know, nothing else," Xander admitted. "You can ask Giles."
"I did. He said he'd look through his journal." They shared a look. "Did you borrow John's jeans?"
"No, why?" he asked, looking at himself then at him. "I've had them for years."
"They're big on you. Are you losing weight?"
"No," he said calmly. "Can we please jump off my wardrobe? Not all of us are fashion plates like you, Horatio, and Stella."
"True. Why not wear tight things though? Most young guys do."
Xander shrugged. "It's harder to move in tight things and why did I need to? I didn't need that sort of attention even when I did play bait."
"Fine," he said, shaking his head. "How are you supposed to pick up a good lover wearing baggy pants?"
Xander grinned. "Maybe they think there's a reason."
"Yes, but they probably think it's chunky thighs, Xander," Tony teased with a smirk.
Xander shrugged. "If they're dating me, why would they be thinking anything was chunky? That's a girl term and I only date bad girls who want to be evil. They want me for other reasons."
"Good point," Tony said then he shook his head. "We have got to get you clubbing clothes anyway, Xander. That way we can go together so I don't have to fight with Eric for the slutty ones."
Xander snorted. "Am I going to keep the bad girls off you?"
"You can keep whoever you want," Tony said with a smirk and a wink. "Or not." Xander laughed at that. "The girls might like to see you dressed up."
"I haven't really dated since I left Anya at the altar, Tony."
"So? It's about time, Xander. It's been over two years."
"Closer to four. It's been two and almost a half since we got here and I left her there about a year before Sunnydale fell in." Tony gaped. "I'm not like you. I don't need it nightly. It took me three months to recover from what she did to me."
"It could be very stress relieving."
"I can go to my temple for that."
"I forgot about that," Tony said, then shook his head again. "Did they ever bring back your stuff?"
"Going tonight?" Tony teased.
"Later on." He smirked back. "They do so miss me. I did get a letter saying I was missed." Tony laughed, shaking his head. "You know, I can go back and do the game again. They set it to a whole new realm that's having problems."
Tony stared at him. "Only if Danny agrees."
"We can use the humor," Messer called from his desk in the corner.
"Not you," Tony said, shooting him a small glare. "The other one. Boss?" Daniel came out. "Xander said they reset that game to a new realm. He wanted to know if he could go play that when someone made him take his next vacation."
Daniel looked at Xander. "Didn't you have enough problems from the last one?"
"Well, kinda. But it'll be fun. I'll have fun." He grinned. "I have to go get the stuff I brought with me last time since they never brought it back."
"Do it after hours."
"Of course. After we're done cleaning the weapons tonight."
"Fine. If you're late tomorrow, make up the time, Xander."
Daniel walked off shaking his head. "If you go, take Jack with you. He might enjoy some time off. Sheppard too!"
"Sure, if you can get them to agree," Xander called back. Tony and Speed cackled at that. "What?" he asked innocently. "They both handle the strange thing well and they're good at tactics, plus they're untraditional thinkers."
"Uh-huh," Tony said, still laughing quietly. He went back to typing at Abby, telling her that. He suddenly burst out laughing. "She said if you run into them at your temple, say hi for her and give Rodney a hug."
"I can do that." Xander looked at his desk then around. "Why don't I have any work to do?"
"Because we wanted something to do too," Ryan said dryly.
"Thanks for the case, Xander. Hadn't had any in two days," Danny Messer agreed. "Go back to hunting whatever bad thing's going to happen this spring."
"Worry about Halloween first. All Saints Eve, All Saints, and the Day of the Dead." They all groaned. He went back to his searching, finding a strange thing. "I'm listed on a demonic live journal site," he muttered, looking at the entries. Googling his name was a fun exercise. He read, then he spluttered. "It is not mine!" He wrote them back a nasty note saying it wasn't his. He hadn't slept with Crissy! Then he went on. "Oh, guys, Crissy, out in LA, is pregnant at the moment. We're waiting a while on the baby shower since she just found out but fair warning for her to cry on you." He went back to reading, pausing to tip his head at one entry. "Hey, Tony?" He rolled over. "Does that say what I think it says?"
Tony read it then nodded. "That says they're going to go after Reid. Print that with the address at the top?" Xander did that, writing it down by hand. Tony went to the office. "Xander found a demon's live journal and it mentions a plot against Spenser Reid."
"Crap," he muttered, dialing the system out there. "Oh, what is their extension?" Tony input something, getting their computer tech, Garica. Who did look surprised. "Garcia, Daniel Jackson. Is the team there? Someone just found a possible plot against Reid."
"Um, in the other room. Let me get them, Doctor Jackson." She grabbed her phone and dialed. "I've got Doctor Jackson on teleconfrence. They have a threat to Spens." She hung up. "They'll be right here. Can you fax that to us?" Tony did that. "Theirs?"
"The one I have for Hotchner," he said, smiling at her. "It looks like a future plot, but Xander found it."
"That's a bad thing," she agreed. Suddenly they went dark.
"Gee, boss, did you forget to pay the electric bill?" Tony asked.
"No," he said, going to see what was going on. It was a short jog to the gate. "What the heck happened?"
"The electric company shut off the line up the road, sir."
Daniel went to talk to them with the guards. "Excuse me?" he demanded. "Who are you and under what authority did you shut off a federal agency's electric?" They stared at him then laughed. "Now!" he snapped.
"Sir," the guard said calmly. "Guys, did you send out a notice?"
"The base is deserted, guys."
"No, DCIS took it over. Can't read the large sign?" Daniel asked, pointing at the one up the road. "We're still here. Get your supervisor on the phone now." They laughed again and started to load up. "Keep them from leaving," he ordered. The guards shrugged and did that while he called in. "I need to speak to a supervisor please? This is Doctor Daniel Jackson at DCIS. Your people just shut us off for some reason thinking we had moved. No, I don't think you can help me. I need a supervisor. I don't have it on me," he said impatiently.
Xander took it. "Listen, sweetie, you just endangered the world by bringing down our prison's containment system. There's eight hundred demons down there and a few assassins like the one we caught trying to take down the president. Do you *really* want your name on this account?" She transferred them over. "Thank you. This is Agent Harris. Yes, the one who was on with the dragons. My boss and I are here with a crew of your people who just shut off the main line to our base and forced us to go to backup power for our prison." He listened. "That's us, yes. No, we have not moved. We do not plan on moving. Let me hand you to my boss, ma'am." He handed it over. "The supervisor." He looked at the pole then sighed. "Ask her if I can turn it on while we wait," he said quietly.
Daniel asked then nodded. Xander climbed up there and flipped the breaker back on. "What happened to start that order?" he asked. He frowned. "No, we did not. Not in the least. What name is on it? Spell it?" He frowned. "That's not how you spell DiNozzo." Xander gave him an odd look before jumping down the last few feet. "I think it was someone who hacked, yes, ma'am. No, we're staying here. Yes, it's back on. We can release your workers as well. You might warn them not to laugh next time. Twice actually," he told her. He smiled. "Thank you for that, ma'am. May I have your name?" He took mental note of it. "Thank you. If you have any more concerns about that file, please flag it to call us first? Thank you." He hung up and looked at the guards. "They're free to go as long as they head directly back to the office." They nodded and let the guys leave. Daniel looked at Xander. "DiNozzo, big I, one Z."
"Fuck me," Xander said blandly. "Any idea? Go check the phone lines?"
"Oh, she gave me an address. I'm going to have Abby look into this."
Xander gave him a worried look. "You think it's Willow?" He nodded. "Why?"
"Because apparently we're moving to Cleveland."
"If you find out, let me tell Giles before the FBI breaks in."
"Agreed." They headed back with the guards, going to call all the other utilities to make sure similar orders hadn't been placed while Abby got to work to see who had hacked.
Xander walked out of the portal Dawn created for him, waving at her. "Giles, we have to talk," he said, nodding out back. "Now."
"Why?" he asked calmly.
"Because something happened last night and there's a lot of pissed people. Which you should hear about now."
"One of the girls did something?" he asked calmly.
"Not mine. Yours." He pointed. "Now." Giles followed him out front because the yard was the only private place around the house. "Buffy, give us a few?"
She looked over. "Who did what?" she sighed, coming over.
Xander shut the door. "Willow hacked every single one of our utilities and told them we're moving to Cleveland."
"Excuse me?" Giles demanded.
Xander nodded. "That is a Federal offense, Giles. I can't shield her. The utility companies turned her in. The FBI is going to be here in about twenty minutes looking for her. Daniel and I had to have the 'do you still like her as a friend' talk."
"Why?" Buffy asked calmly.
"Because she endangered the whole prison!" he snapped, glaring at her. She shrank back. "We use a forcefield containment system like the Initiative did, Buffy. That way nothing can break through it. Fortunately someone knew what they were doing when they put in the backup generators. It only blinked for a minute and the guards down there had to put three demons back. One who tried to assassinate the current president." She shuddered. "Not to mention how bad this looks on all of us, including you and me. Me because I'm a well-known person after having to go on air about the dragons, twice. You because you're the senior slayer and she's our friend."
"Are we going to turn her over?" Giles asked coolly.
"I've managed to make them just talk to her this time and give her a very strong warning. They think it was done out of misguided feelings. They'll put her on notice, they'll watch her computer. If she *ever* does something like this again they'll charge her. If they end up having to charge her now due to a pushy utility company or Homeland Security, because that is considered an act of treason or intended terroristic threat, depending on how they go, then she'll get probation. I did my best to minimize this for everyone."
"That counts as being a terrorist now?" Buffy asked.
Xander nodded. "Yeah. Doing something that would affect the daily operations of a federal agency, IE bomb threats, shutting off their phone or electric service, hacking their computer systems. Had one of the demons escaped and harmed someone, even an officer, that could be counted as treason." They both nodded at that. "I did what I could to minimize this for her and you guys. None of us need this but something has to be done about her at home too, Giles."
"I agree. This has gone too far." He looked at the young man next to him. "Will she be able to fix this?"
Xander shrugged. "I don't know. I know Daniel helped me ask for and get an exception based on her doing something for the Council. Like necessary, finding the evil things' plan, that stuff. If they find her doing it and she can justify it as an open slayer or DCIS case then they can't get her for it." Giles sighed in relief. "That's still not going to get her off the hook this time. And personally, I deal with enough shit right now from the new guys who can't see that I may not have been a cop or an agent before but I'm damn good at it now to have to deal with the dirty looks because she tried to have all our utilities cut off by forging letters with the senior agent's name on them and misspelling his name."
"You could give that up and just work with us," Buffy said, giving him a look.
"I like what I do, Buffy. People look up to me. I save a lot of lives before things happen. Like that field case in Miami. They settled down to help us stop it faster because I was there. Paul gets ignored on demon cases most of the time. There's demons who ask the other agents if they brought me with them because they know it's going to be bad if I'm there with a team that's not mine." She nodded, looking down again. He tipped her face up. "I love you guys, every one of you, even you, but I like what I do. It's important to me. It also helps you guys a lot by taking out some of the things you'd have to deal with otherwise."
She stared into his eyes then nodded. "I can understand that. Watching you work the case here showed me a lot. The demons are scared and respectful of me. They're more respectful than scared of you."
Xander smiled. "I still have the rep of going to tear creatures apart if they hurt you girls or another team, but yeah. They know I'm fair and I listen. That's why the first thing I did in Miami was tell the slayers to let everyone know I was taking every single demon complaint in the city to not only find out who had started it but also to solve a lot of other problems at the same time since we were meddling anyway. If Tony had done that, he'd get a few dozen. We got over two hundred." She smiled at that. "I love you, you're still like my family, Buffy, but damned if I don't want to smack Willow around for making me choose this time."
She nodded. "I can understand that." She gave him a hug, looking over as cars pulled in. "Ten minutes."
"It'll take them a few to get out of the car." He looked at Giles. "Where is she? If she runs she's in worse trouble."
"In her room." He nodded at the agents getting out. "Xander told us what happened. I am appalled at what she did."
"Where is Miss Rosenburg, sir?"
"In her room." He led them up to her room, tapping first. "Girls, there's some agents here who need to speak to Willow." Kennedy opened the door. "Where is she?"
"Bathroom." She let them inside, looking at Giles. "What did she do?"
"Tried to have DCIS's utilities shut down," Xander said as he came up the stairs. "Willow!"
"Give me a chance to wash my hands!" she yelled back. Two agents went to get her as she came out, making her give them a funny look. "What? Did I do something?"
"Um, yeah," Xander said dryly. "We have two hackers on staff, Willow." She went pale. "You had the power shut off at the base."
She glared. "You don't need to be out there."
"You shut off the prison's power too," he said dryly. She went paler. "And yes, I do need to be out there. I do damn good work out there. Very important work."
"They're humoring you."
"If they did, I wouldn't do more work than most of the other agents," he said coolly, crossing his arms over his chest. "Since I do and I go on the hardest of the cases, that kinda disproves your theory, Willow." She sneered. "Do not open your mouth again unless you want me to spank you." She shrank back. He stepped closer, staring at her. "I'm so pissed at you right now. You have no idea the levels of pissed I hit today." He looked at the agent beside her. "I'm going back to the base."
"Thank you, Harris."
"Why do I creep you guys out?"
"We look at you like we look at new agents who come from a background that probably included a cult that had violent tendencies. You can toe the party line, you can talk the talk, you can spout back the book probably, but how long before you snap and start spouting the other book?" Xander nodded at that. "Though, you're in the right place because if you start spouting off hunting facts, they'll need to know anyway."
Xander gave them a sad smile. "Half of the new guys give me odd looks because I'm not a former cop or agent. I do try not to be violent unless necessary."
"Yeah but you also bought arms off the black market and fired it off in downtown Seattle."
"There was an ascension. It saved one of my teammates."
"We feel the same way about psychic agents too," the other said quietly. "You're odd but helpful, even if the oddness is why you're so helpful in your case. The violent tendencies just enhance that."
Xander nodded. "Thanks for telling me, guys. I try really hard to act like a normal agent."
"You'll never be FBI, Secret Service, or anything other than DCIS or possibly ATF, Harris. The rest of us are uptight and proud of the fact. Wolfe is like us, you're a wildcard in many ways."
Xander smiled. "Then I guess I'm in the right place. Thanks, guys."
"Not a problem, Harris." They walked Willow into her room to confiscate all her computer gear for now.
Xander looked at Buffy, who was giving him a funny look. "They're right. The Secret Service guys iron and starch their boxers." She smiled. "I'm not that uptight and I do make agents nervous because I tend to bring things with me that I might need, including weapons." He shrugged then grinned back. "It's good to know."
"You could still do more with us."
He kissed her on the forehead. "Only if we keep in the lull we're presently having. Did you hear about the chaos guy?"
"I did hear. I saw his webpage too. Little idiot. Giles went off swearing in Latin again." He laughed. "You going home?"
"Yeah, I'm going home." He looked at the closed door then at her, nodding at it. "Watch her?"
"I am. That's wrong of her to do and would've made me get messy tonight."
"Yeah, me too." He gave her a hug. "Thanks, Buff." He texted Dawn on his way down the stairs, nodding at Giles. "By the way, got a teacher at the school arrested for hitting on Brenda. She's cowering and offered to tell them everything she had ever done so she doesn't have to come near me ever again." Dawn opened the portal and he walked through. "We'll call later, Giles." He waved before it shut. He looked at Dawn and Dean, who was waiting with her. "They're there. She told me they're humoring me."
"You do *way* too much work for them to be humoring you," Dawn reminded him, giving him a hug. "Now and then you forget that and that's wrong of you to forget. We all depend on you."
"I know." He gave her a squeeze, looking over at Dean with a grin. "Want one too?"
"I'm good without hugs. Hugs scare me." Xander moved to hug him so he ran out. "Ha!" he called back. "Missed me." Annabelle got him with a nerf dart. "Hey! Be nicer!"
She smirked. "Don't pick on Xander then." Xander came out and gave her a hug too. "Thank you, I needed that. I was nearly trapped in the big machine today."
He smiled. "It'll be okay and they're stopping Willow. She's in deep this time." He went back to the office. "They're there. She said it's because you're humoring me."
Daniel snorted, shaking his head. "No, I don't humor you, Xander. If I did, you wouldn't have a form to fill out."
Xander groaned, going to do that. He looked then sighed and filled it out. It was a complaint form. The FBI needed it.
"What happened?" Flack asked quietly.
Xander looked at him. "Willow decided we were all moving to Cleveland because we didn't need to be an agency and I wasn't needed here. She hacked the utility companies using a misspelled version of Tony's name to say we were all moving to Cleveland."
"Charming," he mouthed. Xander nodded. "You good?"
Xander shook his head. "No." He went back to the report form. He reread it, letting Tony read it and then hand it back with a nod. He signed it and Tony signed his, taking them in to Daniel. "Okay, my desk is still clear," he said dryly. They all laughed. "Let me go start on the weapons." He went to do that, leaning into the office. "I'm going to start on the weapons."
"Sure. You do that." Xander smiled. "You'll be okay?"
"I want to beat her ass," he admitted. "In many ways, while yelling even. Right now, it's safer if I clean guns."
Daniel nodded. "It could be. Want my zat?"
Xander smiled. "Don't tempt me."
"Fine." Xander walked off happier. That was the only good thing about today. They had managed to get some of his fears out of the way. It was punishing him for no reason. The other guys didn't see Xander the way he thought they did. He went to talk to them, closing the door with a look down the hallway. He waved Xander off. "Birthday party," he mouthed.
"I will scream and run away," he said, coming in to grab his soda. "No birthday parties on my next one." He left again, closing the door behind him. He knew it was an excuse. Maybe Daniel could make Eric quit giving him the pity look.
Daniel looked at his people. "Guys, quit giving him the looks." They all looked guilty. "Xander is one of the most capable people in this agency, no matter where he started out. I know the other agents are jumpy because he's never had the same training they did. They consider him like some strange yet helpful agent that should be sitting in the corner for his funny feelings that save lives. I will not have that here. Xander has a gift for the work. He's done a lot of good for this agency and most of us. If it wasn't for him, it'd have fallen in when Tony was running things on his own."
Tony nodded at that, leaning back and putting his arms behind his head so he was comfortable. "He's noticed you guys giving him the looks. I'm not going to lose Xander over you guys not feeling like he's an agent. He is one. He has been one. Get over it," Daniel ordered. They all nodded at that. "Does anyone have any doubts about his qualifications? Especially after the Miami team case?"
"He did a lot more than I did," Paul admitted. Horatio looked at him. "I know what my place on the team is, Horatio. My place is to help Xander. Xander leads my team. We get handed the worst cases because he's who he is. The demons respect him because of who he is and what he's done. My job is to back Xander up and to fill in the administrative and computer gaps he has. The same as whichever CSI goes with us most of the time fills in that gap. Xander doesn't do science stuff at all. He can identify some things by sight but others he has to look at the list too if we need to know beyond the category of 'slime', 'scale', or 'goo'."
Messer nodded. "Xander handles things. That's his rep. The same as he handles things when you bother the girls or one of us. They respect him more than they're scared of him. They've seen him manage some pretty impressive victories from the crack of his ass. Including changing the battle plan for graduation the night before."
Daniel nodded. "I have a full account of that. Xander did amazing leading a bunch of high school kids whose only idea of combat was video games against an impressive demonic force there to herd the humans so the mayor could eat them. The fact he only called up the extra kids the night before and gave them what little training he could is amazing, and the fact he lost twenty-three out of over three hundred spectators and sixty kids defending is even better." Mac swallowed at that. "Even Jack said he couldn't pull that off when I shared it with him. If Xander was inclined toward the military, Jack said he'd have a protege. Not that he needs bootcamp with the memories that one possession gave him."
He looked around the room. "Xander may not be a cop or a former agent. Xander may be a tough guy who likes weapons a lot. So? He's good at what he does, people. That's all I care about. For that matter, I send him on the hardest cases because he can handle them. I can't send many of you out to handle things like the weapons network he's busted thanks to the one in New York that started off a domino effect. Or the case in Miami that stopped a national problem going on because he stopped it there before it could really spread." Horatio shuddered at that. "Exactly. His rep calls him a white knight and he is. This wasn't even his battle to begin with until a friend got taken. You guys giving him the funny looks, it's driving him out of the job he's done so good at. Am I clear?"
"Yes, sir," they agreed.
Mac raised his hand. "Should we maybe drill Xander in things that we learned at the academy?"
"Why? He does most of them naturally," Tony told him. "He doesn't know the full rule book yet, but he's been working on it. Hell, half the time Xander fills in for more than two other jobs. If he had more than 'this is how you bandage and stitch' training he'd be helping out in the infirmary too. Speaking of, boss, do I have to go salt the sidewalks?"
"I sent them to do it."
"I fell coming in from lunch. John nearly fell at lunch."
"I know. They're going to be sorry if they don't manage it today. Find me more?" Tony nodded, moving to get to work on that. He looked at the guys he had, and the ladies. "If you have any doubts about any agent's ability to perform on a case, you come to me, people. House does when he thinks someone's too tired to work. You can too."
Stella raised her hand slowly. "You pick on him."
"Just on his clothes. That's the only thing I want to change about Xander and most of the time he doesn't care about what he's wearing as long as he's comfortable." Tony and Speed nodded at that. Ryan too. "So I can ask him to put on a comfortable, yet more dressy shirt and he doesn't mind. The girls nag him about his shirts anyway."
"I asked about the baggy jeans," Tony admitted, looking at him. "Can we torch his uncle?"
"He's already taken a deal on attempted blackmail of a federal agent." He grimaced. "Though I wanted to hit the man. I nearly did hit the man. Repeatedly." They shared a look. "Yes, it's probably what you're thinking, Tony. You remember what happened as they woke up."
"Yeah, unfortunately so does he." He went back to looking. "There is a maintenance service in town, boss."
"Send them an offer to interview. Today." Tony did that. "Any other doubts about Xander being able to handle the job?" No one said anything.
Then Horatio cleared his throat. "I'm more worried because I've seen signs of him getting ready to snap."
"He doesn't dump his stress very well. He used to put it into his job when he was hunting full time. He used to work construction if it ever comes up. So I'm sure he wore it out hamming in endless nails all day." They gaped. "Yes, Xander was working a full time job, had a demanding girlfriend, and was hunting in Sunnydale." They still looked stunned. He smiled. "Right now, we're worried because he's having nightmares and visions. Somehow he got a vision meant for me the last night." Dean knocked then walked in. "Problem?"
"Xander said to quit talking about him."
"I'm telling them why they don't have to worry about him."
"You're embarrassing him," he corrected. "Not like the girls praised him." They shared a look. "Quit. Let Dad handle it." He left again.
"Xander is like an extra Winchester some days," Calleigh admitted.
Tony grinned at her. "Just think, he's the prototype for what all the new watchers have to be like. Gibbs asked if the kid wore tights after so many stories of 'Xander did something' somehow." He went back to his email. "Boss, they'll be here at two to talk to you."
"That works for me." He looked at them. "Any other doubts?" No one said anything. "Good. Sword practice Sunday is mandatory if you know nothing about them, just in case you need it someday. Make sure your guns are either in the lockers or clean them yourselves and make sure you have a full set of each type of bullet."
"Where are they? I couldn't find any," Calleigh said.
"The gun vault, like they usually are," Tony said, giving her a dirty look. "Those four big crates in there? Those are spare bullets. When Xander can't sleep, he goes to make bullets. He and Benny Ray used to sit down to do that once a month."
"That reminds me. Tony, you and Calleigh find someone to do that job?"
"On it, boss," he said happily. "Already got two in mind. Going to talk to them next week."
"Good. Right now, John, Dean, and Xander are filling in. Also, if you don't know where things are in the armory, go have him give you the tour and show you how the portal system works, people." He opened the door and went back to his office, finding a voicemail flashing at him. "What now?" he muttered. He listened then sighed and called the White House. "Ma'am, Doctor Jackson. No, that's not a good time for me. I have to interview new maintenance people because ours aren't doing anything. Including salting the sidewalks. We've had people falling, including one of the girls who rebroke her leg. After four is better for me. Or I can come back later." He smiled, making a note for himself. "That'll work. Thank you." He hung up and leaned back, watching his computer blink. He moved the mouse, finding the message about a new conference call. He clicked on it, getting Jack. "Problems already?"
"The president wants me to retire from here and come be your secretary."
Daniel smiled. "I don't have a secretary. I don't need a secretary. Eighty percent of what I do is proofread reports and then sign off on them."
Jack smiled. "I pointed that out and that I'd look horrible in a skirt. He went to have a headache and call Russia."
Daniel smirked. "Is our president taking funny things?"
"I'm not sure. I know he was going to talk to you."
"About four-thirty. He was going to call at two but I have a new maintenance contract I need to hand out. Our current ones won't salt things and we're all tired of slipping."
"Makes sense to me." He smirked. "You okay firing them?"
"I warned them earlier. It hasn't been fixed. Oh well. If I have to, I'll let someone do it for me."
"I think that's the secretary's job."
He smirked at him. "Not hardly. An assistant director maybe and I'm told I need one of those too."
Jack laughed. "How you manage things with no people I don't know, Danny. Speaking of, did you find Dammit yet?"
"Ammit, Jack. No D." Jack shrugged and looked smug. "Not yet." He used the desk phone to call Xander. "Any idea where Ammit was hiding?" He listened. "Jack's wondering. Sure, if you're bored. If not, I can." He hung up. "We'll look around for you, Jack."
"Thanks, Danny. One less job I have to do around here. By the way, we sent ballots to Atlantis."
"Good idea! Though I can see John running this place. It might be more stressful than up there, but we're more fun too."
"If you say so. I think he'd go insane."
"Insane is a state of mind, Jack." He smirked and hung up on his friend. He started a search on Ammit to see if anything on her had shown up in any museum. That was the most likely place. If not, the researcher who had it would be bragging about his find because bragging was as important as publishing in the academic world. One of the many things he hated about it.
Tony looked at all the people going shopping with them and sighed. "We should take one of the new SUV's."
Xander looked at him. "The guys can take their own cars."
"No way I'm not driving mine," Dean agreed.
"That still leaves Horatio, me, and Xander in my mustang," Tony told him.
"Xander can ride with us," Sam offered, glancing at Dean, who shrugged. "He did okay on the way to Vegas."
"Fine. Horatio, my mustang's in my parking spot." He nodded, heading that way. "Three hours, meet you at the one shopping center with the multiplex and the hotdog stand?" Everyone nodded at that and headed off. That's where they had taken the girls school shopping. They all knew it. He followed Horatio out to his car, doing the alarm and locks so he could get in. "Missing the hummer?"
"A lot," he admitted.
"So buy one."
"They're not very efficient."
"No, they're not," Tony admitted. He smiled. "But they do give you a sense of power."
"Yes they do," he agreed quietly. "You can look down on all the other drivers." Tony smiled, starting his engine and turning on the heater before they backed out of the parking spot. John had already gone. Dean, Sam, and Xander were headed for the gate. "How old is the Impala?"
"Sixty-seven. John said it was his car first."
"That probably has a lot of miles on it then," Horatio said, giving it a fond look.
"Yup. About eight hundred thousand or so. Seven something from what Sam said. Then again they were roving around the US hunting since Sam was six months old until they got recruited by Xander."
"You and he really did hire most everyone, didn't you?"
"I hired most of them. Xander hired a few. He hired Paul after interviewing him since it was his team that had the open spot. He hired Ryan and brought Speed. He hired the guys, who brought their father after the invasion. That helped a lot more than we thought at the time because John's not a bad parent and he set some better boundaries than Xander could with all the time he spent working. Back then Xander was even doing some of the maintenance job. We had guys who did the trash and the grass but things like sticking doors or lightbulbs only got done if you asked Xander. Then Danny hired on the guys he just fired. We seem to watch Xander for a bit, see where he's found a spot that needs filling in for and then find someone to do it for him." Horatio chuckled quietly.
"We do." He smiled. "At first we weren't even paying Xander because I goofed. Now we're getting onto Giles because he doesn't pay Xander and it's not a goof." He plugged in his hands free system and put his earbud on, calling Wesley. "It's me. Did we ever get Xander his second paycheck? Well, we are going shopping, Wesley." He smiled. "That's good to know. Back pay too?" He smirked. "Isn't it in a safe account?" He laughed. "Even better. Thanks. No, Daniel set up an account for him at the bank in town. Sure." He hung up. "He'll go raid his apartment to find the checkbook for him. Xander went to get some of the money last night."
"Didn't he win some in Las Vegas?"
"A lot but he put it into an account so the IRS couldn't take most of it the next day."
"That's probably wise of him."
"Very wise of him. How are you and Speed doing?"
"We're getting closer again. He's happy here. I can see why he's happy." Tony shot him a grin then went back to paying attention to the road. "It's still strange and I'm concerned about what Tim picked up from his cohabitation with Xander."
"Probably a lot of mother henning the girls, Horatio. Relax about it. Get to know *Tim*, not as he was but as he is. Death does change a guy from what I heard."
"True." He pointed at a slow-moving car. "Should we call that in?"
Tony looked then nodded. "Yup." He dialed the emergency number. "This is Agent DiNozzo. I'm headed toward the city on ten and Old Man Tyler is driving. Um...." He looked around. "We're a few miles away from a red barn with a huge smiley face on the side? No idea otherwise. Yeah, that sounds right." He checked his speed then the car in front of him. "We're right behind him and he's going about forty at the moment, looking around. Sure, we can trail him that long." He hung up. "Old Man Tyler's about ninety and he's a sweet guy. Talks to all the girls when they run into him. Tells some great war stories to them and Gibbs. He should not be driving however. He's a bit senile."
"There's many of those in Miami."
"I figured there were." He saw the car slow and frowned, backing their speed down as well. Then the car stopped in the middle of the road. Tony stopped right behind the car and got out with his phone, going to check on him. "Mr. Tyler?" he called as he got closer. "It's Agent DiNozzo, from the base, sir. The one with all the young girls. Are you all right?" No answer. He got closer and tapped on the window. "Mr. Tyler?" The man glared then gunned the engine. "They're going to find you anyway, Mr. Tyler. Are you all right? Do you need medical attention?" He started to move the car. "Don't do that. I won't let you tell the girls any stories." The car stopped and the man panted.
Tony opened the door and squatted down. "Hey, are you okay?" he asked. The man shook his head. "Let me get someone." He called back. "It's DiNozzo. Mr. Tyler stopped in the middle of the road and he's short of breath. I think we could use an ambulance more than a helpful ride home. I can hear sirens. Horatio, turn on my blinkers?" He reached over to do that. "Please. His pulse is a little fast too," he said while checking it. He nodded at the cop car that pulled in. "Cops are here, thanks, Dispatcher." He hung up. "He suddenly stopped, then started to move again but now he's panting and his pulse is a bit fast." He got out of their way.
"Oh, Bob," the officer said, shaking his head. "Are you all right, Bob?" Bob shook his head. "Let me get an ambulance." His face was turning red. "Guys, are your docs there today?" he asked them.
Tony nodded. "Yeah, Chase is. House is off playing on his motorcycle. Want me to call?"
"Please." An ambulance pulled up. "Need him to call the base's docs?"
One of the paramedics checked the patient's vitals and nodded. "Yeah, please, DiNozzo."
"I can do that." He called in. "Chase, Tony. Old Man Tyler's in distress on the road. We're probably going to need to lifeflight him according to the paramedics here. Can they bring him back and wait on it there?" He smiled. "Short of breath, red in the face, fast pulse. That'll work. Thanks." He hung up. "Go ahead, we do have a few vials of nitro if we need them according to him." They nodded and got him loaded, letting the cops handle his car. Tony watched the ambulance pull off then waved as he slid in to drive, turning off his blinkers. "I like the old guy. He's sweet."
"He sounds like it. He'll hopefully be fine. Chase is a good doctor."
"For all that he's a grumpy bastard, House is an excellent doctor."
"With a pill habit," Horatio said quietly.
"He's also got a spot on his thigh where there's no muscles after an injury left them eating itself." Horatio shuddered. "He's got a need for the painkillers and they don't usually affect his performance. Though I have heard he tested a drug once by giving himself PCP."
Horatio shuddered again. "That's insane."
"He's a genius."
"Same thing in some cases," Horatio agreed. They went on, heading toward the mall and the fun task of making Xander buy real clothes.
Dean checked his watch when Xander came out of the bathroom. "Tony's late."
"The scanner in the truck said they had to stop Old Man Tyler and have him airlifted," John said as he walked over. "DiNozzo probably ran into him."
"Well, looks like Chase isn't bored today," Xander said. "Hope he's all right."
"He survived nearly being killed by a landmine. He's a tough old guy," John said with a smile. "You don't get too many made like that anymore." He clapped Xander on the back. "We could start with the basics. New underwear. T-shirts."
"The girls will steal them anyway," Sam said, grimacing some. "One got my favorite t- shirt the other day."
"No, it's in my laundry," Xander told him. "I found it this morning in a sheet." Sam grinned at him for that. "Come get it later because I got Dean's purple boxer briefs too."
"Maybe our clothes should be married with as much time as they spend with yours," Dean teased.
Xander shrugged. "They like how mine smell." He took another sip of his soda. "Besides, I'm good on boxers."
John looked at him. "You only have two left after the girls raided the other night, kid. Come on." He dragged the boys with him, going to make sure they had boxers. Xander and Dean both had this nasty habit of going commando after the girls raided. Which reminded him, he needed to do another inspection. He was missing too many of his t-shirts to Brenda again.
Sam picked up a pair of smurf boxer, giving them a sad smile. Dean saw and gave him a nudge. "Cute."
"Thanks." He put them into his basket. His father gave him an odd look. "Jess's favorite t-shirt to sleep in had smurfs."
"I saw and it was a good-looking smurf too," Dean teased, making Sam grin.
"Tell me you didn't stare at your brother's girlfriend," John demanded.
"Well, yeah. Who knew Sammy had taste?"
Xander looked over. "Do you need to be in Cleveland too?" he asked dryly.
"Hell no. I learned my lesson."
"Didn't you have to do something like that after the vacation in Las Vegas?" Sam teased.
"That's been months and I treated mine as soon as I figured it out. He only found the dead ones." He shot his brother a dirty look "I know you had them."
"Once. And only once." He smirked.
John walked off moaning. "Quit or I'm selling you both into marriage."
"Yes, sir," all three called after him. Xander found a Papa Smurf set and handed them to Sam, earning a smile. He picked up some of his own but Dean looked at it.
"Not your size, Xander." Xander gave him a dirty look. "Can't be. That's Dad's size and his waist is bigger than yours."
Xander looked. "That's what size I wear."
Sam pulled on his current pair. "These are at least two sizes too big." He changed them out and handed him the right size, getting a sigh of displeasure. "Why boxers instead of boxer briefs?"
"Too tight. I feel like I'm being groped."
"Some guys do I guess."
Dean shook his head. "I'd rather have mine snug so they don't bounce when I have to run."
"I can't believe you two are talking about that subject," John complained as he came back, handing the boys each a few packets of t-shirts. Xander looked at his then at him. "What?" he asked dryly.
"No. Those are for under your shirts, kiddo."
Xander grimaced. "Only dress shirts." He went to get some with more colors in them, including some of the lighter blues and greens. Dean tossed over another package of black, earning a sigh but a nod too. Sam handed over another few packages of boxers. "I only brought so much with me, guys. I still have to buy sneakers too."
John looked at him then shook his head, walking off. "Didn't you bring your ATM card, Xander?"
"Fees," he shot back.
"Three whole bucks," John reminded him. "You don't use your paychecks, kid."
"Fine," he muttered. "This time." John just smirked and let him find the sneakers he wanted before they left the department store. Checking out wasn't that hard, even if Xander did wince. Which meant he was still shopping at thrift stores. They'd have to fix that sometime. Sam led the way into his favorite store to get jeans, dragging Xander by the arm. The salesmen found a tape measure for him so they could figure out what size Xander really was. Then they got the next size up in case of a sudden weight increase. Xander balked at more than three pairs but Sam was adamant. Dean came in to referee. He lost to Sammy too. John stepped in to calm him down but Sam was stubborn. More stubborn than all the slayers and Xander combined. Xander snuck away from his friends, noticing a woman in there was checking him out. "Fussy friends," he said quietly. "They think I wear things too baggy."
She looked. "You could show yourself off better."
He smiled. "Anytime I do that I attract bad girls who want to take over the world."
She laughed. "I'm sure you do." He winked and went to try on a pair he knew were going to be tight. He came out and she moaned quietly, stepping closer. "I can see why you attract bad girls with bad plans."
"You're not evil, right?" he teased back with a small grin.
"Not today." He laughed and she got him those, leading him off by his hand to make him help her. When he tried to go back to his friends after a few minutes of watching her shop, she pulled a knife and he went with her, waving at John and pointing at her. She waved the hand with the knife then walked him off again.
John nudged Sam, pointing. "Did Xander just pick up the woman in here with us?"
Sam looked. "Does she have a knife?"
Dean nodded. "Yup, she's Xander's sort of woman." They paid for the jeans and went to save their friend. Sam came over to distract them wile Dean snuck up on her. She saw him though and turned to face him, which let John finish boxing her in. They got her disarmed and down. That's when John found the bomb. "Aw, shit," Dean said.
Xander looked then shook his head. "I don't know how to disarm those."
"We will be shopping," she ordered, getting free and standing up. "See, I have hours yet. We will be shopping so I can make someone else pretty for my funeral." She led Xander off, the three Winchesters following, Dean calling Tony to warn him. They waved off security.
Sammy jogged over. "He's a Federal agent. We're trying to keep her out of harm's way but she has about four hours left. We've told our people and they're calling someone. She's demanding they shop so she can make him pretty for her funeral."
"She just picked him up in a store. Xander attracts women like that, dude," he said, looking amused. "Really, he does. His last real girlfriend liked to torture unfaithful guys." That got a nod. "Get someone and we'll keep her contained. I work with the Slayers Council." He nodded, going to call that in and clear most of the mall. Sam went to help them pick out a new suit for Xander. He was complaining but yay. She finally kissed him to shut him up then figured out what he needed and bought it for him. Then she went to the jewelry store. He tried to pull away but she dragged him anyway. He couldn't resist too hard, she had a trigger switch and she'd set it off.
The jewelry store people gave her a fearful look but Sam waved them off. She picked out what she wanted and they boxed it up quickly. Sam nudged Xander, nodding at something up the mall. Xander looked and smiled then pointed at something. "Drinks are a good idea," he agreed. She sighed but walked them to one of the drink vendors. It was in the open, away from all the stores. Only near some greenery and some benches. Xander took his soda and moved away slightly. The boys went with him. SWAT pounced and she went down, her hands being held out to her sides so she couldn't set anything off.
The head guy stormed over. "What did you think you were doing?" he demanded.
"Giving into minor demands so she didn't set it off," Xander said. "She picked me up while the guys were making me buy new jeans."
The captain shook his head. "That's stupid. If you had called immediately...."
"She'd have set it off and people would be dead since we were in the middle of a shirt store. This way we kept track of her, it was a minor demand, it kept her complacent. All that good stuff. Sam told the security guard. Dean called my coworker at DCIS."
The captain stepped back. "You're with the freak squad?"
Xander glared. "I'm also with the Slayers Council. Want to see my ID?"
"No, that's fine." Tony came jogging over. "Yours?"
"My secondary senior agent. DiNozzo, senior agent at DCIS." He shook his hand. "Who is she?"
"Someone who picked me up while they were buying me jeans," Xander said dryly.
Tony looked at him for a second. "I know only evil women like you, Xander, but isn't that going a bit too far to prove that point? Danny is going to have to tell Jack about this."
"Jack'll say he has the same thing happen probably." He shrugged and sipped his soda. "I got her away from normal people and kept her calm and focused on not blowing anyone up. Good me."
"Fine," the Captain muttered, stomping off behind their prisoner.
"Does he need to do paperwork?" Tony called.
"No, we can. If we need more, we know where you guys are." He waved as he walked off. The news crew outside got into his face. "Move, people. She had a bomb, it's disarmed. Some agents shopping got flirted with by her so they kept her occupied until we could get here. End of statement."
"Which agency?" one of the reporters yelled.
One blinked. "The demon squad people?" The captain gave her a dirty look. "Was it one of the well-known ones, Captain? Harris or DiNozzo or their boss?"
"I saw both Harris and DiNozzo. There's a few out shopping today. It's a good day for it. Now, do you mind?" They backed off and he got into the lead car, shaking his head at the stupidity of some reporters. He hated reporters.
Xander looked at Tony. "She decided she was going to make me pretty for her funeral so I'm done. I have a suit." He grinned.
Tony stared for a minute then reached over to smack him extra hard on the head. "No, you're not and for trying that, you get to buy a second one, Xander." Xander sulked but Dean and Sam dragged him between them. Tony looked up at the skylight. "Why me?" he muttered.
Horatio patted him on the back. "Is his taste in women contagious? I'm worried Speed might have picked it up."
"Hopefully not. There's only so many evil women in the world," John said dryly. "Though she did pick up a nice black suit."
"Not good enough," Tony said, following the boys.
Dean looked back at the 'adults'. "At least the girls aren't with us. They would've torn her apart, taken her credit cards, and taken Xander shopping anyway."
"Tell me you aren't teaching them about credit cards?" Tony begged.
Dean snorted. "Hell no. They're good girls. They're staying good girls," John said firmly. "Also, they have money to hunt. We didn't."
"Good point," Tony agreed.
"Then again, Rona already knows how and so does Faith," Sam added.
"Charming," Tony said dryly. He shook his head as they walked into the suit shop. The men in there fawned over Xander, finding him two more like the first one. Tony had to admit, it looked comfortable. He helped Xander pick out the two colors he wanted from the choices then let him pay for it. He was not buying Xander clothes. He wasn't a girl. Especially not an evil girl. When another woman came up to them a bit later between stores all the guys sighed when Xander flirted. She smiled at them and they felt their minds start to go gooey but Xander got them out of sight and got the snake on the back of her neck, freeing them. Then Xander called Daniel. Daniel called the locals who came to bag her up. The snake in her neck was enough for them and they could ship the body back to the base. Xander skipped off once he filled out the incident report, going to find a place to hide from the shopping. Dean found him and dragged him back but he could try again later. After all, he had to have a potty break sometime. Right?
Daniel looked up as a police captain walked into his office with three of his agents and three Winchesters. "Matched set?" he asked dryly.
"Thanks to them we have found every single woman in our city who has some sort of evil thoughts. We've made seven arrests. We've sent you the one demon body with the snake on the neck." Danny gave him an odd look. "Should be here in an hour, Director. Do you think you can keep them from making more work for us? We like who they found but really! Seven in one day is too much."
"Not all my fault," Xander defended. "Dean drew two of them. John got one too. I only got three and Tony got the other."
"Their bags are in the cars. I had my men drive them. We didn't even think about checking any of the cars. Think they're done shopping for a bit?"
"They can be, yes, Captain. I'm sorry."
"No, they probably needed to shop," he said, undoing the cuffs. "Just keep it rare?" He left, going to drive his men back to their base so they could all relax.
"Seven?" Danny demanded, looking at them. "Horatio?"
"Not my fault," he said, holding up a hand. "I was along to help contain them. Only two had bombs."
"Bombs too." He nodded. "I want reports, gentlemen. Did it stop you from getting Xander a suit?"
"The evil women paid for most everything," John told him.
Daniel moaned, rubbing his forehead. "Reports, boys. All six of you. Now." They went to do that in the squad room while he went to the infirmary. "House, are you sure I'm not having a stroke?" he asked as he walked in.
"You're still not slurring. Any side related weakness?"
"No," he moaned. House handed him the bottle of tylenol. "Thank you. Is it on the news?"
House looked at him. "Is what on the news?"
"The seven bad girls they found at the mall. Two with bombs. The bad girls even paid for things for them."
House turned on the tv, watching the local news channel happily report on the good work of the local DCIS agents and the SWAT team in saving a local shopping mall many times that afternoon. "How in the hell?" he muttered.
"Xander draws evil women but only two had bombs." Horatio walked in and handed over his report then he left again. Daniel read it over and felt a hysterical laugh start to form. House took it to read, and started to laugh too. Chase came in a few minutes later from getting some tea and put them both to bed so he could go yell at Xander for whatever he had done this time. It was clearly his fault somehow.
to part 18