Demon Criminal Investigative Services: Giving of Thanks.
Buffy woke up one morning a few weeks after her birthday and moaned, holding her head. She either had the mother of all hangovers or her time was done. She put her head back down and closed her eyes again, taking a mental inventory of her body. Maybe she was hung over.
Willow leaned in. "Want some breakfast."
"Did I drink last night?"
"No wonder I feel like I have a hangover." She sat up again, looking at her best friend. "I feel like crud."
"You should. You were celebrating." She came in to give her a hug. "I'll put on water for tea and some toast."
"Thanks." She got up and went to take a shower, wincing because the water hurt. Then she went down to nibble until her stomach rebelled.
Willow watched her friend then went to talk to Morgana. That was the purpose of a white lighter, to guide her. "Morgana?" She looked up from her cross stitching. "Buffy's really worried about losing her gifts," she said quietly.
"It's a big change for her," she agreed calmly. "You wanted to do something like a calming potion?"
She sat down, looking at her. "I've been doing research. There might be a way to let the girls choose to keep it," she said quietly. Morgana hit her on the head. "Hey!"
"No. That is tampering."
"Even if it helps?"
"Even if it helps."
Willow sighed. "But it could help and a few of them don't want to give it up."
"What happens if it strips them all of it or if it activates the new potentials?" she countered. She sat and sulked. "Magic has consequences, Willow. Ones you must be aware of. This is one of your major problems. You don't think through all the consequences."
She stared at her. "What if I word it very carefully?"
"What if it still awakens the new potentials who are mere infants. Any power into the scythe would do so."
"Beyond that, we don't have the scythe," Buffy said from the doorway.
"I want to craft a spell so those who don't want to give it up don't have to," Willow told her.
Buffy considered it. "I don't know what I'd choose." She walked off thinking about that. "Hi, Giles." She gave him a hug.
"Are you all right?"
"I'm okay but Willow's talking to Morgana about doing a spell so those of us who don't want to give up being a slayer don't have to." She looked at him. "I don't know what I'd choose."
"You've stated numerous times you'd rather be a normal girl," he said gently.
She nodded. "I guess." She sighed, looking around then at him. "I don't know what I'm going to do?"
"You're going to take a few days off to explore who you are without your gifts then you're going to come back and help the slayers who still have theirs. After all, I do not run things very well if Xander can do them on me."
She gave him a dirty look. "Is that why he's still running all the admin stuff?" He rolled his eyes, going back into his office. She followed. "I don't know. I might not mind going to Rome."
"They're rather uptight over there and you'd have to have a different watcher since I'm here."
"But I can do without a watcher all the time," she pointed out. "The girl over there sounds like she could use someone who can tell others to bite them." He smiled slightly but nodded. "I don't know." She sat down. "I mean, what am I going to do for a career? I know I'm going to work for the Council but doing what? I don't have any skills but years as a slayer. No business classes or anything that could help."
"You can take those," he pointed out. "Xander did set up the college fund."
"Good point I guess but I hate doing those classes."
He smiled. "You can provide invaluable help in the support department. Especially with the future girls. Your experiences as the last single slayer can help them greatly when we're down to a single one again."
"Will we be?"
He nodded. "When the last of the mass age out we should only have one."
"Then what happens to the European houses?"
"We train the potentials who want to train with us there. They and their watchers can handle anything there. That part of the old system I do agree with; it handled a great many situations that a single girl couldn't. With the potentials being where they are, it'll be easy enough to move them to the new houses for training."
"We think by then DCIS won't like us anymore?"
"I think by then we might have a new director," he offered. "The next presidential election is in two years. Who says the next person will want Doctor Jackson there?"
"No one else seems to watch the job."
"That is a good point," he said with a smile. "Plan on taking a trip to a spa, Buffy. Spend a week spoiling yourself then come back refreshed and able to start over again."
She nodded. "I guess." She stood up. "Thanks, Giles."
"You're welcome. You know you can talk to me about this. Or, um, or Faith said there's a good psychologist on the base who's dealt with combat issues and having to calm down after combat before. It will be a similar situation for you."
She nodded. "I might do that. Is there any way to tell when I'll age out?"
"No. The slayer spirit enters each of you within three days to six months after your birth. When it finds you. It could be at any time."
"That makes planning a vacation a problem," she said.
He nodded. "It can." He smiled. "Joyce would be quite proud of you."
"Thanks. I needed to hear that." She went out back to think. It was a pretty day for late November. "Talk about Global Warming, it's nearly fifty," she said, looking around. "Didn't Xander say they have snow?"
Willow looked at the demon that settled next to her. "Hey."
"What makes you think any of us want to help you do anything, Rosenburg?"
"I'm not being selfish? I'm trying to be better?" She turned to look at her. "Some of the girls want to stay slayers because it defines who they are. They don't have much of an identity past that. Like hunters who become hunter whoever instead of whatever their name is and that's their profession."
She considered it. "I'll ask D'Hoffryn."
"Thank you. I saw the scythe at the base. I don't want to activate the potentials. I don't want to do it for the older girls who already aged out. I don't want to make them do it, just to give them some sort of a choice. Girls like Buffy might not have much afterward and it sucks if she gets depressed."
"At least it's not selfish this time. We did like the actor switch. It was nice a unicorn went with them." Willow moaned. "I'll ask." She walked off and disappeared once she was outside. She found her boss. "D'Hoffryn, I need advice."
"Why? Is their broken dream that bad?"
"It was Rosenburg." He sneered. "She wants to make a wish to let the slayers aging out choose to stay a slayer or not. That girls like Buffy have wrapped up their identity in it and having them being depressed is bad."
He considered it. "It's unselfish for a change."
She nodded. "It could get us a lot of points with the chaos people. She said she doesn't want to activate all the new potentials."
"That's good of her but I'm not sure the scythe would let it happen."
"She said she saw the scythe on the base."
He sighed. "Do the others know?"
"Probably not. She met me at a bar. I think her white lighter knows that she was thinking about it but I'd have to view back during the day to see." She looked at him. "What do you want me to do?"
"It's a powerful wish. It would take warping the original calling spell on the scythe."
She grimaced. "That's dangerous."
"Yes, it is. You'd have to give it to those who are already past the proper age."
She nodded. "Which she didn't want to do."
He sighed, looking at her. "Let me talk to someone higher." She nodded and left him to think on it. He went to find one of the Old Ones. One of the ones hiding in case they were arrested for the invasion in LA. "Great One, one of my people came to me with a quandary caused by a desired wish."
"What of it?" he asked with a hand wave before eating the grape in his fingers.
"A witch who is a friend of a slayer wishes to change the calling spell to give the girls aging out the choice to stay slayers." The Old One choked at that. "Some may want the choice. Some don't. We do know that much. We know where the scythe presently is."
He stared at him. "What of those who are newly born?"
"We have no desire to activate more potentials. Just give a choice to the ones who are aging out. "
"That would warp the calling spell," he said. "It could change history."
"If we could manifest the spell so it only happened in the present?"
He considered it. "The chaos people would give much to have it done."
"That is a consideration. It would also lead to those like Buffy staying."
"Ah, Rosenburg asked. It's unselfish, it's a nice change from her." He ate a nut and considered it. "How many other slayers would want it?"
"I do not know. The other senior girl, Faith, may."
He considered it then nodded. "It has merit but it is dangerous and could get us hunted."
"Greatly. Harris is involved with DCIS." The higher one waved a hand. "The Great Knight is not one to be messed with. I learned that when he warped one of my girls after over a thousand years as a demon. He did it in under two years time."
The Great One looked at him. "He did?"
"He dated and warped Anyanka when I fired her because she was rendered human. When I let her come back, she had compassion and could not grant wishes that she wouldn't take back. She gave her life blocking a blow from hitting him."
"That boy is dangerous."
"He is wanted by many of the Greatest Ones. It's said Asmodous himself wants him."
"He's a latent seer that is newly broken open. The Powers do not watch him and think him useless, even after all he has done. He's a medium. The slayer essence likes him."
The demon ate another nut then nodded. "I can see why they would want him."
"It's said he will go after any demon that hurts a slayer on purpose to stop her from doing her job. The current group do distinguish between those who do harm and those that simply are. He is behind the methodology DCIS shows when they work cases."
"Interesting." He ate another grape then waved a hand. "It would be amusing to see it done. Soon enough she'll be too old to be a good slayer. Age and injury comes to them faster when they're older."
He nodded. "Then I shall. Thank you for your advice."
"I want to hear more if we run into that knight."
"Of course." He left, going to look at the scythe. "This is not the one for here."
"That one's still in lockup in LA," John said from behind him, cocking the shotgun he had been cleaning. "Who are you?"
He looked at him. "D'Hoffryn. Advice was sought about a wish."
John glared. "Why?"
"To give those aging out the choice to be free of their death sentences or not."
"No, it's not allowed. The girls deserve a life."
"It would let them choose the manner of their life."
"They can still hunt even without their powers if they want to. We do."
He considered it. "That is true." He touched the scythe. "The power of this one is different. The slayers on that world are all dead." He disappeared, going to look at their scythe. It was in a demon proof vault. He had no idea why. It was listed as 'to be handed over to DCIS' but hadn't been yet. He checked on the slayer asked about. She'd be losing her powers in a day. He went to consider it and how to do so. The mortal had a point.
John grabbed the phone. "Wesley, I need you in the armory with Xander ASAP." He hung up and called Daniel. Then he called Giles when people started to pile in. No answer in Cleveland. "I was cleaning the shotguns when a demon came in. D'Hoffryn?"
"Over wish demons," Xander said. "And?"
"Someone's trying to make a wish so the girls could choose to stay slayers or not when they age out."
Xander nodded slowly. "Go have her white lighter lock her up?" Wesley went to get Dawn up so he could get there fast enough. He looked at the scythe. "The one for this realm is in LA's evidence locker." He ran a hand over that one. "This one is one from the other realm. The first one that we didn't stop the invasion during. I saved it after the explosion took out Buffy." He took it down and looked it over more closely then at Daniel. "I have no idea how to stop this."
"We stop her. Have the scythe taken off world for a few days."
Xander nodded, going to talk to Dawn. "I know you're tired." She smiled but shrugged. "Can you get me to Sheppard or McKay?"
"I can. I'd have to hold it open. I can't close it."
"It won't take that long." She nodded, opening one for him. He stepped through and waved a hand at the guns pointed at him. "DCIS business and it's critical. I need McKay or Sheppard. Carter if they're not here and I need them now."
"Wish demons and witches. It's going to warp things." McKay jogged in. "Thank God." He pulled him closer, holding up the scythe. "This is not the one from our realm. It is the thing that calls slayers. Someone cast a wish that will end up warping the whole slayer line. We need it safe but reachable in case of emergency and we need it away from Earth. I don't think any wish demons can get up here." He got a confused look. "The wish was to activate slayers over the age of aging out if they wanted," he said quietly. "That could mean thousands of slayers activated." McKay shuddered. "Exactly and this isn't fully the one they need. It'll probably do if they try it. That's why I need it guarded and safe. Not destroyed but safe."
"I can keep it safe."
"Xander," Dawn called.
"Coming." He looked at him. "Don't take it off plane. Don't take it anywhere. Keep it totally safe for at least the next month. Check before you pop down next time." He smiled then left, letting the portal close. He gave Dawn a hug. "Thank you."
"Welcome." She yawned, heading back to bed.
Xander sat down, staring at John when he came in. "McKay has it."
"That's not a bad plan," he agreed. "I know that one came with you. Where's ours?"
"LA evidence locker. They were supposed to turn it over recently but haven't gotten around to it yet."
He sighed, sitting beside him. "It's not a bad choice."
"How many will panic and make it?" he asked.
"Good point. I pointed out they could still hunt as hunters if they chose." Xander nodded, resting against his shoulder. "We'll stop it, Xander. It's a bad idea." Xander looked at him. "We will."
"I shouldn't have brought it back."
"It saved you and it brought Brenda to the duty in that one world. She was really happy you thought she was good enough."
"She's a great slayer, John. And a good Winchester." John smiled at that, patting him on the back. "Buffy wants to be normal half the time when it gets really hard, but then she wants to slay other times."
"We hopefully stopped him, Xander. Go to bed and angst there." Xander nodded, getting up and heading back to bed. John went to check the armory again then went to his own bed. Five came awfully early if you didn't get to bed until two.
Sam woke up panting, holding his head. "No, not now." He sat up slowly. "Dean!" He came walking in. "Vision."
"Why?" He helped him steady himself sitting upright. "What's going on?"
He looked at him. A blue demon with small horns. "A scythe. A wish. More slayers."
"Crap." He called his father's phone. No answer so he went to see him. "Dad?" he called before walking in.
"It's four, Dean. What?" he mumbled.
"Sammy had a vision." John moaned but sat up, looking at him. "A wish, the scythe, a blue demon with small horns? A lot more slayers being called."
"We hope we canceled it out. The scythe is with McKay."
Dean nodded. "Aren't they near that temple of Xander's?"
"Something like that but not connected directly."
"Oh. Okay, so we're on alert if it happens?"
John nodded. "Basically. It'd give the girls aging out a choice to become slayers or not. D'Hoffryn, the blue demon, showed up earlier to look at the scythe. The original is in LA lockup."
"We don't know what'll happen."
"We'll watch for it. What about the vision?"
"I don't know. It may have been too late. We'll have to see." Dean nodded, heading back to tell Sam while John went back to bed. He was going to be grumpy the next morning. Very grumpy.
Daniel looked at the president the next morning. "Sir, there may be a situation coming but I'm not sure."
"What sort of situation? Should I call in military leaders for an apocalypse discussion?"
"Someone trying to spare a slayer about to age out is trying to get the rules changed. She's a witch and she went to a higher power to see if they could find a way to give the older girls a choice of aging out."
"That's going to be a problem?"
"Sam Winchester had a vision that said it would potentially activate any slayer that could have been called."
"So we could have hundreds of slayers suddenly." Daniel nodded. "All over the world?"
"All over the aging out age," he agreed. "With that many there's no telling what'll happen." He stretched and yawned. "We aren't sure it will, sir, but if so someone needs to be aware it could happen."
"Can we stop this witch?"
"Someone went to. We're not sure if we were in time."
"How do wish demons work? Do they have a higher power you could ask?"
"He was the one that came to check on the scythe that's linked to the slayers. It's with McKay at the moment thanks to Xander and Dawn."
"Still, it might not be enough?" Daniel shook his head. "Shit."
"Basically. We don't know if any will take it. I would think some would. I have absolutely no idea how this is going to impact things but I'm guessing at least some became agents or officers."
"Which could impact national security. Good to know. Thank you for the head's up. If any do, what do they do?"
"Come to the base to get trained."
He nodded. "That's reasonable. Good luck."
"Thank you, sir." He hung up and went to get some coffee. "Sam." Sam looked up. "Did you see younger ones called?"
"I saw young women but no. Some older ones as well."
"Okay. For right now, we'll be on alert. Almost everyone knows that you come here to train slayers." They nodded. "Can you handle an influx?"
"Not without housing," Xander told him. "Cleveland either."
"Then we'll handle it. Did you warn Angel and them?"
"No," Xander said. "I'm waiting to see if Dawn can tell a potential before they're born for Crissy. She's seriously worried."
Wesley shook his head. "The slayer essence doesn't enter the child until after birth. If it has the proper birthmark it's possible. We can test for it at six months."
"Good. We can do that then. It might calm her down." He called her. "Crissy, Xander. I have an answer on that question. I asked Wes. He said even if the baby's got the birthmark the essence won't enter the baby until after she's born. The three days to six month thing, yeah. Wes said we'll test her at six months." He smiled. "Good girl. Can you have Gunn or Fred call me in a little while? Tell them there's a possible wish related issue coming. An unselfish one but it'll create hell and havoc possibly. Thanks." He hung up and looked at them then at Daniel. "Are we doing a big dinner on the holiday?"
"I hope so." He smiled, going to talk to the cook. "We are doing a huge dinner on Thanksgiving?"
She smiled. "I was going to ask you that."
"If I can." She pinched him on the cheek. "Go eat, Daniel." He smiled but went to do as ordered. She got back to her list of what she'd need. With the way the slayers ate it'd be good to get extra. Especially the pies.
Gunn went to wake Angel up a few hours later. "Got a head's up from Xander." Angel moaned, flipping onto his back to look at him. "Willow tried to make a wish to let the girls choose to stay slayers when they age out. Sam had a vision so we're not sure if they prevented it or not."
"Hell," he muttered.
"Basically. There's how many that aged out without being called?"
Angel gave him a dirty look. "Hundreds, if not thousands."
"I feel really sorry for them. Is Crissy okay?"
"Xander got her calmed down but we'll have to see. She's worried she's having a future slayer."
"I don't know. There's only been three slayers or potentials who've had kids that I know of. Two died of it and one was Robin Woods' mother in New York. She died not long afterward thanks to Spike. Have Fred or Wesley look at the tracking they did."
"English said they didn't track the girls after they aged out."
"Figures." He pulled the sheets up again. "If it does, we'll deal with it."
"Sure. Just a head's up." He left, going to tell Fred to see if she could find anything. This could be really bad or really good for the world. He wasn't sure which yet.
D'Hoffryn found the scythe again. "That's an interesting place for it." He found what he needed to allow him to travel up there. They had gone to a demon plane. It had created an energy connection he could use to locate their base. Once there the powers of Atlantis itself nurtured him and kept him safe while he looked for it. He found it in a locked case inside a machine. It was being tested for energy signatures. He smiled. "Foolish mortals. That was created by the Old Ones so they would have a weapon to remove their rivals." He reached through the energy barrier and felt the spell take hold. He was in time for that one to make her choice.
Then he felt it warp.
This wasn't their scythe and the scythe called slayers that weren't what he expected. He felt it grab into the slayer essence on the planet and merge into it to warp it toward what its original world had. He felt more slayers being called. It had offered it to the older ones, as he had thought it might. It also warped how the girls were called to duty as they aged. He groaned. The Great Knight was going to kill all his people for this. He retraced his steps, heading to hide. It was the only thing he could do to save himself and his wish demons.
Dawn shrieked awake with a vision, screaming and crying, holding her head. Faith rushed in, John behind her, trying to get her calmed down. "No!" She reached out with her powers, tapping into the Key's energy to fix it. She would not have babies called as slayers. The scythe on this planet came to her and she fixed it. What she could. She couldn't stop it totally. They would be called but not until the minimum calling age she put in. She panted, looking at them. "D'Hoffryn fucked up."
John flinched at that. "How fucked up, Dawn?"
"He gave the choice to all the slayers. No matter the age." She panted, looking over as Leo appeared. "I had to fix it."
"I know. We agree. You did good. Let's go talk to the Council, see if they can help." She grabbed her robe and slippers, heading with him.
John rushed over to his son's apartment. Sammy wasn't having a vision. Xander was. He went in to get details from him. "Xander!" He shook the boy until he came out. The boy gave him a helpless look. "We heard D'Hoffryn botched it."
"So badly," he whispered. "It activated them all briefly to let them have the choice. Most decided they were serving people better this way. They turned it down. All but about three hundred." John winced. "The oldest is a grandmother," he said, sounding a bit hysterical. "Then he goofed and it called the babies but Dawnie fixed that so they'll be called when they're fifteen, no matter what." He gripped John's wrist. "We have to locate them before they're attacked."
"I'll call, Xander." He nodded. "C'mon. You can sleep on the couch."
"No, I can't," he said, looking miserable. "They so screwed things. The Powers are going to react and we'll have a major, First Evil or invasion level apocalypse for this!"
"Shh, we'll handle it. It's what we do." Xander nodded and went with him.
"Xander, chronicle it," Wesley yelled from his office. "Half of all the seers we have on record got hit."
"Sam didn't," John offered. "Why did Dawn?"
"She was needed to fix it," Wesley said grimly. "The essence of the First Slayer liked Xander."
"She liked me so she ripped out my heart?" Xander asked.
"She thought you strange and odd, a thing she wished she had when she served." Xander looked at him. "We talked after the calling in Sunnydale. For some reason it went through me. I can only imagine it was where I had a twin sister once but she died when we were two of a fever. She was probably a potential. Samuel not getting it I don't understand."
"We'll see. Write it down, Xander." He nodded, logging onto the system to do that.
John found Thomas the next morning. "We have critical accounts of what happened last night to change the slayer's calling."
The librarian looked at him. "How critical?"
"Someone made a wish that slayers aging out be given a choice." Thomas blindly sat down, staring at him. "It also gave the choice to those who were past the age limit. It initially activated them all and gave them the choice. It gave it to the youngest ones as well but she fixed it. The only way she could was to set it so they'd be called to service anyway." He handed over the printout. "Xander had it in a vision. Dawn's vision is on there as well. She wrote hers after getting back from the Elders Council."
"The Powers?" he asked quietly.
"Didn't respond yet," he admitted. "I don't know why. This could be a move that brings some balance back by drawing a worse evil. We could be looking at another apocalypse on top of the original one."
Thomas read it over then looked at him. "We're certain?"
"Who cast the wish?"
"Guess. She did it so Buffy wouldn't be destroyed when it left her."
He groaned. "The Elders have her?"
"Locked in a crystal."
"Good!" He stood up, starting to pace. "What do Wesley and Giles want done?"
"That's a copy for the archives," John said. "Wesley and Giles are working on a location spell to find them all and let them know to come here."
"Oh, dear lord," he muttered.
"Yeah." He smirked. "Sammy didn't have a vision. Dawn and Xander did."
"They see for different reasons."
"Good point. We're having a meeting in about two hours. Do whatever you need to for the archive."
"I can do that." He went to make note in the proper format for it. It was not a good thing. Probably. Having hundreds of slayers could only make things worse.
Giles came through the portal, letting it close behind him. "We've gotten thirty calls so far," Giles said, sitting down in the free chair left for him. "How many here?"
"Xander got a count in his vision. He thinks we'll have at least a hundred-fifty more slayers called. He's worried about the younger ones who will be called, no matter what now. It was the only way Dawn could fix it. Or else we'd have a lot of toddler slayers."
Giles nodded. "That's reasonable. Thankfully she managed to unscrew it some." He looked at Wesley when he came in. "How are we handling things? And have the Powers reacted?"
"Angel went to talk to the Oracles. They said the balance was now preserved."
"So that means we either have a worse evil coming that'll try to kill the girls again or we'll have a worse fight than the invasion," John said.
"Or some of the girls will go bad," Wesley told him. "The Elders are going to recast it in a week to let them choose to keep it or not. Leo thinks a lot of them won't want to keep it now that they understand. How did they get to it where it is?"
"I asked Fred, out in LA. She got with Abby, who got with McKay, and they said he came through the gateway following the connection once made to the plane where Xander has his temple. They were doing energy flux studies on it and recorded the spell going off. Fred said it not being our version of the scythe meant that it was able to be warped or else it'd be set in stone."
"It's not ours?" Giles asked.
"The one native to this plane is still in the evidence locker in LA," Wesley told him. "That one was the one that Xander picked up after the explosion in one of the wish universes Willow created."
"That shift in it allowed us to fix it slightly. Tony got the original released to Leo so the white lighters could work on it. How is Morgana doing?"
"She went to a wish demon at a bar. Morgana told her why she couldn't do it. Morgana's presently sobbing in my office with Buffy."
"Did Buffy choose to keep it?"
Giles nodded. "For now. If she's given a second choice we're not sure. They're using ours to fix it?" John nodded. "Why did Xander bring that one back?"
"He was using it to defeat the evil things that were coming after him in the wish verses," John told him. "In one he used it to activate a new slayer so she could fight the invasion." Giles shuddered. "Exactly. This is not Xander's fault."
"He did bring it back," Giles said patiently.
"Willow cast the wish," Wesley said firmly, staring at him. "It's not Xander's fault he won that game in Las Vegas. That was an attempted punishment by the Powers. They were planning on having him killed during it according to the Oracles." Giles shuddered. "All that was started into play by the Powers trying to fight against Xander helping the girls because they didn't want to pay attention to him. Called him not worth watching I do believe. Look where that got them since he's the one that made sure their plays actually worked."
"Calm down, Wesley. There's no way anyone can blame this on Xander. He got the scythe off world to try to keep the demons off it." He rubbed his face with his hands. "Beyond that, it wasn't hurting anything until Willow cast the wish. None of the girls were bothered by it. Brenda had been training to use it so she could train future girls to use it. It did nothing to her."
Giles nodded. "I realize that this is Willow's fault, Wesley, but it is not all hers. Xander could have not brought it back."
"Considering he came out with injuries from the first wish verse that are still healing?" John asked. "He was trying to protect his life, Giles." Giles went pale. "They were all for killing him in it. It's not Xander's fault. It's Willow's fault. Maybe it's the Powers' fault for thinking this would keep their precious balance. I don't know. I don't care. It's still not Xander's fault for picking up the scythe after Buffy was blown up in that world so he could help stop the demon invasion. It got bad enough that they had to use a resistance against the demons. It took them over a year to close the portal." Giles shuddered and went more pale. "Xander did what he had to do to survive and save lives. End of story. It was in his pack when he got back. The last one could've taken it since it had him captured and bought him. The demon who had him captive had him for over six years." Giles got up to pace at that thought. "Leave Xander alone. He's not the whipping boy of the ISC."
"He's not," Wesley agreed, patting him on the hand. "Has Sam had any visions?"
"Two. Two of the ones called are in jail and in danger. Daniel's not sure what we can do about it. He did tell the president. He warned him when Sam had the first vision."
"He had one?" Giles asked. John nodded. "Did you record it?"
"We sent you a copy of it," Wesley told him. "I faxed it over personally, Rupert."
Dean leaned in. "There's a laughing chaos God somewhere, guys. Let's calm down and not give him any more ammunition?"
"In a week the white lighters and their council are going to try to fix it," John said.
"Good! That'll be nice!" He shrugged. "So? We still have a few grannies who are now slayers." He withdrew, going back to the phones. McGee had set up a network of phones for DCIS to take calls from the new slayers. They had recorded over two hundred so far. "Some of them will fade in a week," he announced. The people answering smiled at that. "Giles was trying to blame Xander." He sat down at an empty seat and answered the phone. "DCIS, slayer's desk." He took down her information. "Of course we will. It'll be about a week. We know that the reason you were given a choice may ask it of you again in a week." He smiled.
"Exactly. We will. Of course, ma'am." He smiled and took down that note as well. "We can handle it. Stake in the heart, yes. They are faster so if there's a hunter near there you might want to ask them instead. Sure. That's a good idea and there's one near there. It's called the Roadhouse. Call them up and tell them that there's vamps in your town and that you took the choice to be a slayer but you've only been called for a few hours. That you could use some help. I'll let them know. Sure." He pulled out his cellphone to make that call. "You be safe, ma'am." He hung up and switched to his cell. "Jo, get Ellen on the phone. Now, Jo. It's important." She got her mother.
"Jo, Dean Winchester. Something happened last night and a lot of slayers were given the choice to take the powers or not. You'll be getting some calls from some of the newbies who have demon sensing skills. Exactly. I just talked to one that has at least seven vamps near her. I told her to call you guys so you can send a hunter her way. She's forty-eight and on crutches, Ellen. She's not trained. She never was trained." He nodded. "That's what I was hoping you'd say. Thanks, Ellen. Fielding these. If you hear from any, the thing that did it will let them choose again in a week. If not, we'll be setting up ways for them to get trained. Yeah, later." He hung up. "Ellen's swearing," he told Sam.
"Not like I don't want to," Sam quipped back. He got the next call and took down her information. "What about the potentials?" he asked when both of them were off the calls again.
"Fifteen or sixteen," Dean said, looking at him. "It was all Dawn could do to unwarp it."
"At least it was unwarped slightly. Any potential paybacks?"
"D'Hoffryn did it himself. McKay's probably swearing since he had the scythe up there for safe keeping. Angel said the Powers were pleased that the balance would be preserved."
Sam looked at him. "I'll be open for new apocalypses coming up."
"Me too." They shared a look, then answered the next call.
Giles made the last call of the girls they knew about after the second choice. "We're down to another fifty new that we know of."
"Dawn did a locating spell. We have seventy-eight all over the world." She gave him a hug and he frowned. "I... I decided I'd try to be normal. It might be okay," she said quietly. He smiled, patting her on the back. "What are we doing about the potentials?"
"You and one of the other older girls will be going out with a watcher to find them and talk to their parents. Wesley and Xander have been working on what to tell them." She nodded at that. "They figured we'd start when they're about eight. That way they could have a slightly normal childhood."
"We got a few calls from parents," Dawn said as she bounced down the stairs and into the office. "They saw their daughters blink into super strength mode for a minute and wondered. Those Wesley talked to and they've got what to tell the girls and their parents, plus suggestions on basic training they can go through before they move up to our training. Self defense classes, those things." Buffy smiled. "That leaves a lot for you to talk to." She gave her a hug, smiling at the weaker hug. "Azara said she eats a lot less now," she teased. "The kids eat more than her now."
"I didn't eat as big of a breakfast," Buffy admitted. "I got full after only three eggs." She shrugged. "I'll still have to work out to keep my figure I guess."
"Yup. You will," Dawn teased. "Dean can show you how."
"I'm sure he can but Faith might get jealous," she said with a smirk.
"Well, yeah, but I wasn't talking in that way. John and the guys still do daily PT. So do the girls that were on retrieval before."
She shook her head. "Whole lots of work."
"Yes but they still hunt," Dawn reminded her, getting a smile. "You can too if you want to, you just have to be more careful."
"I can do that." She gave her a hug and frowned. "Giles, my strength's coming back. I don't know why."
Dawn looked up. "I think the Powers want it this way for some reason." Buffy glowed then faded again. "Huh." She pointed at a wall and Buffy punched it, sighing when it dented. "Yup, you're back."
"No clue. Ask Angel to take you to the Oracles."
"I could do that. Can you?"
"I'm wiped. It'll be hours."
She checked the clock. "It's only two on the east coast so he's probably still in bed. How's Crissy doing?"
"I haven't talked to her in days." They went to call her to check on her. She needed more support right now with the baby coming in a few months.
Giles said a silent prayer for his sanity. Morgana appeared. "Buffy's powers returned?"
"The Powers decided she had to stay. I do not know why but they did remove the powers from anyone who was unfit for battle. I have the feeling that spring apocalypse isn't going to go as planned."
"Maybe the aliens won't show."
She giggled. "Aliens?" He let her see the copy of it he had been working on. "Oh, dear." She went to tell the Elders. This was not good! Giles got back to work, Buffy would come see him in a bit to feel better.
"Don't you dare go have a yell at them," John ordered. Xander slumped, scowling. "No matter how much you might like to, maybe they had a reason."
"They're having fun with their chess game."
"Have we looked for a new apocalypse yet? We might need more girls or even older ones," Dean offered.
Xander nodded. "I've been looking. There's nothing in the books. Thomas can't find anything. Sam can't find anything online. I've put word out that we're looking for visions dealing with the new slayers. Nothing so far. All Angel got from the Oracles was 'the Powers said so' and 'they have their reasons that are beyond what mortals can comprehend'." He looked back at Dean. "Sam Carter got chosen."
"I'm sure Jack's throwing a fit," Dean said dryly.
"Let's hope it's not NID or someone opening something," John said.
Sam looked over. "They've tried in the past." He went back to his searching. "I'm still not finding anything other than general discontent with the current system, guys. This spring we'll have some minor rioting maybe. I don't know." He finally put down his laptop, looking at his family. Brenda was down there hugging John. "We'll figure it out."
Xander nodded. "We hope."
"We know," John corrected. "We always figure it out. Even if it is the day of the fight, we figure it out."
Xander nodded. "Good point." He looked at Brenda. "The spare scythe goes to you." She beamed at that. "John and I made a practice scythe for you to train with. You and Faith are sharing this one because some year you'll need to train another girl in how to use it."
"Yes, Xander. Thank you." She reached around John to give him a hug then gave John one. "Thank you, John."
"You're welcome, Brenda. We can make more for the other girls," he offered.
"They might try to do something to them," Xander told him. "Or it could confuse things if we need the scythe for a later episode." He rubbed his forehead. "We might make scythe-like weapons for the girls but make them distinguishable."
"We can do that," John agreed. Brenda squealed and hugged him. He smiled. "It's good for you girls to have a new weapon."
"I can help with that," Dean agreed. "Xander, this formal date thing?"
Xander grinned back at him. "Every woman deserves it once in her life. You can either take her somewhere really nice and classy or take her for a burger and make out in the car beforehand, depending on what you two decide."
Dean nodded. "That might work for her. Still, formal stuff?"
"She looks hot," Xander told him. "Drool worthy hot. I don't want her and she made me drool hot." Dean grinned at that. "Besides, every woman deserves the right to dress up in an expensive, spectacular dress once in her life."
"Fine. I'll pick somewhere she'll like."
"It's in May. You have time to choose," Sam reminded him.
Xander nodded. "And the apocalypse is in June. So none of the girls have to worry about it like Buffy did with the hellhounds attacking the formal gear." All the Winchesters and Brenda gave him an odd look. "Some guy in Sunnydale was breeding them and trained them to attack formal wear by making them watch Carrie and things. Buffy was late to the prom because she was snapping their necks and dragging them off. Then she had to change in the bathroom. Thankfully she had a pretty simple slip style dress and could do her own hair." Dean moaned, shaking his head. "We don't have that here."
"No, we don't," he agreed. "Thankfully."
"You guys lived insane lives," Brenda said, looking awed. Xander nodded, cracking John up. "Did she do homecoming?"
"She did. She and Cordy got kidnaped by demons even. They had to quit snarking at each other to work together for a while. That was right after the invisible girl."
John shook all over, getting up to wander off so he could find a way to take that out of his head. That was just...wrong on many levels. Wesley gave him a look. "Invisible girls?"
"Yes, from what Rupert said she was picked up by the government to work for them." He found a book on his shelf and handed it to John. "His first Watcher diary. It covers up to graduation."
John settled in to read it. It couldn't have been that insane, right?
Six hours later he went to hug Xander and wanted to throttle Giles more than usual. He had been wrong, it had been worse.
Xander grinned at his back. "What did you read?"
"Demons, bomb in the basement." He looked at the boy. "You're mostly normal. I'm proud, Xander."
Xander grinned. "Thanks, John." He went back to his reading. "Should've seen it after graduation and my road trip. When the Initiative got there." John moaned, going to take something for his headache. That was a worse thought.
Dean looked over. "What did you do, dude?"
Xander shrugged. "I don't know what hit him that badly. It was the problem of the week for us."
Dean shook his head. "You guys were insane." Wesley handed him the journal too. Dean settled in to read it, getting sucked into the history of the original group. At the end he hugged Xander too. Because yeah, the guy was more insane than they thought. Then Dean went to bed. He could handle things later on.
John looked at his new recruit class. "Welcome to slayer training 101. We're going to start by sorting you into people who have some sort of self-defense training and weapons training and those who have nothing. Then we'll test you to see where you fall. If you beat me, you move to Dean's class. If you beat Dean, you move to the final training with Faith and Dean, and if you beat Faith you're considered patrol ready as soon as you have practice with slayer weapons and staking." They all nodded.
"Left side for those who have no training in self defense." They sorted themselves out and he picked the first one to test. Sam Carter did good. She had good hand to hand. She got passed to Dean, who was sneakier. She had moves he didn't but she couldn't get past Faith so she got the final lessons. Most of the women with some training passed him. The ones that didn't he could work on. Dean took his group off to the side to work on common slayer tactics. Faith worked on specific slayer skills: staking, stabbing, avoiding claws. Those important things.
They moved them onto weapons where Xander stepped into the training. "Ladies," he called. "I know you're all tired. We're going to do lunch, then we're going to come back and do weapons work. You will be expected to learn how to use a gun, crossbow, sword of some sort, and a stake. Faith will teach you how to stake. One of us or the Winchesters will teach you gun work. John and I teach crossbow and I teach sword work with Wesley if you need the more fancy footwork styles. Then we'll take you back to the building we rented in town for you older ladies." They nodded. "Good. Lunch is in the caf, which is up the hall to the right." He pointed and they walked that way. He walked in and found House grilling a few. "This is Doctor House. I know all slayers feel they don't need to baby injuries. Tough shit," he announced firmly. "If you're injured, you see a doc. Even me." He sat down to eat.
"Slayers eat a lot because you burn it off," House said. "The girls routinely eat more than the agents by about three times. Dig in, eat all you need to. Any sprains, bruises, or other injuries I'll see before weapons work." They nodded so he limped off. He came back. "Anyone who needs inoculations for foreign travel let us know. Also, if you have any health concerns or allergies." He left again. Six came in after lunch to get an antacid and have a few bruises looked at then they went to learn their primary weapons. House sent Chase to watch over them for severe injuries once they moved to bladed weapons. That was a recipe for disaster.
Xander flopped down in Daniel's office that night. "Some aren't so bad. Sam's good. Brenda's helping John's basic class a lot. Sam's only got a few lessons before she's fully patrol capable."
"She'll be needed back in her duties within a few weeks."
"She'll make it," he promised. That got a smile. "Is McKay throwing a fit?"
"Still. He wants to know how to make the gates demon proof."
"Ask Sam. That's a science thing. Sammy and Abby should be able to figure out something. Or ask Dean."
"Still feel compelled to go build stuff?"
"Yes and it's almost an itch but I won't have the energy to do cases in the morning and then training in the afternoon. Gods, Danny, we had two that nearly shot themselves with the crossbow and one that did stab herself in the leg."
Daniel smiled. "It's like that training any group, Xander."
"Maybe but I feel like Robin in _Men in Tights_ more than I do the slayer's trainer." He stood up with a moan. "I'm so sore. I'm going to soak."
"Have fun. Be safe."
"I'm trying. Only one nearly tripped and stabbed me."
"They'll get there, Xander. You got the younger girls able to defend themselves."
"You still did a lot of the early work yourself."
"True. Thanks for the pep talk. Tell Jack Willow's still sorry."
"I will." He watched his agent and friend walk off then called Sam in. She peeked around the corner of the door. "I'm calling Jack."
She smiled. "It's fun watching them go through what I did years ago. One nearly stabbed me earlier."
"Xander said the same thing." He dialed. "Jack. Sam's been given high praise. She's nearly fully trained. Xander said you'll have her back in a few weeks, once she learns how to stake and use a crossbow."
"That's good news." Sam leaned in and waved. He waved back. "Having fun?"
"I'm doing a lot of helping. There's forty-six of us here right now and another group coming in a few weeks. Some of the women need training back at the 'this is how you duck a blow' level but most are doing okay, sir."
"Good to know. Why are you still up?"
"I'm helping Abby in the lab. We're going over how to demon proof the gates before they want McKay too."
"Sheppard went back to where the temple is and they said they wanted him to be their mentor and overlord because he could make them stronger. Sheppard could help by guarding him and running defense training."
She giggled. "McKay on a power trip. That's such a bad image, sir."
"Very. Sheppard agreed too." They shared a look then she burst out laughing. "Anyway, how long?"
"Probably a few weeks. The other two who're military here may be sent to us too. I'm not sure who wanted to do that."
"We had one of the generals call and ask if that would be better. I told him to put them somewhere there was known activity and we'd help correlate. Unless they wanted to move over. One may, one might not."
"They both need more work. They couldn't pass John's test so they're back in basics of self-defense. It's going to be a while."
Daniel nodded. "Figures," Jack agreed. "They only got it in Basic Training?" She nodded. "Then that's fine. It can help save their lives and special training shouldn't hopefully take more than a few months."
"Probably six," she said. "John does the basics and the basics of hunting. Dean does the more advanced hunting techniques, more slippery moves, the more underhanded moves and throws in some martial arts depending on the slayer. Faith does 'this is how you do it as a slayer' classes that include how to fight and stake at the same time, how to use the accelerated speed and strength to your advantage, and how to use the other weapons in a battle situation. We're going to LA on a field trip to stake some vampires in the next few weeks as soon as she can arrange it."
"That's fine," Jack said. "Don't die on us."
"I'll try not to, sir."
"Good. Need anything?"
"Some sanity. A few of them are kinda ...pouty."
Daniel laughed. "They fit well with the teenage girls. One of them even agreed panty raiding was a good idea."
Jack shook his head. "No, it's not."
Sam smiled. "The girls are cute. They're getting ready for prom this spring. Abby's been fussing."
"That's a girl thing and she's a very girlish girl. I'm not surprised. Give me a head's up on when you'll be back." She nodded. "Danny, everything okay?"
"Mostly fine. We've been stopping Xander from going to have a yell at the Powers." That got a smirk. "Dawn did once."
"I'm sure they appreciated that."
"Probably not." He smirked. "Anyway, she's doing fine. I'll let her call whenever she wants. Are you coming for Thanksgiving? You can bring Teal'c if you want."
"I'll ask him." He smiled. "Thanks for the invite."
"We're doing a huge dinner, Jack. You might as well be family around here too." That got another smile and a nod. "Okay, we're off to bed. Have a better night." He hung up. "You need rest. You have training at 0700."
She sighed but went to sign out of the lab and head down to town to go to bed. This was hard training but it was fun in a lot of ways. She was learning a lot that could help her on a team and first contact situation.
Xander looked at the officers who had called for his assistance. "You needed me?" he asked, looking them over. He looked at her. "Newly called?" he asked.
She nodded. "I'll be in the next training class. I couldn't get time off for a month."
"You might be the most fit in there, we'll have a lot of secretarial and desk work type women there." He looked her over. "Three things you need to know beforehand. Slayer blood will draw everything within a good sensing limit. In North Dakota that's about ten miles. Here, depending on the pollution, it could be a few blocks, could be farther. Down to scrapes on the knee, paper cuts, and other girlish issues." She blushed at that. "We've had girls that have had to fight their way out of a mall, literally, because they scraped themselves. Wash it clean of the blood, put on a smelly salve. Bandage it. Then watch your back."
She nodded. "Secondly, slayers eat. A lot. Every meal. If you're not, you're doing your body harm. I don't care what you think you look like, you should be putting away food like a teenage boy. At every single meal and have snacks in between, mostly sugary cravings it seems." She nodded and smirked a bit. "Good. Because we have a few who're still trying to starve themselves. House was not happy when they passed out during weapons training. Thirdly, you have new instincts. Use them. If they say you're in danger, you are. Even if you're in a crowd, you can still be in danger and you just painted a huge ass target on your back. Understood?"
She nodded. "I do."
"Good. Because we'll have to find you a watcher who can watch your back on the job." She pointed at her partner. He looked at him. "How do you do with the really strange and creepy?"
"Not hardly ever."
Xander nodded. "Someone who can watch her back needs to. That means they'll have to hunt with her, train with her, possibly research with her, and your city might want to put her in the local office. Whatever they called the city DCIS office." He waved a hand. "All the girls who have jobs are getting this same speech sometime. So if you want, we can train you to help her. If not, help her find someone who can and figure how to do the cop thing along with it."
"Girls?" she snorted.
Xander looked at her. "Yeah. Because you're born a girl and not all of you are ladies." She gaped. "A lady is a taught construct that has manners. Slayers have manners, and I make sure of it, but there's plenty of times when you can't be a lady and a slayer. Slaying is hard, nasty, messy, sweaty work and ladies would pass out." He stared her down. She nodded at that wisdom. "Beyond that, the girls on base like it better than women, hey you, and ladies." She smirked at that. "I'm not stupid, I'm not going to argue with forty teenage girls who can break me in half."
"Good to know." He came around the car to look at him. "We got a report this family is doing..."
Xander held up a hand. "Why me?"
"Because they specifically said you would be a higher power they would listen to and the local office said they could arrest but they'd still have to send to you guys for anything too bad."
Xander frowned. "For most clans, and the ones staring out the window are in a clan structure, there is a clan leader. In this case a clan matriarch. We'll be getting her in because she is really the only one who can overrule any member and hand them over." They nodded at that wisdom. "As for having me personally called, I have a rep as being fair but hard. I hunted the hunters with the slayers I worked with and I still do. I'm the one they send on the bad cases basically." He looked around. "Is that them?"
"Yes," she said. "We're told it's sexual abuse."
Xander nodded. "Glad that never happened to me. Even when mine were drunk." He looked around. "I want the clan matriarch," he announced. "Now, please! She's needed for a judgement hearing!" A few smaller demons went running. "DCIS business, a case!" More went running but most of them hid. A very old demon walked up to their cars. "Matriarch, I am Xander Harris, DCIS agent."
"I know, cub. Why call on me or you?"
"The demon we were told is harming his daughter said he would let this one hear his case and judge if he was in the right," the female officer said.
The matriarch looked at Xander. "You could try to overrule me, which would cause a problem. I believe in this case we'll come to the same decision so it's best to cover all the bases at once and if so, the child in question will need to be moved and guarded."
She nodded. "That is reasonable. It's good you think and hunt."
He smirked. "I've always thought, no matter what Willow thinks."
"Yet you brought a slayer?"
Xander snickered. "You hadn't heard that Willow made a wish with D'Hoffryn that older slayers have the choice to become slayers after they age out?" The matriarch gave him a horrified look. "Her wish so sucked that the girls who were going to be potentials before are now going to be called." She moaned, rubbing her head. "This one is young but training so far. It was her case and she called me as he asked for me specifically. I had no idea I was counted as a higher being."
She stared at him. "Only by those who court their own deaths. Come, we will talk to the stupid young one." They walked inside. "I will hear this case with the agent, as is proper!" she announced. "Bring him and his daughter before me, plus any other witnesses." She sat down and waved. "Please, sit."
Xander sat and pulled the slayer down beside him. "Out of harm's way. There's still harmful ones on this street and I saw obvious vampire signs," he said quietly. The matriarch looked at him. "Have many problems with them?"
"Much, but we have been trying to get a girl up."
"Who did you talk to?"
"Caridad said they are stretched thin with this new crisis."
Xander snorted. "I'll talk to Caridad and we'll go handle it later." She smiled at that. "It is the duty and she can use the training in how to stake." A younger female demon was shoved in by an older male. "You called upon me to come judge this incident? Why?"
"It is known that you are fair and understand the clan's ways."
Xander nodded. "Most of the time. If not I ask. What did you do and why? Tell me now, in front of the matriarch, so we may all judge you."
He swallowed. "My daughter was dating a human. That makes her not of the clan, and therefore legal to bed."
Xander snorted. "For dating a human?" he sneered. He stood up, walking over, watching him be scared. "That is not a crime that would get her punished, no more than chided by the clans as I know it. Even if it did, it would not allow you to sleep with one you helped bring into this world. What if she bore young from it?" The demon gave him a disgusted look. "Your kind are fertile. You have many young at a time if I remember Sam's lessons right."
"That is true," the matriarch agreed. "That is also a breach of our codes, one that is punishable by death." She looked at the child. "How many times has he touched you, child?"
She was obviously scared, she was shivering. "I meant no harm, just wanted to find out more about them," she whispered.
"There is very little harm in dating a human," the matriarch said firmly. "Usually it would only get you lectured." The girl gave her a look. "Honestly, it is not a bad thing, especially since most humans now know." She pulled her closer. "How many times has he touched you wrongly and does he touch others in such a way?" She nodded quickly. "You will tell us and we will deal with him. Had you come to me I would have."
"He said no one would believe me because I was wrong and strange."
Xander snorted. "Wrong and strange is relative in demons," he reminded her. "The same as vampires are wrong and Gorths are strange, no one would ever sleep with their daughter. I can see some situations where brothers and sisters might, if they're raised away from all others. If they're trained that no one would ever understand them and they have to be together to protect each other. I can see it in situations like that even though I would still consider it wrong. In this, he is wrong. In humans, this is punishable by a very long time in jail." He moved closer, stroking her cheek. "Being curious leads to knowledge and great futures that bring honor on the clan. Him doing this does not harm you. Does it, Mother?"
"No. Him doing this does not look bad on you and we will have someone help you see how wrong he was, child." She stood up. "Hunter, if you would please?"
Xander looked at the officers. "She's asking me to enact their punishment instead of putting him in jail. Since it was technically reported to you guys, you do have the right to complain or protest."
Elliot grimaced. "He's to be killed?"
Olivia looked at her partner. "We have to ask."
"Go ahead. We can wait for ten minutes. That way he has the chance to write out a will." They nodded and went outside to call their boss and get his opinion. He looked at the matriarch. "I still have no idea why he called on me by name."
The child looked at him. "I said you would be honest and see who was wrong."
Xander smiled and stroked her cheek again. "Of course. That's what I do." The demon tried to move so Xander glared. He tried to run and Xander pounced him into a wall, knocking him out. "Should anyone other than the victim witness this?"
"The clan's patriarch. I've called him," the matriarch promised. "On my way here."
Xander smiled. "That'll work. Does he need to make any formal passing on details? Like a will for his belongings?"
"No, we will handle it," she assured him. He grinned at that. "You have no problem with this?"
Xander looked then at her. "I would if he were innocent. I would if it was a lesser crime. This is horrendous. Even if I can see it happening for a reason sometimes among family, I cannot see it with a parent."
She nodded. "That is most reasonable." The officers came back. "Your decision?"
"Our boss called the little office, who talked to their overseer and he agreed that in this case the clan's justice can be carried out. That we have no room for him in the human jails and shipping him to North Dakota could be done but if the clan insisted then so be it," she said.
The matriarch nodded. "As soon as the patriarch gets here, he will make sure." A bigger demon walked in. "Not now, Howard."
Xander looked. "We are sitting judgement." He looked at the matriarch, who nodded. "Can you take this young one into the kitchen so she doesn't have to watch?"
"I can." He sniffed. "Great Knight."
Xander bowed. "They called for me to sit judgement on this case."
"Agreeable. Come, Helen." He walked her off, taking her to get something to drink and nibble on while they waited.
Xander smiled at the matriarch. "How is the local office working out? The ones who helped set them up will want to know."
"They are not bad. A bit confused now and then. As all cubs do, they will learn." He grinned. "Now and then the politicians still give them fits."
"As they do in Miami," he agreed. She laughed and nodded. An older male walked in then paused and swore. Xander smiled. "They asked me to sit in judgement since news of him touching his daughter for dating a human got reported to SVU."
"He admitted as much," she told him. "The humans have said we can carry out our punishment or they can send him to the prison in North Dakota."
He looked at the one on the floor. "He tried to flee?" he asked the hunter.
"After judgement was rendered. He claimed it was his right because she had wanted to find out more about humans."
He hummed. "Helen is a curious girl. It bodes well for her education."
"I hope she finds a field that brings great honor and joy to the clan," he said formally. The patriarch smiled and nodded a bit. "He asked for me personally to sit in judgement."
He looked at the officers. "Would that bother you?"
"In some ways but your culture's ways aren't totally ours," Elliot said. "Not that I haven't wanted to kill a few parents like him in the past."
The patriarch nodded. "Then we will handle it in our way." Xander walked out and came back with a sword, moving to let the patriarch pass final judgement. Once the errant demon was awake, he did so and Xander stepped in to behead him. Then he cut out his heart and presented it to the patriarch as was proper. "You did study."
"I do try most of the time," he admitted. He bowed to them before wiping his blade off. "Where are the vampires nesting? Since I'm here anyway and Caridad said they're too busy. By the way, there will be a slayer moving this way around the holidays of next year. Her name is Shea and she has a brother who works uptown."
They nodded at that knowledge. "Let us hope she works with us," the patriarch said.
"Her parents were hunters like the Winchesters, but John has taken her in hand."
That got a smile from the matriarch. "Then we look forward to her handling some problems." She patted her leader's arm. "The vampires have been roosting in that building up the street to the right. They have drug users as well."
"I have a UV flashlight," he assured her. "I want to hurt no humans." He bowed again. "C'mon, guys." He led them out, handing Elliot the UV flashlight. "That should make any vampire scream. Humans complain, vampires will start to smoke." He tossed her a set of stakes. "Vampire slayer 101. It goes in the heart. The other way is to behead." He finished cleaning his sword and put it onto his back, then he closed the trunk and they headed over there. "Elliot, to my right please. It's my weaker side," he said quietly. "Olivia, slightly behind me and to the left, get any that're running. Use whatever training you already have for hunt situations." He looked at her. She nodded back. He looked at Elliot, who turned it on.
They walked past the lookout. "Federal agent," he said firmly. The kid screamed and ran. Half the druggies came out. A few fled back inside. Elliot called it in and they went inside. The vampires screamed and lunged but Xander got the first few. Olivia got her first few and was in shock at the instinct, but she watched Xander's back. Elliot's too. She got one trying to get him. Xander finished off the vampires an hour later and the druggies were taken out by the regular cops. He walked out, taking his flashlight back. It got put into his back pocket. He nodded at Jana. "They called me on the molestation case as a higher authority. I'll talk to Caridad. Watch over her for now, give her your training tapes?" She nodded at that. "Good." He looked at Elliot. "Do you want to or want to integrate?"
Xander nodded. "Not everyone can do it, like any combat," he said quietly. "Find someone who can." That got a nod. He looked at Olivia. "You know how to get to the base?"
"I do. I have the trip planned out."
"Rental car," he warned. "We're two hours from the airport."
"I have one."
"Good." He smiled and shook her hand. "We'll be running you ragged in a few weeks. Remember about the food thing. You're clearly tired so I'm guessing you tried to skip a meal. Sit down and eat relatively soon." She nodded. He looked at Elliot. "Make her eat if she gets stubborn. They will, they'll complain about calories. Make her eat. Tempt her to eat. Nibbling is fine. Half the girls do it all day long. They all graze like herds of wildebeest."
He nodded with a small smile. "I'll do that. Candy?"
"It's better if it's balanced but they all seem to have a sweet tooth." He shook their hands and Jana's too. "All right. Do you need me to do a report for your boss or should I do like I usually do and write it on the flight back then fax it?"
"Do it here," Elliot told him. They nodded and he followed them back to the station. The boss was waiting on them. "There was a big problem down there."
"I heard." He looked at Xander. "You're very young."
"I started hunting vamps at sixteen," he said simply. That got a nod. "I'm over support and training. Anymore I only get to do the sword work and other weapons training. I started out doing it all until I hired." The captain shuddered. "Exactly. But we did dust a lot of vamps. She'll need a watchery sort."
"I might have one of those."
"Good." He smiled. "I have no idea if the higher ups want to move her over when they hear. That's between you guys."
"Good point." Xander sat down at the empty desk to write his own report while he got the other team back to meet him. He had them come in his other door. "There's someone here from the ISC," he said quietly. "Olivia got called."
"She's too old."
Olivia walked in to get some coffee and sugar. "He said someone named Willow cast a wish with something named D'Hoffryn so the ones who were too old could be given a choice about taking the powers," she said, looking at them. "Elliot's a bit freaked out. We ran into a vampire problem at the same place as the reported molestation. The demons decided to go with their version of justice and he's without a head." She took a sip. "Xander?" He came in. "These are John Munch and Finn Tutola."
Xander nodded, shaking their hands. "Xander Harris, DCIS and ISC."
John coughed. "How?"
"Willow Rosenburg wanted the slayers about to age out to be allowed a choice to keep their skills. That some of them had this as their whole identity. In return, D'Hoffryn granted it but it ended up giving all the possible slayers over the age of twenty-three the chance to pick up their powers or not." John shuddered. "We had, as of this morning's count, sixty-four slayers that need training. We have forty on base right now. We had a few who decided to test their new powers and the first few days of training by going to a demon bar." Finn moaned. Olivia too. "Exactly. House was not pleased." He sighed. "Anyway, she'll need a watcher sort to watch her back. We'll be having another girl moving this way late next year to be with her brother. She needs to finish her training. Olivia will need to do her training and figure out where the training she already has can come in handy. Her partner helped us take out some vampires earlier and figured out he wasn't comfortable with it."
John nodded. "What about the local office?"
"There's a chance the higher ups might want to move her if they know. That's between her and them. She'll still need a watcher sort and we're still training watchers." That got a nod. "I asked Jana to share her tapes from the demonology classes with her. We're working on putting all the books on CD and DVD for easier searching. They'd have a copy of those. But someone has to be able to watch her back when it comes to demon things."
"If she needs us, she'll call," Finn said.
John looked at him. "This isn't arresting. When you hunt, it's like deer hunting. You're going to kill the things that're hunting people."
"And other demons," Xander agreed. "There's plenty of harmless species, plenty that're peaceful. Vampires, unless they make a conscious decision to not hunt, aren't. That's her main job. That and to stop any she finds causing problems by hunting others. There's going to be lots of demons who can feel what she is and will be scared of her because she's a slayer now. That's a fact of life, but vampires will come for her." He looked at the boss. "Any blood, from papercut on up, can bring them after her. She needs to rinse it off immediately, salve it with something to cover the blood scent, and then bandage it. If she's got more than a good scratch or scrape, I'd say have someone who can fix it. Most slayers don't want to admit they're hurt. Like her side." He pulled her over to look. She swatted so he pinched a nerve bundle, making her grunt in pain. "Stop it. You're endangering them." He looked it over. "That could use a stitch or six, Olivia." He let her go.
"What about periods?"
"We put all the younger girls on birth control with their first one. It's safer for them and us."
She gaped. "What if the older ones want kids?"
"Then they need to take security precautions." He pointed. "Half-demon." She looked then whimpered. He looked out there. Then he called out in the most common demon language. The demon gave him a dirty look. "Now," he ordered. It came in. "How many are here?"
"Any coming for her?"
"Two left before they could," he admitted.
"Good. I like that. If you hear of one will you tell her?" He shook his head. "Even without having to betray who?"
"That I might do if there's a reward."
"I'll see what I can do if it comes up," the captain said.
The demon sneered at Xander. "There's already a hunt order for the new ones."
"She'll be protected," Xander assured him. The demon sneered as he walked off. He looked at her. "Thought I was kidding?" She nodded. He smirked and shook his head. "Two of the girls on base had to fight their way out of the Gap one day thanks to a scraped arm." She moaned. "Be a bit more paranoid and cautious."
"I can help her with that," John promised.
"Good." He smiled. "You obviously have some sort of a clue."
"Just a bit," he said dryly, moving his collar. "An ex. That's why I divorced her."
"So she was a blood sucking bitch for real instead of a figurative one?" Xander asked with a grin.
"Yeah, she was. You good?"
"I'm fine. I did the work for years before Sunnydale caved in." He looked at her. "We'll be seeing you soon on the base for training." She nodded. "Words of wisdom? Self defense all morning, weapons all afternoon." She groaned. He nodded. "Demonology tapes to go over at night when you're back at the temporary apartments."
"I'll start doing exercises again."
"The guys who train with me are a father and two sons team. The father's a retired Marine. Might be a good idea."
"I can do that."
He grinned. "Good." He went to finish his report then handed it in. "Here you go, Captain. If you need us, I wrote my cellphone number on the back." That got a nod and he shook their hands. "Be safe, Olivia." He left, going to head back to the airport. He called Daniel and forwarded it once he was on the plane. "Boss, incoming report from up here and why, plus the vampire count with the new slayer called. I left it up to her to yell at the higher ups if they tried to move her to the local office. That's for her to decide." He leaned back. "It's fine. I emailed it." Daniel got into it and skimmed it.
"They requested. The local officers agreed it was fine." The pilot gave him a look so he buckled up and nodded. The pilot shut the door and taxied them out to the runway. "Okay, we know we have at least one new one in town and we need to listen for a plan to take out the new ones. The janitor was a half demon and he said there was one. I gave her the three main standard warnings, talked to her partner about the watcher issue, and some of her team may be able to fill in. We'll have to see. SVU. Benson." He smiled. "She seemed pretty decent but a bit uptight. Then again, her job is one of the shittyest there is. She has to listen to sickos who hurt others for their own pleasure. Exactly. Why am I diverting to DC? I can do that. Does the pilot know? Are we heading to DC?" he called.
"Yes, sir," came over the intercom. "We're picking up then heading to base."
"That'll work. Thank you." He went back to the phone. "We are. Should be about an hour if I remember right." He grinned. "Sure. If I can find some or you call him to bring some, Danny. Good for me. How did weapons class go?" He winced at the injuries. "Poor Faith. Sure, I'm on my way now. We're just now climbing. I've got to call Caridad to see what the problem was. They called for a slayer and none came. She said they were too busy. Sure." He hung up and called there. "Caridad, why couldn't you send a slayer to New York? You could've called us." She listed the reasons.
"Tell Giles he's an idiot, I just dusted thirty with the newest slayer called up here." She repeated that verbatim and Giles complained. "Also, tell him that the demons did report abuse to the officers so that's why I was up there. The new slayer there is coming out for training in a few weeks. It shocked the hell out of her when she staked her first one but we were taking out a nest with her partner backing us up. Yes, they need another one. Shea's going to be moved up there late next year when she finishes her training. She's got family there. Yup. There's also a plot to hurt the newest ones called. The demon janitor warned her. So we're set on that end but they could probably use one to clean out a few other nests. Call Jana and Pearl then, Caridad."
He settled in more comfortably when they leveled out. "Yes, I'm sure. If we have to, I'll send one of ours," he decided. "You can tell Giles that too. That and Wes needs to know where he's sending the girls right now. Because Wes is over patrols, Caridad. Are you picking up bad Buffy habits?" She gave him a sullen answer. "Caridad, chocolate cures that," he said bluntly. "Have some and some midol." He hung up. Some days he wasn't sure why he put up with slayers.
Xander drove onto the base, letting the profiler get out with his bag and the bag of treats for Daniel. "We're back!" he shouted as he walked. Glen came out of the armory with something for him to look at. He tested it then nodded. "Check with Faith or Brenda. Looks good to me." He beamed and went to do that. He walked him inside, running into the boss. "Glen was working on the training scythe's handle. I told him to let Faith and Brenda check it." Daniel gave him an odd look. "What?" He looked at himself then at him. "What did I do wrong now?" he sighed.
"You went hunting in the middle of a case?"
"Let me get out of the way," their profiler said, heading for the squad room.
"They reported the problem. Caridad hadn't sent anyone. I was done with the case except for the report. There was a nest and a lot of little kids, Daniel. What did you want me to do, ignore it?"
"You still went hunting in the middle of a case. You know better, Xander. And Giles wants to talk to you too."
Xander sighed, pinching himself until he woke up with a gasp on the plane. "I hate nightmares."
"About what?" Reid asked.
"Daniel getting onto me about having to take out a nest after I had the last case done, all but the report. Did I call Caridad?"
"Not since I got on."
"I did that before we picked you up." He rubbed his forehead. Then he called the base. "Hey, Dean. We're about an hour or so from landing. Anything I should pick up on the way back?" He listened. "What now?" he complained. He sighed, rubbing his forehead again. Reid held up the bottle of advil in his bag, getting a smile but a head shake. "What for?" He listened. "It was a nest, there were kids, Dean. They tried to get a slayer and Caridad didn't." He groaned, rubbing his head again. "You know what, we'll talk when I get back. You can all yell at me once again." He hung up and thought about calling someone else. He decided to sulk for a bit. "When we get back, looks like that was a premonition."
"I'll run and hide."
"Thanks." He grinned. "I have no idea what's wrong with them now but I'm not liking this." He tipped his seat back and let his mind drift again. Whoever was playing these power games had stepped up their game and he was not happy. "Why are you coming out? Case? Training?"
"Daniel called for me."
"Daniel told me you had called."
Reid looked at him. "You think it's a spell?"
"I don't know," he admitted. "It's possible. If so, just stay out of the way for a bit."
"I can do that." He went back to reading. "Hopefully it's easy to cure."
Xander walked into the armory and picked up his axe.
"Oh, no, you are not taking our property," Daniel said as he stomped in after him.
Xander stared at him. "This isn't DCIS property, Daniel. I brought the axe in. It's my axe. I used it back in Sunnydale." He moved closer to him. "For that matter, half the stuff in here I could claim since I made it." Daniel went pale. "I have no idea who in the hell you are, but Danny Jackson knew that."
"I am him and you don't have that right, Harris."
Xander hauled off and hit him. "Really?" He rubbed his hand. "You're so sure you're him?" The man gooped up. Xander hummed. "Cute. Really." Horatio leaned in. "How long has been acting funny?"
"What is going on?"
"That was pretending to be Daniel."
Horatio looked then at him. "What?"
Xander used a sword to pick up some of the goop. "This?"
"Um... Still nothing there, Xander."
Xander looked at Glen, who shrugged. "Do we have a frequency generator?"
"In the lab."
"Thanks." He took his axe with him.
"That is DCIS property," Tony said firmly, trying to take it.
"Considering it was in my closet until a few months back, no it's not. I had it in Sunnydale." Tony gooped up. He looked at Horatio, who apparently didn't see anything. He headed up to the lab. "Hi, Abby. Stay in there."
"That's DCIS property, Xander." He turned and hit her, making her turn too.
"No, it's not." He set it on the table and found the frequency generator. He set it just above human hearing and hooked up the PA to it. It squealed, everyone clapped their hands over their ears and most everyone turned back to goo. He turned it off and waited. Danny Messer came rushing in. "Are you you?"
"What the hell was that?"
"Shut up!" Xander yelled back. "Are you human?"
"Of course!" He gave him a shove. "What the hell was that?"
"How many people just turned to goop, Danny?"
"What?" he asked. He pointed at the goop that had been Abby. He looked then frowned. "That is goop."
"They went to goop when you corrected them on something and with the high-pitched noise. Daniel started it."
"Crap," he muttered. "There's a lot of us missing then."
"Yeah, a whole lot." They shared a look. "Get everyone else. I'm pretty sure Dean was affected after our talk earlier on the plane." He nodded, Xander grabbed his axe and walked out with it. John tried to stop him. "You going to be a goop person too?"
"No. I want to know what's going on."
"Me too. That's what I'm planning on doing. Right now, I'm a bit pissed though." John backed up. "Thank you. High-pitched noises and correcting them when they're wrong seem to turn them back. I want to know who replaced them." He walked off to the security office, finding goop in there too. He called Danny's desk. "Are you, me, and John the only three left?" He listened. "How do I work the tape system in security?" He nodded, doing that. It rewound and he watched as someone who was probably supposed to be Jack walked in. "They got him way wrong." He watched as a van pulled up. He took down the plates and description then kept going. He wrote down the names of those being changed over. Danny walked in. "Can you copy this for evidence?"
"Sure." He came over to do that for him. "What's that?"
"The van the not-Jack was using to kidnap our people." He looked at him. "I didn't see Sam Carter."
"I haven't seen her at all."
"Cool. That might help." He went to find her in the range. "Sam!" Both looked over. "Carter. A not-Jack just took a bunch of people and replaced them with things that turned to goo when a high-pitched noise or the truth being pushed on them when they're wrong." She turned to goo. "Not good."
Sammy looked then at him. "What the hell?"
"No fucking clue," he said dryly. "Dean was one." He walked off shaking his head. He found Sheppard stomping in. "Hold up. Tell me a lie."
"Why?" he asked, looking confused. Xander pointed at the goo. "Oh, okay. I guess. I'm madly in love with O'Neill."
"No, you're not." He stayed solid. The one helping McKay roll in a cart didn't.
"I'm guessing that's why," Sheppard said.
"Yup, got Jackson." He beamed. "Got Tony too. McKay, do you know anyone working on things like that at NID or Area 51? They came in with a not-Jack that was about four or five years too young."
"There is one. I thought he got fired years ago however. Why?" Xander pointed at the goo. "I saw."
"Abby was one. Daniel. Tony, most of the crew. Dean." McKay groaned. "Okay, go take over the lab. I know high, shrieking noises turn them. Figure out how to search for others. Sheppard, help Messer around here please while I hunt them down?" He walked off with his axe. They apparently wanted it. They'd get it all right. John stopped him from getting into a car. "What? Do we know something?"
"Yes, this isn't a normal thing. This is Trickster at work."
"McKay said he knew someone who was working on something like this."
John moaned. "Figured. Why here and why them, Xander?"
Xander stared. "We have another power player trying things, John. That's why we're consolidating."
"Aw, shit," he muttered.
"I'm thinking they requested it or manipulated into it."
"Wonderful." He shuddered. "Now what?"
"McKay and Sheppard are here. McKay is taking over the lab. Messer passed so far. Sammy did too. He was in the range. I'm going to ask the state troopers if they can track the van for us. I'll call when I'm done with them." John nodded so he climbed in and headed off. The state boys all gave the axe a funny look. "We had someone come onto base to replace some of our agents with fakes. They all seem to hate me having my axe." They all shuddered. He handed over the papers he had made notes on. "This van was on base and took them. These are the people we know they replaced. Can you help?"
One of the guys got into the system to look up the van. "Registered to Diascorp. It's out of Oneada. 'Bout three hours from here, Agent Harris."
Xander nodded. "Where?" They gave him an address. "Thanks. We have people on base but I'm sure they're basically in lockdown. If you see any of us, we go to goo in the face of correcting a lie they're giving or at high pitched squealy noises." That got a nod. "Hopefully I'll have them back by tonight."
"Sure, good luck," he said. "Want us to call our guys that way?"
"Who knows if they got them or not."
"Good point." He shook his hand. "Happy hunting. It's a beautiful axe."
"Thanks. She's helped me through a lot of hunts since Sunnydale." He walked off, not noticing that three of the officers turned to goo. Their boss did and had one of the guys scrape them up and added them to the list.
Xander found where they had the people stored. It had only taken him three hours. He was exhausted. He was hungry. He was so pissed that they had taken his friends. He pulled something off his wrist, getting one of the base's hunting half-hellhounds. He stared at it and it bowed to him. He smiled and pointed. "They have the agents and some of the girls. Help me hunt? Can you find the not people?" It yipped quietly. "Then let's hunt." They moved in together. The dog got a few of the not-people. Xander got another one. They didn't bleed. That was amusing. The one that did he knocked out. The hellhound sniffed then took off running. Xander watched and followed, finding the room they mixed the goop in. He shut it down by throwing a garlic grenade into the mix. He wasn't sure if it'd stop it but it'd stink and they'd be able to tell them. Plus the concussive force was enough to tip some of them over. He heard an alarm start to go off.
"Find the agents, girl." She sniffed and howled, then shook her head. "No, not here?" She shook her head. He went to check where he thought they had been. Not there. The dog found a trail and he followed her down to the underground caverns. More people tried to stop him but he got them. Even if he did wince when he cut into Tony, who wasn't Tony, that was fine. They found them and he walked in. "Fucking hell, boss. You're as bad as I am." The dog growled at him. "Me?" It snapped at Danny, who didn't bleed. "Really?" The dog pointed out the ones who were. Xander tested the rest for blood flow. None. He left them tied up there and the other agents headed with him. "Find the boss, girl." She sniffed then gave him a pitiful look.
"They moved a load an hour ago," Horatio said. "Why do you have your axe?"
"They all seemed to want it to stay at DCIS. I figured it'd be a clue if they tried to get it back. Any idea where?"
"No. Tony was there." He looked around. "Mac, do you still have GPS on Don?"
"I do." He called the base. "Danny, good. Can you call up my computer and the GPS chip I have on Don?" He listened then nodded. "Where is that on the map?" He grimaced. "Where is that?"
Xander took the phone. "Where?" He listened then nodded. "Got it." He hung up and tossed the phone back. "Those who can, go back to base. I'm heading into the woods." He grabbed the dog's collar. "Take me too?"
"We can help," Mac ordered.
"You're injured, you were just taken hostage. Get someone here to lock down the factory and stop them, Mac. We need that more. The power player trying to get us is doing this." He and the dog disappeared. He looked and found Horatio with him. "Sure." He handed over his gun and spare clip. "Have fun. The clones don't bleed." He looked at the dog. "Track them." The dog sniffed then hurried off. He jogged after her. Horatio was behind him and kept up pretty well. A mile later and he was falling behind. He whistled and the dog slowed down so Horatio could catch up. He grinned. "Out of shape?" he panted.
"Slightly." They kept going and found the first guard. Xander snuck up on him and Horatio stepped into the open. Tony raised his gun. "Shoot me and I trash your movies, DiNozzo."
Tony lowered his gun. "Horatio? It is you?"
Xander popped out to nick him. "He's bleeding, he's human."
"Xander!" He gave him a hug. "Danny, Horatio and Xander are here!"
Danny came out. "How long have you been tracking us?"
"Where are we?"
"About ten miles north of any given city," Xander admitted. "We're up by the border, boss." He grinned sweetly. "How did you like the clones?"
"I loathe those things," Tony said.
"They all wanted my axe," Xander told him. He looked at Danny. "Are you going to yell at me because I helped a newly called slayer take down a nest after that case was done?"
"No. You know me better than that." He gave him a hug. "He did?"
"Yeah. Tried to fire me too."
"I'll fix it when we get back. Is Abby there or with the other group?"
"Abby was with our group," Horatio said. "Gibbs too."
"They had me pick up Spenser Reid for some reason," Xander said. "He said you called him."
"Crap," he muttered. "Whoever this person is he's good."
"Sheppard and McKay just happened to show up. I put them in charge," Xander said. Daniel smirked. "We should get back." He checked the GPS on his watch then pointed. "Six miles that way to the nearest village."
"You have car, right?" Tony asked.
"We grabbed onto the dog," Horatio said grimly, looking at the dog. "You are very good, girl. You deserve a treat when we get home."
She whined at Xander. "No, you can't eat the unicorns, but you can have a steak." She yipped happily and wagged her tail. "Are we missing anyone?"
"We have others on guard," Daniel said, whistling the cadence he had set. The others came. "We have to find a way home, people."
"I left the guys in that section to bust the factory," Xander told them. "Horatio grabbed on when I came to do this part."
Daniel looked at him but Gibbs smacked him on the head. "Teams do better than single people, Harris."
Xander nicked him to make sure he bled too. "Huh, you are human." He called John on the way out of the forest. "We're safe. I think I have the rest of them. We are at..." He read off he coordinates. "Heading south toward the road. Please. About twenty and one of the dogs. No, Dean was at the other one, John. I saw him. Thanks, tell Sheppard to send us cars?" He grinned. "That'll work." He hung up. "He's telling Sheppard and Messer. Danny was the only one who didn't bitch at me that my axe is DCIS property. That's how I found out they went to goo. That and shrieky noises."
"We'll figure that out later," Daniel decided. "McKay must have already set up a test." He looked around. "Sam?" She looked over. "Scout ahead, please?" She nodded, heading to do that. Gibbs gave him a look. "She served on the same team I did."
"I know what you used to do. I came out on that double rape case."
"I was off on a treaty then. Did you get them?"
"With prejudice. One jumped down the elevator shaft instead of going to jail."
"Glad I wasn't on clean up," Xander said.
"Me too," Gibbs agreed. "Thirty stories later." Daniel shuddered. "Yes, the main shaft."
"Poor maintenance guys." They found Sam staring around. "Demons?"
Xander looked then groaned. "Bad demons. Just what we need." He nodded at her. "Take the gun from Horatio. I was carrying blessed silver." He switched with her. When the demons attacked, they led the fight while the others guarded the rest of them. The people frisking had missed weapons and guns. Xander finally had enough and gutted one then stood over him. "Who sent you?" It babbled. He killed it and moved on. "We've got a Higher on our tails." He kicked the next one at Sam, letting her get it, then ducked a blow and took out the last one. He looked around. "I can hear you," he called. Buffy came out of nowhere. He frowned. "Tell me a lie."
"Huh?" she asked. "Dawnie sent me. Quit playing games, Xander. She's tired." Xander stared at her so she huffed. "Fine, I'm ten."
"No, you're not." She went to goo. "Hmm." He went to check for the portal. "Dawn?" She yawned, staring at him. "That's interesting. Not your normal portal." She went to goo and the portal stayed up. "Danny, can we have this one too?" He came over to confiscate it and they finally made it to the road. Sam was going over the portal generator. The state cops had vans waiting on them. Xander grinned. "Hi, guys. You're human, right?" They all nodded. "We're sure?"
"Yes, sir, we had one turn to goop earlier. We called the base and they told us to do a finger stick to prove blood." He did one. Xander beamed. "Let's get you guys back to the other site. Is that a bomb or something dangerous?"
"Portal generator," Sam said. "We're working on it."
"That's fine then." They got them back to the factory, which was now crawling with FBI agents and their people. Plus a loudly complaining handcuffed Dean. Daniel went to release him and have a word with the agent in charge when he complained. He moaned but said he'd make note of it. They'd figure that part out later. They got them back to the base and everyone went to check things and make sure the goo had been cleaned up.
Horatio looked at Xander's back then at Daniel, who went to hug Xander and say something in his ear, getting a laugh. "Go to bed, people," Daniel ordered. "Xander, you can't sleep with your axe."
"I don't know why they wanted it yet."
"Probably because it was in Sunnydale." They went to check on everyone. John had checked on the slayers already. He went to his office, finding Sheppard. "Still you?"
"Yeah, I'm still me. What happened?" Daniel wrote out a quick summary and handed it over. "Charming. Think they can be used for dangerous and undercover situations?"
"Might. I don't know. The FBI took it over. I'm too damn tired to deal with it." He looked then called the lab. "Sam, do not stay up all night to play with the portal generator and Abby or McKay." He hung up. "If I know John Winchester, they still have training in the morning."
Sheppard shook his head. "You guys are insane."
"Well, yeah, and Xander has a bad hero complex sometimes too. Spenser?" He came in. "I called?" He nodded. "Why did I call?"
"The six cases on Ryan's desk that I've already gotten into. They're human, they're not mystical, so they're ours." He grinned. "Xander's hero complex is a deep need to be seen as competent and able to do things since no one's ever seen him that way. He has to prove it to himself and he can only do that through validation. The more you tell him, the less it'll get unless there's an emergency then he knows he can basically trust a few people but not everyone." He went back to his desk. He loved profiling Xander. With the possessions and the AU universes he had been through, plus the curses he was a lot of fun to profile. "Oh, Daniel?" He stuck his head into the squad room. "The head of Homeland asked me to profile Xander. Which I have to say is the most fun I've had in years."
"Don't know but I think the President wanted it."
"Think we can get the high-pitched noise he used to hit DC?" Sheppard asked over Daniel's shoulder.
"Hopefully," Spenser said with a grin. "I think we can arrange that." He called Garcia. "I need a short burst of sound all over DC, all over the US if you can manage to have it done. What frequency?" Daniel called the lab and had them tell him. Abby sent it back. He sent it to her with why in an email. She arranged it and they all winced as the shriek went across as an 'emergency broadcast system required weekly test'. None of them turned to goo so it was all good.
"Can I have the profile you did on him?" Daniel asked.
"Sure. It's in my bag." He dug around until he found it then tossed it over. "I didn't hand it over yet. Hotch was worried about why they wanted it too. So when you called it was a good time." He grinned and got back to work. "I don't know what this person is trying to do."
John came over to look. "That's Norse."
"Yeah. It is." He looked at Daniel, who came over to look and translate it for him. He didn't need to know it was Ancient and it was trying to call back one of them to take over the planet with him. Someone was delusional but had a clue. "He might be in a military databank."
"I saw a lot of that on my last posting," Daniel told him.
Spenser looked at him. "Garcia found out what you used to do, Daniel." Daniel moaned. "You too, Sheppard." He went back to it. "Delusional?"
"Yeah, calling on a supposed god to take over the world with him."
"I'll cross-check anyone who came out of there."
"That's fine. Find a bed when you're tired, Spenser," Daniel said with a pat on the shoulder for him. He went to call the white house. "Sir," he said when the got the VP. "Is the president up?"
"Is there a problem?"
"Many." The VP went to get him. "Sir."
"Jackson, what's wrong?"
He held up the profile. "Also with the fake people."
"Fake... that burst of noise?" he demanded.
"Turned a lot of people back to the goo they were originally. The FBI has that since they came after us in a very bad way. Especially after Xander and his battle axe." The president moaned. "You had our profiler profile Agent Harris, sir?"
He looked at him. "The boy makes others nervous."
"Only when you're trying to hurt innocents."
"Which could be construed as any war."
"He's not like that." He looked at his computer then sent over a sealed file. "The password is the one Jack uses for coded messages." He got into it and read it then looked at him in a horrified way. "As I said, Xander's not the dangerous one. He's no more dangerous than I am or Jack is, sir. Though, our profiler did say he had a lot of fun profiling him for you."
"I asked one of the other units, not yours."
"Spenser, why did you get it?"
"They were overloaded with a spree killer," Spenser called back. "One in Omaha."
"He said they were overloaded with a spree killer in Omaha."
He grimaced. "We're worried because the boy has 'pull a weapon out' syndrome. He went armed to the symposium?"
"Almost all demon hunters go armed to everything, sir. I've never seen the Winchester family unarmed. The slayers either. I'm incredibly proud that Xander feels safe enough around the base to only carry a pocket knife. To them that's their training. Weapons save your life and the life of those around you. As they told the girls, you have to be paranoid because someone is always out to get you. Usually because you're good at your job."
"I can see why." He sighed. "Our counter terrorism people were amused at your base."
"I heard. I helped show him around."
"Fine. Can I have that?"
"Sir, why would I want to give whoever decided to push the makers of the clones more information on a clear target they had?" He looked stunned. "Xander said they all tried to keep his axe. They also tried to get him off the base as fast as possible. The not-me tried to fire him for having to take down a nest during a case. Speaking of, I need to make sure they didn't." He got into that set of forms. "No, they tried to file a resignation letter." He canceled that and checked other areas. He gave Xander a bonus for solving that one so quickly. He grinned. "He deserved it. He was in New York earlier."
"You think this is whoever this other power player is?" Daniel nodded. "Any idea who it is?"
"The demons who attacked us at the site they left us at babbled a name at Xander but I have no idea what he said. Yet. I'll find out tomorrow."
"Hmm. So another attempt."
"Focused on getting Xander away from us and then taking us down, sir."
"Fine. You keep that profile. Make sure he cannot go rogue. Those agents wanted to know."
"Give me a contact number. They can ask me themselves."
"I'll tell them that. You really don't play politics that well. I thought all academics had to."
"I loathe politics, sir. I really do. To use a Xander and Faith-ism politics blows." The president laughed so hard he choked. He waved and signed off then put the profile in a locked drawer and took the key with him. "Spenser, need anything?"
"Not yet. Thanks for asking," he said absently.
"Okay. Call Hotchner to make sure he knows you're okay." He nodded, doing that one- handed while he read. Danny headed to the kitchen, finding the pouting dog. He got her a few steaks out of the freezer with a grin. "Good girl. You deserve them." He patted her and went to his own apartment. He found Sheppard outside. "Thanks for the fill in."
"Not a problem. Are we good?"
"Mostly. We have some sort of higher demon and power player trying to get the agency out of the way. He apparently knows what a lynchpin Xander is," he said quietly.
"Ah. No wonder. Why his axe?"
"I don't know. I'm going to ask Sam Winchester that." He smirked. "You do know Jack put you on the list? Which means you're eligible to take my desk some year?"
"No and I'll be shot on a mission first," he said bluntly.
Daniel smirked. "It's not so bad." He walked off smiling. "After all, Jack's going to be my AD over all you guys soon."
"Better him than me. I'll die a heroic death before then," he called after him. Then he shuddered, going to tell McKay that to make sure he died. "Jackson said we're on the list to lead all this some day."
"We'll crash a puddle jumper," he said bluntly.
"I was thinking a heroic death on a mission."
"It'd have to be an instant one. I don't want to die a horrific, tragic death that will leave me a horrid looking corpse. Then no one will ever come tell me of future great scientific discoveries. I'd have to haunt some lab and nag the imbeciles."
Abby gave him a hug. "It's not so bad. Jack's ahead of you guys." She beamed at them. "Besides, that means you could head the R&D lab all the time. Get to play with all the toys Xander made. Oooh, he made more." She led him by the wrist to the room Xander worked in, finding the new toys for him to look at. They moaned and came over to play with the new geek toys. That compulsion was pretty cool.
Daniel found Sam leaning against the building. "Pretty night," he said quietly.
Sam looked at him. "Why come after Xander that way?"
"Xander keeps a lot of things going." Sam moaned. "He kept the agency going before we got Tony. He keeps it going now. He trains us, he trains the girls with you guys. Think about what would happen if Rupert had to take over Xander's duties for a week."
"Things would go to hell," he admitted. He shifted to pull his knees up. "Still, it makes no sense to have him removed with that much prejudice. This was too big of a plan. I can see trying to discredit him. I can see an assassination attempt. I can't see replacing so many people with goo clones and having them fire him."
"They were also trying to part him from his axe," Daniel said. "I was going to ask you about that."
Sam frowned. "Really?" Daniel nodded. "Huh. I don't know. I can look it over and look up the history of it. Anything else?"
"The demons babbled a name. Sounded like D'Sofra?"
He shrugged. "I can look it up too." He grinned. "Sleep well, Danny. You deserve it."
"Thanks. You go to bed sometime too."
"I had an almost vision. I'm waiting to see if it comes back or not."
"Sure. Can you document how often those happen? In case something's blocking you or it's being spread out among them?" Sam hit himself on the head. "It could happen. Dawn had one of the last ones. She's not a seer but she and Xander had it."
"Crap." He got up with a helping hand from the boss and went to do that. Plus look at the axe Glen was petting. "Can I?" He let him have it to look over. He found the maker's mark and noted the symbols lightly carved into the mixed silver head, going to the library to look them up. What he found was very interesting.
Xander looked at the wish demon who found him on his balcony, giving her an odd look. "Need advice or bad ideas?" He took a sip of his soda.
"No, I heard you wanting to make a wish."
Xander nodded. "But I know how wrong that is of me. I do try to live by the three-fold rule."
She smirked. "I think you have plenty of good karma points."
"You never know. Who is the power player D'Sonfrinat?"
"One of the Highers, over the Seers."
Xander gave her an odd look. "So why try to get me out of here?" She gave him that special dumbass look. "I've only had visions here and only when they relate to people I'm close to."
"True. I don't know why then."
"Huh. Is he the power player behind earlier?"
"You know, I don't know."
"If I make a wish of say, bad luck on his plans to get any of us at DCIS or our affiliated agencies for ten months after the apocalypse..." He took a sip of his soda and grinned. "Could you tell me who it hit?"
She looked at him. "That's sneaky, Xander."
He leaned over to kiss her. "You love me anyway, Anya."
She changed her form. "How did you know?"
"You never changed your perfume." He grinned. "Happier?"
"Fairly so. I'm doing Hallie's job."
"I heard. Thank you." She gave him a hug and he let her cuddle in. "D'Hoffryn pissed at himself for granting Willow's wish?"
"He's been horned up the butt by so many demons recently," she admitted, smirking at him. "He might even start to like it sometime soon."
"You know, that could be that same power player trying to get people out of his way. We figured it was him or the Powers since they made Buffy take hers back." He finished his soda and put the glass down, cuddling her properly. "So, how do you like the little sister brigade?"
"They're adorable." She looked at him. "D'Hoffryn said he hadn't thought of that but having her make that wish could have been him. I don't see how."
"With that many slayers at least one's going to goof like Faith had happen," he said quietly. "Some might discredit the slayer line." She moaned. He nodded. "Not to mention we've already got two that are stake happy and a few that decided to go to a demon bar to try out the new skills they had learned in their first three days of training."
"So it could be him or it could be the Powers."
"If so, then there's got to be a bad big bad coming. If it only took seven and backups for the First Evil.... The possible invasion in Egypt isn't that bad potentially. Sam's probably looking already. If not, I'll ask." She kissed him and he smiled. "Think it'd help?"
"I think I might."
"I wish that the power player behind all problems that DCIS has had is granted bad luck on any plans that involve DCIS or ISC personnel for ten months past the final apocalypse so he cannot ruin the childhoods of any of the girls."
She shivered. "Oh, God, Xander." He grinned. "The *final* apocalypse?" He beamed. She looked up then nodded. "D'Hoffryn is pissed at whoever it is. Wish granted." She snuggled in better. "Hmm. Not Sonfrinat. Interesting."
"Who?" he asked quietly.
"The Fallen Angel Varcher."
"Never heard of him."
"He's never spoken of. During the battle he tried to create a third side so he is not allowed to be noted anywhere."
"Then why move us out of his way?"
She looked at him. "Because that could let you become his army. Neither light nor dark but both, and he needed a general."
"Ah." He kissed her again. "I'll tell Sam in the morning." He pulled her onto his lap, making her squeak. "Came just for the cuddles and the wish?" he asked with a teasing grin.
"No. I missed you on Halloween thanks to the weenies."
"I'm still building because of the guys but they had a point. Some of the things they wanted us to build had a reason and could help us and others doing the job." He kissed her again. "I just wish they hadn't made me want to build every time I got hard." She giggled and took his mind off it. He carried her inside to his spare bed in the spare bedroom/office. She pouted. "I have anti-demon wards on the bed."
"Ooops. This is good. It's comfy enough." She pulled him down to play with. "Will you do the tongue thing, Xander? I miss orgasms."
"Sure, I can do the tongue thing." He moved down to please her, making her squeal and thrash, but Dean could sleep through it since his bedroom was sharing a wall with that room.
Dean looked at the wall he shared with Xander's apartment and thought about banging on it but it was nice that Xander was finally relaxing and getting some again. Even if it was Anya. Damn she was loud! He pulled the pillow over his head but even that didn't help so he went to the couch. Still too noisy. He decided to grab his sleeping bag and go bunk in his father's room for the night. John grunted at him when he opened the door. "Anya came to play with Xander. She's louder than any woman I've ever had."
"You sleep with a demon and I'm beating your ass with a shotgun," John mumbled.
"Yes, sir." He unrolled his sleeping bag and cuddled down in front of the door. It was quieter over here, even if he did have to hear the girls giggling as they tried to sneak out.
"If I can hear giggling, you're too noisy!" Gwen yelled. "Stop it!"
"Yes, big sister," a few shot back then giggled.
John got up and went to shoo them back to bed. He came back. "You weren't kidding. She's so loud she's echoing and Tony's going to sleep in the armory." He laid back down, going back to sleep. At least the boy would be happier tomorrow. A hunt followed by good sex did it for Dean. It should do it for Xander.
Daniel walked over to Xander the next morning and handed him a package. "The girls wanted me to give you this because you're louder than even them."
He looked inside the box then at him. "Anya has one already and I'll tell her she kept too many people up. It'd been a while."
"Uh-huh." He went back to his seat. "Why was Anya down?"
"Dude, Anya?" Sam asked, staring at Xander.
"She didn't get to snuggle on Halloween like she wanted because of the possession thing. But she did cure the problem that made me go build things each time I got horny." House spluttered. "Did the mini robots work?"
"Very well. I tested them on Chase. They pinch too." Xander beamed at him. "That's so mean."
"They were probably sublimating," Sam told him. He looked at Xander. "Anya?"
"What? She was nice to me."
"She's demonic again."
"And? You can make a claim that Cordy was when we dated too." Sam moaned at that. "Not my first one, Sam. Relax and I'll ask her to be more quiet the next time she shows up for cuddles."
"Dude, you drove me to go sleep in Dad's room," Dean said as he came in. "I don't know *what* you did to her, but dude, no way!"
Xander grinned. "I know what she likes and it had been a while."
"A'int no way, dude," Dean said, patting him on the back. "Clearly faked." Xander shook his head. "Had to be with that much noise." Xander handed him over a tape. "You *taped* it?" The girls all stared and so did most of the agents.
"She set it up," he defended. "I simply confiscated it before she could duplicate it and put it online. Again."
Dean snatched it and went to the evidence locker to watch it. There was no way! He came back blushing but shaking his head. "Go take a nap. You clearly need one."
"No, not yet." He put the tape into his pocket and finished breakfast, then headed up to check his desk. He came back to lean down to Danny's ear. "Thanks to Anya, I made a small wish that the power player behind all this crap have a few bad months until the final apocalypse." He went back to his desk.
Daniel leaned out to watch him leave. "I want information on who it was," he called after him.
"I'll have to get it from Thomas and Sammy first," he called before taking the stairs. He was in a happy enough mood to take the stairs instead of the elevator today. Maybe he'd even go jogging later.
Daniel looked at them. "When you know, I want to know." They nodded, going to get the information from Xander.
Since Xander had no work he decided to go work out in the gym. They had a nice fitness center down by the infirmary. They even had a pool but it had cracks. He could fix that and he did have the energy to fix that today. Maybe firing up the chocolate fondue pot had been a strange idea but it had been in there and Anya did so like his tongue. It had been good to do the 'well of chocolate' game with her again.
House heard water going and went to look. "We have a pool?" he asked.
"We have a pool as part of the fitness center but it has cracks," Chase said, checking on it. "It looks like Xander fixed the cracks."
"Did he take something to have that much energy?"
"Chocolate," Dawn said as she joined them. "That is Xander on chocolate hyperness." She leaned in. "Can we girls use the pool?"
"No bikinis, no skinny dipping, and ask Tony for tasteful rules on bathing suits," Xander called back. "They'll hold water. I even scrubbed it. Get me my trunks?"
"Sure, Xander." She called them down and watched him dive into the filling pool to swim around once he had changed. "Is he... He's doing what otters do on the Discovery Channel."
House moaned but nodded. "Maybe we should sedate him?"
"He'll wiggle off the bed," Dawn said dryly. "Make him clean and fix more stuff. Or go for a run with the girls and John." She went to ask Tony. "Xander fixed the pool." Everyone stared at her. "He did." She looked at Tony again. "He said no skinny dipping, no bikinis, and you got to set the level of tasteful for bathing suits."
"Because you have class and Xander wears speedos thanks to his former swim team."
He moaned. "No bikinis. Two-pieces are fine as long as they're covering. We'd prefer one-pieces. Shaving should be done so we're not grossed out by the hair. I know it's not necessary but it's disgusting to most guys so the girls should. Shoes until you get there, no going in sweaty, use public pool manners."
"Okay." She went to post that in the slayers' dorm. Brenda squealed and went to find her suit.
Dean came out to look from his demonology class with the new slayers. "We have a pool?"
"It had cracks. Xander fixed it. He's splashing around right now." Brenda came down in a tasteful two-piece racing suit with a top that zipped up the front and bottoms that covered things. She wrapped a wrap dress around her and found her shoes and a towel on the dryer before heading off. "Xander and Tony's rules." She beamed and went to find her own so she could swim too.
Dean looked at the rule. "Sensible." He went back to his teaching. His dad was going to freak.
John walked into the pool area, staring at his adopted daughter. "What are you wearing, Brenda?"
She got out to show him. "It's tasteful and it covers everything but my belly button, John."
He stared. Then at her. "It's a bit skimpy."
"Would you let Dean wear it?" Dawn called.
"I never had this problem with the boys. Well, except for that one time Dean tried to traumatize Sammy by putting him into a bikini while he was drunk, but that's a nightmare." He shook his head quickly. He sighed. "Fine." She hugged him then dove back in to go back to her laps. He couldn't complain. It was covering. "It stays zipped, young lady."
He smiled, watching Xander swim under the water. "Does he suddenly have gills?"
Dawn treaded water then looked at him. "He's testing his breath control." Xander came up gasping for air. "See?" She went back to swimming. She liked it since Xander had taught her how.
John looked at the girls coming in. "The rule said no bikinis, ladies." Those two went to change. He sighed, settling in to play lifeguard. Sammy came in to help. He had on tasteful, long trunks. He dove in over Dawn's head, making the girls squeal in pleasure. John had to shake his head at that. Dean came in. "Lifeguarding?"
"Yup." Sammy came up from swimming. "Okay, girls. Into the shallow section with Sammy so he can teach you two how to swim." The youngest ones climbed in and let Sammy teach them how to swim, with Xander's help since he was getting bored. When Mary ended up spluttering, Dean stepped in. "Xander, go fix something for me please?" He got out with a sigh but went to shower and change back so he could fix something in the labs. Abby always needed things fixed because she kept blowing things up. He sat on the side of the pool to watch over the girls. "Dawn, adjust that top down?" She looked then blushed and pulled it back down. "Thank you." He smiled when Anna paddled over to him. "Good job!" She beamed and went back to swimming.
John came over, watching them go. "Good work, Sammy. Good job, girls." They beamed and went back to paddling around the pool. The older girls let them and helped when they got tired. Even Dawn. She let Mary have a water piggyback ride.
John Sheppard leaned in. "Can we use it too?"
"Of course," Dawn agreed.
"Without getting pinched?"
"Maybe not," she said with a grin. "Wait until the girls are done?"
"We probably will." He went back to tell the others the girls had the pool for now. They might pinch and squeal. They all nodded at that wisdom. Though Eric Delko did go down to see if they needed lifeguards. He used to swim in college. He checked with Daniel. "The pool works."
"Xander must've had too much chocolate again."
"Possibly. He's up fixing the spots Abby's blown out of the lab walls."
"Sounds like much too much chocolate." He shook his head. "We set down good rules for the girls?"
"Apparently. There's no beach bikinis."
"Even better. Any adults down there?"
"John, Dean, Sam, and Eric Delko just went."
Daniel smiled. "That's wonderful." He went back to his monthly paperwork. "Want to learn how to do this?"
"Hell no. I'll die on a mission first." He went back up to the lab. Xander had already fixed the holes and was now outside. He watched him take off for a jog. "Jackson said he ate way too much chocolate."
"Anya popped in and wanted to know what you needed to run a chocolate fondue pot," Abby admitted. "She mentioned a 'well of chocolate' game. I didn't want to know. I'm too good of a good girl for that sort of thing. Light bondage maybe but not that." McKay blushed bright red and walked off mumbling. "Sorry, not like I've dated recently." She went back to her tinkering. "Get the 'what is this' box out?" she called after him. "Please?" He got into the vault to get that box out so he could find more missing pieces of their assignment. "Why aren't you down swimming with the girls?"
"I asked, they'll pinch."
"Ah. Well, you're cute but only for bimbos really." McKay brayed a laugh at that. "Sorry but even though he's smart, he hides it much too much for smart girls like me."
McKay cleared his throat. "Abigail, since I'm down here, would you like to go to dinner tonight?" he asked in a babble.
She beamed. "I'd love to go to dinner with you tonight, Rodney." She gave him a hug. "As long as we don't go to the Italian place in the next town. You get the runs really badly from there. Even spirits warned Xander about that."
He nodded, clearing his throat. "We can avoid there."
She smiled. "There's a great Mexican place or a family run place in town or there's a good Greek place about fifteen miles away. I can check out one of the sedans for the night."
He smiled. "We'll figure it out later on the way out." She beamed and bounced out to get ready.
Sheppard grinned. "Smooth. Good job. Go shower and shave. That's how dates go." Rodney blushed but went to do that. "Geek love is so cute," he told himself, settling in to look at the new box of 'what am I' crap. Demons made strange things. He held up the small statue looking thing and took it to Thomas, who immediately snatched it and put it in a locking case. "Bad?"
"Fertility symbol. We do not want the slayers around that."
"It was in Abby's unidentified box."
"Some day I do hope the dear one has multiple children to drive her to sanity but that's still dangerous."
"Okay. Anything else like that and we'll know." He went back up there to go over the rest of the box. He saw out the window when Abby and Rodney left, smirking at them. They were adorable together! They were babbling science at each other and probably using it as foreplay.
Xander came in from his run to the town and back, twice, and settled in to wiggle his way through dinner. John watched him then timed it just right so he was done shortly before Xander was. That way he could knock him out, tie him up, and put him somewhere safe he could sleep the chocolate off. He even got Dean's help carrying him off to stick him in a corner of his room. Dean's bedroll was in there so it was good for them. Dean went to wait on Anya to come back. She had to leave pouting but she remembered Xander being that bouncy before. She hadn't woken up happy the next morning. She told him all about the bruised vagina she had after that and how she had even bruised her clitoris. So she'd give him two days then come back. Dean went to bed traumatized by her stories. Sam was still in the library so he got a nice, peaceful night for a change. It was so nice.
House came in to check on Xander the next morning. "He's still sleeping?" he asked the girl who had called him.
"Yes," she said with a pout. "I wanted to go swim before the dinner."
House patted her on the head. "Any adult who can swim can go with you, Anna." He finished checking him over. "He's fine. Just exhausted." She sighed. "Go ask one of the agents to go with you. They might already be over there." She went to change and do that. He nudged Xander awake, getting a sleepy glare. "Good morning."
"It's three hours to Thanksgiving lunch."
"Wake me in two more."
"Fine." He left, going to tell the girls that. "Xander said let him sleep for another two hours so he has time to get cleaned up before lunch." They nodded. "Anna's wanting to go swimming."
"Most of the older guys are over there," Dawn said. "Do you know where Abby is?"
"She went out to dinner last night from what Sheppard told Danny." He walked off, going to check on that. He found Sheppard pacing. "Let me guess, they ran out of gas?"
"Engine blew on the way back. He called and said she had called the guards. They were supposed to come pick them up. I have no idea where they are."
"Her apartment is on two."
"Huh." He went to check. No answer on her intercom button. He went to check the garage. The car wasn't there but it could've been dropped off at a garage. He went to check with the gate. "Did Abby and McKay get back last night?"
"We found the car and brought them back, but we have no idea where they are," the guard told him. "For all we know, they went to the equipment closet in the lab. They were teasing each other with a hypothesis of some sort."
"Ah, geek love," he sighed. The guard cracked up. He saw car pulling up and ended up saluting. "General."
"Don't do that. I'm a guest like you are. Problems?"
"McKay and Abby broke down on their way back from dinner last night. I can't find him."
"If he was in trouble you'd hear," the young guy next to Jack said. "After all, he's loud."
"Good point. Aren't you...?" Jack nodded. "That's cool. Jackson's in the library fussing over a small fertility idol I found in the vault last night." Jack went to park and pull Danny out of the library. John went to check the lab. He hadn't yet. Only the main work areas. He got nearer to the testing labs and heard a noise, shaking his head. He left, locking the main lab door on his way out. Jack gave him an odd look. "They're in the forensic testing lab."
Daniel looked over. "Who is?"
"Abby and McKay."
"Okay then," Danny decided. "We can save them some dinner." Everyone nodded at that. "Hey, Jack Junior, want introduced to some of the girls?"
He looked at him. "They'd hit on me."
"Well, yes, but you're their age, and you can probably understand how their duty works."
"Maybe. Any of them nice?"
"Most of them are nice," Sheppard told him. Something upstairs blew up and he had to say it. "Sounds like it was good."
Jack moaned. Jack Junior moaned and shook his head. Daniel cackled. "Probably. Maybe he was making homemade nitro for chest pains."
Sheppard snickered. "That's so bad."
"Well, yeah, but I haven't gotten to pick on Xander yet today."
"House was just in the girls' dorm. John probably still has him in there."
"Then I'll pick on him at lunch. Come see the base, Mini Jack." He walked hm off to show him around. With any luck he'd get to recruit him or set him up with one of the nicer girls. They'd like Jack. They'd be showing much better taste than the girls in Cleveland did too. Bigger Jack followed along so Danny couldn't get his clone sucked into anything. Because this would drive him and his clone nuts if one of them got sucked over into the insanity Danny ran daily. Though it did seem to keep him young. He seemed to have fewer gray hairs now than when he left the SGC. They ran into the pets and he sighed. "Hey, George," Daniel said, bending down to pet him. "Jack, this is George. He's a pretty harmless demonic shrub."
"What makes him demonic?"
"Well, he's mobile, he's sentient even if he can't speak. He adopted some of the girls and Abby as his pet people." The shrub moved over to sense mini Jack however he did. "That rustling is 'please pet a branch carefully'." Jack did that. The shrub shifted some branches to look at Bigger Jack then back at Mini Jack. "We know, George." It rustled again and he got a few more pets before he walked off. "He's a pretty intelligent shrub. Just don't stand in his light. He's got poisonous spikes."
"Sure," Mini Jack said, nodding quickly. "Any other pets?"
"Binky and Digger. Annabelle named all the pets. They're probably out playing right now but if I know the girls, they'll be having dinner with us."
"Why?" Jack said.
"Because they're part of the family on the base," Danny said with a grin. Messer, Flack, and Taylor walked their way. "Jack, you remember Mac Taylor, Danny Messer, and Don Flack, right?"
"I do. Hey guys. This is my younger version, Jack Junior." Mini Jack waved.
"I didn't know you had kids," Don said with a grin. "Looking forward to the switchover?"
"I'm still at the Academy."
"That kinda sucks but hey, the girls could use a few good penpals and you guys could use some pretty girls with brains writing, right?" Danny offered.
"Yeah. We could."
Dawn came running out. "Danny, is there enough room for Buffy to come?"
"I figured she would anyway. Are the other girls coming too?"
"No, I checked. The ones in LA are eating with the Epps family. The rest of the ones in Cleveland are going to hotel buffet." Danny smiled at that. "I know, we could have but it'd take a lot of cars and they'd be horrified at how the slayers ate. You sure?" Danny nodded. "Killer, thanks." She opened a portal and Buffy walked through. "He said it's fine."
"Thanks, Danny." She gave him a hug. "Aww, there's George." She bent down to pet the little shrub demon. "Someone's been hitting the Miracle Grow. I bet you've grown six whole inches, George." He rattled his bushes in a pleased manner. "C'mon, let's go find the other pets." She walked off with him. "Dawnie!"
"Coming." She closed the portal and followed her sister. "Hi, Mini Jack," she called as she walked.
Both Jacks blinked. "She's bouncier than Xander today," Bigger Jack noted. "How did she know who he was?"
"Should've seen him yesterday when he hit the chocolate pretty hard," Danny said dryly. "But a lot of things go fixed, including the pool."
Jack laughed. "Figures he'd do useful things when he's hyper."
"He ran to town and back twice. He fixed all the holes in the lab. He fixed the pool." Jack moaned, shaking his head. "Oh, House wanted me to check. When this plan goes off, can he recruit from the infirmary there?"
Jack shrugged. "If Janet hadn't been retired after her injury, I wouldn't disagree with him stealing her. It means she couldn't stick me with more needles."
"I'd offer but you'd whine," House called. "Jackson, phone call. For some reason they routed it to the infirmary."
"Maybe. Not sure. Won't talk to me."
"Thanks, House." He went into the armory to pick it up in there. It was the only blinking extension. "This is Doctor Jackson." He listened. "General Hammond, sir. How are you? We're having Thanksgiving dinner in a bit and both Jacks are here. Jack, it's Hammond!" he bellowed. He put him on speaker. "So, what's wrong, sir?"
"Two things. I talked to Jacob. He said that it's unlikely the offworld part of that invasion prophecy will happen. If so it'll be a few minor ones and probably the queens."
"We didn't figure it'd be a full scale assault with multiple system lords," Jack assured him. "We were thinking two minor ones at the most."
"That's probably what it'll be. How about on your end, Doctor Jackson?"
"It looks pretty nasty and it looks like we'll have some minor pushing of the power structure in a few areas. We keep hearing Chicago's going to be a bit nasty but we're not sure why. LA and Miami also look like they'll have some problems but New York has too many families to really break out in big ones. Thankfully it's in June. The girls are really looking forward to the prom in late May."
"Good. That's excellent. Is it set up on the Egyptian end?"
"We've hooked them up with Rupert Giles. Who is a very good researcher and head of the Slayers Council."
"I've heard about him," Hammond said dryly.
"It's nice that they're finally paying Xander for doing three quarters of the admin work," he said dryly. "We'll manage, we always do. Fortunately we found it in enough time to give them some warning. The cities too. Chicago doesn't want to listen so I'm probably going to sic Xander on them."
"That's mean," Mini Jack told him.
Daniel smiled. "Xander gets things done quickly. That's why we send him on the bad cases." Dean leaned in. "Talking to my old boss. Is Xander up yet?"
"He just growled at Brenda so Dad had to smack him on the head to make him stop. We confiscated the chocolate fondue pot from his apartment. Sammy said so." He left them alone to talk.
"That was Dean, he's one of the slayers' teachers. Have you talked to Sam recently, sir?"
"I tried her at home but they said she was there?"
"She's one of the older ones that got given a choice," Jack said grimly. "So she's been here." He paged her and she came jogging in. "Playing around, Captain?"
"I was in the lab then I heard the giggling. I didn't know McKay could giggle nor do I want to know what made him giggle instead of cackling evilly." She blushed. "So I'm avoiding that area all together."
"Captain, you were called to be a slayer?"
She smiled at the phone. "Yes, sir. I've had a lot of fun training for the past few weeks. I'm learning a lot about strange weapons too. I've also learned more about sword work, crossbows, staking and how to make a good stake, how to sharpen any sort of blade, a lot more about guns than I knew before. Some new moves in self defense class. A lot of demons that frankly make my head hurt half the time. Fortunately we do have a compact field manual for emergencies. It's a 'find what it looks like to figure out how to kill it or if you shouldn't have to' chart. It's come in handy as a study guide."
"That's good. I talked to your father and he said happy holidays, he doesn't think he can get down for Christmas. Probably right after New Years."
"I'll be done by Christmas and back on the base, sir."
"Good, you're helping me and Danny's people figure out who gets the axe for unethical stuff in Area 51 and NID," Jack told her. "You, me, Taylor, and Caine."
"We can do that. I can give you a list of names to start with at Area 51."
"They went ahead with the consolidation?" Hammond asked.
"Yes, sir. They put it on a budget bill the president couldn't veto," Jack said grimly.
"They'll all be pocketed under DCIS," Danny told him. "That way they can stay covert and Jack can smooth things over between his successor and us. After he's done figuring out who's going to jail."
"I can give you a good list," Sam promised.
"Please do," Danny agreed. "We got asked to cut ten percent of the budget."
"I'm thinking we can probably cut more like thirty," she told him.
"Sheppard's project needs a small boost too," Danny said dryly.
"Even better. Is Abby going to go up on the computer consolidation?" Jack asked.
"McKay said he had it but I'll offer before they go back," he decided. "If they're serious I'll do what I can to help. The girls will coo."
"They will. They squeal too," she told Jack's clone. "And pounce."
"They used to panty raid," Danny said dryly. Hammond burst out laughing. "They did, General. All the time. House had to use a dye pack to get them out of his apartment." He shook his head. He wouldn't even mention the girls in Cleveland.
"I hears there were more problems with the girls on assignment," Sam said.
Danny looked at her. "The ones in Cleveland decided to share three guys among six of them so they could catch the four diseases they also shared around."
"That's what House said. When three of them didn't learn, Xander went to fix it instead of John. I heard they've taken a vow of celibacy."
"Fortunately the girls here are younger and better girls," Jack said. He saw Sheppard and waved. "Hammond."
"Good afternoon, General."
"To you as well, Colonel Sheppard. Why are you down?"
"We do a lab switch and update about every four to six months to identify things we haven't been able to. Abby has a lot of things that seem to come from around our galaxy. Including Harris' temple."
Jack turned to laugh into a cabinet. "It still doesn't surprise me," Sam decided.
Glen leaned in. "Is there a problem I can help with?"
"We're talking with our former boss, Glen. This was the closest phone."
"All right then." He went to browse the kitchen. The cook swatted him so he went to wait on lunch like the others. He found snack trays and dug into them for now. Fortunately the girls hadn't seen them yet.
Daniel shook his head. "He's quiet and he knows what he's doing," he told Jack.
"He does love the weapons," Sam agreed. "He pets them, sleeps with them, talks to them, coos while he polishes them. He's good to them."
Mini Jack shook his head. "There's a lot of people like that in some jobs."
"It took us nearly six months to find him," Daniel told them. "But he's a good guy. We like him. He babies the slayers in training very well. Plus he does a lot of bullet making."
"Xander seemed to do that whenever he couldn't sleep," Sam told him.
Danny nodded. "Usually." He looked at the phone. "General, would you like to come for Thanksgiving dinner?"
"I'd be pounced, Doctor Jackson. At my age, pouncing is bad."
"The girls won't pounce you, sir. They only pounce the cute young agents," Sam assured him. "I know you're alone today."
"Dawn," Daniel called. She leaned in a minute later. "Can you get someone if we can get a picture of where he is?"
"Of course." A picture beeped on Sam's phone. She showed her so she opened a portal to the place. The line on the phone went dead and Daniel hung up on their side. The general walked through. "Hi. Welcome to DCIS, sir." She shook his hand. "Step through the portal all the way so I can close it?" He did and she closed it before smirking at the younger clone. "C'mon, the girls are behaving for once. We won't even make you pet the unicorns." She dragged him off. He gave her odd looks but oh well. "Wesley, this is Jack Junior."
"Good afternoon," he said, shaking his hand. "Related to General O'Neill?"
"Yeah, I'm his younger version."
"Ah, that's charming. Dawn, do behave."
"Of course!" she snorted. "I'm being a good girl. Taking him hostage means the adults can talk about the consolidation stuff without having to watch him shudder too." She looked at him. "Beyond that, we have cooler sites out here unless you like the lab?"
"No. Not my thing."
"Then you can come help Brenda want to tinker with the cars and stuff. Beyond that, we hijacked two of the snack trays." Jack smiled at that. "Slayers eat a lot." She walked him over to look at what Brenda was looking at. "If you get dirty, John will bitch."
"I'm not getting dirty. I'm seeing what's wrong with this one's engine."
"I don't know. Who had it stall on them?"
She grinned. "Abby and McKay."
"I heard they're giggling in the lab," Jack told her.
She looked at him then smirked. "As long as he makes her happy we won't have to threaten bodily harm. Because Dawn can get us where he works." She gave him a sweet, good girl smile.
He cackled. "I'm sure that'll work."
"We're why they have Eggy," Dawn told him. She looked around. "He didn't bring Tiff back."
"Tiff's laid up with a broken ankle," Sheppard said from the other side of the garage. "She said she was too grumpy to come with us. She's babying Eggy at the moment so he quits trying to chew on the vegan scientist we have." He looked at Jack. "They're not kidding but McKay won't mind. He's not a mean guy outside of the lab."
"He's just got an overloaded self-confidence button," Dawn told him.
"That's one way of putting it but he's a good guy, Dawn. Don't worry about him hurting Abby."
"Sure." She walked Jack over. She still had hold of him.
"Are you claiming me?" Jack asked.
John looked at him. "It's to protect you from some of the younger ones. Xander told them to quit trying to hit on me so they have to try someone new."
Brenda looked up and snorted. "Fat chance." She went back to looking. "I think it's a slipped hose but I don't know why I think that." Dean strolled in. "Dean, this one stalled last night while Abby and McKay were out on a date."
He shuddered. "Those'll be some very geeky babies. They'll probably babble in Klingon or something." He looked. "Slipped hose. Distributor cap is loose too." He pointed at it.
"This hose, right?" she asked.
He nodded. "That hose and it looks like a loose wire." He fixed that with her then he got in to start it, revving it a few times. He turned it off. "These sedans are all pieces of crap for engines."
"Nothing beats a jet," John said happily.
He looked at him. "Can't use that on the highway, dude. Though if I could load one with rock salt missiles...."
Brenda grinned. "You'd be able to get a whole bunch of ghosts."
"Hmm, that's a happy thought. We should suggest that to Dad. See how long he groans for." She giggled. "Clean up. Before Dad sees the grease on your hands." She checked her clothes then went to clean up in the garage sink. Dean was right beside her. "Dad yelled at me for tinkering with the car one year on Christmas."
"Where's the others?"
"Finishing the parade. Sammy tried to watch it every year. I swear if there's a parade he's there." She grinned. "I know, better a parade whore than a cheerleader whore." Brenda laughed, nudging him with her shoulder.
John Winchester leaned in. "Kids."
"Fixing the car that stranded Abby last night," she said.
John came in to look at it then nodded. "It work now?"
"Few loose things, one wire disconnected."
"Sabotage?" she guessed.
"Probably but who'd hurt Abby?"
"Maybe McKay's mouth went off at the wrong person," Jack Junior said. "Wouldn't be the first time."
"Abby would've apologized for him," Dawn assured him. "She's very sweet unless you piss her off." She frowned at the car, casting a small spell on it. "Why would there be electronics under the back bumper?"
Both Johns got down and looked. "Um, crap," Sheppard said.
"Dawn, I need Horatio right now. Calmly, please. Everyone else out." They ran while she called. He came jogging in. "Toolbox is in the corner, Horatio." He got what he'd probably need and came over to look. "This is the car Abby and Sheppard took last night."
"This is not good." He got it undone and brought it out. "Let me check it for fingerprints. Who touched it?"
"You. Dawn cast a spell."
"Even better. Let's clear the rest of the car." They looked it over. No other devices. Usually one was enough though. Even if this one hadn't gone off due to a misplaced wire. Horatio took it up to forensics to run the fingerprints. Abby leaned in. "We found out why the car stalled."
"Ooh." She looked at his hands then at him. "Was that on the car?"
"It was but Dean and Brenda were both wiping their stained hands so I'm guessing they got under the hood as well."
"Hmm. We were at the family run place."
"I'll let the locals know." She gave him a hug. "Let me pull fingerprints." She nodded, going to tell McKay that. He was offended but Horatio gave him a look so he calmed down. When he got a report back, he headed down to the gate and called the police to meet him there. One of the local guys came up, looking happy. He held up the device and the smile left. "On the car that stranded Abby and McKay last night after their date. The trigger wire was laid wrong. These are the fingerprints I pulled off and I did pull the bomb myself."
The guy looked at them then at him. "You were bomb squad?"
"Many years ago," he agreed quietly.
"Thank you for this. Where were they?"
"That small family restaurant."
The guard coughed. "Their engine stalled. We had to go pick them up."
"Brenda and Dean were in the finishing stages of cleaning off grease when they ran them out of the garage," Horatio told him.
"Most of the time you can't tell Brenda's not a Winchester by birth," the guard agreed.
The officer looked at them. "Letting us handle it?"
"You probably should, before Xander gets upset or the girls do," Horatio told him. "They do consider Abby a big sister."
The officer hissed. "Understood. I'll let my boss know, Agent Caine. Thank you." He headed off to the office. His boss was at home so he called. "Someone tampered with one of the DCIS vehicles last night. Caine pulled fingerprints off the bomb he removed." He hung up and went to find the one matching one they could. Plus see if there were any cameras in that area. They'd need it for the trial. He hoped they made it to trial. Some of those girls were scary when they were mad. Brenda being one. Dawn too. His boss pulled up beside him so he told him what he knew so far. His boss nodded, going to do a search for cameras for him. They liked the guys at the base and Abby was well liked in town, even if she was a bit strange.
Xander and John Winchester came out of the armory when a male voice yelled Xander's name. "Damn you're loud," he complained.
"Boy, how dare you thwart me!" he screamed, pulling up magic.
John shot him with the colt. No effect.
Xander shot him with his special bullets. Those made him scream and fade out. "He wasn't a demon."
John looked at him. "Who was he?"
"Varcher. The one who was the power player before Anya let me wish up a bit of bad luck for his plans for DCIS and all of us." He grinned. "We should see if my bullets in the colt work as well."
"We might. Next time we have a chance." They went inside to look at them. They were made to fit it too. It might help. "Why did he want us?"
"He's a Fallen," Xander said quietly. "Tried to pick a third side." John moaned. "We're all a bit dark and a bit light so he wants a war group." They shared a look. "Still not a great idea."
"True." They finished up their present job, heading into the caf for dinner. They had an extra table for the extra guests but it was good for them.
Daniel looked over. "I heard a gun shot?"
"Varcher showed up. The relic bullets I made worked on him when the colt didn't."
"Good work, you two. Thank you." They sat down and did a visual check of their table. Jack Junior was at the end of their table with some of the older girls who were talking about their off-base calls. Buffy was listening to the trio that had went on retrieval. It was good for them. Cook nodded, bringing out the rolling tray of food. He stood up and helped her place the first turkey. There was going to be a lot of them around the dining hall. He cut the one for their table. John and Dean stared each other down for the right to cut for their table. Buffy pouted but John took it to carve anyway. Xander was snickering quietly over Buffy's pout. She punched him on the arm and Dawn swatted her. So it was normal over there. The girls let John cut the second and third ones too. Dean got the ham that appeared. The girls all cooed at that and took slices. John let the last one stay whole for a bit. They dug in and talked, relaxed and calm for now. It was a good sign for the future.
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