Demon Criminal Investigative Services: Downtime and Duties.
Daniel looked around the room he was in. He hated to be in this room. He really hated to be here. He knew why Xander hid from these people all the time. Even Jack was hiding from this duty. He really needed to hire them a press person to deal with the press. Before he said something he shouldn't on film.
"Are you ready, Director Jackson?" a young woman with a clipboard asked.
"I should have hired a press person."
She smiled. "It's not that bad. It's not live like when the dragons appeared and your third- in-command had to make multiple statements."
"He and Tony are hiding or else they'd be here instead of me. I always come off as a geek."
"Well, you do have multiple degrees, sir, so I guess that's reasonable." He nodded, straightening out his tie before following her. He sprayed breath spray before he walked onto the stage, mentally hoping it'd render him mute but no such luck this time. "Sit on the right, Doctor Jackson." He nodded, smoothing himself out before sitting down. She clipped on his microphone. He was doing a deep breathing exercise. "You gave talks before I'm sure, sir. It's like the question and answer period after one of those, only there's no audience."
"No one liked my theories that much."
She smiled. "I'm sure you're a dynamic speaker once you get engaged. Relax, she's not mean today." She straightened out his tie again then got out of the reporter's way. "All yours, ma'am." She fled back to the wings. She had his cellphone in case something major happened.
Daniel was silently swearing at Tony and Xander for taking the slayers shopping instead of doing this for him. That might be a punishment but not enough of one in his book. He mentally calmed himself, seeing the amused look. "I'm always afraid I'll come off looking too geekish or stupid when I stutter."
"Stuttering is fine. We can cut out some limited stuttering, Director."
He smiled. "That's good to know but I'm still hiring a press person."
She smiled back. "That could help in most things." She checked herself, getting a nod. Then she twitched his tie back some. "There, better." She sat up again. "All right, in three. Two. One. I'm here with Director Jackson of DCIS. Or do you prefer Doctor?"
"Either's fine, thank you," he offered. "My people usually just call me Daniel."
"Thank you, Doctor." He kept smiling. "There's going to be some moving within the federal government from what I heard?"
"Yes. Late last year Congress and the president shifted some of the agencies that have similar but not overlapping duties under our banner."
"Why under your banner?"
"We have the bigger duties and can easiest integrate some of the other agencies."
"I see. The fact that a few of those have had accusations of lab mispractices doesn't count into that?"
"It does count toward why they were joined under us instead of us under them, but it's also why my first act of this merger is to have an investigative team go in to look over their research to find ethical, scientific, and other faults in their methods. A few of my people with some from another group that's coming in under our covert head are going; they'll have the authority to do whatever they need to straighten any messes out so we don't have complications." He pushed his glasses back up his nose. "They're starting tomorrow actually. The group from DCIS are already going over the lists they made with the others of what constitutes an immediate problem and what constitutes something that can be handled without possible arrest or immediate firing." He started to adjust his glasses again but kept himself from doing it.
"This covert branch?"
"Some of the research areas coming in are highly classified. That's why we created a sub branch, basically, for the covert areas. My only assistant director will be over it to make sure nothing too wrong is going on."
"You know who this person is?"
"He's a newly retired general I've worked with in the past. I trust, like, and respect the man for what he's done. I know if there's a problem in any of the labs like has been accused in the past he will be stopping it as soon as he hears."
"So, some nepotism for your friends?" she suggested.
"No, he retired from his old job as of the first of the year back in October, before we heard about the merger. I knew he could handle not only the odd things DCIS handles, but won't ...freak out to put it mildly if something comes out of the labs that shouldn't be let loose on humanity again. Like the foam we made last week by accident that ate bricks, clothes, and some hair on one researcher's head."
She smothered a smile. "Playing around?"
"One of the slayers' science projects. Abby, our head of the lab, was working with her because that particular girl wants to join a lab some day so she's been temping in. It was funny afterward but a bit of a problem until we could corral it and dissipate it." He smiled slightly. "The slayer did pout a lot about it but knows now how to contain her experiment. Jack helped us hose down the mess since he was on the base with us when it broke free. Didn't bat an eye, just grabbed a hose and ordered how the containment field should go."
"I see." She smiled. "You do seem to have a fairly lax governing style. It's said you're the most laid back of all the federal directors."
"With what we deal with daily, me being an ogre about clothing or other things isn't going to help morale or my guys work better or easier. We're all adults and if we have a problem we're small enough to work it out before it can impact the caseload. I try to stay relaxed about most things. Unless it's an emergency."
She nodded. "Who will the labs be under?"
"Abby Scuito is our head of R&D and the labs. If she feels overloaded, she said she'll suggest someone to take half of her job but for right now she's certain she can handle it with a lab assistant during the merger and the equipment merging we're having to do."
"Is she the one who updated the forensic databases?"
Daniel smiled. "She is. She's still working on that. She finds new things every few weeks as we run into more and more species. Including updating some of the regular forensics at the same time." She nodded at that. "She's picking which conference she'll be speaking at this year to announce what she's found since the last one. She thinks it'll probably be this summer or possibly early fall."
"That's good to know. Do you have any problem with the cities setting up their own offices?"
"As long as they use ethical guidelines it's no different than the FBI compared to local officers. As long as they're ethical and fair in their dealings then it takes some of the stress off us. I know a few more major cities are getting their own soon. Atlanta's is due to be up next year sometime. LA's is nearly up at the moment. We're consulting with them for the most part. Teaching them what we know and how we do things so they know where the ethical line is. Plus how to avoid some common language barrier problems so no one else gets offered a wife by speaking to a female of certain species."
"A few do. Most don't. They got that one fixed when someone questioned her about a crime."
"Oh. I see." She blinked. "That's interesting."
He smiled. "It's an interesting, complex, sometimes frustrating job," he agreed. "We're dealing with a lot of inter-clan or inter-species issues at the moment instead of human on demon or demon on human crimes. Apparently they all took off for the holidays."
She nodded, smiling again. "That's good to know. Why is the DCIS main office so far out?"
"The president that set us up picked a base that had been closed to refurbish and reuse. We do love the base, even if a few of the guys complain about the snow. It has everything we need and it cost a lot less to set up by refinishing that one. The biggest expense so far has to be rehab some of the older buildings for living quarters."
"So we've heard. Does your base have regular houses?"
"Not at the moment but the local town is only two miles away and it has a great real estate market if anyone wants to live there. The Slayers Council rents a large rooming house in town for the older slayers that recently got activated."
"How did that happen?"
He paused then looked at her. "Someone made a wish to a wish demon," he said honestly. "That the girls who were aging out be allowed to choose to keep their gifts. Before they aged out at twenty-three. The downside of granting it was the activation of so many aged- out slayers."
She nodded. "That has to be tough on them."
"It can be. A lot of them needed training when they came in. Some had no self-defense training when they decided to take on the duty. They're learning with the slayer's teaching crew. The girls who had been called before are all helping them with their training. Soon we'll have more of them on the patrol ready list so they can handle things or even take over spots in the slayer houses we're setting up overseas to handle problems wherever they happen." He shifted to cross his feet. "Or if they want to they can go to Cleveland first for practical field experience."
"That sounds like you have a plan."
"We have since we heard about it. We work pretty closely with the Slayers Council since they're keeping the younger and untrained ones near or on the base with us for their protection."
"That sounds like it helps them."
"It also raises a great number of students for the local school," he agreed.
She smiled, nodding a bit. "I'm sure the base is very good for the local town."
"Half the time they're highly amused by us," he said dryly. "Last week two slayers were walking down the street eating ice cream talking about various slime and laundry issues. The officers who heard them told us they only shook their heads and walked off to laugh in private."
"Are you teaching the slayers anything?"
"In the beginning I was doing english as a second language classes because some of the girls had only their native languages, but I speak a number of them." She nodded. "Now, I'm working on the library translation project. We're translating the old books into English from their original language so we can put them into a digital format."
"You don't consider this a possible conflict of interest in the future?"
"No, I don't. I think we've found a lot of information that wasn't accessible to anyone but a few researchers before. The old council had a lot of books in various languages, the most being an offshoot form of Latin that they used. Translating it makes it more accessible to other agents and those new city departments. Putting it in digital format makes it easier to share among us and if another country wants to they can translate it from English easier than some of the formats that had been used before. Also, moving ten thousand books on CD are a lot easier than moving them in book format."
"I guess it would be. Ten thousand?"
"We had that many before the probates of the old Council's people. Since then, we've claimed their libraries for the Slayers Council. Those are being turned over to them once they have their new center set up in Cleveland. Hopefully about the same time as we have them all in digital format. One of their former librarians is doing the project. He had started in the Bahamas, where he had been stationed before."
"The old Council got blown up before Sunnydale fell in. A few months before. It was done by the same problem that made Sunnydale sink in." Her mouth opened. He held up a hand. "Xander and Wesley were the only watchers left as far as we could find. The rest were in deep hiding until the probates brought them out. They moved to claim the old Council's things to restart so they could protect the girls. They had to go through the British courts. Any who had no children they worked with the judge on that so any damaging artifacts couldn't get out. There was a lot of possessed things in their wills. Then we compiled them for when the new Council was fully set up and ready to fully take over again. Which looks like it may be next year if Mr. Giles can get the building he wants updated how he needs."
"Xander Harris? Your third-in-command?"
"Second-in-command at the Slayers Council as well. Wesley had been running it while Giles was in a coma after the explosion in LA."
"Are there still that sort of risk around the girls?"
He smiled. "No. Not any longer. All that was stopped first. Back before DCIS went fully operational. Before then we were an office in the Department of Homeland Security that gave out information to the hunters who were dealing with things." He adjusted his glasses again. "We ended up helping the slayers because we evacuated the younger, the girls who couldn't fight, and the injured from Sunnydale before the battle to keep them out of harm's way. The explosion in LA happened the same day Sunnydale's battle was fought. By ten days later that situation was handled and stopped."
"That's good." She considered her victim. "There's rumors of inappropriate relations with the slayers."
"No, there's been crushes by the slayers. Most of the girls were raised fairly isolated and some hadn't even been allowed to go to school around boys. A few of the teenagers did crush. One did try something but was shot down by the agent himself and he moved to make sure she knew that she couldn't do that. Xander held it down a lot but now and then the girls acted like girls, which we were happy to see. They panty raided a few times and things like that. Mostly it was just crushes."
"I guess all girls go through that phase."
Daniel grinned. "Some of the girls say that Tony and Xander hired for eye candy instead of competence. They hired for competence but the girls are still girls," he agreed. She smiled at that, nodding a bit. "We're down to only having a few younger teens on the base. They've been there for a while and they know the sort of problems the first girls had aren't going to happen again. Then again they had less time in that sort of isolated training environment so it shouldn't happen anyway."
"What about rumors that there's boys who'd like to date the slayers but can't? Something about overprotective guardians?"
"Most of the Council is fiercely protective of the girls not going near the wrong sort of people. They don't keep them from dating, but they do check out the boys to make sure they're not druggies and things. They see it as being good big brothers and fathers to them. Which I can agree with. It doesn't cut into the girls' social lives that often except for things like parties with drugs or alcohol. As a matter of fact, the girls have been asking to throw one on base so we're figuring out where. There's also been a lot of build-up to the prom coming up this year. The girls are going all out for it."
"They sound like they're nearly normal girls."
"They are, they simply have an extra difficult job after hours sometimes. Depending on what happens and whether they're on base or assigned to Cleveland or LA."
"Not New York?"
"New York has their local office set up. They have one girl who's mostly trained who wanted to go up there to be with members of her family. They're saving the spot for her when she's done. They think around late summer for her to be assigned. At the same time a lot of the foreign houses are going to be staffed by the girls and the older slayers as well. The ones who've been in the field full time get first pick. They've settled most of the assignments as far as I've heard. The first one opens in late February but I heard the rest will be staffed by June."
"So that was a matter of not having enough girls trained?"
"Basically. Plus we knew that the first few years of the problems switching from Sunnydale to Cleveland would cause some ripples that would create bigger problems. They were honest about the threats getting a bit less as that wore out. That's why the invasion happened the next year instead of this year."
"Oh, I see. So less harsh apocalypses coming?"
"Probably. I'm told there'll be one every spring but they won't be as critical. City eating instead of whole world eating we hope. Which the girls and the agents will still handle."
"Good. I was in LA during the invasion and it was horrifying to watch."
He nodded. "I was with my guys helping them stop it with the girls. It was for us too."
She looked at him. "Some of the faces that showed up to help aren't in the current roster of agents."
"We were joined by a few military officers who were at the base for some help at the time. They volunteered."
"Oh. Interesting. Are they still around?"
"We see them every once in a while to update and synchronize the records and pass on new information from some scientific investigations."
"Would that be the same project you were listed as being part of but it's too classified to even let out a name?"
He smiled. "You know very well I can't talk about that. Sorry but I do not want to end up in my own jail."
"I can agree with that. Are they with it?"
"I can't comment on that either. Sorry."
"No, that's all right. I understand about that. Do we know if one will happen this spring?"
"We have had hints of one in Egypt. We've liaisoned with the proper people over there. It appears that one's handled very well. If another one happens here in the US, we haven't heard rumors yet. I won't rule it out. Apparently the group in Sunnydale had been stopping them yearly for about eight years before it fell in." He shifted to uncross his legs. "If we do hear of one coming we'll warn wherever it'll take place as soon as we know. Sometimes, like with the invasion, you can't warn ahead of time. We knew that it would happen sometime but not the date. Sometimes we hear a date, sometimes we don't."
She nodded. "So if you say run..."
"It's a really horrible situation and I'd hide or run," he agreed, looking a bit grim. "We warn as we hear and we send agents out to handle situations before they blow up."
"Some cases you've sent both agents and slayers. Doesn't that send a mixed message?"
"Those situations means that I think the agents are going to need to be backed up by someone or something stronger. Those are team cases instead of individual cases and at the time, the slayers are acting DCIS agents so they have the same responsibilities. They have to conform to the same rules but they can get into places my agents won't ever be able to go for information. Also having them there seems to make the situation less than it had seemed to be for some reason," he finished dryly.
"Does that mean they have the powers to arrest?"
"No, they hand anyone who needs arrested to the agent. Who arrests and sends them back to the jail for a hearing with the judge we have. We do go on the US penal code."
"Yet there's reports that one of your agents beheaded a demon in New York after a case?"
"The demons involved asked the agent to handle it in their version of the legal code. What he did was punishable by death. He asked the local office what they wanted to do since it was a local crime instead of a federal level crime. That is the proper procedure in that situation. The local office decided to let the demons use their stricter punishment since it was a crime that had hurt a child within that clan. They asked him to carry it out and he did. Then he wrote reports for all the parties involved who needed one after handling a vampire menace in the local community that a slayer hadn't gotten to yet. A lot of the demon communities have stricter rules than we do because they were afraid to be outed to the wider world. We all respect that but if we hear we almost always use our codes instead of theirs unless it's specifically asked for and it's a harsher punishment. The same agent turned in a few agents who had the 'hunt them all down' mentality and had to send a child off a weapons bust in the same area a year earlier. He made sure that child was not harmed when it was found there and sent it to another clan of the same species to be taken care of with a summary that they were under arrest for arms dealing."
"Then that would have been Agent Harris?"
"It would have been. He was the only agent I had that first year who could handle any higher weapons that might appear on a case. His team used to joke about being the last resort before the National Guard had to step in."
She gave him a look. "It's said that some of the demons are incredibly scared of your agents and their tempers."
"In the one I hear the most of, that's because he used to be a demon hunter. He only took on those who were dangerous. Vampires and those actively causing a problem. They are scared if he has to show up; it's something bad. That's all I sent him on because he was the most fully trained agent I had when I took over DCIS in it's infancy. Xander was teaching the demonology lectures to the agents and the slayers at first. Until he hired their teaching team to take some of his own job.
"As we got more agents who could handle the artillery cases, some dealer clans, and other higher level cases more of them got sent out, usually with Xander at first so they learned how to handle the worst of the worst if they're attacked, or heaven forbid if they walk into an ascension situation. One of Xander's first field cases was an ascension in Seattle. He had to stop the demon that went from human looking to fifty feet long in that case within the space of a few minutes. It was going to dine on the locals. He had to buy weapons off the black market to handle it if I remember right." She gaped.
"Until the invasion we were considered a covert agency ourselves. It's Xander having to handle things like that which gave him the scary reputation. That and he'll protect the slayers with his life if he has to. Even the ones who're scared of him will help him solve a situation when they happen. The case in Miami that turned out to be multiple demon gangs got a lot of cooperation from the locals because it was him and a few slayers he had trained. They knew he was going to be fair and he took complaints about other issues at the same time to find the root cause behind the instigation of the war."
"So you believe it's more respect and scared if they come into his sights?"
"I do and that's what I've heard when I asked a few. They've even got cute names they call him," he offered with a small smile. "Him and the slayer's training crew."
"It's said a few of your people go out looking for trouble."
"No, they seem to be magnets that trouble is drawn to. Like Xander's first day off. The two guys who make half the slayer's training crew with their father and Xander took Xander to the local strip club for some relaxation. He's single, young, it's a normal guy thing to do. They get there and after a few minutes, the dancers realize they're DCIS personnel and attack them because they're demons who look human but have been preying on truckers and others who had been passing through. Xander, Dean, and Sam had no idea about it. Weren't there about that matter. Were there to relax on Xander's first night off since he had joined. When Tony, my second-in-command, went to find them the next morning because they were late for work, he found the mess from where they had to defend themselves. The local sheriff pulled the surveillance tapes. One of them yelled 'they're DCIS' and leapt off the stage to attack Xander." She snickered. "Things like that happen around Xander and a few of the others. Personally I think it's a curse on Xander," he finished dryly. "Xander always has some good stories to tell whenever he takes a break."
"I can see why. To switch topics, are you hiring?"
"We are actively hiring about a team's worth of people. Before it was by recruitment but we've gotten big enough now that Tony and Xander can't go recruiting as often. We've got a few good applications in but they have to be able to deal with the seeming insanity we deal with daily. It weeds out a lot of the applicants. It also seems to weed out a lot more of the female applicants than the males. Tony tried to recruit about ten female agents and officers when he was making the first teams and they all said they weren't going to be able to deal with it. They all said they were too sensible."
"We had wondered if there was some gender discrimination."
"Not on purpose. For every fifteen male applicants we get one female applicant. I'll hire anyone who can do the job. I've worked with some amazing female soldiers in the field and in combat situations in the past. I have nothing against hiring women or minorities but they never seem to apply."
"Would you hire married couples?"
"I would. Even if both are agents, we'd keep them off the same team. That's standard procedure to keep your objectivity in the field but I see nothing wrong with it. I haven't gotten any but we do have married and up to three bedroom apartments on base."
"You'd put it in through the website?"
"You would. I know there was a glitch about a month back. The site ate a local officer's request to look over a case. He called to check for an update and we found out that way. We check the incoming mail as it comes in. My IT department is small but efficient."
"Good to know." She shook his hand. "Thank you for taking time to talk to me."
"It's not a problem. It's better to clear up any assumptions instead of letting them become wild speculation."
"And cut," the director said.
"No offense, but you guys scare the crap out of me so I'm hiring a press person," he said quietly, cracking her up. "Which group said Xander was that scary?"
"A vampire my daughter knows."
He nodded. "If they're feeding or hunting he will take any and all vampires out," he agreed. "They're almost always a threat, with very few exceptions that are eating out of a butcher's shop."
"My daughter got that one." He looked at her. "Accidentally. She trapped her in the house with the sunlight and she went up."
"It happens," Daniel offered. "Tell her I'm sorry she had to do that. It's a hard thing. Xander did that once."
She nodded. "I'll do that."
"Did you hear we've been losing applications?"
"We weren't sure it wasn't by recruitment only."
"No, it hasn't been since I took over really. Before then it was more practical to start off that way. Tony knew most of the people he recruited."
"I heard he recruited for quality and prettiness."
"The girls think so too," he said with a grin. "Thank you for not trying to eat me alive." He shook her hand again and stood up, taking off the microphone to hand to her. "Have a good day. I've got to go abuse Xander and make him not take vacation time soon." She smirked. "The last one he came back with a realm who thinks he's a god of lust." He walked off, taking his cellphone back. "Thank you, ma'am."
He smiled, heading outside to his rental car. He hated LA. He would definitely have to hire a press consultant.
Abby pounced him as soon as he walked into the building. "You mentioned me. You didn't have to mention me. Thank you!" She gave him a squeeze.
"I did so," he said with a grin. "You do a lot of the work around here." She beamed and bounced off again. "Is Jack in yet?"
"He's nagging Xander about letting the girls paint his place."
"I was going to let them paint it pink," he said dryly, heading up to the work floor. "What color did they paint it?"
"Ecru," Xander said, holding up a message. "From the girls in LA who think you need to hire more eye candy, boss."
Daniel took it to read then smiled and tucked into his pocket. "Don't feel bad, Jack. I was going to let them paint it pink."
"Don't you dare," Jack warned with an evil smirk.
"Aren't you supposed to be doing the lab evaluation?"
"We had to put it off by three days because Area 51 set part of itself on fire and is under quarantine when some of the samples went up."
"Charming," Daniel said. "Tony, find someone to answer questions for me, you, and Xander please?"
"Sure, boss." He held out a small stack of papers. "In order of competence and ability to answer tough questions without giving out any information. Gibbs likes the second one."
"I like the second one; she looks harmless but she can kill your ass before you realize it," Xander quipped.
"Why isn't she on top?"
"She hates us and she's half demon," Tony said.
"Ah. Well, we'll talk to the top five." Tony grinned. "Anything come in while I was gone?"
"Not yet," Tony said. "They took off for the holidays."
"Did I look too geeky?"
"Nah," Tony said. "Less than Xander did about the dragons."
"Not like I've had to publically speak before," Xander defended. "I didn't even have to give reports in class." He looked at Jack. "You do know that the rumors going around think you're a *special* friend he gave nepotism to?"
"Figures," he said dryly. "Not true but figures. Should've heard it when we were on the same team."
"There's a lot of people on the old base who thought we were together," Daniel agreed. "They used to call us fighting lovers' spats and all that. Even the General got in on that."
Danny grinned. "What? They did. Hammond joked about it a few times."
Jack shuddered. "That's not going to happen."
"If you want. How do you like your place?"
"It's good. I need to buy a couch but it's good."
"Doesn't it have one?"
"It's uncomfortable so I donated it to a new apartment."
Xander pointed. "Six miles that way, turn right, go two hours, and it's a major city with furniture places that will deliver. I had to order my hide-away in my office."
"Just don't do what he did and attract seven evil women with bad plans for the city," Don Flack quipped.
"Two with bombs," Speed added with a grin.
Xander looked at him. "Jealous it didn't rub off on you when you were in my head?" he taunted back.
"Hell no. I'd never get anything done if I had girls clinging to me like you and Eric do. I have no idea how you get anything done since Eric doesn't."
"Hey!" Eric defended. "I do plenty of research cases."
"Next field case is your team's," Tony quipped. "Thanks, Eric."
"Fine." He shook his head, going back to his present case. "So how was possessing Xander when you were in his head?"
"It's crowded in there," Speed admitted. "Plus he has this internal monologue of strange thoughts we never have to hear." Everyone but Xander looked at him. "I'm still wondering about the if salmons are pink why aren't they salmon pink thought you had that one day."
"They're not the same color as salmon pink," he defended. "That means someone somewhere screwed up. My favorite is still wondering why street signs are all geometric shapes instead of funner, more noticeable shapes."
"Having stop signs in a flower pattern?" Jack suggested.
"Wouldn't that be more noticeable? Changing it would get more notice since so many people can apparently ignore geometric shapes. It worked in that one town where they had fish shaped street signs."
Jack walked off shaking his head. "I don't wanna know." He got into Daniel's advil stash. "Do I get an office too, Danny?"
"Only if you want one."
"Then work out of the apartment, Jack. Or out in the barn or something."
"I can see the unicorns helping me with paperwork," he said dryly. "They have a built in hole punch."
Xander looked up the hall at him. "Binky would sign it with hoof prints but they won't punch holes in paper with their horns." He went back to work.
"Did we try that?" Don Flack asked him.
Xander nodded. "Yeah." He grinned. "I don't think they wanted to hurt me with it. It's for self defense, not for playing around with."
"Good to know," Jack decided. He shook the thought off before it could root.
"He's only bad for some people's mental health," Danny Messer quipped. "That's how you know you're too straight for here."
"I thought the last posting would've cured that," Jack said as he walked off shaking his head.
House met him at the elevator as he was coming off. "Abby or Xander?"
"Figures. He does it to me too sometimes." He limped that way. "Messer, what part of exam did you consciously block out so you wouldn't have to pollute my magnificence with your meager nature?"
Danny looked at him. "I'm working, Doc. Catch me later this week."
"Fat chance. Do it now or be carried." Danny snorted. "Flack, now."
"Doc, he'll paste me or give me food poisoning."
Xander looked at Danny. "He'll ask Jack."
"Still won't work," Danny said dryly.
"Xander, get him and drag him down there or else I'm letting the girls watch me do your next exam."
Xander gave him an odd look. "If they want to watch your tape of poking me with things, go for it."
House glared at him. "Not like I liked it."
Xander snorted. "Yeah, is that why you had to do it three times?"
"Chase liked it."
"Chase is cute. Does he squeal well?" Xander quipped with a grin. Speed choked. "What?"
Tony shook his head. "I don't want to know," he decided. "Messer, do it or have to go shopping with the slayers." Danny cackled. "Bra and shoe shopping," he said without looking up. "One's got to get her first one soon."
Danny groaned, going to be poked and looked over. House followed with a bright, happy smirk. His latest torture victim was even willing. He was so happy. Chase gave him an odd look. "He graciously decided to brighten up our basement."
Danny smirked at him. "Gee, Doc, didn't know you thought I was that cute."
"You're not but Flack apparently thinks so." Danny blushed. "You're how old?"
"So no prostate exam this time." He put on a pair of gloves. "Doesn't mean you can't get the rest of it." He pointed at the exam area, letting him trudge that way.
"How did you get him down here?" Chase asked.
"Tony told him he'd have to bra and shoe shop with the girls." He smirked evilly. He would've chuckled too but it would be overkill. He followed Danny to do his yearly exam.
Chase shook his head. "He's getting too big of a kick being evil," he muttered.
Jack walked in three weeks later, finding the work floor empty. "Did we have issues while I was being bored to death by geeks who wanted to hide their attempt at being bad?"
"Six team cases came in over the weekend," Daniel admitted. "How bad is it?"
"We can buy new mercedes for the teams." Horatio walked in with a bound report. "You took time to bind it?"
"It only took a minute. We have it on the floor." He handed it to Daniel. "Ten percent of Area 51 is still employed. NID has about thirty percent left, but all the higher ups were arrested last month anyway." He smiled. "The remaining scientists do have some good research topics and they wanted to hold a conference with Abby sometime soon."
"They were thinking around March," Jack agreed. "One suggested a nice calm place like a spa."
Daniel smirked. "Many conferences are held in those sort of places."
"We saw many doctors going to Bermuda and such places for theirs," Horatio agreed. "Many died on their way through Miami."
"I feel sorry for your successors," Jack said dryly.
"Most of us are here." He smirked at the boss. "The detectives will carry on or try to join us."
Daniel shook his head. "If they open a bigger office, the Commissioner in Miami wanted some of you back to take it over."
Horatio shrugged. "We'd have to talk that over. How is their local office doing?"
"Quiet. It's been fairly quiet since the gang war problem. Since then there's been about six cases."
"That's good," Horatio said with a small smile. He left, going to unpack.
"He's good," Jack said. "Calm. When one of the bad idiots tried to rush me he and Mac got them down before I did more than look in his way."
"Mac was a Marine."
"It's good. I don't mind working with him. Caine's a bit cold but that's fine too. They didn't talk down to me and didn't try to explain things too much." He smirked. "Now what, boss?"
"Now? Well, now we have a few issues to deal with but that's mostly Abby's to deal with. Did we bring a list of what they're working on?" Jack pointed at the report. "That works. Get some dinner before the girls get there."
"Do they always eat like that?"
"Yes." He smiled. "They pay part of the food costs because of that." He got into the report to look it over, paging Abby to join him. She came in to sit on the arm of his chair, getting an odd look. "I can photocopy it for you."
"Why? I like reading over people's shoulders." She smiled. "Is that my people?"
"All yours." He handed it over. "Make me a copy."
"Sure." She gave him a hug then bounced off to go over the report. What she saw did not amuse her but she knew someone who used to work at Area 51 and would know about the people that still had jobs. She scanned in the report and sent it to her honey. He was so cute! Growly, scowly, blood sugar problems and all. She bounced around reading the report. This called for a building night. She texted Dean, who came to build with her while they waited. Since Xander was somewhere by the Mexico/Arizona border.
Daniel opened up the call the next morning, sipping his coffee. "Daniel Jackson."
"Daniel, it's Xander. Can you please tell this local sheriff that I *am* an agent and if he does not get out of my way I'm having him and his whole department arrested?"
"Of course you will," Daniel agreed. He conferenced someone in that area in. "Give me a second, Xander."
"Assistant Director Abe Collisar, who is this?"
"Doctor Daniel Jackson."
"What can I do for DCIS?"
"You can come arrest these locals who have decided I'm under arrest for talking to a suspect," Xander said bluntly. "Before I lose my fucking temper."
"Um, you are?" he asked.
"Aw, shit. Where are you, Agent Harris?"
"Pitts. With *that* Sheriff. In his office. With my team."
"I'll be there in an hour."
"Thank you. Daniel, can we please have someone come get the gear?"
"Of course. Need a helper team?"
"Coming," Daniel promised. "I can get Dawn to send someone."
"I think we can handle this," the FBI ADA said. "Gear and all since I've heard what you guys bring on cases. I can have my people there in an hour. What sort of case was it?"
"We had a report of someone using the demons to smuggle more harmful demons in," Xander said. The phone on that side was hung up on.
"I'll be there in under an hour," the FBI ADA said then hung up.
Daniel hung up and called down there. "This is Doctor Daniel Jackson with DCIS. I want to talk to my people or else I am going to bring down the wrath of hell on you. Yes, we can. We know plenty of demons who would *love* to take over your town. And they all like Xander Harris." He smiled at the report that Xander was in handcuffs for slugging the sheriff who had hit him first. "That's fine. I expect that from Xander. Now please." He was handed to Speed. "Are you guys all right?" He smiled. "FBI ADA Colliser is coming your way within an hour. Let him handle it. He can handle the gear. He said so. Get and keep Xander calm before he calls something in to eat them. Yes, Speed, plenty of them want him badly enough to do that. You know that and now they know that. Good. Thank you."
Down in Arizona Speed hung up. "Xander, Daniel said to sit down and wait on the FBI. They'll be here within an hour."
Xander looked at him. "He hit me first. No matter how playground that sounds I'm not going to take a punch from anyone." He looked at the sheriff who was still on the floor.
"Danny's worried that something will use this as a ploy to get you."
Xander grimaced. "There's none of them here."
"Bullshit and you know it."
"Fine." He came over to sit with his guys, picking the handcuff locks on one side. He looked at the other side, frowning some. "It's my weaker side," he told the officer with a grin. He got it off and handed them back. "There you go."
"Thank you, sir."
"Not a problem. I'm sure his problem can be cured fairly easily. After all, we're down here to solve problems for him and he still can't arrest a federal agent without a good reason."
"The local ADA is coming down," Speed said, patting Xander on the arm. "Calm down."
"I am calm but I'll be damned if someone's going to hit me and I don't react."
Two cookie cutter agents walked in. "Sir," he asked the officer. "Where might we find the DCIS agents?" Speed waved a hand. "Do you have your ID's, gentlemen?"
"They confiscated them," Calleigh said. "And I'm still not a gentleman."
"Sorry, ma'am. Where are their ID's?"
"This way," the officer who had caught the cuffs offered, going to get them for him. The other stared at them.
Xander shrugged. "We got a tip that one of the local clans is smuggling more than their clan and type. They're trying to smuggle in the sort that'll help the problem in the spring when we think there'll be a few cities doing moving up the ladder moves during the apocalypse in Egypt. We came in very respectful, we were out talking to the clans, had our ID's on us. Then the sheriff strolled into the club we were questioning at and had us arrested. I used my call to call our director to get us help, and the idiot in there took a swing at me so I naturally reacted."
The agent coming out with the ID's looked at them. "Are we missing one?"
"He's in the bathroom," Xander said. "Still. We don't know why but if he's hurt we're going to have another problem."
"We're not like that," one officer said firmly.
"Your boss took a swing at me," Xander pointed out. "Why has he been in there that long?"
"Cheese," the officer said dryly.
"He can't eat cheese," Speed said. "He's allergic to milk." The officer groaned, going to check. He looked at the agents. "We know they've smuggled in three rabble-rousers."
"Who'll do what?"
"The situation in Egypt is the perfect time to some of the lower classes to throw up a good, old fashioned 'give me more power' move," Xander told him. "The old fashioned way by creating issues. We've heard that LA's is going to be about a riot when they try theirs. They need people to rouse the lower classes to uprise and overthrow. This local clan has been importing some."
The agents nodded. "Someone tipped you off?"
"One of the other local ones," Calleigh said. "They called my desk because I was the night duty officer two days ago. They told us all that we needed to come down here to talk to the local demon population to see if there was any truth and to locate that clan to investigate."
"You guys sound like real agents," one said dryly.
"They're CSI. I'm the agent they send on major problems," Xander said dryly. They groaned. "They're both from Caine's lab down in Miami."
"He let you guys go?"
"I'm Tim Speedle, this is Calleigh Duquesne. Horatio's due back today. He was off checking over the integration with Area 51 and the NID labs."
The agents shuddered. "How did someone like him get involved?" the second one asked. Tim waved his fingers. "I see. He's your..."
"Former boss. I came back after possessing Xander. I had died." They groaned. "Dawn sneezed me a new body."
"She's safe," Calleigh said at their horrified looks. "She was younger and it was an accident. She's got a lot more control now."
"Good!" They handed back the credentials. "Can we help with this one?"
Xander shook his head. "I hope we don't need you guys. I only brought gear because we were near a present clan war that's happening just across the border. Since I'm also Slayers Council, they might not like me investigating."
"I even brought lesser things," Xander offered. "Nothing from the apocalypse vault or anything like that."
"Good!" they and a few officers agreed in unison.
The lead agent coughed. "Let us help you investigate?"
"Sure," Calleigh agreed. "We know where they are. We have no idea why the Sheriff decided to interfere. Can you guys handle that with our other agent?"
"We can," the second one agreed. "Can we also help you?"
"Sure," she agreed. "The more the merrier. As long as you don't flinch at the orange and purple octopuses with three legs who don't wear clothes."
"We can handle that," the second one said. He looked at his coworker. "Can you handle this part?"
"Good. Then I'll help them so there's no other problems." They nodded and Speed led the way out to their cars.
Daniel answered the phone. "Daniel Jackson." He put it on speaker. "Speed, where the hell are you? They arrested that sheriff that was making the demons pay him protection from us."
"We are in Mexico, boss, and getting ready to head back," Speed said.
"Because they decided Calleigh was beautiful and exotic. They took her to where the clans were having a small civil war and decided to try to marry her off to one of their people. They decided to split her so that would stop the war. The FBI agent that got dragged with us was not amused."
He would not thump his head on the desk. He wouldn't. "Neither am I," Daniel said. "What else happened, Speed?"
"Well, we stopped the war because Xander walked onto the field with a gun on his shoulder. They all stared at the crazy white guy, then one said something. Xander shot at his feet. The other side laughed so he did it to the other side. They went back to staring at him. Then Xander grinned and said he wanted his blonde federal agent back. They tried to complain. Xander shot at their feet again. The agent complained; Xander glared and he shrank back. He looked at the clans again and they presented him with Calleigh and decided to band together to fight against Xander, who walked her off then turned around and said something that sounded like 'ask Angel in LA about screwing with me before you do it again'. By the time we drove off they were on the phone and Gunn called up a 'we're not amused' complaint. They decided to quit fighting and band together to drink over their loss of Calleigh. So they've stopped the war. The local sheriff that was blackmailing the demons is in jail. There's no problems staying from him. They're all settled in there." He coughed. "Then they decided that Xander was a spawn of all evil and the son of satan."
Daniel moaned. "Are they okay?"
"They're fine. Mostly. One that tried to own Xander is crying. Still. Her mother pointed out he wasn't good for her. He was human. She wasn't. She's still crying while staring at him from across the street. The agent is now fully traumatized. Because on the way out seventeen different demons stopped Xander to talk to him about a problem they were having outside the sheriff that he hadn't solved. So we did. Last night. The fire department was not amused when the demon set himself on fire." Daniel moaned. "In the car." A deeper moan. "Inside the parking garage that was made of wood for some reason." Daniel thumped his head on the desk. "And that was the good part of the trip."
The fax machine started. "Do I even want to read it?"
"No," Xander called. "Don't touch me! I'm not your species and your kind kill my kind for sex!"
"Never mind. How soon before you can get home?"
"Do we have the budget to borrow the FBI's chopper and pay them back?"
"Yes. Jack opened a lot of new positions at both the labs. Go ahead to stop problems."
"The only problem remaining is his suitor. Calleigh's about to verbally smack her down. Again."
"Come home, Speed. Now. We'll gladly pay them back."
The agent took the phone. "Doctor Jackson, don't worry about paying us back, just get your people out of my jurisdiction. Please, sir? I don't know how you're not an alcoholic. I really don't. They're all so very smart it's intimidating and they're insane."
"It's the hunting," Xander and Speed said off microphone.
"I don't care what it is. Let us get you back, guys. Really?" He hung up and called his boss. "Sir, DCIS needs to get home. Can we airlift them back?" He smiled. "That'll work. Yes, sir, within an hour. Thank you, sir." He hung up. "Be at the local airport in an hour, guys." They pointed at the car. "Not missing anything?"
"She stole a shirt but I doubt I'll get it back," Xander admitted. "And you have our gear bag."
He went to get it from his partner, who was getting him a drink. His partner was so great! He drove them to the airport. He waved as they took off. Then he burst out crying. He was so glad he was a normal agent! His partner took him to the bar immediately. His partner was so great. If he was gay he'd kiss him.
Daniel met the guys coming in. "Xander, are you in trouble for punching the sheriff?"
"He hit me first and the agents said no." He grinned his best 'good little boy' grin. "We were doing what we were supposed to be doing and I'm not letting some beer-gutted bastard hit me."
"As long as it does not happen again," Daniel ordered.
"Good. Thank you." He looked at the other returning teams who were all watching Xander, Calleigh, and Speed. The new guy was hiding behind Calleigh, or trying very hard to. "Did anyone else have a report that would make me reach for any sort of bottle - plastic, glass, or milk jug?"
"Um, yeah," Don Flack admitted, handing over their report. "Sorry, boss. They decided we were as scary as Xander and wanted Mac to step up to his role in the 'ship."
Daniel looked at him. "Did yours include any clan wars, an agent being kidnaped for marriage, or having to punch a sheriff who had arrested you for being DCIS?"
"Um, no," he admitted with a grin.
"Do *not* ask," Calleigh ordered.
Stella gave her a hug. "Are you all right?"
"They treated me like I was a holy object that would stop the war by spreading my thighs."
Danny Messer gave her a hug too. "It'll be okay."
Xander gave him a dirty look. "I got her back!"
"You did," Speed promised, patting him on the back.
"I'm not hysterical, quit treating me like a teenage girl who's overwhelmed."
Mac came out sipping coffee. "What happened now?"
"You were missed on our case. They wanted you," Danny said.
Stella looked at them. Then at Mac. "They wanted Danny to prove his marriage in public." Mac blushed. Don shrugged. "Fortunately I told them I'm embarrassed easily and so is Don."
Don nodded. "She did."
Daniel nodded, reading over that report. "It's much thinner than Speed's version."
"Mine was shorter," Xander offered.
"I saw that," Daniel quipped back. "The shorter version was even worse, Xander. Though you seem to have left out a bit of the civil war. Nothing about you walking onto the field with a gun." He gave him a look. "Someone sent a report to Jack."
"That they sent the discussion you had? I'm sure it was," Daniel said dryly. He walked back inside. "Dinner's in two hours, guys. I want reports by then." He went to get a glass of milk from the caf then went back to his office. Someone left him an 'I'm sorry' bear. "It's cute, Xander. Should I name it after you?"
"Go ahead," he quipped, walking back past the door. "I'll take next field case if you want."
"Sure, boss." Xander came back to lean in. "Tim gave you the bear, not me." He grinned. "Want more milk?"
"Depends, are you going to give me a more detailed report?"
"We agreed to cut it down for the sanity of the agents."
"I'm using yours as training."
"Sure. I'll be glad to initiate any of the new agents." He beamed. "I did all the others' initiations."
"No way in hell."
"Fine. Take my fun." He beamed. "What's for dinner?"
"Anything come in for me?"
"Nope. Not unless John or Wes has something."
"Going there now." He headed out to the slayer's camp. He walked into the building. "I'm back; Arizona and parts of Mexico are sane again," he called as he walked in.
"Oh, dear lord!" Wesley yelled. Then his office door slammed.
"Hmm." He went to listen then blushed. "Don't worry, I'll go bug John," he said, heading that way quickly. "The Brundust book?"
"Yup," John said with a grimace.
Xander grinned. He loved the succuba trapped book. "Been there, done that." He grinned at the girls. "Ladies, how is training going?"
"Poorly," Olivia said. "I hate demonology."
"Knowing what's harmful and what'll kill you first keeps you alive," he said dryly. "The same as knowing what you don't have to attack so they don't have to attack you to defend themselves will save your life some day."
"It's worse than biology."
Xander frowned at John. "We're going over clan structures, mating habits, and how they have young?"
"How they have young in a few cases." John looked at him. "Mexico?"
"They wanted Calleigh to stop their war for them. The agent who had to come help us with the crooked sheriff was not amused." He crossed his arms and looked at the women. "Let's detour into real world role playing." John groaned. "Not my last one. Calleigh would kill my ass." He got the chalk for the board and wrote down some specifics. Then he made a diagram. "This is the park you're in," he said with a point. "You have these species in these numbers." He made symbols where they were. He had to pause to think back but put one where he thought it had been before it had ambushed. "Now what, ladies?"
Olivia looked at her notes. "Half of those are peaceful."
"Except in two situations," John said. "These three, if you attack them they will kill you then go back to being peaceful."
"And on any hellmouth or wherever there is a lot of negative energy, they can be driven mad," Xander said. "Yes, this is from Sunnydale so hellmouth rules instead of normal rules do apply." They groaned. He looked at John. "Told them?"
"First since most will be doing a tour through Cleveland some day."
"Good. So, ladies, now what? You've got a duty to take out the vamps feeding on the teenagers making out. You have some harmless and some not so harmless ones." Buffy leaned in. "In for dinner?"
"Yuppers. To spend me some Dawnie time." She looked and came in to change one. "It didn't do more than pounce, Xander."
"I thought it ran."
"It pounced then ran. Spike was this one," she said, making it, then their spots. Xander corrected his. "Why were you back that far?"
"You elbowed me and bruised a rib."
"Oh. Sorry?" she guessed. He rolled his eyes. "Are we doing 'what would you do'?" Xander nodded. She pointed at one. "Don't attack that one by accident because it looks like a bad one. It can eat you but we taste funny to it." She handed back the chalk to John. "And don't attack Spike, he'll make fun of your hair."
"Are we serious?" another one asked.
"Yes, Spike will and did make fun of her hair, still does," Xander assured her.
"Are you kidding?" one asked.
"No," Xander said.
"He's a vampire, right?"
"He's a special case," Xander corrected. "The Initiative chipped him so he couldn't eat."
"Good!" she said firmly.
"But he came to us for protection and we needed the extra help," Buffy said. "He knew a lot more about demons than Giles did. He gave us a lot of good information. He occasionally played against us but we were used to working with Angel, who had his soul, and Spike eventually got his soul back too."
"Way to Willow babble," Xander told her.
She punched him on the arm. "Shut up."
He smirked. "Where is Spike?"
"I thought he was here."
"So did Gunn but we haven't seen him. The town's not that big."
"Is he off starting a cult?" she sighed.
"You never know with Spike." They shared a look. "Sic Dawn on him?"
She beamed and nodded. "That'll work." She looked at the slayers. "Yes, sometimes we do work with demons and vamps, only them in special occasions but now and then it does happen."
"During the invasion we had a lot of demons helping because they didn't want lose whatever cushy spot they had created for themselves to the new demons."
"So, hunting is a lot like me tracking down a perp into a housing development that may or may not be filled with bad guys," Olivia said.
Xander nodded. "We can give you the framework to make the ethical decisions on. We can show you where the ethical line is. It's up to the slayer to decide if she's going to become one of the 'kill them all' ones that prevailed for centuries or one of the better ones that has and uses ethics. The same as all you cops are taught it but some cops rough up everyone and some cops barely arrest and are there for the show. We do have some slayers who aren't good in field maneuvers. At all. Should not patrol because they cannot handle it. Before they were still sent out because that's what the old watchers did. You girls hunted, you died, another one was called and that's all they cared about. Now, we have the room to care and we've had the ethics for a while, even before we had the room to care. Buffy was not a kill them all slayer and it got her a lot of respect for that."
"So, in that diagram, we'd have to pick a route that would lead us to get the vamps and not attack the less harmful ones," Olivia said.
He nodded. "But in here you can do it while you're not on the run chasing after a vamp. The same as if you're chasing after a suspect and another bad guy jumps you, what do you do?"
"Fight them off, immobilize them or call for backup if possible, then go after the original target once I can." The other women looked at her. "If I'm running after a suspect, I can't stop to chat with people, ladies. I have to get that suspect. If another one jumps out at me, then they've got to be stopped or my backup has to be alerted so they can keep going after the primary target. It's a classic ploy to keep the original target out of police hands." They all groaned. "In that one, we'd be running.... how?" Buffy drew her path that night. "So we'd run into the other ones and have to make a split second judgement on whether they were harmful or not and a few of those were kill on sight?"
Buffy nodded. "A few of those you can never let go on because they're so harmful to people. So you have to slay and get back to it with the vamps. Only so many places they can go. So, do you stop to slay them or get the original vamp and then come back to them?"
"Depends on the demon," John offered calmly. "Some you can easily track down later. They make a huge wave in the local population."
"But having to go beat up on the demon bar owner for info always messed up my nails," Buffy told him. "It was gross. He was always so sweaty and acted so slimy when I came in."
Xander snorted. "I went in on my own a few times and had to prove my point with a bat on the bar."
"I wondered what happened to the old bar," she said, looking at him.
He shrugged. "It helped, didn't it?"
"A lot. I didn't give you enough credit back then, Xander." She gave him a hug.
"He had better not become my brother-in-law, I'll puke," Dawn called as she walked past the doorway.
"Go find Spike," they called together.
"He's at the bar tonight." She leaned in. "Said he wants to find a new princess among the slayers. I already warned him off Brenda but he was frowning and sniffing at her for some reason." She skipped off. "Use the east path for that one."
Buffy looked. "I should have but the vamp wasn't being obliging." She shrugged. "So, ladies, spot judgement calls?"
They all groaned.
Faith strolled in and crossed out a few. "You take out those, even though that one's usually harmless it was a later threat and a pain in my ass when it exploded all over my old leather jacket." She looked at them. "Then you go back to chasing the vamp. Not like you won't see him again later on. Plus he'll be bragging so it'll be easier to find him."
All the women stared.
"Yeah, slaying is like that," Xander said. "That's why I'm the way I am. John, Dean, and Sam are the way they are, and Buffy acts like an airhead. Sometimes you have to have a persona that the vamps and demons will believe. Even if it's only you part of the time."
"Like a superhero secret identity," Buffy agreed. "Because if they know who we are they can attack. Otherwise they have to guess."
Olivia put her head down, then looked up at them. "So we can't take out an ad in the paper?" All the experienced ones shook their heads. "How are they supposed to tell us if there's problems?"
"You find out from news reports, and since you're an officer, your local office can tell you or the slayer that'll be moving up there by thanksgiving. There's all sorts of information once you know what you're looking for. Including the local ME's. Plus once you're in an area you'll start to get contacts in the local communities as long as you're not psycho 'kill them all' slayer. We got a lot of tips from the kitten poker circuit thanks to Clem and Spike."
"Kitten poker?" one asked hesitantly.
"It's like *the* demon game most places," Xander told her. "Honestly." He grinned. "The rules are slightly different but it's not that hard to learn. Humans and demons can play in most places. If they can tell you're a slayer they might be wary but it happens." He saw Brenda walk past. "Brenda?"
She came back to lean in. "What's up? Hi, ladies. This is much more fun than history of people with strange names who did stupid shit for no reason." John scowled. "I know it's important but it's boring."
"Yay. Explain kitten poker to them?"
She beamed. "I love kitten poker. It's how we got three of the stray cats on base. We played some hands in LA to get information on the overlord coming up. It's a social game, like clubs, but it's about like poker, only the chips are kittens."
"Are you feeling all right? That's more babble than you usually do," John said, testing her forehead with his wrist. She ducked with a small scowl. "Now." She sighed but let him check her over. He saw Xander's magic sensing pendant light up and moved her closer. It glowed. "Go have Dawn see what happened." She nodded, going to do that. "I hate teenagers who have magic," he told Buffy.
She shrugged. "You'd rather have the one we had with the cheerleader and her mom?"
"No," he decided. "That was worse."
"Do we want or need to know?" Faith asked.
"We didn't tell you about the Madisons?" Xander asked. "Amy and her mom?"
"No," she said carefully.
"Ah." He settled in against the board to tell the women what had happened. When he got to the lust spell, Buffy bopped him hard on the arm but he only rubbed it even though it ached a whole lot.
On the way to dinner, John stopped him. "See Chase after dinner," he ordered quietly. "In case it's broken."
"Just bruised very deeply, John. Promise." He went to eat but House caught him and made him relent there in the caf. Sometimes it was the only way it worked on him.
The older slayers gathered out in the backwoods of the base with the younger ones under cover of an exercise. Down to the youngest on base, Annabelle, was out there. No watchers, no teachers, no Xander or Wesley. No Buffy but Faith was there. She was pretty cool and laid back. The older ones got the younger ones settled in with them around a campfire on blankets, because it was still February in North Dakota after all, and they passed out cocoa and coffee packets to warm up.
Olivia started. "Guys, some questions have been coming up."
"We all had them, only most of the older ones had a watcher who was just ours to answer 'em," Faith assured her, sipping her cocoa.
"Well, some of you did. I had one who wouldn't answer any questions and told me it was my duty," Brenda pointed out. A few of the other teenagers nodded. "What sort of questions, ladies?"
"You guys don't seem to be bothered by this duty at all."
"We were mostly raised with it," Annabelle said. "I don't even remember my natural family. My watcher was pretty decent but he's all I knew until the Bringers came."
"Do they know how you got to them?"
"In my case, my parents ceded me over," Anna said. "I asked the year before the purge happened. He said they knew about slayers and had ceded me over." She put her cup in her lap. "In some cases, he said some of them might have been taken from their families. We know at least one was bought from her family." One of the foreign slayers that had been found before the purge nodded that she was one. "Poor family?"
"A large, poor, farming family. It gave my parents enough money for a good few years and to marry off my oldest brother. My watcher wasn't bad and complained but that was the reality of the area I lived in."
Olivia swallowed. "Have they checked the missing children's databank?"
"Abby was doing DNA to find real families," Faith assured her. "She found Amber a mother recently. How is that?"
"Crappy. My mother wants me to take a deal to get commercials." She shrugged. "I told her I couldn't. Then I'd have a huge target on me and her. I think she finally got the point since the last letter was all about the stuff going on there." She shifted to cross her feet on her blanket. Her girlfriend Kim hugged her. "Thanks, dear." She kissed her then grinned. "When did you get mint?"
"I was chewing gum on the hike." She smiled. "I'll give you some on the way back."
"Sure." They cuddled in. "Abby ran us through all the databases she had access to in the first year. She found my mother when she got arrested for boyfriend abuse."
"There's ones specifically for missing kids out of Washington. I'll ask her to make sure."
"Have her talk to Mac and them," Faith suggested. "He did the same work."
"Good point." She cleared her throat. "How do you guys do the duty? Knowing that it'll be a long, hard battle?"
"Not necessarily," Faith offered. "We got hope when we heard about the aging out stuff. We can still opt out at that age from what Leo's said." That got some nods. "For Cordette, that sucks. She was called at six. She's training with her new family in LA. They're the FBI liaison out there so they've got a good clue."
"Don's had a lot of people help him with her training," Dawn agreed as she walked over and sat down. "As for wondering how they do it, how do you do it knowing that you can walk into any bust or scene and get killed?"
"I guess that's a point," Olivia said.
"Some of us never worried about that. It makes us paranoid," another said. She had been a homemaker before agreeing.
Dawn nodded. "Then all you can do is train to make sure you last as long as you can. I'm not sure if you older ones get to opt out at a later date or not. We're still looking into that issue since they took out anyone over forty-eight." That got an amazed look. "I checked. Them, a few who were handicapped didn't get asked or got it removed after the stupid wish."
"It wasn't stupid, D," Faith corrected. "For girls like B that's their whole life. She built everything around it. She would've had a sucky time of it if she wanted to be normal. It's a hard transition. I'm still trying to figure out if I want it or not when I hit the right age this year."
She nodded, giving her a hug. "Something was pointed out. If you wanted to hunt, you can still hunt. You'll still have all the training. Just not the extra gifts."
"Which can be sucky to be without," Brenda said. "That faster healing rocks."
"The extra speed's nice in gym or to get away from bullies too," Mary agreed, sipping her coffee. Her watcher had given her a taste for it. He kept trying to keep her out of his since he had decided to take her and Anna both on. Anna could be a bit more of a free spirit/do what's necessary sort that Gibbs wasn't totally used to.
"Have we been having trouble?" Brenda demanded. "John wanted to know about that stuff."
"Nah, it's good. Boys taunting girls who develop boobs. I'm not in bras yet so it's all good so far."
"So you girls try to lead as normal of a life outside the calling?" another said.
"Think of us like supernatural cops," Anna told her. "We work night shift and graveyard, no pun intended, but we have to do basically the same thing. Only we don't arrest, we slay. We fight. We run and pounce and stake. Sometimes with agents we go question others for information." The others stared at her. "That's what Faith said."
Faith nodded. "That's true. We have just as much of a risk dying on the job as the average cop does."
"The better we are and the better trained we are, the less that chance gets," Brenda said. "Even normal hunters die from things. It's a risk we all take. Olivia's got the crappier part of the calling since she's got it on both ends."
She shrugged. "I don't mind. I like my job and the calling will work itself in soon enough." She looked at the other women. "How do those in the military on active duty do it? They're seeing it the same way."
A few more nodded at that. "But what happens when we die?"
"We're mourned. Wesley said we're starting a plaque system instead of the old book they used to have. It used ta be kinda dry and boring, listings of births, deaths, and how. A few notable cases written up," Faith offered. "B's only in there once so far. No matter how many times she's went." Dawn snickered. "They erased her when she came back. Thomas said they swore when they had to white-out her name."
"We'll throw a yearly party for the ones we're missing along with the funerals," Mary told them. "Like they do cops who fall in the line of duty. So far we're doing okay. Except for those three that took their first lessons in self defense to a demon bar." She sipped her coffee. Faith took it from her. "Hey!"
"Gibbs said that'll stunt your growth, Mary."
"Tough shit!" She took it back. "Not like most of us are *tall* or anything. I doubt there was ever a slayer as tall as Xander or Dean, and especially not Sammy. Half of us look like delicate little gymnasts."
"Some of us are good at it too but it's unfair to use our skills to go for pro sports," Anna sighed. "Or else I'd kick ass on the school's judo team."
Brenda nodded. "You and me both, short stuff." Anna swatted her but she smiled. "You are."
"I'll grow some day. You're stuck at your height. The shortest Winchester in history."
She smiled. "Mary was my size. John said so." She sipped her coffee. She had gotten the taste for it from Sammy of all people. "It's something you do and it's part of you but not all of you. If you let it be all of who you are then you've already lost half the battle. You've got to have a normal life or you lose sight of why you do this until you can't stop something horrible one day and it depresses you."
"We learn because we have to," Olivia agreed. "Because no one can protect those around us as well as we can." The younger ones all nodded. "What about Cordette?"
"She's happy. She introduced herself to Charlie and thought Charlie's hair was a pet when she was adopted," Anna said with a grin. "Tony was sneaky about introducing them. She did the fingerpainting in the office."
"It was cute," Faith agreed. "Anyone see Danny being overrun sometime soon?"
"I think stress will make him snap some day but so far we've kept it down for him," Dawn admitted. "We haven't faced anything *too* horrible by what we've been able to find about his last posting. They had yearly attacks too, just ones that could destroy the earth. We're nothing compared to that." That got a few nods. "Plus aren't the apocalypses calming down?"
"We hope so," Faith agreed. "Without that one demon pushing them to cover his own shit up it's supposed to slow down. We have three ascensions we have to watch out for this year and one that might be overseas. Xander found that one and talked to the local police there about it. They wanted to know what to do about him. X suggested artillery."
"Xander loves his guns," Anna quipped. The others laughed. "Do we see Glen staying in the armory?" Faith shook her head. "He's a nice guy but he seems kinda uptight."
"He is," Dawn agreed. "He's good at the job but I'm waiting for the first real apocalypse to see how high his stress level hits." That got a few nods. "Have we figured out primary placements in case of some move making in LA and other places?"
"Gunn said they've got LA as long as it's not a full-blown riot. Even without the little mama out there. I'm worried about a few midwest cities," Faith admitted. "New York's so old that no one's going to do more than grumble. Miami might have a few issues so I've offered to head down there with a few of the agents."
Kennedy sighed. "I did too."
"Then we'll work," Faith agreed. That got a nod. "You older ones who're getting patrol cleared will be doing a turn in Cleveland before heading home so we know how you handle combat stress. Then you can pick where you wanna go, or to go home."
"I'm still arguing with mine," Olivia admitted, glancing around. "They want to put me in the city demon office."
"Talk to them about conflict of interest," Dawn suggested. "How a slayer's duty is to slay bad demons, not answer domestic abuse calls."
"I have. They're thinking."
"Remind them Shea'll be up soon too," Faith said. "That'll help ease it some."
She nodded. "I had forgotten about that." She texted that to her captain then put her phone up. "I know I'm getting a bye on Cleveland because I do the same thing all day on the job." Faith nodded. A few others pouted. "I have been in bad situations and I know how to handle an all out assault going on," she pointed out. "The same as the military ones didn't have to because we had been trained and mostly had handled it."
"Sam handles it a lot," Dawn quipped. They smiled and nodded.
"At least Tweedy has an idea where you guys'll be living," Faith said. "We were *so* cramped in some days." A few of the girls who had been in Cleveland with her nodded.
"Have we noticed we've basically broken into three main teams with team leaders?" Dawn asked. "Four if you count Sam leading them?"
"I have. John said that too," Brenda said.
Faith shrugged. "Really?"
"Your crew from Cleveland is all here except for Cho and Rona. The older ones who had been in a coma are with Buffy. The LA crew leads their own. Sam leads these newer ones."
"That means you guys really need another team leader and the younger girls need one to look at for orders," Brenda said.
"I appoint Anna," Mary said.
"You have the watcher more often."
"Yeah but ...."
"You also never talk up," Brenda pointed out. "Anna's everyone's happy maker. Mary's a very good planner, Anna."
She nodded. "I realize that. That's why I think it should be her. Beyond having Gibbs at her back."
"What about the potentials?" one of the older ones asked. "We heard they'll be called automatically?"
Dawn nodded. "Side effect of the wish. They'll be called around fourteen." That got a groan. "They've found most of them and sent people out to talk to them. Most of the parents are okay and know how and what to train the girls in doing. Don Epps has helped a lot with that project. So has Charlie. They'll probably align behind Cordette because she's the one they're using as an example of how to train off base."
"Then we've got the retrieval crew," Faith said. "They're their own unit." The two present on base nodded. "They can and will work with us but they're like our SWAT team."
"Happy to do it," Gwen quipped. "If we can, can we get the nice agent I worked with in LA? The one that Xander turned the weapons in that warehouse over to? He doesn't seem to be bothered by much of anything. He obviously knows weapons. He taught Xander how to disarm the nuclear one they found when the timer got shot and sped up." They all gaped. She nodded. "It did. It went from a few hours to 'shit, under thirty minutes' with the application of a bullet to the timer." She finished her cocoa. "I think he'd be able to handle and update our armory. Even if he might not always appreciate swords, axes, scythes, and crossbows."
"Don't know. We can ask," Faith offered. "Mac does a good job taking on some of the Xander cases but they're still overloaded."
"Did you guys see the memo that Xander's cases are no longer allowed in the 'worst case' bidding each month?" Dawn said with a grin.
"Can we spank him for walking onto a battlefield with a single gun on his shoulder?" Anna asked. Everyone stared at her. "That's how he got Calleigh back. One single gun on his shoulder. They have tape. It's on YouTube."
"He's *so* getting busted with John later," Brenda said dryly. She finished her coffee. She texted that to Sam, who could find it almost immediately. If it was online Sam could find it. The other girls laughed. Because Xander was so screwed when John heard.
Dean got the email from Sam since he was playing around while the girls were giving him a day off. He looked at the video. He sent it to Daniel. Then he leaned back. "Hey, Dad, Wes, c'mere please? Sammy found something thanks to Brenda."
"Something about the new apocalypse?"
"No, stupidity in action."
"Son," John sighed as he walked in. "We're a bit busy...." He trailed off when his son replayed it. "Is that who I think it is?"
"Last Action Hero Xander, yeah."
He nodded. "Who told who?"
"Sammy got it from Brenda. Don't know which one of them told her." He sent it to LA's inbox. He got a cackle back a few minutes later from Fred. He and his father shared a look. "Brenda said he needed spanked."
"Yes, he does," John said calmly.
"Xander!" Daniel's yell carried very well.
"Did you forward it?"
"Yup." He smirked. "Someone has to stop him before he gets shot for good."
"Good point." He leaned down to see it better with a sigh. Dean replayed it. He groaned. "He does have a point about being good with weapons." Xander went running past. Jack was following him. "Looks like Daniel sicced Jack on him again." He straightened up. "Let me talk to Wesley."
"I'll send it to your inbox." He did that.
"Thanks, son." He went to get into his email from Wesley's office, glancing at the other message before turning on the tape and turning the monitor around so his boss could see it.
Wesley let out a low, belly clenching moan. "Is he... Yes, it appears he is. Is that how he got Calleigh back the last time?"
"Apparently." They watched as Jack dragged Xander past the windows, John smirking and waving. "Nice gun action, Xander."
"Shit!" he complained.
"No swearing at me," Jack ordered. "No wonder Danny's antacid bill is worse than the general's when we were on the same team."
"I had backup guns on me," he defended.
"I don't care, kid. That sort of situation you bring more than yourself when you handle it."
"They had Calleigh. All I had was Speed and an FBI agent who went to become drunk."
"Uh-huh. I know why." He walked him into the office. "Your young and stupid one."
"I still think he's like a younger version of you, Jack." Daniel glared at him. "That was not in the report."
"Yes it was. Speed told you I walked out there and blew a round in the ground." Daniel replayed it. "The camera really does make me look chunky." Jack swatted him. "Hey! Not yours!"
"You're going to get yourself killed," Jack said.
"You'd rather she be used to stop the war by sleeping with both sides and bear them half- demon babies?"
"No," Daniel admitted. "You could have gotten backup."
"We were in Mexico. The Feeb's boss said no." He gave him a look. "I did check."
"You didn't call us."
"You can't operate in Mexico either. We did tell the locals. They said they'd pray for us."
Horatio leaned in. "Can we see? Calleigh said it was rather impressive."
Daniel sent it to Abby. "Have Abby project it."
"We can do that." He looked in the squad room. "Abby's projecting it." They went down to the lab to watch on the big screen tv down there.
"He *so* proves his theory that everyone looks hot with artillery," Abby sighed at the end.
Gibbs looked over at her. "Does yours?"
"Yuppers." She smiled. "I even got a picture of him with his gun."
He shook his head. Abby and Rodney were the ultimate geek couple to his mind. "Did he at least have other weapons, Speed?"
"Three other clips, his service piece, and two others tucked inside his vest," he reported. Everyone relaxed at that. "They're very sorry they were going to make Calleigh bear babies to stop their war. It worked since we couldn't get backup in Mexico."
Mac shook his head quickly. "My commanding officers would've killed me if I had done something that stupid."
"Yes, we would have," Gibbs agreed. Horatio snickered. "You would too."
"No, that's H's style," Eric said dryly, glaring at him. "You cannot turn into Xander either, H."
"I have no intention. I don't know what I'd do without a suit all day." His team smiled at that. "I would have had backup hidden."
"We had me and a suit from the FBI who got very drunk that night," Speed told him.
Horatio looked at him. "I said backup, Tim. You still don't like guns."
"Hey, I'm just glad I didn't pull that one," Danny said. "They might've taken me instead'a Calleigh." Stella punched him on the arm, making him and Don both laugh.
"Don't, Stella. He's right, they might," Mac said. Abby reran it. He shook his head. "No wonder he can't be in the pot for the worst case."
"Just think, it started out normal and that wasn't really the worst part," Speed offered. They all stared. "Oh, no. Have him tell it. He's a good storyteller. Wolfe, you're going with him next time."
"It's my turn anyway," he agreed. "Why isn't Calleigh counted as his team's CSI?"
"Because cowboy antics like that drove off his last gun nut," Horatio said blandly.
"I'm telling her you called her that," Eric and Speed said together.
He shrugged. "He did."
"No, it wasn't that. He decided he was too normal and straight for us," Ryan reminded them. "The guy *before* him was driven off after a bad case because Xander had to find artillery."
They all groaned at that.
Jack strolled in. "I admit I might have done something like that if we were away from reinforcements but that's still cowboy." All the former cops and agents nodded. "Any way we can give him a voice of reason?"
Speed snorted. "No. I wasn't when I was possessing him."
Jack groaned. "What about a standard team? I know we're a bit flexible but Calleigh said she wasn't sure what he was doing when he pulled that."
"Sure, get John Sheppard down here," Abby teased with a grin. "They can share a team."
He gave her an odd look, then shuddered. "I'm not telling him you said that, Abby."
"I will." She beamed and sent the file and that comment to Rodney. She got back one from Sam. "Sam's in Rod's email for some reason. She said John's annoying her this week so I can have them both." Another email beeped in. "She watched the tape and said Xander can come join Atlantis if he wants. He can be on John's team. John might appreciate that. Ronon definitely would."
Jack nodded. "From what I heard, yup." Mac and Horatio shook their heads. "Seriously, guys. Can we set him a team? One he can teach how he thinks? It'll only help, before they end up working against him some day."
"Xander's team doesn't always need a CSI," Speed pointed out. "Like Mac's team doesn't always need a CSI. Thank you for taking some of the Xander cases, Mac."
"Welcome." He shifted in his seat.
"We are getting the worst cases," Stella realized. Mac nodded. "Why?"
"Because I can handle things Xander would."
"They're considering your team Xander Light. Like Don and Danny's team do a lot of diplomatic stuff it seems like," Jack said. Danny and Don nodded at that. "If they need a science team they send Horatio and Speed, with Eric if they can. He still needs a set team."
"I've got Ryan on mine," Tony said from his seat. "We work fairly well together."
"We do," Ryan agreed. "I work pretty well with both of you. Have Danny hire him a real team, Jack."
"We're talking about that," he admitted. "That would leave you guys and Calleigh to form the other team."
"I wouldn't mind," Calleigh agreed as she joined them. "However it works. I don't mind working with Xander but sometimes he turns into this scary, overprotective guy who I'm not sure if he's sane or not."
"He is, he's just really overprotective of his team and the slayers," Ryan told her. He looked at Tony.
"You can't have the second and third-in-command on the same team," Tony pointed out. "It's a security risk. I can work with Xander. I did a number of times in the early days." They all smiled at that. "Can we find him an agent or cop like Sheppard?"
Jack shrugged. "We'll see." That got a nod. "Okay, let's get back to work, guys. Lunch is in an hour." They went back to their desks to consider what was going on.
Tony clapped Xander on the back. "Jack wants to appoint you a permanent CSI." Xander gave him an odd look but pointed at Calleigh. "We have to hire a team, Xander. This means we can find you a standard team. One that will understand when your mind goes odd."
He shrugged. "I'm fine. I try really hard not to bust out in those sort of moves unless I have to, Tony."
"I know, Xander. It was a good save but you scare the crap out of us each and every time you do that. Plus you're having to borrow from other teams. Danny needs to hire anyway. This way we can get you a good team who'll understand you."
"Don Epps is in LA and he said he's staying."
"I know. You'd drive him nuts anyway since he's kinda uptight." He grinned. "Think about it. If we're all out on our teams on harder cases, you're alone. Again."
"I looked last time and couldn't find anyone."
"True. Look again and suggest. We can always recruit." Xander nodded, settling in to look up various agents. Tony typed something into a search box. "Someone made a list of the insane, cowboy, and agents who have to pull bad moves now and then." He grinned. "Look, there you are and it was done over a year ago." He went back to his desk.
"Only one insane person on a team," Stella ordered. "Or else they'll clash."
Xander shrugged. "Some day I might need someone who can rescue me. Not like they don't want me for many reasons."
"Good point." Xander grinned at her. "Find someone nice? The girls would like that,"she suggested.
"Ask Spenser," Ryan suggested. "He had a lot of fun profiling you." Xander gave him an odd look. "A lot of agencies do use psychological profiling to make new teams. That way you have a good mix of skills."
Xander shook his head. "I'm not sure Spenser got me right."
"You'd have to look at his eval to see," Tony pointed out. He and Ryan shared a look. Ryan got back to his case but he did send Spenser an email about that. "Do we have *anything* on the demonic ghost?"
"Very little," Ryan admitted. "I found a death announcement in the paper but nothing on his life."
"I thought it was a woman," Tony said, giving him a look.
Ryan looked then shrugged. "The death announcement said him. Unless she was named exactly after her father?" He sent it to Tony's desk, rolling over to look with him. Tony pointed at something. "That's the only mention I could find in that town of that name."
"Crap." He got into another archive Sam had showed them. He found the mention of the ghost and it said it was a female too. "Double crap."
"Do they have a history?"
"Nothing on it." They groaned.
"Could it have been a trannie or a crossdresser?" Xander asked.
Tony and Ryan shared a look then looked at the pictures that had been caught. "It's possible. She's got a very squarish build," Tony admitted.
"That would be a good reason why nothing was said about him," Ryan said.
"And a good reason for the person to be killed," Tony added. They nodded, moving to call the local sheriff to ask.
Xander shook his head. Sometimes some obvious questions escaped some people. He got back to work on his own research case. It was strange but he could've sworn he had seen this one before. He did a search for the town's name and came up with it. He compared the two then called. "Hi, this is DCIS Agent Harris. I got the research case you guys just sent us on the website. Yes, that one." He leaned back. "Actually, I thought it sounded familiar so I checked our files and it looks like one of us sent you the report about a year ago to a Detective Palms?" He waited while the guy asked.
"That is me, yes." He checked over the report. "I did give you two options, based on the visual image it had. Because we didn't have pictures sent. I could rule it down to one or the other with pictures. Brown?" He looked it up. "That's an immature version of the purple one." He checked the other one. "Or it's a mutant or a cross-breed. Does it come out in the light? Then it's a youngling of the purple one, yes." He rolled his eyes. "Exactly. Sure, we like follow ups if you guys have more questions. Even if I'm not here, most of the people on the floor can get into my reports and if they don't know they can get in touch with me in the field or talk to our researchers. Of course. Just let us know. I can do that, thank you. Do you need a new copy of it?" He smiled. "You have a good day too, Officer." He hung up and made a note then went to hand it to Daniel. Then he went to check for new work.
Daniel looked then filed it with the last report. Xander had made a note that it was an immature version of one of the possibles on the new case file.
Abby bounced down to the infirmary, handing over a DVD. "Action Hero Xander saves Calleigh."
House put it into the DVD player, watching. Chase whimpered a bit. House could only shake his head. "I would not pay seven bucks to see that," he decided. She pinched him on the arm. "I wouldn't. It's too short."
She punched him on the arm. "He got Calleigh back."
"Who took the film?" Chase asked a bit too calmly.
"Speed was doing training tapes," she said with a smile. "Xander tried to run from Jack when Daniel saw it." She bounced off.
House rewatched it. Then he looked at Chase. "Have we had him evaluated for mental illness?"
"He claims he's unique."
"Good thing. Twins of Xander would drive everyone nuts."
"But they'd probably be the friends who'd help you move," Chase said dryly. House gave him a dirty look, going to talk to Xander about any possible suicidal tendencies. It was clear something was wrong with his mind.
John Sheppard looked at his Marines before starting the show. Once the tape was done he faced them again. "If I see any of the Marines on base doing anything like this, I will personally make you an appointment with our wonderful base psychologist and I will personally make sure you go. Though, if any of you want to retire from here and go somewhere less strange, he's one of the senior agents at DCIS."
Rodney shook his head quickly. "Xander really is rather insane and odd."
"They have their own shrink and the profiler," John told him. "Should any of you need to do something like this, we do know how to call for backup, right?" They nodded at him. "And no one's this fucking dumb?" They all shook their heads. "Good! Let's run team assault scenarios." He walked off rubbing his head.
"Hey, Sheppard, someone on the base suggested you should be on Xander's team," Sam called.
"Bite your tongue, Carter! I'm more sane than that!"
Ronon replayed it, staring. "That is a move a warrior can appreciate. It's clear they respect him."
Rodney gave him an odd look. "It's clear he's insane."
"All the best warriors are slightly insane." He smiled. "Look at Sheppard."
"Yes, but his is from trying to deal with trying individuals."
"Yes, you have rotted his mental capabilities a few times," Teyla told him.
Rodney glared. "Not me. All the loose hussies all over this galaxy." He walked off pouting. He decided to write Abby a long email. She appreciated him. Now if only they could work out being in separate galaxies....
to part 30
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