News From the World.

Xander was kicked back with the kids watching the news.  They were finally starting to feel better.  The all-day news station went to England.  "Huh," Xander said, turning it up some.

The Queen was standing before Parliament.  "It is a horrendous thing when the safety and security of our country is being undermined by people who say they are doing good and then do not," she said calmly, looking around then at her paper, then back up.  "It is our prerogative to put forth a motion that will set a standard for the paranormal community's likelihood of upsetting our peace and quiet.  As such, the standards are set very high. 

"They must be on the side of the light, or at least not causing problems.  They must be helpful when major incidents happen so they can help us protect us all with our excellent military.  The military is not, as of yet, trained to deal with demonic problems.  We ask that they help us with those issues until such a time as we can take over.  Also, we do not want the ones who live here to start undermining the people subtly.  Those sort are not welcome in our lands." 

She glanced at the paper again.  "It is a shame that some of the most noted for the Light are not really on their side.  We do put forth a motion to send them out of this country.  We know of high priests of chaos gods who do not cause the harm the Devon Coven does.  We have no idea why they have felt it is their duty to punish people who step in on the Light's side to aid the battles, but we are not putting up with it.  We are sure many places would welcome your presence but England and our Empire is not one of them." 

She stared at the camera.  "When and if you rejoin the Light side, you may be allowed to return."  She handed the head of the House of Lords an envelope.  "In there are the standards we have set with the Prime Minister, the head of our Military forces, and with the Council for what the Light actually does and does not do.  Compulsions to treat people poorly because they help is not on that list.  Nor is making an entire military unit ill for daring to want to learn how to handle demonic matters."  She cleared her throat. 

"We ask that you ratify these standards into our laws and then code in punishments for breaking them.  Because until that does happen, there is nothing we can do about the story in the papers this morning, with the husband who had his wife eaten by a demon, or any other incidences that may hurt our people.  We have not always been fond of the old Council or their ways but this new one is much better prepared for the modern world and much more a credit to our people."  She folded her notes up.  "We look forward to seeing your efforts on this grave matter of national security."  She left.

The reporter blinked a few times when they cut back to him.  "That's a very firm yet harsh statement by the Queen on the matter of demon protocol."  He cleared his own throat and looked at his first 'guest' who had been called out of the blue.  "You watched it with us.  What do you think?"

"I think the Devon Coven has pushed their weight around again," he admitted.  He shook his head.  "I'd hate to be them."

"They're witches, correct?  One of the ones that handles younger witches with magic addictions and the like?"

"Yes.  Both the present head of the Council, Rupert Giles, and their head witch, Willow Rosenburg, healed with them when they had brushes with dark magic in their wild youth.  I wonder what they did.  I hadn't heard of any ill military units."

"Us either but we can check with our affiliates over there in a few moments.  They're getting them set up to join us."  The reporter cleared his throat.  "Do you think we'll hear a statement from Cleveland?"

"I do not know.  Rupert Giles isn't one for public announcements.  They really do need to hire someone to disseminate information when we need it but he's been relying on the sister of a slayer for that.  I suppose we'll hear some from her about that statement and possibly more on what's going to happen to New York in a few months."

"What would your advice to the Council be at this moment?"

The other guy smiled.  "To hire a PR person.  I know that the old Council worked in secret, and probably would've violated those new standards.  I know the new incarnation had to be set up during and immediately after the apocalypse battle that took out Sunnydale.  I know it was started by a witch who decided she needed to pull people back from the dead to help them and because she was struggling with a magic addiction.  I think a PR person would help smooth out the information flow so we don't get choppy bits that make them look slightly incompetent and unable to pull everything together even after four years."

"I know they've had want ads up," the reporter said.  "Do you think part of that problem is that they don't have enough people?"

"Definitely.  I don't know many who are open-minded enough to work there and yet still be able to handle training the girls for battles.  Or even to do office work since they might be attacked at any time to take the slayers out before an apocalypse.  I know that they're making due with under a hundred people running things.  I think less than fifty but I can't be sure.  Most of us don't aspire to be watchers, field or research ones.  Or any of the support staff either since I heard it took over a year to find a suitable doctor once they moved to Cleveland."

"Have we seen anyone important leave?" the reporter asked.  "I've heard reports that they retired someone?"

"One of their field trainers and problem solvers, who was also hooked into the various underground weapons pipelines for battle weapons, was retired.  I'm not certain why but I know the President hand-picked where he would go.  I'm not sure if that means there's an upcoming problem the Council is being quiet on or not."

The reporter smiled.  "If we knew where he was, we'd ask."

Xander sighed and got online to look up their number.  Clay patted him.  "If I don't, they'll say something totally stupid.  Which will then get me into more trouble or cause us all more problems."  He found it and called in.  "Hi, I'm Xander Harris, retired recently from the Council, and your dayshift guy just said he wanted to talk to me."  The answering person snorted but passed him on.  "Hey, Heidi.  I didn't know you were interning.  It goes really well where Giles had your sister making announcements.  Yeah, he asked.  Sure, you can do that."  She said she was changing clothes and putting on a headset.  "How deep do you want to go into why and how I got the boys?" he asked her.  She groaned.  "That's one reason why I was retired.  We can't tell them about being sick."  He nodded at what she said.

On screen she walked out to sit down in the guest chair.  "I am talking to Mr. Harris, who recently retired.  He was watching the statement and heard you say you wanted to talk to him?"

"Where is he?" the reporter asked.

"I retired near one of my family members," Xander said.  "The president wanted me to."

She smiled.  "He said he's near one of his extended family members.  With why he got retired, the president thought it would do him good and it's a mostly calm area."

"That's good.  Is he still in the US?" the reporter asked.

"Go ahead," Xander told her.

"He's in Hawaii right now.  Giles found him a charming little house that he had to fix up."  She smiled at the camera. "I'm told the governor told his cousin that he was going to be there before Xander himself could."

"Why was he retired?" the reporter asked.

"There's basically three reasons and one's classified," she said.  "But someone was throwing around that classified information in a mall food court of all places."  The reporter groaned and shook his head.  "Which is why he got moved near his cousin, who is in the PD out there somewhere."  She smiled.  "The main reason was because our head witch was moping and accidentally pulled some people from another realm to be her children."  The reporter and his 'source' both gaped in horrified awe.  She nodded and smiled.  "Five adorable little boys.  With what happens, they couldn't be raised around the slayer house.  None of us were going to let Willow or Rupert raise them.  Or Buffy or Faith since they're so busy.  So with the first reason he adopted them.  That way they'd have an excellent home.  Their first birthday is in a few weeks."

"They couldn't put them back?" the source asked.

"No.  They couldn't.  Unfortunately.  We think that the hellmouth surged while she was feeling pitiful and miserable about not having kids with her girlfriend of the time.  And instantly her magic reacted to the surge to channel it.  Since we can't recreate the feelings we can't get them home.  I do know that they were not children there and they are not missed.  We're able to know that much."

The reporter cleared his throat.  "Are they healthy?"

"Outside the coven giving them the flu for me pointing out that blaming me for Willow's shit is wrong," Xander quipped.

She touched her earphone.  "Xander said that they've had the flu recently for a strange reason."

"Would that have anything to do with the coven the Queen wants to expel?" the source asked.

"Possibly, she does adore Xander.  Apparently one of them blamed Xander for Willow pulling the boys."  They looked confused.  She smiled.  "It's not the first time that's happened.  Someone blamed Xander for stopping Willow once when she was about to start her own apocalypse.  We have no idea why the coven thinks that he's her shoulder angel but Xander's not innocent enough to be an angel and he's not nice enough to put up with it, which would be the third reason he left.  That and some of the girls didn't really respect him for being so-called normal.  Meaning not a witch, a slayer, or a bloodline watcher."

"Harris is the guy that they sent to train the slayers that stayed in their native environments though," the reporter said.

She smiled and nodded.  "He was and he got me out of Canada so I could come do my time.  My aunts all had me locked in the house so they couldn't come for me."  He nodded once at that.  She smiled.  "We've made peace since then because they realized I could go to college and have as much of a normal life as I can.  He's also trained slayers in Africa, Asia, and South America."

"So the senior slayers don't respect that?"

"It somehow goes along with people blaming him for Willow's mistakes.  We're not sure where it comes from but each time it starts he headed off again to go train someone else.  This time he got fed up and left since the boys needed him."

"So he's handling local problems," the source said.

"Yes."  She smiled.  "Including a street gang there that he had ran into while he was in Asia.  They had weapons and the slayers needed some for the upcoming battle in New York.  He kindly raided and sent them to us through some contacts."

"What is going to happen up there?  Will they need to evacuate?  A stay-inside order?"

"We've been working with the NYPD about safety during the battle.  We know there's some mighty idiots up there.  Our slayer on duty in New York has to keep ducking this one fundamentalist church that keeps trying to kidnap her so they can burn her at a stake.  We figured they'd show up during it to try something.  Frankly, some of the younger slayers are all for letting them handle the battle instead."  She smiled.  "We vetoed it though."

"That's good to know.  Do we know where?"

"We will know where within days.  It will be another portal situation like we had in LA, but for a different reason.  This one is a Higher demon, who wants to think of themselves as a hell lord, opening a portal to bring her minions over.  We're expecting about two to three hundred minions but they're really hard to kill.  There's no scythes or swords this time.  It's going to be pure weapons.  Thankfully Xander got us enough stuff recently due to that raid."

"How did he get them before?" the reporter asked.

"Xander's always had a gift for making some really strange contacts.  It also helps that he's drawn to the dangerous and deadly for dating."  She grinned.  "Buffy recently called to nag because an assassin Xander hadn't done more than meet at a bar in passing kidnaped him and the boys because she wanted to be the boys' mother."

"Why is that his fault?" the source asked.

She smiled.  "Because Buffy said so."  He just nodded and then shook his head.  "Yeah, a lot of us yelled about that.  We're not sure *why* that effect is in place but it's really annoying to those of us not under it, including Xander."

"So he ran into this gang in Asia and why?" The reporter asked.

"Yes," she agreed.

"They were partially possessed," Xander told her.

"He said they were partially possessed when he ran into them."

"I disabled and then freed them, then their hostages since they're people smugglers."

"He said he disabled them and then freed them from the possessions, then arranged to get their victims freed since they were people smugglers."

The reporter tipped his head.  "Did he turn them in?"

"I was in Thailand," Xander said dryly.  "Though I met a few in Hong Kong."

"He said he met them in both Hong Kong and Thailand.  They're not the most stringent on those problems," she said.

"No, we've heard that they're not," the reporter said, smiling at the camera.  "Is he safe?"

"Me and the boys are doing great and kicked back today.  Tomorrow I'm going to talk about South America to my cousin's school."

"He said he and the boys are all kicked back on the couch today.  Tomorrow he's going to talk to his cousin's school about some more of his travels.  Which most of us think is a great thing because he took pictures and he can tell them first-hand about where he's been.  I would've loved that instead of dry facts about another country."

"That would be something my children would like too," the source said.

The reporter nodded.  "My daughter as well."  He smiled.  "He's all set up with his pension and all that?  Safely raising his boys and handling minor things?"

"And a few gang members this morning," Xander quipped.

"He said he dealt with a few gang members this morning but otherwise mostly.  The Council doesn't have a pension plan so they're figuring out his retirement at the moment.  I know he had a few things from his travels that he liquidated for a retirement fund.  At one point in time in Africa, there was a warlord who decided Xander was gay for not wanting his daughter, who was ugly and had something nasty.  So he forced him to work in his jewel mine until Xander managed to get free and take him out."  The reporter's eyes were bulging and the look on his face was horrified.  She smiled.  "Sometimes things like that happen around Xander.  All of us slayers stare in horrified awe when they do.  Then Buffy calls him too normal and they have a fight then he goes off to do something else for a while."

"How long has that been going on?  Could it be something like a spell clouding them?" the reporter asked.

"Some of that has been going on since high school.  Buffy and Willow were being teenage girls who had gifts while he was a boy who didn't have more than memories from a possession or two.  As for the newest version, I don't know.  We've all suggested someone look but I'm not sure who can that's not affiliated and might be afflicted."

"I can understand that.  Where do you think the coven is going to move to?"

"I don't care as long as I don't have to deal with them.  The coven is a bit... nagging and also a bit ...weird at times.  It's not that they're nature witches or anything.  We work with a few that're very normal, nice people.  It's that they've got that creepy staring through you thing going on.  Especially if you're not a witch.  Sometimes they remind me of a clique of cheerleaders in high school."  Xander cackled and she smiled.  "He agrees with me.  He's giggling."

"So no idea on where they'd be moving?"

"The Council had a few spaces in various areas," she said.  "I'm not sure what Giles has liquidated for restarting and tax things.  They could probably move to one of those.  I'd assume they had non-UK places."

"They can go to Antigua to work on the demon trying to take over down there.  But they might get in the way of Riley's being his concubine," Xander said.

"Xander said they might go to Antigua since there's a tiny problem starting there.  I'm not sure.  I know it'd have to be pretty clean ground, not toxic or too polluted.  Quiet, a lot of land.  I know they can't go to an Islamic country because they'd be put to death immediately.  Especially in Iran and Saudi Arabia.  They've both put up statements that they will not accept slayers or anything to do with us in their countries.  Which we all wished them luck for when their neighbor Qatar's thin spot and future hellmouth opened.  We're all wondering if the kraken that was under Sunnydale's hellmouth would be there too."  The reporter looked a bit sick.  She smiled.  "If so, we'll know because we'll hear reports of huge tentacles waving in the sun.  I don't think they'd go to France.  Most of the coven are older British women."  He nodded once.  "So I'm not totally sure."

"So somewhere like Australia would be ideal except for it's in the UK," the reporter said.

She smiled.  "So is my native Canada."

"Interesting.  Is Hawaii looking at any upcoming problems?"

"Strike next year.  LA's going to have a demon brawl and possible mob effort to get more power during the New York thing," Xander said.

"Xander said that there might be a demon strike.  At a plant?" she asked.

"There's a community here and they're not happy with their leadership so they might strike and protest."

"He said the local demon commune out there is having political issues within itself but they'd probably only protest where mundanes could see them.  Not hurt the rest of the islands.  He also said that LA may have a problem during the New York battle because some there might want to make a 'give us more control of the city' sort of mob thing."

"Is he going to be in New York?"

"No.  With the boys that young he's staying home this battle."

"Was he in LA?" the source asked.

"No, Buffy refused to call him back.  With all the slayers she decided we didn't need him.  So he was in Africa handling things at a temple full of cannibals if I heard right.  Human ones I think.  Some sort of cult.  The last full battle he was in with the slayers was the one in Sunnydale."

Xander snorted.  "That was the week before.  That day I had two sick slayers that were poisoned, one on the rag, and sixteen problems that decided they wanted to take advantage of it."

"He said the day of the battle he was protecting some slayers that were ill so the local problems were going to take them out.  The cult had been the week before."

He shuddered.  "I'm glad someone could do it because I know I couldn't."

She smiled.  "Xander's like our Batman in many ways.  Though, those who screw with him usually end up regretting it a lot.  Like that kidnaping assassin; he locked her in a large decorative bird cage, hung it down a natural underground hole that got water during high tide, and let her fight against it until the local PD saved her.  Because they didn't want to deal with it when she had him."

He shuddered again.  "That makes a lot of sense.  I'm glad he's strong enough to save himself and others.  Does he see any upcoming announcements from the main Council?"

"Yup.  The new match game thingy on Yahoo?  I was reading it earlier and it's letting you be mildly possessed when you click on the 'I accept the terms of service' button.  It's a last ditch by someone who fled Wolfram and Hart to start their own business."

She touched her earphone.  "Yes.  He said there's a game on Yahoo somewhere that was made by someone who left Wolfram and Hart to start their own business.  When you click on the 'I accept' button the terms of service include being mildly possessed."  The reporter gaped.  She shrugged.  "First I've heard of it.  He said it's some sort of match game."

He typed something into his laptop.  "I sent it to you."

"He's sent me the link to my email.  I'll go over that later and look into the story behind it."

"Please do and let us know.  Thank him for us and I hope he has an easy, less exciting retirement and the boys end up being great leaders for humanity."

She smiled.  "We're thinking soldiers but you never know."  Xander hung up.  She smiled and left when they went to commercial.  She got her tablet computer from her boss and looked at it.  She downloaded the game and read the terms of service.  "I'll be damned.  It does allow for a very minor, mostly harmless demon to nest in your soul.  It's basically like a computer worm and later on they'd use you to zombie out and infect others or do things for them, like a computer being used as a mule to send spam."

The editor shuddered and followed to help her look that up.  That was clearly evil.


Steve turned off the tv, looking at Danny.  "Do we know about that computer game?"

"He emailed me earlier not to play that game."

"Good!"  He went into his office to get the ringing phone.  "Yes, ma'am?" he answered.  Only one person ever called him at the office.  He listened.   "From what it said, I think she was a slayer, Governor."  Danny nodded.  "Danno said she was."  He listened.  "No, I think that's a Buffy and Willow-specific infection," he said dryly.  "It's apparently slightly communicable."  She groaned.  "He did say we were good.  That we're safe out here, that's why he got moved out here.  So it looks good on us.  If I remember, the kidnaping that got mentioned didn't say it was local.  I don't know if that show with the hunters is real or not."  He looked out there.  "Danno, is that show with the hunters real?"

He texted that, getting one back.  "It's a near realm but it's not real here.  That demon's trapped here.  He's hoping Willow doesn't decide to pull them to give him more kids.  Xander said if she did, he was going to start demanding child support from the Council."  He put his phone down.

Steve repeated that and smiled.  "I'd say.  No, Danno's daughter's class.  I'm told that she loves it and they're learning a lot.  Xander even showed them how to do a few of the ritual dances he learned in Africa."  He smiled.  "No, I don't think he told them anything about hunting demons.  He said the teacher took out some pictures where the women were topless."  He listened.  "No, I don't care where they go but they can't come here.  I think the president's probably already made that clear, Governor, since he didn't really want the Council here."  He smirked at the window.  "I'll make sure Xander knows that, ma'am."  He hung up and called them.  "The governor said that the Council's witches can't move here."  He hung up and went back out there.  "The boys are cackling."

"Happy babies are a gift from God," Danno said with a grin.  "Grace always was."  Steve smirked back.  "She say the witches can't move here?"


"Good!"  He pointed.  "That game."

Steve looked it over, including the 'terms of service'.  "Any idea if they're out here?"

"They're in Hana."

"That makes them a threat to Hawaii."  He didn't even have to check.  They needed to get out of his state now.  They left to start work on them.  The judge was given the screen to read, making him shudder.  He signed a search warrant and muttered about how to get his daughter-in-law free.  Steve shrugged.  "I don't know how you'd do a mass exorcism or if it'd work.  I can ask Harris."

"Please do."

Steve texted him and got back an address.  He handed that over.  The judge looked.  It was a page full of audio files of exorcism chants on a hunter's website.  One was listed as 'for that game's demon' so he clicked on it.  The audio file came up and melodically chanted latin at him.

Steve walked out happier.  It was nice someone had set things up.


"In nominus padre," Xander heard as he walked with the boys in their stroller. 

He paused and looked.  It was a priest doing a baptism so he moved on.  It was nice it wasn't a problem he had to deal with.  The boys were all staring at him.  "It's a baptism.  We don't know them so we can't go."  They turned back around to watch the jogging girls.  That was their greatest treat of any day.  That and they got to play in the park until Xander was tired of the sun.  They were on the playground sandbox when a priest walked up to them.  Xander looked up.  "Yes, Father?"

"You're Harris, right?"

"I am."  He grinned.  "Problems?  Possession?"

"How many exorcism rituals are there?"

"Traditionally, four.  One ancient, two middle ages, and one modern that's still said in Latin.  For individual types of demons or higher demons that do too much work, there's a hundred-forty-three total.  Why?"

"Is there one for that game?"

"Yes.  A hunter has it on his website."  He found the link in his phone and let him copy it.  "He's got a bunch of them on there in audio form. He put a big sign on it today saying to please save his bandwidth and save it instead of streaming it."

The priest smiled.  "Wonderful.  Thank you.  Anything we should hear?"

"If you know someone in LA, I'm hearing unsubstantiated rumors of a mob thing during the New York apocalypse battle and possibly it'll have a secondary event later in the month."

"I'll keep that in mind and tell them.  Thank you, my son.  They're adorable boys."

Xander grinned.  "They try very hard sometimes, usually to suck up to people they think can make cookies."

The priest smiled.  "That figures."  He stared.  "Where did she pull them from?"

"A movie."  He groaned and walked off.  Xander grinned at the boys.  "Just think, next year we'll have to go help in LA probably."  They all scowled at him.  He smirked back.  "It'll be fine."  They got back to digging in the sand and throwing it at each other.  Roque looked upset so he gently poked him and stared at him.  "You never have to worry.  If something happens to me, you guys go to either Danny or Rachel.  I'd expect you guys to watch out for Grace."  Roque grinned.  "So relax.  I'd never let Buffy or Willow raise you.  Or even Dawn because she's got stalkers like I do."  Roque went back to his digging.

"When do I get to teach them to surf?" Kono asked as she sat down next to Xander.

Xander looked at her.  "At least after they can swim at three or so."  He grinned.  "Bored?"

"The company that did the game packed up."

"They're probably in their fall back, which is in Vegas.  Wolfram and Hart had a fall-back building there."

"Good to know.  Are there any of them locally?"  She hugged Jensen when he crawled over to pounce.  She grinned at him.  "Silly."  He babbled and beamed at her.  "I like men with brains but you're much too young for me.  See me in twenty years."  She winked and he giggled, going back to playing with Pooch.

"Not that I know of.  I think most of Wolfram and Hart's remaining people went into private practices or are hiding in case whoever made it to another realm comes back.  They had their own people signing soul contracts too."

"That sucks," she said.  She patted Frank when he crawled over.  "Are you going to run me over?"  He flirted and she grinned, giving him a hug too.  "I like you too, but like Jensen you're twenty years too young for me.  See me when you're of age."  He blinked at Xander.  "No, I can't date Xander.  I'd hate to be related to Danno all the time."  Xander snickered, shaking his head. "That exorcism audio site exceeded its bandwidth yesterday."

"If I knew how to make an online radio station," he said dryly.

"It's not that hard to do a podcast thing."  She considered it.  "I'll send him an email and see if I can do that for him.  It can only help.   I know Steve got pulled into a conference call between the governor and the president."

"The president probably wants him to hit on me," Xander said.

"No probably about it.  He had it on speaker so Danno could hear and put in ideas as your cousin and the president suggested you'd be married off to him if he had his way."

Xander shoulder-nudged her.  "Then I'd have to help you guys around the office."  She cackled and hugged him, then each of the kids before going.  He looked at Frank, who was pouting.  "We have a date tonight."  Frank looked like he was ready to cry.  "The nice lady that made you wear the pink shirt."

Frank did wail at that and shake his head.

"Fine.  We'll see what happens," he complained, gathering them up.  Frank finally calmed down on their stroll back to the house.  It was only a few miles and Xander needed the walk anyway.


The president looked at the senior staff of the Council he had called in to chew on again.  "I think Harris should sue you all for child support," he said.

"Why would he?" Giles asked.

"Would any of you want yourself or Ms. Rosenburg to raise those boys that the council created?"

"Well, no," Giles admitted.  "I fear I'd do a terrible job.  I know it's my duty to have an heir some day but not right now."

The president looked at him.  "I heard rumors that one of your old timers suggested you have one with your slayer since she's lasted so long."  Giles shuddered.  "Have you decided anything on paying him back for the weapons?"

"I don't think he bought them."

"He did," one of the others said. "At least a good portion.  The ones we had in LA he bought from someone who wanted him in Africa."

"Yes, one of the magically active terrorist cults," the president said dryly.  "They still want him as a wife for their leader's heir."  Giles was looking horrified and nearly ready to cry.  "He's found six that're magically active, people.  How do we fight them?"

"Are they actively using magic?" Giles asked.  The president handed over the files his people had found.  He looked through them.  "How on earth did Xander find these ones?" he muttered.

"Some of them wanted him for that blood problem he has," the president said dryly.  "Two others are the enemy of the guy that wants to adopt Xander and his sons as his younger brother."  Giles looked at him.  "A Master Hai?"

"I've briefly heard about him from a report Xander filed about a street gang."

"He runs a very large, very diverse clan of Asian gang members.  He's Chinese.  Some of his staff are from various ethnicities, and they do things like run guns, illegal shipments of liquor and cigarettes, higher and lower weapons, sometimes slaves for special customers.  Though I'm told anytime Xander hears about those, he stops them."

Buffy took them to look at.  "I think that Hai guy wanted to marry Xander at one point in time."

"Yes but he's in prison for the rest of his very long life," the president said dryly.  "Sixteen consecutive life sentences means he's either got to buy his way out or escape."  She slumped and shook his head.  "If he was in a different business he might suit Xander.  He does seem to care for him and he's told everyone to leave the boy and his kids alone."  He looked at Giles.  Then he handed over another file.  "We went searching and had to find the information that the Mossad had tracked on some arms dealers.  We traded them for the files on these magically active terrorists.  That's what they knew Xander had bought for your use.  The marked ones I've been told are still in his collection in Hawaii."

"Do you really like Xander?" Buffy asked.

He stared at her.  "I'm still married, Summers.  I don't like him *that* way.  I respect the boy a hell of a lot though and I'm told that since you guys screwed the pooch so much about his blood issues that he's having problems out in Hawaii."

"He has his cousin."

"Who has to track all the other arms dealers," he shot back. "Xander's made a pretty good dent in getting only the best of the best to the islands.  He's driven off a few lesser problems for his cousin and raided a few others."  She slumped.  "In fact, he and an ATF agent he used to casually date found that one of the ones he raided was shipping people in weapons cases while under a paralytic. It stopped that people moving line very well."  He clasped his hands on the desk.  "For that matter, I hope like hell that the boy bankrupts everyone he drives off.  Raising one child is expensive.  They project to get a child born this year to eighteen is over a quarter of a million dollars, more if you want them to attend a non-public school.  He has *five*."  She shuddered.  "And I heard about Rosenburg trying to pull two more?" he demanded.

"Dawn stopped her."

"Last night?" he snorted.  She flinched and looked at Giles, who shook his head.

One of the others coughed.  "She tried very hard and they briefly showed up when they went to hell then when they escaped on the show they went back," the old timer said dryly.  "She did try very hard though."

Buffy looked at him.  "Is that why you locked her in a closet without her phone or computer?"

"Hell.  Yes," he said dryly.  "Though I agree, we should pay the boy back for all he's bought for us because some of those who want him are particularly scary.  The one who channels for her chaos god comes to mind," he said when Giles looked at him.

"Ethan?" Buffy guessed.

"Loki Beldane."

"Who?" she asked.  He found her file in his smartphone and let Buffy see it.  "So much worse than Ethan," she muttered.

"Only the ancient protections on Hawaii are keeping her from visiting.  She's been warned not to bring them down and Xander said if she did she'd be dying to recreate them."  He took his phone back.  "As she's the *nicest* of the ones I personally know about, including Hai, I don't think we should encourage him to do what the FBI wants and become a black widow."

Giles shook his head.  "No, he should not."  He went back to the list.  A few things were marked.  "I know one of those went to him but Riley had tampered."

"It had to be destroyed.  All but two that he tampered with did because no one could fix them," the president said.  "How is he doing in Antigua?"

Buffy shuddered and went pale, looking like she was going to vomit all over the expensive antique rug.  "That was a horrible punishment."

"What did he do anyway?" Giles asked.  "Beyond the weapons?"

The president smirked.  "See that third file?"  Giles nodded slowly. "He told them Harris' address.  Thankfully they're blocked by the protections on Hawaii too.  I've already ordered a group of Special Forces to work together to bring them down.  Even Al-Queda doesn't want those people around.  Which means they're probably not favored by anyone."

Buffy looked at the file then shuddered.  "Maybe that's worse than what the demon is doing to Riley.  They want his blood?"

"They want his blood and then to sacrifice him to bring back a higher authority, who'd have to inhabit his body," the president said.  She shuddered and slumped.  "So no, we'd hate that."  He looked at Giles.  "Did the old Council have retirement funds?"

"No, we were expected to do it on our own.  Most of us either were wealthy or died in the field," Giles said.

"I see."  He grimaced.  "For right now, find out how you do that.  This is the modern age and you don't pay your people enough to retire on.  As a matter of fact, I believe you're paying below minimum wage.  That was noted by his back pay."  Giles groaned.  "Minimum wage is now seven-twenty-five an hour for the federal level and seven-forty in Ohio, Mr. Giles. I'm fairly certain that three thousand dollars for six months is less than that.  That works out to be less than SSI payments."  Giles nodded.  "Do you need financial help?  We can give you some recommendations from the Treasury department."

"No, we have one.  He's never mentioned any of this.  We've mostly made due since everything happened."

"I realize you're taking the place of hundreds of people, Rupert.  I also realize you've tried to hire people and can't because of the nature of the job.  Which is why we need to help you do things."  He wrote out a name and number.  "This is the Treasury person who audits businesses in Ohio.  Let her look things over and suggest places where you need changes, before the IRS does it due to a misfiled bit of paperwork."

Giles took it and tucked it into his shirt pocket.  "I can do so."

"Good.  Then talk to the three programs that have mythology masters degrees.  They could probably send you interns at the very least."

"I had no idea you could get a degree in mythology," Giles said.

"Yes, you can.  And History ones as well could probably come love your library too."

He nodded.  "We've had a few apply to do some research.  There are many days when I wish we had the resources of the old council."

The president smirked.  "Wish granted."  Giles squeaked and his mouth fell open.  "Kidding, Giles.  I doubt the people are ever going to nominate a wish demon as president."

"Anya would've loved it," Buffy said.

"I've talked to her."  He smirked.  "She got nominated for a different job, but her boss decided to screw with her will so Xander didn't get whatever was left of her estate.  So she killed him and took over."  She nodded at that then shook her head.  "I'm told a law firm for demons that only works on that spectrum nearly got destroyed as well."  He clasped his hands on the desk.  "So what do we do now?"

Cordelia Chase faded in and grinned.  "Hi."  She smirked at Giles.  "Wish granted."  He groaned.  She cackled.  "The Powers want Xander to keep the boys safe and stay out of things before they mess more stuff up."

"He did?" the president asked.

"The Powers are playing chess," Buffy said.  "Xander played checkers on their board a few times.  They *really* hate him messing up prophecies."

The president nodded.  "I can see how that happens."  He smiled at the ghostly being.  "Don't we have protections against spirits?"

"I'm not the average one.  I'm the telephone system of the Higher Ups."  She smirked at Buffy then at Giles.  "Bark after me.  Leave Xander alone.  Pay him back for his weapons.  Make sure the boys grow up all right because they might be the next generation of field watchers and hunters."  Giles muttered something in Latin.  She cackled.  "They don't care if he keeps bankrupting people out there to set a high standard.  They actually like you putting the compound out there.  But the boys have to be raised to be the next hunters or field watchers.  Or else you won't have any for the next generation of slayers."  She smirked at Buffy.  "If you want a kid, have a damn kid."  She faded out.

"We'll work on how to do that," Giles said.  He cleared his throat, handing back the files.  "We'll do what we can about those groups," he offered.

"Thank you.  That would be appreciated.  Where is the coven moving?"

"Mexico," Buffy said.  "Willow's already complaining about the heat."

"Can we send just her further away?" the president asked.  "I'm sure she's technical enough to be able to colonize Jupiter for us."

Buffy grimaced. "I need her.  She's my best friend and she's always backed me up.  We've already lost Xander."

"I'm sure he'll come if you need him for big things," the president said.  She nodded she knew that.  "Willow has caused a lot of problems though."

"Xander too," Buffy complained.

He stared at her.  "He's solved more than he started.  She's started more than she's solved and her magic addiction is showing again."  Buffy nodded that was true.  "We don't want another apocalypse attempt from her, Miss Summers.  Really."

"I don't either.  I'm trying."

"Yes, I know, but this isn't really your job.  Rosenburg has to find her own control.  All addicts have to do it for themselves, even if they ignore that they're addicted.  Can we force her to let go of the hellmouths?  The energy meters we put out in Sunnydale have been climbing again."  Giles stared then pulled out his phone to call her.  "Okay.  Try, please."

"Knock her into a medical coma for a few weeks until her body has to let it go," the old timer said.  Buffy looked at him.  He nodded.  "We had to do it to a few witches that got possessed and dangerous.  After a while the body will let go of the power."

"We'd like that before she destroys part of New York trying to help," the president said.

"Us as well," Giles said as he hung up.  "She insists it's not her."

"It might not be," Buffy said. "We do have a few witches on staff.  Can we check for where it's going?"

"I'll see once we get home."  He patted her wrist.  "Are there other problems?"

The president pointed at his window.  There was a demon stuck to it.  "Even salt water won't get it off this time."

Buffy pulled out a stake.  "I'm coming out there."  It unstuck and whimpered, trying to paw at the residue it left.  "Oh, crap.  It was laying eggs."

The president got up and knocked the window pane out.  "Here, take it and go somewhere else."  It babbled and left with it.  He sat down to fill out a note.  "Thank you, Miss Summers.  Can we please have a slayer here in DC?"

"No because the demon cocksucking politicians who sold part of themselves are here," she said dryly.  "They kept trying to kill the last one."

"I can understand that," he decided.  "How about in Arlington or somewhere nearby?"

"There's one in Baltimore."

"That's only an hour away.  We can handle that.  Can we have her contact information?"  Giles found it and handed it over.  "Thank you, Mr. Giles."

"Thank you for bringing this to our attention and the help," Rupert said, shaking his hand.  They left, going back to the Council to figure things out.  Before the president sicced someone on them to figure it out for them.

The president leaned back.  "Miss Chase?"  She faded in and gave him an attentive look.  "Was it truly granted?"

"Yes.  They're tired of watching Rupert struggle with things."  She smirked.  "So someone's coming back that has the knowledge of all that."

"Excellent news.  The fall back position in Hawaii?"

"Only for underage and injured slayers.  The real fall back for the Council is in Scotland."

"Even better.  Though I'm sure the PM won't like it."  He sighed.  "Harris?"

"Xander's doing better than I expected. He's going nuts but he's doing better than I expected."  She smirked.  "They'll pay him back.  The new guy will make sure of it."  She grinned.  "Then the girls can take the boys shopping.  That way they're just as traumatized as Xander is by it."  She faded out.

The president snickered.  "That's good to know."  He called that governor to make her calm down about the Council moving out there.  Only the youngest and injured was safer than all of them.


Two weeks later, Danny and Steve showed up at Xander's for dinner with him and the boys.  "I bring news," Danny quipped.  He saw how he was dressed.  "Date?" he guessed.

"Patrol earlier on that cult."  He looked up from stirring the pasta.  "You said you wanted dinner.  Big news like an engagement?  Because I gotta say, my date in the pool is next month."

"Not happening," Steve said.  He sat down at the table.

Danny smirked.  "Talked to Cordelia."

"So have I.  The boys aren't sure if they can handle hunting duties when they're older."

"Not about that."  Xander stopped stirring to look at him.  "She said someone got brought back by the Powers."

"Uh-huh.  Who?"


"Angel's seer.  Basically his white lighter to keep him on the path and tell him when the higher powers yelp.  Did they need one?  I haven't had any visions recently."

"They didn't bring him back for that.  Well, partially they brought him back to provide some common sense, which he probably did in LA too.  But mostly they brought him back to handle the financial things that kept escaping Giles' sight."

"Doyle taught kids, he wasn't an accountant."

"They gave him the head-to-head download from someone who was according to what he said earlier."

"He could've called," Xander said dryly.

"He's calling you tomorrow."  He patted him and put an envelope down on the counter in a dry spot.  "He called me because he knows you're hyper protective of anything in your world crossing into my job and causing me hell."  Xander nodded.  "So he kindly called me and IAB together so they would leave both of us alone."

"I have no idea why they're still bothering you."

"They're not.  They're more fussing that you're Council," Steve said.

"I've seen that in action before, but you're not."

"Yeah but they're paranoid," Danny said.  "Beyond that, Cordelia and the president both told Doyle he was to arrange for things so you would be paid back for all those weapons you got them."  Xander gaped.  "Cordelia showed up in the white house from what Doyle said, and he seems like a pretty nice guy."  He grinned.  "So we set it up together.  By the way, he fired Jerry and warned him to leave the country.  Apparently he was sworn to a higher being so he was being a bit obstructionist to get in the way of the Council handling things, but not totally because his boss wasn't ready to make his move yet."

"Was he stealing from my account?"

"No, that was fees where you accidentally overdrafted one night.  The deposit hadn't cleared yet."  Xander nodded he got that.  "IAB helped Doyle set up the account out here so that the money guy *we* in the HPD trust is over it.  That way *no one* touches it ever again."  Xander nodded slowly at that.  "That way IAB can't say a thing to me about it and if you buy us lunch sometimes it's all good to them.  That way they can leave us both alone."  He grinned.

"I'd like them to leave you alone."

"They think it's charming that you're busting the lower, lesser level arms people," Steve said.  "They think it's a great thing because it's saving us work and getting shot at.  They realize that most of what you do confiscate is your personal arms closet that the president allows and stuff for the Council, and they made sure who we turn the rest over to.  Plus the ATF guy you go through for a lot of it."  Xander nodded with a grin.  "They also think it's great that you're retired.  They're not fond of the baby slayers and the too-injured showing up here but they were told to deal with it and move on."

"So the bad is?" Xander asked.  "Because this looks like bad news?"

"Giles has decided he's not going to nag you anymore," Danny said.  Xander pouted.  "Not that he's going to leave you alone but the point was made to him that only Willow is responsible for Willow.  Really, he misses you a lot.  So do the girls who have sense.  And they miss the kids."  He looked around.  Xander pointed upstairs.  "Napping still?"

"Late nap.  We were outside earlier."

"That's good for 'em."  He tapped the envelope.  "That's your new account, and he did move your old one for you.  A better, safer bank.  It's set up so it's in a tax deferred something or other.  This is the same guy that oversees the pension funds for the HPD.  The president also ordered Giles to look into retirement funds for the rest of the Council.  He even nominated a Treasury person to help them.  That way they don't have tax troubles or anything."

"Giles used to run a store back in Sunnydale."

"And he misfiled his taxes there too," Steve said.  "Doyle was talking to us when they came in to tell him that."

Xander shook his head.  "They probably have a flat tax or something over there."  He stirred the pasta again.  "So it's good news, I can afford diapers and a new t-shirt?"

"You can," Danny agreed with a smile.  "Rachel's taking you shopping for the boys.  We're having their birthday party on the beach too."  Xander grinned and nodded. "Someone asked if they had papers."

"I talked to a contact and got forged ones," Xander said.  "They're in the desk in the armory."  Steve went to look.  "Hai's people helped with all that."

"That's good.  I'm sure everyone would realize it was normal."  Danny grinned.  "What's for dinner?"

"This is spaghetti I'm whizzing for the boys.  That way they have real food to slurp down.  We're having the stuff in the fridge in the bowl."  Danny went to look.  "He's not allergic to anything, right?"

"No, not that I know of.  Usually he's like a more human version of Superman.  As far as I know kyptonite isn't real here."

"Yes it is.  They found it in Africa," Xander said dryly.  "It's that red stone in the study."  Danny moaned and shook his head.  Xander grinned.  "Steve, what's your version of kryptonite?" he called.

"Women with too much perfume and who talk in Valley," he called, coming back.  He heard a cackle from Jensen.  Xander smirked at him.  "They cause a lot of head weakness and seem to always come out to do stupid things on vacation."

Danny shook his head.  "I thought it was Miss-Blue-Underwear-Under-White-Chinos."

"Again, too much makeup and she was trying to sound like a teenager."

"At least it's not Miami or Vegas, home of the bad boob jobs," Xander quipped.

"Some of those are really bad," Danny agreed.  "Then again, the ones you see on tv," he said dryly, shaking his head at the end.

"I don't watch that crap.  I like my reality tv to be a bit more...real."  He pulled out the blender and poured the spaghetti into it and some sauce then spun it until it was goopy.  "Okay, let's get the boys.  Steve, can you get the other high chair from the living room?"

"Sure."  He and Danny went to get the kids, Xander carrying three down.  They put them into the chairs and Xander let them play with the food tonight, grinning at them.  They ate the nice crab meat salad and it was good. Danny went over the papers with him so he could figure things out and do the signing he needed to do.  Even if Cougar was giving their salads envious looks.  Steve finally gave him a tiny piece of crab, making him happy.  Jensen pouted so Danny shared some of his.  Jensen beamed as he gummed it.

"I'm making gumbo later," Xander said dryly.  "We can eat on that for days."  The boys all stared at him.  He smirked.  "I learned from one of the Louisiana slayers.  She belongs on that show about swamp people and she taught me.  I made it in Zimbabwe and they adored it."  The boys groaned.  He grinned.  "We'll leave some without the hot sauce for you guys.  It'd hurt you guys to belch."

"Get them a shaved ice for afterward," Steve quipped. "I spent six weeks in New Orleans after Katrina and I swear I had heartburn the whole time.  Even the military food got spiced somehow."  Danny laughed.  Xander smirked at him.  "Anything special we're doing for their birthday?"

"I ordered their cake already."

"That's good.  By the way, those fakes are really bad."

"I know.  They assigned it to one of the younger ones, who did put them into the system in Ohio, but the better ones are on their way."

Steve nodded.  "That makes sense.  Did you do the formal adoption through a judge?"

"He wasn't sure we needed one but yeah.  He asked why we needed one so Willow admitted to her oops.  He glared at her and told her to go find a rehab center before she caused more problems.  He noticed Giles scowling about that and asked me if I was ready to do this, since he wouldn't encourage the others with us to do it.  Apparently he thought they were probably not a good influence on the kids. I told him we'd be fine and we were moving due to other problems we had been told to evacuate about so they'd be safer.  He agreed and signed the papers."

"That's good," Steve agreed.  "By the way, I passed on that information about the magic-using terrorists."  Danny shuddered.

"I told Giles about each of the groups when I ran into them.  Apparently he just filed the reports without reading them."

"I know they've got some people coming in to help, Doyle's arranging it.  I'm going to ask Doyle if we can check those over for more intel," Steve said.  Xander smirked.  "Did you keep a copy?"

"Not really.  Unless my phone's email suddenly kept a sent copy."

"Then we'll look at theirs."  He looked at the boys, who were looking tired.  "Are they still sick?"

"They wore themselves out trying to get the cat out of the tree."  Jensen grinned at him but started to nod off again.  "We had shots earlier too."

"Gracie did the same thing after most of hers," Danny agreed.  He got a washcloth to clean them up a bit and they got changed and put into bed by the three of them.  "I heard Willow nearly pulled some others," he said casually.

"I *so* heard," Xander complained.  "I *so* about killed her ass and I would've sued the Council for child support."  Steve smiled and shook his head.  "I would!  They created the children!"  He shook his head.  "Sometimes she really does scare me."

"The coven moved to Mexico," Steve said.

Xander found his phone and called.  "I just heard the coven moved to Mexico?"  He listened then shuddered.  "Tell them to evacuate.  Yeah, I would.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "A small, ancient cult that's living the Aztec lifestyle in the jungles is going to have a lot of problems with her."

"Sacrifices and all?" Danny asked.

Xander got the file for him.  "There's a few that have went back to as close to the original ways as they could.  They make the Amish way of life look way modern."  Steve shuddered as he read.  "There's a group in upper China, who hate me for being American but respect me because I accidentally tripped over the demon that was plaguing them and killed it.  There's a group in lower Egypt somewhere on the Nile.  Outside the cities and tourist areas.  There's one in South Africa who are trying to return to headhunter ways but they can't quite manage it.  There's that group and one lower in Brazil that's the actual descendants of the native tribe.  Not even anthropologists have talked to them.  I only dream-talked to them about a demon they felt me handling."

Steve nodded.  "Can I copy these?"

"Sure.  I've got a bunch of files on various things."

Steve smiled.  "If I get a day off, I'm copying things so the other SEALs don't have to run into them by accident."

"Go for it.  It kinda sucks when they knock you out and you wake up to them chanting over you."  Danny glared at them.  "They were going to sacrifice me but then again I summoned a demon and they all fled.  It was even a harmless one.  They came to talk to me after dark that night, once it had left."

"Like cutting out your heart sacrificing?" Danny demanded.

"Yeah.  They don't really care about livers."

Danny shook his head quickly.  "You needed to retire sooner, Xander."

"Probably but they did offer to give me a princess.  I told them I can't have kids thanks to the mermaid taint."

"I know we'd still like to look at that, without looking at the various other problems you've had," Steve said.

"As soon as you do there'll be an emergency," Xander said with a smirk.

"Maybe, but we'd just do the DNA, not the other stuff.  Though, whoever does your yearly physical would probably like to do some general workup bloodwork probably."

"I don't go to the doctor," Xander said.  Danny cackled, smirking at his partner.  "I know, it's tough guy syndrome.  I only go when I'm dying."

"If it'll help, I'll ask the base who they'd use for a SEAL or Ranger that didn't want things to get out," Steve offered.

"That's someone you could use too," Danny quipped with a smirk.  "Because you never go either."

"I haven't needed to go," Steve shot back.  Xander shook his head and walked off.  Steve rolled his eyes.  "We're not having some sort of weird domestic dispute, Xander."

"That's fine.  I was getting something for the sniffling one."  He carried the stuffed truck up there, handing it to Pooch, who for some reason hated to sleep without it.  He petted over his hair until he went back to sleep.  Then he went back downstairs.  They were still arguing while doing dishes.  Xander got the high chairs moved out of his way and cleaned up then did the table.  Danny grinned at him.  "If it's all set up, Rachel can take the boys and Monkey to the local shops to get them new clothes.  They could use it."

Steve gave the boy's outfit a long stare.  "They're not the only one."

Xander smirked as he hit him on the arm.  "I'm perfectly comfortable."  He strolled off and the news came on a minute later.  "We needed noise."

"Noise is good," Steve agreed.  They finished up and went to sit outside to watch the cat in the tree and the stars come out.  Steve was really learning to like Xander and appreciate his viewpoint.  It was like SEAL light at times.

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