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
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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
"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'
"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
"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
"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
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
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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
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.
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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."
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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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