Hannibal came back from dropping off the mini slayers and found Dawn at Xander's cooking. "Cool, food."
She smiled. "I'm out at my place so I'm cooking for the boys once they get back from the baby doctors."
"I'm sure they'll appreciate it."
She smiled. "Xander will too. Though I think he needs to hit Costco again. He's almost out of toilet paper."
"I'll remember that."
She pinched him. "Guys don't use as much."
"Half the time we do."
She rolled her eyes. "Even then, a lot of guys don't use as
much. One of my classmates has a job at a laundry and she told us
*all* about how guys' shirts have stains."
"Eww. Some guys are clean."
"That's nice." She gave him a hip-nudge out of her way. "They all settled?"
"Yup, and making garden plans already. The school's people showed
up to talk to them and one's in her right grade." Dawn
winced. "The others are a bit behind."
"I told Buffy they needed regular classes, not to have them home school."
"She said she'd talk to Giles when I gave her his number. That way
he knows." She smirked at him and he grinned back. He
looked around. "So."
"Hannibal, I'd never jump you in Xander's kitchen. Relax?"
"Some things were pointed out." He leaned his hip against a counter and crossed his arms over his chest, staring at her.
"You must be really hell in interrogations," she teased, hip-nudging him
out of her way again. "What did you want to know?"
"You guys actually consider Abby like Faith-light?"
"Yeah. They have a lot of the same styles and mannerisms, the same
way of looking at the hunting. It helped some of the slayers be
able to work with you guys if we categorized. That way we can go
'you guys go work with Abby, you hunt the same way, yes she wears her
iPod all the time during battles' and send the ones that work well with
Xander and other guys who can break the tension and quip their way out
of bad things to work with you."
"I guess that makes sense." He got nudged out of the way again. "You're not even using the sink," he taunted.
"I'm using the drawer your butt is against. It's got all the
knives." He moved for her. "Thank you." He went back
to leaning. "There's very few we haven't been able to categorize
for the girls and those we don't really.... We don't not trust
them but we're wary of them because half of them have turned out to be a
problem and the others they're watching it for. Or they think
that they're demons hunting. Some of the Asian slayers really have
a problem with that and complain about anime standards being
"I saw one of those." He watched her work. "What are you making?"
"Peanut and beef stew?"
"Oh." He nodded. "Okay. Why the pineapple?"
"For a bit of sweetness and to help break down the meat." She put
everything into the pressure cooker she had warming on the stove and
added water then sealed it and adjusted the temperature. "There,
that should be ready later." She turned and he stared her down
again. She started to get nervous. "What?"
"Xander told me I was dense."
"So's he sometimes." She grinned. "I'm perfectly capable of
pouncing you into the ground if I want to take it beyond flirting,
Hannibal. You know that."
"I do." He moved closer. He nearly towered over her.
She wasn't quite as short as her sister but Dawn was only five-foot-six
and he was over six feet. She was looking nervous again.
"I'd never hear the end of it if I pounced you in here." She
relaxed. "As much as it pains me, I should probably have a
grown-up discussion with you too."
She swatted him hard. "I'm fully grown up, thank you."
He stared at her. "Not about that." He studied her for a minute. "Ever read Hensen's _Oracle_?"
"Um... Yes. In Latin but yes. Why?" He gave her a
pointed look. "Oh! No, witches don't get fixated like that
on the ones that break them in. We get fixated for other reasons,"
she finished with a weak quip.
"That's good to know. I'm not sure if I could handle being a boyfriend."
"Buffy's about ready to sew you to my side so I have built-in bodyguard the next time someone wants to snatch me."
"That could be handy, yeah. You do get taken more than even Xander does."
"The last time it was anti-supernatural freaks who hated magic.
That had nothing to do with the hunting or Buffy beyond that they didn't
want it here."
She winced but blushed a bit. "You heard?"
"One of the vamps in Miami crowed that he had bedded you and I pointed
out if he had then there was some serious magic going on somewhere out
here to hide it."
"No. He tried to grope and then I remembered what you told me
about his jobby job. I asked. He got defensive. I said
to set his boss up with Buffy but he wanted to be turned and I
"Uh-huh. I also heard he felt so rejected he had some of his master's minions attack you?"
"Well, kinda?" She took a step back at his dirty look. "I
handled it! Without Xander knowing! I asked the guys at that
bar not to tell him."
"Yeah, because there's no one that will tell him or your sister."
She winced. "Though I wasn't with her when I got told."
"I haven't heard a thing about that from her."
"Then maybe they're waiting on a point where getting her pissed off is a good thing."
"You want me to brag I took out three vamps on a beach?"
"No. Then she'd have someone in the coven sew me to your
side." She snorted and swatted him again. "Is that a subtle
hint that you like spanking games?" he taunted with an evil smirk.
She blushed and shook her head. "No, not that I know of."
She walked around him. "Let me go hide in the armory."
He caught her and pulled her back. "Relax. Calm down."
She pinched him on the chest. "You made me blush."
"I did. It's cute on you." He grinned. "I'm still not boyfriend material."
"No, you're much too wild to be a boyfriend. And I'd hate being
with a hunter all the time because I hate worrying and wondering while
you're out hunting. I get enough of that with my sister."
"That's a good point." The door opened and the kids crawled in
pouting. "What, the doctor didn't give you lollipops this time?"
he taunted with a smirk. Jensen beamed and patted him, then looked
at Dawn and made grunty noises. "She put on a stew. It'll
be a while. I can see your fruit plate though." Jensen went
to look and got something to nibble on. So did Cougar.
Xander walked in with a sigh and closed the door, locking it and leaning
against it. "Some woman in the store thought they were just
"They are," Dawn agreed.
Xander looked at them. "Does this mean that the coven's plan to
subtly marry you two to each other to control the bad things went off
already? If so I have to go shop again."
"No," Hannibal said calmly. "When did you hear that?"
"The head witch has been checking into marriage laws out here through
Danno." He grinned. "He told her it still had to be
"Are we talking compulsions?" Dawn asked.
"They heard he tried to get handsy so I dumped him?" she asked.
"Or that he got pouty and had minions attack her?" Hannibal asked.
"I didn't hear that," Xander said, staring at Dawn.
"I took out the three vamps and begged them not to tell your ass because you'd fuss."
"Yeah, that's pretty likely," he agreed, smirking at her. "Only three?"
"Yup. He also wants to be turned some day and I don't want to be. I told him to have his master go hit on Buffy."
"He has a few times," Xander complained. He stared at her then at
Hannibal. "Take her home. Before the boys get attached."
"We were talking," Hannibal said. "She's being a mature woman again."
"I know they *love* to talk about things," he said dryly. "Do your caveman imitation. She'll enjoy it."
Hannibal grinned. "We're still not going to be together."
"If she's not pure, they can't do the compulsion and get with the mental
demon's plans. Because DeSortres has great ideas about your spawn
"Then we definitely need condoms," Dawn quipped. Hannibal picked
her up and put her over his shoulder, walking her out. "Hey!
Meany, put me down!" She spanked him. He swatted her back,
making her yelp. "Hanni!"
"Dawn, I'm going to do us both a favor and make sure that no one can
compluse either of us into marriage," he said dryly as he walked her to
his rental car.
"I don't mind that idea but I don't like being carried this way.
It makes my sinuses run." He put her down next to the car and she
scowled. "If you had said 'now' I would've jumped."
He smirked. "Get in the car. We can go stare at condoms so I find one that'll fit me."
She groaned, getting into the car. "I sure they make them that
size since they make ones big enough to hold your ego." He
laughed, getting into the car to drive them off.
Xander grinned at his boys. "That'll help." They all gave
him odd looks. "Just wait. The witches want me to marry
Jensen shook his head. "No ba!"
"No, not a succuba. Though they don't mind that, they'd rather I
dated Abby. Who doesn't like me a whole lot." He went to
check on the stew. It was still gaining steam pressure so it had
went on recently. He saw the timer she had started, which was
nice. "Looks like supper's in two hours, guys." They groaned
and he put more food on the fruit tray. The kids decided to
lounge around the living room and watch tv while nibbling. It was
nice of them. Xander laid down in there with them and took a
nap. "Wake me when the timer goes off." Roque nodded since
he wasn't sleepy. The rest slowly drifted off to a talk show while
Roque watched and ate. He was really hungry, must be a growth
In Mexico, the witches of the Devon coven all started to stare to the west. "What on earth?" the head witch demanded.
"Dawn," one said. The others groaned. "She has to have
protections up. So apparently whoever is really good." One
of the senior witches swatted her for that remark. "I put out
plenty of magic when my husband and I went at it. It's the product
of the enjoyment. Maybe if you had one, it'd help that sour
nature of yours." She sipped her tea. The magic slowly faded
and she looked at her watch. "He's not very good. Only a
half hour." She went to the kitchen to get a sandwich.
The other witches scowled at her back but they need laid just as much as
Dawn had really. Most of them were prunes in the making where it
Xander blinked awake at the smell of smoke, getting up to check the
pot. It was overheated so he turned it off and let it cool off
until he could open it. "Did the timer not go off?" he asked,
looking at it. Roque shook his head. "Crap." He
decided to put the pressure cooker into the sink and run some warmish
water over it like they did on the cooking shows. He checked, it
had only been an hour but the burner had to have been up too high.
He had no idea how to use one of these.
When he could finally pop the release valve, he had to stand back and
open the back door so the smoke could be released. He finally got
into it and looked at the stew. Well, baby food looking
stew. He tasted a bit, added some salt and cayenne, then dished it
up. "It's mooshy for you guys. I guess I'll eat a sandwich
later," he decided. The boys got put into their high chairs and
fed. They enjoyed the mushy beef and veggies a lot. When
they had inhaled all they could, Xander put the rest into a tupperware
container and into the fridge for later use. They got baths, put
down for the night, and Xander came back down to make himself something
to eat. He got online to talk to a few of the slayers that were
whining about Buffy not understanding them.
Some days it was like he was the voice of reason even if he had retired.
The slayer in charge of the new compound smiled at the older woman being
let in. She had called ahead for an appointment to see her.
Klia had made sure everything was cleaned up and neatly
presentable. "Is there a problem? One of the kids said you
were a social worker."
"I am." She looked around then at the young woman. "Who's the responsible adult here, dear?"
"You're how old?" she asked calmly.
"In my country I'd have three kids and be married by now."
"Yes, but by US law you have to be at least eighteen and be able to drive to run a group home, dear."
"Oh. I did not know that."
"All right. Let's start with some basics. Who set up this compound?" She sat down across from her.
"Mr. Giles did. All the slayers here are much too young to be in
Cleveland. And I'm injured so I can't fight. Since I do so
good as dorm mom, he nominated me."
"That's good," she said, making a note on her notepad. She smiled at the young woman. "How old are you?"
"For how long?"
"A few weeks? I'm really responsible and I've helped with the
family's children when I was still at home. I'm also a fully
trained slayer so I can handle something if it comes for the baby
slayers, ma'am. And I have backup with some retired people here."
"That's always a good thing. I'll talk to them later.
Relax. I need some facts so I can talk to Mr. Giles about what our
state laws mandate. That way we can make sure there's no problems
that we have to butt into." One of the mini slayers came in with a
coloring book and plopped down. "Disney?" she asked with a
smile. "Do you want to be a princess?"
The mini slayer looked at her and smiled, nodding. "I'm already a
princess because I'm a lot like Buffy. She taught me how to shop
and match clothes and how to wear good jewelry so I don't look like a
walking pile of silver."
"That's wonderful, dear. Are you scheduled to start school soon?"
The girl pouted but nodded. "Kindergarten, which sucks since I'm older."
"Giles had us home schooling," the senior slayer said quietly, petting
that one on the head. "Sometimes, between other lessons, the
basic things got left behind. They're working to fix that."
"I can see how that would happen. You girls have to learn a lot to
handle your destinies and duties." The slayer relaxed and
nodded. "Are there more girls coming?"
"No. The older ones are in pre-slayer classes."
"How old do you have to be before you start to hunt?"
"At sixteen you're allowed to go out with a hunting group so you learn
the rhythm and methods on the slow nights. At seventeen you can be
cleared to hunt. Though there's been a few that got pushy and
wanted to be cleared at sixteen, and one's sister at fifteen so Xander
"Mr. Xander yells when there's a reason to yell," the younger slayer
agreed with a smile for the social worker. "He yelled at my
mommy for trying to give me to a sacrificial cult thingy and made them
all *really* sorry."
"It sounds like it was a good thing for him to do," the social worker
agreed, smiling at her. She looked at the older one. "Do you
have your CPR card?" She slowly shook her head. "Do you
know basic first aid?"
"We all learned some. How to splint, move people, all that for patrol injuries."
"What if it's a seizure or a drowning?" the social worker asked.
The girl looked confused. "That's all right, we'll set you up with
a class for that. It'll only be a few hours long and it'll fit
that requirement well." The senior slayer relaxed and
nodded. "Can you drive?"
"I'm one of the few of us who can," she said, looking proud. "A
lot of them have problems focusing on the traffic instead of the things
around them looking for bad demons."
"That's wonderful." She made those notes. Then she smiled again. "There's six younger slayers and you here?"
"Yes. Maybe some that are really injured and have to retire
sometime later. Right now we've all healed from the last set of
battles. Mr. Xander said that Hawaii has a whole lot of ancient
protections that would help us guard the youngest ones."
"So I've heard him say. Which is a wonderful thing. We'd
adore having the girls here safely but we still have to meet up to state
regulations and codes." The senior slayer nodded. "Do they
have their own rooms?"
"Yes. For right now. If we get more of the mini slayer squad
they might have to share. We do back at the home base."
"Here we can garden," the mini slayer said.
"You can. It's very good land for growing," the social worker
agreed. "What are you going to plant?" The girl went to get
their idea pages and showed her. "Hmm. Well, I know that
beans grow very well. So do fruits but they can take some time to
grow." She made some notes. "Look at those. They grow
very well around here. There's whole plantation farms on the other
side of the island." The girl beamed and ran to tell the
others. "Why here?"
"It has bigger stores for needs. It has good schools, a public transportation system."
"A mall," one of the other minis called from the stairs.
"A mall," she agreed with a smile. "Because you need special outfits for special battles."
"I can see how that would be necessary, yes, dear." She
smiled. "Let's go over the house, make sure it meets up to our
expectations." The slayer nodded and got up, taking her on the
tour. The kitchen was a bit small and needed more food. She
noted that and the slayer said that she was going to Wal-Mart later that
night for food. The social worker told her where the grocery
stores were so she could comparison shop. That was good news
because Mr. Giles was sometimes stingy.
Xander looked up from playing in the park with the boys, smiling at the
social worker he had saved the last time he had seen her. "What's
She sat down, making sure no one could look up her skirt. "One of
my counterparts in Lihue went to talk to the senior slayer in charge."
He nodded. "Okay. Should I yell at Giles again?" He pulled out his cellphone and tapped the screen.
"Please. She's seventeen?"
"I thought Kima was coming out. Klia's barely seventeen. Her
birthday is in February if I remember right. I thought he'd be
sending Lenore or Octavia, both over eighteen and can handle mother
duties to really head the house."
"No, apparently not." Xander rolled his eyes and shook his
head. "Also, they said they were going to lean on you for some
common sense things?"
"Probably. Even though I'm retired, the girls know that they can
visit whenever the senior slayer can get them on a plane. Or if I
can get the boys on one. I am retired but they're still my girls
in a lot of ways."
"I understand fully." She smiled at the boy staring at her.
"Good afternoon, dear." She patted him on the head then looked at
Xander again. "There's a list of things that have to get settled."
"Would having someone older solve most of them?"
"They need to have first aid lessons, including a CPR class card or
better." Xander nodded. "They need to be able to drive, make
good decisions for the household, pay the bills with whatever fund got
set up for the house." Xander winced at that. "Did he?"
"I think he's paying it as it goes. Not totally sure." He
looked at his phone, which had dialed Giles when he had tapped the right
"You were going to yell at me?" Giles asked plainly.
"Yes. Again." He stared at him. "State law says that you have to be an adult to run a group home."
"She's an adult."
"She's barely seventeen."
"Oh, shite," Giles complained.
Xander nodded with a grin. "Yeah. So they need an adult sort of adult."
"She's in college here in Honolulu."
"There's a college near the new compound," Giles complained.
"It's a community college. Which means Dawn could teach there."
"Oh, dear." He pulled off his glasses to clean them. "You could move there."
"Then you'd have to start paying me again as I'd be unretired."
"That is true." He put his glasses back on. "Are there other problems?"
"Whoever has to be an adult capable of running the house without
punishing the kids too much, able to drive, able to make sure they get
to classes, can cook them real food, be able to handle any repairs or
call someone to handle them, and pay bills," Xander told him. "You
know, real adult home ownership stuff?"
"I had no idea being a parent was that hard."
Xander gave him a dirty look. "It's all that and more.
Including sleepless nights thanks to nightmares or upset stomachs; it's
multiple diaper changes, even when they're gross. It's all sorts
of decisions that have to be made by someone competent or you can screw
up the kids. Even mine."
"She does an admirable job," Giles said. "She always has here."
"I'm sure she will when she's a legal adult to do that," Xander quipped.
"There is that. Perhaps I can have one of the older slayers out to help her for that year. Are there other needs?"
"Basic first aid and beyond," Xander said. "Including baby CPR
lessons. Driving. Cooking. Making sure that the bills
"I'm handling that part. Though I'm not sure why they need cable television."
"Nothing else to do?" Xander guessed. "And for the internet?"
"Oh, I had forgotten about that. What are you on?"
"My phone." He showed the social worker. "This is the nice
social worker that got to see my house and kids attacked."
"What type of demon was it, Xander? Did you manage to kill it? Or is that why Hannibal came out?"
Xander turned the phone to look at him. "This was the night before
Willow killed, Giles. I didn't need help when I got Hai's
second-in-command and almost all of his minions. My cousin's boss
followed behind me begging to have something to do beyond
paperwork." Giles shuddered. "Yes, that was *that* night."
"Was she sent because you were attacked?"
"You heard about that supposed teacher's bullshit?" he asked. He
grabbed Cougar and pulled him back to change him one handed and then
released him. "Jensen, I said stay within arm's distance in case I
have to grab you and protect you," he said firmly. "Unless you
want no dessert later." He came back babbling happily with a shell
he had found. Clay glared at him. Xander patted Clay on the
head. "Relax. That's my job." He patted Jensen on the
head. "It's very pretty, Jensen. Is it clean enough to
nibble? Or did maybe a doggy leave it?" Jensen spit it out
and gave it a dirty look. "We'll clean it once we're home."
Jensen beamed and nodded, petting his new friend. "Want to go as
Spongebob for Halloween?" Jensen cackled and rolled around.
"Xander, why would you want to take them on that? You know that there's always problems," Giles complained.
"No chaos mages on Hawaii, Giles."
"Oh, that's wonderful then. I'm sure you'll enjoy all their candy
with them in that case." He cleared his throat. "Are there
"I'd suggest that the rest of the children's mundane education be looked
at," the social worker said. "My counterpart on the other island
said that a few were below grade standard."
"Other island?" Giles asked.
"Giles, Hawaii has like five major islands," Xander said. "Lihue
is on another island but it's a safer, less crowded one. I'm in
the major city here. If we're going to have demonic problems it'll
be on this island."
"Seven," the social worker corrected. "Though you are correct that
it's a charming area with low crime, good schools, and good land.
My counterpart said the girls were looking forward to gardening."
"I know that island has some commercial farms so it should be good for
that," Xander said. "I planted a small one for the boys." He
snatched Pooch and pulled him back, planting him between Roque and
Cougar. "I said no crawling off."
"Aren't you at home?" Giles asked.
"No, we're in the park. The backyard isn't this big or this green," he joked.
"It's good you bring them out to play," Giles said mildly.
"If we were in the playground I wouldn't care but we were having
lunch. We come to the park a few times a week. It's only a
few miles from the house."
"I knew that area was nice for small families," Giles said.
The social worker smiled. "Most of us consider five a fairly large
family. There's not many here who have more than three children."
"That's because extra bedrooms are expensive," Xander quipped.
"Yes they are. Though I must say, the renovations you had done are
quite nice. I would've expected another bathroom though."
"Nowhere to put it. Or else I would've."
"How much renovations did you do?" Giles asked.
"I put on a whole second level with enough bedrooms for us," Xander
said. "The bathroom moved up there too. The old bathroom is
now an armory closet."
"Did we *need* one?" Giles asked impatiently.
Xander looked at him. "I had to do *what* thanks to Riley?" he countered.
"Point I suppose. Though if Dawn's staying with you, you may wish to add another one."
"She's got an apartment off campus."
"That's charming. Is it nice?"
"Yeah, pretty decent. It's a college student building near the beach."
"I'm sure she'll adore that." He smiled. "Is Hannibal out there still?"
"Yes and you should tell the old biddies to leave them alone before he blows them up."
"Excuse me?" Giles asked.
"The plan the coven has? They're turning from witches to bitches,
Giles. It's not a good thing. Especially if they catch them
"I'll let them know that Dawn has heard rumors about some plans they may
have for her love life. I'm sure they only want her to be happy."
"Them and a higher level demons." He stared at him. "Can you see Hannibal being forced to settle down?"
"I can see her retaliating," Giles agreed. "I'll talk to them."
"She'd thank you for that. Who are you sending out as the reasonable adult sort?"
"I'll figure that out tonight and send them as soon as I can get them packed," he promised.
"That would be fine. She knows to call Xander every night to check
in with him until you can get a reasonable adult out here," the social
Giles smiled and nodded. "Thank you for that. I hope you'll tell me if there's any problems?"
"Yes, sir. We'll get your number from Xander."
"I'm usually in the office," he assured her with a smile.
"Did you go drinking with Doyle?" Xander asked.
"I wish I had. I fear the headache is from different reasons,"
Giles sighed. "Are you sure you want to be retired?" Jensen
looked over and smiled at the camera, waving some. "Hello,
Jensen. How are you today?" The baby babbled at him.
He smiled. "It's good you're a happy boy."
"You should've seen the minis when Hannibal brought them over to let
them rest. They would not let the boys go. They even played
slayer rummy to see who got which one to cuddle." Giles' smile got
brighter. "Though one asked me if I should date."
Jensen poked him. "No ba! Bad!" he insisted.
"I know you don't like succuba, Jensen." He petted down his hair
with a grin. "It'll be okay. You can help Dawn and Hannibal
destroy some witches for trying to force them together." He had
spotted them walking over. "What did they do?"
"Handcuffs we can't get out of," Hannibal said dryly.
Xander shrugged. "I can't pick locks that well." He looked
at the kids, who waved their hands. "If they were older maybe?"
"What happened?" Giles asked. Xander moved the phone so he could see the handcuffs. "Oh, dear."
Dawn took the phone and smiled. "I'm going to magically nuke their
area of Mexico. I am in no way ready to settle down and everyone
would hate when I got ulcers waiting on my husband the hunter to come
home. Go ahead and warn them so they can try to run. It'll
make us both happy if we get to hunt them down."
"I'll see if I can stop them, Dawn. Do call your sister once
you're free. She's being a bit pouty today." He hung up,
heading for the really old scotch.
Xander looked at Dawn. "Danno?"
"We can go ask him," Hannibal agreed. He looked down then at
her. "Try to drive better this time?" he requested politely.
She still swatted him hard on the chest. "Fine. I'm not afraid to
live dangerously." He rolled his eyes. "Problems?" he asked
the social worker. It was clear who she was.
"Giles put a seventeen-year-old in charge of the house."
"Oh, great," Dawn sighed. "Wonderful." She walked off, pulling Hannibal with her. I'll play later, guys."
"Call your sister after you magically nuke Mexico," Xander called.
"I can do that." They wiggled their way into the car and she drove them off.
Xander looked at the social worker and then at his sons. "At least
they'd have really great sex because they'd fight all the time."
Clay nodded. "Yup." He swatted Cougar, who glared back and moved Jensen's shell so he could stretch out.
"Hey!" Jensen grabbed his shell to cuddle and curl up on his own corner of the blanket.
"Aww, are they being mean to you?" the social worker asked, petting down
his hair with a grin. He nodded, pouting at her. She gave
him a hug and then let him curl up again. "You boys have a good
nap. It's a pretty day for it." She got up and smiled at
Xander. "Thank you."
"Welcome." She left. He looked at the boys. "Thank you for being so good, boys."
They all smirked at him and he knew the good boy act had been their plan to keep him from having hell.
Dawn and Hannibal walked up to where the team was talking around the
cars. "Guys, do any of you pick locks so I can bomb parts of
Mexico soon?" she asked.
Steve McGarrett looked at her, then at the handcuffs. "Those
aren't regulation so I'm guessing you didn't escape custody together?"
"Witches with a plan," Hannibal said grimly. "Mostly to make me spawn with her."
"Which would be a *really* bad thing when my blood during the delivery opened a fucking portal to somewhere."
Danno looked. "Guys, go see if the desk sergeant has a universal
key," he told one of the staring uniformed officers. They nodded
and left. He looked at her. "So, the witches have plans like
that demon did?"
"Yup," she said dryly.
"I'd have been swearing by now," Kono offered with a smile.
"We already knew they were bitches with the way they treated Willow and
her," Hannibal said. "They keep lecturing her about stuff that
Willow did that they didn't lecture Willow about." Dawn shook her
head with a sigh. "Beyond that, I'm trying to stay polite since
I'm around beautiful women."
Dawn looked at him. "I've only been a non-virgin for a day.
There's no way I'm ready for you to suggest a three-way, Hanni."
He glared at her. She smirked back. "I'm not. A few of
the slayers maybe but I was raised to mostly be a good girl, outside of
Spike helping me learn how to shoplift and hotwire cars."
"He should've taught you to pick locks," he shot back.
"He only taught me door locks."
"Probably practical with as many times as you've been taken," he assured her.
"Guys, you're starting to sound like Danno and McGarrett," Kono said with a grin. "Maybe they have a point."
"Yeah but that point will still get them really dead when I grab them," she assured them.
Hannibal nodded. "We'll borrow from Xander."
She snorted and waved her free hand. "Why would I need to
borrow? I can magically nuke their asses. It'll only take
out those with power."
He looked at her. "How did you learn that spell?"
"Dru sent it to me for my birthday and said some day I'd want
that." She gave him a sweet, innocent grin. He
shuddered. "Spike did the same thing, though he said it was nice
she didn't want me to be her kitten like she does Xander."
"Yeah, that doesn't really surprise me. We should tell Jensen so
he can go on a 'no Dru' rant like he does against succuba."
She snickered. "Xander would groan *so* much." The uniforms
came back with the key, letting them out of the handcuffs. "Thank
you, sweetie." She kissed him on the cheek. "Let me do some
"Start with a phone call so you don't cause an international incident?" Steve suggested.
She pulled out her phone and called her sister. "I heard you're
pouty. Can you tell the prez that I'm going to bomb the part of
Mexico the coven's in for trying to hitch me to Hannibal in that nice
blood binding way? Thanks, dear. Why are you pouty?"
She grimaced. "Then quit dating vamps, Buffy. Mom would be
*so* disgusted! You know she would! Quit dating stakeable
things. Date one of the military guys hanging around. A
living penis is always better than a dead, floppy one. And they
can be more creative I'm sure since their brains aren't rotted by the
dead chemicals." Hannibal walked off shuddering.
"Even Hannibal agreed you should date a living, breathing sort,
Buffy. Yeah, that's what we're talking about. And hey, you
said Riley actually managed to get you off. Tell the next one you
have a hard time at it and want it hard and smutty. They like that
too I'm sure. Especially in the war zone that is Cleveland.
Anyway, gotta go bomb the witches with the spell Dru gave me.
Laters." She hung up and looked at Steve. "If you know
*anyone* out there, have them hit on her?" she begged. "Before I
have to hear about her next staked boyfriend?" She walked off
shaking her head.
Steve looked at his partner. "I'm so glad you never got sucked
into hunting. I really am. If I never said it, I'm really
glad you're normal." He got into his car with a groan and a
forehead rub, grabbing the bottle of pain killers out of the glove box.
"I'm not even related to that one," Danno said dryly. "Though it's
nice that Xander warped her a lot." He got in too, making Steve
shove over so he could drive.
Kono looked at Chin, who had been silently amused and horrified. "If I ever start using magic...."
"We'll find you a nice hunter of your own or maybe let you hit on
Xander," he quipped, getting swatted for it. She walked off, she
had an appointment with a wave at the nearby beach. He went to
have a drink and make sure no one else in any part of his family liked
magic, demon hunting, or Xander. All three of those were very bad
signs for his family to follow.
The president hung up on the warning call and sighed, rubbing his
forehead and taking some advil before looking up the number to call
Mexico City. "It's Bob," he said in greeting since this was the
president's private line. "No, small hiccup. I just heard
from Buffy Summers that the Devon Coven you took in is mirroring some
higher demon's plan to get all the hunters and strong witches married
off so there'll be a second generation. Unfortunately they pissed
off Summers' sister, who is about as powerful as Rosenburg.
"Summers said that an insane vampire seer, Druscilla, had given her
sister a spell to basically magically nuke any magical beings in a small
area. Yeah, this is a head's up," he said with a smile when that
president asked. "We have no idea what prompted them to suddenly
act. No, apparently she's in Hawaii. I'm about to call out
there to make sure she gets calmed down one way or another.
"Yeah, that might help. Though I'm told that they're near that
resumed Aztec tribe. No, Harris found them apparently. His
report said that they wanted to sacrifice him so he summoned a harmless
demon that owed him a poker debt. They fled and made a treaty
later that night. Yeah, heart pulling sacrifices. No clue if
they're near any of the temples or not. You'd have to ask
Harris. He's retired in Hawaii with the sons that Rosenburg
created. It's been a soap opera and if I could shut down Cleveland
permanently I'd see if the next one was in another country."
His guard leaned in. "Where are we traveling, sir?" he asked politely.
"Where's the next open hellmouth, Greg?"
"If I remember right, the next open one is in the Middle East and
they've refused slayer help or to acknowledge that they exist. The
one after that is in India. Then Brazil has a small one on the
outskirts of Rio. Should I make travel plans?"
"Think up some ways we can shut Cleveland down?"
"They've refused so far but if the hellmouth opens there they might not
mind as much." He closed the door and went to ask the other guards
and higher up for ideas for him.
The president repeated that to his counterpart. "No, I think it'd
be overly mean if we sicced the slayers on Iran or Al Queda. Sure,
I want to destroy them both but not torture them." The Mexican
president laughed. "Have fun with the witches. Let me know
if I have to have someone spank or arrest Summers out in Hawaii."
He hung up and found Xander's number. He had gotten it from an
agent who had dated Xander a few years earlier. "Stop Dawn
Summers," he ordered in greeting, getting baby babble back. "Can I
have the daddy, young man?"
He heard the 'hey!' being yelled and soon Xander had the phone.
"He sounds very smart. Yes this is the president, Mr.
Harris. Which one was that? Oh, Linwood.
Wonderful. Stop Dawn Summers before she starts an international
incident please?" He listened to Xander telling him what the plan
had been, wincing. "That's not good. No, she can't destroy
parts of Mexico, even if she wants to. Or use her blood to open a
portal onto a demon realm or anything. Thank you. Yes, just
get her calmed down. Make her coo at the boys. Most girls
love adorable babies. Mine do." He hung up and took another
He hated the Council most of the time for the headaches they
caused. Though it looked like the bitches had brought it on
themselves. Maybe the bitches could go back to England
now? He'd have to ask the Prime Minister and the Queen.
Xander held the towel around his waist, staring at the phone. He
called Dawn. "The president said to stop it, come coo over the
boys to calm down, and he had that 'talked to Buffy' headache
sound." He hung up and went back to his shower. Where he
found a very nice surprise. "Hey, Mercy." He took a
kiss and climbed back in. "Come to scrub my back for me?"
"Of course I did, silly. Your taint is growing again and you've
been really stressed out." She teased him and gave him a really
good blow job. Which was interrupted by a scowling Jensen.
"No ba!" he shouted, pointing at her. "Ba bad!"
She pulled off to look at him. "If I don't take some of his
hellmouth taint, the islands will be invaded by worse than us succuba,
Jensen was still scowling. "Ba bad!" he insisted.
"Jensen," Xander said, pointing. "Go call Dawn." He crawled
off in a huff. "Hannibal told them about you guys."
"I had no doubt that it came from anyone else." She went back to
what she was doing before Dawn or Hannibal, or anyone else, could get
there. She had to leave him hanging when she heard someone knock
but he could finish off himself and he had lost a lot of the hellmouth
energy he had been holding onto again.
Xander came with a groan and rinsed the come down the drain then himself
off. It had been a nice shower. He got out and got dressed,
heading downstairs. "Hey, Hannibal. Hiding from Dawn?"
"Yup." He stared at him. "Who was it?"
"Mercy. Hellmouth taint."
"Yeah, that happens." Jensen poked him hard and scowled at
him. "He generates hellmouth energy thanks to soaking so much
in. It'll endanger others, Jensen. That's why now and then
he lets a succuba or incubus play with him. I would too because
"Still bad!" he shouted.
"Fine, it's bad," he soothed, picking him up to cuddle him. "He's
sorry he let Mercy help him." Jensen scowled at Xander, who took
him to cuddle and talk to him outside about that stuff. Clay gave
him a weird look. Hannibal smirked back. "Some day Xander
can introduce you to them too, Frank." Frank shook his head
quickly. "They are deadly. They're very dangerous."
"No." He crawled off to hide under the couch. Roque was
cackling in his seat in the corner of the living room.
Hannibal grinned at him. "We can introduce all of you to
them. That way none of you have to go without stress
relief." He looked in the fridge.
Xander opened the door. "Stick the blue tupperware container in
the microwave for the boys." He shut it and went back to calming
Jensen down. He wasn't sure who had warped his son - him or his
Hannibal did as ordered, shaking his head. "Xander's so fussy sometimes."
Dawn looked around the beach that night, spotting someone very uptight. "We have Beefeaters or Mounties?" she muttered.
Her neighbor, who was lounging beside her looked. "He needs laid
really badly." She sipped her wine cooler. "You should try
Dawn looked at her. "You know what I do in my off-hours, right?"
"Good point. So that tall, buff guy did it for you?"
"Hannibal's a sweetie. He's funny, cute, and mentally corrupted toward being my age instead of his."
Her neighbor grinned. "Aww, your first crush."
"No, my first crush was Xander."
She shivered. "I saw him profiled on a rerun of a special about the Council. Is he back in Africa?"
"He's here in the islands. He retired to raise five kids Willow created."
"Awww. He's a daddy?"
"He's a pretty decent daddy." She grinned. "I spent time in
his armory while I was getting better. The boys are adorable and I
kept pinning them down for cuddles because I felt like shit."
"Awww." She finished her wine cooler and they stared at the stiff
guy up the beach again. "Is he waiting on something?"
"No idea," she admitted, staring at him. She grabbed her phone and
keys. "Let me see if it's a problem. Hopefully I'll be back
in a few minutes." She went down there and walked up the beach to
him. "Pretty night," she said.
The man flinched and looked at her. "Are you lost, miss?" he asked politely.
She smiled. "No, actually I live in the high rise and spotted you out here. Watching the waves?"
"Not exactly." She held up her ID card. He
winced. "We're waiting on someone to be delivered for a peace
"That's fine. Are they harmful?"
"No. Not that I know of."
She looked out there. "Mermen?" He gaped, staring at
her. "I'm from Sunnydale. Don't let them snack on anyone,
"I had heard that one of your people knew quite a bit about them?"
"No, he knows some because he nearly got turned into one."
"Oh, I see." He blinked. "Is there any good way of detoxing him? In case it becomes necessary later on?"
"His was a DNA infection by a coach that put mermaid parts into the
steam in the team sauna. They did a full blood change on him and a
few spells to help hold it back. I can ask Giles how well it
worked. Or you could ask him."
"I shall if it becomes necessary." He walked down to talk to the people emerging.
Dawn waved a hand. "I spotted him waiting and was making sure he
wasn't an arms dealer, guys. Don't worry about me." She
walked off. One ran after her to block her path. She stared
at him. "If you try to nibble on me, I'm calling Xander to come
kill you." She smiled. The being burbled at her. "I
have no idea what your language is. I'm sorry. I know some
of a few other demon languages but there's no translation guide for
yours." She considered it. "I can cast a spell." He
nodded and she did it. He repeated it and she smiled, replying she
would Xander he said hi. He ran off again.
She pulled out her phone to call him. "One of the mermen showing
up for a talk said hi." She hung up. She looked back at the
yelp, raising a hand and bringing the new biting victim away. She
stopped the bleeding and cast a healing spell on the new
wound. He shuddered but the taint from the bite flowed
out. She stared over. "I'm already having a bad day," she
said, still under the translation spell. "Piss me off some
more." They backed off. "This one is under my
protection." One said he had been a gift to come to the
table. She snorted. "Watch me destroy you all." She
stood up and called power to her. "Hi, Dawn Summers. Buffy's
little sister and witch."
One of the older mermen started to yell about a breach of
contract. "He had no idea I'd be here, dude. I live up
the beach. I saw him waiting and made sure it wasn't a
problem. You had your chance at your gift and you abused
him." He stomped over and she raised a hand, floating him above
the sand. "Want to keep trying me?"
"Down!" Hannibal yelled. She dropped him and Hannibal shot him. "You guys know better than to snack."
"There's a peace talk," she told him.
"I heard. They're still not allowed to snack on people." He
glared at them. Then Xander walked around him and down to stare at
one. That one flinched and looked down. They followed the
stiff person to the meeting. The one that Hannibal had shot got
thrown back into the ocean. Hannibal looked at the guy on the
sand. "Let's get him to the ER."
"I did a healing spell. A lot of black stuff flowed out."
"Great." He helped her get him up and moving to the parking
lot. It'd make it easier for the ambulance. Xander came back
to talk to them when they got there. They said they'd call the
main Council to get the exact method and made sure he wouldn't need
rabies shots. They took him to the ER and the three hunters looked
at each other. Hannibal shrugged. "He left the kids with
the social worker neighbor."
Xander nodded. "Let me go rescue her before the boys cute her to death." He walked off shaking his head.
"I'll be over tomorrow."
"As long as you don't blow up the witches in Mexico so I don't have to talk to the president again, Dawn."
"Yup." She looked at Hannibal. "He called Xander to nag me."
"Yeah, it might cause more problems between the US and Mexico." He
shrugged and walked her off. "What're you making for dinner
She looked at him. "Didn't eat with the boys?"
"Xander didn't eat with them. I think he forgot again."
She texted to nag him about that and then she took him to feed
him. It was the least she could do for him. He even tried to
have table manners around her and her neighbor, who was flirting hard
with him. He soaked it up and flirted back, making her a happy,
tipsy college student Dawn had to send home when she nearly tripped over
a chair. Hannibal stared at her once they were alone. She
"Not really." He smirked, moving closer.
She pinched him on the nipple. "You should be since I am."
He laughed and took her to the bedroom. It had a very nice, soft
bed just perfect for his morning aches and pains. And her moaning
The governor walked up to where Xander was dropping the boys at daycare. "You threw them back?"
"Yes. He could heal once he was in the water." He looked at
her. "He was being a jackass about the peace treaty talks.
They had to lure him to it with a victim. Which Dawn inadvertently
saved. It's what I would have done too. I'm hoping the guy
has better luck than I did since my taint had more time to latch on."
"You got bitten by one of those?"
"No, my coach chopped one up and put it into the steam baths he had the
whole swim team using. Including me when I went to figure out why
they were turning black and slimy."
She grimaced. "That's disgusting. Is he gone?"
"Yes, they ate him."
She shuddered. "I suppose that's a good sentence for that sort of
crime." He grinned. "Is the officer they bit all right?"
"I haven't checked. I don't usually do follow ups because I get
real embarrassed when people get happy to have been saved,
Governor. If he wants to talk to me, he'll find me. If not,
he'll talk to whoever. We don't expect public or private thanks,"
he said at her opening mouth. "We hate attention for the most
"I can see how that would be a problem. Do they go to daycare often?"
"Few days a week so they can play with other kids and be reminded
they're barely toddlers." He grinned. "It means I can
grocery shop without help."
"I can understand that. I did the same thing." She
smiled. "Remember to let Lieutenant Commander McGarrett know if
there's any huge problems, Mr. Harris." She left him alone.
Xander nodded. "Of course. Danno hears me
complaining." She shot a grin back at him. He looked at the
staring kids. "That's the governor," he told them. Roque
groaned and shook his head. "She thinks Uncle Steve does a great
job." He let them into the door of the daycare. He spotted
the demon and the flinching daycare workers. Xander put an arm
around the demon's throat. "Are you upsetting them?" He
shook his head quickly. "Ladies?"
"We don't know what it wants, Mr. Harris."
Xander looked at it. "What's up?" The demon babbled at
him. "He has a half-human grandchild and is thinking about here as
a daycare situation." He grinned at the demon. "My hellions
love it here."
The demon smiled and babbled. "Is that a peaceful demon?" the head
of the daycare asked, coming closer. "It just appeared and we had
"Yes." He grinned at them. "They're a very peaceful
society. They tend to eat insects and live in swamp-like
conditions." They nodded. "A half-human grandchild would
mean that you're related to Groo's lady friend?" The demon babbled
and nodded. "Wonderful! Tell her to tell Groo I said
hi. I haven't seen him in a while. Jensen." He crawled
over. "This is one of my boys, Jensen. Jen, can you play
with his granddaughter today? I know you're not used to girls but
she's about your age." Jensen nodded with a happy grin. He
smiled at the grandfather. He disappeared and came back with the
child, putting her down in front of Jensen. Jensen smiled and
batted at her foot, getting a grin back. They crawled off
"Can you translate for the paperwork we need?" the head of the daycare asked.
"Sure. I'm just grocery shopping and doing laundry today." He followed them into the office.
Dawn was sitting beside the officer's bed when he woke up. "I sent
stiff man for lunch." She put her book away and looked at
him. "How do you feel?"
"Who're you?" he asked. She got him some water and helped him sip it. "Thanks."
"Dawn Summers. I'm one of the researchers at the Council and a
local college student." She smiled. "I'm the one that did
the healing spell. I'm hoping it helped."
"They said it left less taint than the other one they were given the records of."
"That would be our hunter and trainer guy." She settled in
again. "I'm here to make sure you don't have any issues we can
help you with, like questions or anything."
"Will I turn into one of them?"
"No. They said that your taint was about a quarter of what Xander
has left. He doesn't have many problems. He does have
fantastic breath control when he's swimming and he can fish better now."
He gave a weak grin. "I can understand that. Anything that'd hurt me on the force? I'm an officer."
"No. Not that I'm aware of. Well, there's one thing you have
to worry about. They're called the NID. They're government
sorts who like to pull things they don't understand apart. If so,
you hit the Council and they'll watch out for you. They did
Xander. If not, call me and I'll help." He nodded, smiling
more brightly. "Did you know they had given you to them?"
"No. I was told I was on their guard team."
She shook her head. "Whoever made that decision needs to have
their butts kicked." She stood up and gave him her card. "If
you need me, call. If you need help at home, talk to the slayer
there. Most of them have been around Xander at least
once." She smiled. "It'll be okay and the one that bit you
is *real* sorry. He got removed from his position as clan leader
and everything." She left him alone.
He tucked the card into the wallet her found in the drawer beside
him. When his buddy came in he stared at him. "Everything
else good, Benny?" He sipped more of his water.
"Someone was upset that you didn't allow yourself to be sacrificed and
is swearing at the Council. I'm sure they've been told off since
the peace treaty is going well." He sat down. "Who was she?"
"One of the Council freaks. Said she was a researcher.
Warned me against government types that might want to know what
"They've already shown up and gotten your medical records with a federal
warrant but were denied access to you by your doctors. They
wanted more blood."
"They can have one tiny tube to soothe their greed but otherwise,
no." He finished his water and put the glass down. "We
"Yes. The people that picked us for the team are horrified and
screaming at the one who made the deal to sacrifice you." He heard
an explosion and looked out. "Hmm. A car bomb." He
looked at his partner, staying in there since he was vulnerable.
Xander walked into the local demon bar. "As much as I enjoyed you
guys blowing the fuck out of the NID guy, I'm told that makes you a
problem." He looked around. One slumped. "So you have a
choice right now of going to my cousin and being arrested, since Hawaii
does have a demon jail. Or you can have a talk with me." He
looked around again. "You have an hour or the governor is going
to order me to handle it."
One stood up. "I will go to your cousin, Hunter. It was my daughter's doing."
"Thank you." He pointed. "He's outside." He nodded and
went to talk to him. He looked around. "People, tell
me. Let me know and we'll see what we can do about them."
They all nodded and one handed him a pamphlet. "I heard.
I've talked to my cousin and I'll do it again." That one smiled
and nodded. He walked out there, holding it up. "Still
running and keeping their demonic workers as slaves."
"They are?" Steve demanded.
"I checked, they said they couldn't do anything," Danny said.
"Bet me!" Steve took it to look over. "Let me look into
this." He looked at the demon. "Bring her to us by
four." He nodded, walking off calling her. He looked at
Xander. "You didn't even check on him?"
"It would draw more attention to him and if he wanted to know more he
could find me. A lot of people feel very weird about being
attacked by demons and don't like to acknowledge it. Then they
yell at you for saving them."
"That sucks," Danny decided. "Dawn did."
He grinned. "Dawn's got a huge heart and she'll be able to give
him any information he might need and warn him about the NID
fuckers." He shrugged and walked off. "Let me get back to
the neverending land of laundry I have to do. I swear the boys
drool worse than some hellhounds I know."
"Kids do that," Danny quipped. "Means they're teething."
Steve shook his head. "I'm not sure I want to know what hellhound drool looks like."
"Looks a lot like baby slobber," the demon assured him with a
smile. "Only a bit more stringy and it stinks like sulphur."
He finished his call and hung up. "She will be down there as soon
as she gets back from the other island." They nodded. "It
did save the newly bitten one from the NID taking him into custody
"I'm sure he'll be happy but you still can't car bomb people," Steve
said. "If she tells us or Xander, we'd handle it. I know
he's got to hate them."
The demon nodded. "Yes. They have come near him a few times
and he did get vengeance for what they tried." He walked off
Steve and Danny shared a look. That sounded like the Xander they knew and got pissed off at.
Xander looked at the judge later that afternoon. "Sir, I was put into the will by Loki."
"Was that actually her legal name?" the judge asked.
"She had it legally changed," Loki's attorney said. "She wanted
him to be her mate and they were working on things, though she could not
get onto the islands due to her faith. There's protections
against chaos magic apparently."
"How? Those long ago fantasies about us sacrificing people to a volcano?" the judge snorted.
Xander pulled out a book and found his bookmark. "Most were self
sacrifice with intent to protect others." The judge glared at
him. He held up the book. "Someone back when Hawaii was
newly discovered asked. It's the book of different styles of
protecting an area. There's other Polynesian tribes that have
similar methods even if theirs are protection against other reasons and
not as strong."
"Is that considered a definitive source?" he snorted.
"The Supreme Court said so." The judge glared at him. "Late
last year there was a will that contained a house that was
protected. Our researchers gave them all the information we have
and they said this was the most clear and most definitive account of how
that protection happened." He offered it to the bailiff.
Who handed it to the judge.
The judge glanced over it, sneering at the book. "That's charming. Thankfully we grew out of that sort of faith."
Xander shrugged. "Anyone's faith is their own business, not mine."
"Were you and Miss Beldane together?"
"We had dated. We had slept together. Unfortunately my
schedule kept me from doing a lot of dating. She didn't want to
follow me to Africa to help me train slayers." The judge gave him a
dirty look. "Someone has to help them train and teach them what
they need to know. Those girls were needed in their native areas
to help protect their families and help hunt and things. That was
my job once the Council reformed."
"It's not exactly standard for people to put people they're dating into
their wills over their family," the judge said, closing the book.
"Technically you can put whoever you want into your will," Xander
said. "There's been plenty of people that favored charities over
their families. Especially if their families hated them and made
fun of them." He shifted to cross his feet.
"Perhaps they had a point. Being of such a supposed faith could be considered a mental illness."
"Not really. Not unless you consider those that believe the Holy
Spirit comes to them and makes them speak in tongues during Church
services the same way. I believe some of those are baptist and
others pentecostal?" he asked the lawyer, who nodded. The judge
glared. "The world is full of religions that not everyone agrees
with, Your Honor. That's why people get Doctorates to study them."
"There aren't any others in that sort of faith," the judge sneered.
"Actually, the others that follow Janus were at her funeral. Two
of his high priests were killed before Loki but the rest of them
attended. So did a few who vowed to other chaos gods. There
were over a thousand people at her funeral, at least half of
non-Christian ideology." He handed over a picture.
"You weren't there?"
"I couldn't get there. My sons prevented me from flying off at a
moment's notice and I didn't have anyone who could watch them for me."
"You have sons?" the judge demanded.
"Yes, five sons." He smiled. "Loki always wanted a daughter
to follow her but I'm not fertile in that manner any longer so we were
talking about helping her to adopt."
The judge sneered. "Who let you have children?"
"A judge, four social workers." He pulled out the adoption
paperwork for the bailiff. The bailiff handed them off. Loki
had noted them in her will so it could've become pertinent.
The judge glared at him. "She did what?" he demanded.
"That was the same person that killed her, Your Honor. She's
presently in a permanent medical coma in a military hospital."
"Why?" he demanded.
"The president said so."
"The president knows about this?" he demanded. "I don't believe our president gets involved in this, Mr. Harris."
Xander pulled out his phone and dialed. "Hey, Bob, Xander."
He put him on speaker. "The judge over Loki's will wanted to make
sure that you knew how the boys came to be."
"Of course I do," the president said. The judge gave him a horrified look. "Judge...."
"Matherson," Loki's lawyer said, looking at Xander. Who shrugged.
"Judge Matherson, I'm very aware of Miss Beldane's many doings, both
good and bad. We keep track of people like that in case they cause
real problems or are helping stop a problem we were not told about
beforehand. It means that the Council can't cover up any
emergencies that are just starting in the mistaken belief that the girls
can handle everything. The head slayer once had that belief and
we had to make sure she knew better. How are the boys, Xander?"
"They're good. Jensen's flirting with a half-Groth today at
daycare. I put him on her protection. The others are
probably harassing the daycare workers for candy again."
"That's good that they're being normal boys." You could hear the
smile in his voice. "Did you ever straighten Jensen out about the
"Especially when one found me leaking out more hellmouth taint. He
did not like that. So we had a long talk. He still doesn't
like it but he knows it's safer."
"Excellent. Oh, my wife said hello and to give the boys some cookies. They're adorable and they must like cookies."
"They adore cookies. They decimated three bags of oreos the other
day without giving me a single one. Stole them from the
cabinet." The president laughed. "Tell her I said
thank you and I will, sir. You have a good day."
"You as well, Mr. Harris." He hung up.
Xander put his phone back and smiled. "His wife and Loki had lunch
one day to talk about why she wanted to date me so badly since most of
the ones who really want me are a bit dangerous."
The judge spluttered. "I do not believe that.... Don't you dare call them back," he ordered.
Xander pulled out his phone and found the pictures, handing it to the
bailiff. "Of that lunch." The judge sneered at him. He
took his phone back and grinned. "I went through Loki whenever I
needed something desperate for the slayers I was working with and the
stuff I needed was over here or from Australia."
The judge looked at the two cousins, who he hated just as much. "How much time did you spend with her?"
"None," one said. "We hated her faith as much as you do. It
wasn't natural, no matter what she thought. This isn't the middle
"I believe that's why she nearly cut you out," Loki's lawyer
stated. The cousins glared at him. He stared back.
"Not like you could run her business interests either."
"There's people to do that for us," the other sneered.
"No, there's not," Xander said. "Loki managed the protection
resort all by herself via video messaging. The other things as
well. She only had a financial person on tap for her retirement
fund because she wasn't up to date in investments, just in business."
"Then who runs it now?" the judge demanded.
"Right now, I'm failing a bit miserably," the lawyer said. "My first love was not business."
"I'd be hiring the on-site manager to help me," Xander said. "He's
about to retire and he can teach me within the year he said he has
left. If he can't then he'd help me find someone to manage it
since she left it to the boys."
"We can do the same thing," the cousins noted.
"He said he'd never work for you two. You're snotty and you'd
destroy the resort by making it a spa." He pointed behind them at
him. The man nodded.
"It would make better money," the cousins' lawyer said.
"We make good money now," the on-site manager said, standing up.
"I have financial reports in case the judge wanted them. Beyond
that, we're too far out of the way to be an open resort sort of vacation
place. The islands needed a safe haven for those who need a
vacation but have security concerns. We're the only one on the
"The next nearest one is in Napa Valley," Xander said. "Loki and I
stayed there for a week when I was healing from a battle injury."
"Mostly so she could check out the competition," the on-site manager
agreed. "That's when she decided we needed a doctor on-call for us
and a few other changes. Which have been very handy for us."
The judge looked at him. "So she did manage the businesses herself?"
"Yes, sir. She and I talked every other day by video
conference. Before that became so common it was phone calls every
day. She learned well at her daddy's knee and did wonderfully when
she took over."
"Do you feel you could work with her relatives?"
"No. They'd ruin all the businesses and be like those things you
see on tv. Beyond that, they're banned from going anywhere near it
because they sent threats a few years back." He produced that
file. "What the Secret Service found about the death threats they
The judge looked, grimacing. "So definitely no love lost."
He glared at Xander again. "Were you aware of those?"
"That was before we met. She told me about them. She even
introduced one of the sluts to me. And before you can chastize me,
she had just gotten out of a bed with four men. We caught
them leaving together."
"It was a business meeting," that one ground out.
Xander looked at her. "Yes, the video is online now. We saw
what sort of business meeting it was." She blanched. He sat
back and looked at the judge again.
"You're a partial demon, that's why you never got her pregnant," that cousin sneered.
"No, I never got her pregnant because I used birth control. The
taint from the mermaid exposure back in high school doesn't make me even
a partial demon. They consider it like a possession, which I've
had as well. Which, by the way, is why I can smell much better
than normal." He gave her a pointed look. She shrank down
again. He looked at the judge, who looked gleeful. He pulled
out those forms and handed them to the bailiff. "From the Supreme
Court when I had to take the NID to them."
The judge snatched it to read over, going pale. "Why?"
"Because the NID likes to torture people?" he guessed then
shrugged. "I'm not an experiment. That one got jumped from
three judges up to them fairly quickly because they lower judges decided
they didn't have jurisdiction over a program like them."
The judge reread that decision, grimacing harder. His face was
going to suck into the hole around his mouth if he got more
disgusted. "I can't believe they had to handle that."
"NID is a supposedly top-secret group. Everyone from the president on down told them to stop it and they didn't listen."
"Did they try after that?" the judge demanded.
"Yes. Twice. And per instructions from the judges I blew
them away because they were helping start a new apocalypse to try to get
myself and some of the slayers to experiment on."
"If there's protections, how did you get here?" the judge asked.
"I don't do chaos magic, Your Honor. I grew up on a point that had
a whole lot of it free for playing with but I don't do magic."
"Your public profile...."
Xander held up a hand. "I don't have a public profile. I
have one done by some hunter groupies that half of is wrong. I may
have played small parts in some major works but I do not do magic and
cannot do magic. Magic tends to bend and twist around me in
unpredictable ways. That's why the Washington Monument was purple
for three days thanks to Loki trying something small to test it out
while we were together in DC for a long weekend. That was actually
our second weekend together."
"It was *what*?" the judge demanded.
"Purple. Lilac purple. And all the Mason symbols got turned into ankhs."
"Did she do that mischief on purpose?" the cousins' lawyer demanded.
"No. She was trying to change some of the leaves on the tree
outside our hotel window. We were facing the mall and the
monument. It took her three days to figure out what she had done
and how to correct it so it could be undone." He wouldn't mention
the herd of My Little Pony unicorns that the transit cops on the Mall
turned into. "It happens because of where I was born and grew up,"
he told them. "Willow complained about the same thing. So
did the Devon coven."
"Are they still in England?" the bailiff asked.
"No, they're in Mexico hiding from Dawn because of their dynastic plans
to marry her off to someone against her will. She was going to
kill them all for it. I told her where the renewed Aztec group is
near there so she could talk to them and see if they wanted them after
the president told her she couldn't magically destroy them for it."
"There is?" the judge asked.
Xander nodded. "Yeah, I ran into them when they nearly sacrificed me."
The judge gaped. "Why?" he demanded.
"I was looking for my next slayer to train, who was with their
tribe. The shaman and I tested to make sure she had all the
knowledge she needed. I had Dawn translate a lot of the books
she'd need into their native language and let the priests train her to
protect them all."
"The Mexican government doesn't mind this?" the judge asked.
"As far as I know they're still saying they're a myth. I did
report that there was a group of them. They told me I had been in
the tequila, even though I don't drink most of the time. Even with
proof they're ignoring it because it might hurt tourism."
"You give me an incredible headache," the cousins' lawyer complained.
Xander shrugged. "That's because you're very 'only one way' and
hate anything outside of it. That's not my fault. I do what I
have to do so people like you can ignore things."
"You could quit," he sneered.
"I have retired and you know what, if you want us all to quit that much,
have fun with the next apocalypse battle. It'll be in Greece in two
months." The man flinched and backed away shaking his head.
"You can't have it both ways, dude. Either we handle it so you're
all protected or you handle it yourselves and some of you will die or
become slaves. Take your pick." He shrugged. "Plenty
of us would love to retire full time but we can't because no one will
take our spots. Then humanity falls. It would've only been
two days before they spread if the slayers had lost in New York.
By now, they would've taken over all the US and most of the connected
landmasses. They'd be working on Asia and Europe right now.
Both of those continents have more protections because they didn't deny
"We do?" Loki's lawyer asked, looking confused.
"The only thing the EU *all* agrees on is how to handle a demonic event
in Europe if the slayers can't get there on time or fall. They had
summits to talk about their individual plans as far back as the
fourteen hundreds. Even the UK agrees. Japan has their own
plans. China has theirs, which changed when Communism
happened. Russia has agreements with both the EU and China over
how to help. India has one that's a bit fractured due to the
religious fighting but both sides agree that it's necessary to have one
and that they would work together on that then go back to
fighting. Pakistan agreed with them and signed an agreement for
mutual aid in case it happens.
"Africa's a bit too diverse for that, but the upper countries all have
an agreement in place. The ones that're being eaten by civil wars
have none and they'd probably be fairly easily taken over because half
of the militias wouldn't protect the people. There's one around
the southern tip and they agreed with Madagascar about what would happen
and how they'd respond. South America had one but it ended and
wasn't renewed about twenty years ago. Most of Central America had
the same sort of thing, pushed into it by the Catholic church, but
they've let it lapse and again, a lot of civil wars.
"The US has treaties with Canada and Mexico, plus Cuba over that
eventuality. We'd be backing up Cuba until Russia could get there
because we can't afford to let anyone fall." The judge was staring
in horror. "I had to help update some with any new problems while
I was traveling and reminded a few of the groups in Africa they might
need one. The only place that has no interest in one is the
Middle East and they have a few subtle 'if you get invaded we'll come
help you' sort of agreements. They don't like that slayers are
female and showing up their men so they hate us all. There's some
older agreements going back to the Ottoman empire but they've fallen
"Have you been to the Middle East?" the judge asked.
"Twice. Both to handle problems. Both problems had taken
down a full town at the time that they called and I got there within
days each time, mostly finding me and travel time. On one, I
worked with a few other hunters and the local military. The other
one bluntly told us to handle it ourselves, we were a hallucination, and
then to escape before they found us in their country. That one
was a horde of vampires and when I found a slayer there trying to handle
it I made sure she left with me since they were going to publically
execute her for being Chosen if they found her. I got her to a
nearby friendly country and her people's embassy. When they heard
she was a native and a slayer they denied her entry and named her a
terrorist against the regime."
"Iran?" Loki's lawyer guessed.
"Iraq at the time. That was right before we invaded. The new
one hates us still because demons aren't Islamic. Iran has put a
young woman to death for thinking she was a slayer. She wasn't and
we proved it to their courts. She was looking up to the strong
women who handled things. They said it didn't matter and the blood
test to tell wasn't within their known science. Giles couldn't
get permission to snatch her to safety. It came about six hours too
"So they let her die?" the judge asked.
"No. I didn't wait on permission. Officially they put her to
death. Unofficially she's in Egypt. She's studying
history. Iran put to death a magical substitute I had a chaos mage
we had worked against make me. That's how I met Loki, she
delivered it for him."
"So you snatched someone from Iran?" the judge demanded.
"Yes. With full knowledge when the permission came through six
hours too late." He smiled. "It was necessary. I'm not
going to let someone die for wanting to be a strong woman."
The judge cleared his throat. "The State Department didn't say anything?"
"I got a 'good job' letter. I have it at home if you want to see it."
"No, not necessary." He tapped together the evidence he had. "I do not like this will."
"Frankly, she probably would've disliked you right back, Your Honor," Loki's lawyer said. "She was a bit like that."
The judge frowned. "Good." He looked at the cousins then at
Xander. "I'm going to invalidate her will." The cousins
cheered. "You are her family, even if you didn't like her."
Xander sighed. "If you do that, we're going to have to appeal to
save the people she employed. Which means that you're putting over
a thousand jobs on the line, Your Honor." The judge glared at
him. "The truth. They can't run anything and none of them
will work for them."
"That's their choice." He smirked. "The estate goes to her cousins."
"Point of order," Xander said, raising a hand. "She has six
embryos frozen." The judge gaped. "Which have my name on
them as well so they're not part of this." The judge
swallowed. "That was in the filing I presume?" he asked the
lawyer, who nodded. "I've had seventeen different people ask to be
the surrogates for at least one of them." The judge glared at him
and stomped off after banging his gavel. "Okay." He looked
at the lawyer.
"I'll have it filed by this afternoon."
"We're changing things," one of the cousins told the manager of the resort.
"Ma'am, the resort wasn't fully in her will," he said. "Xander
owns half of it. He has for over a year." They gaped.
Xander shrugged. That was news to him. "She signed
over fifty-one percent of her business assets as of six months
ago. That was the first to be signed over and the rest
followed." The judge came back. "That was in there. I
filed a supplemental report on that." He smiled at them.
"So, boss?" he asked Xander.
"No, it stays the way it is." He nodded and walked off.
Xander looked at the judge. "I had no idea she did that.
Guess it means I have to fix my taxes."
"I'll look into that for you, Xander." He smiled as he walked off. Loki was very crafty, just like her God.
Xander strolled out calling the daycare. "Are my boys being
good? If not, I can hurry back instead of going baby clothes
shopping." He grinned. "That's cool. Thanks." He
hung up and headed out to his car. He walked past Stephen.
"Make sure the one with the gun can't shoot me," he said.
"Of course, Xander." He looked at her. "You will not shoot
him." The woman pulled a gun anyway. He knocked her down and
out, kicking the gun out of the way. A watching officer came over
to help. "She's disappointed that the person she hated made plans
if her will was not followed." The officer nodded. "He will
be pressing charges."
"Who is he?"
"I've heard about his job. We all got briefed about when to call him." He walked her off.
Stephen smiled at the other one. "Are you that ignorant as
well?" He strolled off. The woman tried to shoot him while
calling on God to 'guide her hand'. Fortunately his bodyguards
were excellent and she died for it. The officer came back calling
for backup. The officer stared at him. "My former liege
adored Xander and wanted him to be his consort. He made sure I
would protect him before that witch killed him."
"Is it always like this around him?" the first officer asked.
Loki's lawyer shook his head. "No. Usually the ones who want
him for real are very protective of him. Xander's very protective
of what's his. Half the time he doesn't even realize it as it
goes on around him." The judge stomped out. "One tried to
shoot Mr. Harris and one tried to shoot someone who was sent to protect
him," he said, looking happy. "I suppose that makes the appeal
we'll be filing easier to handle." He strolled off to do that bit
of paperwork. Neither of them had children or husbands. They
were too disgruntled with everything to handle having someone who cared
The judge seethed and tried to order Xander arrested but the first
officer told his commander what had happened since he had seen it.
That officer said there was no cause to arrest him so the judge had to
huff off and pray loudly that demons would take him instead of having to
deal with this sort of thing.
Later that night, Hannibal and Xander had to take down that sacrificial
cult when they had the judge and his family. Hannibal looked at
him. "Wishing for demons to kill you is dumb," he said
bluntly. "Even if you can't handle it." He walked off with
his sword on his shoulder. "Xander, you done yet?"
"Two more." He killed one and moved to duck the other's blow from
behind then he turned and kicked it, following to stab it.
Hannibal got it when it tried to escape him. He sighed, looking at
him then around. "Call Steve?"
"Already have. He's waiting." They walked out
together. "All yours, including the judge that told Xander he was
"Not in so many words but he did treat me like it," Xander said dryly. "But we can't pick the victims we save."
"No, we can't." He patted Xander on the back. "Beer?"
"None in the house. Dawn's babysitting so she couldn't have."
"We can pick some up on the way home with some more gauze and
tape. You were out earlier when I was working on the cut on her
"I did not know that."
"I used the last." He grinned.
"That's cool. There's a Wal-Mart on the way home." He got in
to drive Hannibal's car. The swords went into the backseat.
Then they were off.
Steve looked at the judge then pulled out his cuffs. "Endangering
people by wishing demons to take you and kill you is still endangering
people," he said when the complaints started. The other victims
got taken to the local ER while the judge had to make due with the
prison doctor. He was not a happy judge either. Yay.
Another winning bit of paperwork with stress in Steve's life. Some
day he'd have to figure out if it was Xander's fault or not.
Xander looked up the next morning from cooking when someone knocked on
the door. He leaned over to look then pulled the pan off the heat
and walked out there. "Do I know you?" he asked.
"Mr. Harris, I'm with Channel 5 news. We'd like to get a statement from you about what happened last night?"
He stared at her. "You know the Council and all the people
associated with the demon hunting community don't talk to the press,
ma'am. What makes you think I'm going to change that?"
"You're retired," she said with perky cheer.
"Hmm. Perhaps." He grabbed Cougar and held him since he had
been in the way. "No comment. Thank you." He closed
the door in her face, looking around. He went to get Pooch off the
porch so he could quit charming her. He walked in and shut the
door, taking them back to the kitchen. "Hannibal, reporter at the
door," he called.
"Screw 'em," he called from the bathroom. The boys had woken him
by Roque puking on his feet. What a charming way to wake up.
"Tell me when she's gone."
Xander went to look out there. "I have a hunter visiting my couch
and he's being modest since he's in the shower. Do you mind?
He doesn't want his naked ass shown on camera." She blushed and
backed off. He shut the door again and pulled all the
curtains. "Clear." Hannibal came down to grab clothes and
get dressed. "Think I should call to see if the police would
"It probably won't work. It doesn't in Cleveland." He came
in to get the boys into their high chairs. "Time for all of us to
eat." Xander gave him a strange look. "Yes, that includes
you. Dawn told me to nag."
"I'm fine." He fed the boys, fed Hannibal, then got forced to eat
when Hannibal shoved some of his breakfast into Xander's mouth.
"Fine." Xander made them both more and sat down to eat. "If
the witches hear her, she's babbling about how we're probably
"I'm not dangerous enough for you," Hannibal quipped, stuffing his mouth.
"No, you're not. It'd be like dating my older brother."
Hannibal swatted him with a grimace. Xander grinned back.
"Why was Roque so pukey?"
"His sinus thing." He got him some medicine and then got back to
eating. The boys all flinched at the explosion sound
outside. Xander was up and out the back door, hopping the back
fence in one graceful leap/grab/flip over maneuver. Hannibal was
right behind him. The house behind him was smoking badly.
"Hannibal, she has two kids and a cat," he called. Hannibal
nodded, following him inside. They got the kids, the cat, and then
the mother, who was passed out in her room. By then the fire
department was on site. Xander coughed. "There's something
in the half-basement but the smoke's coming from the area off the
kitchen." He got given oxygen and huffed for a few minutes,
checking on the kids. Hannibal was in better shape so he went to
check on the boys. Xander gave the mask back, nodding he was
better. He looked at the kids. "Do you guys have anyone who
they should call?"
"Our grandma lives in Hilo," the older child, the girl, said.
"Okay. Is her number in your mom's phone?" They nodded. "Where's the phone?"
"Beside her bed. It's always by her so she can get online and check Facebook," the boy said.
The fireman listening nodded and passed that on. The next one out
brought it so they could call her. Xander let the neighbor who was
a social worker handle it and went home to clean off the smoke
residue. The reporter was trying to get into his yard. "If
you're trespassing I get to shoot you," he noted. She ran off.
"Now now, play nice," Hannibal taunted, handing him some damp paper towels.
"No. Not with a reporter." He wiped his face and neck off, then washed his hands. "Do I look decent?"
"Tired, skinny, and dirty. Go shower." Xander nodded, going
up there. The boys followed to get their own morning bath since
they needed one. It'd help Xander calm down to fuss over them
too. Hannibal called the local police station, not the emergency
number. "Hi, I'm visiting a resident and we have a leach, I mean
reporter, hovering to talk to him. Is there any way you can make
her go away before she turns his kids into media whores?" He
grinned. "That is us, yes. Thank you, sir." He hung
up. "I asked the locals to come move her. So did a few other
"I heard, thank you."
"Welcome, kid." He turned on the tv. "Damn, they've got live coverage there. Must think it was a drug lab."
"It could be," Xander admitted. "Smelled like chemicals."
Hannibal listened. "No, she was making home brew and the fire was
left on too long. It exploded and lit her cleaning chemicals on
"That reminds me, I was going to make some pineapple homebrew."
Hannibal shuddered. "I tasted the mango stuff you made with Dawn. Daymn."
Xander cackled. "It came in handy after battles."
"Yes it probably did. The stuff was still three thousand proof, Xander."
He came back down with the kids. "But it tasted good." He
went up to take his own shower. "Cougar, I love you, little guy,
but I want to shower alone." Cougar said something too quiet for
Hannibal to hear. "No, I won't call a succuba so Jensen won't get
upset again. I promise I won't. If she shows up on her own
I'll have her go talk to him first, okay?" Cougar came crawling
down the stairs. "Watch them for a few, Hannibal."
"Sure." He grinned at the boys.
"Ba still bad," Jensen told him.
"But sometimes you need the easy stress relief, Jensen. It'll be
okay." He patted him on the head. "Your hair got cut too
short, little guy. Though I guess it means girls want to play with
it for you." He put him onto the couch. "Find a better
channel for us that doesn't have mind-rotting cartoons?" Jensen
flipped the station to MTV. Clay glared and so did Roque. "I
don't think they want to watch Teen Mom." Jensen flipped again to
animal planet then flipped again since it was on house cats.
Jensen was the only one that didn't like the cat that lived in Xander's
backyard tree. They settled on Food Network and someone perky
fixing food that no one he knew would eat.
Xander came down the stairs. "Flip on the DVD. I got him
some cooking ones he likes." Hannibal did that and they watched
the nerdy guy talk about science and food. Even Pooch stared at
him oddly when he brought out puppets to demonstrate what yeast
did. Jensen belched along with it, cackling. "Should we call
you 'yeast boy'?" he teased with a grin. Jensen cackled and Clay
groaned in that 'don't encourage him' way. Xander went to make
snacks for the nibbling plate. They were all mid-growth
spurt. They were all starving all the time. So was Hannibal
so he made sandwiches too. That worked and Hannibal shared with
the begging boys he was surrounded by. Xander changed the DVD to
the next one. Which thrilled them.
"Hell, I might even learn how to cook," Hannibal joked.
"Abby would appreciate that," Xander joked back. He looked over
when someone knocked, going to answer it. "Yes, Officer?"
"Sir, are they your friends?" he asked with a point.
Xander looked then at him. "No, I hate reporters a whole lot and
want them all to go to hell or find a real life instead of bothering
"Good." He smiled. "I was told to tell you the judge said you saved him on purpose."
"I didn't even know he was there and Hannibal saved them." Hannibal waved. "He's on vacation but he's a hunter."
"I've seen him a few times with your protege."
"Dawn's a language geek and in college," Xander said dryly. "She's healing from an assassination attempt."
"Oh, that's interesting. Let me go shoo them off."
"Sure. Thanks." He shut and locked the door, making sure the
curtains were still closed. Pooch knocked him down and Cougar
offered him one of the crackers. "Sure, I'll nibble with you
guys." They were happy to help him eat. Clearly there had
been some Dawn-based warping going on. Even of Hannibal since he
nagged like her sometimes.
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