Notes: this kind of touches on a few challenges I've been given recently but not fully and doesn't really come from them. The idea hit when I was trying hard to procrastinate hurting my back more by doing laundry.
Project: Future Perfect
Way Back Then:
The commanding officer stepped out in front of his men. "Today, we are being asked to line up for blood work. Someone is doing a study that the Pentagon likes. Something about tracking our future children to see how many become problem brats and how many follow our footsteps. And the occasional one that goes to another branch for *whatever* reason you screwed them up," he announced. "This is Marine-wide. We do not care if you do not like it. It is not opt-in. So when the nurses come I will expect you louts to have some manners and show them," he finished. "Even I have to have it done. I don't like it."
"Sir, what if we don't have children?" one young Marine asked.
He shrugged. "They feel most of us will. I have no idea if they're going to mind that or not. I personally do not care. The head Marine said we're doing it so we are." They all stayed silent at that. They knew not agreeing would only get them punished. "They should be here at ten. Until then, do PT. It's a change in the routine but oh well." He stepped back and they warmed up under his careful watch. He had no idea what the bloodwork would be telling them. It wasn't his job to care or ask those questions.
Closer To Now By About A Year:
The six researchers looked at all the results. They had to weed this pot down to something manageable. "I say we pick ten," one said. "The mainframe can pick based on service record, type of service they did, and their conduct record. At a later date we can add more if we want."
The others considered it. "Three," the head researcher decided. "We'll have enough variables over time. Plus the failure rate is fairly high. Let's make sure the failures are due to routine things, not screw ups with the cells." They nodded and got to work putting in the parameters. The old mainframe accepted the punch cards and ran a selection, printing out a strip of paper to show them the ones it had selected. None fit. They widened the parameters so it could find someone. They got too many. They choose those and weeded it down from there by hand. It was only six hundred names.
Closer To Now By Another Six Years:
The mainframe had been upgraded so this time the new batch came out with a few names. They stared. "Three names," the head researcher said. They all nodded. Their failures had nearly gotten them shut down. They needed proof that their methods worked and quick or else they'd be out of a job. They pulled those three files and sent word to get them tissue samples from these three Marines. It would have to work this time.
Five Years Ago:
The archivist came across a sealed file. "Project: Future Perfect?" he read, frowning at it. "Let me guess, it's another failed weapons design program." He glanced at the front sheet and frowned. "Not a weapon," he muttered. He ran to tell his boss. This clearly was not supposed to be in the unclassified archive he worked in. "Sir, I found a misclassification."
"Of?" He handed over the folder, letting him read the index page. "Why is this here?" He read the conclusion section so he couldn't be fired for reading classified materials. "They were all let into the world," he said, looking at his underling. "I'll call around about this. See where it should be." His underling nodded and went back to his library job. He looked over the reports again, frowning. "Fucking morons with a microscope," he said. He considered it and did what he had never considered before - he photocopied it. Then he took the original to his boss once the copies were safely stored in his bag. "Sir."
His boss waved off his salute. "Are we out of space in the archive again?"
"Sir, one of my people found something that should be in a more classified environment."
"Really?" He took the folder, grimacing. "I remember when they came to draw blood for it. It never worked."
"Sir, I glanced at the conclusion. The project was disbanded and all of their subjects were given back."
He gaped then turned back there. "Oh, shit."
"Basically. I think that should be more classified than my archive can hold, sir. Unless I want to have high morals and tell the children?"
The officer looked at him. "That's not allowed and you know it."
"It's not right, sir. If they were mine I'd want to know."
"Tough." He put it into his drawer. "I'll take that point up with the higher ups. Forget you saw that."
"Yes, sir." He saluted then left.
The officer sighed and called his boss. "Sir, Henderson in the archives. We just found a classified project's records in the wrong archive. No, my archivist only read the conclusion, sir. It's bad enough that he expressed moral doubts. Not a weapon, sir. A breeding program. Yes, sir, that one. I have no idea why it came here but he did see that they disbanded and sent them to the maternal donors." He nodded. "It's in my drawer, sir. No, I told him I'd talk to you about it, sir. I told him to forget he saw the conclusion page. Sir, I personally agree. If mine's part of that I'd want to know." He shrugged at the guy's complaint. "Sir, I'm a realistic Marine, not an idealist. Yes, sir, and what if those Marines have families, sir? Exactly. No, I'm stating my case." He smirked. "Exactly, sir. Thank you, sir. In my desk drawer. Thank you, sir." He hung up and called his subordinate. "I was told to politely forget it. You do the same." He hung up and went back to his monthly paperwork. When his boss came in he handed over the folder.
"You do realize this would make us look very bad?" his boss demanded.
"Sir, it was done ages ago. It's not going to look bad on *us*. It's going to look bad on the desperate people that thought we'd be in another world war when Vietnam started." That got a grimace. "If they were mine, I'd want to know, sir."
"There's other ways to find them. Birth records."
"Sir, the conclusion said that the birth records were purged and fabricated. They were worried about lawsuits from the families. If that's the reason then so be it, but I'd think they're going to be more pissed. Especially since some of those kids may presently be some of us or the last batch is about old enough to recruit."
"Doesn't matter. The Joint Chiefs said to bury it."
He nodded once. "I cannot argue with my superiors, sir. I know that. I'm not going to participate in a coverup. If they find out and ask me, I'm going to answer."
He nodded. "I understand. They'll make sure no one ever gets to ask you." He left, taking it to burn. That program had been a very bad idea. A horrible idea. He paused to look at the names. Shit, he knew one of them. That was very bad news. NCIS was going to fry them. He tossed it into the incinerator. If they were meant to know, they'd have a way to find them.
Jethro Gibbs found an envelope on his desk when he got in from the most current scene. "Any idea what this is?" he asked his team.
Tony took it to look inside. "Looks like a note and records, boss." He handed it back.
He stared at him. "You still open strange mail after getting the plague, DiNozzo?"
"Too big to hold that, boss," he said with a chipper look. "No kiss either. Looks important."
Gibbs sat down to read the note. He reread it. Then he stared at DiNozzo. Then at McGee. "I'm going to the lab. Answer my phone, DiNozzo."
"Sure, boss." He moved to forward it when Gibbs left. He stared after him. "A classified project," he said at the curious looks. "Notes from it." He sat down and got back to his background on the current case.
Gibbs walked into the lab, turning down Abby's music, making her jump. "Look up a project for me, Abs. Project: Future Perfect."
She turned to type that into her system. "I can find a mention of it on an archive list but it's pre-computers." She turned to look at him. "It's in the Pentagon archive."
"The one that got set on fire during 9/11?" She nodded after a check. "So the records I have are the only copy?"
She turned around to search. "A few conspiracy sites mention it as an early breeding program but not anything else." She looked back at him. "Why?"
"Because I got sent records on it." He sat down at her desk to read it over. Then he growled. She backed away slowly. "Thanks, Abby." He headed up to his boss, slapping them down in front of him. "Want to help me or should I handcuff you to your desk, Tom?"
He read over the first page then blinked at him. "When did this happen?"
"They were listed as late sixties to early eighties."
"Oh, dear." He looked at him. "Any other evidence?" He put down the note. The director read it then winced. "Do you want a leave of absence, Jethro?"
"I want permission for Abby to run a DNA comparison on those three names randomly through the system."
"Can it do that?"
"Probably." He watched the director page through the report then hold up a sheet. "What's that?"
"The accounting of the children that came of it."
Jethro read it over, then winced. "That's going to be a problem." He walked out to the walkway. "DiNozzo, Director's office for a conference." Tony hopped up and jogged up the stairs. "It's bad news," he said as he walked him into the office and shut the door.
Tony accepted the papers, reading it over. "Does this say that my mother ... My mother had me with who?" he demanded, looking at Gibbs.
Gibbs shrugged. "No idea, DiNozzo. I remember him, kind of. I have no idea about any of this. No one ever asked me for a sample as far as I know."
Tony sat down to read it, frowning at it. "They said the failure rate was nearly perfect for the first ten years, Gibbs. I'm one of the first live born ones." He kept reading, taking the rest from the director. "We have mother's names, we can search." He looked at his boss. "This does explain a lot."
Gibbs nodded. "It does."
"I meant about my family's attitude issue about me," he said, handing it back. "I'll call and bitch them out later, boss. Want help searching them out?"
"Yes. You and Abby only, DiNozzo. I can trust you two to keep quiet."
"Of course. Let's hope some of us are still alive. I think I'd like to go bite a former Marine." He walked out shaking his head. He came back to get the lists and went back to his desk. "Probie, do the background for me. I'm being moved to a special search project."
"Sure, Tony. Is it bad?"
McGee nodded at that. That happened now and then. Those sort of things always went to team leaders and senior agents. Gibbs was one of the most senior in the agency so of course it had hit their team. "Are you all right?" he asked quietly. "You look pissed."
"Not at you," he said, smirking at him. "But I know someone who's going to get chewed a new one later." He got back to work, making a list of the parents first. Some of them might still be alive. They'd have to notify them.
Gibbs looked at the two Marines who met him at the coffee shop. One of them was making him stare at him in a strange way. He looked at the other one. "Taylor."
"Gibbs. What happened?" He looked at the other guy. "I never served with you. Mac Taylor."
"John Winchester." He looked at Gibbs. "I remember NCIS questioning a friend about a case once. Is it to do with our old units?"
"Not quite." He put the folder down on the table. "This is presently being listed as need to know." They both nodded at that. "Do you remember a research study that said they were tracking our children? They came to take blood?"
"Slightly," Mac agreed. "I was told there was no opting out."
John nodded. "I do remember that. They got us just out of Basic. Then again when we got back. Something about a failure in the original."
Gibbs snorted, getting comfortable. "They were working on future soldiers, gentlemen." Winchester stiffened. "We're the last of the paternal donors. Winchester, your son Tony is my senior agent."
"Oh, damn," he muttered.
"Exactly," Gibbs agreed, staring at the very shocked Taylor. "It ran from the late sixties to the early eighties. I got the report off an archivist who died of lung cancer. It had ended up in the Pentagon archive and got found a few years back. They decided to hide it."
"Probably afraid of lawsuits," Mac said, taking it to read. He handed each page to John, who scanned it before putting it back. "They had a lot of failures. I'm surprised they didn't get shut down."
"That's when they picked the three of us," Gibbs told him. "I was barely in the service two years. It was your rookie year, and Winchester was getting ready to leave in a few years." He looked at John. "By the way, Tony looked you up."
"Sorry to give him that trauma," he said dryly.
"One of your other ones does the same thing. Recently helped take down a military unit in his own." Mac gave him a heated look. "Another experimental group that got busted and eliminated for torture."
"Charming," Mac mouthed. He went back to reading. He finally sighed, coming to the list at the end. "I know two of these people. The third I have no idea."
Gibbs nodded. He slid over the envelope in his pocket. "That's where she's studying." He smirked. "Tony agreed with me that we'd save you the work looking her up. Just in case you wanted to talk to her."
"I do. Can we copy this for the children?"
"You can." He looked at John. "There is something extremely strange about the one, Winchester. I know he's in the same business." He tossed over the thicker folder. "When they did the background it raised that flag. He's 'do not touch' in the system for whatever reason."
John winced. "Psycho?"
"Not from what they said. They said pathetic tagalong with no self esteem. Since he, three girls, and a librarian helped take down a unit, I'm going to doubt they had sense."
"It's people like that who give the rest of us who go into scientific fields a bad name," Mac complained. He sipped his coffee. "All right, now what?"
Gibbs shrugged. "As far as I'm concerned, find them, talk to them. That's your call, Taylor."
He nodded. "Yours?"
"Mine's a strange thing. I have no idea what I'm going to do at the moment. Two are in law enforcement. One's currently a Marine. One's in jail." He grimaced. "That'll be fixed eventually since it's a minor offense. He mouthed off to a judge," he said at John's amused look. "Much nicer than your younger ones."
"We do what we have to do, Gibbs." He finished his coffee. "The people in charge?"
"Mostly dead. One of the researchers is left. She's in a secure facility for the psychologically snapped with classified knowledge." That got a joint nod. "The ones who did the coverup are still there. We had a talk. They're not happy that got found out about."
"Yay them," Mac said. "I'm going to kick his ass." He stood up. "Thanks, Gibbs. Be safe and call in a few months to see if we want to hold a reunion?" That got a nod so he left. He'd wonder about the other guy later. He and Gibbs were hostile for some reason that didn't concern him. He had three children to find and talk to.
Gibbs looked at him. "That one..."
"I saw. Alexander?" Gibbs nodded. "You want to tell him?"
"No. I doubt he'd be able to get along with the sort of cases I deal with daily. I do not want him continuing this career. It looks dangerous."
"It's as important as being a Marine was," he said quietly. "We save as many lives, one at a time. Even if they don't know it or like it."
Gibbs nodded. "I can see that, but I still don't like your calling or his."
"I'll let him know that."
"Good." He stood up. "They did say his training was odd and possibly incomplete." He walked off, going to talk to a few people. He nodded at Tony when he walked past him.
Tony strolled in and sat down, staring at him. "That's why I have green eyes." John moaned, looking up from his reading. "Tony DiNozzo."
"As in DiNozzo Banking and DiNozzo Electronics?" he asked. Tony nodded. "You should stick with them."
"They decided I was an unworthy specimen a long time ago, Mr. Winchester. I'm not asking for favors or to join you. I saw what you do daily and I can't do that." That got a nod. "I'm honest with myself. On the job is one thing. Living on the job all the time is another."
"It's not for everyone," he agreed calmly.
"That doesn't mean I shouldn't give you the chance to get to know me."
"I'm Gibbs' senior agent."
"Isn't that awkward?"
"Only if he were my father."
That got a smirk and a nod. "I can see that." He pulled out a picture. "These are the two I knew of. This is Dean and that's Sammy. Sammy's at Stanford at the moment." He looked at him. "He wanted a normal life too."
Tony relaxed. "Thank you for understanding."
"I rode Sammy about it for years but I know it's a hard life, Tony. I'll leave it as getting to know you and making sure you've got proper protections." That got a nod. "It's not that hard or that intrusive. I'll write them down for you. The others will need them too." Tony gave him a grin. "Let me digest this then we'll meet after your shift?"
"That'll be tomorrow but it'll work. We've got a stakeout tonight."
"That's fine." He wrote down his number. "Call me when you're awake. I'll be in town for a few days. I want to talk to someone." That got a nod and Tony took the number with him. John sat back to go over the reports again. Yeah, he'd have stopped that unit too. He hated demons as much as the next hunter but torture was still wrong.
John called his son once he had gotten done talking with Tony. "Dean, it's me."
//Dad. What's up? You don't sound too happy.//
"Where are you?"
//Las Vegas but I'm leaving tomorrow.//
"No, stay there."
//I need to leave tomorrow.//
John sighed. "Meet me ten miles to the east of the Tropicana in six days. It'll take me that long to get there from the east coast. I have a stop to make first."
//What happened? New hunt?//
"No. Not a new hunt." He hung up and leaned back, figuring out how he'd talk to the one on the way. Then he decided to just head out to Nevada. He could stop and talk to a hacker he knew on the way. They might need her services. He left Tony a text message to call him whenever he wanted to talk, that he was going to find the others, and to be safe. Then he left DC for a while.
John stared at his son as he got out of his truck. "Sleep with the wrong woman?" he teased.
"Got into a fight with a guy about whether or not I was cheating at the poker game we were playing."
"Not exactly. Counting cards, but not cheating." He pushed his sunglasses back up his nose. "So, what's wrong? You look like hell, Dad."
"We need to talk about some relations, son."
Dean gave him an odd look. "Relations? What? Did I really sleep with the wrong woman? If I slept with a cousin or something...."
"Not that sort."
Dean sat up straighter. "Mom have more family that we just found?" John handed over something and sat on the seat part of the picnic table Dean was sitting on top of. Dean looked at it. "Just tell me, Dad. This isn't first grade and I sucked at show and tell."
John snorted. "You didn't do too badly until you brought in the shotgun and then your brother." He played with the report then looked at him. "While I was in the service...."
"Did you cheat on Mom?" he taunted with a smirk.
"Before we got together, son." He rolled his eyes. "Someone was doing a research study. They told us it was to track how many of our kids entered the service or became jailbait." Dean nodded slowly, losing his grin. "So they came and they took everyone's blood."
"And later on a few of us they took tissue samples, told us the original sample had gotten wet or something, screwed it up."
"And.... We have relations from this?"
"I have an additional three sons. I've talked to one. He does not want to hunt. Which isn't such a bad idea since he's a Fed."
"I have a big brother who's a Fed?" he demanded.
Dean shook his head quickly. "Okay, that's strange."
"The other two, one's in jail. He's a decent enough kid but he's in a sucky position and his woman came at him with a knife so he put her down. She pressed charges. He pressed charges. He'll be out in six weeks. She gets out in ten months."
Dean nodded. "Okay. And we do what?"
"The other one's a bit stranger. Actually, we share him with one of the NCIS guys. The one who told me was also used. Your bigger brother is his senior agent." He pulled out the picture he had taken. "That's Gibbs. That's Tony. Tony's your older half brother."
"He looks like a yuppie."
"It's all attitude, son. He grew up rich but his family decided he wasn't worthy." Dean grimaced at that. "So he's a cop and they hate that. He moved to NCIS after Baltimore. Gibbs and I share the other one I haven't mentioned yet."
Dean hummed. "What's special about that one?"
"That one is in the same business we are."
Dean straightened up. "Really? The family demon?"
"No." He handed over the information. "He and his friends took down a group torturing others out there. I have no idea what got him started." Dean read it over. "Gibbs said that they have distinct lack of sense and ability to see correctly. He's flagged in the system as do not touch, do not recruit, and do not engage." Dean stared at him over the top of his sunglasses. "A few years back he broke onto a base to get something necessary to stop one in a mall."
"I'll buy him a beer for that."
John shook his head. "First I want you to go tail him. Get to know him if you can. Watch him and give me a report. I'm going to meet the other one since he's closer to being local."
"I can do that. Where is he?"
"You hear some strange things about that town."
"Yup. And he's involved."
"Proves he's a Winchester," Dean said dryly.
"It does." He stood up and put the paperwork back. "I'll join you in about a week."
"Any nieces and nephews?"
"Not that I'm aware of. Tony doesn't. He has had the plague though."
"Very. It got sent to his desk."
Dean shuddered. "Proves why I never wanted to be a Fed." He stood up, dusting himself off. "Okay, how do I recognize him?" John handed over the picture. "How did he get brown eyes?"
"My mother had brown eyes." He walked off, back to his truck. "Call me when you find him."
"Of course." He got into his car and headed out of town. It was only about a day's drive to LA and then a few hours up to Sunnydale. "Wonder what he's handled," he said as he drove. A new little brother was going to be pretty cool. The guy was halfway his and Sammy's age. That was kind of cool in a few ways. He blocked out thoughts of Sammy and got happier with the knowledge that his new little brother would at least be cooler than his other one was. If only because he liked to hunt demons.
John sat down across from the young man at the visiting station. He picked up the phone. "Thomas."
"Who're you?" he asked.
He slid over some papers. They had been checked and the guards knew this was going to be a long talk. "Those are from my military days. There was a classified project back then that they never told us was going to give us children."
The guy stared then burst out laughing. "You're joking. Who put you up to this? Man, thanks, I needed the laugh." John stared at him and he quit. "You're serious?" he demanded. John nodded. He read them over then picked up the phone again once he had calmed himself down. "Now what?"
"Now, I get to know you and the other two. I tell you about them, the ones I knew about before, and me. If you want. I'm not going to make any decisions for you."
"That's nice. How long are you in town for?"
"A week, then I'm talking to the last one. I'll be back after I've talked to him. I know it's a lot to swallow. I wanted to destroy whoever did this."
"You're not the only one," he said, slumping down to look at him. "So, who are you?"
"What do you do for a job?"
"I travel a lot." The guy gave him an odd look. "The last page, Thomas." He looked then moaned, rubbing his forehead. "I'm not going to be pushy. I'll leave it as a briefing and teaching you how to protect yourself. I got involved when one took out my wife and tried with the rest of us."
The kid stared at him. "Seriously?" John nodded. "That would explain the thing in the caf here."
John smirked. "Places like this gather them."
"Figures." He leaned on the counter, rubbing his forehead again. "Okay." He looked at him. "This is a lot to take in." John wrote down his cellphone number and slid it through the slot too. The papers were slid back. John pushed them back. "My copy?"
"Your copy," he agreed. The guard came over. "Ten more?" The guard nodded. He looked at his boy again. "Can you visit next weekend?"
"Yeah, I can do that. That'll give me plenty of time to talk and think." That got a nod. "Thank you for telling me."
"The family is everything to a Winchester," John told him. That got a slight smile and a nod. "I'll be back about ten next Saturday."
"Thanks." He gathered them and walked off. "Can I talk to the shrink?" he asked the guard.
"Sure, kid. The guard who patted him down read them." The kid looked at him. "Standard procedure."
"I guess that makes sense. Can I go today?"
"She's talking to one of the guys in the yard." He walked him back to his cell then went to get her. "Hey, Doc?" She turned to look at him. "When you're done, one of the young kids in here for defending himself just got told he had a real father."
"That does suck," she decided. "Sure." She went back to the one she was helping with his anger issues. When she was done she was led back and walked into his cell, sitting down in the single chair bolted to the floor. "Real father?" He handed over the forms. She looked it over. "Do you know what this means?"
"He told me it was some sort of experiment. I don't understand it all."
She frowned, rereading it. Then she leaned forward to translate it for him. He listened then got up to pace. She'd let him talk at her until he felt more comfortable. That last sheet of information bothered her a lot. It may explain where this one's problems came from. No one was sure if mental illness was genetic or not in all forms.
Mac looked at the two men he had meet him at a neutral location, though he was in his hometown. "Gentlemen, I'm Mac Taylor. I know you probably don't know me but I'm here to change that."
"If you're recruiting, I'm happy where I am," the darker blond man said.
"I'm not, Ryan. You and Greg are here because I got handed news about a former classified project the Marines were doing that impacted you both." They nodded at that. "There's another of you but she couldn't get here. She's in Texas and had court this week." He handed over the copies of the information with a slight sigh. "I don't know any way to tell you except doing it this way. You both have more than enough training to interpret that folder."
Greg flipped it open with a snap of his wrist, frowning as he read. He grinned. "No way."
"Very," Mac shot back with a grin.
"But my grandfather...."
"Greg, if he knew, it didn't matter to him. There's every chance he knew."
Greg went back to reading.
Ryan gave him an uneasy look but started to read. He frowned at Mac. "Excuse me?"
Mac nodded. "There's three men who got used in the later portion. From seventy-five to eighty-three. Myself, Jethro Gibbs who is now at NCIS as one of their top senior agents, and a former Marine named John Winchester. He's a bit... odd. He's the only one of us that didn't go into law enforcement but he's privately employed saving people."
"Commando rescue team?"
"Not quite," Mac said.
"So..." Greg said, staring at him. "My grandfather had to know."
Mac nodded. "Probably. Not like they were subtle."
"Why didn't he tell me?"
"I have no clue, Greg. You'd have to ask him."
"I'd have to do a seance and you know how hard it is to find someone who has a clue and isn't doing it to scam."
Ryan gave him an odd look. "You believe in that stuff?"
"My grandmother had a touch of the sight about the family," he said quietly.
"Winchester works with a lot of that sort," Mac told him. "If you wanted to, I'd ask his opinion. He might know one."
"Nah. Papa Olaf would tan my ass if I broke up his snuggling Nana and watching bikinis in heaven." Ryan gave him another odd look so he grinned. "What else do you expect to be up there? Fluffy clouds and music? I'd be bored."
"Never really thought about it," Ryan admitted. He went back to reading. "They had a high failure rate."
"Then test tube babies and in vitro fertilization became a better science," Mac told him. "Apparently the three of us were chosen when the first group finally couldn't produce more than a few live births. They were about to be shut down."
"But, bam, a test tube baby makes it easier," Greg quipped. Mac nodded. "The other?"
"Cop in Houston. She's got court on a Vice and drug case this week. I have her contact information so you three can talk if you want."
Ryan looked at him. He shut the folder. "Okay, beyond this being majorly freaky, what do you want out of this?"
"I think we should at least get to know each other," Mac said. "I didn't think I was going to have children. My wife was barren when she died in the Towers." They both nodded slightly at that. "I think it's odd that both of you became CSI."
Greg grinned. "It comes from the genes. That's why I'm a DNA god, Mac." Mac grinned.
Ryan smirked. "Aren't you overstating that?"
"Not in my lab. I work nightshift in Las Vegas' lab." Ryan gaped. "You?"
"I just got hired into Miami-Dade's."
"Wow." He patted him. "We worked with Horatio once." He looked at Mac. "Okay, so you're a dad. I'm not against starting up a friendship but I'm not going to call you daddy and pounce unless I'm joking around."
Mac grinned. "That's fine with me, Greg. I don't expect more than a friendship if we can." They both grinned and relaxed. "Ryan, tell Horatio he still owes me ten bucks?"
"I can do that," he agreed. "Can I tell him?"
Mac grimaced. "It's supposed to be need to know."
"So if he needs to know I'll let him," Ryan decided.
"Grissom won't even ask," Greg said, frowning some. "Catherine might. I don't think it'd impact anything in the lab unless you're wanted in my part of the country?"
"Not as far as I know," Mac admitted. "My lab here would be really upset with me. I'd have to sic Stella on Grissom and he'd hide again, like the last time she went off on him."
Greg smirked evilly. "Ooh, that's good to know."
Mac smirked back. "Stella's a very strong woman. She has the classic Greek temper too." They both laughed. He nodded. "I've got to call in but I was going to take us to lunch to get to know each other if you wanted."
"Let us check in too. Where should we meet you?" Ryan asked.
"There's a good deli the next street up on the corner," he said with a point. "In about a half hour?" They nodded and headed off to take their folders back to their rooms and check in. Mac checked in on the way there. "Stella, Mac. Yes, I'm in town but I can't come in. Because it's personal and something that happened in the Marines, Stella. I'm talking to some people who should get to know me." He grimaced. "It's need to know, Stella. At this point in time you don't need to know but tell Danny to be *really* calm when he gets a visitor, okay?" He hung up and saw the deli was open, it was clean today, and it smelled good. Ryan joined him first. "Anything going on in Miami?"
"I told Horatio that and he laughed. He said to say hello and he paid you already by buying you that expensive ale."
Mac grinned. "I don't remember him buying that round."
"You can get it from him at the next convention," Greg said as he joined them. "Catherine complained because it's early. She said to bring her back a t-shirt."
Mac nodded. "I got that from my trip to DC." They went in and Mac bought lunch, sitting down to talk to the boys to get to know them. They were all still creeped out but they'd get over it.
Gibbs looked at the young man who got the message and closed the door frowning. "Warning you I'd be up?"
"To be calm when I got a visitor." He stared at him. "What's with the visit? Recruiting?"
"No. A classified project ended up kicking out your name."
Gibbs shook his head. "Not a job, Messer." He handed over the folder. "This is need to know."
Danny nodded slowly, sitting down to read it. He frowned at it, then glared at him. "Excuse me?" he demanded.
"Came as a shock to me too." He watched the guy pace while he read. He must get that from his mother. "All I knew was that they took blood and then a later tissue sample because their original one got corrupted somehow. I got that folder of information from an archivist who had just died. The original was destroyed to cover it up."
Danny stopped pacing to stare at him. "No way." He grinned. "Did Flack put you up to this?"
"Flack Senior? No. I've worked with him. I didn't realize he had a sense of humor. He seemed pretty straightlaced when we worked on that case."
"We work with Junior a lot."
"Is he any good? We're always looking for good agents."
"Yeah but I'd rather keep him here. He's one of the few I can trust and will always trust."
Gibbs nodded. "That's important in the field." He watched Danny for a minute. "I don't expect us to be one of those hugging, happy, crying families, but I wouldn't mind getting to know you."
Danny nodded. "Can't hurt. This does explain why my father liked my older brother more."
"Could," he agreed.
Danny stared at him. "How deep was the background you did?"
"Fairly. Did you join?"
"That's good. Showed brains."
"Louie kept me from it," he admitted quietly.
"It's a big brother's job to watch out for the younger one, Danny."
He nodded. "Good point." He sat down, staring at him. "Any others?"
"There's five of you total. One's in jail after mouthing off to a judge. You and another are in law enforcement. One's a Marine serving in South America. The other I share with one of the other donors. He's young but he's working construction and he deals in...strange stuff."
"Strange? Like crystal pyramid wearing strange?"
"I don't know. I know he deals with things I wouldn't accept seeing in a case file."
"Ah, one of those. Okay. Where's he?"
"California. Which I figure is a good place for that."
"Could be, yeah," he agreed with a small smirk. "You talking to him?"
"I'm letting his other father tell him since they're in similar fields."
"Now I know who ta call when I get something like that." He patted the folder. "So."
Gibbs smirked. "I'm not all that bad unless I'm without caffeine for a long time or you piss me off doing something stupid, Danny. I'm here to get to know you as the man you are."
Danny nodded. "I can like that," he decided. Someone knocked. "What?" he yelled.
Stella leaned in. "Don't yell at me. I'll lose your pay records for the day." She stared at him. "We need you on a field call."
Danny gathered things up. He wrote down an address and phone number. "Call me for dinner, Gibbs."
Danny smiled. "I can do that too." He walked out, going to put the folder in a safe place. He handed it to Flack. "I need that back later, it's need to know, and you can't. Yet."
Don Flack stared at him then put it into his car's glove box. "Okay. Am I going to be bothered by a Fed?"
"We'll see. Am I catching a ride?"
"You are," he said dryly. "You're my bitch today, Messer."
"I only top, Flack," he said dryly. "Get over this fantasy of yours where I'm beggin' you for it. Not my style." He finished grabbing what he'd need and got into the car.
Don was grinning. "You sure? I can see you begging on the basketball court."
"Not hardly," he shot back with a smirk.
"Uh-huh. I have seen you do it. Begging for mercy. Begging for air."
Danny swatted him hard on the arm. "I do not beg. It's not the man I am."
"I'll have someone take film next time," he shot back. Danny snorted. They went silent for a few minutes. "You wanna talk?"
"I'm not sure if I can tell you."
"Not again," he moaned.
"Not that sort." Danny shifted to look at him. "My mother participated in an experiment some Marine researchers were running."
"Like sea life?"
"Like saluting and wearing the same uniform Mac does." Don pulled over to stare at him. "We're on our way to a scene."
"Tell me you didn't just say Messer Senior isn't your dad?" he begged. Danny shook his head. "Holy shit."
"Basically, yeah. My real father is apparently NCIS. Now, case? Scene, that thing?" Don pulled back into traffic and drove there thinking. "You can't tell."
"I won't. He nice?"
"We were talking before Stella barged in. We're having dinner."
"I can wait until next week."
"I'm sorry, Don. I forgot."
"Not an issue. Family has to come first." He grinned at him. "You gonna tell him everything?"
"Don't know." He shifted around to look out the side window again. "He did a pretty good background on me. Knew about Sonny and Louie."
"Feds have the better resources. Is he at least not one of the scum sucking, credit taking Feds we get now and then?"
"Nah. I don't think he is. He seemed like a bit of a hard ass. But apparently I've got three other siblings. One who does, quote, strange stuff."
"Like taking video of cold spots in supposedly haunted houses?"
"He didn't go into details."
"Uh-huh. Now we know who ta call when we need a reference."
"Could be. I'll have ta meet him and the others. One's in jail for mouthing off to a judge." He cleared his throat. "Mac got the same visit."
"Wondered where he was."
"Talking to two CSI out of other cities."
Don snickered. "Figures."
"Yeah, it does." They pulled up onto the scene and got out to get to work. They'd talk about this later. Don would help him keep calm. Now he knew what Mac meant.
Willow Rosenburg stiffened, seeing someone watching them. "There's that guy again, Xander," she said quietly.
He glanced at him. "He's not stalking. He's watching but not stalking." He got up and walked over there, seeing the amused look. "Are you going to hit on Willow or me or not, buddy? We've seen you in seven of the last nine places we've been."
"I'm watching you for my father, Xander."
"Why? Am I going to inherit something?" he asked sarcastically.
"No. The family's not wealthy." He kicked a chair out. "I can give you the bare bones but Dad's got the file."
"A file got sent to a few Marines about an older research study." Xander stiffened. "My dad's name and your name both came up in it."
Dean nodded. "Nothing too horrible, but it's nice you're in the family business."
Xander gaped. "So my mom did cheat?"
"They did it in a dish I think. I only glanced at the files. Dad'll be here in a few days. He had to find one of the others. He sent me to watch you and see how you'll take the news."
Xander considered it. "I knew Tony wasn't my father. He said so often enough."
Dean nodded. "Dad's...a bit of a hardass really. He trained me and my little brother Sammy to be hunters too."
"Wow." He leaned on the table. "When is he going to appear?"
"He's leaving Nevada early Sunday. As long as the one out there didn't turn him in as a mental patient."
"Damn." He sighed. "Okay, so the stalking is because of that?" Dean nodded. "That's all it is?" Dean nodded again. "Go relax."
"I can help you guys hunt. Not like we don't hunt demons too," he said quietly.
Xander grimaced. "We're kinda slow right now and I have to sneak up on this subject. Got anything a hacker could find?"
"Not really but Dad did have the file the idiots you guys took down did on you. Your name has a flag."
"Charming," he said sarcastically.
"No idea what but I did see the do not touch flag."
"Not so bad," he said with a grin.
"You're taking this really well."
"I've known for years, Dean. I knew someone would find me sometime."
"You know who I am?" he asked with a grin.
"Ah. So you've been planning this talk?"
"No. Just trying to see if you were stalking me due to a prior possession or something. I thought that might be the reason."
"Nope. I'm playing big brother."
"That's cool I guess." He stood up. "Find me when he gets in, Dean. By the way, don't hit the Bronze without a stake again. It's a buffet." He walked off, going to talk to Willow. "He's a big brother."
"To...." she asked.
She blinked at him. "Really?"
"Yup. He's been watching me for his dad. Who should be here Sunday or Monday, depending on if the other one threw him in jail for being loony."
"Wonderful. I wondered how long it would take before someone figured it out." She put money down and walked over to his table. "Willow Rosenburg."
"I know." He shook her hand. "Dean Winchester."
"I know." She smirked evilly. "Are you going to be bothering the Xander?"
"That's up to him. I don't make that decision."
"Good." She modified the smirk back to a grin. "Anything I can search?"
"Probably not. Dad said there was a coverup. He has the full file."
"That works. When he gets in, bring him to the Magic Box."
"It's supposed to be need to know."
She leaned down. "We're friends, Dean. We need to know we can trust you with our friend."
He nodded. "I can see that, but I'd rather they talked and then he brought it to you guys. That way he can get emo or whatever in peace."
"Good point." She stood up again. "I like that point." She ruffled his hair, weathering his protesting noises. "Come to the Magic Box when you're done and ignore Anya." She walked off.
Xander shrugged. "She's back in protective mode. Feel luck you're not a rat too," he said as he walked past him. "Call me."
"We'll find you when he gets in."
"Stay at the motor lodge. It's safer," he called back.
Dean smirked. The guy wasn't too bad. Less emo than Sammy but a bit stranger. He could get used to this one more than he could having a big brother that was a Fed.
John walked onto the construction site, seeing his younger one at the table. He walked over. "Alexander?"
"Just Xander's fine." He looked at him. "Your pictures look more tired."
"The last one I had taken I was off a two week hunt for a possessed lizard that was going around killing people." He sat across from him. "Dean said you two talked?"
"Some. He said you had information."
"I do." He pulled out the folder, sliding it over to him. "I know you've still got to work today."
"Actually, I'm off for the rest of the day. I've known for years someone would show up sometime. Might as well be now."
John smiled. "You're not going to throw a fit?"
"Why? Mom probably did it for the money." He shrugged. "I've known for years my father wasn't my actual father. At least you're not an uptight banker or someone."
"No, that's the guy who raised Tony. Your older half-brother who works in the government."
Xander gave him an odd look. "As?"
"Investigative agent with NCIS."
Xander shuddered. "Poor guy. First snobby bastards and now Feds." He opened the folder. "Can we summarize this since it's in Science and my own sciency language is Star Trek?"
John laughed. "Sure. Basically they took a skin cell scraping from me way back when I was a Marine. They said it was so they could track our kids." Xander grimaced. "They didn't give us a choice. We'd end up in the brig if we disagreed or tried to get out of it." That got a slow nod. "They never told us they'd be making the babies they'd be tracking."
"Why create us?"
"They wanted to breed a line of soldiers who they knew would have the training from the start. Basically, they'd train you guys so you'd be loyal and gung-ho to the Corps no matter what. Then they got shut down shortly after you were born. They sent the kids they had to their parents. The earlier ones they had been using some early childhood training but sent them to their parents earlier. You're the last one born and they were trying something even more special with you." Xander snorted. "There's three donors that make up the last batch of ten. You come from two of us. Your older brother's boss is actually your other father."
Xander shook his head quickly. "How did that work?"
"I have no clue. Science isn't a language I feel comfortable with either."
Xander grinned. "It's good I don't have to work to impress you with my tiny brain."
"I want you to be yourself and let me get to know you, kid. That's all I'm asking for."
Xander nodded. "I can see that happening. Though, Dean's a bit creepy and obvious when he's stalking you."
"That's because he wanted you to come to him so he could talk to you."
"He could've just sat down any of the times we caught him and we would've. We wouldn't have panicked about him being Initiative and coming back for us."
"If he had been messed up with that, I'd have shot him up the ass," John assured him. "That was good work."
Xander nodded his thanks. "They had a few friends. It wasn't right."
"No, it wasn't." He smiled. "Let's go talk somewhere your boss isn't watching?"
"Sure, I can do that. Willow wanted to interrogate you too."
"I figured she would with what we've heard." He stood up and the kid followed. "I drove if you need a ride."
"So did I. You passed by the big park without the cemetery?" John thought back and nodded. "Meet me by the ball field? It's usually empty this time of day."
"I can do that." Xander headed for his car. John headed for his. Xander was clearly going to let his friends copy the file so they could decode it for him. Then they'd talk. They could work it out. He called Dean on the way. "The large park without the cemetery, by the ballfield." He hung up and drove on, finding the right park and the parking lot. He saw the car Xander got into and followed the signs to the ballfield. Dean was already there. "At least you two can probably get along." He sat down on Xander's other side. "That redhead of yours decrypting the science for us?"
Xander nodded. "Yeah. She demanded. She stole it from me too." He shrugged. "She's like that now and then."
"She seemed kinda protective," Dean told him.
Xander smirked. "Only some of the time. We're kinda... at a strange place in the group right now. The Initiative tried to fracture us and it nearly succeeded. That plus they're in college and I'm not. It's gotten strange," he finished quietly, glancing around. He looked at one of the demons watching them. "Yes, they're my real family," he said in that one's language. "Yes, Buffy knows too. Willow told her." The demon growled but stomped off. "Sorry, that one would love to get something on us that would make us help him try to take over the town." He grimaced. "We've got to deal with him when he starts his next evil plan."
"Usually we'd just take them out," Dean said.
Xander gave him a dirty look. "There's plenty of ones around here that're harmless and only interested in surviving. The local rule is we hunt those doing bad things or actively hunting, Dean. Not doing it because they might be able to pull off an evil plan some day. That one's been trying to find something now for three years and hasn't managed it."
"There's harmless ones?"
"Yeah, lots of them. Some of them hide every place but Sunnydale, but yeah."
"There's some plant demons and things, Dean. We never run into them and I taught you not to shoot at something just because it's funny looking."
"You did. I didn't realize they were classified the same."
Xander nodded. "It's a matter of being born on a demon plane or being born in a hell dimension. Even some of the ones born in a hell dimension aren't so bad. You can be of any class and be a bad guy, and you can have one bad guy in a peaceful group of demons, but we only take out the bad guys."
Dean nodded. "That sounds like it's a good idea. No karma backlash."
"No worrying about them declaring war," Xander agreed. He saw a young woman and frowned, checking his watch. "Dawn Summers, why the hell are you out of school!" he yelled. She jumped and gave him a guilty look. "Come here now." She trudged over. He stared at her. "Kicked out or skipped?"
"Skipped. I'm bored stupid and the ho patrol is on my case again."
He grimaced. "I can't say as I didn't do a lot of skipping myself but you should have told us, that way we could have covered and came for you if you got into trouble."
"I left during lunch."
He sighed. "Tell your mother?"
"Do I look suicidal?" she demanded. "After all the trouble Buffy got into skipping?"
"That's usually because of patrol, Dawn." He pulled her closer to hug. "What did the ho patrol do this time?"
"Stupid bitches decided I'm a lesbian. Which I have no problem with but it's *so* not who I am. Then one of them tried to attack me in school. The teacher got her and gave me a dirty look. So I told her why and that the ho patrol had been seen selling it at the Bronze, which made that one shriek and the teacher too since one of them is kinda her niece. She's dragging her off to the doctor today."
"That's a good idea since you're all only fourteen," Xander said dryly. "The fight?"
"She started it, I ducked the punch. Weak ass punch but I did duck it and let her hit the locker instead. I'm not in trouble. The principal wanted to know the whole story so I told him *everything* and he's not impressed. I told him I was going to mope. He warned me not to be caught sneaking off grounds so it was practically an invitation if I could pull it off."
He smirked at that. "Not quite." He pushed her hair back behind her ears. "These are Dean and John. Back in his Marine days, the government took some of John's blood and stuff to make me without telling him."
"We all knew your mom cheated, Xander. Hell, my mom caught your mom cheating the other day."
"I heard. That was her new special friend that has a painkiller habit he's willing to share." He looked at her. "If they call Joyce first you're in trouble."
Xander grimaced. "Fine." He called her. "Joyce, Xander. I'm within touching range of your daughter so she's not in trouble. If someone calls, let her explain?" He grinned at her. "Ho patrol. One tried to attack her and she let the kid hit the locker, like we taught her. She said she told the principal everything. In the park. Thanks, Joyce." He hung up. "She said you're grounded all weekend and you're cleaning the attic and basement all by yourself." She pouted. "Yay. Like Buffy won't make you cookies."
"I know." She settled in by his feet on the risers. "So, what do you guys do?"
"We're roving demon hunters," Dean told her.
She gaped then burst out giggling. "That's kinda strange, Xander."
"Yeah, and to think I got into it because of the vampires." She gave his leg a hug. "Thanks, Dawnster." He patted her on the head. Then he looked at John. "She's Buffy's little sister."
"Are you going to hunt too?"
"My mother would tan my ass," Dawn said, looking serious. "She said I can become a Watcher if I want but I will not go out hunting like they do or she will kill me. Since my mother's scary, she'll do it."
Xander nodded. "She will. Then she'll burst out crying and have Willow reanimate you or something." He looked behind them, then grinned. "Hey, Clem." He came over. "Dawn, you've met Clem, right?"
"I have." She grinned and waved. "Hi, Clem."
"Hi, Dawn." He nodded at the other two. "There's a problem on the West Side tonight."
"We can hit the Magic Box so Willow can interrogate these two." Clem glared at them. "Ease off, Clem. Turns out I have a real family." That got a nod and he went back to being shy and nice. "What's the issue?"
"Two vampires are going to use their minions to play war games around the college."
Xander blinked. "How many?"
"No idea. They've been building a good force. I know one's going to try to grab one of the dorms as a fort. They were talking at Willie's last night in the poker room."
Xander nodded. "Which masters?"
He shrugged. "I didn't get their name. I only overheard them when they got really loud. One was talking that his master would be taking over Stevenson Hall as their fort."
"Which is Buffy and Willow's dorm. That's incredibly dumb of them." Clem nodded, his wrinkles shaking. "Thanks, Clem. I'll tell the group." He shook his hand. "No good games today?"
"No," he said, looking miserable.
"See if Spike's up. He's had insomnia recently." Clem beamed and went to check on Spike for him. He looked at them. "Clem and Spike play kitten poker together. Spike was one of the ones the Initiative got so we're protecting him and he helps us when he's not chained in Giles' tub." He stood up and Dawn did too. "Let's hit the Magic Box." He pointed. "There, guys. Watch out for Willow babble. She will and be bouncy and happy possibly. If she's scowling, stay behind Dawn. She won't hex her." He walked that way. "Vamps playing war games," he said as he walked in.
"Oh, dear lord," Giles moaned. "When?"
"Clem overheard a plan for tonight. Two masters using their minions to play capture the flag around the campus. One's going to try to take Stevenson as their fort. He didn't get a lot of details; he was across the poker room at Willie's."
"I'll have Buffy go question him later then," he decided. "Willow's in the back muttering."
"Good or bad muttering?" Dawn asked.
"Bad," he said.
"C'mon, guys, let me introduce you to my mom." She dragged them out by their hands. "She's powerful enough to get you out here but if she doesn't have something of yours it's probably safer." She walked them over to the gallery, finding her mother alone. "Mom, these are Dean and John, Xander's real family. Willow's in a bad muttering mood."
"It's good of you to save them but you're still cleaning the attic, young lady. Your principal said that was not an invitation to try to sneak off campus without getting caught. Though he did want to know your route."
"The same one Xander said he used to take," she said dryly.
"I'll let him know." She shook their hands. "Go calm Willow down, dear." She nodded, scurrying off before her mother punished her more. "Sit, gentlemen. Let's talk about Xander." She smirked. "I am the only decent mother in the group. Xander is like the son I never had." They sat down to talk to her for now. They could go back after the witch vented her temper. She had information from an outside view on the newest Winchester. It'd give them a more rounded view.
Xander looked over as Dean joined him that night. "Joyce feed you guys dinner?"
"She insisted," John said as he joined them. Xander looked at the gun. "Dead man's blood."
"Stakes," he said, handing one over. "Crossbows are good too. That must be for a different version of vampire. I know stakes didn't really work on Drac when he was here." He looked at Buffy, who was staring. "Buffy, these are Dean, my big brother, and John, my father."
"Hi." She waved. "You guys use guns?"
Dean nodded. "All the time. It lets us stay out of hitting range most of the time."
"Oh. That might be nice sometimes, yeah. It might even keep Xander from slamming his head into something again. We hate when he has a concussion." She looked at the campus again. "No sign of them yet."
John looked then pointed. "Unless some of the commandos stayed you have people in bad camo paint there." She looked then groaned, going over to check. She staked one. The other shouted in fear and tried to run. Xander got him with a crossbow. John shook his head and the hunt was on. They watched the girls and how they interacted. Buffy was... an airhead. She might have some depth but she was busy being an airhead tonight. Willow was still muttering. Not a happy witch. The blond vampire they had heard to expect was ripping things apart. It was gory and no one on campus seemed to care. A few walked past Spike feeding on a demon arm and kept talking on their cellphone. John gave them an odd look. "Huh."
"It's like that around here," Willow said, looking at him. "She's not really an airhead. The vamps expect it."
"Sometimes you've got to have a good cover," Dean said. He shot the vampire running toward him. It went poof. "Much easier than hand-to-hand."
John shook his head. "If Xander jumps in, you follow. You're his backup."
"Yes, sir." He looked at him. "Should I see if some training time would help?"
Xander looked back at them. "Being possessed by a hyena means I do have some decent hearing." They both smiled at him. "And yes, I probably could use some training time but I have to pay the rent or Anya bitches." He got the next group rushing his way. "Looks like they did try the ambush ploy, Buff."
"Idiots." She took out a few more. Xander got some. Xander went down but Dean got that one and helped him up. The others helped John up when he got knocked down. They worked well as a larger team. The vamps were soon gone and they were panting, tired, and ash covered. "I hate it when they have a plan."
Xander nodded, bending down to catch his breath. "Yeah, plans suck when they're not ours." He coughed. "I think I inhaled some ash." He coughed harder and spit. "Better." He stood up, looking at her. "Your hair is going to take forever to wash."
She looked at it then nodded. "Yeah, it is." She sighed. "Damn it. I needed to study tonight."
"Take a shower then study," Dean told her. She nodded, trudging to do that with Willow. Dean looked at Xander. "Speaking of showers."
"Want to borrow mine?" Xander asked.
"No, the one at the motel isn't too bad," John admitted. "When's your next bigger free time?"
"Saturday but I promised I'd drive Dawn to the mall sometime that day."
"We can go with you two. She seemed pretty decent," Dean decided. Xander grinned and bopped him on the arm. "We'll catch you at night, after work."
"Watch out for Anya." He waved. "Be safe, guys." He went home to shower. Anya gave him an odd look. "The vamps playing war games was a multi-master ambush plan."
"Don't forget to brush your teeth."
"I'm not." He went in to shower. By the time he came out Anya had opened a soda for him. "Thanks, Ahn."
"Xander, are you cheating on me?"
He shook his head as he took a drink. "No, you know that. Why would I be?"
"You and two men were hanging out. One's been with you a lot recently. I don't mind if you're gay but there will be a threesome, not you sneaking off to get butt sex without me. I do like to watch that sort of thing you know," she said warmly.
"I'm not having sex with them, Anya. You remember meeting my mother?"
"A few times. She asked me to curse one of the guys she was cheating with once. Why?"
"Way back when she was part of a study that resulted in me being born."
She frowned. "You can do that?"
"We're not having kids, Anya. They're very expensive and you'd hate to give up all shopping. Forever."
"Yes, Xander," she said meekly. "But that's how you came to be?" He nodded. "So they're relatives?"
"The older one is my father and the younger is my older brother. He's been stalking me to find out what I'm like. We talked today."
"Oh. I guess that's okay, even if there won't be butt sex with them. It's a pity, I would've liked to watch that. They both looked very strong and manly."
"If you can talk Dean into it," Xander said dryly. She beamed, gave him a hug, and groped. "Anya, two vampire armies," he complained.
"Want dinner first?"
He nodded. "Could help because I'm too tired to get it up right now." She bounced off to get him dinner, helping him eat so she could have her nightly 'sleeping pill' of Xander.
Dean walked up to where Xander was getting off work. "Dude, your girlfriend wants me and Dad to sex you up. What is wrong with her? Even after we pointed out we're related she went off on this long fantasy of her watching it."
Xander grinned. "That's just Anya. She's not used to being human. She's a bit warped by the time she spent as Vengeance for Women Scorned."
Dean stared then licked his lips. "Want to repeat that?"
"Sure," he agreed, grinning at that. "Let me take a picture of Dad's face, okay?"
Xander looked at him. "She's the nicer one of my girlfriends, Dean."
"Do you draw other bad things too?" he joked. "Sammy's a demon magnet too."
Xander nodded. "Well, yeah." He grinned. "Now I know where it comes from. Thanks, man." He bopped him on the arm. "I'm headed to shower, the Magic Box to see if we need patrol, then probably out on patrol." He slid into his car. "See you later."
Dean gave him a confused look. "How did it come from us?"
"If two half brothers share a trait like that, it probably has to come from the parent they share." He waved as he started the car. He was starving. He drove through the burger place and headed home.
Dean went to tell his father they may be able to patrol with Xander tonight. "Xander's strange."
"How strange?" he asked, not looking up from sharpening his hunting knife.
"He decided if he and Sammy are both demon magnets, it had to come from you."
John looked up at him. "Not that I'm aware of. He is?"
"Yeah. Oh, you might want to avoid his girlfriend. She's decided we should sex Xander up, even though we are related, so she can watch."
John shook his head. "Not my thing."
"She's kinda insistent, Dad."
John snorted. "Some girls are like that."
"Especially since Xander said she's his nicest girlfriend yet and she used to be a vengeance demon." John dropped the knife, staring at him in horror. "Over women scorned."
"That's Anyanka? We all wondered where she went!"
"Here, to date my little brother. Maybe he's right, it does come from us. Sammy's just as bad."
John picked up the knife to go back to sharpening it. "It's not my fault," he said. "Maybe my parents or grandparents but it managed to skip me."
"We should check," Dean said. "Just in case there's other gifts. Like how Willow said he screws up magic."
John snorted. "She sure it's him doing the screwing up?"
"She said so."
"Uh-huh." He shook his head, still working on the blade's edge. "We'll see. Is he patrolling tonight?"
"He said he'd check after he shower and ate. He pulled through a burger place on the way home and ate it as soon as it was in his hand. The window girl complained about her fingers being in the way."
"Construction's a hard job." He smirked. "I did some one summer. It's not an easy job."
"I figure it's not. I also figure that's probably why he was in a hurry. Either that or Anya's getting sexed up in that shower."
"That's also possible," John said, trying not to blush. His sons were all so open about those things. "We'll call and check later." Dean nodded, handing over the food he had brought in. "Thanks." He got his out and dug in. It wasn't too bad; they'd eaten worse places on the road.
Xander found the apartment and knocked, smiling at the tall younger guy in there. "Hi, Sam right?"
"Do I know you?"
"Our family sent me to meet you."
"Our family?" he asked, looking amused. "Why would *our* family send you to talk to me?"
"Because the Marines decided our father needed an extra son." He stared him down. "I just found out when they told John."
"How in the hell!" he demanded. His roommate looked over. "Family issue, guys." He walked out into the hall, closing the door behind him. "Prove it."
"Dean's got a birthmark on his lower back that my girlfriend wanted to tease to see if it was a hot spot," he said dryly. "She's still trying to get us all into bed too so I'll warn you she's a bit warped." He held up the folder. "The report from the people who did it." Sam snatched it and sat down on the floor to read it. Xander sat across from him. "We have one older one who's a federal agent. He's at NCIS. There's another in Nevada who's getting out soon after protecting himself from the girlfriend trying to stab him."
"Dad must *love* that. That shines a brighter light on the hunt."
"No but they seem to get along pretty well. He said Tony wanted to stay in his regular life. The one in Nevada was creeped out until the ghost in the prison he's in tried to snuggle one night in the caf." Sam moaned. "He did what John said and now he believes. Me, I'm working in Sunnydale."
Sam looked at him. "You hear some really strange stuff out of there. What is your name?"
"Xander. Xander Harris."
He blinked. "I... You work with Buffy."
"I do work with Buffy and her watcher." Sam went pale. "They figured you'd smite them if they showed up. Besides, I should get to meet my little brother." He grinned. "I won't even be annoying like Dean can be."
"Thanks for that." He closed it, looking at him. "I left because I wanted a normal life."
"So?" He shrugged. "Does a normal life mean you can't write letters? Or, I totally understand if this creeps you out and you don't want to, man." He stood up. Sam pulled him back down. "You sure?"
"I don't mind starting a brotherly relationship, Xander. Just don't expect me to come help on hunts."
"We get plenty on patrol, Sam."
"Oh, god, that's even worse," he sighed, looking at him. "Ever think about leaving the life?"
"Yeah but then I figure I'd have to give up the two friends I have and what little made family I have."
Sam nodded. "It's a hard decision. It just wasn't the life for me."
"That's fine," Xander promised. "I'm not looking to get us backup. John wanted to leave Dean there but he and Buffy don't get along very well. He's a bit pushy and she kicked his ass. He pouted for a day and a half about it."
Sam smirked. "I'd love to have film of that." Xander handed over his cellphone, letting him find the video to watch. He cackled. "Ooh, that's so classic!" Xander smirked and nodded. He grinned at him. "You seem pretty nice."
"I try now and then as long as I don't have to take you down because you're evil."
"That works." He stood up. "Wanna come in and meet my girlfriend?"
"If you want. I know you probably need time to process."
"Weirder things happen to Winchesters, Xander. Or else I'd have never dated a ghost."
"I wondered why Dean didn't really do more than moan when I told him that Anya used to be Anyanka."
Sam gave him an odd look. "You're dating a vengeance demon?" he hissed.
"Former. We broke her power center."
Sam gave him the oddest look, then he smirked and nodded. "Yeah, you're a Winchester."
"And a Gibbs as I found out. I was the last one born so they made me extra special by giving me two Marine parents. Gibbs is our big brother's boss. Tony's senior agent on his team. That's how we all found out."
"Dude, that's so strange," he said. He led him inside. "Guys, this is Xander. We just found out that someone decided to play God and make me another little brother."
"I'm older than you by eight months," Xander pouted.
"Okay, slightly older brother." They all waved. "Xander, this is my roommie Doug. This is Jess, my girlfriend." They shook hands. "We're going to chat in the bedroom for a bit. More comfy than the hall." That got a nod and they went in there to talk and get to know each other. Jess brought in snacks later and Xander grinned, making her grin back. Sam was thankful he wasn't flirting. "Dean would've flirted."
"Anya would get her old job back."
Sam spluttered his milk. "That's a good reason not to flirt, yeah."
Xander grinned. "She thought I was cheating on her with Dean and John was his sugar daddy. She wanted to watch *so* bad. She totally traumatized John. Dean had nightmares about her ideas. John got embarrassed because she got to tell stories about her former life and job."
"Well, yeah, but I warned him she was a bit warped."
Sam cackled. "That's so bad. So, tell me about you." Xander pulled out his wallet to explain things from the start. Sam listened. It was good to be appreciated.
Mac looked up as two people walked into his office. "Ryan, and Horatio? What's up? I was planning on coming down next weekend, Ryan."
"I know but we got a crossover case. The boss is being nice by not making either of us pay airfare."
Mac smiled. "I'll cancel my ticket tonight." He took the folder Horatio was holding. "Hmm, I do remember that case. Danny's working on it but I can co-opt it if you want."
"Up to you, Mac," Horatio said with a small smile. "How are things going?"
"We're okay," he admitted, smiling at Ryan, who grinned back. "We've worked out a good communication pathway between the four of us. Gibbs and Danny have done the same." He stood up. "Let's see if Danny's in. Last time I knew he was in one of the labs that has a cellphone dampener." He nodded at Ryan. "How's it been since we talked?"
"Pretty decent. That date sucked. By the end I wanted to shoot one of us. She hit on me to get Eric to notice her."
"With the way she hung out of her dress I'm sure he did notice her," Horatio said dryly. "He tends to not date that low class."
Ryan shrugged. "It was a decent date except for her talking about Eric's butt." Mac shook his head. "Other than that, work has been work. Stetler's trying to crawl up my butt right now but I don't know why."
"He hates the lab," Horatio told him. "I once got promoted over him." They shared a look. "He will find even the merest speck of dirt and use it, Mr. Wolfe."
"As far as I know he doesn't have anything he can use except now and then I play some poker. It's to up our pitiful paychecks, H."
"I can understand that. It is a habit I do not encourage because he will have you suspended if he catches you playing for money, and if you play while suspended he'll have you fired for having a gambling problem."
"Maybe we can ask Xander to have him eaten?" Ryan asked Mac quietly. Mac burst out laughing, shaking his head. "Oh, come on. I think he would. We've chatted a few times on that bulletin board Abby set up for us. He offered it to Tony for his new director."
Horatio looked at him. "Don't let me hear those sort of things, Mr. Wolfe."
"What does your ...friend do?"
"Construction," he said with an innocent grin.
"He also hunts demons," Mac said quietly. "In a town that has a very high death for some strange reason. Anywhere else would have a problem with a twenty or thirty percent death rate. Their town doesn't even have a night shift detective."
Horatio gave him an odd look. "That's bad."
"It is. Xander said they ignore everything out there. One of the girls in his friends' dorm apparently got eaten by a barbeque fork the other day while grilling on a non-existent grill at the dorm."
"Uh-huh," Horatio said, thinking that one through. "If we think about it, we could probably ask the state police out there to step in."
Ryan shook his head. "They can't and won't work in the town. The mayor's people said so. The old mayor's and the new mayor's, who was his lackey before."
Mac stared at him. "Corrupt?"
"The old mayor was something his group had to deal with. That's all he'd say about it. As for corrupt? Yes. Drugs, weapons, human trafficking, parts trafficking for those sort that need it. His former administration hasn't changed more than the head and he said nothing much has changed. Somehow they're keeping the state police out. I offered to find someone in LA and tell them. He said it'd make things worse because they'd have to hide their patrol."
"Patrol?" Horatio demanded.
"Just about nightly," Ryan agreed.
"You are not going out there, Mr. Wolfe. He can come visit you."
Ryan smirked. "We have a picnic planned late next month, Horatio."
"Good!" He looked at Mac. "Did you know about that one?"
Mac nodded. "His biological father's in the same business. The other is Jethro Gibbs."
Horatio moaned, rubbing his forehead. "I've met Gibbs."
"The same project made Tony, he's Xander's older half brother," Ryan told him.
Horatio looked at him. "We'll make sure you're escorted to the picnic so you're not caused harm, Mr. Wolfe."
"We'll be there," Mac reminded him.
"Uh-huh." They found the lab Danny was working in and walked in. "CSI Messer," Horatio said in greeting.
Danny looked back under the arm bracing him against the table. "Lieutenant Caine. How's Miami?"
"The same as usual," Ryan said with a grin. "I was wondering what you looked like. Ryan Wolfe. One of our bastards came up here to bother your people."
"Charming." He finished up with that slide and put it away correctly then turned to look at them. "Which case?" Mac handed over the file. "Stella and I were working on this. Let me pull up the boxes of stuff?" They nodded. "Want to work in here, your office, Mac, where?"
"Wherever's good for you," Mac told him. Danny nodded and he took Ryan to chat with him on the way down to the storage area. "Xander's not a bad kid, Horatio. Quit stressing about him."
"Can he suck others in?"
"Good. I don't want my lab to be infected by that sort of thing."
Mac nodded. "Mine either but now and then it comes up on a case."
Horatio nodded, sighing a bit. "I know." They watched the boys carry in the boxes, getting down to work. "Mac and I will be in the office, Ryan. Call when you've correlated." Ryan nodded, reading over the index list. They walked back to talk about happier things. There had to be happier things in New York.
Xander stopped his car out on the bluffs, turning it off and resting for a minute before pulling out his cellphone. He had thought about sending a magical present earlier but his father would've freaked when he got the 'congratulations, you're a grandfather, call after nine when my nighttime minutes start - no more daytime minutes this month' note with the present. Plus someone might see the explanation. He checked the time on his phone. Two minutes 'til nine. He turned on the radio, getting comfortable as he stretched across his front seat. He waited until it was five after nine to call the number he had been given. "Congratulations, you're a grandfather." He heard the spluttering and nearly felt it on his ear so he put it on speaker, hanging his phone off the steering wheel. "So, how are you doing?"
"You and Anya are expecting? I thought you said you wanted to wait," John said, sounding a bit hoarse as he finished choking. In the background you could hear someone else coughing.
"No, she tried for a few months but I told her if she succeeded I was never letting her shop again, she'd have to change all the diapers, and she'd have to breastfeed, which meant I couldn't. She didn't like that. Or the idea that she'd have to give up sex for the last half of the pregnancy. No, it's a bit of a longer story than that."
"Okay, what's going on, Xander?"
"First, tell Dean to calm down."
"Dean, he said calm down. It's not Anya. It's a longer story." A pause. "He said it'd better be or else we'd have to kidnap the child so it had more manners than Anya did."
"Yes, I would," Xander agreed dryly. "You guys remember Dawn?"
"I do," John said. "You did get the note after Buffy's mother and she died?"
"I did. Thank you. Well, we got done with the probate today. Joyce's will left Dawn to Buffy, then to me if Giles wasn't here. He fled to England when it got too hard so she's mine. But there's a bit of a longer story there. We never told you how Dawn came to be, did we?"
"No," he said calmly.
Xander smirked at the phone. "Yes, it's strange."
"Proves you're a Winchester by the look on his face, Xan," Dean said into the other end.
"Oh, you have no idea. Do you guys know why Buffy died?"
"Something about a woman named Glory who wanted to kidnap Dawn and bleed her," John said.
"The hell goddess Glorificus, better known as Glory, was searching for her key. The monks who had the key created a child and put the key inside it to hide it before she killed them all." They groaned. "They made her of the slayer so Buffy could protect her."
"I'm sensing a problem?" John asked.
"As part of the probate, Social Services had to do a lot of bloodwork to see if she had biological parents. That's mandatory. Well, it turns out she's not Buffy's full sister. They don't share the same father. Somehow I came up as the father." John moaned, a deep, pained sound. "The first social worker did not like that and pointed out I'd have to have been about five when it happened. She knew Joyce wasn't like that and it wasn't possible. I quipped and said my parents probably sold some for beer money. She flagged the entry in the system. Now, in the local CPS is a witch." John let out a longer moan. "She saw it and knew something was up. So she asked and unflagged us after hearing the whole story. Since Buffy didn't have a will and Joyce's left her to me, I'm now a proud father of a teenage girl. Who shoplifts now and then."
John whimpered. "Are you okay with this?"
"Me or Willow-Makes-Magical-Mistakes, John."
"Good point. How is she handling it?"
"She and I talked before the probate stuff started. Willow and Tara are staying in the house with her. I'm moving there this week. The social workers didn't like them because they're in college and have no visible means of support. The one didn't care that they were together but she said Willow creeped her out in a lot of ways."
"She does," John agreed. "That...problem woman?"
"Gone. We got her when Buffy died."
"Good. Do you need us to come visit?"
"I think we're going to see Sam this weekend. The picnic is in a week or so. Can you both make that?"
"That we can definitely do," John assured him.
"Cool. That'll be my first airplane ride," he said happily. "Hers too."
"Xander, we told you about the family issue, right? The one that got Mary?" Xander hummed an assenting noise. "How old is Dawn really? Is she near six months?"
"Um...." He counted back. "Just before it actually. Why?"
"If he's going to attack, it'll be then," John warned.
"We'll be at the picnic by then. I'm taking off all next week to get there early for some sightseeing."
"Good. We'll meet you there. Where are you two staying?"
"The Holiday Inn."
"We can be near there," he agreed.
"Call Willow, Dad. She got us a great rate and it's cheaper than the scungy place here in town."
"I can see if she can do that for me," he agreed. "Are you okay with this?"
"I'm a bit creeped out by them making me her dad. Other than that, I'm good with it. So, how does it feel to be a grandfather?"
"Not as bad as I thought. I'd be in a lot worse shape if she was an infant."
Xander smirked at the phone. "You'd be cooing at the cuteness. I was so fucking adorable as a baby I melted a camera."
John smiled, you could hear it. "I'd like to see that picture."
"Have to break in and steal it from the maternal unit if she hasn't burned it yet."
"I'll see what I can do about that, son. Tell Sammy we said hi."
"I can do that. I'll drag him with me too." He hung up before anyone could protest. Then he called the shop. "Dawn, me. Choked and spluttered," he said proudly. "But okay with it. They'll meet us at the hotel. Have Willow get them a deal too?" He smiled. "That'll work. We'll road trip this weekend. Palo Alto. Sure. Be back soon." He hung up and headed back to the shop. He had patrol tonight while Tara watched Dawn with Anya.
Xander tapped on Sam's door, smiling at Jess. "Congratulate me, I'm a daddy to this one," he said with a nod at Dawn.
"I was hoping you weren't dating some girl that young, Xander." She let them inside. "Sam's at class but he'll be back in an hour."
"They have Saturday classes in college? I'm going to hate that," Dawn said.
She laughed. "It's a set of seminars about how to be more professional during interviews and things."
"Oh, that's okay then." She grinned. "Hi, I'm Dawn."
She shook her hand. "Jess, Sam's girlfriend. C'mon, let's make snacks. He and Sam will talk forever about stuff." Dawn nodded, heading with her.
Xander settled himself in. Sam finally came home looking depressed. "Congrats, you're an uncle."
Sam jumped then stared at him. "Dean finally screwed up and did the wrong woman?"
"No. Dawn's mine."
"I forgot about that situation totally, Xander." He gave him a hug. "Is she here?"
"Kitchen having girl talk with Jess. I told her about the rules," he said quietly. Sam grinned and nodded. "He's back and I'm stealing him tomorrow, Jess."
"The whole program's having a picnic so we can meet each other."
Sam groaned. "Dad going to be there?" Xander nodded. "I doubt he wants to see me."
"He said you're coming too." Sam gaped. "Dean too. I called them first." He grinned. "We'll be at the Holiday Inn. We're going two days early so we can do some sightseeing. It'll be my first trip outside of California and my first plane trip. Hers too. That way if you haven't been to see all the sights, we can do that together."
Sam smiled, collapsing onto the couch. "I'd love to, Xander." Dawn came out with mugs. "Hi, you must be Dawn. I'm Sam."
She smiled. "You'd better be. Jess said that you're the only one with the keys."
He laughed. "I am, yeah." He took his mug, letting Xander have his. He sipped and stared at it. "What's this?"
"Apple cider and ginger ale." She bounced off again. "Tell him all of it, Xander."
Xander leaned closer to tell Sam the whole story in his ear, getting a nod. "Dad does know. I don't know if he told Dean or not." He leaned back, looking at him. "So she's really your niece."
"Adoption or natural doesn't matter to me, Xander. Family is everything." Xander relaxed and grinned. "When are we leaving?"
"Tomorrow. That way you can be with us in LA and forget the week of break you have."
"We don't. We have finals the week after next. Dead week still has classes."
Xander snorted. "Our finals barely get given at UC Sunnydale. Maybe you should switch."
"I like it here and your town's been on the news recently for violence issues."
"They were throwing a very loud wake," Dawn said as she came back. "For my sister. Xander, Spike, and Willow told them to knock it off." She sat down. "So, law school?"
"Law school hopefully," he agreed.
She smiled. "Mom's will said she wanted me to have a normal life, one where I had a good chance of dying a great grandmother."
"There's a lot of choices out there but I'll give you a tour around campus later if you want." She smiled and nodded. "That's cool. How do you get along with Dean?"
"Last time I nearly spanked him for putting the food coloring in the shampoo I nearly used." Xander snorted, shaking his head. "Exactly! And Buffy did beat him."
"He deserved it for that," Jess said as she came out to join them. "There, dinner's in the oven too, boys." They smiled. "I feel so .... old time tv-ish." She sat down, cuddling next to Sam. "Are we going to go out tonight? Show them our sights?"
"We can but we can't hit the club with Dawn," he said. "She's only fourteen."
"Oh. Pity." She shrugged. "Maybe next visit, Dawn."
"We have an all-age club in Sunnydale. It's the only place to hang out." Xander nodded at that. Sam gave him an odd look. She nodded. "Yeah, the whole group hung there many nights. I'm only allowed with a chaperone. Mom said so."
"I agree with Joyce. You're too young to be going out on dates with just you and the boy," Xander said. "Because if I'm a grandfather before you graduate college I'm going to beat your ass to death, Dawn Summers."
"Yes, Xander." She rolled her eyes. "He's panicking because one of my classmates is having one in about two months."
"It's better to wait until you've finished growing," Sam told her. "When you've got a job to support it and all that."
"I'm never going to be as tall as you," she said dryly. "I don't know what sort of miracle grow you and Dean drank at my age, but hand some over? Then I can at least make super model height."
"Super models are super because they can survive on no food," Xander said dryly. "Besides, you're prettier than any anorexic woman who needs people to do her hair for her."
"If you say so."
Xander stared at her. "You do know Buffy had to warn Spike off you in the future to replace Dru?" She gaped. He nodded. "She did. She told me once that if you turned out prettier than her I'd have to either marry you to keep you out of trouble or go get Dean's shotgun and trail behind you to blow people off you."
"Wow." She blushed. "That's, um, very strange."
He smirked. "Well, it was your sister. And don't even ask what Anya wailed when she heard her say it."
Dawn blushed brighter. "I can imagine."
Xander nodded. "Basically. She's still on the wrong track, trying to get me and Dean into bed."
Sam burst out cackling. "Oh, that's a bad image," he said, shaking his head quickly.
"Isn't he your brother?" Jess asked.
"My girlfriend Anya is very warped," Xander told her. "Which is why I don't bring her up to visit. She might contaminate you. Sam would hate to lose you for that reason."
"I would," Sam agreed. She kissed him and he grinned. "You'd be scary and have to correct her sometimes because she has some funny ideas. She thought our dad and Dean were together and Dean was getting Xander to share with Dad." Dawn burst out giggling, shaking her head. "Just because she decided they were all handsome and well-built so she wanted to watch them."
"She has a thing for incest?"
"Anya doesn't really see bonds like family bonds," Xander told her. "She sees cute, hot, and sex."
"Then maybe we shouldn't meet," Jess agreed. She looked at Dawn. "What grade are you in?"
"Eighth for another two months. Then I hit the high school once they finish rebuilding it."
"Don't remind me; it's my crew building it," Xander told her. She gave him a look. "It is."
"I knew that. Can I have plans so I can find all the nookie spots for the older kids?"
"We'll see." She shrugged and sipped her drink. Sam and Xander did the same. Jess wisely had decided to abstain.
Sam looked at his mug. "That's not too bad. A bit fizzy but not bad." He took another drink, making her a happy girl. "How are you holding up, Dawn?"
"So far it's okay enough." She looked at Xander. "Willow was talking about doing Wiccan things with Tara while we were gone."
Xander nodded. "I figured they wanted some alone time."
"Not that sort."
Xander stared then nodded slowly. "Let me call her, make sure she doesn't burn down the house." Sam pointed at the balcony so he went out there to call. "Willow, what are you doing?" He listened to her babble about cooking. "Dawn said you've been doing some witchly research? Because I should know if it impacts the group, Willow." He listened to her give her idea. "Did we not stop Dawn from doing that?" he demanded. She said something mean. "Willow, point of order, she's higher on that scale than you are. As much as I'd like her back, no, you may not do that. Because it'll hurt everyone," he said coolly, moving farther away from the door. "And think about Dawn's reaction, Willow. And what Buffy herself will feel like." He listened.
"No. If you do, you're going to be in deep shit. Even if I have to call Giles myself, Willow." She hung up so he called Angel first. "Wesley, Xander. Good, you're one of the ones I wanted to talk to." He leaned in. "Give me a few more, guys." He closed the door again and walked down the stairs so no one could overheard. "Wes, Willow's planning on calling a certain blonde back from her rest," he said quietly. "Yes, that one. No, I'm with my little brother Sam and ... Long story, Wes. Ask Cordy, she heard. Yeah, he's a normal," he said very quietly. "Yeah, that's what she's doing. While we're gone. She's trying to defend it. I do not want to deal with that. Dawn doesn't need it. Buffy wouldn't like it. We stopped Dawn from trying it and Willow thinks she's more powerful. Thank you! Please? Giles too? He's at home. I can do that. Thanks."
He hung up and called Giles' house number. "G-man, long time no hear. Yes, it's me and Dawn's inside." He listened to him complain. "Because your student is going bad," he said when he asked why he called now. "Beyond the fact that you abandoned us to deal with our own grief and me to raise Dawn, Willow's decided to call Buffy back." He smirked at the yelling. "Exactly. While we're gone this week. I'd at least call. I told her if she tried I was talking to you. You're her teacher. Giles, think about this. Is Buffy going to want this?" He listened to him sigh and say a sullen 'no'. "Exactly. Dawn doesn't need this either, Giles. Oh, by the way, they did DNA testing on Dawn. She's *my* daughter." He hung up and turned to find Jess. "Hey."
"What's going on?"
"Not a lot. I'm rounding up some support to make a friend at home quit doing something stupid." He grinned.
"You were talking about resurrection spells."
Sam leaned out, looking at Xander. "She's doing what?"
"Shit," he said bluntly.
"I called her teacher and another friend who practices the same way to stop that thought." He looked at Jess. "Yes, our friends Willow and Tara are Wiccan. Willow's a bit distraught about Buffy and is going to try to ask the Goddess to bring her back."
"That's not real," she said patiently.
"But Dawn doesn't need that, and it's not helping Willow's grief anyway," he pointed out gently. "Willow may be my best friend ever, but if she tries this it's my duty to stop her."
She nodded. "I can see that. Her girlfriend?"
Xander shook his head. "No. She won't help her do it. She's been trying to help me keep her in control of herself."
"Maybe she should try and see that it doesn't work."
Dawn leaned under the arm Sam was bracing against the doorway. "Willow's managed to be strong enough in the faith to prove it to herself," she told her. "Even trying something like that is against the Wiccan Rede." She looked up at Sam. "If she does try, can I hide with you?"
"We'll be at the picnic," Xander said. "Wesley is going to get Cordy and him up there. Giles is going to call."
She snorted. "That's nice of him. I know he considered my sister like a daughter and all that. I understand he's grieving, and I know he didn't really stop to think we're doing the same thing, but I'm not sure if I could stand to listen to him right now, Xander."
"Which is why you have me," he pointed out.
"Good point. You're more than enough family for everyone." She gave him a hug and looked at them. "We should probably go sit down." She walked Xander off. "You actually talked to Giles? I tried to call and it went to his machine, which had a very slurred sounding message."
"I did. He was clearly drinking, but not totally drunk yet. Her death is hitting him hard and your mom's hit him too since he liked her so much." He gave her a squeeze. "He'll come back eventually. If not, maybe we can send Spike to watch over him and annoy him so he has a reason to live again."
She stared at him. "That's evil."
He grinned. "Thank you."
Sam coughed, shaking his head. "I remember you telling me about Spike. That would be too mean, Xander."
Xander shrugged. "It'd give him a reason to feel more than grief and misery."
"Maybe," he agreed. "But to make him house him?"
"He stayed with me and Giles both a few times," Xander told him. "Giles used to chain him in his bathtub for drinking out of his favorite mug."
Sam shuddered. "Eww."
"Xander tied him in his recliner when he tried to be bad," Dawn told him.
Xander nodded. "Back when I was in the 'rents' basement."
"Well, yeah, but he's Spike. They're like that."
"I take it Spike is a bit off mentally?" Jess suggested.
"Just a bit," Dawn agreed. "But he did teach me how to hotwire a car, shoplift, and smoke." Xander smacked her on the back of the head. "Hey! Watch the hair!"
"Unless it is for your survival, thou shalt not hotwire cars or shoplift," Xander said, giving her a look. "And your mother would kill you if you started to smoke."
"He sounds like a bad influence," Sam said.
Xander nodded. "Well, yeah, but he's part of the group and he loved Buffy. He's giving her thug lessons as a way to not only protect Dawn but to show his respect for Buffy's memory."
Jess shook her head. "I don't understand people like that."
"Spike's pretty unique. You'd have to meet Spike to understand him," Xander told her. Sam nodded quickly at that. "So, picnic, Sam?"
"I still have classes, Xander."
Xander leaned closer. "It's four days," he said bluntly. "Are you really going to be missing anything? Because I'm about to smack Dad on the head. You can get your own turn."
Sam grimaced. "I've hit him back a few times. Let me think tonight?"
"If you think you'll talk yourself out of it," Dawn said with a small pout. He groaned, sulking back. She turned up the power of her puppy eyes.
"That's *so* not fair to do to me," Sam complained.
She grinned. "I'm a teenage girl, Sam. I'm allowed to beg cutely."
He snorted. "Fine. But if we have another fight..."
"We'll let Dawn step in," Xander agreed. "Then make popcorn." Dawn swatted him. "You can babble at him to make him forget what they were fighting about."
She rolled her eyes, looking at Sam. "You can explain some of the sights to me. That way we don't have to do a mass tour with a guide."
"Where is the picnic?" Sam asked.
"DC," Xander said with an evil smirk.
"I've only been through there a few times, Dawn, but we can do the Smithsonian and all the big attractions." She beamed and bounced a bit. He grinned back. "We can drop Dean at the aerospace museum or a car museum." She squealed and lunged over to hug him. "Didn't like Dean?"
"I like Dean just fine but he won't let me have any of his candy." She beamed. "Uncles should share."
"They should," he agreed. She beamed at Xander.
"I've never been either. We'll go together, Dawn patrol." She hugged him too. "And you can talk to all of them about their nice, normal jobs that will make your mother proud." She pinched him on the arm and sat on her own again. "Right, Sam?"
"Right. From what I understand there's a lot of CSI, a few other sorts of cops, and Gibbs, who's a Fed. Or you could join the service."
"No. I don't think I'd like that. I can't take orders very well and I'd hate being a grunt. If I did, I'd have to go into Intelligence or something in the Air Force because they want really big brains there and their test is harder. So is their academy."
"I didn't know the Air Force did intelligence. I thought that was the Army," Sam told her.
She grimaced. "No thanks. I have a bad idea of the army after Riley and his band of merry torturing bastards who got Spike twice."
Xander nodded. "He didn't set a good example but he's not the most normal soldier either, Dawn. I know John, Gibbs, and Mac Taylor were all Marines. You can ask them those sort of questions."
"Sure." She leaned against his side, beaming at him. "Would Mom be happy with me being a cop? I know she wanted me to die as a great-grandmother if possible."
"You'd better be out of college by the time the first baby comes," he said dryly. "I am not ready to be Grandpa Xander."
Sam choked. "No, that's a bad picture, Xander."
Xander nodded. "So was Anya and I having one together. That's why I said no."
Dawn nodded. "No's a good word to teach her now and then, Xander. Thank you for working on that. Not that I wouldn't babysit all the time for that heathen but it'd be *so* horrible!"
"Yeah, it would be," Xander agreed. "Another good reason I said no kids. Think she'd mind if I get snipped?"
"Yeah," she snorted. "Because that fit would know no end. She'd probably attack the doctor for touching what's hers."
"Or demand pictures," Sam quipped.
"Good point. I'll have to think about that." He shrugged and cuddled Dawn.
"Are you two spending the night on my floor?" Sam asked with a grin.
"No, I got paid and kept it from Anya, didn't put it in the bank at all, so we can get a room until we leave for the airport tomorrow at nine."
Sam nodded. "Are you sure you want me there?"
"Yes," they said together.
"Someone has to help me get back at Dean for the food coloring in the shampoo," she reminded him.
"Okay, I'll go." They beamed and offered to get dinner but Jess reminded them she was making dinner. She went to check on it. "Nice cover," Sam mouthed. Xander nodded at that. "She'll be stopped?" Xander nodded more quickly. "Good. Hate to beat her."
"We'd let Dad talk to her," Xander said with an evil grin.
"He might take her out," Sam said quietly, glancing into the kitchen then back at him.
Xander considered it. "Giles knows a coven that'll help her." Jess came back. "Should we clean up and help set the table?"
"No, we're going to eat out here." Xander's phone rang. He went outside after glancing at the name on it. "Again?" she asked.
"It was Tara. Willow's girlfriend," Dawn said. "It's too early for more than intervention phone calls in her case." Xander kicked the building. "Problems?" she called.
"Not really. Tara's no longer in town." He said something before hanging up and came back. "Tara's went to spend the night with Cordy at Wesley's insistence. Which isn't such a bad thing. Spike driving her down may be, but...." He shrugged. "We'll have to see."
She pulled him back down to cuddle him. "It'll go, Xander. Someone will stop her."
"Let's hope Wesley can get through her head. It's a bit thick sometimes from all the books she used to read." He looked at Sam. "At least you're smart in the normal and not annoying ways. Thank you for that."
He grinned. "Not according to Dean."
Xander snorted. "Dean's smart but he's hiding it. Willow was always The school genius. Everyone knew that." Sam shuddered. "Exactly. It was nice when she helped by doing my homework or tutoring one of us. It's just..." He looked at his phone, then grimaced. "I don't have one for Oz. She'd listen to him." He shrugged it off. "I don't know what to do about her. I have to concentrate on Dawn."
Dawn looked up at him. "I'll never be the sort of problem Willow is growing into," she said quietly.
"Good!" He gave her a squeeze. "We like that." He grinned at the couple. "You should tell Sam about the garden plans you want me to build for the house." She sat up and moved to sit next to him, drawing the figures in the air while she babbled about the garden stuff she wanted behind the house. Both of them looked a bit dazed at the babbling but Sam got into it with her about some of it, suggesting a few alternate ways based on the same books they'd both read. Though he was against putting in an Alice in Wonderland statue in a corner. She explained about Anya's bunny phobia, which made Sam cackle. So they talked about a different statue from a different book.
Xander looked at them. "Hoggle from _Labyrinth_?" he suggested.
Sam and Dawn both gaped at him. "No way," Sam said.
Xander shrugged. "I didn't mind the movie. Just the fact that the girls cooed over David Bowie."
Jess giggled, nodding. "I remember being that age."
Dawn shook her head. "No, if we're going to do something like that I'd have to go for _Dark Crystal_. Sorry." Sam moaned at that. "What? It's a cult classic and a muppet movie! That about makes it perfect. And hey, no chick flick movies like my sister used to make Xander watch with her and Willow."
"Not that you wouldn't look good in a Victorian gown," Xander offered.
"Then boys would have to guess at what I look like, Xander."
"Exactly." Jess cackled, shaking her head. Dawn huffed.
Sam gave her a gentle hug around the shoulders. "He'll grow out of it but he'll still stalk you on your first date. Dean did it to me. Traumatized Dad horribly by suggesting he get a chastity belt to put me in."
"No, those are bad girl things and I'm not ready for bad girl things yet. When I am, Anya said I can have hers." Xander shook his head. "She did."
"Hell no. You cannot."
She pouted. "She said I could have some of them to try things out."
"Fine. We'll talk about it later."
"I'll disappoint Anya horribly by tossing all hers out. Your mother would shit kittens for Clem." Dawn gave him a horrified look for that saying. "And Spike."
"Yeah, that's how I feel. Beyond that, I'm locking her out of her own stuff."
"Xander," Jess sighed.
"My girlfriend has a steamer trunk full of porn and sex toys. She does not need to let Dawn into it." Jess gaped. He nodded. "Dawn is much too young and that's not something that should be *shared*. You should only share that stuff if you're in a relationship with them."
"Why?" she squeaked.
"Because she's a bit needy," Dawn told her. "Anytime Xander doesn't give her enough she complains loudly in public and criticizes his technique. I have no idea why she wasn't satisfied with six orgasms in one night." Sam went bright red at that. "She calls it that instead of sex. She doesn't want sex, snuggles, cuddles, or anything but orgasms." Xander nodded, yawning a bit. "I mean, I figure six is a pretty good number, especially since he had the flu. I don't want to turn that needy. I won't right?"
"No," Jess said weakly. "No, most women would be more than pleased to have more than one."
"Anya's a bit warped thanks to her upbringing," Xander said dryly. "No, if you start on a rant like Anya does, I'm so spanking you. Even if you are over twenty-one, young lady."
"Yes, Xander. Does that mean I can't have her tapes? She said she's buying all new ones."
Xander called the bank balance line first then called her. "Anya, there will be no buying more porn while I'm with Dawn in DC. Because I didn't put my paycheck in there. I needed it for the trip. Unless it comes out of *your* paycheck, you may not. Because we have to pay the rent next week?" he suggested dryly. She made pouty noises at him. "Sorry. And no giving Dawn any of yours or I'm taking stuff to make myself impotent for a month and locking your trunk magically. By myself." She made horrified noises because they all knew magic went funny around him. "Good. I'm glad we agree you won't taint Dawn or use the rent money. By the way, buy me some more soda before we get back please? We're out. Love you." He hung up. "She's reconsidered and she's not going to taint you, Dawn."
Dawn smirked. "That's means. I didn't know there were drugs for that."
"Yeah, Dean found some."
"Why?" Sam asked.
"Accidentally on purpose when some skank was hitting on him in Wisconsin. He called to brag about how little it worked on him. I put him on with Anya to talk about ways to get around that for the next time he's afflicted or if he ever ends up needing viagra."
"You guys are so mean to Dean," Jess complained.
"It's a little brother's right," Sam said with a grin.
Dawn nodded. "Since he's my uncle I get to help."
"Find a really nasty hooker, pay her twenty bucks to go hit on Dean in public and be insistent. Tell her it's a prank so she won't get upset," Xander told her. Sam gave him a horrified look. He grinned back. "What?"
"Dad would spank, Xander."
"Not if he doesn't see it."
"Dad would still spank." He gave Dawn a cuddle. "You'll grow up into a good woman that your mother will be proud of. I know you will." She smiled at him. "But if you need girl questions answered, ask Jess instead of Anya?"
"I might be able to do that," Jess agreed. Dawn beamed at her. They went to check on dinner and talk while they made up plates. That Anya woman was seriously cranked and Xander was a sweet boy, he needed someone like her instead. She'd have to introduce him to a few of her sorority sisters. They'd make good mothers for Dawn.
Ryan looked at the Holiday Inn, then at Horatio. "Why did you come up?"
"Because you needed backup," he reminded him.
"I'm trying to be good."
"Uh-huh. It was me or Eric, Ryan."
Ryan blushed. "Eric was going to pick on me all weekend."
"I'm escaping Miami and hiding somewhere to relax. If you need me, you'll call." Ryan nodded. They checked in and went to their rooms. Horatio, to his word, settled in to watch some tv and relax for a weekend. This reunion had set off some warning alarms in his head. He should be here to guard his coworker. He could hide the rest of the weekend.
Ryan finished settling himself in and went to see if anyone else had checked in. One of Gibbs' boys had so they sat in the coffee shop to get to know each other. Ryan frowned when he saw someone walk in. "Who's that?"
The cop looked then growled. "Bad news." He got up and walked out there. "Fancy meeting you here."
John looked at him. "I'm one of the donors they used, Officer." The guy gaped. "My boys will be here this weekend as well."
He pulled him off to the side. "I know what you did, Winchester."
"I saved your partner's life," he agreed. "Even if you don't like it. I'm sorry you had to be exposed that way but that's what I do for a living."
"And the bogus card?" he hissed.
"No one pays us to do it, junior."
He slumped at that. "Are we *working* this weekend?"
"No. My kids will be here this weekend as well." That got a worse slump. "If something like that should happen, me, my boy Dean, and my boy Xander will handle it."
"Oh, God, there's another of you?" he demanded.
"One of the ones that was born like you were. I share him with Gibbs actually." The guy gaped. "He's bringing his daughter. The state just gave him custody." He smirked. "We'll keep it down. The others mostly know about it due to background checks."
"Jethro knows and didn't throw a fit?"
"Subtle fit but he knows that what I do is just as important as what you do."
"Fine." He let him go. "I don't want to hear that you did your little trick this week."
"We're not. Xander's friend Willow got us a very good deal."
"Uh-huh." He stomped off, going back to talk to Ryan. "Did you know about him?"
Ryan shrugged. "I heard something about the job that Xander does. Is that Winchester?" He grimaced but nodded. "Huh. How do you get into that field?"
"No clue. It was bad enough they came in to stop something in my town that was going to eat my partner."
Ryan grinned. "At least they stopped it."
"True." He sipped his coffee. "So, CSI?"
"CSI. Me, Greg, and Danny. Greg and I are Mac Taylor's. Danny's Mac's CSI but Jethro's kid. Greg works out of the Vegas lab and I work in Miami."
"Very. It's a lot of long hours sometimes but satisfying when things all fall into place and we catch someone."
"You guys get to arrest? Our lab geeks are lab geeks."
"Yeah, we're fully regular cops. We arrest, we carry, we question. Plus we do lab work. Sometimes Miami thinks we're beyond human with some of the rules they have."
"I think all departments have those sort of rules," he said dryly. "Our city's morality clause is so bad it was used to get one guy when he got divorced for the second time. They wanted him off really badly though."
Ryan nodded. "They got me playing poker a few times."
Stu shook his head. "That does suck."
"Yeah. And my people are paranoid and don't like me because I came in after an officer got shot."
"That really does suck." He bopped him on the arm. "You'll work it out."
"We hope so. My boss decided I needed an honor guard on the way up." Stu laughed. "He did. He's hiding upstairs." He saw another one walk in. "That's gotta be another Winchester."
He looked then nodded. "Dean. In the family business."
"Hmm." He sipped his coffee. "Have you met any of the others?"
"I met the one of Jethro's that just got out of jail for mouthing off to the judge while being questioned. That happened down in our part of the world. He looked me up." They both looked back at a squeal, smiling at the girl pouncing Dean Winchester. "She's adorable. I didn't think any of us were that young."
"Maybe she's his?" Ryan asked. The two guys walking in behind her got a groan. "Or not."
"The tall one's the only one who escaped the family business. The other must be the new son Winchester said followed him and his daughter. Apparently I share Jethro's parentage with him."
"We can talk to him later, after the young one quits babbling."
Stu grinned. "I like how you think, Wolfe." Ryan grinned back.
Dawn followed Xander into the hotel, looking around. "This is nicer than the one at home." She squealed and ran over to pounce Dean. "Hi, Uncle Dean!"
"Dawn," he said, patting her while trying to get free. "How're you doing, kiddo?"
"I'm not that young!" She stamped a foot. "Even if I do feel like I'm a midget next to you guys. I want some of the Winchester miracle grow potion too."
He grinned. "Our mom was a bit taller than you are now," he said. "Talk to Dad about that."
"It's no fair. Each of you gets taller and taller."
"You're taller than Buffy," Xander reminded her. "And you still have another growth spurt to come."
She pouted. "Can you do a height enhancement like you can boobs?"
"No." He went to check them in, seeing the amused looks. "My daughter." He handed over the traveler's checks. She gave him an odd look. "If I use the credit card, my girlfriend will try to claim it gives her rights to go porn shopping. It's stopping her." She nodded once and took the checks to put into the system for him. "Thank you." He took their keys and walked back to the group. "Let's settle in, Dawn." He tossed one at Sam, drawing Dean's attention.
"No wonder you feel short," he said dryly.
"One crack about me being Godzilla and I'm feeding Xander chocolate while you're locked in the same room," Sam shot back.
"When did you turn evil?" Dean demanded.
"It's the training to be a lawyer stuff," Dawn quipped. "After all, they all have their evil moments."
Dean gaped. "Lawyer?"
Sam smirked and nodded. "Lawyer." He put an arm around Dawn's shoulders. "Thanks for covering up with Jess, Dawn."
"Welcome. I don't want to infect the normals with our wacked out life." She beamed at Dean. "He's going to help me talk to the normal jobbed people we'll be seeing this weekend so I can find what I want to do."
"You're not going to hunt?"
"Mommy's will said she wants me to die being a great-grandmother. I might think about being a watcher...."
"You're not going hunting," Xander said firmly. "Even if you did, you'd end up being a research watcher and you'd have to get Giles or Wes to sponsor you." He stared at her. "Your mother was firm on that point and I agree. We don't want to bury you like we did your sister. Someone's got to carry on the Summers name so there's women with sense in the future."
"Fine. Some day I'll be a baby's momma," she shot back.
"As long as you're over age because I will magically implant a chastity belt into your butt's skin," he vowed, staring her down.
A female coughed. "You shouldn't threaten her, sir."
Xander looked at her. "She's my daughter. I'm allowed to say stuff like that about her getting pregnant since she's fourteen."
She blushed. "Still, some people could consider that a real threat and call social services."
"He'd never hurt me," Dawn promised with a grin. "Now, he might find something huge and icky and give me to them as a bride if I screw up too much...." The woman snorted, walking off.
Xander smirked. "Thanks for the idea, Dawn."
"Welcome." She squealed and hugged John. "Ohmygod, can you get more scruffy, Grandpa?"
He smiled at her. "Yes. I have been in the past. We didn't stop anywhere last night." He let her go. "Grandpa?"
"Why not? It's the truth." She beamed at him. "Want to get in on Xander threatening me to never bear children before I'm Sam's age?"
"Finished college," Xander said firmly.
"Or later," she added with a grin.
"I think that's a good idea. Along with starting some training."
"Her mom wanted her to have a job that would let her die as a great-grandmother, but yes, she's being taught enough to protect herself in case something happens," Xander told him.
"Hunting's a hard life and Joyce knew that," he agreed. "If she wants a normal life, she can follow Sammy."
"Sam," he corrected. "I haven't been Sammy since I hit puberty." His father stared at him. "Xander said you wanted me brought?"
"I did. I didn't think he'd be able to convince you, son." He moved closer, looking him over. "You look good."
"Thank you. I agree with Dawn, you need a shave." John smirked at that. Dawn gave him a shove and John hugged his boy. "Thanks, Dawn."
"Welcome. And hey, no handcuffs needed this morning," she quipped. She hugged Xander's arm. "When do we get to meet the other parent?"
"Later tonight." He grinned. "Let's get settled in." They nodded, going up with the family to settle into their rooms.
John and Dean warded all of their rooms. John also pulled out a book to mark a protection around Dawn's bed, getting a curious look. "The family has a demon that's after some of us," he said quietly, looking up at her.
"Dean told me what happened to his mom."
"When Sammy was six months old," he agreed. She blanched. "Which you'll be when?"
"Three days," she said quietly.
He nodded. "So we'll do a warding circle around your bed for now," he promised. "That way it won't happen." She gave him a hug. "It's all right, Dawn. You're family."
She pulled back. "Did Xander tell you about what Willow wanted to do?" He shook his head slowly. "We asked Giles and Wesley to intervene. I guess he didn't want you to go hunt her or something."
He sat on the bed beside her, making her look at him. "What has she been doing? It's clearly worrying both of you since Xander's been thinking too hard today."
She sighed. "Willow's been having problems with her magic. You heard that right?"
"I saw one of her accidents when we were out there," he admitted.
Dawn looked at him. "She wants more power; she's been doing power expanding exercises."
He grimaced. "There's no real way to stretch that unless you're gathering more to you. In your town that's really dangerous because of the hellmouth."
She nodded. "She's doing that and going to that guy Rack now and then because she said it gives her a good rush and clears her head."
He stood up. "She's going to a magic dealer?" he demanded. She shrugged. "Describe him?" Xander walked in and handed him a picture. "Shit."
"Basically," Xander agreed. "Yes, he is feeding her little shots of black magic. She claims it's clearing off the taint the hellmouth gave her the last time she closed it." John gaped. "This week she wanted to try to raise Buffy," he said very quietly. "Which is why I called Giles and Wesley. Giles was supposedly teaching her. Wesley is closer since Giles was being an alchie in England again."
"He misses her like she was his child," John offered.
Xander nodded. "I miss her like she was my sister, but he still has things he needed to handle in town and so did I. I think it's really unfair he left everything in his grief."
"I did a good bit of drinking when Mary died," he said.
Xander nodded. "But you still managed to handle things with the boys."
"With some help," he agreed. "But you're right. Who's running his shop?"
"Anya, Tara, and Willow," Dawn said. "We're pretty sure we stopped her this time."
"We hope," Xander said. "Tara said she got her resolve face and got stubborn when Wesley and Cordelia showed up." He looked at his father again. "So if you hear anything, we really need to know."
"I'll tell the people I know out there to call me," he promised. "What're we going to do about her?"
"Giles muttered about a coven he knows who could help her."
He nodded once. "That's risky. Like rehab, she can backslide."
Xander nodded. "I know."
"Hell, you don't have the easy problems."
"No but we have been having a surge since the funeral. Faith's the one that passes on the gift and she's in prison."
"Even worse," he decided. "You told Sammy?"
"Yeah. I went up to introduce myself. We've been talking a lot."
"That's good. He can be a good role model for Dawn. He can guide her in how to put the instincts on standby and let them not take over." She nodded at that. "How bad?"
Xander snorted. "Don't ask, Dad. Spike got hurt the last time we patrolled. This was also a strategic withdrawal to get Dawn out of town."
"If you need me to, I can watch her for a few weeks," he offered, looking at her.
"I have the feeling it'll be stopped," she said. "Willow said she was stopping it when I called late last night." Xander looked at her. "She was determined to make it calm down again."
"Is she breaking Faith out of prison?"
"No. She was mumbling into her herb box looking for something."
John pulled out his phone, paging through the phonebook to find a number. "It's John Winchester. We have a feeling Sunnydale is going to have a massive change sometime this week. I need to know when and what happened if you hear. Please. Actually, did you hear the Marines decided to make me another son?" He grinned. "Xander, on Buffy's team, is mine." He laughed at the 'it figures with what he gets into' response. "Yeah, he does have Winchester luck. Please. We're in DC for a meeting with him and a few others. Thanks. No, Dawn's with him, why?" He listened then nodded once. "Is Tara in town?" he asked Xander.
"She went to have a sleepover with Cordy," Dawn told him.
"She's in LA," John told him. "Why?" He listened and winced. "You're sure?" He nodded. "Thanks. Let me know if you hear more." He hung up. "Some serious magic went off last night but we're not sure what." They both nodded. "Let me finish this protection circle around her bed. You two go brief Dean and cuddle Sammy so he's not intimidated by all the cops."
"He'll be working with them some year," Dawn said, going to bother Sam to pick out their tourist spots on the hotel's brochures.
"He's becoming a cop?" John asked Xander.
"Lawyer," he said with a grin. "You should ask him."
"There's a lot of deep water there, Xander."
Xander nodded. "So? Someone's got to start the wading to build a bridge support. Otherwise it sags in the center."
"Good point." Xander left, going to find Dean and let him know what was going on at home. He needed to talk to someone who understood and get some of the stress out. "Hey," he said, sliding onto the barstool next to him. "What's up on your world?"
"Nothing much this week. We've been driving this way." He looked at him. "I've heard some strange rumors out of yours though."
Xander snorted. "You have *no* idea what's been going on since the funeral."
"Need to talk?"
Xander nodded. "Yeah, I could use it without stressing Dawn out. She's hiding it pretty well but Sam's been helping her calm down for the last day."
Dean nodded at a table so Xander got a soda and came over to join him. Dean stared at him. "Which one started it off?"
"Things went to hell after the funeral," he admitted. "All sorts of hell. Willow's getting lost. Tara's trying to stop her and she can't get through to her. Willow actually said going to a magic dealer was helping her get rid of some of the taint she picked up the last time she closed the stupid thing."
Dean arched an eyebrow up. "Uh-huh," he said slowly, considering it. "Did you tell Dad?"
"Yeah. He called someone to see if they could call us if she did something. Like raising Buffy. I had to call in Wesley and Giles, our former Watchers, to help stop her since I took Dawn and evacuated."
"That's probably wiser of you," he agreed. Xander nodded, taking a sip. He leaned forward. "She's trying to do what?"
"She thinks it'd stop if we had Buffy back. Which it might. It passes on through Faith's line, not Buffy's. Faith's in jail for manslaughter."
"Oh, hell." He winced, then let out the rest of his current breath - guys like him did not sigh. "Magic dealer?"
"Black magic is burning off the taint I picked up the last time I had to do the spell to close the hellmouth," he mimicked quietly, glancing around. Dean stared. Xander nodded, taking another sip.
"Want something stronger?"
"I hardly ever drink. I did the night I called Giles. The night we went to pick up Sam."
Dean relaxed. "So someone's on her case at least," he said. Xander nodded. "Will they stop her?"
"We don't know. Dawn called her late last night and she said she was going to stop it one way or another."
Dean groaned. "Okay, and that leaves what?"
"Tara's hiding with my ex Cordy."
"That's a good decision," Dean said. "I'll get with Dad later. Did Dad tell you why he was doing the protection around her?" Xander nodded. "How did you get Sammy here?"
"Told him the truth. Dad and you would want to see him. Dad asked if I could ask him. He didn't think I could, but we talked him into taking a few days off classes."
Xander smiled. "Yeah. I think he'll make a good one. He's got a good mind. He knows how to question people. He's devious when he needs to be to break a story on the stand if he goes into criminal law." He took another drink and relaxed. "He'll be good at it. Jess is very supportive of him."
"Very," Sam said, sitting next to Xander. Xander scooted over. "Who asked?"
"Dad," Xander told him.
"Good." He looked at Dean. "Yes, law school, Dean. I can make a lot of difference."
Dean nodded. "Good. If you get good, we'll call."
Sam smiled. "I figured you would." He took Xander's soda to sip. "What's up?"
"Willow. Dad wanted me to let some of the stress go," Xander told him.
"Yeah, that might help." He looked at him. "At least you managed to keep it from Jess. You can talk to me about that, Xander."
"I would have if she wasn't hovering like it was The Day on the baby thermometer." Dean spluttered.
"No, we're not having kids," Sam said dryly. "She thinks Xander's a bit strange and she doesn't want me to get hurt or sucked into whatever cult she thinks he's part of."
"I have mostly kept it away from you guys," Xander pointed out.
"She saw the bruises last time when I was looking at them. She wasn't sure if it was S&M or some sort of ritual abuse due to a cult leader. She decided you're too tough to be a submissive so it had to be something like a ritual because she's never seen a bar brawl that went past someone picking up a pool cue."
"Well, it was a ritual we were breaking up," Xander admitted. "No evil cult leader though."
Sam nodded. "So you told me." He looked him over. "You're limping?"
"I banged my knee on the rental car."
"I did!" he defended. "I healed the last bruise before we got up there. Tara's bruise potion works well for that. Even if it does stink."
"I could've used that last week," Dean admitted, rubbing his shoulder. Sam looked at him. "Wall."
Xander nodded. "My last one threw me through a staircase." Dean handed over the beer but Xander shook his head. "I shouldn't."
"Dawn won't mind," Dean pointed out.
"I don't drink, Dean. You saw my parents." That got a nod. "I don't have a high tolerance either. I don't want to make a bad impression on the other donor."
"Dad talked to him. He said he let Dad tell you because he wasn't sure about the family business," Dean told him.
Xander nodded. "That's nice. He can't email?"
"I asked around. He's not exactly technophobic but he doesn't get along with it," Dean told him.
"Oh. Then maybe I'll cut him some slack. He must've had some crappy cases."
Sam patted him on the arm. "It'll be fine, Xander. He can't help but like you. Even if he is a bastard, he's got to like you at least a little bit."
Xander smiled. "Thanks, Sam."
"Welcome." He grinned back then at Dean. "We've got to introduce Dawn to others who have jobs she might like."
"I heard. It's not a bad idea. It's also a good trip for a girl her age. I suppose you two are doing some of the sights?"
"All of us. This is my first trip outside of Cali," Xander told him.
"We're going to visit the museums tomorrow if we're not busy," Sam offered. "You can come geek at the mechanical stuff, Dean."
"Dawn may puncture an eardrum squealing," Xander offered. Dean grinned at that. "Besides, tomorrow is Tuesday and she's been having some problems with that day recently. It seems like everyone wants her on Tuesday. We're not sure why." He finished his soda.
Dean gave him an odd look. "Like taken hostage?"
"That too," Xander admitted. "Willow let her go over to a friend's house and the friend invited in some of the friendly neighborhood undead to party with them when they brought beer. Dawn got one and escaped, getting help for them."
"Shit," Sam said, shaking his head.
"Did she drink?" Dean asked.
"No. I'm proud. She said she'd be killed and she's right. I do know the formula that guy put into the beer to make Buffy go cavegirl."
Sam gaped. "There is?" Xander smirked and nodded. "Oh, please tell me you're joking?"
"Nope. Go to the October entry of last year on my online journal. Not the halloween one."
Sam went to look that up. Then he burst out giggling. Dawn came over to look since they were in a suite. "Cave slayer," he laughed.
"Hmm. Very. Brow ridge, 'boy smells good', 'fire pretty' but it nearly killed her. All that."
Sam cackled, rolling around on the bed. John came in to look so Dawn let him read it. He groaned. "How stupid could she be?"
"She was off hanging with the frat boys who wanted in her panties," Dawn said. "She did get back at the guy who had her then dumped her. Bopped him on the head. Nearly got burned alive in a fire. It was not her most shining moment. She and Mom had the long talk about how beer was responsible for Buffy being born but it had better not result in her being a grandmother."
"I agree," John said. "It can also lower your inhibitions and slow your reactions, plus make you less than cautious. It's led to a lot of deaths."
Dawn nodded. "I get that and Xander said he'd dose me with the same herbs if I started to drink too soon."
"If I had known about it, I would've dosed Dean when he started to drink and when he gave Sammy his first few." He gave her a look. "What was it?"
"A cranberry thing that made my head hurt. Beer smells nasty."
"It tastes it too," John admitted. "Did we like it?"
"Hell no. Especially not the lecture from hell Tara gave me."
John smiled. "I like that girl. She's got a good head on her shoulders and a lot of practical sense."
She gave him a swat on the arm. "She still likes girls, Granddad."
"I'll probably never go for another lady," he told her gently.
She gave him a hug. "That sucks and I'm sure she'd complain about you being miserable." She pulled back, looking at him. "We can let Xander be possessed by her if you want to find out."
"No, that's all right. I think he's got enough voices in his head." Someone knocked. "Hold on." He nodded at the giggling one and headed out to answer it. "Jethro."
"John. Where's the kid?"
Dawn leaned out. "Me kid or Xander kid?"
"Xander," John said. "Jethro, this is Dawn. Thanks to something in our business, she came up as Xander's daughter and he now has custody after her mother and sister died recently."
Jethro shook her hand. "I'm sorry for your loss."
She stared at him. "Thank you. Now, can you try to remove the broomstick? Because, way uptight and Xander doesn't need more stress. The town gives him enough."
"It's nerves," he told her.
She smiled. "That'll work. He's down venting at Dean about the bad days we've been having since my sister died." She looked at John, who nodded she could escort him down there. "See you later, Grandpa." She grinned at Jethro when he choked. "We'll see if you get your own cute name." She walked him off.
"Jethro or Gibbs is fine," he assured her.
She snorted. "Would you expect your other grandchildren to call you that?"
"I don't have any kids outside of you guys and as far as I know you're the only grandchild," he admitted.
She beamed. "Then would you like to come help us tour the museums when we get some free time?"
"I haven't been in years, but Xander's older half-brother can go. He's my senior agent. I'll give him time off." He looked at her. "Joining the family business?"
"My mother wanted me to have a job where I'd die a great-grandmother if at all possible. She didn't want me to hunt."
"It seems like it's a hard job."
"It is, but necessary." She smiled. "Xander said I could ask all you normal people questions about other careers."
"That's fine with me," he assured her. She grinned. "You're how old?"
"Fourteen." She could see him mentally counting. She stopped the elevator to look at him. "I was magically created to hide a very powerful artifact," she said quietly. He just nodded. "So yeah, they made me Xander's. Technically I'm about six months."
"Okay," he decided, flipping it back on. "I can see that easier." He smirked at her. "You can prank Tony and babble at him all you want. I'll even let you babble at Kate or Abby if he brings you to the office to look around."
"That'll be cool. The only women I have in my life now that everyone else died are Willow and Tara, and Willow has issues with her skill base."
Jethro looked at her. "Lesbians don't bother me."
"Xander needing to be gay bother you?" she asked. She heard a groan and looked at someone. "I love Anya, Xander. I really do. I don't think she makes you happy."
He shook his head. "This is not dissect Xander's dating life, Dawn. Please?"
She grinned. "Why not? Dean helping my case?"
"Yes he is," he sighed. He looked at the other guy then nodded. "You can't write? Or did I forget to write back?"
"It's been a hellish few weeks of cases, kid. I'm sorry about that."
Xander nodded. "We'll talk. That's why we're having this extended picnic." Jethro smiled. "So I see you've met Dawn."
"I did. She seems very nice." Dawn smirked at him. "Like every other teenage girl in the world."
Xander snickered, nodding. "Yeah. Putting it mildly. Little Miss Squeal Patrol there is a teenage girl. The brothers are ugly, right?"
"I'm not the one to ask," he said dryly. "You clearly got your smartass nature from DiNozzo though."
Xander gave him a happy grin. "Of course I did." Dawn squealed and ran over to pounce Dean again, making him groan. "She's getting him back for the purple food coloring in her shampoo."
"That seems like a good thing to do," he agreed. He stepped closer. "I don't want to get into that other stuff you do," he said quietly. "Keep me out of it?"
"We can do that."
"Say it's 'your sort of business' or something like that and the others should understand. I know most of the others did a background on Winchester at least." He nodded. "Beer?"
"Alchie parents. Don't hardly ever drink. I'll have another soda though." They walked back to the bar together. Xander goosed Dawn, making her shriek and swat at him but he only grinned.
"Language," Dean said. "Good girls don't say words like that."
She looked at him. "I can say it in other languages if you want," she said dryly. She spit out something in one of the demon languages Spike and Clem had been teaching her, getting a shocked look from Dean. "Someone has to watch me during patrols. Spike's pretty cool, huh?" She strolled off. "Sam's still giggling over the caveman beer."
Dean shook his head, trailing after her. Something would happen and she'd need saved soon. He was sure of it. It also kept her from pouncing him and being mean to him. He was the cool uncle, she shouldn't be mean to him.
The next day, Dawn bounced down to wait on Xander, Sam, and Dean, spotting some of the others waiting. "Hi, guys." They all smiled at her. She had babbled at them last night and found out what they did and who they were so she could learn a lot more about this strange, extended clan she now belonged to. "Is it bad news?" she asked at one smile starting to fall. "Because I know we're going sightseeing today and if it's bad, I should tell Xander so he can get ready and make plans. Plans save lives and we want to save them today. Because it'd totally suck if we all died and I didn't get to see the Smithsonians."
Ryan smirked at her. "Nothing like that. We're waiting on Tony and Gibbs. They got called out early this morning to help on a manhunt."
"Oh, that's cool." She nodded. "I guess that happens to you guys." Xander came off the elevator with Sam. "We might not have a native guide. Tony and Jethro are off hunting someone."
Xander shrugged. "We can wander. They can find us later." They all agreed with that and headed for the rental cars. He grinned at Ryan then at Dawn. "Dean said he'd catch up later. He needed twenty more."
"That's fine," she chirped, then gave him an evil smirk. "Have him try to ruin my hair again." She ran for the car when Ryan groaned.
Xander looked at him. "Dean put food coloring in the shampoo she and Buffy were sharing the last time they met."
"She's a teenage girl, I'm not surprised she's vindictive."
Xander smirked. "That's why she keeps pouncing Dean too. To embarrass him so he can't pick up cheap women."
"Not going to?" he teased.
"Anya would kill my ass. Literally." He pointed at the car. "Riding with?"
"Please. I didn't rent one. I came in and met Greg." That got a nod and they got in, Dawn in the back. She was texting someone. "Telling the people at home you're okay?"
"That we're going to the museums now." She looked at Xander. "Tara said to be safe. It is Tuesday."
Xander glanced back at her. "If your usual Tuesday luck hits, yell." She nodded at that. "Thank you." He backed out of the parking spot and took off for the museum. They had worked out a good parking area for them to hit last night. They had all picked up some small anal retentive habits from their Marine parents and training. They parked and found Tony waiting on them. "You made it. Did you pounce?" he teased with a grin.
"Not yet. The FBI took it over." He smirked. "Let them chase down fruitless leads while we get the good ones related back to his military background." He gave Dawn a hug since she pounced him. "Hi, squirt."
"I am not."
He smirked. "You're the first niece," he teased.
"She's the only niece. Anya's not allowed to get pregnant. We'd warp the kid." Tony snickered. "We would! Or didn't Anya call you to introduce herself?"
"She did, while I was at work. I even taped it for Gibbs," he said smugly.
"Gee, he was one of the few yesterday who didn't nag me about her or ask that I switch to guys."
Dawn gave him a look. "I still don't think she's making you really happy, Xander. Yeah, it's good in the bedroom stuff, but she can't cook and you're tired all the time. If she was making you happy she wouldn't embarrass you in public."
He looked at her. "She's still getting used to things."
She snorted and flicked some of her hair back. "That wasn't mannerly back when she grew up either."
He rolled his eyes. "I'm satisfied, Dawn. Drop it."
"Fine." They walked in together, letting Ryan and Tony compare stupid criminal stories while Tony played tour guide. They'd had a case in this one recently plus he was native so he knew which museum was which. They met with John and Dean at the aerospace museum. Natural History made Dawn swoon at the gems on display. Xander had to pull her away before her drool set off an alarm.
"Just think, you can take up with someone who might be hunted down later and get that," he taunted with an evil smirk.
She swatted him. "Spike would never let me go into such a bad relationship. He said he'd rip them apart and drink their blood."
He laughed. "We'll have to tell him that idea when we get home."
She smirked back. "Ooooh, the look on his face. And Angel's since we should stop in LA to get Tara."
Xander giggled. "Yeah, that'll be priceless." He put his arm around her shoulder. "As long as you don't make me a grandfather."
"Not a problem I'm foreseeing," she quipped. "Childbirth sounds nasty and painful, not on my lists of likes."
"You could let Anya do that."
He looked at her. "She'd hate being a mother, Dawn. Being practical, she'd hate having to quit buying nice things for herself, always being the slave of the child's needs, all that. I'd end up with a third job."
"Good point." She gave him a squeeze. "We'll figure it out."
"Yes we will." A cop gave them a dirty look. "She's my daughter, dude; mind out of the gutter." The cop gave him a horrified look and walked off in another direction. He gave Tony a bored now look when he got glanced at. "He apparently thought I was cradle robbing."
"You two do look good cuddled together," he offered.
"He's still my father," Dawn shot back with a look over her sunglasses.
"I know. There's some people who can't read body language."
Dawn nodded. "Many of them staring this way." They kept going until around lunch time, which they decided to take at one of the monuments. She sighed in pleasure, looking up at it. "Why does it look like some guy decided to make a monument to a breast?"
"Classical architecture is often based on natural shapes," Xander told her while the others choked. "It's also practical. They didn't know how to support the roof without the columns. So yeah, the roof does look like a breast and the whole thing kinda resembles it but no woman's built so symmetrically."
Ryan looked around Sam to stare at him. "That's fairly poetic," he teased with a grin.
Xander grinned back. "I'm a crew leader on my construction crew."
Greg looked at him. "You're a stronger man than I am to be building houses all summer long, Xander."
Xander nodded. "We're a few miles from the desert but we're pretty good as a crew. We're working on a school right now."
"Yay me, the new high school," Dawn said dryly. "On the foundations of the old one even."
Xander smirked at her. "You know someone from the old mayor's team is still in power."
"Most of them," she agreed. "That proves it." She shrugged. "Can't I home school?"
"We'll talk about it when we get home."
"Yes, Xander." They got something off a nearby 'tourist munchie' cart and settled in to nibble on stuff while the others talked. It was pretty good until she saw the creeping shadow. "Hey, Xander, it's still Tuesday, right?" she asked, taking a bite of sandwich.
Xander checked his watch then looked at her. "For another twelve hours. Why?" She pointed at the shadow. He looked then up. "Huh. Tony, I didn't know you guys had Godzilla. I thought that was New York."
Tony choked, glaring at the thing. "What the hell is that?"
"Killable," Xander said. "But I'd need blessed silver." John nudged him and handed over a gun. "Thanks, John." He looked at Dawn. "Stay with Dean." She nodded, going back to eating. He and John jogged off to handle it. They got close enough and Xander got the shot he needed when the demon turned to the side to climb out of the hole in the ground. It fell back into the hole when it died. Xander handed back the gun and they went back to meet with the group, cleaning off the sweat in one of the fountains on the way. Dawn smiled. Dean gave them a questioning look. "Easy squeazy, filled in its own hole," Xander told him.
"He's a good shot," John agreed. "Dawn, why don't you stay with Dean?"
"Thank you, princess." Tony gave him a horrified look. "What? Usually we'd call for artillery for something that big."
Xander shrugged. "It'd have eaten more and laid some eggs soon. Usually they stay on their own plane but this one apparently wanted the novel birthing experience. It was heading for the Potomac for a water birth."
"Okay then," Tony decided, calling their favorite FBI contact. "Fornell, DiNozzo. Yes, I am downtown. We did see that. No, I'm told it filled in its own hole and it was heading for the Potomac to have a water birth." He hung up on the screaming. He also turned off his phone. "That way they can't GPS track me." He led them to the next museum. Having a cellphone on inside was considered rude anyway so it'd be fine. Gibbs could find him if he wanted to. He had their itinerary and he had DiNozzo sensing radar at times. If not, he'd unleash Abby, who'd search out the entire Winchester clan of hunters with her strange crap sensing radar. He was so glad he was one of the two normal Winchesters. Sam gave him a grin. "How's Stanford?"
"Pretty decent. I take my LSATs next year."
"Congrats. Think you'll do okay?"
"I do. I've got good grades, I've done good on the practice tests and they say those are harder than the originals, the chair of the pre-law department is giving me a personal recommendation. So I think I've got an in. Hopefully with a full ride."
Tony nodded. "If not, there's a kids of GIs bill that could help." Sam smiled at that. "Staying there?"
"I'd like to. I like Palo Alto. It's comfortable to me at the moment. Plus Dawn thinks she might join me some year. That'd be about the same time I graduate law school so I can introduce her to the good places, nice people to know, and show her the bad parts of town to stay away from."
"What does Xander think?"
"Her mother didn't want her in the family business."
Xander looked back. "She has a good college fund," he said quietly. "Held in trust for when she's eighteen." He smirked. "It'll be fine no matter where she wants to go." They nodded and smiled. "I do think being a cop like most of you guys would be too dangerous for her most of the time."
"But there's many other fields, including a straight lab tech if she likes sciences," Greg offered. "That's what I do, even though I want to move into the field."
Dawn smiled. "I'm not sure if I like science or not. All we really have is earth science."
"Chemistry is hard," he offered. "But it's based on a few things. Think about it this way: biology is really chemistry, chemistry is really physics with chemicals, physics is really hard math, and higher level maths could be magic for all I know and understood of them. And yet I'm still a DNA God," he finished with a grin.
"I need to put that on my wall when I take biology," she teased, giving him a hug. "Can I email when I get stuck?"
"Sure. We can help if you want us to." She nodded, walking with him to look at the more modern paintings in the surrealists room. Ryan and Sam followed.
Dean shook his head. "They're going to turn her into a geek."
Xander nodded. "Her mom would like that." That got a grin from Dean. They went to play outside. This high art stuff was not them. They ran into Jethro.
"He's in the landscapes," they said together.
Jethro stared at them. "Which one of you got the huge thing?" Xander slowly raised a hand. "How?"
"Blessed silver I borrowed off John."
Jethro groaned. "Could there be any others?"
"They're not supposed to be around here. They came to give birth in a new location so their tadpoles could grow up big and strong from eating the buildings. They eat concrete."
"Good to know," he said calmly. "Warn me next time?"
"Thank you, Xander. Why aren't you two inside?"
"Too highbrow for us," Dean said.
Gibbs nodded. "It can be." John came out shaking his head. "The kids giggling?"
"They've decided we're some sort of extended clan with three patriarchs."
"Not a wolf clan," Xander said, thinking about it. "They only have one alpha, but I can see the clan remark. With us spread so far...." He walked off considering it until his phone rang. "Yuppers?" He winced at the screaming. "Hey, Buffy." John and Dean stared. "So I take it Giles didn't stop her in time?" He listened. "She's inside the Smithsonian Art Museum with a bunch of officers she's pumping for information on their jobs." He listened to her rant. "Buffy, the people did a genetic test. She's my daughter, not yours. Shut up," he said coolly.
She quit and made squeaky noises. "We knew they had to have a paternal donor to make Dawn," he went on quietly. "The nice people in Social Services who agreed I should have custody over two young women who don't make a paycheck to support her did the test that showed I was the father. Now, you can keep complaining or not. The state said she's in my custody. We'll be back Friday. We can talk then. They are, I just moved into the attic to be with her. Because they don't have a way to pay the bills on the house, Buffy. Do you?" he asked bluntly.
He listened to her complain. "Giles wasn't there. Joyce's will left me Dawn if you were dead. Not Giles, not Willow, me. It also said she wanted Dawn to not hunt and to die a great-grandmother if at all possible. Which I'm helping her with. Yes, I'm with the family. We're in DC this week with the whole clan. She's in looking at expensive art with Sam and the others that were born. It's good for her, her first real vacation trip out of the state, and she can use it in school I'm sure." He listened to her complain.
"You know what? We'll be back on Friday, Buffy. We'll stop to pick up Tara if she's not back yet. We'll be landing at seven at night. That'll put us back there at about bedtime for her. We can talk then, after you beat Willow for doing something you yelled at Dawn about trying." She gasped. "Yeah, you were gone. She pulled you back." She whispered something and he hissed. "I'm damn sorry, Buffy. I tried to have her stopped," he said quietly. "You deserved to be at rest and peace." She whimpered. "I know it's gone downhill. You know what, is Wes in town? He was coming up to stop her." He nodded once. "Okay, go see Angel until we get back. We can meet you there on Friday. We do miss you, Buffy, but this was wrong of her to do. Make Angel see if she botched it." She said something then hung up.
John took his phone before he could throw it. "Go around back, throw a fit," he said quietly, staring the boy down.
Xander looked at him. "She earned her rest," he said quietly. John shuddered. "Wesley didn't get there in time to stop her." John tensed. "And I'm not so sure she didn't botch it since Buffy has memories of playing in the sunlight."
"Tell Dawn later."
"No, I have to tell her. I had her go to Angel. Giles and a full coven came to deal with Willow." He looked around, spotting Dawn. He stared until she looked over. She put on her sunglasses, coming over to join them. "We didn't stop Willow."
She tensed then made herself relax. "And?"
"Talked to your sister. She wasn't happy that I moved in to protect you."
"She never did see you as you were, Xander. The state said so."
"I pointed that out. I also told her about the DNA test." He made her look at him. "I'm not going to pressure you, Dawn."
She smiled slightly, nodding. "I'm in more danger near her. I'm starting to pick up your practical sense thing."
"You get it from your mom. She had a lot of it. Otherwise she would've left you to Giles."
"Good point," she agreed quietly. "Now what?"
"Now? Now we consider some options before we pick her up Friday at Angel's. Because I want someone independent to rule on whether or not Willow botched it."
She swallowed. "Is she better off here?"
"Dawn, she saved the world how many times?" he asked quietly. She choked a sob and he grabbed her to hug, walking her off into the shadows so she could cry on him in private.
Dean came over, guarding them, glaring at anyone who dared look at them funny. He looked at his father. "Rosenburg?"
"A coven came to get her." He looked at Xander's phone, finding the number for Wesley. "This John Winchester. I know this is Xander's phone. He's comforting Dawn, who's crying. We did need to know if you guys needed help with that situation. Because some of us do hunt, young man."
Sam came over to take the phone. "You're which one?" He smiled. "Hi, Gunn. Sam. Xander's little brother Sam, yeah. Dawn and Xander just heard that Wesley didn't stop Willow. My dad needs to know if you guys need hunters to cover that area for a bit while someone deals with the fallout." He listened then nodded. "Friday. We get back at seven that night at LAX."
"We're going to pick up Tara first," Xander called. "Buffy's heading to them to make sure Willow didn't botch it."
Sam nodded. "Xander said he told Buffy to come see you guys to make sure Willow didn't screw up the spell. Yeah, I heard him asking Wesley to stop her. Because resurrection is wrong, Gunn. It taints the one casting it. The soul never comes back the same. There's a lot of prophecies that deal with souls coming back wrong. We need to make sure, before something worse happens. Yeah, like that evil thing. Thanks, man. We were sightseeing."
Dawn straightened up and wiped off her cheeks. "We're still sightseeing. I need to make happy memories and how many times do I get to DC?" She took the phone. "Gunn, hug my sister for me if she's still human but please, however you can, punch the shit out of Willow so I don't have to when I get there?" She smiled. "Thanks, Gunn. The Smithsonians. We just did the art one. Sure, thank you. Hell, I want a drink," she said bluntly. "I'm sure Angel does, Wesley does, and Buffy probably does. Thanks. Keep us in the loop?" She smiled. "Hug Tara for me too please." She hung up and looked at them. "Why would we need hunters?"
"Souls pulled back are notorious for being used as a conduit to open bigger things," John said quietly. She shuddered. "There's also the fact that if she got back too wrong, she's not your sister, she's a higher demon."
"Gotcha. Not that Sunnydale was calm before we left." He nodded, giving her a pat on the shoulder. "I'll be okay. We Summers women are tough and learn to roll with the punches." Xander came over to tuck her next to his side again. She looked at the curious cops. "Where to next, guys? Stuff at home just hit the crapper but we'll fix it when we get home on Friday. After someone figures out what happened."
"Ice cream break?" Tony suggested. She smiled at him for that. "Guys?" They nodded and went to find an ice cream place for a snack. Xander bought Dawn a sundae to make her feel better, eating his own while sitting in a corner of the shop. Tony leaned closer to their table. "What happened?"
"More crap from Willow," she sighed, looking at him. "She decided we needed my sister again."
Tony nodded slowly. "You can do that?"
"No one should do that," Xander corrected. "It's considered a very dark rite." He ate a bite of ice cream. "It's also usually something that gets someone hunted down for."
Tony nodded. "Where is she going?"
"A British coven by what Buffy said." He put down his spoon, looking at him. "They will hopefully straighten her out before I see her and spank."
"She could use it," Dawn agreed. "I'm good on spanking the hell out of Willow for this." She looked at him. "Think Giles will?"
"If he has any sense, yes." She grinned. He grinned at Tony. "It's a shock but we were calling around to have her stopped when she started talking about it."
"Sure. Let us know how it happens?"
Xander nodded. "I can do that." He smiled at the blonde woman walking in. "This doesn't look like Angel's place."
"He agreed with you." She sat down, looking at her sister, then at Xander. "You're her dad?" Xander nodded. "What's with the custody thing?"
"The state has to award custody," Dawn told her. "They gave me to Xander." She stared at her sister. "Are you warm?"
"Yeah, I am," she agreed, reaching over to touch her hand. Dawn flinched away. "Hey, I'm still me."
"Are you sure?" Dean asked as he joined them. He stared at her.
"Did she ever get you back for the food coloring in the shampoo?"
"Yeah, she's been squealing and pouncing me so no girls will hit on me this week."
She rolled her eyes. "That's weak, Dawn."
She smirked. "I have plans, Buffy." Jethro looked over. She waved him off. "That's Grandpa Jethro."
Buffy looked then smiled. "You take after John more but I can see some of him in your face, Xander." She looked at her buddy again. "They took Mom's room?"
"They moved in first," Xander said. "Right after your funeral to cushion her. I had to get out of the lease and calm Anya down while we worked on the state. Where is she?"
"With the coven in Devon." Xander nodded once. "Giles screamed, Xander."
"I'm going to spank," Xander told her. "Because this is something people like John go after you for." Buffy nodded quickly at that. "Are you good otherwise?"
"No. I have some memories I don't want," she said honestly.
Xander nodded. "I can see that." He patted her on the hand. "We'll deal but you should be in LA so they can figure out what she screwed up this time."
She nodded. "I'll go later. I needed to see Dawnie." She looked her little sister over. "You've grown."
"It's been all summer," she said quietly. Buffy reached over and she flinched again. "I'm sorry."
"It's an instinctive reaction," Dean soothed. He looked at Buffy then wrote down a name. "Go see her. She'll know if there's something coming because of this." He pushed it over to her. "She told Dad about what really happened to Mom."
She tucked it into her skirt pocket. "Thanks, Dean."
He grinned. "We're all happy to protect the niece. She wants to follow Sammy to Stanford."
"Your mom wanted her to die a great-grandmother," Xander told her. "She's been pumping all the officers in the group for career info. Sam took her on the tour."
"That's good. I could like that. She should have a life outside the strange we deal with." She looked at Xander. "Why didn't you take Mom's room?"
"Because they were already settled and Willow's getting cranky," he said bluntly. "She and Tara have been arguing about her magic again."
"Ah. Yeah, I heard some of that. We were in LA when I called. Tara hauled off and slapped her then walked off crying. Prophecy?" Dean nodded. "I'll have them look into it. Thanks, guys." She looked at Dawn. "You can tell me about all the pretty stuff you see."
"I can do that." Buffy nodded and got up, getting an ice cream cone before leaving. She looked at Dean. "Why am I flinching?"
"Because you're a white light witch," Xander said very quietly. "She reads as unnatural." Dawn slumped. "She probably always will. You can use it to track her now."
"That's real helpful," she said dryly.
"You can train yourself not to," Dean told her.
She nodded. "I'll work on that later. I didn't flinch at Spike."
"He's not unnatural, he's a vamp," Xander corrected. "Only slightly bad."
"Oh. Okay." She finished her ice cream and looked around. The others had gone on. "Where are we headed?"
"We were going to hit the other two major statues then head to dinner together," Dean said. "Dad said to catch up at dinner." She nodded and they left to catch up to the group. Jethro gave them a look so Dean shrugged a bit. "It's all good now."
Dean walked up next to his father. He was staring at some names on the Vietnam Memorial Wall. "I referred her to Missouri."
"That's not a bad idea," he agreed quietly. He looked at the wall then touched a name. "He trained me."
Dean patted him. "We're all soldiers, Dad. We all chose to die for what we believe in." John looked at him. "I could've hiked off like Sammy did. He chose to not die yet but at a later date for something he believes in then."
John nodded. "I can see that."
"They had ways of not going. Plenty of guys got suddenly injured, maimed before they got to basic, all that."
"True." He patted the wall then backed up. "Thanks, Dean."
"Welcome." He glanced around then at him. "Dawn needs to be taught not to flinch."
"We can work on that later."
"She asked why Spike didn't make her do it."
"That means she botched it."
"A good reason for her to see Missouri."
"Yes, it is."
Dawn walked over. "John, I have no idea what this war was over. They've covered it and our teacher gave us a few different viewpoints but I don't understand why we went to butt into another country."
He smiled sadly. "Neither did many of us, Dawn." He walked her off to tell her about the war and the times going on around them. He had only been there in the last year but it was enough. He had grown up with it on tv nightly.
Dean looked at Xander, who was putting down something. "Relative?"
"Uncle Rory's half-brother." He stepped back, looking at it. "He asked me to put it down." He looked at Dean then at the retreating twosome. "Dad okay?"
"Dawn asked him to explain it to her. It'll help," Dean said.
Xander grinned. "My girl does know when people are in pain." Dean grinned. They walked off together, going to find Sam, who was watching Dawn and John. "You can go talk to them," he reminded him.
"We'll talk later. Dad always gets emotional about the war." He looked at them. Then at the others. Then back at them. "We good?"
"We're fine," Xander promised. That got a nod and they went back to where the others were waiting. John would protect Dawn if something happened and he needed some time. Jethro gave him an odd look. So did Mac. "His rookie service year," he said quietly.
Mac nodded. "He's with Dawn?"
"Dawn said she didn't understand why it happened so he's telling her," Dean said.
"That's a good girl," Jethro said. He smiled. "We're taking nominations for dinner."
"Any of those buffet places that have a lot of different foods?" Xander suggested.
"One just outside town if I remember right," Jethro said. He looked at Tony. "Multi- cuisine buffet?" The others nodded at that. "Where is it, DiNozzo?"
"Um... Hmm. Out by that one mall that we had the suicide at two years ago, boss. The one that we had to figure out how he got up the flagpole. It's up the road from there by about a mile if I remember right."
"We can hit that," Jethro agreed. "Give them directions." He looked at the two boys. "Any more bad things?"
"She's seeing if she's a bad thing. Right now she's just an emotional thing," Xander said. "That was Buffy."
Jethro grimaced. "Wasn't she...."
"Yeah," Dean interrupted. "She was. That's why it's so bad. Why Xander was trying to stop the one who did it."
"Stupid me, I left in other hands," Xander said. "Those who could counter her if she was actively working."
Jethro nodded. "Now we know."
"And it's still evil," Xander agreed. "So I'm going to beat her ass when I get her." He grinned. "She's presently in Devon being beaten by some of her own kind."
"I have a contact over there. We'll see if she can stay for a while." He walked them back to their cars. They got the directions off Tony, who had called the office to get them from McGee, who could look it up online. On the drive over, he called a contact to see if they could keep Rosenburg over there indefinitely. He didn't want her pulling that crap on US soil again.
Xander opened the door, smiling at the guys piling in. "Aw, did you guys come to play Trivial Pursuit with us?" he taunted.
"Yes, and some of us are pretty good," Greg teased back. "You might have to lose your crown."
Dawn snickered. "I think he memorized all the cards a few years back." They all grinned at her since she was happy again. They settled around the seats with their drinks of choice, all non alcoholic since Dawn was in the room, and got down to playing. It was a good way to get to know each other. It devolved from Trivial Pursuit to other games they played at conventions to get to know each other. Mostly from their dorm days. Xander knew some of them from the few comic cons he had been to. Dawn was giggling at some of the answers.
John, Sam, and Dean excused themselves, heading outside the hotel to talk. John looked at Sam. "I'm proud, son."
"Are you... are you happy with it?"
Sam shrugged. "Pretty much. You'd love Jess. She's a good girl. She makes me happy. College is pretty cool. I like most of my classes. Now and then some of the mandatory ones suck but otherwise it's pretty cool." He grinned. "The downtime life is pretty rowdy when we want to jump into the clubs or bars. I'm doing pretty good overall."
"I had someone look at your grades for me your first year."
Sam grimaced. "The PE teacher was a snob who said being trained unofficially wasn't worth it in any book until I put him onto his back and then walked out. Since he couldn't flunk me, not with the chair of the PE department watching due to him harassing a few of the girls, he gave me a D. It's my only failing grade so far. I can retake it later on to replace that grade."
John nodded. "That's good. I thought you had maybe slept in a few too many times."
Sam gave him a look. "No, I don't tend to get hangovers on class days, Dad. I'm more responsible after my first one back in high school."
"If I'd had the formula for that caveman beer back then, you'd both have had a brow ridge after your first beer," he said.
Dean grinned. "I'd still be a hunk even with it, Dad."
John swatted him, shaking his head. "Shut up, Dean."
Sam snickered. "Is that why you had to promise my prom date sex to steal her?"
"She needed it. You were too uptight to give it to her."
Sam gave him a look. "Not hardly. She came back and said I was better." Dean gaped. He smirked. "That's also why I dumped her. I don't want a woman who compares us."
"Good to know." He looked at his father again. "Do you guys need me? A hotty just went into the bar." They waved him off so he went to hunt a different sort of supernatural creature.
John shook his head. "Some year he'll catch something or I'll be a grandfather the traditional way."
Sam nodded. "If so, I'll help the kid if they want to have a normal life," he said quietly.
John stared at him. "Are you at least keeping protections?" Sam nodded, staying silent. "What happens if it comes for you when your first born is six months, Sam?"
Sam shrugged. "I'll do my damndest to kill it. Like you have. I don't see why it should."
"It came after you, son. Not your mother."
Sam slumped then sighed. "I realized that. Who said that whatever reason it likes me will be passed on?"
"I can also paint a damn good set of wards around the baby's crib when it's time. Xander's tried really hard to keep it away from Jess with me but now and then he slips or she eavesdrops. She heard him calling around about Willow. She thinks he's part of some strange cult."
John snorted. "It only seems that way sometimes." He started to reach over then did it, clapping that son on the shoulder. "She'd be proud."
Sam smiled. "Thanks."
"This does mean you can't tell Jess either."
"We won't. We'll keep the normals in the dark until it's necessary. But we can stop around?"
"Sure. I'll email Dean my class schedule every semester."
"That'll work." They looked at the bar when screaming started. "Maybe Dawn was right. Tuesday has some sort of power." They went to save Dean, who was now surrounded by harpies. They got them outside with a bit of baiting. Xander got called and he came down to take Sam's place. He jogged out and started the banishing chant with Sam. John and Dean used their usual rock salt to annoy and keep them off the others coming to see what was going on. Finally they were all dead in piles of smoking ash or banished. John panted, looking at his boys. "We good?"
"Not even a scratch," Sam called back. "You two?"
"Good enough," Dean panted, straightening up. He saw the cops staring at him. "They attacked me, dude."
"What the fucking hell happened?" he yelled.
Sam walked over to calm him down and tell him the truth. The cop gaped so Xander came over to help. John and Dean faded back into the hotel to hide in their rooms. It wasn't even noted to the others in the party so that was good. It was good they could ignore it for a while longer.
Sam got home and smiled at Jess. "Hey." He gave her a hug. "How bored were you? I smell cinnamon rolls."
She pulled back to look at him. "Was your big brother Dean the other guy with the one in the picture on the dresser and Xander on tv?" He went pale. "We should talk."
"They attacked Dean. He was probably hitting on a woman they wanted."
She snorted. "Uh-huh."
"I left that life," he said bluntly.
She stared at him. "Good!" She walked him off to feed her man and straighten him back out. "Xander?"
"Xander helps defend his town from things like that. He's kept it from you at my request."
She stared. "Not a cult?"
She snorted. "Please!" He just stared until she whimpered. "Please?" He nodded, eating another bite. "You left it, right?"
"I did. Unless it attacks me directly or you directly I'm out of the family business. The strange thing is that Xander was hunting before we found out about the program."
She sighed. "How long?"
"Since he was sixteen."
She grimaced. "That's gotta suck."
"Yup." He ate another bite. "So, are you majorly freaked?"
"Dean and Dad said they might show up for dinner some night." She gave him an odd look. "We worked things out. Xander kinda made us and so did Dawn. Dawn wants to have a normal life too. They made Dad see he was being an asshole." He kissed her. "We'll probably come in and find them on the couch some night."
She rolled her eyes. "Fine. I should meet your father." She got up to get him seconds. Then she got pulled into his lap, making her squeak. "Sam!" She swatted him. He kissed her, making her moan. "Sam!" He shifted her so she was straddling his lap. He could have the second helping after he made her feel better. Then he might talk to the local coven about a memory spell so she didn't have to know.
Xander walked Dawn into the Hyperion, nodding at Fred. "Hey."
"Xander." She smiled. "You look just like the picture Tara has."
He grinned. "I should. She took it." Dawn squealed and raced over to hug Tara, getting one back. He looked at her. "Hey."
"Xander." She gave him a hug too. "How was DC?"
"It was so great," Dawn said, babbling as she walked her off. She had even taken a lot of pictures to show off. Including of the hotty other members of the clan. She wasn't related to most of them. It was okay for her to think dirty, nasty, bad girl thoughts about them. Tara blushed but she did like the museum pictures.
Xander smiled as they walked off. Then he looked at Fred. "And?" he asked quietly.
"She's with Angel. They're seeing someone about the possible prophecies."
"Dean gave her a name."
"She called, they already knew and told her what they knew. She sounded a bit tired."
"So am I some days," he admitted. "I'm guessing being slightly psychic is just as tiring." She nodded at that. "The town?"
"Standing," Gunn said as he came out of the kitchen. "The spell went off and she beat some, then the rest fled."
"That's good to know." He grinned. "How many hunters are looking for them?"
"Six, seven," Gunn admitted. "You?"
"No. Not John or Dean either. I know there's one watching me for John."
"Who is he anyway?" Fred asked.
"One of my biological fathers. The Marines were trying to make perfect little future soldiers. They started it back in the late sixties. I was the last one born. The last section had three donors they used. John, a guy at NCIS named Jethro, and a CSI named Mac out of New York. I'm from John and Jethro."
She stared, mouth slightly open. Then she shook her head slowly. "That's so wrong!" she said firmly.
He nodded. "Well, yeah. But they thought more people would quit joining." He shrugged. "John's pretty cool. Even if he does want to drill me in guns and more hand-to-hand."
Gunn shook his head. "So he hunts?"
"He's the sort of hunter Wesley tried to be once." Wesley nodded, coming out of the library reading. "It good?"
"No." He looked at him. "I did try to model myself on your natal family. They're quite impressive."
"Got anything on the demon that took out John's wife?"
"If I had a name or something perhaps." Xander dug out what he had gotten off Dean to hand over. He looked then smiled. "Yes, I do think I do. Ah, and an email address for him. Thank you, Xander."
"Not a problem, Wes. You guys are research gods, not us."
"That's a darling compliment." He smirked. "How was the reunion?"
"Okay until Tuesday. Then a demon the size of Godzilla wanted to lay her eggs in the Potomac. John and I handled that. Buffy showed up and Dawn was crying on and off for a few hours. Then the harpies tried to get Dean for hitting on one while in her human suit."
Wesley shuddered. "That made tv."
"Shit. Sam's gotta be pissed," he muttered, sending him a text message that he was sorry if she had heard.
Gunn smirked. "Girlfriend?"
"My little brother Sam's girlfriend Jess is a normal and he's trying to stay normal so he's not telling her." He looked up as he put his phone back. "She thinks I'm in a cult." They all snickered at that. "So? How bad am I coming back to?"
"Bad," Wesley admitted. "Very bad."
Xander nodded. "Just the town?"
"That's actually slightly calmer. Spike's still up there."
"I'll call him in a few. Someone did spank her?"
Wesley nodded. "Indeed. One of the senior witches turned her over her knee and went to town on her behind. She was begging the Goddess for mercy, Xander."
"I need to get in on that," he said. He saw Buffy and Angel walk in. "Surprise."
"One of our connections got grounded so they switched us to kill most of our layover in Denver."
"That's cool," Buffy agreed. "Dawnie?"
"Tara." He pointed. "Showing off pictures." He stared at her. She slumped. "Are we doing paperwork?" he asked quietly.
"No. I want her to stay in your custody. I can't really do that since I'm known to be dead."
Xander nodded. "That'll work. Do you want me to move out of the attic?"
"We'll try it and see but I don't want to hear Anya getting loud."
"I go to her place. Tara watches her then."
"I can agree with that." She moved closer. "I didn't want her to, Xander."
"We all missed you like hell, Buffy, but this is going to hurt her for a very long time."
She nodded. "I get that. Can I?" He pointed. She went to talk to Dawn with Tara refereeing. "Hey." Dawn looked up. "Are you going to flinch again?"
"Yeah. John think it's because I hold the Key, and it's such a white light artifact or something, that it'll make me. Sorry. I'm training myself not to."
"That's cool. I understand that. I flinch at mirrors." She sat down. "Pictures?" Dawn handed the ones they had already went over to go over them with her. She smiled. "He's cute."
"Ryan is very cute, but he's also got OCD and he's a CSI in Miami. The land of bikinis. He said I can have his couch if I come down on spring break as long as I don't make a mess and I don't come in drunk."
"Better not," Buffy agreed. "We want better things for you than I had."
She smiled. "Drinking is part of the spring break tradition but I'll be good." She showed off the others. "That's Jethro and Mac, the other two daddy donors. Jethro is Xander's other dad. He's kinda uptight and wants Xander to leave Sunnydale, find a good girlfriend, and find a good job that'll make him happy. Anya called Tony," she said, handing over that picture, "to introduce herself to Xander's older half brother. He taped it for Jethro."
"I like them together most of the time. I could do without the info she gives out all the time, but they're cute."
"But he's not fully happy," Dawn told her. Tara nodded. "See?"
"She makes him happy enough but not fully content," Tara agreed quietly.
"Cordelia did the same. He has bad luck with women."
"We know the demon magnet side *has* to come from John. Dean was hitting on girls in the hotel bar and pissed off a harpy pack." Buffy whimpered.
"It was on tv," Tara said. "Xander looked very nice that day helping Sam cast."
Dawn nodded. "He did. And none of the others realized it."
Buffy shook her head. "Now we know." Dawn nodded. "Who else came?" She got into the rest of the pictures to share with the both of them. They'd work out the life stuff at home. Once they got comfortable with each other again.
Mac looked at Danny later that night once they got back to the local airport. "You okay?"
"I'm fine. I can see how Xander came from both parents, but he's a bit strange."
"Yes," Mac agreed. "But a stronger soul than I am. I couldn't do what he does at home."
"Me either. Now I know who to call if we get one." Mac smiled and nodded. "You and your brood good?"
"We're pretty happy to talk to each other. Greg's been giving Ryan ideas to help him get back at Eric in his lab since he's being a pain in the ass."
Danny nodded. "Heard about that. Ryan was talking about switching cities."
Mac nodded. "He told me. I said I'd look up here if he wanted but he decided he wanted the showgirls." He smirked. "That and Horatio might invade like he did the last night when those supposed girls came to try to keep him and Sam."
"That was a bit strange, yeah. I always thought demons were evil, not pros."
"Apparently some needed the cash that badly," Mac said. They shared a cab back to the city.
"Maybe you should move to Montana, be closer to your boys?" Danny teased after a few minutes.
Mac snorted. "I'd be bored within days. No theater, no opera, no pushy police commissioner but I might end up missing that. I could go take over the day shift in Las Vegas if I wanted to. The guy there is supposed to be political and an ass kisser."
"That's putting it mildly after he called Greg to rant about him taking time off right when they got a big case. One of these days Greg is gonna show your temper and explode on 'em," he said, pushing his glasses back up his nose.
Mac nodded. "And Catherine will probably clap," he agreed dryly. "He might even ask Xander how to blow them up. You never know with Greg."
"Who says Greg don't know?" Danny teased.
"He could," he agreed. "He is a chemist." He shook his head quickly. "I think Grissom can handle it."
"We hope," he said with an evil smirk.
"He's more likely to stomp off and go visit Ryan. Those two seem pretty close."
"Then let's hope Xander and them keep the world going and all that."
"Yes, I can hope that."
"You guys know Xander Harris?" the cabbie asked. They both stared at him. "What? Our clan has a branch out there. We've heard of him and what he does with the slayer."
Mac nodded. "We just had a family reunion. Danny's his older half brother."
"Man! They're gonna like you in town." He let them off, waving off the tip. "Not needed. Not everyday you can carry the family of someone so famous."
"What's he famous for?" Danny asked.
"Mostly for going against orders or screwing up something so it worked perfectly and destroyed those who're evil or going insane from the power. Hate to see what he'll do to Rosenburg. It's been The talk of the community. Have a nice night, guys." He pulled away, calling his wife. "I just carried two guys who're related to Harris. Yes, that one!" he said excited. "One wasn't sure why he was famous, clearly not in the family business, but he seemed pretty nice. Both officers. They pulled money out of their ID cases." He smiled. "It is a good blessing on the new one you're about to lay. I'll be home in a few hours." He hung up and went back to driving.
Danny and Mac shared a look then shook their heads. "Next time I'll ask him about the in- laws," Danny said. Mac hiked off laughing. He lived about four blocks away. Danny hiked the three to his place, finding Don waiting on him. "Hey."
"Hey. Saw the thing with the strange, shrieking women on tv."
"What strange, shrieking women?"
Don blinked. "That's right, you were inside somewhere." He replayed the tape he had made of the report. Danny sat down hard to stare at it. "Are you related to any of them?"
"See the smaller young, dark haired guy?" he asked with a point. Don nodded. "I share a father with him but they made him of two of the donors in the group." He looked at him. "Yeah, he does that. Just found out he's famous for it in that sort of circles."
"Huh." He turned it off. "Have fun?"
"A lotta fun." He grinned. "We went sightseeing, we talked, we ate, all that. Ryan is the geek king of Trivial Pursuit." Don rolled his eyes. "Why're you in my place?"
"I came ta see you, dumbass."
Danny stared at him. "You're not Don."
The thing grinned. "Well, no. Not technically. He's in here screaming and whining though. Quite a vocabulary on him. I didn't expect cops to know so many ways of saying fuck."
Danny found his cellphone and dialed one of the new numbers. "John, Danny Messer. I got a possessed guy on my couch." He listened then nodded. "How do I do that?" He made notes while the demon laughed. "Thanks, man." He hung up and clubbed Don in the head. "Always wanted ta do that. That and take the ugly ties and burn 'em." He went to bless some water as instructed and tie Don up so he could do the exorcism ritual John was sending to his email. It got there before he could log on and it was all good for him a few hours later. Don blinked his blue eyes up at him. "Hey."
"What the fuck?" he demanded.
Danny smirked. "How did you get possessed?"
"He said he wanted Xander."
"I'll let him know. So how was your week?"
"Better'n yours. Harpies?"
Danny shrugged. "I was inside trying to beat the geek king Ryan at Trivial Pursuit."
"I heard that." He looked at the ropes then at him. "Can I be undone?"
"Fine." He let him go. "I can't believe you got possessed."
"Hey, she was a pretty woman. She came onto me at the bar. All it took was a kiss."
Danny smirked. "Uh-huh."
"Stick to that story, Flack." He bopped him on the side of the head. "Nap if you wanna. I'm exhausted and have call at eight." He went to get ready for bed, collapsing across it while Don muttered in his living room. He heard Don leave around seven for early mass but that was probably a good thing for him to do. Danny got up to shower and get ready for work, heading in. He saw Mac looking disgruntled. "The higher ups or did someone come to talk to you about Xander too?"
"John, not Xander."
"Nah, I got Flack there to talk about Xander."
Mac stared at him. "Is he okay?"
"Now. Called John."
"So did I. He was not amused and he'll be up here in about two days."
Danny nodded. "That's cool. We can have dinner with him and Dean."
"Dean's heading to Michigan."
"Ehh, I guess there's not enough of 'em ta go around." He saw Lindsay walking their way. "How was your week?"
"Happier than yours. What was that strange attack?"
"Don't know. We were inside."
"Oh." She handed over the folder she was carrying to Mac. "I cleared one. That's the report and all that." She walked off. "I guess I'm open for the next one."
Danny nodded. "Works for me," he said quietly, getting a dirty look from Mac. "What?" he asked with a big grin. "She offered."
"Uh-huh." He walked off shaking his head but smiling.
Stella caught him by his office. "Did you have a good reunion?"
"It wasn't too bad. Not too strange. The group did a lot of sightseeing and picking on a few of the others. One of my sons will hit on anything in a skirt. So will one of John's. As he proved a few times."
"One of John's sons."
"Oh." She patted him on the arm. "Demon hunters?"
"Did a background when I found the file on your desk, Mac." He gave her a dirty look. She only grinned back. "I wanted to make sure we wouldn't have to yell at you like you yell at Danny for having bad friends in your past."
"I don't do that." She stared at him. "I apologized and haven't done it since," he amended.
"Good. We like that." She pinched him on the cheek. "Be a good boy so they don't have to come up here."
"John'll be up in two days to deal with the two things that wanted him and Xander."
"He sounds like an interesting guy. I'd like to meet him." She walked off.
Danny stopped her and walked her back there, pulling out some of the holy water to splash her, getting complained at.
"I need to be dry to work!" she complained, wiping at the water. Mac got her neck and she yelped as it burned. "Hey!"
They handcuffed her to a chair in Mac's office while he called John back. Since they had one trapped....
Ryan looked at Horatio as he came into the lab he was working in. "It still isn't my fault the demonic prostitutes wanted me, H."
"Yes it was."
"No it wasn't!" He looked at him. "Keep it up, Greg's given me plenty of ideas."
"I have no doubt of that." He stared at him. "Should we try to find Gregory a job?"
"Don't know. He's not sure. Then again, if things don't start going better here, I might go join him. Then we'll both move to LA."
Horatio snorted. "You'd hate it."
"Maybe, but maybe not. Xander would only be a few hours away. Sam too."
Horatio moaned. "That whole family is insane."
"They're not. They have a duty and a calling, Horatio," he explained. "One of them took out John's wife over Sam's crib when he was six months old." Horatio shuddered. "If it was a normal human, we'd understand the vendetta."
"So of course he's having a normal human reaction."
Horatio sighed. "I do not want it to impact you down here."
"I have no intention of it. Though I might find some of those girls down here and point Eric at them." Horatio gave him a dirty look so he pulled out the tape recorder in his pocket and replayed the message he had gotten off his machine last night. Horatio growled. "Please?" he asked with a grin.
"That is definitely a bad Gregory habit." He walked off with the tape recorder, going to find Eric. "Eric, a word please?" he asked when he spotted him coming in.
"Can I have ten to hit the bathroom?"
"No." He walked him off, taking him to a private corner to replay the tape. Eric moaned. "I have had enough. Am I clear?" he asked quietly. Eric looked down and nodded. "Good. Should it happen again, Ryan has been given some very bad ideas that would make you regret being born and I will let him start to pick back at you." Eric looked at him. "No more."
"Yes, Horatio. I'm sorry. I don't know why...."
"I don't care why, Eric. It's stopped. Yours. Calleigh's. All of it."
"Yes, Horatio." His boss walked off and Eric went to talk to Calleigh. "I just got chewed a new one because I made a drunken call to Wolfe."
She looked at him. "You knew better when you did it, Eric."
"He knows about your snubbing too."
She grimaced. "I do not. I can work with Ryan."
Ryan leaned in. "Good, because we have a floater that someone pulled out and tossed into a dumpster according to the call in. The fisher called it in himself after dumping the body so he could go back to catching fish."
She grimaced. "Eww."
"Sorry, we're still up." He grinned and walked off. "Hey, Horatio, can Greg come down during spring break?" he asked when he walked past him.
"As long as you both have time off to stare at the semi-naked women," he sighed, shaking his head. He was smiling a bit. Greg was a breath of fresh air. He went to send someone in Las Vegas a nice email about how Greg was welcome in their lab if he wanted to leave Las Vegas due to the politics and pressure. That the half-brothers had gotten very close and they seemed to do each other good.
In Las Vegas, later that night, Greg walked in. "I'm back, my people. Please don't pounce for hugs." He took his inter-office mail from the receptionist with a grin. "Thank you, my dear."
"Grissom and Ecklie are looking for you."
"Ecklie and I need to have a talk anyway." He walked off reading the memos of the last week, laughing at one. He walked into the office and glared at Ecklie. "How dare you call me up while I'm on vacation with my family and complain about me taking vacation just because your dayshift DNA tech is a moron!" He flinched back away from him. "I don't care who you think you are. I applied for it and had the time in. I can take my vacation any time I want, thank you! I don't care if you did just catch a huge case. There are other DNA techs in this lab, one on each shift, and you could pay them to actually do their job instead of making me do mine and half of theirs because they're lazy." He looked at Grissom. Then he pulled out his phone and replayed the voicemail for him. "He does it again and I'm moving." He stared his boss down.
"I see the reunion went well?" Grissom asked, handing him an email that had been given to him by Catherine.
Greg smiled at it. "Very well. Ryan and I are still very close buddies; half of the rest of the family is nuts but we're good." He put it into his back pocket. "I'll keep that in mind if I get another call like that."
"The judge...." Greg glared at him. "Our dayshift tech is out sick."
"Not my fault," Greg told him. He looked at Grissom. "How backed up am I?"
"Quite. The swingshift tech got put into jail for fudging some credentials." Greg groaned. "We've had quality control in."
"You were cleared. All the things you did were cleared." He smiled. "If you go to Miami, I'm sending Nick and Warrick to bring you back. We'll make room for Ryan."
Greg snorted but he was smirking evilly. "They can come watch the bikini wearing rollerblade girls too." He walked off, heading to his lab. He tossed a few envelopes into a few of the labs, hitting the tech's desks. He went into his and nearly moaned at the mess. "I don't give a damn who has been in my lab. They will come and clean up the food wrappers! Now!" he bellowed. "I'm not touching a thing until they do!" A few of the lesser techs scurried in to clean up their mess then left. Ecklie came in while they were cleaning. "Why is it you hired inferior ass kissers?" he asked. Ecklie glared. "Looks like it to me."
"Are you possessed?" Sarah asked as she came in.
"No," he snorted.
"You sure? Because I can find some holy water, Greg." She looked at the mess being cleaned up. "Never mind, that needed bitched about. QC is in layout three if you wanted to talk to them."
Greg nodded, heading that way. "Am I good?" he asked as he walked in.
"You are. Why were you yelling?" He got into the local security cameras for her, making her gasp when he ran the picture back. "That's a good reason."
"Ecklie hires ass kissers before those who can do the job. They're lazy and I do a lot of their work for them."
"That's a good thing since two of them are going to jail," she said. He whimpered. She nodded. "Sorry."
"I get more vacation time for overtime," he sighed, going back to his lab to watch them clean it. "You will scrub it down."
"Taking lessons from your father?" Nick teased as he leaned in. "Holy God, Greg."
Greg looked at him then grinned. "Horatio offered me a spot in Miami."
"We'd have to come steal you back, man." He took the cellphone when Greg fiddled with it. "Please don't leave us without any DNA techs?" he begged.
"I'm not fully considering it. Yet." He took his phone back and put it up. "I did say scrub it," he told one who was heading for the door. He slunk back to do that. He looked at Nick. "Where's my backlog?"
"I'll get it in a few then. Probably a good idea with this sort of mess." He looked at Ecklie. "When are you hiring another inefficient, lazy ass kisser I'll have to do half the work of?" The lab's director stomped off. "Sure, I'll tell the other DNA techs who have a clue to send in letters of interest," he called after him.
"Way to channel your father," Nick teased.
Greg grinned since the lesser beings were leaving. "It felt damn good too."
"It should. I'd have yelled too, Greggo. Let me get your backlog while you check your lab." He went to do that. She looked up at him when he walked in then pointed at a box. "Thanks."
"It's good he yelled. The lab can't do without all three DNA techs."
"Greg just asked Ecklie when he was hiring the next lazy butt kisser."
"I'm sure there's plenty out there." She handed over a second folder. "Have him go over that one please? The report has typos."
He looked then at her "He was pulling the end of a triple shift. He handed the prosecutor a corrected version when he mentioned it."
"Good." She took it back and went to look that up in the case file. He carried the boxes back to the DNA lab. Greg sighed but took them to go through. Oldest samples first. As procedure.
Gibbs and DiNozzo came back for their first day on Monday, and found the Director waiting on them in their row. "Director," Tony said, walking around her. "New case, Probie?"
"Not at the moment." He looked at him. "Have a good time?"
"It was a good reunion. Dawn's a pisser and it was cool to guide her toward a life she'll want someday." He sat down and turned on his computer, shooting a look at Gibbs. Then at him. He glanced at the director's back but got a slight shrug.
"Is there a reason you're staring?" Gibbs finally asked.
"I'm trying to figure out how you knew about that purple Godzilla looking thing."
"My son Xander told me. He helped handle it." He looked at her. "He does things like that for a living."
"I see." She considered it. "I did some checking into the ones you were meeting this weekend. How are you related, Jethro?"
"The Marines had a plan to make future perfect Marines," Tony told her. "They made all us kids." She glared so he smirked back. "Yes, I was one. Xander's the youngest and I think I'm the oldest in this group. Boss?"
He counted. "No, John's son in Nevada is I think. The one that just got out of jail for protecting himself. You're third oldest I believe. Mac's son in Houston is a few months older."
Tony nodded at that. "That's cool. I'm still the oldest Winchester, which made Dean pout."
Gibbs smirked. "You two trade pranks?"
"Yup," he said happily.
"I don't want to see them here."
"Of course not." He looked at the director. "So, why the worry because the Marines wanted him to have more kids? Xander's a kick ass son."
"Literally by the news," McGee said dryly. They glared at him. "The, um, attack on the hotel was covered."
"We were watching the geeks play Trivial Pursuit, Probie."
"Oh, that's good I guess." He nodded and ducked his head when the director glared.
She glared at Jethro. "This new...family of yours is going to cause you problems, Jethro. Your son has a sealed file."
He nodded. "He helped take down a unit that was using torture and experimentation on residents of his town." She shuddered. "He and his friends protested greatly and ended up having to break in to deal with it. Though, one of the flags does come from before then. Apparently they had something like that purple Godzilla thing and he needed artillery so he broke into a National Guard base to get it. The local commander out there found out why and flagged him but reported it as reasonable and a good reason to break onto a base."
She growled. "There are those who're looking into this program now."
Jethro shrugged. "Means it can't happen again, Jen." She stomped off.
"Remember, we're more like a clan than a family," Tony called after her. "Three alpha dogs and then us kids." He looked at Gibbs, who was giving him an evil look. "We are. You think the boys won't come after her if she tries to hurt you? Or Mac? Mac's lab will go after her if she bothers him plus his boys."
"They will. I'd hate to see it if she went after the Winchester clan." He shook his head. "She'll learn."
"I'm sure she will sometime," Tony agreed dryly. "Hopefully soon."
"It'll be soon enough. The Sec Nav had the same talk with me at six this morning when he interrupted my run. He said he's locking it at a higher level of classified since we all know now."
Tony nodded. "That's fine. Though I did tell my mother I knew about the program. She went on a shrieking, wailing fit that brought my father out of his office for a change. I told her I had met John and his boys and she got louder. My father growled a bit but I laughed it off. So we'll see if something comes from that direction."
Gibbs stared at him. "Don't tempt your brothers to introduce themselves."
Tony smirked. "I asked them to leave them alone."
"Uh-huh. Dean and Xander like picking at painful spots." They got into their last casefile to finish things up before a new case came in.
Abby came bouncing up and stared at them. "Why didn't you tell me you knew a Xander, Gibbs?" she asked with a pout.
"Figured you heard of him," Tony told her with a small grin. "I share one of his fathers with him and Gibbs is the other."
She gaped, then hugged them both. "That is wickedly cool. Are you going to learn how to hunt, Tony?"
"Nope. John gave me a practical list of what to do if something happens in the field." He grinned. "It's a lot harder than this job is and doesn't come with health benefits. Even though it seems like you need health benefits pretty often."
She nodded. "That's true. You do end up banged up all the time." She looked at Gibbs. "Do you think you can get Xander to autograph something? Or get one of his friends to?" He wrote down an address for her, making her squeal. "Thank you!" She ran off to write him a nice letter to introduce herself and the rest of the team to him. Maybe she'd even get one from *Sam*. He was so adorable!
Gibbs shook his head. "I wonder if the kid knows he has a following."
"He thinks they watch him because they're paranoid, boss," Tony told him. "Not any other reason. Though, with his dating history...." Gibbs groaned. "Did you finally talk to Anya?" he taunted with an evil smirk.
"Twice. She called back when I lost the signal."
"At least Xander said no grandbabies from them."
"Thank God," he muttered. He even looked up. "Can my son maybe have a good girl to date?" He went back to work. "DiNozzo, report?"
"Proofreading and I need a conclusion section, boss."
"I sent it over before you got here, boss."
"Thank you." He got into it then looked at the spare desk. "Where is David?"
"Girl issues; she's having a girl exam today," McGee told him. "I have no idea why and I wasn't about to ask."
Tony nodded. "Me either." He finished his rereading and put on the conclusion for the report, then ran the usual checks on it.
to the epilogue/part 2