"You're on the air, Atlanta. Speak to us," Xander answered his phone.
"Aw, crap. Harris, we need your boss."
"She's somewhere in the Bermuda triangle on vacation. What do you need delivered?"
"I doubt you could handle this situation," the commando team leader sighed. "No chance of reaching her?"
"No. though you'd be surprised at what I can and have handled while in Africa and training slayers," he said dryly.
"You trained…slayers," he said flatly.
Xander smirked at his phone's base. "What does it look like?"
"Four-seven, kind of light lime green undertones. Small horns in a crown?"
"I know them. They're generally nice guys. They usually speak English. It was adopted as the clan language or something. Offer him two rolls of Mentos and a pack of gum."
"Gum," he demanded.
"Yeah, they all have major sweet teeth. That's the going price for info. Go up by packs of gum. I'll translate if you need me to."
"Thanks, I think." He was clearly walking by the sounds coming through. "Does this mean we can have the same special treatment Clay's team gets?"
"Sure. You become as badass as Uncle Clay and I'll give you the same perks," he joked back.
"Figures you're related with their perks but I know the limit of my skills."
"Are you going to the conference? I'm keeping track in case I have to send gear."
"We're going to try. That way we can hear intel on other areas down here."
Xander made that note on his scorecard for the conference. "Okay. If something happens I'll factor your team into things."
The team leader cleared his throat. "Excuse me. Xander said your people are decent. Do you know the man you work for hurts children?"
The demon coughed and moved closer. "We are honorable beings, Lieutenant. For the remaining six days of my contract, he can't find them."
The commando was clearly pleased with that answer. "Are you leaving the area after it's done."
The demon laughed. "I may be encouraged to take a contract of non-interference. I have an egg I should watch toddle around while he finishes breaking his shell."
Xander grinned. "You can ask the local Grendels to finish breaking it."
"The healers say there's no harm yet, Xander," the demon assured the phone.
"Let me know if you need to find one."
"Of course I will. Only that one can pay me in Mentos. He finds me the good flavors. "
"What would you like instead?"
"A box of grape Hubba-Bubba. I can never find any when my nestmate craves it."
"Just the one box like what stores put out?" Xander asked.
"Any alternate flavors if I can't find it locally?"
"Strawberry or whatever red flavor it is?"
"Done. I'll send it by tonight," Xander promised.
"Then I will gladly take those children to meet my new egg," the demon agreed.
"Thank you," the commando said.
"Xander, I have heard you have found one of his type to nest with."
Xander huffed. "No, he's on my uncle's team."
"I have heard much of your cousins," the demon said.
"Not that Uncle. His brother, Uncle Clay, is in that guy's field.
"Still, it would be good for you," the demon agreed. "There would be much celebration if you took him in."
"Sorry, no celebrating yet. Someday I'll get another one like Anya."
"Many fear what that one would do," the demon complained. "You should take that one that's noted to be yours."
"He saw me naked and wasn't interested."
"Why?" the team leader asked. Hey, he was getting blackmail and it was good!
"Post grad roadtrip. I ended up stripping. Jensen got me away from some serial killers who were all too thrilled to buy me as many drinks as I could hold and up my paycheck wonderfully."
"Does Clay know about that?" the team leader asked.
"Yeah. Uncle Clay ordered him to extricate me. Then we got drunk in celebration."
"Kid, maybe you should hit on him anyway. Your last one got taken out by their team for trying to do a bad James Bond villain plan."
"I know. Who do you think warned you guys when she tried to make me her loyal minion?" he joked.
"Take Jensen, kid. None of us will say a single *thing* about it to him. Maybe he can train you too."
"You have not heard what he did in Sunnydale with his slayer or later when he went to train some of the younger ones?" the demon asked. "We have all heard many stories of what has happened that he has helped with."
"We thought he was a goofy gun nut."
"Many days since he is mateless," the demon agreed. "My new contract will start once I have my payment and after 10, when my old one runs out."
"I'll go to the store in an hour," Xander promised. He hung up so he could log his notes. His poor reputation. Or Jensen's.
Xander walked into the bar. His 'shipping' contact sneered at him. "Why should I keep up this deal since it does not benefit my family too much?"
"I can get someone else," Xander offered with a grin. "That would mean you'd lose protection though."
"You are one normal human man who is missing an eye," he countered. "Not much protection."
"Who trained slayers," Xander said smugly.
"You are not Council now, Human."
"You're right. I'm on for apocalypses and to keep the local area calm. I can always find someone else. There's plenty of witches who would like my contacts when the next one comes. Even Rosenburg. Though I hear she's looking into spawning." The demons in the bar shuddered. He grinned as he pushed the box over. "It goes to Panama."
"Someone ran into one of their clan?" another demon asked.
"It's amazing how natives of Sunnydale show up in the strangest places."
"To Groo's bridge partner?" the demon sighed.
"Please. By the way, Buffy said the next apocalypse is in two months in the Midwest. My girls are already heading with my cousins."
"They are not yours. I have heard your cousin married his slayer," the shipping demon sneered.
"Yeah, he did. He's a wonderful stepdad to her daughter too. I trained Inana too. She's a wonderful compliment to Dean's skills." They all groaned. "The others I'm working on to make them better too. Long distance but some of them slack horribly." He grinned. "Now?" The demon sent the package on. "Thank you."
"Fine. When is the next problem out here?"
"That depends on when the evils of the law firm show back up," he quipped. "Or did I not get that whole nest last week?"
"You did," the demon sighed. "I had money on you being hurt."
"A few scratches. Nothing too bad." He smirked as he left the bar. "Thanks," he called as he walked out the door.
The demons all got a drink to survive him having one of *those* days. Again. He really needed to find a new nestmate. They had heard rumors but even those who bet on such things weren't sure if the boy would take in a male nestmate who might be as tough as he was. They weren't about to ask the boy's uncle if the rumors were true so they were watching heavily. They would see soon enough he supposed, getting a second drink. He hated humans.
Clay walked into the bar the team leaders part of the local conference on South and Central America was going on in. He nodded at someone he knew, getting a point. He sat down at the card table, pulling out cash. "Deal me in." He got dealt in. "Are we the last in?"
"Not yet. Volger is on his way up. Their last job got complicated by a demon who was carefully hiding the children from the asshole they were after. Once he got that one out of the way, he took out his target and they started this way yesterday morning," the team leader dealing said. "I have no idea what that little bastard Harris told him."
"I asked Xander when I ran into him," another one said. "He used to work with slayers. He said he's a 'take out the harmful ones' sort."
Clay nodded. "He is. He was down here?"
"No. I was in LA a few weeks back and he was out tracking someone down." He smirked. "Your nephew is getting a rep."
"He has a rep," he said dryly. "What I'm trying to figure out is why a few of them have come up to my geek and babbled at him like they were happy to meet him."
The team leader choked. "Volger," he wheezed. They waited and stared until he caught his breath. "Volger said that the demon wanted him to take your geek in as his personal boytoy. Or the other way around if your boy's tough enough to top him. Said there's some bets and things."
"Wonderful," Clay muttered, shaking his head. "I can't say those two are more than friends. Jensen can't ever get a woman but I don't think he'd hit on Xander. Though I might worry less if he did."
Volger walked in and flopped down, pulling out some money too. "Your nephew is scarily sharp," he complained. "He told me how to bargain with the one demon that was in our way. He wanted gum." Clay shook his head with a small sigh. "It worked. The demon gave us a lot of help, including layout notes." They all looked at him. "Seriously."
"What rumors are going around about him and Jensen?" Clay asked. "I haven't heard any."
"Your geek saw him naked?"
Clay growled. "Xander's car broke down on a road trip. He ended up stripping in Oxnard." A few guys choked. "Saw him?" he asked lightly.
"Nighthawk was *Harris*?" one demanded. Clay nodded. "No wonder you had one of your guys get him out of there! The night I saw him there were at least three serial guys wanted in LA watching him like he was their candy of choice and they all wanted a taste. The kid was *real* good at teasing without follow-through with them. It probably saved his ass."
"Jensen said there were three the night he went to soothe himself from not getting a girl again." He shook his head. "The boy's going to be the death of my nerves yet."
"Jensen or Xander?" Volger teased. "I can see either of them doing it to you."
"Both," he agreed dryly. "Aren't we playing?" They all put in their bets. "Anything good going around about this meeting?"
"Not yet," the dealer admitted. "If so, I'm told we'll have gear sent as soon as we let the kid know."
Clay nodded. "Xander does love weapons." They all smirked at him. "No idea if he's bi or not, guys. If so, I might sacrifice Jensen to him so I don't get another niece-in-law like the last one he almost married." They laughed. "Honestly. Heard of Anyanka?" Most of the leaders shuddered. "Xander nearly married her. He left her at the altar." They all moaned and shook their heads. "So my next one should be one I like at least a little bit." They all nodded. He texted that to Jensen. Who sent back a huffy sounding 'I'm not gay and I'll beat him if he started that rumor'. Clay sent back another one about who had started it and Jensen said he'd help eliminate any that wanted him that way. "My geek said he'd thank them with bullets if they suggested it to him."
"Xander denied it," Volger told him. "It sounded more like they were trouble buddies."
"Please don't remind me," Clay said quietly, shaking his head again. "Those two are bad when they work together." The others laughed but they'd probably learn soon. Jensen would try to prank someone at the conference. The other geeks weren't as tough as he was. Clay would have to talk to his nephew soon about this rumor going around, see where it started so he could end it. Quickly. It'd probably impact the team.
Jensen looked at the man in front of him. "Who said I was dating Harris?"
"Someone told me that a lot of people are expecting invitations to the underworld ceremony of the year," he said with a shrug. He was another geek on a team. They were having their own get together in a different bar, for security reasons and to finally be able to talk to people who understood more than 'you push that key and it works' on computers.
"No, sorry. I like the kid. He's a nice guy. We can play pranks on the others together but I'm not going to pounce him. I've got to get that rumor stopped."
"Volger's team heard it too."
"Not our fault, man."
Jensen looked at the guy. "Xander likes to date scary, evil things. When we were on break in New Zealand, he got held for his own safety after six drug dealers wanted to keep him and a germ doc proposed." The other geeks all looked awed at that. "Xander is like a favorite of chaos people everywhere. With guns." They all grinned at that. "He's an anime geek, not a computer one, and he's good at what he used to do. I like the kid as a friend but we've got to get that rumor stopped." He called him. "Have you heard this insane rumor….." He listened. "They're *betting* on it?" He moaned, shaking his head. "No, stop them, Xander. Thank you. Yeah, we're mostly in. Thanks, man." He hung up. "He'll try harder to stop this pain-in-the-ass rumor. Before I have to stop it myself." He took a drink of his beer. "Any of the security checks going bad?"
"Not yet," the geek in charge notes from behind his laptop. "So far everything's going good." He looked up. "Harris isn't a computer geek?"
"No, he plays some games on his but he's not into hacking or anything like that. His best friend was and she drove him off them. I'd hate to see what he would do if he was taught how to use them better." They all grinned at that. "He's a good kid. I love the guy in a brotherly way, but there's a reason why his uncle has three nephews who will someday look at him and wonder where they all got the badass gene from. Xander spent two years in Africa. After he lost the eye."
"He's missing an eye?" one of the others asked.
"Yeah, apparently some evil minister popped it on him. That's all he told us." He shrugged. "Who knows since he was active in Sunnydale's defense for seven years before then." They all shuddered. "He did good work but he was at the battle that sank the town. Then the rest went to Cleveland and Xander went to grieve in Africa."
"That's something I wouldn't have expected from that family," the head geek said. "Who was he grieving?"
"His former fiancée. They were starting to get close again but she fell during that battle." He finished his beer and waved for another one. "Clay made him take a break when he got back from Africa. New Zealand was a bit …odd but good for the team and him. The girls seem to draw a lot of psychos."
"Clearly," the head geek said, letting him see something.
Jensen read it before texting it to Xander so it could be passed on. He got back a thank you and it was handled already. "He said it's already a non-issue." They all smirked at that. "He does his uncle proud with how he is. We just wish he'd date better girls. Clay got pissed that the last one came from Xander's dating history. Again." They all laughed. The kid couldn't be that bad, right? Not like his uncle dated girls *that* bad.
Xander heard about the problem and sighed, texting his boss before going to his armory. He really would like for his uncle to quit getting into trouble with bad guys. He hadn't even slept with this new one! He loaded himself up and went to his bedroom to change clothes. Once he was ready he found the charm that would take him to wherever his uncle was. He switched the phones to his cellphone then activated the charm. He looked around the scene in front of him, shaking his head. He walked around one of the officers.
"Sir, you can't go in there!" he shouted. "Freeze!"
Xander stared at him. "My uncle is in there and I can probably stop this really quickly."
"But… they're terrorists," he complained.
Xander nodded. "Something like that, yeah." He walked around the guy trying to get in his way. He was clearly in charge and Xander smirked. "Don't worry, I'll leave you some."
"We can arrest you for trying to interfere," the officer said firmly, moving toward him. Xander kindly kicked his ass then looked down at him. "What are you?" he moaned.
He smirked. "Trained." He walked up to the hotel's front door, then shrugged and threw a few small, silver balls at the walls. Then he set them off. The wall melted so he walked in past the horrified people. "Bill! My man!" He smirked at the commando. "Funny seeing you here, man."
"Xander. What are you doing here?" he demanded in a hiss.
Xander stared at him. "Duh, Bill. What do you think I'm doing here?" He gave him a look. "You might wanna give my uncle back. Otherwise I'm calling down the girls." The commando stepped back, giving him a horrified look. Xander smirked evilly. "Well? I'm waiting." He shot a few people coming in. "Pity." He looked at the guy in charge again. "Do I need to take all your people out, Bill?"
Xander smirked. "Did you think I didn't keep up my own network? Dude, remember who I was before I got talked into retiring." He shot him in the leg and walked off. A few more tried to get him but the simple graze only stung. He looked at it then the man giving him a horrified look. "I'd fucking run. I like this shirt." The man took off running toward the officers. Xander got into the basement by blowing the whole door. That took care of any explosives near it. It was pretty too. Xander waved the smoke out of his way, handing the commando there the gun in his hand, then taking one off his back waistband to hand to his uncle with a grin. "Hi. Does this mean I don't have to set up the hookers to come tease people?" He looked his uncle over. A few bruises. A split lip. Clearly a sore wrist. "Want help?"
"What are you doing here?" Clay asked quietly.
"As I told Bill, duh." He glared. "Where else would I be, Uncle Clay?" He walked around him. "Guys, I doubt they're coming back. You can probably come upstairs to the light again." He got out of Jensen's way, looking at the man he was helping carry. "Find me a table, guys." He followed them, doing the stitching himself.
Clay stopped someone, shaking his head. "Let him. He's fairly good at it. Had to be in his former life." He looked at his nephew, who glanced over and grinned. "Retirement, Xander?"
"Do you see Inana or anyone here with me?" he asked dryly, getting back to what he was doing. "Hi, Rory. I talk to you a lot but never met you in person." The man gave him an odd look. Xander smirked. "The things you learn on patrol, man." He finished up and bandaged the cut. "There, better?"
"Much." He sat up with a groan and some help, holding his head. "Are they all gone?"
"Well, some ran at the officers when I kindly made the hotel a sun-friendly entryway." He grinned. "I didn't scout the rest but they sure as hell got out of my way."
Clay motioned some guys to search for others then turned to look at his nephew. "Go home?"
"Can't I pick up my next evil chick?"
"No!" He stared him down. "I'm going to jump on a bandwagon. Jensen, want him?"
"Still straight, Clay," he joked, giving him a dirty look. "Otherwise I might. Who knows." He looked at Xander then at the hole in the wall. "How did you do that?"
"Trade secret," he said with a grin and a wink. He walked off, moving around the officers. "See, I solved it without any officers being hurt," he said with a grin for the one in charge.
"You're going to jail for using explosives in front of officers." Xander sighed and pulled out his wallet, holding up his ID. The officer gave him a horrified look and backed off. "Never mind."
"I'm not here officially. Some of them are relatives." He shrugged and put his ID back. "Besides, they had termites. They would've had to tear things down and start over again." The officer shuddered. "I saved them some remodeling costs." He grinned. "Let me go find my next evil girlfriend." He strolled off.
Clay shook his head. "Someone stop Xander from dating." A few guys ran after him to stop him.
"Hey!" Xander complained when they grabbed him. "I deserve a new evil girl."
"No," his uncle told him. "You need paddled for jumping in."
Xander gave him a pointed look. "And *where* do I get that from?" he asked dryly.
"Clearly your mother," he shot back, staring his nephew down. "I don't feel like shooting the next one."
"So have her arrested instead." He shrugged. "The last one could have been." He grinned and disappeared thanks to the charm.
Clay growled. "That's it. I'm paddling him."
"Can we have tape?" Jensen asked.
"Yup. You can witness it before I send you two off together. I'm sure Rosenburg could bind you two together somehow." He walked off, going to deal with the rest of the situation.
Little Tara, Sam's stepdaughter through his slayer and wife, smiled at the baby she knew. "Poochy baby," she cooed, toddling over to pet him.
"That's very good, Tara," Pooch's wife said with a smile. The baby beamed at her. "You're very smart." She let her son down to play with the little girl. He patted her back with a smile. "Some day you two are going to be really great friends."
"Mine?" she asked, beaming at her father. "Daddy! Poochy baby!" she squealed.
Sam came out of the office, staring at her. "Yes that's his baby boy. Good job, Tara." She beamed and patted him again. "Why don't you two go play with your blocks?" He pointed at them. She walked over, taking her friend with her to play with the soft, brightly colored foam blocks. He smiled at the other mother. "At least she likes him. She called Dean a turd yesterday." She cracked up. "Sanya hiding in the kitchen?" She smirked and nodded. He huffed, going to find her. "Sanya, do we need a test strip?" he asked, kissing her gently but staring down at her.
"Maybe," she admitted sheepishly.
He grinned. "That's fine with me. We'll be good to this one too." He took another kiss. "Need help?"
"No, I'm about done." She finished the drinks and brought the tray out. "Tara, be gentle." She ran over to hug her and babble at her. "I know. He's a good friend to have. Go play with him." She ran over to pounce her friend and babble at him. He babbled back so it was good with them. She smiled at the other mother. "Thank you for giving her someone to fuss over today."
"She's a sweet girl, Sanya." She took her tea. Her husband walked in, looking confused.
"Tara wanted someone to play with. They're adorable together."
"They are," he agreed, smiling at her. "Is Xander here?"
"Nope, he's in Bangladesh with the newest evil thing he's sleeping with," Sanya said dryly.
"Is this one running weapons?" he guessed.
"No, she's running gems and a syndicate," Sam said dryly. "He bragged that she could use him as a gem counter. Her brother is running artillery."
"I wonder if she's sharing him," Pooch's wife said, considering it. "I know a lot of people want to make him take Jensen in."
Sam snickered. "Some of the higher demons are making bets on when they get together or when Uncle Clay forces them together." They all giggled at that.
"I think Jensen wanted enough explosives to make sure they decided it couldn't happen," Pooch offered. He sat down next to his wife. "Hi, Tara."
"Poochy!" she squealed, waving at him. She patted the baby. "Poochy baby!"
"Yeah, that's the son," he agreed with a smile. She beamed and went back to fun game of beating each other up with blocks. "They're going to be fun to watch grow up."
His wife looked at him. "Maybe." He smirked back. Jensen and Clay walked in with Cougar behind him.
"Bouncy!" Tara squealed, running over to Jensen. Who smiled and picked her up to bounce her around. She giggled and cackled, reaching for the sacred hat she always wanted and never got.
"No, not this time either," Cougar said.
She beamed at him. "Boom boom! Unclie!" she said, spotting Clay. He patted her on the head. She pointed at the hat and made begging noises.
"That's up to him, Tara, not me." He sat down.
She ran over to the couch to pat it, grinning at Jensen. "Bouncy?"
"Sure, I'll sit there." He sat down. She climbed up into his lap and bounced on his lap. He patted her on the back. "Your daddy should take you to see horses. My niece loves them."
"She saw some at the carnival and tried to smuggle one home," Sanya said, smiling at her daughter. "You're leaving him all your blocks?"
Tara pouted so Jensen got up to help them play. Both babies liked that. For some reason the babies liked him. "Isn't he here yet? He's the one that called the family reunion," Jensen pointed out.
"He'll be back from Bangladesh later," Sam said, rolling his eyes. "Dean's picking him up at the airport."
"Turd!" Tara said happily.
Clay looked at her. "Dean's not that bad, Tara. Most of the time." Sanya laughed at that, shaking her head.
"I think she wants to call him a bastard," Pooch's wife said.
"Probably. I do," Sam said dryly. "Let me get you guys something to drink."
"Tea please," Jensen said with a grin. "That way it can get stolen." Sanya gave him some and both kids tried to take his glass on him. "Can't I have some?" he teased. Tara stole it with a happy grin and drained it, toddling it over to her mother to refill for them.
"You should learn how to ask properly, daughter," Sanya mock-scolded but refilled it and handed it down the line for him.
"Mother fucker!" Dean shouted outside.
"Did you get another flat?" Sam yelled, heading that way. "The kids are in the living room, Dean. Watch your language."
"No, they just found a fully active two-year-old slayer." They shared a look. "Willow wants to bring her home. She's in foster care."
Sam considered it. "Ask Sanya." He went inside to tell her that. Sam looked up then sighed and called Xander. "Everyone but you is here." He listened. "Cool beans." He hung up. "Dean, Xander's landing in ten minutes," he called. "He's handing the new ex to the FBI when he lands so it'll take about a half hour." Everyone inside groaned at that information. He walked back inside. "She wanted him to help her smuggle."
Clay took the phone to call him back. "If you did bring a *security fund*," he growled. "I would hand that over as evidence, nephew. Every. Single. Piece. Agents frown on those things." He hung up. The phone got tossed back. Sam put it on the charger. "I have got to teach that boy the rules about bringing home things."
Jensen looked over from his playing, smirking at his boss and friends. "He doesn't have a warehouse this time."
"Only the hidden weapons stashes," Dean quipped with an evil look at his uncle. "Wasn't his new boss horrified that he has a perpetual pardon for weapons dealing from a few countries?"
"Yup," Cougar said, smirking at him. "Any idea where his collection is?"
"Around the house," Sam and Dean said, parroted by Clay.
"Not with what he bought last month," Jensen quipped. "Unless it went to Cleveland."
"No, the new arms master said that their apocalypse closet was getting bare again," Sam said dryly. He looked at Dean. Who shrugged.
"No clue. I haven't gotten him to brag about guns recently, dude." He shifted. "Hey, Sanya, can I have some tea too?" She handed him a glass with a smile. "Thanks." He grinned. "So, anything you wanted to share?" he asked casually.
"It's not official," she pouted.
"Uh-huh." He took a sip and looked down in his glass then at her. "You made Atlanta tea?"
She smirked back. "Good Eats."
"Cool." He took another drink. They heard a car outside pause then drive off. Xander walked in a few minutes later. "You done?"
"What did you keep?" Clay asked calmly.
"They let me keep one as a reminder," he said with a shrug. "Since I handed them over six mil in diamonds." The guys all moaned. Sanya whimpered. He looked at her then at Sam. "Need help on the defense plan?"
"Huh?" he asked.
"Cardinal rules of the Slayers' safety, Sam: things come for Slayers. We need to make sure nothing comes for yours."
"Oh!" He nodded. "Home security system, anti-demon wards, and maybe some earth witch made ones?"
"That's a good start. I'll ask some of my underground contacts about it, telling them it's for a girl I'm thinking about taking in." He settled into a chair, grinning at the others. "What? She picked me up in a club in LA and took me home with her. I needed to look at a few places over there anyway for reference. Then her brother caught us making out, he complained to her about the family business. I went geek over weapons...." He smirked. "He hit on me too. The FBI really loves him." He smirked at his uncle. "The agents were very nice and they knew about me already. My profile is in the system?"
"Yup," Pooch and Jensen said together.
"After the thing in Argentina, definitely," Jensen complained.
"No, it's older than that."
"Could've been Finn's crap," Dean offered. "So.... The Council apocalypse closet. Aren't you supposed to be buying for that?"
"I sent stuff to Dan last night."
"He said this morning it was running low."
"I sent him stuff." He called. "Dan, Xander. Didn't you get the shipment from last night?" He grimaced. "I'll find it." He hung up and called someone else. "Those had better be in Cleveland within twenty more minutes or I'm going to find them and give everything I find to the girls." He hung up on the horrified, squeaky noises. He grinned. "The shipping company was late."
"Is this the same shipping company that you busted for the other weapons last month?" Dean asked dryly. "The one that meant you gave Dan a huge bunch of higher weapons?"
"Yup. Until I can find another one. Most of them won't move weapons."
"That's because they get in trouble for that," Jensen quipped.
"I know, and it sucks," Xander quipped back with an evil grin.
"They don't want the other gun nuts to have higher weapons," Clay said dryly. "I feel the same way about you having artillery, Xander."
"I give most of mine to the Council," he said.
"All artillery," Clay ordered. Xander pouted. "Today."
"Today?" he complained.
"Yup," Cougar said. "Even with those papers, it's still not something people would overlook."
"It was easier in Sunnydale," he pouted. Tara waddled over and beamed at him. "Hi, Tara."
She leaned on his knees, making begging noises and pointing at his glass. He let her drink some and she beamed, patting him hard on the leg. "Shithead!" she said with a beaming smile.
He smirked at her, tweaking her nose. "You've been listening to Uncle Dean again, huh?"
"Clearly," Sam said, glaring at Dean. "I'm going to start a swear jar when you're here."
"Sparring practice the next time," Sanya said with a smile.
Xander looked at her, shaking his head. "Not until after you pop." She pouted. "Uh-uh. You got away with it when you were carrying Tara because no one knew. Do you really want Faith to hear about it again?"
She shuddered, shaking her head. "No thank you. She yelled when she caught me at the hospital."
"Ya think?" Sam asked dryly, giving her a dirty look. "She nearly yelled you to death, Sanya."
She smirked at him. "Some day she'll have to yell at Inana."
"She's not dating yet," Dean said dryly. "Thank God for that. I'm not ready to answer girl questions about that stuff."
"Dean, you work in a building full of young women who gossip. If she needs questions answered, I'm sure she's got a whole lot you can refer her to," Clay pointed out dryly.
"She doesn't gossip and she's in awe of the senior girls."
"I used to be in awe of their clothes and how little they wore sometimes," Xander quipped.
"I still am," Sanya admitted.
"Me too," Dean said. "Dad too. He *so* bitched at Buffy about hers. She walked off calling for Willow to un-resurrect him."
"Well, one of them may come back sometime soon," Clay said dryly.
"Mom probably," Sam and Dean said together, then Sam smirked at his big brother.
"How did you manage to knock her up anyway, Sammy? Last I knew you couldn't do a thing with a girl except babble and look shy." Sanya blushed and muttered something in her native language.
Xander cracked up and said something back, making her blush brighter as she headed for the kitchen. "I know you're good to her, Sam. That's all that matters to me."
"What did she say?" Jensen asked.
"That he knew how to do more than stammer and blush at a girl now. With some TMI about him learning something from the stories Anya told." He grinned at his cousin. "Glad I could help, Sammy. Even if it was only in stories and memories of Anya bragging." Sanya called something in her native language and he giggled. "I doubt he heard from that one tribe, Sanya. Besides, wasn't Inana with me? Or Ten?"
"Ten shared," she called, coming out with a plate of snacks and cookies for Dean. Dean smirked at her, reaching over to grab them. The kids had cookie sensing radar and he was a soft touch so he had to share when they pouted at him. Jensen pouted too. Sanya scowled at him. "Beg your mate, Jensen, not Dean. He barely shares with the babies."
"We are *not* together," Jensen told her.
"If Xander gets into trouble due to his collecting or his girlfriends, you will be," Clay assured him. "He'd be very protective of you. He'd let you work on the team but help whenever you needed him to. You could keep track of his collections and you do look good by the pool at his place. He's very sweet but a bit volatile."
Xander leaned over to look at his uncle. "The last time I went gay, I was possessed on the order of a Shaman trying to help me, I was wearing sandals and not much else outside of body paint, and there was a fire, some homebrew mixed with a few herbs to loosen me to the possessing spirit, and six hunters who needed blessed. The one I chose became the new village lead hunter and the newest elder." He smirked at the horrified looks Cougar and Clay were sending his way. Pooch's wife was giggling about it but that was fine. "It took eight days of them courting to earn me." He leaned back. "The last I heard, he was still going strong. Got offered another wife."
Sanya gaped at him. "I didn't hear about *that*!"
"The girls took Ten out of the village. It was men only. I nearly picked one of the old elders but he protested he wasn't young enough anymore. The hyena really liked his scent."
"If I ever have stories like that," Jensen started.
"We'll put you out of your misery," Pooch assured him.
Cougar nodded. "More women for me anyway."
"I'd better never hear about any of you losers ever doing that stuff," Clay ordered.
John Winchester faded in, looking at his brother. "Looking over some history, Xander has other stories he could tell but there's too many children in the room. Especially mine. He might give them bad ideas."
"Pa!" Pooch's son squealed, waving at him.
He smiled. "Hey, kiddo. You two play." They stole another cookie off Dean and went back to playing and squealing at each other.
"So, Uncle John, if Sanya is pregnant, are you looking forward to coming back?" Xander asked with a grin.
John gave him a dirty look. "I can lead the nice agents pulling up at the house to your weapons, nephew."
Xander swore but got up and used the teleporting charm to get himself home. He opened the door, staring at them. "Yes?"
"No, I'm Mr. Harris." He lounged in the doorway. "Why?"
"Is he the former owner, Mr. Harris?" the agent in the lead asked.
"No. The last owner was some Chinese restaurant owner from Brazil." He pulled out his phone to look the person up. "Ah!" He smiled. "Special Agent Oringo?"
"Yes," he said, looking amused. "What are you looking at?"
Xander smirked back and pulled something off the wall to hold it up. One of the agents swore and backed away. He put the framed former license under his arm and held up his phone. "He's there. That's two streets to the east."
"How did you get into something like that?" the lead agent asked.
Xander pointed at the swearing guy. "Ask him." He grinned. "Anything else I can help with?"
A demon appeared in the driveway with a heavy trunk that thumped down. "You are an unreasonable human!" he complained, sounding high-squeaky voiced and huffy. "There is no way anyone can bring something like this across the country in a day!"
Xander stared at him, then at the agents. "Hold on, labor dispute." He glared at the demon. "Others manage it and you did last month."
"You are a puny human with no skills of your own," he sneered.
"Yeah, that's why I spent two years training some of the best slayers in Africa," he said in the demon trade tongue.
"They will not protect you now. They heard about the rescue," he sneered in English.
Xander smirked. "I know. Giles asked me last week. It was necessary." He shrugged. "Giles doesn't mind. Buffy swore about me going into danger without backup, and Faith cackled because I got picked up by my newest ex right afterward."
The swearing agent coughed. "What, exactly, are you shipping across the country, Mr. Harris?"
"Supplies for the main apocalypse closet on the Cleveland Hellmouth."
"You... Deal weapons?" he asked.
"No. I'm retired Council." The swearing guy backed up. He grinned. "Did you get into the Initiative files?"
"I was, sir."
"I'm that Xander," he said with a smirk. "A lot of them didn't see me as more than her helper. Thank God I was there to handle some bigger problems with her, huh?"
"Um, yeah," he said weakly. He swallowed, looking at the demon. "Is that meant for the Council?"
The demon glared. "I do not talk to you. You are an even more puny human," he sneered.
"Leave the nice Federal Agent alone," Xander said impatiently. "I don't know why you guys think you can renegotiate."
"You are retired," he reminded him.
Xander pulled his gun off his back waistband, pointing it at him. "Yeah, that means I get to do things my way instead," he said dryly with an evil smirk of his own. "Buffy doesn't like guns. I love my babies." The demon whimpered. Xander stared at him. "Well? Did you really want to renegotiate?"
"I will not be enslaved."
"I didn't enslave you. We have a shipping agreement," Xander said patiently. "That's not slavery. That's a job. If I had enslaved you, I'd have you in the pool house cleaning the pool since I haven't in two weeks." The demon shuddered, shrinking back. "Anything else you wanted to talk about today?" The demon shook his head and disappeared. "Ah! I will retaliate." The weapons went with the demon. "Thank you!" he called. He put the gun back. "I need house elves," he told the horrified agents. Then he grinned.
The lead agent stared at him. "Council, *retired*?"
"Not like they understand weapons," he said dryly. "Giles' idea of weapons stops at ancient crossbows."
"The head of the Council?" the lead agent asked to make sure.
"Yeah, Giles. He used to be a museum person. Likes the girls to use more ancient weapons but sometimes you have to use something more modern, explosive, and bigger."
"True," the lead agent admitted. Xander walked in to put his phone and former license down on a table and came out with something, holding it up with a sigh. The agent read it and winced. "Because of that?"
"And I'm for local apocalypses." He grinned. "Plus, well, I kinda work for someone who... handles needs for people out of US on assignment."
"So.... there are rumors about a commando meeting in Argentina," the lead agent said, staring at him.
Xander grinned. "They had my uncle hostage," he complained.
"Ah!" He nodded once. "They're mad about that."
"Then they shouldn't have let the local drug dealing commando team take hostages," he said dryly, shrugging a bit. "I already made peace with the owners of the hotel since they had such a bad termite problem."
"What did you use to do that?"
Xander held up a finger. "I have a few left." He went inside to his office, grabbing stuff and coming back out. He held it up with a grin. "I tinkered."
"Yeah. I'm not bad at some things. One of my cousins too."
"I see." He took it to look over. "Remote?"
"Of course. It's safer and better most of the time. Quiet too. Totally shielded. Only gives about a hundred PSI."
"Huh." He put it into his pocket with a smile. "So we can test it."
"Go for it," Xander agreed with a smile. "I know sometimes DEA needs things like that."
"Is one of your relatives?"
"No. And no comment otherwise."
"Oh." He nodded. "All right. Thank you for your cooperation, sir. Are you going to be here later on? I think my boss would like a better statement on what happened down there."
"Actually, family reunion at my cousin's place in Kansas. Sorry. Next week." He reached back to grab his phone and keys.
"How...." Xander walked out, locked the door, set his alarm with his phone, then blipped off. "Ah." He shook his head quickly. "I hate the Council and all their people."
He sat down and put his feet up. "I can read stories to good kids." They ran over to pounce him and get read to.
Jensen's PDA beeped so he pulled it out to read the new message. "Clay, you're going to want to spank him."
"I was very polite to the agents who were supposedly looking for someone else." He turned the page and went on, making them happy babies.
Clay held a hand out for the PDA, getting it handed over. He read the new message and sent back one. Then one to Dan at the Council. He tossed it back, glaring at his nephew. "Subtlety."
"I was. They were looking for someone else." He shrugged. "I gave them directions but the shipping demons showed up to complain and try to renegotiate."
"On purpose?" Clay asked too calmly.
Xander looked at him. "Like these two do, they're testing the limits of how far they can take things before things get retaliated and out of hand." He shrugged a little bit. "He kept telling me I was puny and retired. I pointed out that meant I could shoot him. He decided I was right, I'd shoot him." He went back to the story since Tara was poking him with a scowl. He smiled at her. "You're so demanding," he teased. "Just like my last good girlfriend." She cackled and hugged him.
"Cordelia?" Sam guessed. "She'll never be that sort of princess, Xander."
"Anya." He turned the page and went back to reading.
Sanya shook her head. "I hope she doesn't turn out like the memories Willow showed us of Anya."
Xander slowly looked over at her. "She was...sharing? Like projecting them?" She smiled and nodded. "When?"
"Last month," Dean said, sensing the problem. "Why?"
"How subjective was it?" Xander asked calmly.
"Very," Dean admitted. "Anya didn't complain that much when we met."
"Definitely," John agreed from where he was floating. "Much more loud than when we met her."
"Huh," Xander said, turning his attention back to the pouting kids. He picked up another book and read it.
"Is that all? Huh?" Sam asked.
Xander grinned at him. "Willow and I can talk later. After they go down." The adults all shuddered. Xander finished that story and the kids yawned then crawled over to snuggle Clay for a bit. He had a nice lap for napping on. Then Xander kindly went to Cleveland via Sam's transport charm.
Buffy stared at him, backing up slowly. "Problems? We got the shipping through Grog. He's still not happy with you."
"He tried to renegotiate in front of agents. I about shot him for it. Second time in a month." He put his hands in his pocket and grinned. Buffy started to look alarmed running into a wall she was backing against. "Where's Willow?"
"Um.... I don't think I should tell you yet. What did she do?"
"Erased?" she asked, sounding hopeful.
"Oh!" she squeaked and winced. "We told her they weren't right. She.... She's kinda in England." She winced again and managed to run into the table she was trying to get around.
He smirked. "That's fine. Do we have a charm to get there?"
"No," she said, almost sighing in relief.
"That's fine. WILLOW!" he bellowed. She appeared, looking startled. He smirked and Willow's eyes went wide. "You decided to show *memories* of my ex?"
"The girls wanted to know about the demons we worked with."
"One, she wasn't a demon for most of it. Two... I asked. Yours weren't really *accurate*." She swallowed hard and tried to move. "No." She froze. "I'm so sick and tired of you trashing one of the few good relationships in my life," he said a bit too calmly.
"If she hadn't been, I wouldn't have nearly married her," he said firmly, staring her down.
"You're turning mean. You need to come home."
"Why would I want to come home to bitches who try to trash me and anything I held dear?" he shot back. She went pale. "I've had enough. If the girls want to know about who Anya was, use the real memories, Willow. Not shit you decided because you were jealous that she took me away from you."
"Yeah, you were," Buffy sighed. "Back in high school when he was dating Cordelia too." She looked at Xander. "Cordelia did intervene and show them the real history and her, Xander."
"Thank you, Cordy," Xander called. He looked at Willow again. "Just.... don't." Anya faded in and he looked at her. "Did you see those?"
"Cordelia wouldn't let me show up to defend myself. Are you going to kick her around? You have that same angry standing you used to do when you went to Willie's and got into fights on purpose."
"No. I'm in the middle of a family reunion. I'm going to go play the kids into a nap." He looked at Buffy, who gave a little wave and a slight smile. He grinned back. "Let me go calm down. Need anything else shipped? I just sent Dan stuff."
"I know, I saw. They're pretty. They work?"
"I checked every single one," he promised. "I'd never send you guys unworking weapons without warning Dan and Dean." She beamed at that and relaxed more. "Anything that needs filled in?"
"No, we're pretty good for the next apocalypse."
"'Kay, let me know." He disappeared.
Willow slumped. "It wasn't that wrong."
Cordelia faded in, staring at her. "Bull fucking shit, witch." Willow flinched. "Go back to Devon. You're acting like a junkie whore again." Willow glared at her but she stared back. "Anything to use some magic," she mimicked. "Like Ethan Rayne." Willow gasped and shook her head. "Yeah, you. Junkie whore of magic." She pointed. "Go!" Willow fled. She looked at Buffy. "He'll calm down. His uncle will make sure of it. You know they will."
"I know but the kids don't need to see him that angry."
"They won't know. They're already napping. Clay will get him calmed down. Maybe possibly given to Jensen as well." She and Anya faded out.
Xander reappeared and checked his chair before sitting down. "Cordelia stopped Willow and showed the mini-slayers the reality."
Clay stared at him. "Heavy bag, nephew?"
"Hopefully she's hiding," he said dryly.
"A non-living one?" he suggested.
Xander waved a hand. "I'm good. I'll stay good." He looked at Dean. "Those little balls we cooked up together worked well once you fixed the wiring on me."
"Cool. Did you do a test to see how much force they put out?"
"About a hundred PSI."
"That'd do it for most things."
Xander's phone rang and he pulled it out to glance at then answer. "Yeah, Marcia?" He listened to her chew him a new one. "I did not!" He huffed and rolled his eyes. "Marcia, she picked me up in a bar. After Argentina. I went to bed in LA and woke up in Hong Kong." She said something else. He sighed. "I didn't keep more than a small keepsake, which the agent said I could. I checked first. Uncle Clay reminded me of that but I was going to hand it over anyway," he said patiently. "I'm not stupid."
He listened. "No, they showed up to talk to someone a few streets over and the one I use for shipping decided to be cutesy and try to renegotiate. I used a language they shouldn't have known. The demon used English. Yeah, fixed. No, apocalypse closet for the Council. They know I'm retired Council too. I told them that. I showed them my ID. I pointed out Giles hates weapons, Marcia." She said something less mad. "Thank you. Yes, I have a clue what I'm doing. Really. Give me a bit of credit? Please?"
She said something about not knowing the underground and he snickered. "Marcia, it might not have always been the same underground, but I kinda grew up in it. Uncle Rory used to fence stolen cars. My father's a drunk bastard who gambled. I've always known what Uncle Clay did. Beyond that, who do you think managed to get stuff silently into the weapons cage when needed?" He hung up. "That's it, I'm done for a few hours. I'll be back after dinner, Sanya. Don't worry about saving me some." He kissed her on the cheek. "Have Sam get a safety plan for evacuation together so we can go over it later." He looked at his uncle. "I'm going to solve a few problems and be back later." He disappeared, going home.
"I almost feel sorry for those demons," Cougar admitted.
"Me too," Pooch's wife admitted quietly. "This is not how I expected the family reunion to go. John, is he all right? I nearly hugged the boy."
He looked west then shrugged. "He grabbed two swords, his axe, and left the house again. The security system is up too." He grimaced. "I have no idea but one of the agents is following him and they're not happy."
Jensen shook his head. "Xander will be fine. We know he'll only go after the problems. We'll figure it out if something bigger happens or he picks up his next girlfriend."
Clay snorted. "That would be like the boy."
Dean nodded. "I'd do something like that too."
John looked at him. "I already drove one off, Dean. Don't do it again."
Dean glared at him. "Shut up, Dad. I can date whoever I want to." John huffed but faded out since he could hear his wife complaining about something. Dean and Sam shared a look. "Evacuation plan for her?"
"Too far unless you use magic and I'm not sure if that's safe for the baby," Dean countered.
"We can ask," Sam decided, getting up to call one of the witches Bobby knew. He came out a few minutes later with notes. "No teleporting. No rituals with blood magic. No certain herbs." He handed them to his wife with a grin. "Just in case."
She read it over, nodding. "It makes good sense to me." She put it down. "What would be the fastest and safest thing to do if something does come for me or the baby?"
"Weapons," Clay said. "Then escaping. We can work on that." Sam gave him a relieved look. "It's not that hard to plan. To Xander?"
"We're closer to Cleveland but there'd be more power there to taint the baby," Dean admitted. "We can add in one to get her to Inana since she's working in the wilds of Canada for the next six months." They all nodded at that and settled in to make those plans. With her help so she wouldn't pout. She didn't get along with all the slayers, some were spoiled.
The agent walked into a bar full of military guys, going up to one of them. He stared for a minute before sitting down. "What do you know about Harris?" he asked quietly.
"He's Marcia's apprentice." He sipped his drink. "Why?"
"I just saw him handle a small gang of demons with a sword. He was clearly pissed off."
"Yeah, he has that rep and he started out hunting them." He finished his drink and put the glass aside. "He's a stand-up guy. I've been told that I'd want him at my back, he can find some of the damndest shit ever, and he dates women that the FBI have on a list somewhere."
"The one he turned over this morning was smuggling gems and her brother was running weapons," he admitted. "The agent who got her allowed him to keep a small stone for the memory."
The commando smirked. "Yeah, sounds like the kid."
"Argentina? Some people want a better report, though half gave up when they heard it was him."
"He didn't lose his temper. He just got a bit bitchy that someone had his uncle." He shrugged and grinned. "There's rumors that he's dating someone on his uncle's team as well. They deny it but that's a military thing for you."
"Good point," the agent decided. "So he's straight, good?"
"Warped. He's like the other demon hunters that have come out of the woodwork since the invasion, Thomalson. He's very goal oriented and his goal is handling issues to protect others. He's very protective if you need it."
"So he's the A-Team by himself?"
"Only if you piss him off, from the rumors," he assured him with a grin. "Otherwise he's a nice, goofy geek from what I've heard. Dotes on his niece through Winchester and a slayer. Dotes on his family. Spoils them horribly if he thinks they need something. He brought his uncle up to heal his gunshot wound late last year at home. I've been told he has some field medic skills. He was halfway to Rambo when he got back from Africa and his uncle got him on a vacation to calm him down. His rep from Africa is pretty spotty but it's got some things that a team should have handled and he did because he wasn't going to risk his trainees. A few people have tried to talk his uncle into having him recruited, missing eye and all."
"He's fully calmed down?"
"He's more a source of things now instead of a hunter. Outside of local things he has to handle. We are in LA and we do have a high demon population. Including some that try to cause bad things to happen. The local team isn't as strong as it used to be thanks to some of them dying."
"How long did he hunt?"
"By rumors? Back in high school." The agent moaned. "He was only twenty-two or so when Sunnydale fell in and he went to Africa from there. Two years there, then Clay got the boy out and back home."
"Huh. So he can handle himself."
"His rep's strange. A lot of people say that he's a goofy geek tag-along. Then there's ones that say he's as much a warrior as his uncle and cousins are. I wouldn't worry about things. If he's doing bad things, it's probably for a good reason. Probably to help stop something huge."
"So I shouldn't worry that he showed off his permanent pardon for any weapons he might deal to his former bosses at the Council?"
"He said he's retired."
"Hmm. So just on for apocalypses then. Interesting. Yeah, most of the time it's for them or some team that needs them to deal with something."
"Good. I was worried since all he did after dealing with the street gang was pant and hold his side."
"Maybe. Couldn't see."
"I'll pass that on so his uncle checks him over." He smirked. "Don't worry about the kid. He's every bit the white knight they call him."
"Good to know. Thank you, Henry." He got up and left after leaving enough money for another round of drinks.
Henry got another drink and called someone. "Clay, Henry. Did you know your nephew took out a damn demon street gang? No, only panted and held his side according to the agent who followed him. He was worried so I explained the goofy bitch to him." He smirked at the waitress for his new drink. "Thanks, dear."
She leaned down next to the phone. "Tell Xander that if he took out the Enstrada demon gang they have friends in the Mexican cartels," she said then walked off.
"Hear that? One of Tim's waitresses. Thanks, man. Sure, no problem." He hung up and sipped his drink, going back to his papers. The kid would be fine. He had lived too long doing what he did to die from a demon street gang.
Xander showed back up after a shower and calming down time. "Sorry, bad time?" he said when he saw his uncle's stare.
"Street gang?" he demanded quietly.
"Causing problems," he defended. "Running human slaves and drugs."
"Uh-huh." He motioned the boy closer, getting a huff but the boy knew he'd check him for injuries. "Scratches?" he asked when the boy took off his shirt.
"Two. Stitch in my side. I'm out of practice. Maybe I should take some sword fighting lessons. I might learn stuff I didn't figure out when I taught myself." He turned, letting his uncle check him over.
"Fine." Xander grinned and put his shirt back on. "Why are you so frantic about the evacuation plan?"
"Because things come for slayers, especially the good slayers," Xander said quietly. "Inana's in Canada to get away from two that wanted her." Clay shuddered. He shrugged. "They come for Faith and Buffy too. It's a badge of honor but I don't want to see her hurt because she's waddling."
"I agree. Sam did too but he wasn't sure why you were so frantic."
"She'll never tell him about the two that came up to her people to buy her as a status symbol."
"Good point. You good?"
"Marcia called you a primadonna."
"She does often. She thinks I'm gay too," he said dryly, sitting down next to him. "Everyone else outside?"
"Yup. Watching some stars." The boy grinned. "You sure?"
"I'm fine, Uncle Clay. Really."
"I heard that street gang has ties to the Mexican cartels."
"I know." He smirked. "Who do you think they were selling the slaves to?" His uncle shuddered. "It's cool. As I walked off I called a contact in the LAPD about raiding their offices since they were dead demons. They said they could conveniently find that. I had one moved to another storage area so they could find that too."
"Nice of you."
"They had a lot of information tying some areas back together."
"Good boy. Calm down?"
"I am calm."
"Vacation?" he suggested.
"I'm good. Not burnt out or anything."
"Uh-huh. Marcia's not impressed."
"That's because Marcia's unhappy with her current traveling companion having ManMS. If she gets mad that I handled something, I can remind her that I am on call for the bad things in LA from the demon community."
"True." He patted him on the knee. "Calm down anyway. I want to see you go on past me, kid." He stood up. "C'mon. The heathens wanted a hug." Xander got hauled up and they walked out together. Tara spotted him first and waved so he went to sit with her. She was comfy watching the stars with her mommy and uncle.
Clay sat down with his guys. They were all relaxing and it was better. He'd wait to see how this drama played out before he yelled at his nephew.
Xander walked into his house, finding his boss in his kitchen. "Bad last few weeks?" he asked dryly.
"You took on a street gang?" she demanded coldly.
"No, I took on a demon street gang that was dealing humans and drugs." She shuddered. "Then I called a contact to conveniently find them in their office with their information." She slumped. "I am on for apocalypses, Marcia. You knew that when you met me."
"You're dangerous, Xander, and you bring attention."
He stared at her. "Anytime anyone asks me, I say I'm retired Council."
"Oh. That's good then." Xander crossed his arms and stared her down. "Don't give me that look."
He snorted. "You're pissed I got my uncle back."
"It was flashy, loud, lacked subtlety, and got us attention!"
"The police there already knew they were commandos, I told them I was freeing my uncle, and the hotel owners were happy that they could fix the termite damage after I paid them off. Then I told them I'm retired Council getting my uncle free."
She stared at him. "Normal people don't do these things, Xander."
"I'm not normal, Marcia. Normal people don't learn to hunt demons at sixteen." She flinched. "Or learn that most of them are okay, just a few aren't."
"You should settle down soon."
Xander snorted. "There's no way I'm going to marry someone anytime soon. I can't even hold a date. By the way, the last one kidnaped me, not my intention to go to Hong Kong."
She sighed. "You and Jensen could come into the open. Most everyone would leave him alone about you."
"I'm not dating Jensen!" he shouted in frustration. She flinched back. "Can't a guy have guy friends without someone deciding they're dating?"
"Not you," she snorted.
He glared. "We're not dating."
"If you're sure."
"I am. What are you doing in my kitchen?"
"I was cleaning some information off your systems since I heard there's agents talking about you," she said bluntly.
"Yeah, the ones in Homeland who Finn left are being vindictive for us taking out Finn and his great plan for world domination." He leaned against his counter. "Beyond that, they can't find anything."
"Marcia, things are keyed to you."
"The magical security system is down," she said smugly. "I could even get into your armory."
He smirked. "Then I'm going to kill the junkie witch." She flinched. "Willow decided I was mean to yell at her about some stupid bullshit she did a few weeks back. It'll be fixed. Soon." He smirked. "I can call in other favors for that." She sighed, shaking her head. "What?"
"You're pissing everyone off."
"Hey, I can move and let you handle your own phone lines," he said bluntly. "I have plenty of areas I can go meddle in instead. Not like there's not evil empires I can bring down." She started to look horrified again. "There's whole groups of people who need to be brought down and I can do a good bit of that and feed the information where it needs to go. I could do that when I got back but you had the better offer. If you want to fire me, so be it."
"I don't want to but you're very obvious."
"Not really. Like Uncle Clay, you don't know half the shit I've done, Marcia." She sighed again, shaking her head. "Including some of the things around here and where I've pointed some people at. Otherwise that Grande Dame of Venice would still be going on." She went from horrified to shocked so he smirked. "Try to entice me," he snorted dryly, giving her a look. "There's more than two undergrounds and I dabble in more than those two." He stood up straight again.
"Other than that, my dear, half the guys think I have no clue what I'm doing outside of maybe some minor training Clay gave me to help me protect myself in case someone came after me to get him. If you don't believe me, go down to this place," he said, writing down an address and handing it over. "And ask." He smirked. "Now, I believe you're trespassing. Am I making you breakfast?"
She huffed but left. He called that bar. "It is Xander." He listened to the happy report. "Cool beans. My boss thinks I'm not subtle. She's going to be checking my rep because I pointed out I didn't just run in the circles she does. She knows about the demon stuff. Please. Thank you." He hung up and took over making himself breakfast. It was nice of her to have started it for him.
Jensen looked up from his bikini watching as Marcia sat next to him. "Marcia, problems with Xander?"
"He's an ass."
"His uncle too," he said dryly. "Dean and Sam too." She sighed. "What's wrong?"
"He said he runs in more circles than ours and the demon ones."
"That doesn't really surprise me."
"I have an address of someone to talk to. I figured since you two are so close...."
He lowered his sunglasses to look at her, shaking his head. "I'm not dating Xander. I'm not evil enough for him."
"Fine, whatever, but his uncle probably should know too. This way you can tell him and me."
"Fine." He took the address. "I'll talk to you tonight."
She kissed him on the temple. "Thank you, Jensen." She got up and walked off.
He gathered his book and drink, heading off to shower off the sand and change into better clothes for visiting.
Jensen walked into Clay's place later that night, kicking the door shut. "I brought Chinese."
Clay came out of the bedroom with a rag and a gun barrel he was polishing. "You never come bearing food so what happened?"
"Marcia's absolutely pissed at Xander. He pointed out he ran in circles we didn't. He's right, he does." He put the cartons down and grabbed a fork, sitting at the breakfast bar. "He has contacts in areas that we'd kill for."
"How many?" He went to put his gun back together and wash his hands then came out to get his own food. "Should I yell?"
"I didn't but I'm amazed."
"How many different circles does he run in?"
"Seventeen." Clay moaned, stuffing his mouth. "They all have a lot of respect for him. Even after his temper tantrum the other day, Clay." He stared at his boss and friend then ate another bite, looking at his food. "They all call him a bit crazy and a clear white knight but they all respect him and a few think he's a good source of finding contacts in other circles. Including a few from Interpol." Clay put down the carton of food hard. Jensen looked at him. "That bust last month of the diamond smugglers? Xander spotted them and turned it over. Plus a contact who was inside the hotel." He went back to eating. "But he is collecting again. They're fairly certain he's getting paid for a few things."
"He needed to?"
"No, he felt it was his duty since he had knowledge." He ate another bite then shrugged when his boss kept staring at him. "He's not thrill seeking, doing it for the danger quotient, none of that. He's doing it because it needs to be done and he can. Because he's there and he knows and he doesn't know who else handles those things. Marcia had a martini and went to bed with a migraine when I told her a tenth of what I have for you. So, do you want to know?"
"Will I stop him?"
"I'm about to give him a list of people who do those things so he doesn't have to," he admitted. "Cougar and I talked a bit when I ran into him in one of the clubs. He had no idea they knew about Xander. They noticed when he stiffened at his name. I clued him in about why I was there and we had a good, long sit-down about a few of them. He's...maybe horrified."
"No. Not hardly. He does seem to know most of the weapons dealers in LA casually at the very least. He knows and can spot most of the major movers and shakers. He can spot the guys like Max was. He has spotted his replacement and has been working on him since he thinks he's going to try the same sort of thing on another team. Not ours but Jorge's he thought. Or so the contact at the bar admitted to us." He ate another bite and chewed slowly. "His collections are more subtle. A piece here and there to remember and as a later insurance. Vagan, the weapons dealer out in Hermosa, gives him a discount. They're tennis buddies. I have no idea when Xander learned how to play or met him." Clay moaned and ate another bite then put his fork down. "I know that he's got his eye on a few people locally that can cause problems. I know that a few are demons and a few aren't. I know that most of them can't and won't be able to cause the same sort of problems Max did."
"How do you know?"
"Because Xander's already sprung a slow leak back to the ATF."
"Not necessarily. I think he knows who some of the dirty agents are and he's working with one on purpose. I'm not sure why."
"Maybe to bait them?"
"Maybe," Jensen agreed. "No clue." He ate again then shrugged, putting his carton down. "I don't know, Clay. I think he's in danger but all he thinks is it's necessary and someone has to do it. Since the local team is down to Gunn and Connor, plus a few slayers, the demon problem started to get out of hand until he stepped in last May. Then it got really calm because they respect him for the crazy knight he is. He needs armor more often."
"I'll talk with him."
"No, if you talk to him, he'll get defensive and clam up, or run," Jensen sighed. "You know those girls would complain. Hell, he caught Willow with that thing and she got vindictive enough to remove the magical portions of his security system and tried to hack him."
"I'll gut her," he growled.
"Please do. She's back to junkie proportions," Cordelia said as she faded in. "Xander did fix that by the way. He went to a higher demon that wanted something he could find. A bit of viagra, two rubies, and a piece of gold later and it's a happy demon who gave his mate a ring and a baby." She looked at Clay. "Think subtle and reinforce that he's not the only one. Give him who to go to."
Jensen nodded quickly. "Please. I think he's looking for a contact for something but I don't know how to ask him without him finding out."
"He'll run and probably go back to Africa if you give him grief, or make him panic," Cordelia pointed out more gently, for her. "I'd like the big dork to stop myself but I can't make him and the last time I talked to him he banished me for a few hours. That's when he got picked up by that bad girl."
Clay nodded at that. "Okay. What sort of contacts does he need?" Jensen started a list while he nibbled on his dinner. Clay read it. "Jesus!"
"Yup," Jensen said. He looked up. "I like Xander. He's a buddy. I enjoy hanging out and pranking with him. I don't want to bury him too, Clay."
"I don't want to see him dead either. Spanked maybe but not dead." The list got handed over and he read it over. "What is he doing?" Jensen finished up that set of notes and handed it to him too with a smirk. "Fuck."
"He needs someone to," Cordelia agreed, getting a dual glare. "Fine! Don't listen to me. I only dated him and have known him since elementary school." She faded out again.
Clay looked at his guy. "Want him?"
"Still straight." He stuffed his mouth.
"Maybe I'll ask Aisha to find him someone then." He finished his dinner, nodding his thanks. Jensen smiled and left with the spare carton of food while he went to think on his troublesome nephew. It was usually Sam who got into a lot of trouble, not Xander. They'd have to stop this trend before he lost a nephew.
Xander looked up from his breakfast by the pool when his uncle sat next to him and put a piece of paper over his eggs. "What's this?"
"Contacts I heard you needed." He saw the grimace. "I feel the same way you do, kiddo. I do not want to be the last of the family," he said quietly. He settled in to look across the pool at the wall mural the kid had put in. "I still say her toga is too red."
"It is," Xander admitted. "But it fits in better with surroundings." He ate another bite then put his plate down. "Why do I need more contacts?"
Clay looked at him. "So you know who to go to when someone like Alice gets pushy or in trouble."
"Yes, beyond the slut of Interpol," he said dryly. "Why him?"
"He listened. He picked me up in a bar."
"I'd rather you go to someone more...capable."
"He's not bad."
"There's better." He looked at him. "I'd rather you went to people who wouldn't lead you further into danger. Who else would freak me out every spring?"
Xander snorted but he was smiling. "Thank you."
"Thinks I'm not subtle enough the last I heard. Did Jensen have a good talk with them?"
"Yeah, he did. He's the one who told me you needed some more quiet contacts." He stared the boy down. "You haven't disappointed me yet, Xander."
"I try really hard not to," he said quietly.
"You probably won't unless you end up marrying one of the evil girlfriends. By the way, Aisha said that you took out two of her contacts. She's not happy."
"She's had the flu?"
"No," he said slowly. Xander nodded. "Are we sure?"
"No, someone asked me if that's why she was sick all last week. If you hadn't talked to her in the next week I would've casually slipped your next job to her so she could run into you."
"Thanks for that, kid."
"I'm not certain that's why," he offered.
"I know. I'll figure that part out myself." He smirked. "I don't think you got fired."
Xander shrugged. "I've got plenty on my plate if I did."
"I know. Try to slow down some?"
"I will when I start feeling my age."
"Uh-huh. Try harder, kiddo. You don't want to know the fit you'd hear if you died."
"Actually, a few of the demons would *love* to claim me if I did," he shot back with an evil smirk. "But they'd hand me back sooner than they did Uncle John."
"Probably, yeah. You can be an annoying bitch when you want to be." Willow appeared with an unconscious Jensen. "Rosenburg, is there some reason why my man is unconscious?"
"Yes, because we're all tired of certain things and I've been asked to fix it by a few higher ups." She smirked at Xander. "They wanted you safely out of their hair."
"Yeah, because I keep stopping bad issues that Connor hasn't gotten to yet," he said dryly. "I consider that a compliment."
"We think you're trying to mimic a slayer again," she shot back. "You're doing dangerous stuff on purpose to prove you're worth something."
He snickered. "Willow, I haven't done that since high school. Since the night I stopped the school from being blown up while you guys handled something that you thought I was too fragile to help with."
"You did not," she sneered.
"Yeah, I did."
"You planted those, your fingerprints were on them."
"Mine and Jack's. O'Toole planted the bombs. I stopped him and finished disarming them." She snorted. "Whatever. I know what I did. Maybe I shouldn't have." She gaped. He stared back. "Let Jensen go, Willow. You're being an evil bitch again. I'm surprised your hair hasn't changed colors."
"Buffy said you were getting into things you shouldn't."
"What things?" he snorted.
"A demon street gang?" she sneered.
"Yeah, that was running slaves. I wore out my temper at you quite well that day." She went pale. "And hey, less humans being taken to Mexico for the drug cartel, less drugs in LA for a while. I gave everything they had to the LAPD so their contacts could be stopped."
"It was fairly efficient work," Clay agreed. "But I'd rather you had shot them instead of stabbed, nephew."
Willow shrieked. "He shouldn't do those things! He's normal!"
"Welcome to the real world, Willow. So is every watcher, every cop, and every agent out there," Xander shot back. "Get over it and leave my friends alone."
"It's already done and you can't undo it," she smirked then disappeared.
Xander looked at his uncle. "I need you to lock the armory."
"No. I think I need to use some of it first. Jensen!" he bellowed to wake him up, getting up to check on him. "He's got some sort of marking," he said.
Xander came over to look then went inside to get a few books. He came out reading one. "It's to bind you to someone else, on a life-force level." He let his uncle read it and used the phone he had also brought out to call someone. "Tray, it's Xander. Willow just went off the deep end. She decided I should have someone bound to my life-force. One of my uncle's guys. Yeah, that one. Who knows, dude. She's a magic junkie and is back there again. She decided I was normal too. Sure, you go for it so I can't. Thanks, man." He hung up and tossed the phone into an empty chair. "Let's get him to the medical room."
They lifted him up and carried him that way. Xander came back to get the list of contacts, putting it into his back pocket. They got Jensen hooked up to some machines and he grimaced. "If she did, then he's probably going to end up catching something I got exposed to." He sighed and used his charm to get to the Council, landing in front of Giles. He grabbed him and Buffy since she was in there, bringing them back with him. "Do we think maybe stopping her is a good idea now since this could kill him?" Xander asked them. "And then me shortly afterward?"
Giles looked at the mark. "Who did this, Xander?"
"Willow!" They stared at him, mouths slightly open. "She decided I was normal again too. Getting into trouble handling things that were outside of something Connor could."
"That gang," Buffy started.
"Was running humans and drugs, Buffy."
"Oh." She winced. "But it was a gang, Xander."
"It was only seven." She flinched. "And I was totally pissed off at her then. It wore it out beautifully. Plus it needed to be done. The information that I led the LAPD to was very helpful stopping other problems."
"Oh. We didn't hear about that."
"You shouldn't have heard about any of it," he shot back.
"Gunn told us," she defended. "He said you handled a whole gang of demons causing problems."
"Yeah, Gunn told me how much of a problem they were."
"Oh." She winced. "Sorry?"
He snorted. "Try harder."
"I know she's wrong. We have been trying to get her to go back to Devon since Cordelia yelled at her the last time."
"Xander, his fever is going up," Giles complained.
"Giles, I caught four fevers in Africa, plus a case of food poisoning; not to mention the two from Thanksgiving a few years back. With this sort of thing, it's very possible he's getting one of those. Can we not break it to save his life?"
"Well...." He tested the magic. "She is quite a bit more powerful than I am."
Xander sighed. "You know what, I'm going to ask someone higher up. Hallie?" he called quietly. She appeared with a glare. "I need someone referred to me who can break what she did this time. Before it kills him."
She looked and burst out laughing. "That's evil of her."
"Yeah, it was," he said dryly. "Especially with the stuff in my blood, Hallie. He's already getting sick."
She stared at him then shrugged. "There's a lot of demons who'd like you out of the way, Xander."
"What do I get for it?"
"You can talk someone into making Anya be reborn as Sanya's baby. There's a toss-up right now about which one it'll be."
She considered it. "Maybe." She went to talk to someone and brought them back. "He's with the healers, Xander."
"Thank you, Great One," Xander said, bowing to him. Buffy nodded as well, earning an awed look. "Rosenburg decided to be mean to him on purpose because she decided I'm normal."
"One who keeps spirits and talks to them inside him is not normal," the healer said.
Buffy gasped. "What?"
"Hyena, soldier," Xander said blandly. "Shaman love me." He smirked at her. "Ask Inana about Treva's people." She blushed. "Ah, I see she told you." He got out of the way. "She did that to my friend. We're not together, no matter how much anyone bets on it, but he is a friend. Getting as close as Jesse was to me."
The healer read him then the man on the bed. "Breaking that could kill him."
"Him catching something I've had will kill him," Xander said plainly. "Not to mention those who would hunt him down to get his blood so they could make the diseases as a weapon. I've stopped seven in the last few months."
The healer hummed and looked closer. "I'd need someone with more magic. Let me talk to someone." He summoned them outside and came back with the small, sprite looking creature. Buffy nodded at it and Xander bowed, Clay following.
The sprite looked then at Giles. "Is she being punished?"
"Even if she goes to Devon. She has went much too far this time," he said simply.
"I have a ceremonial whip I got given," Xander offered. "I think they'd be pleased."
"I may take you up on that," Giles said quietly. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine, he's not. I will *not* let her hurt other people!"
"I agree," Giles said simply. "Let the healers work, Xander." They got out of the way, Xander leaning against his uncle.
Xander walked into the hospital ER. "Hi," he told the nurse. "I have a friend in the car. He got given some of my blood and I've had a few jungle fevers. He's now violently ill. I know I had to be quarantined for it and I wanted to warn you before I brought him in."
"Why was he given your blood, sir?" the nurse asked.
"Because some crackhead decided she was going to marry us that way against our will and injected him with it."
"I see. What did you have?" He handed over the long-ago blood test result, getting a gasp. She stared at him and he nodded. "I can have someone set up a quarantine area," she said, calling a nurse out to follow him to the car. She handed over that form. "He had these and someone gave his friend his blood so now he's sick."
"Oh, crap," the nurse said, following Xander out to the car once she had a mask and gloves on. Clay was checking on him and sponging his face off. The nurse checked. "This is clearly something big."
"That's why I warned, in case you guys wanted to set up a quarantine," Xander told her. "This is my uncle." He pointed at Clay. "Jensen is his buddy and we're trouble buddies together. That's why half the idiots think we're going to get together."
"I know people like that," the nurse told him. "We have a virologist on staff. He's seen some of the harsher diseases." She called that to the desk and they got him into a room someone had been setting up as a quarantine area. "We need to take a fresh blood sample," she told Xander. "And of your uncle in case. Is there anyone else who may have been infected?"
"Two others were around us when we were trying to handle it at home," Xander said. "They're back in Cleveland."
"They flew?" she demanded.
"No, they're Council and it was one of the witches who decided it," Clay told her. "Hence the new tattoo too."
She looked then nodded. "I hate those crackpots."
Xander smirked. "They're why I was in Africa for two years. I was training some of the younger girls." He rolled up his sleeves when she pulled out a needle and test tubes. "Pop my wrist, it's easier," he warned. She nodded and did that. She bandaged him and got Clay's to send off, then got Jensen's. "That report was from a doc in Cleveland about a year ago."
"That's fine. Let's make sure which one he has." An older man walked in wearing a gown, gloves, and mask. "Someone injected him with this one's blood," she said, pointing at Xander. "To supposedly bond them. One of the witches at the *Council*."
"I see. You are?" he asked.
"Xander Harris." He waved. "This is my uncle and that is my friend, Jensen. He works with my uncle. We're trouble buddies." He pulled out his phone to text Buffy. "She'll knock them into quarantine with the Council's medical team," he assured the nurse. She smirked at that and took the blood to the lab to have it run specially.
The doctor looked Jensen over, letting Clay sponge his face off for now. "I can honestly say it's not Tsetse. I've seen that. It doesn't look like ebola, but that wasn't in your prior scan. Plague level diseases?"
"I was working construction and fell into a native burial site. That's how I got smallpox and the ancient form of blood syphilis. I never manifested any problems and when I had it tested it didn't transmit sexually."
"Good to know." He looked at him. "Blood from bones?"
"Bone shards," Xander said.
"Hmm. I read something about that incident in a journal." He gave him a pointed look. "Unlike most of us, I'll believe you."
"Yeah, well, the spirits decided all white men were mean and since I fell in... I got their 'thanks for killing us' gift one Thanksgiving."
"That makes more sense in a lot of ways."
"The others, I was in Africa training slayers."
"I understand." He started an IV and went to get some medicine. He came back to inject it. "I do not think he's physically contagious, but I do believe he's in a lot of trouble. Who is his next of kin?"
"He has a sister and a niece," Clay said. "He's on my team."
The doctor nodded. "Can we contact them?"
"It'll be days. They're in Connecticut." He called. "Pooch, give me the number for Jensen's sister." He listened to the complaint. "Because Rosenburg injected Jensen with Xander's blood to try to bind them together." Pooch rattled it off. "Thank you." He hung up and called that one. "It's Clay," he said when it was answered. "It's bad. No, not shot. Biological. LA. In the hospital." He handed it over. "His sister." He looked at Xander. "You can't blame yourself for her being a stupid bitch, Xander."
"I'm not. I'm controlling my temper before I go rip her apart at the molecular level."
Clay nodded. "Jensen first this time."
Xander stared at him. "Promise?"
"He won't die of this."
"It's not likely. We started treatment fairly quickly," the doctor assured them. "He's still in the early stages of whichever this one is." He listened to the sister. "Yes, we are."
"I can get her out here," Xander said. He pulled out his phone. "Can she get to Hartford tonight?" The doctor nodded she said she could. Xander made reservations for her. "Nine, Hartford, Delta business class, she'll have a rental waiting when she gets here in the morning."
The doctor repeated that and hung up, handing the phone back. "Thank you."
"Not a problem. I want the best treatment I can get for him," Clay assured him. "He has someone he has to kill for this."
The doctor smiled at the nurse when she came back. "Definitive?"
"Yes." She looked at Xander. "It is one of them. It's thankfully middle of the road dangerous. It can be cured." He relaxed and nodded. Clay did too. "We won't have to do more than use precautions on his room." They got him admitted quickly and up there, then Clay and Xander into protective gear. Xander might not catch it again but his uncle would.
Xander looked up as the others came in. "Pooch, no. It might hit the baby."
"I asked. The nurse said there was very little chance and the wife knows I won't be home for a few days thanks to this." He patted him on the back. "Quit stressing. He'll be fine. He's always healthy."
"This is the one I hallucinated penguins to," he said quietly. "I'm hoping he gets back to healthy. They told Clay he might have to take some time off to heal."
"More time we get to play with the kids," Cougar said quietly. "Clay?"
"It's his turn to hit a wall so we don't get Willow until we're sure he's going to get better."
"Are you all right?" Pooch asked. "This means your blood will be more known about."
"The doctor said he's not imputing anything about mine." The nurse came in to do her checks. They waited until she was gone. Clay came in right after she left. "Anything?"
"Not yet. She's hiding. His sister's heading for the airport, left his niece at home with a friend." He patted Xander on the back. "Your friend can't find her yet either."
"He's got an in-law who keeps hellhounds. They'll track her down."
"Good." He looked at him. "Those numbers look better."
"His fever's still up and his breath is rattley."
"IV antibiotics?" Cougar asked.
"Whole cocktail of them," Xander agreed. The doctor came in. "What's up, doc?"
"Mr. Harris, someone in virology wanted to know if you had tested yourself for other issues that you may have caught in Africa."
"Um, didn't even think about it. I know the traveling clinic did check me every time they showed up in case I got leprosy."
"We'd like to make sure you didn't bring anything else back." He stared at him. "Just in case?"
"Sure." He got up and left with him. "That was a weak ruse," he said quietly once they were in the elevator. "So what's up?"
"The nurse is a half-demon with some healing skills. She thought you might have something else we need to check and someone should have checked you for TB."
"The last time I took the little needle under the skin, I got a rash and hives."
"We can take x-rays then." He led him into the office. They were all set up. "No tb skin screening. He got hives last time." They nodded and got the x-ray done quickly then drew blood for other diseases.
The other doctors smiled. "We will not be publishing or noting anything but the CDC had to be told about your friend and that they used someone else's blood. They wanted to make sure."
"I can understand that," he admitted, rubbing the new bandage. "As long as I don't get noted so I don't have to deal with more people coming for me."
"Can they cook it down?" the head doc asked.
Xander nodded. "At least the smallpox from what one of them told me when I had him captured, before the FBI got there. Hell, I had one offer to marry me," he quipped. "My uncle was *so* pissed off."
"I would be too," the head doc admitted with a smile. "Thank you."
"Not a problem." He left, going back down there to put on a new mask and gloves. His uncle looked over. "The CDC had to be told and they wanted the full workup. Plus someone with a healing gift thought I might have more than I thought."
"It's always better to know." He grimaced. "I'm hoping they won't put you in any database?"
"Not likely. The docs said that they're not publishing anything."
"Good. You don't need more people coming after you for your blood." Xander nodded at that. "Seven?"
"In the last year, yeah," he said dryly. "That doc in Cleveland told someone high up and the guy on the Council that wanted it spilled too." Clay shuddered. "I let Buffy rip him a new one before he got killed by one of the demons they were working with." He settled in again. "Is it my turn to sponge his face off?"
"Go for it," Cougar agreed. Xander was fussy and couldn't sit still; it'd give him something to fuss over. He looked at Clay. "How long before he's back together?"
"Six months they think. If he fully heals, he'll need to rebuild some stamina and things slowly." He and Pooch nodded at that. "He can work from home or something."
"Jorge's geek got replaced six months ago," Xander told him. "But she's barely back in shape after being stabbed in the stomach. She and Jensen have been working out ways of helping teams that need a geek but don't have one." Clay smirked at that. "You need to ask her how to do that; and of course he can bum the guest house if he wants." They all nodded. Jensen didn't have an apartment to hide in at the moment. The nurse came in to inject more drugs. They smiled and she left quickly. "So, anyway," he said dryly, looking at the machine beside the bed. He popped in a new CD and hit play again. Jensen shifted in his sleep but was smiling. "Audio books. They're keeping him sedated but this way he has happier fever dreams."
"He put in Winnie the Pooh," Clay told his guys.
"It's happy, probably a good memory from his childhood, and it won't cause nightmares," Xander defended. "If I used an action novel he might have nightmares or get trapped in it."
"Good point," he admitted. "I didn't disagree."
"I've got others for him when they let him wake up." He sponged him down again then sat down. He adjusted the volume down a little bit and it was better.
Jensen woke up, one hand drifting up to hold his forehead.
"Not that hand," his sister said quietly. "It's got the IV in it."
He blinked at her then smiled. "Hi," he said weakly.
"Hi yourself. Why did someone give you Xander's blood?"
He smirked. "It was Rosenburg's idea of a mystical wedding. That's why I got a tattoo too." She grimaced. "I'm sure they're saving me some. It'll be epic."
She grinned. "Your niece made you a card." She pointed at it. He looked and grinned. "They say you'll be fine but you'll have some time to regain your strength. Xander said you can stay at his place or he'll help you find one."
Jensen swallowed so she gave him some of his ice water. "I'll figure that out before they kick me out of here." She nodded, looking at him. "Why did I dream about Winnie the Pooh?"
"Xander put audio books into your CD player and let you listen to them."
"Ah!" He nodded. "It was nice. Pooh and Tigger grabbed spears and fought off the dandelion fluff monsters a few times." She giggled. "What did I catch?"
"Dengue." He sighed. "They say you'll make a full recovery, Jen." He grinned. "You'll have to rest and recover for a few months though."
"As long as I get fully back to myself."
"In a few months." She let him have some more water. "The doctors have been very nice. They've explained things whenever I needed them to. One was here within ten minutes of when I got in. Your team just went home to nap an hour ago when they removed your sedative." He nodded, grinning some. "Then they'll come nag you later and let Xander fuss." She smoothed a hand over his damp hair. "They gave you a bed bath because you sweated a lot."
"As long as I'll be okay and I get to kick her ass."
"You will," Xander promised as he walked in. "The nurses said you can have soup." Jensen smiled. Xander handed him a cup and her a box. "Real food. You probably haven't eaten since Clay called." He sat on his other side. "In the drawer there are a few other books on CD. I wasn't going to use something that might give you nightmares."
"Pooh and Tigger fought off the fluff-ball monsters for me," he said with a grin, sipping his soup. He moaned. "Madria made it."
He grinned and nodded. "She said to get better. I told her you were in the hospital with a fever."
"That woman cooks wonderfully." He smiled at his sister. "You eat too." She nodded, using the bed tray to hold her food. He looked at Xander. "Apartment."
"Cool. Plus a housekeeper for a few weeks to take care of things." He got into his phone to look. "I have one in Cleveland I can bum for you or I have one hidey hole for the trouble twins and Tara."
"Tara would pounce."
"Tara will pounce. Sanya promised she was going to pounce the next time she saw you." He grinned. "She thinks you're neat." He went back to looking. "Or we can find something near Uncle Clay. Or near... huh. I hadn't thought about that." He got into that listing, nodding. "Done. Smallish, some views, within a mile of the beach." He looked up. "I'll let the uncle find you a housekeeper for a few days so you have someone to cook and clean." He put his phone up. "It's ready whenever you want to move in."
"Your bolt hole?" Jensen guessed.
"No. Something I won at a poker game." He grinned. "I thought he had bought it back but he didn't."
"Huh." He finished his soup and yawned. "Sorry."
"You've been in here for five days," his sister said gently. "You rest, Jen." He nodded, letting her take the cup and fluff his pillows, then help him go to sleep. She looked at Xander. "You won an apartment?"
"Yeah. Well, a building," he muttered. She rolled her eyes. "One of my gun buddies."
"I don't need to know."
"True." He grinned, making her smirk back. "Anyway. Clay's napping on my couch. Cougar and Pooch are both at the guest house, and there's still room for you if you want."
"I'll take you up on that later tonight, Xander. Thank you."
"It's not a problem and it's my duty to fix since my friend went off the deep end to do this to him."
"It's not your fault. It's hers."
"Quit fighting," Jensen ordered. "Is she still alive so I can kick her ass, Xander?"
"Uncle Clay said you first." Jensen smirked at that and drifted off. He looked at the sister, nodding for her to go clean up and he'd watch. She smiled and went to take a shower in the room's bathroom.
The nurse walked in. "Didn't we tell you to go home?"
"I came to deliver food and give his sister a rest." He pointed at the bathroom. The nurse nodded. "I'll bring her to my place later on."
"That's fine. Did he eat?"
"Some soup a young woman who likes to flirt with him made. Chicken with herbs."
"Fine." She checked him over and left making notes on his chart. She came back. "The x-rays came back negative." He beamed at her. "The doctor also said to tell you that the full work-up was a lot more comprehensive and you needed to talk to him later."
"My uncle and I can do that tonight."
"Good." She sent that to the doctor's office and checked on her next patient. That one would be just fine. He had plenty of people to fuss him back into health.
Clay and the doctor walked in together. "Hey," he told Jensen's sister, who smiled. "He good?"
"Just napping again, Clay." She noticed the doctor. "A big change?"
"No, he's looking good for a full recovery. His lungs are a bit congested thanks to the fever but the medicine is working well. He'll be fine in a few months." She beamed at that. "I was going to talk to Xander about what we found in his blood."
"Let me go to the gift shop to get a soda then." She left.
Clay nudged Jensen awake. "We've got full blood results on Xander back."
Jensen made the bed sit him up. "Am I going to catch more?"
"I'm glad you only caught the one," the doctor assured him. "You are showing signs of antibodies from a few others though."
"Things from me?" Xander asked.
"We have worked extensively in Central and South America," Clay told him.
"Was he ever this sick?" Clay shook his head. "Then it's more likely his body protected him against what came from Xander's blood." He looked in the folder then at the boy, handing it over. "That is everything we found in yours. Including two zoological viruses?"
"A few shaman worked on me with my possession of a hyena at one time. A few to help things, one to help me get in better touch and learn how to shield better so it only happened when I wanted it to."
"With how you got syphilis and smallpox off a ghost, that doesn't shock me," the doctor decided. "Can anyone else do that?"
"People who can suck in spirits, which are far and few between," Jensen said. "Most of them the Council knows about."
"Good!" He looked at the boy, watching him read the list. "Are you wearing something to prevent someone from getting your blood?"
"No," Clay said. "He usually manages to fight them off. Or hear first and get them."
"Not fully," Xander corrected. "I have something that restricts people taking my blood without my consent."
"I'm guessing mystical," the doctor sighed. Xander nodded. "You're a safety risk to the US, Mr. Harris. We can not only cook most of them down, but we can now make the antidote from your friend. The CDC is horrified and strongly suggested you do something to make sure no one can get your blood. Before agents get into it when it happens sometime."
"Others have had some of these," Jensen pointed out.
"Yes, but most of them don't have *all* of those together and most of them don't work in fields where people want to shoot you." Clay winced. The doctor held up a hand. "The CDC wanted to know what sort of job he did. I said you were formerly with the Council. They knew who he was from that because one of them got caught with his research panties down. They said you're a danger to the US."
"They could knock me out and then a suicide patch wouldn't matter," Xander said calmly.
"True, and they know that, but they want one installed anyway."
"They're dangerous since there's demons who can set those off," Clay said. "From a distance."
"Mine prevents anyone from taking my blood without me willing it. Cuts are one thing but...."
The doctor shook his head. "That may be the better way but what if whoever did it dies? Or someone counters it?"
"I did the ritual myself," Xander told him. "Nothing can counter it, cancel it out, or set it off to kill me."
"I'll let you tell them that." He nodded. "They're in my office." Xander nodded and went up there to argue his case. He looked at Jensen. "We can make antidotes from you so you will want to think about it. It's not the same sort of danger your friend is in, but there is some."
Jesen nodded. "I'll consider that."
"Thank you." He looked at Clay then smiled. "It could be much worse."
"It could be something like the plague, ebola...."
"Smallpox is bad enough. It probably isn't the version we use the vaccination against."
"No, it's an older strain that was considered dead." He left them alone.
Clay looked at him. "I'll leave it up to you since it's the antidote. If it was the disease, I'd put one in myself," he said quietly.
"There's demons who can set them off. It'd show up during an apocalypse but I want to know more about what he did." Jensen grinned at him. "Nap. You need it. You nearly fried your brain."
"I will. I'm feeling better. When do I get out?"
"Good. Xander found me a place."
"I know. Cougar and Pooch brought you groceries." Jensen grinned at him. "Plus made sure the cable was on." His sister came back so he left them alone.
Jensen moaned when the nurse came in with stuff to draw blood. "Again?" he whined. "I'm going home in an hour."
"Yes, your last one," she said with a smile. She tied the tourniquet strap and found his vein. She popped in the needle quickly and efficiently. Nothing happened. "Must've rolled," she said, searching. It was in the vein. She shifted the needle and still nothing. She withdrew it and grabbed a butterfly needle for smaller veins, getting one very visible one in his wrist. She could see the needle went into it but no blood was coming out. "How are you doing that?" she asked him.
He was staring. "I have no idea." He calmed himself, decided to let the blood flow, and undid the strap. "There we go. It was just too tight," he said with a smile.
"I guess." She got the vials she needed to have run and left him alone.
Jensen stared at his arm. He needed to talk to Xander. Clay came in and he held up a hand, plus the needle he had taken from the nurse before she left. He poked himself and no blood came out. Then he let it go and it did.
"So you're still bound," he said bluntly. Jensen nodded. "Shit."
"Yeah. Not my idea." They shared a look. "Does Xander know?"
"No clue, Jensen." He handed him some clothes. "Let's go. You can yell at him tomorrow."
"I'm not going to yell at him, Clay. I'm going to torture her for this."
"There's people looking for her for you and the kid." Jensen went into the bathroom to change and came out to sit down again. "Got everything?" Jensen nodded, patting his bag. "Books and all?"
"Yeah, I got it earlier with the nurse doing a check after me." The nurse came in with papers for him to sign and a wheelchair. "I like you guys. Thank you for taking such good care of me."
"You're welcome. Remember to make progress slowly back up to your former stamina or beyond." She pinched him on the cheek.
He grinned and got into the wheelchair, letting her and Clay take him down to the car. Clay drove him home. It was a nice apartment. Not really roomy but not tiny. Small, open kitchen. One bedroom with views of some trees up the street. A few other views of the street from the living room and the bathroom. That had a nice tub and a shower. He could stay here. He came back out and flopped onto his couch. "No welcome home party?"
"Tomorrow. They figured you'd want to nap tonight."
"I've napped more in the last week and a half than I have in years." He got handed the remote. "Thanks."
"Welcome. Xander's coming up tomorrow."
"Cool." He looked at him. "Let me know when she's found."
"I will." He stood up. "Let me calm everyone else down." Jensen smiled and let him leave. Jensen had to think about how to cancel out being bound to Xander since the demons hadn't been able to. He went to talk to his nephew. Xander was on his personal firing range testing out something new since he was making notes. "Hey."
Xander looked back at him. "What's up?"
"Didn't that healer unbind you two?"
"He can make sure no one takes his blood the same way you showed off."
"Anya?" he called. She faded in, grinning. "My mystical marriage was canceled, right?"
"Loosened. She bound you guys too tightly. It's not as tight as it was. Before you would've known if he was masturbating. Now you'll have to watch him." She beamed. "I'm sure he'll make you very happy." She faded out. Like the healer, she was scared to redeath of his temper.
Cordelia showed up with a snort. "They're scared to tell you."
"I'm not going to lose it on them," Xander assured her. "Can it be canceled?"
"No. She let it sit for eight hours before she brought him back. It was too long within two." Xander slumped. "But, it's not like a real marriage. You guys can talk all that out and decide to be macho and go after women anyway." She waved a hand. "As long as I'm not your daughter some year."
"Still infertile, Cordy."
"Yeah," he said dryly. "Mermaid."
"No!" She shook her head. "No, the PTB said you're not."
"They're fucking the crackhead and picking it up through her then. Yeah, I'm not fully genetically compatible."
"Ooooh." She went to report that. They had wanted John to come back as his son some year. So the higher ups looked, swore, and had to change a few plans.
Mary faded in, smiling at Xander. "It's all right. They'll make sure John and I come back together instead, Xander. Some day you can adopt."
"Kids scare the shit outta me," he said bluntly. "I didn't want kids before then, Aunt Mary." She scowled. He shrugged. "I don't! What'm I going to do with a kid? Turn into my own parents?"
"I'd kick your ass," Clay assured him. "So would Sammy and Dean."
Mary sighed. "I know you wouldn't, Xander. Especially since you don't drink." She faded out to tell John to talk to the boy. He needed some manly talking to. Of course he wanted kids!
Clay gave Xander a look. "It'll be fine, kid. Even if you could, we'd have to take out the mothers anyway." Xander snickered. "What're you working on?"
Xander let him see. "New model."
"Crap in the field if it gets wet."
"Not really good in multiple spectrums but someone wanted my opinion." He let him see his notes. Clay nodded he agreed with most of those. They went to get lunch and talk. Xander needed to babble to get his thoughts straightened out about Jensen.
Aisha knocked on Jensen's door, getting let in by him. She smiled. "It's good you're okay."
"Yeah, I'm happy I'm out too." He let her in. "Clay'll be here in about twenty minutes."
"That's fine. How are you feeling?"
"Better. Not shaky or anything." He smiled. "The others are on their way over too so you're just in time to help me pull down chips and stuff."
"Sure." She followed him to do that.
Clay and Cougar got there first. Clay gave Aisha's back an odd look. Jensen smiled. Cougar took a beer and a bag of chips. "Welcome," Jensen teased.
Cougar smirked back. "You look better. Less pasty and sweaty."
Clay looked at Aisha. "Bored?"
"Came to check on him." She smiled at him. "And you of course. No Xander?"
"Soon." He stared at her. "Who heard?"
"A few people."
"Jensen can only make antidotes and he's wearing a suicide patch," he said bluntly. "Xander's got something similar."
"Shoot. They'll be disappointed."
"Especially if Xander killed you," Jensen said happily.
"I don't think they'd let him wake up," she said dryly.
"Good." She patted Clay on the shoulder as she walked around him. "How many more want him now?"
"Probably about the same plus some agents and federal researchers."
"Hmm. I don't know which is worse." She finished with the food laying out, letting Jensen go sit down since he was looking shaky. "How long are you down for?"
"Six months we think," Jensen told her. Cougar grimaced. "Slowly working back up. Long walks, some jogging, Xander's gym." That got a nod and a happier look. Pooch and his wife came in with the baby. "Hey, little guy." He took the baby to hold. "I missed being babbled at. Not even Xander babbled at me while I was sick." The baby beamed and babbled at him.
Pooch grinned, getting him and his wife a drink and something to nibble on. "We might let you babysit since you're going to be quietly doing stuff for months."
His wife looked at him. "He's not strong enough to chase him around yet."
"Give me a few weeks and I will be," Jensen promised with a smile. The baby pounded on his chest so he looked at him, getting babbled at again. Xander walked in with his own key. "You have my spare key?"
"I won the place in a poker game." He patted the baby on the head, getting a happy smile back. "Good boy." He got his own beer and came out to sit down. "Cordelia said everyone's too scared of me to tell me unpleasant things."
Jensen looked at him. "Any hope?" Xander shook his head. "Damn it."
"Good!" He turned the baby around, letting him babble at Clay. He let him down when he wiggled, letting him crawl over to suck up to the other uncles. "Any ideas?"
"Have fun," Xander told him.
"Huh?" Pooch asked. "Something about why she did it?"
Jensen cleared his throat. "She decided Xander was being a bad boy and needed a leash holder. So she bound us together," Jensen admitted.
"So you literally got sick from him," Aisha said. Xander nodded. "Is there anything lasting?"
"Yeah, they can't fully remove it, just separate us. Now we're more like Dean and Sam are while they're hunting, instead of telepathic, able to tell when the other's in trouble, or cheating." She shuddered. "But, I have no doubt Jensen will find some brilliant, pretty thing with good legs sometime soon."
"Thanks," he said with a grin.
"NP, Jensen. You know that." He sipped his beer. The baby came back to him so he gave him a hug and pointed. "Look, it's a fuzzy thing." The baby went to test that throw blanket by petting and chewing on it. He cooed at it and it became a new friend. Cougar handed it over to him and the baby sat down to play. They all smiled when he managed to get underneath it. Then he fussed because he got trapped so daddy helped. That was better. "Know your way to the beach?" Xander asked.
Jensen pointed. "That way by about ten blocks?" Xander nodded. "Grocery store?" Xander pointed to the east. "Small?"
"Costco. Within a mile, just under."
"Cool. Being in the art district will definitely be some diversions."
"Yup, and you have the gay section with the best drag show in the city about seventeen blocks to the south east. Few clubs there. Few beach bars."
Jensen smiled. "Thank you for the lending."
"Not a problem, you know that." He pulled over the backpack he had dropped when he walked in, tossing it at him. "Safety supplies and your netbooks."
Jensen looked, beaming at them. "Thanks, Xander."
"Welcome, man. I don't want to leave you here without at least a gun."
"I'll mine the house later." He put it beside him. The baby looked. "No, not yours. That's like daddy's bag." The baby smiled at his father, who picked him up. He pointed and whined for the blanket so he gave it to him. The baby cooed and played with it. "Thanks for the books too, Xander," Jensen said.
"I always wanted something to listen to whenever I'm in a hospital bed," Xander said with a small shrug.
"I can't believe he put on Winnie the Pooh," Pooch's wife said with a smile.
"Winnie and Tigger were fierce guardians when the fever started off bad thoughts that wanted to attack me," Jensen assured her. She gaped.
"High fevers like that start off some strange nightmares," Xander told her. "Ones you have problems getting out of. If I had used something like an action novel, he would've had to defend against them. Something harmless wouldn't have hurt him."
"Kanga and Roo tried to feed me nasty medicine and put me in her pouch, but Piglet said I was going to be fine and brought me tea. Eyeore was the most sarcastic but agreed I could have the others for now, he'd just sit in the field and worry by himself. So I shared my tea."
Everyone was staring at him. "It's the same one I hallucinated penguins to," Xander told them. "I had penguins marching in Marine formation and flapping at anything coming at me. A few even went to tribal guardian penguins, complete with war paint and spears or bows." Clay shuddered. Xander shrugged. "It was helpful. They even fought off the fussy nuns."
"I can't imagine going through that at a less technological hospital," Jensen admitted. "Fewer antibiotics, no specialists."
"Most of them had seen these things before," Xander admitted.
"Yeah but I had pain meds for the coughing I did," Jensen pointed out. "I'm sure you didn't."
"No, I didn't. A few times I thought I was going to have a heart attack from the coughing and the pain. But if you had been in the field, you would've handled it and then complained later."
"True. You didn't even have nurses you could flirt with."
"No, I had missionary nurses and nuns. No flirting wanted." He smirked. "It's fine. I got over it and got back to my badass self. So can you."
"Of course I will." He smirked. "Jogging buddies?"
"If you want. Let me know when you're ready."
Jensen grinned and nodded. "You could use some time on the beach."
"Maybe." He shifted. The baby stared at him. "What?" He crawled over Cougar to get in his lap, grinning at him. "Sure, you can use me as a baby chair." The baby snuggled in and napped with the blanket. Xander covered him. The baby sighed in pleasure and got comfy against his chest. They waited until the first snore then the baby wouldn't wake up for a while. His mom took him back with a smile. "It's not a problem, I promise." She set him in his seat with the blanket over his chest. He liked that, snoring louder.
Clay looked, shaking his head. "He snores more than his father does." Jensen snickered. "Or Roque did."
Cougar shook his head. "I don't think that's possible."
Xander looked over at him. "You should hear Buffy snoring." They all smirked at that. Xander's phone rang. He answered it. "Yuppers?" He listened. "Hi, Jorge. No, I'm not at home. I'm with Uncle Clay's team since Jensen's just out of the hospital. Why?" He listened. "Well.... Huh. No, I haven't heard back from her. She decided I was loud, flashy, and brought attention. Sure, if you guys want me to. Not a big thing for me." He found a pen and a notepad, making notes. "I can have that set up in a few. When do you need it and what name are you going under?" He made that note too. "Give me thirty." He hung up and called a number in his phone, heading for the bathroom. "Hi, I need to make a reservation for a small traveling group of salesmen," he said as he closed the door.
"Marcia didn't rehire him?" Jensen asked.
"No. I have no idea what's in her mind." Clay shrugged but grimaced. "We'll see what happens."
Xander came back. "Jorge said to get better, Jensen."
"Thanks." He shifted, looking at his teammates. "Since we're working for cash instead of the government, do we have a current job?"
"Not yet," Clay said. "Everyone wanted two weeks after the last one." They all nodded. "Then you got sick so it's an extra-long vacation."
Xander coughed and handed over his phone once he got into a text message. "That was supposed to be passed on to either Tray or Givens' team. Neither one of them wanted it because it's a simple extraction."
Clay looked it over, nodding. "We think it's still open?"
"Probably. If not, he's passed on jobs before so he's a contact to find."
"I'll call that later. An extraction we can do without Jensen." Jensen nodded. "You can hack from here if we need you to."
"Of course I can." He smiled at Xander. "Are you going to keep taking calls?"
"If they call me, yeah."
"Cool." He shifted and yawned. "I never want to get sick again."
"I said that once," Xander said with a grin.
"Unfortunately I'm not you, Xander. I can't do super-strange things all day long."
Xander snickered, catching his phone when his uncle tossed it back. "What's up?" he asked as he answered. "I'm at Jensen's, Marcia. He's having his 'I made it home' party." He listened. "He called me. All I did was set up a room reservation for him. That's your call, Marcia. If they call me, they call me." He hung up. "She's huffy. I'm guessing her pregnancy isn't making her happy." They all gaped so he smirked. "Yeah, kinda obvious since she was throwing up and I got a panicked call sent my way to make sure she wasn't poisoned." He called back. "What do you want for the baby shower present?" He hung up with an evil smirk.
"That's mean," Clay warned. Xander shrugged. "Fine, you can be pissed at her for treating you like your friends used to." Xander nodded. "Calm down sometime."
"I am." He smirked. "The house now has a friend/foe setting from that debt I called in. If you're there to be mean to me, you can't find the house." They all stared. He stared back. Then he gave Jensen an evil smirk. "I wondered why he said that someone would be able to find it, that he couldn't block him out. I thought he meant Sam though."
"Maybe he did," Jensen said with a small shrug. The baby woke up with a yawn and he grinned. "Morning."
"Tata!" he shouted.
"No, Tara's at home," his mother said patiently.
Xander called. "Tara's admirer just yelled for her." Dean put her on the phone so he handed it over.
She listened then put it next to her son's ear, making him happy to hear his buddy babbling at him. The baby squealed so she listened. "Thank you, Dean." She hung up and tossed Xander his phone back. "Better?" She handed him to his father and the diaper bag. Diapers were a good payback for letting her think he was dead. Once he was potty-trained, she'd think up a new one.
Xander snickered. "Thank the Goddess I don't have to do that."
"You'd do better than you think," Clay assured him. "Dean and Sam would make sure of it."
"Yeah but I never wanted kids anyway." He shifted to curl up some. "Sorry, Cougar, I'm not cuddling." He shifted away a bit. Jensen grinned. "I know, those rumor mongers might get the wrong idea," he quipped.
"Everyone knows I get most every woman I want," Cougar said dryly. "Jensen never could get a woman, that's why they picked him."
"You'd be surprised," Xander quipped back with an evil grin for his buddy. "It was the pranking together thing most of the time." He called someone. "Tray, any idea where she's hiding?" He snickered. "If you guys call me, you call me," he told him. "Marcia's in a bad mood because her traveling companion was fertile." He listened. "Yeah, I handled that last month. Why? Sorry, no one told me you had one of them as a target. Did you get him anyway?" He grinned. "Cool. Yeah, if someone calls, they call. I'm good with helping whoever needs it." He nodded. "Sure. Thanks, man. Let me know if you hear. No, Uncle Clay said Jensen gets her first. Then I get to beat her to death. Thanks." He hung up. "She is in Wales with one of the witches."
"I can find my passport," Jensen muttered. Xander wrote down a name for him, handing it down through Pooch's wife. He grinned. "Thanks."
"Welcome." He leaned back again. "We need music." Jensen flicked on the radio with the remote and it got happier again.
Jensen found Willow where she was expected to be a week later. She had a fierce guard-witch in his way. He looked at her. "She nearly killed me."
The witch looked him over. "You look healthy now. How did she do that?"
"She took away my free will by bonding me to a friend against *both* of our wills and the way she did it, the diseases he had transferred. Including dengue." The witch moaned. "I nearly died twice in the week and a half I was in the hospital. Thankfully someone managed to unlink it before I got any of the others he had in his blood, like smallpox." The witch shuddered. "She's mine. I don't care if you don't like it."
"I can make you sorry if you try," the witch said. "She's healing."
He didn't want to hurt the guard witch. He was sure she felt she was just doing her duty. He could understand that. "She tossed her second chance long ago," he said bluntly. "She's been back in junkie mode for months now. She's done nothing but hurt people. She did it on purpose even knowing that the two of us are friends and not together, that I don't like boys that way, and that we'd destroy each other emotionally. Now, you can get out of the way or I'll go around you."
The witch shook her head. "She is getting help."
"She got help before and did it again. The Devon Coven didn't keep good track of her and she was playing God of Magic right after they released her. Then she added in more over time. She's intentionally hurting people because she thinks that the way things should be."
The witch looked at the young one then at the young man. "She's not going to do it this time."
"Fine, I'll go around you." He shot Willow in the chest before the witch could move. He stared down at her. "Maybe you'll come back and the next go-round will be a better person." He looked at the senior witch. "I can't let her endanger any more people. She's nearly caused another apocalypse because I could've been contagious. She did it to me in a building with three young slayers, who left before she brought me, unconscious, back to my friend's house. They would've spread it to all the slayers and the rest of the US." He walked off.
"The higher ups want her," the witch warned. "They won't be pleased."
Jensen stopped to look back at her. "Then they should've given her a leash. Their own messenger told her to stop it and she didn't listen." He walked off, going to do some minor shopping, travel to London for a few days, and then home.
The witch sighed and closed the door. The Powers wanted this young one, they would bring her back. When the witch disappeared in a gout of flame, the elder witch gasped and called the coven to tell them of this. Then she remembered what else Rosenburg had done. Death canceled memory spells. The others said the same thing over the phone. They decided to leave it there. The will of the Goddess had been done through her victim.
Xander walked into the motel in Belize, weathering the look over from the woman behind the desk.
"I give military discounts," she told him, handing over a key. "Half rate."
He smiled. "Thank you." He paid her for it.
"Why are you here? Are you one of those who work for the government?"
"No, I'm on a hunt."
"Creatures?" she asked with a grimace. Xander held up a poster. She shook her head, glancing around so he put the poster back in his pocket. "That one is not nice. He is dangerous. I do not want fighting here."
"I shouldn't need to."
"What will you do if he hears?"
"Make him sorry," he told her. "And pay for any damages." He smiled. "Thank you." He went to his room to get himself ready. He stretched out then loaded his weapons before heading out. He found the dirtbag's house easily enough. It was huge and had electric, unlike most of the town. It had guards too but Xander wasn't the usual hunter. He thought outside the human sphere to things that could make the guards ignore him or nap. He slipped toward the root cellar. It was the safest entry point.
He made it in and found the two demons he had contacted to do this rescue mission, who hadn't in a good amount of time. They stared at him, looking horrified. "Back me up or don't," he said quietly. "If you sound an alarm, you can be counted as one of them." One opened his mouth but Xander had his gun in his hand and was clearly comfortable with it. They followed him and it was good. They found the dungeon. They found Pooch and Cougar. No Clay though.
Xander gave them each one of his spare guns and they nodded. Cougar pointed and Xander nodded, heading that way. Pooch tried to stop him and got a dirty look. He found where Clay was but he had a visitor. Xander considered then shot the guards. The head guy stiffened and looked around. Xander walked out into the open. "Let me have my uncle and I won't blow up your house."
"You're nothing," the man sneered.
"I know some women who think the same thing but they're wrong too."
"I have many men....."
"Who're mostly dead," Xander said. He started to shout into his radio so Xander shot him in the head. "No, I don't think we need any remaining ones down here." He got Clay unlocked and handed him his last spare gun, heading out with him. The demons fled. Xander got them out the root cellar and found the other two waiting on them. A few less guards but no one really cared about them. Xander got them back to the motel and they all calmed down. Xander bandaged the wounds and then 'went out for a pint of milk' since Clay was looking pissed off. He'd be back in LA long before Clay would.
Jensen looked up as his team got off the plane, giving them looks. "Are we good?"
"We're fine," Clay growled. "Where is the little shithead?"
"The last I knew, Volcano; it's a club." They all sighed. "He hired someone but they weren't acting very fast."
"I heard that," Clay admitted. "Xander is not a commando and he should not be doing those things, even for family." Jensen snorted and started to laugh. "I know but still. It was dangerous and stupid."
"Well, he is *your* nephew," Cougar said. Clay glared. "Seriously. Sometimes he's like your kid."
"I'd never sleep with his mother. She was a bitch." They left, going out to the car. "Was he injured?"
"Not like he did more than check in and tell me you guys were all right," Jensen said. He let Pooch drive. They all got in and pulled away. "Are any of you injured?"
"Xander babied them," Pooch admitted. "My boy?"
"He and your wife are with her mother right now."
"That's fine." He texted her and they went back to Jensen's house. He drove past Xander's but there was no gate. Clay growled at that. "Spank him later, Clay."
"I will be." They made it to Jensen's and he texted the kid. "Making him run?"
"Asked him to bring me something to drink later." Jensen smiled. "It was too dangerous for him to be doing alone." He went to the kitchen, handing out beers. It was better and they could all calm down. Someone knocked and Jensen got it, taking the liquor bottle from the delivery kid. He paid them and the kid ran off. He handed the bottle to Clay. "The note says he's not that stupid."
Clay smirked at the note but broke the bottle open so they could have a good drink. He'd deal with his nephew the next morning. Even if he had to pretend to be less pissed than he was.
Clay called a few local contacts, finding out where his nephew was. He had no idea why he was at a country club but.... It wasn't going to save him. He snuck in and found his nephew doing something *really* dumb. He was playing tennis with a gun dealer. He glanced around then walked out there, grabbing his nephew by the arm and walking him off. The other guy laughed. Clay glared so he quit.
"It's my uncle," Xander assured him. He looked at him. "What did you expect me to do?"
"Hire better people since you're not a commando," he said bluntly, staring at him. Xander huffed. "Even with that uniform stuff, kid."
Xander grimaced, looking down. "I'm sorry I pissed you off, Uncle Clay."
Clay was starting to get a bad feeling and swatted him. "Don't you dare think about doing it again. You're my nephew and I'm not going to outlive you." He stared the boy down. "You're trained but not for that job."
"Hiring people is expensive."
"You have money."
"I have investments and I have souvenirs," Xander corrected. "Not a whole lot of ready cash this month. I wasn't going to leave you there."
"You could've went to any of the other teams we worked with, Xander."
Xander grimaced. "Well, I kinda couldn't since the guy who broke your assignment was kinda in the employ of your old bosses in the CIA," he said quietly. Clay stiffened, staring at him. "I sent it to Jensen but he may not have gotten into his frozen, hack-proof account."
Clay called him. "Get into your special account. Find the info Xander sent you on the person who broke our cover." He listened and nodded once. "Really?" He looked at the kid.
"Not the joke, Jensen, the link," Xander said next to the phone. He heard the gasp and shrugged. "A Max wannabe only more like trying to be Destro."
Clay shook his head at that description. Jensen read the basics of the dossier to him. He hung up and looked at his nephew. "Any idea on him?"
"Yes, and my tennis partner knows more." He gave him a look. "That's why I came here today."
"It's a good hiding spot but I'm still going to beat your ass for coming yourself without backup, Xander." He walked him back there, finding the tennis partner in the bar. Xander nodded him over to the table as he got his own drink. The guy walked over and Xander sat down. Clay sat across from him. "I'm told you know something about the Max wannabe."
"Horace," Xander told him, taking a sip of his water. "Mm," he said, grimacing and spitting it out. "Truth serum, yum." He put it aside.
"How do you know that?" Clay and the gun dealer asked in unison.
Xander looked at them. "I'm not confessing to anything," he said with a grin. "But ask Riley's remaining people."
Clay gave him an odd look. "They did?"
"Someone tried in Africa. Twice." He grinned at him. "The things you didn't hear, Uncle Clay."
The gun dealer coughed. "I heard about that I think but it was odd and we had wondered why."
Xander grinned. "I'm from Sunnydale."
"OH!" he said, eyes going wide. "You are that Xander." Xander nodded. "It's said you're recently married. Congratulations, even if it is to a man."
"No, Willow decided to bond us so we're like twins." Xander smirked. "Jensen is straight."
"Pity. You could use someone to calm down with."
"Yeah but my last real ex, Anyanka, gave me extreme stamina." He shrugged. "I've interviewed a few good choices but my uncle hates them."
"Do I have to mention the one that took you to Hong Kong?" he asked dryly.
The gun dealer laughed. "I heard about that."
"She offered me drugs," Xander said with a shrug. "Clearly not one of my women." He grinned. "So....."
"Horace is ...problematic. I remember Max and Horace is more temperamental. There's many of us who believe he's female really. No one I know has ever seen him."
"If it was an evil girl I'd have seen her probably," Xander said.
"You haven't seen them all but it is a good point. It is said that he has some ties to law enforcement."
"I know he's got CIA contacts," Clay said. The dealer nodded at that new information. "He blew my team's cover and my nephew decided not to hire a second group when the first wasn't very fast."
"I did not know you had that much training, Xander."
Xander grinned. "Not fully, I improvised and gassed a lot, Vagan."
"Understandable really." He considered it. "I know it's said he hates Greenpeace because he hates all fish. So he's probably allergic to some sort of fish." Xander frowned but he wasn't sure why. "I know he has a thing for comics. It's said he was behind a theft of the first Superman comic that had Lex Luthor in it."
"That's Deveroux," Xander said. "Out of Interpol. He bragged a few months back that he had a copy of that finally, he'd been searching for years. I know he hates fish. And museums, thinks they're useless wastes of money and cause pretension."
"He doesn't have a temper," Clay pointed out.
"Bet me." He scowled. "If it's not him, then it's someone a lot like him."
"I'll take that under consideration. How would he have CIA contacts?"
"He used to be on a special ops crossover project," Clay said, considering it. "That's how most of us who used to work there found out he was an ass."
"Who picked me up in a bar," Xander muttered. He considered it. That definitely fit. "Hmm. I don't know. I know he's now got a girlfriend."
"Ai...." Clay stared at him. "That's where she is?"
"Ever hear about that flu?"
"Oh." He grimaced. "Interesting."
"But, and it is a thought, I think she's working."
"I can check on that," he decided.
"Let me. Deveroux knows me. I passed on some info to him last month about some gem smugglers thanks to that ex."
The gun dealer coughed. "That did mess up a lot of business, Xander."
"Yay." He shrugged. "She tried to get me to take drugs. She kidnaped me from the club to Hong Kong."
The dealer sighed, shaking his head. "There's many who are upset about that."
"Well, hell, if they annoy me... I have people like Deveroux who I can have lunch with." He smirked evilly. "I hate it when people piss me off because I dealt with an ex in a good way. It's not like I killed her and her brother."
"You'd better not," Clay growled.
"Yes, Uncle Clay. You know I'm not that mean." He looked at the dealer. "You can tell them that the next apocalypse was solved thanks to that. She was cheating some of them and they were going to invade her areas to get her back. Did we want to see a demon invasion of Singapore or Hong Kong? Or even some of the mining areas where she had people slaves?"
"No. I can't imagine many would like that," he decided, sipping his beer. Clay smirked. "I'll let them know that and that you're huffy over being nagged about that stuff."
"It was that stuff that made Rosenburg link my guy with him," Clay said.
"Ah! That's who it was. So she forced the bet to go through."
"Yes and now she's ...paying," Xander finished with a dark look.
"Good!" He finished his beer. "If it is, there are many who would like a man like that out of our way."
"The next one would be worse," Xander pointed out.
"True. I hear Marcia and you came to a parting of the ways?"
"She decided I was too flashy and open."
"Because I showed up to solve the last hostage crisis we had." He beamed.
"I heard about that." He looked at Clay. "Did you paddle him?"
"I managed not to but I'm about to for this last one. We yelled then that he needed backup."
"I don't know who could make a team that would work with him," he admitted.
"There's plenty if we could make them a real team," Clay assured him.
"You know, I met someone who looked just like you once over something in my mother's basement."
"That would've been my brother. He's gone now."
"Pity. He did a good job." He looked at the boy. "If so, do let us know?"
"Sure, once I know all I need to know I'll let some stuff slip."
"Good. Now, about this next group of things your Council needs? Are they insane?"
"If they're asking for artillery, it's probably because they heard something huge is going on again. If so, I can find some within days. I haven't been told what's going on yet."
"Hmm. We'll be cautious then. They haven't said they need it quickly, just soonish as the yappy thing put it."
"Blonde yappy thing in preppie clothes or other yappy thing?"
"That's Buffy? Huh." He smiled. "She's adorably tiny."
"She can kick my ass," Clay assured him. "Not even break a sweat."
"She has quite the reputation," he said with a smile. "Let me know what you find out after your uncle spanks you, Xander."
"Fine." He smiled and got up. "Tell whoever put in the truth serum they're mean." He walked off with Clay.
The dealer smirked at their backs. "I had no idea Xander had a temper. It'll be interesting to see what he does with it."
Xander knocked then walked into Jensen's house with Aisha. He handed her to Cougar since he was in there. Then he handed Jensen a file folder full of disks. "She got them. I got you a different prezzie." He handed something else over with an evil little grin.
Jensen ran that one first, making Aisha sigh. "Oh, that's sweet, Xander. Thank you." He checked hers for viruses then started to run them. "He's Horace or his best friend and confidant," he announced. Clay came out of the bathroom, staring at her. "She gave the disks to Xander."
"No, he took them," she complained. "I had this going well, Xander."
Xander looked at her. "I know he hasn't slept with you. He's much too cuddly." She gaped in horror. He smirked. Then he looked at his uncle. "We have a slight twist. Someone you thought was *so* squeaky, not."
Jensen looked up. "The guy was gathering a file on our family. He had a beautiful picture of my niece."
"Shit," Clay said, sitting down. "Plans too?"
"Not yet." He finished up and handed the netbook over, taking his other one to run the other disks. He ejected one and waved it. "Virus."
"His or hers?" Clay asked.
"I wasn't going to plant one," she said. "Xander walked in and grabbed me by the arm, Clay. He told him that I was his ex."
Clay looked at her. "You're pretty and volatile enough for him." He took the new information, nodding. "Good. Huh, he missed the baby."
"The one Sanya's carrying?" Xander asked.
"Yup." He kept going. "This is not good." Xander looked over his shoulder then called someone. "Who?"
"Dean." He got a strange ring and hung up, calling Tara's special toy/magical phone. It was something someone at the Council thought up. Sanya answered it. "Are you safe?" She said something smartass. Clearly Dean had been warping her. "Because someone has photo files on you guys. No, Uncle Clay's." She said something to Dean. "Did his phone just ring?" He smirked. "Should've. Yeah, I'm here. I can be there in hours, Sanya." He hung up and looked at them. "Have fun with him. Dean's phone didn't ring." He left, going back to his place to pack some supplies then head there. Sam looked up as he appeared. Dean came out of the kitchen. Xander dialed Dean again, showing him the display.
Dean looked at his phone. "I haven't changed my number." He called Xander's phone and it rang somewhere. "Huh."
"Yeah." Xander hung up and put his phone away. "Gotta love the dirty officers." Dean shuddered. "They had a very nice file."
"Wonderful. What'd you bring us?"
"Sanya can use her charm to take the baby to my place. It's got a divergence." He handed her his keys. "Have fun, don't order too much pay-per-view and don't order groceries. It could be a trap." She nodded and gathered the baby so they could go. Xander looked at his cousins. "I'm really starting to hate some things."
"Amen," Dean said dryly. "Who do we think it is?"
"I think we can figure that out easily enough." He called someone. "See where my phone number leads you please." He smiled. "Because Dean called and it didn't ring. His did the same." She checked it for him and came up with an answer. "Would you mind telling that to our uncle? Yes, through Jensen is fine, though we're not married. He doesn't like boys. Thank you." He hung up and looked at them. "Amber." They smirked. She was one hacking slayer. She also had a massive crush on Pooch, but knew he was married.
Xander called someone. "Pookie," he said happily. "I know you told me not to call you that at work. No, small issue. Horace." He listened to him complain and get up to shut his office door. "No, he was trying to screw with my uncle. Now I find my phone's diverted. My cousin's phone is diverted. They have info files on all of us, including the babies. Yes, Tara's still adorable. Safe. Why?" He listened to what was going around DC. "Really?"
He smirked. "That's so sweet of them. Well, then, I'll call the girls in the city and tell them to leave everything there." He smiled. "Good job. Thank you." He hung up. "May or may not be related." He called another phone. "Faith, me. Politicians think that the Council is a cult. So leave DC alone for a bit. I know that. They don't want us to do our jobs. So let them do it for us. Warn Miller and them." He smirked. "Yeah, I know it's evil, but they're playing phone tag with us. Thanks, dear." He hung up.
Dean and Sam gave him a long stare. "Uncle Clay is going to shit if someone higher up is eaten by a demon."
"With as many who probably made deals?" Xander quipped back. "Why are we worried?"
"Good point," Sam admitted. "But some might not have."
"Yeah, and they have Miller's team there." He beamed at them. "Fuck with me again." They both nodded and Sam got Xander a soda to hopefully calm him down. Before Xander went to DC and pretended to be a demon.
Six hours later, Clay answered his phone. "I don't recognize your number." He listened to the frantic voice. "Xander told you to do what, Faith?"
"Since there were agents pretending to want to do the job themselves and who thought the Council was some sort of cult, Xander told the girls to let the ones who wanted to handle it," Jensen said simply.
Clay listened. "Okay. I want you to do two things, and then I'll come beat Xander. Are your girls safe?" She said they had all fallen back and the FBI was at the door panicking. "Go fix it for them or show them how to fix it. I know, handing them a stake and saying 'go for it' probably doesn't work. Let me get Xander to you, Faith. Give him ten." He hung up and called. "You fucking moron!" he shouted.
"Don't you dare wake the baby," Jensen complained. "Just because your nephew did what he should've done." He stared at him. "You know you'll be walking him all night if you wake him up now."
"Fine. Xander, Faith needs help now." He hung up with a growl.
"We know there's at least seventeen senators and house members who have demon markings," Jensen reminded him.
"Only seventeen?" he said sarcastically.
"That we've caught," he shot back with an evil smirk. Clay shuddered. "Who knows how many more there are."
"Good point but to leave it unprotected?"
"The FBI was the one diverting their phones. They got Dean and Sam's phone too." He got into his email and handed it to Clay. "From Amber."
He read it and groaned. "Those fucking morons."
"Which was why Xander called a pull-back."
"That makes more sense. I'll only beat him lightly."
Jensen smirked. "I did get a lovely offer to bring my new husband to the newest, hottest S&M club here in town yesterday."
"Sorry but news is apparently spreading."
"I'm sure you'll deal with it." He got up to get a drink so he could take that image out of his head. He paused when he heard Pooch's son fussing, groaning but going in there to calm him back down. Since he had woken the baby....
Xander appeared in a flash of light behind Faith, looking over her shoulder. "You guys decided you could handle it on your own. Congrats!" he said dryly. "Why are we risking our lives for such bastards?"
"This is the seat of the government!" one shouted. "There can't be demons here!"
"Then I'd get all those that made deals, huh," Xander said. He moved around the girls. "You guys have bugged our phones, diverted a few of our lines, and made our lives a living hell. I know the universe is ungrateful, but did I vote for anyone there? I was in Africa during the last presidential election. So give me one damn good reason why I should help, or let the girls help, when you guys have treated us like shit for the last month?" He stared them down. Apparently, his missing eye freaked one out, he couldn't look him in the face. "For that matter, if the girls or I pulled out higher weapons to handle things for you, we'd probably be arrested right?"
"Well," the yelling agent said.
"There's a group in Homeland that used to handle demons. Apparently you like them more," he said bluntly.
"X, it could be eating innocent puppies," Faith reminded him. "Or kids."
Xander looked at her. "Did your phone actually go where it was supposed to?"
"Yeah, so far."
"Mine and Dean's hasn't."
"Oh." She winced. "Well....."
"You're a danger to the US," one said firmly. "You spent extensive time in another country known to harbor terrorists."
Xander snickered. "I was over there training slayers, you fucking idiot. If you knew a *thing* about me or what I did over there, you'd know that I'm the one that was helping that refugee camp in Sudan for four damn months." They all flinched at that. "Yes, that did include that *wonderful* attempt by the supposed aid workers to capture slaves for the terrorist organization up the road. They were very sorry," he said, talking down to them.
"You deal weapons."
"As you can see, the girls use knives and stakes usually." He waved a hand. "Some of us prefer guns. Someone has to stock the apocalypse closet and I have a pardon, permanently, for anything I need to do for the job. Also, until last month, I was working with a facilitator for some quiet teams out of the CIA making reservations and sending gear." They all backed up at that. New screaming started and Xander opened the door to stare at the demon. "Do you fucking mind!"
"Shit, knight! Slayers!" He turned and ran.
Xander looked at Faith. "I think I took a bath today. Do I stink?"
"No, not in the least. A bit sweaty but nice enough," she quipped back. "What was it?"
"Eh. He owes me thirty bucks," she yelled.
"It's in the mail!" the demon yelled as he finished making it to another street.
Xander smiled and waved a hand. "There, go save someone since that's your job," he said sarcastically. "I'm sure you'll feel so proud about trying to take out the defense system against those things. 'Cause, you know, I stopped the one that was going to hit Singapore and Hong Kong recently by dating." They gaped. He stared back. "I even turned them into the moron patrol you guys have in LA." They stomped off. He waved. "Next time, we'll send someone you like more," he called after him. He slammed the door shut and looked at the girls. "That leaves umpteen billion vampires in the city. Wanna? I'm having a girl temper day." All but Faith cheered and followed him.
Faith followed, just less enthusiastically. She had seen his last girl fit. It hadn't been real pretty. She called in a report as well. Giles was not happy but he agreed that Xander had the right idea. They would not appreciate them and would keep harassing the girls if they didn't show a bit of strength. Plus, Froggen was usually a non-violent demon. His type blew up when they smoked marijuana. So he was probably high. She reported that to Xander, who agreed. He'd seen Froggen do it before during poker games. So it worked for them. The vampires in DC... not so much working for them that night. Xander being pissed off still wasn't very pretty.
Xander looked up from his breakfast, he was making himself openly available because he heard someone wanted to meet with him, when someone sat across from him. "Elbert."
"Xander." He stared at him. "Why did Marcia fire you?"
"I went to handle that hostage situation during the meet-n-greet to get my uncle free. She decided I was flashy, obvious, and things like that. I decided since I'm doing a lot of other things, I can keep doing that, even though it doesn't pay as well." He ate a piece of hash brown, pointing. "Want some?"
"I'm good. That's bad for you."
"Yeah, well, all night hunting, I'm starved," he admitted. He ate another bite then looked at him. "Why?"
"Marcia's crying that she's all alone."
"Marcia's about five and a half months along. Even native tribes have stories about pregnant women's mood swings."
"Yeah, her traveling companion was fertile."
"Huh. How's Jensen?"
"He's feeling much better. He's back up to light jogging on the beach now."
"Good. How's the thing between you two?"
"Jensen got the witch that nearly killed him by binding us that way," he said quietly, glancing around. He looked at him again, seeing the stunned look. "She basically infected him with my essence to bind us."
"He had dengue."
"So did I when I was in Africa."
"Oh." He winced. "No wonder. Tell him I said get better."
"I will text that to him later, providing they quit fucking with my phone soon," he said dryly. "I'm thinking I'm going to get out of my Uncle's notice for a few days since he called up swearing yesterday."
"Clay can have a temper," he agreed dryly.
Xander nodded. "The only one who ever spanked me for a prank was Uncle Clay."
"Gave him funny hair?" he guessed.
"Made lipstick bunny rabbits on his chest. We were seven, it was a sleepover. He got both of us."
"That sounds like him, yeah." He smirked. "You good otherwise?"
"Eeeh, a few cuts. I've cleaned them." He ate another bite. "Why ask about Marcia?"
"We weren't sure what was going on. She said you left."
"I told her if she was going to fire me to do it; I did not leave. At no time did I say I quit. After one of you guys called for reservations and I handled it, she called to bitch at me about it." Elbert smirked. "So I told her if you guys called me, you called me and I'd help any way I could. She sniffled and said I was mean." He shrugged and winced, holding his shoulder.
"I can get you the name of an underground doc," Elbert said dryly.
"Why? I've already done the stitches with Faith's help." Elbert slumped some, staring at him. He stared back. "I started helping Buffy at sixteen, Elbert. I'm actually not a bad field medic." The commando grinned. "Anyway, if Marcia wants me back, she can have me back. Since she hasn't said that yet...." He waved a greasy hand in the air then licked it clean. "Not my call."
"Fine. What are you going to do about the FBI being so mean?"
"We came to a 'if they think they want to do the job, let them' decision last night then went hunting vampires. Then again, two of the ones they were worried about were big, but harmless. One owes Faith money from the last poker game he played in."
"They play poker?"
"Yeah, kitten poker usually."
Elbert blanched and regurged but held it down. "I do not want to know." Xander just grinned. "What else is on your plate?"
"Horace. Though I gave most of that to Uncle Clay and Jensen. My tennis buddy Ricardo Vagan too."
"The arms dealer?"
"Yeah. He's got a better backhand than I do. We came to a mutual agreement. I'd go through him to get stuff for the apocalypse vaults and he wouldn't piss me off in town doing something that I'd have to step into since I'm on call for apocalypses."
"Good to know." He leaned on the table. "Are you sure you're all right? You look like you're in pain."
"Haven't been to bed in about nineteen hours," he admitted. "I'll go after I eat."
"Fine." He smiled. "If you do go back, most of us agree that we like your more laid back style. Marcia can be really uptight. You're a bit more fun and you find us things that make us shudder but lack danger most of the time."
Xander beamed. "Thank you."
"You're welcome, kid." He stood up. "Have a good nap."
"You too the next time you get there." Elbert walked off smiling. His duty was done and Jensen was no longer owed a favor from him.
Clay stared at his nephew's head, then grabbed him by the not-sore shoulder, getting a wince and a hiss. "I thought the other side was injured."
"That side cramped," he hissed. "Let go!" Clay let him go. "Did they decide to quit being assholes?"
"No. Not quite yet." He smirked. "You, however, are in deep shit."
"Why? Are they mad?"
"No. I am." He stared at him. "Let's go." Xander finished his breakfast/dinner and followed him to the car. Clay drove him back to the motel, where an agent was knocking on a door. Clay got out and looked at him. "They're probably crashed after going out last night to wear out the tempers you guys caused." Xander got out and leaned against the side of the car.
The agent swallowed. "Mr. Harris." Xander nodded back. "Would you happen to know how seven demons got employment in the FBI?"
"They wanted to?" he guessed. "Most demons are actually harmless and want to live a normal life. It's just that they look funny or can do things." The agent gaped. "You know what, go talk to Graham Miller."
"He said that to our boss, who was not happy."
"That's probably because your boss owes someone something." The agent stiffened. "Check him for marks."
"I've seen him shirtless."
"Check his ass. A lot of them end up there," Clay said. "He's right, most of them just want to be normal."
"Are you an agent?"
"Quiet team," he said bluntly.
"I see." He stared at them. "We can't get anyone up at the main Council building."
Xander checked his phone's date. "Buffy's birthday was last night. Some of them probably aren't up yet." He looked up. "Including Giles since she's his slayer and near-daughter."
"Oh." He nodded. "Can you talk to my boss?"
"I've been up all night, does it have to be now?"
"No, sir. We can arrange it for later. That way you can change into something more presentable."
"Dude, when we pack for missions that're only going to be a day, we only pack weapons," Xander told him, getting a blush. "I'll see if I can wash them though."
"Um, thank you, Mr. Harris. Two good or three?"
"Three. More time to nap."
"That's wonderful. Thank you." He hurried to his car and off.
Xander looked at his uncle. "Let's get the spanking out of the way so I can rest."
"I won't beat you this time. Even though I'm disappointed." Xander slumped, heading for his room. Clay followed. Jensen and Cougar were in there waiting. "Strip down. Let's see 'em this time." Xander stripped off his shirt and wiggled out of his jeans then laid down on the bed. He fell asleep within minutes.
Jensen looked. "He's got muscle cramps. Did he do his own stitches on his shoulder?"
"Yup," Clay said, moving closer to look them over. "Not bad. Could've been a lot worse."
Jensen coughed. "What did the agent want?"
"To know how some had gotten hired at the bureau."
"They're decent beings who want to be in law enforcement," Jensen said.
"Apparently their boss is phobic or racist."
"Hmm." Jensen went back to his typing. "The underground demon network credits the girls with two vampire bars being cleaned out and Xander himself with fourteen vampire kills. Faith has twenty-three from last night, the other girls have about ten apiece but they're young so the demons are giving them good ratings." He looked up. "Then they went to the poker circuit, did a few hands there, heard about a Sam and Dean sort of demon and that's where he got injured, saving a few agents."
"Interesting." He took it to read, nodding at that. He handed it back. "He looks like he'll wake up stiff but fine." They both nodded. "Get him up about one. He's due there at three." They nodded and Clay went to his room.
Jensen started to get up but Cougar nearly fled. "No fair," he called.
"You're his husband," he shot back. "Not like I sleep with boys unless there's blackmail and the safety of the world at stake." He locked his motel room door so Jensen couldn't get in.
Jensen sat on the side of the bed and pouted. "That's mean of them." Xander sniffled and shifted to lay his head on his leg. Jensen petted him, making Xander happier. At least until his back cramped then he had to help him work out the cramps before he started to scream in pain. He didn't want to see Clay in overprotective-uncle overdrive over his nephew because then he'd end up spanking him anyway for making them worry.
Xander walked into the office at the FBI, looking at the people in there. He looked at the demons. "None of you are from harmful clans. Are you here to actually do the job?" They all nodded. He looked at the stunned looking human. "About eighty, eighty-three percent of all demon species are just funny looking or can do other things beyond be human. They're peaceful, live normal lives, all that. They're called demons because they come from another dimension or they look funny. Demons were here before humans finished evolving. The real history of the world starts with demon kingdoms and us grunting and pointing." The man's mouth flopped open. "They want to be good agents."
"But they're demons!"
"So?" He shrugged. "You're not a natural redhead," he shot back. "You have humans on staff who have special gifts, like seers. I know because I've seen a few in LA." The man flinched. "Same thing only their kinds look different." He shrugged. "They're normal beings. They don't eat flesh like some species, who are still mostly nice just have strange diets. Three of these guys probably don't gamble, that's not something their people are known for. One's got a few bigger names in the gambling circuit."
"Vegas?" one of the lesser agents asked.
"No, kitten poker circuit. It's like their version well-known."
"It's disgusting to some of us," one said quietly. "I only wanted to be a good agent, sir. Even though I have a few tiny horns, I'm not evil."
"No, your people are sometimes found as priests," Xander said with a small shrug. "I ran into one of you as a nun last month getting holy water." He looked at the head agent again. "Beyond that, you've already pissed us off greatly. Playing phone line games... trying to get into my bank accounts or my house...." The head agent winced at that. "Still think we're a cult?"
"That extra-large one last night," the lesser agent asked. "Was it dangerous?"
"No, he was high. He smokes a bliff and gets huge." He shrugged then winced. "He owes Faith thirty bucks from a recent poker game too."
"Oh." He nodded at that. "Slayers associate that way?"
"The Council, the new Council, has no problems with any species that are harmless or at least non-violent. They can have warriors, all that, as long as we're presently on peaceful terms. The ones that we're not, we handle because they're causing problems. We don't indiscriminately hunt. That was the old Council and they got blown up in the First's issues."
"Which is what sank Sunnydale," one of the demons said. Xander nodded. "You might be warned," he told the lesser agent. "Xander is one of the senior trainers and backup for the girls. The slayer spirit is said to like him."
Xander nodded. "Sineya was pretty nice to me," Xander said. "Even if she was confused and kept ripping out my heart in that dream." He shrugged and looked at the head agent again. "Would you deny them the ability to work due to their race? Isn't that something that's protected by employment law?"
"But they're demons!"
"Yes, they're all from another dimension. That makes them a different race. If you sit down and talk to them, you might be pleased that they're such good, uptight agents. Those two," he said with a point. "Are both probably very religious, very uptight about things like gambling and drinking, and probably have never missed a day in their lives."
"According to their folders, they haven't," the lesser agent agreed. "They're all listed as good agents. Some others would have a problem working with them. Especially after LA."
"These guys had nothing to do with LA. I know it's the same thing that happens whenever someone does something extreme and he's not white. They all get blamed for it, it's a lot of racism. You guys are supposed to be the leaders of law enforcement. How can other agencies look up to you when you discriminate against them because they were born different? It'll send a bad sign to every other agency and police department in the US."
"Some of them are probably here for the welfare," the head agent sneered.
"Actually, all but one of these guys live in very tight-knit clan settings. If one's suddenly in a bad way financially they'd step in to help."
"Clans like ancient barbarian clans?" the lesser agent asked. "Not that they are but the same structure?"
"Mostly. Some clans have councils. Some clans have hereditary leaders, some have appointed leaders. Some are leaders because they won the battle or managed to connive their way into it like a Godfather. The other lives in a religion-led system of values but in separate families. Like fundamentalist baptists and the like."
"That is why I work in corporate crimes. So I do not have to worry if I have to carry my gun," one said quietly. "I catch evil people doing evil things other ways and make the world safer for all faiths."
"They're very tolerant of everyone but Wiccas."
The demon looked at him. "Mostly we do not care until ones like Rosenburg come along and mess with things they should not. Most of us would not bother you about your marriage she did either."
"She *bound* him to me," Xander said. "We are not married."
The demon stared at him. "We heard he got sick soon afterward," he said calmly.
"Yeah, he got her back for that. Dengue wasn't fun for him either."
The demon shuddered. "Hopefully the Great Ones make her see reason before she is reborn then." He looked at the floor, saying a quiet prayer for her soul.
The head agent looked at Xander. "They're all like this?"
"Like humans, there's some that're good, some that're bad. For demons, some live in clans, some live in family units, some live in extended family units. Some are hive species, some are pack species. Some are loners. It's the same broad spectrum you see across human beings. Most of them are generally good. They don't want to break the law, cause trouble, eat people. The ones who're flesh eaters who are good usually do things like medical waste. They buy from hospitals."
"Eww," the lesser agent said.
"I don't like to watch them eat either," Xander said dryly. "But some older vampires buy some of their supplies so they don't get caught hunting. Or they have carefully chosen humans who feed them. That way they don't get a slayer in their faces."
"They're still not human," the head guy said.
Xander looked at him. "Which means you're part of the modern Nazi-like movement. Most of the people like you would like to put them in little camps, treat them like slaves, and/or kill them." The head guy flinched at that. "It's the same racist problems that you get for other groups, and why are you the top law enforcement person in the country with an attitude like that? You're not setting a good example." The man spluttered. "How can kids look up to you with that sort of mental issue?"
Someone walked in without knocking. "The president is here," he said.
Xander looked back, nodding. "Hey, Bill."
"Xander." He shook his hand. "Is there a problem with the girls stationed here?"
"Yeah, the FBI decided we were some strange cult. Started to screw with us. Said if we pulled weapons in the city we'd be arrested. Played phone line tag. Tried to get into my accounts, all that shit. So we said they want to do it, let them."
"I'm guessing that's why last night was so interesting. We had three streaking demons in the Plaza area."
Xander smirked. "The girls would've only giggled and pointed, sir."
"I figured they would but it wouldn't have gotten so much notice."
"Well, they started it and we weren't about to leave ourselves open to attacks."
"I agree." He patted him on the back, looking at the others. "It's good the FBI is hiring some peaceful demons as agents."
"The head guy wanted to talk about them," Xander said. "That's why I'm here."
"Mr. Harris, we're told that you have regular contact with an arms dealer in LA," the Secret Service guard said.
"Yup, he's who I fill the Council's apocalypse closet through. We have an agreement. He gives me working stuff and I don't bust him for it. As long as he doesn't get in the way of any apocalypse or other bad goings on out there, I stay out of all other deals he does."
"That's actually a fairly wise plan, sir," the agent said. "I know that you've been handing over information on the newest power player, Horace?"
"He decided to follow Max into trying to kill my uncle, which made him yell at me when I saved them." He smiled. "We have an idea who he might be." The agent smirked at him. "You know?" He nodded. Xander leaned over to whisper the name, getting a nod back. "I'll let Uncle Clay know then."
"Ah, you're Clay's nephew," he said dryly. Xander beamed and nodded. "I heard about that hostage situation."
"I so got yelled at for that but it was helpful and the right thing to do."
"It was." The president looked at him. "The intelligence summit of quiet teams working that area, sir."
"I heard about that. Nice job, Xander."
"Thank you, sir."
"Go ahead and go, son. We'll see what this pissing contest against the Council is about and stop it." Xander smiled and left. "Have someone look at those new stitches I heard you had to do to yourself too, young man."
"Yes, sir. Uncle Clay has."
"Good boy." Xander barked, making him laugh. He looked at the head of the FBI. "Why don't you agents get back to work," he suggested. The lesser agent gave him a pointed look. "Now, all of you." They went back to their desks. "I never pictured you to be that much of a racist," he said bluntly. "Or that stupid to bother the Council. They could decide not to cover the US at all." He shuddered. "Which means the next few apocalypses will happen right here. Did you want you to handle it?"
"No, sir," he said weakly.
"Then grow the hell up." The head agent flinched. "Get right with God or whatever, but grow up finally. They're beings who're sentient, not out to get us, and won't eat our brains. What else did you need to know?"
"They're not human."
"You work with guard dogs, you work with robots. What's a demon going to hurt as long as he's an honest agent? Any that aren't honest, so be it. Have fun with them. Those aren't that sort." He nodded, looking down. "Good. And undo whatever you did to piss off the Council enough that I saw Miss Summers this morning with her hangover. She was not happy to be in my office at 8 when she's usually getting to bed about then, and especially not the day after her birthday. She was mad your people made them make the call that they did to let you guys handle it last night. Did you have a good time doing it?"
"No, sir. We were miserable at it."
"So were we," the Secret Service guard admitted. "One vampire nearly made it into the White House." The head of the FBI moaned, giving him a horrified look. "Thankfully Lehane and her girls were out wearing out the stress you gave them and Harris got that one with a thrown stake and a nod for the guards." He grimaced. "We'd like them to keep doing it on their own."
"Good. You look like you need a vacation, Todd."
He grimaced. "I think it's more like I need time to get used to the way the world is. It's not the Cold War anymore and I'm still living with the past's problems," he said quietly.
"If you're sure. I'm not asking."
"I know, sir, but I'm not cut out for this."
"That's fine then. I'll find someone soon." He shook his hand. "We'll miss you around town."
"Who was that kid? Really?"
"He's been doing this since he was a teenager. He trained some of the younger girls." The head agent slumped. "He's a good man. A strong willed fighter who doesn't let much get past him. Has a bit of a temper like his uncle though." He smiled. "We'll talk to the new guy about that and the issue of the roaming demon hunters." He nodded and wrote out his formal announcement, letting him have it. "God speed, Todd."
"You too, sir." The president and his guard left. Todd gathered up his things and sat there staring out his window until everyone else had left the office. That way he wouldn't look like he had been fired.
Xander walked up to his target. Clay was behind him somewhere. This one was actually planned. "You know, the last person who tried to take out my uncle, I had eaten by the hellmouth kraken," he said in greeting. The supposed Interpol agent flinched, looking at him. "I wasn't very fond of Max. You... I'm more fond of but you're still fucking with my family. I'm afraid I can't allow that."
"Xander," he said, looking nervous. "What are you talking about?" Xander held up a file. "Um... how did you get that?" Xander just smirked. "So we're going to fight?"
"No. See, Uncle Clay wants me to quit fighting so much. He thinks I get into trouble." He grinned. "Since there's no hellmouth kraken here.... I'm not sure what we're going to do about you threatening my family." He stared him down. "Going after babies, really?" he asked dryly. The man let out a nervous laugh and tried to back away. He ran into Cougar. "I can ask some of the people eaters here in town if they'd like you, Horace."
"No! No, please don't have me eaten!" he begged. "I'll lay off your family. I promise I will!"
"Too late for that," Clay said as he walked up. Jensen was beside him and Pooch walked up behind Cougar. "You tried to have us killed. Xander had to go commando to get us free. I'm wondering if that's because you wanted him out of LA for a while or because you just wanted us out of the way?"
"Um... Bit of both," he admitted weakly. He tried to move but Pooch was a bit pissed off since the guy had plans to hurt his wife and son. "C'mon, guys. It's business."
"So we can do this the *business* way and put you in concrete shoes," Clay said with a small shrug. "Losers?"
"Nah, over too soon," Jensen said. Xander grinned at him. "I don't know why I'm picking up your cranky mood but stop it." Xander shrugged.
Horace Deveroux looked at them. "I heard about the Rosenburg thing. What do you have antibodies for?"
"Nothing. We cleaned my blood thoroughly. Nearly had to transfuse me totally." He gave him a smug look. "We're doing it to Xander next." The agent spluttered. "Clay, can we kill him and then have lunch? I'm hungry for some reason."
"It's the healing, kid." He glared at the agent, making him wilt. "Max was badder." He hauled him over and hit him, knocking him cold. "Pathetic. Truly pathetic."
"You sound like Uncle John when you say that," Xander quipped. He ducked the swat with a grin.
Clay scowled at him. "Jensen, take him, feed him, make him quit bouncing."
"I'm not that sort of boy, Clay."
Xander looked at him. "I know some pretty women we can share."
"That might work," he decided. "But I get her first."
"Sure, I doubt you'd want to come up short when she compares us," he quipped back as they walked off. He whistled. "There," he said with a point. The three harpies screamed as they headed for the idiot, and his uncle. His uncle knew to get out of the way though. John had told him stories about his run-ins with those things.
When the harpies were done, Clay decided to be merciful yet mean. He called an agent in the CIA he hated to hand his soiled, sticky, dirty, twitching body to them. Along with the information file. That agent showed up, giving the man a disgusted look. "Horace," he said with a point.
"What happened to him?"
"My nephew got pissed at him for targeting the family." He handed over the information file. "What Jensen and a hacking slayer got."
"Thank you, I think. Is that Deveroux?" They nodded. "Huh." He looked at Clay. "What sort of demon did that?"
"Eww. Like the myths?" Clay shuddered but nodded. "Where is your nephew?"
"Taking Jensen to pick up women."
"Even better. Maybe it'll improve his humor again." He got some gloves and a trashbag to wrap around the messy thing's body. Then he carted him off to his car. The guy could almost walk but he didn't want to touch him. Or have to clean that mess out of his car later on. His boss was going to be very pleased. Even if they did have to scrape him down in the showers. Though it meant no one was going to attack him in the jail for at least a few days.
Clay looked at his guys. "Let's go." They walked off together. Jensen and Xander could be found later on. After Xander calmed down. However Jensen wanted to do that for him they were okay with. Because Xander becoming Clay Junior was just bad for the world and especially the Losers.