The Duty

Harris shook Rupert Giles' hand and walked off.  It was his last day at the new Council.  He was worn out.  He was burned out.  He was injured again.  He was pissed off at the girls blaming him for his injuries since he had gotten them saving a bunch of them.  Though it had been nice that Faith and Buffy had told them all off.  Even Kennedy had told them they were spoiled and she was the original spoiled slayer.  So he had a nice severance pay package.  He had some hidden assets that he had found on his travels.  He had nicely used some insurance money to buy a nice condo away from the campus so he wouldn't have to deal with the girls when they were being cranky.  Almost none of them knew where it was, though if they called he'd probably show up to help.  He *probably* would.  He wasn't totally sure, it might depend on which slayer called and how bad the apocalypse was going to be.

But now, he had to do the grownup thing and make a decision.  To stay in Cleveland?  To start college?  To change his phone number because someone's already calling him?

"Yeah?" he answered.  He listened.  "No, I don't think so.  Because I retired to be injured in private, Amber.  That's why."  He hung up and turned off his phone.  That changing his number thing was looking really good.  He'd give it to a few of the girls, his girls, but everyone else could get it in an emergency.  Which slayer movie night wasn't. 

He made it back to his condo without any more traumas of any sort.  Even the vampires were staying away from him tonight, though he knew he was driving them nuts since some of his cuts had broken open on the ride over.  The one that had been on the same bus he had ridden on had visibly been fighting not to bite him.  Which was fun to watch.  He had been squirming like he had an erection he didn't want anyone to notice, biting his lip, and gripping his thighs like someone had ordered him not to touch himself while he was being cock teased.  Xander headed for the bathroom and first aid kit.

"Maybe this time next year I'll have a smaller, normal person first aid kit," he decided.  That was something to look forward to.  No more injuries was a great idea.  Because it sucked that he wasn't thirty but he ached like he was eighty most of the time.  Another grand honor to bless hunting demons and vampires with.  He finished his cleaning up and stripped down to his boxers.  He had found some books in a demon thrift store that he was translating for fun.  They were all story books, not prophecy, not demonology, not even fact based stories.  So fun reading in multiple languages.  He got himself some coffee on the way to the couch.  He turned on the tv for noise but wasn't paying attention to what.  He sat down, grabbed his book, put his feet up, and got back into the story.  Which proved he had been warped by girls since it was a romance but who really cared?


Ten days later, Giles called to ask him for a favor.  A mundane favor that had nothing to do with the slayers or any battle.  He was needed to bring some precious tomes to a researcher in England.  They might get attacked so he couldn't send them Fed Ex.  So Xander got an expense paid trip to London for three days.  The check in went wrong from moment one.  The airline didn't like him carrying on antique books and an antique sword.  More the books than the sword for some reason.  Xander stared at her and she flinched away from his eye patch. 

"I'm doing the Council a favor, lady," he said dryly.  "I'm taking them to a researcher since there's only six of us who can read that language and he wanted to see the sword too because supposedly it has a map."  She got him a case for the sword and had it shipped like the weapon it was.  The books were carefully put back into the carrying sack Giles had stuffed them in.  Then he went to security check-in. 

They knew him there.  He had flown out many times.  As he walked up to them he pulled out his card saying he had shrapnel pieces and could not go through the metal detector.  One of them sneered.  Xander stared at him.  "I blew it up last time," he quipped.  "The metal resonates on the wrong frequency.  I've destroyed three hand-wands for the same reason."

The head of the guards came over.  "Mr. Harris, Council business?" he asked.

"Favor for Giles.  I officially retired due to injuries."  He let them check the bag by hand.  Then hand-wand him.  The electronic parts in it started to hum when it got around his hip.  The guard moved it when it started to smoke.  Xander grinned.  "It's a special metal from an artifact that accidentally on purpose stabbed me when the idiot bitch of a witch going dark decided I was possessed."  The head guard laughed.  "Seriously!  It's Willow's fault.  She decided I was possessed.  She did not like me tanning her ass for her after I got thirty stitches.  Especially since the tip broke off in me."

"No way to remove it?"

"It's embedded in the bone.  Without going in to cut that piece of bone out?  No.  If they did, they'd have to take that whole side of my pelvis for the other pieces of shrapnel from an explosive."  That got a nod and he got passed through.  Xander got himself a drink and went to wait on his flight.  Of course he got called for a secondary screening and they didn't like his card.  Xander stared at them then at one guard he knew he had seen.  "Were you there the day the machine blew up thanks to the piece of artifact in my hip?"

He nodded.  "Yup."  He grinned.  "But it's the rules."

"Sure, you do it but if I get injured you're paying the medical bills."  That got a shrug and they made him go through the full body scanner.  As soon as it started, a high pitched whine started in Xander's hip.  He sighed and looked out then moved when he heard the rumble start.  He made it out of there before it exploded.  Xander checked himself, patting a spot that was smoking.  "Okay then."  He smiled.  "Anything else, guys?"

"No, sir," the head of the guards said, swatting all of them.  "Thank you.  I know you warned them."

"I did," he agreed, taking his bag back.  It felt light.  "Guys, priceless books going to a researcher?"  They found it and handed it back.  "Thanks.  Have a better day, guys."  He went back to waiting.  The flight attendant at the check-in desk was giving him horrified looks.  "Piece of mystical artifact," he said with a grin.  "They know that.  That's the fourth one I've destroyed in the last three years."  She shuddered and walked off.  "It doesn't affect the plane," he said at a fellow passenger's odd look.  "Unless they fly by x-rays."  She went back to her magazine.  Xander pulled out one of the books to read.  The captain came out to talk to him so he stood up and let himself be walked off. "What's up?"

"Will that affect the plane?"

"It hums at x-rays and counter hums to destroy them.  I've flown numerous times and it's never bothered anything.  I've been in everything from a prop plane to a crop duster to a 747, plus more than a few international ones."

"We'd like to let you walk on first to make sure, sir."

"Of course.  You can't be too careful."  The captain smiled and walked him on there.  Something there got a hum but it was a security wand.  That got put away and Xander walked all over.  "Any problems with the instruments?"

"Not that I can tell," the copilot said.  "Why?"

"Mystical artifact in my hip."

"Ah!  I've heard rumors about you."  He smiled.  "You should be fine."

"I hope so.  It's a long rowboat to England."  The captains smiled and he went back to the waiting area.  Him missing his left eye was not the sort of handicap that got him boarded early.  But hey, he had a first class seat this time.  Much nicer than most of the times he had flown for the Council.  When it was time he took something to calm down his future headache from the pressure change, something for the air sickness that would pop up within an hour - like usual, and something to help him nap in a few hours.  The stewardess nicely let him throw out his empty cup on his way to his seat.  He had no seatmate, which was a bit weird but nice.  It meant he could stretch across both of them.  It was a direct flight to England so he'd have thirteen hours to nap, read, and throw up.


Xander looked up from his planned lunch meeting at the gasp, staring at the researcher he was here to meet.  "What?"

"You're not wearing gloves!  Those are priceless!"

"No, these aren't.  And last week the slayers were trying to translate it to pizza.  At least I cleaned my hands first and I only touch the corner."  He handed it over.

"You can read that one?"

"Yeah, I have been able to since high school.  Giles had a few necessary books in that language."  Xander shrugged and handed over the rest of the bag.  "One's pristine wrapped so I didn't touch that one.  The other two have been on the research shelf for years.  I learned that language on the other one that's not wrapped."

"Oh, dear.  Rupert would usually be so much more careful."

"He was pretending to be a high school librarian."

"Never mind.  That probably rotted his mind giving book recommendations."  He rolled his eyes.

"In southern California?  Only the group went into the library.  He checked out four whole books the whole time he was there."

"That's horrifying."

Xander nodded.  "Yeah but the school in Sunnydale was like that," he quipped with a grin.  "We used to research in there and it was right overtop of that hellmouth."  The man grimaced.  "Ah!  Not one of the paranormal people then.  Why did you want the story about the unnamed valkyrie and the christian knight then?"

"We believe it has clues to a treasure given to an ancient king."

"It's in Braddenwurst.  I dug up that myself getting into the tomb to banish the stupid zombie that was being made."  He sipped his tea.  The man was giving him a horrified look.  "Not like I scavenged.  It's the church's things.  It was donated I guess.  I did tell the nice priest there that felt trustworthy.  He ordered me to rebury it as long as the zombie couldn't come up again."

"How did you find it?" he asked, staring at the young man.  The man sat down.  This one clearly had something to learn from.

"Shovel.  The tomb is in some sort of ancient poemy thing.  I followed it under the church, through some ancient catacombs, to the doors.  I noticed they had been cracked open.  I went in, came back out and went to the other one.  That one had the king's body that someone was trying to call back to solve all of humanity's woes.  They thought he'd take over and rule in a more Christian old way."  The man slumped, shaking his head.  "The king was really pissed off.  He was staring at his tomb and mumbling about his crown being missing.  I found it, let him put it on, then banished the spell and beheaded him just in case.  Then I carefully put the body back into the sarcophagus, resealed it, and then the tomb itself."

"Was there treasure in the first one?"

"Empty except a few stone slabs on an altar.  By the dust layers, something had been moved recently but it was small, probably jewelry.  I saw flecks of gold."

"Interesting.  Can you show me where?"

"The priests said they never wanted to see anyone else go down there."

"Did you see any cups?"

Xander looked at him.  "Want the truth?"  The man nodded, looking pissed off.  "If you're looking for the Wolf Challis it was in the Council's storage area when it got blown up.  We got a bit of it when someone sent us the dangerous materials vault."

"No others?"

"The Vadir Challis is still in the hidden storage area by what Giles found in an inventory.  It was apparently tied to a sword.  Other than that, no chalices at all in the tomb.  A few drinking cups that were pretty but they were wine sort of glasses, not challis sort of things.  Even bejeweled they were simpler and smaller.  So unless one was pretty plain but made to be humanly pretty...  Probably not there."

"I've been looking for a crystal one."

"The Cup of Ancients?  The last I heard on the underground, the demon temple in Greece still has it."

"Where is that?"

"By Volos.  You may not be able to find it though.  The last I heard, only demons could find the temple."

"How did you?"

"A bit of mermaid taint thanks to a swim coach back in high school.  They think I'm stupid though."  He grinned.  "They kept talking about me behind my back until I answered back and then insulted their parentage and egg layers.  Then I pointed out that they had six fakes on the altar and they were all ugly.  They got upset and agreed it was for safety reasons."

"All right," he decided.  "Have you ever thought about going into Archeology?"

"No, but I've damn sure did a lot of anthropology," Xander quipped with a grin.  "I was the guy that Giles sent out to train slayers."

"Oh.  So you've traveled a lot then?"

"A lot of time in Africa.  Almost four years total all over that continent.  Another eight months in the upper reaches of China with one of the girls.  Two in Russia."  That got a nod and a smile.  "I pulled a few researchers out of harms' way too.  Some of them, not real smart in the practical sense."

"No, not all of them are," he agreed.  He stroked over the books.  "Is this a myth?"

Xander shrugged.  "No clue.  I'm not an expert in Norse myths.  I barely know what was in the comics."  He grinned.

"Good to know.  Thank you, Mr. Harris."

"Not a problem."  He finished his tea and put down his card for the waitress.  "The green one has a few stains from way back when.  One's Buffy's fault."

"Do you read any other languages?"

"Six demon ones, Summerian, Egyptian - the one that's not hieroglyphs, and a lot of Norse.  My former fiancee taught me.  She was one before she took a job with vengeance."

"Excuse me?"

"She was over a thousand years old as a vengeance demon before she got fired."

"Oh.  I see."  He stared at the young man, who was grinning back at him.  "Really?"

"Yeah.  Anyanka taught me a lot.  She said it was a shame I was going to die helping the slayers but she taught me when she had the flu."

"Interesting.  Is she around?  I'd love to get her history."

"No, she fell during Sunnydale's last battle.  I miss the goofy, nympho bitch of my nightmares sometimes.  I nearly married her."

The researcher shook his head.  "I'm sorry for your loss, young man.  Thank you."

"Welcome.  If you need more, let him know.  He's being driven nuts by spoiled young women who think they're superheroes so therefore don't need to train."

"I know many young women like that."  He hurried off before the young man warped his mind even farther.  It's clear what had warped his poor former student, demons.

Xander grinned, getting a cookie to go.  The waitress smiled at his nice tip.  Xander got to go sightsee, something he hardly ever got to do when he traveled.  He was usually sent somewhere, got there and immediately got put to work with the slayers.  The closest he had gotten was hiking through parts of Africa before he had gotten the jeep and that wasn't for fun.  He went to the usual tourist spots, starting at the Tower of London. 

He hoped nothing would possess him but if so, it left plenty of time for someone local to get them out of him.  Hopefully before he turned more stuffy than some of the stick-up-the-butt watchers were.  The guard at the Tower was one of those stiff, pretending to be a statue sorts but his eyes widened when he saw Xander.  "What?" he complained.  "I'm being a tourist."  Xander paid his fee and joined the tour group going next.

The guard got a replacement and hurried to his boss.  There was clearly something wrong.  "That poster," he said with a point.  "He has one eye now?"

The head guard looked then nodded.  "I believe so.  Why?"

"He's just joined a tour."

"Crap."  He went to subtly check on them.  The young man spotted them and sighed, stepping out of the line to talk to him.  "Sir, are you Montgomery McMasters?"

"No, I'm Alexander Harris, retired Watchers Council."

"Oh!  Then I hope it's just a misunderstanding."  He led him off.  "Have you ever been here before?"

"Not that I'm aware of.  If so, there's a witch who did more memory spells than we thought and I'm going to string her guts down the side of the building."

"Huh.  Yes, that would be distressing."  He showed him the poster.

Xander looked.  "That was taken when I was three."

He looked then at him.  "A relation?"

Xander shook his head.  "Never seen him before."


"Was he a thief?"

"And then some, yes."

"Maybe he's a distant relation then.  All the family I know of are American and almost all dead thanks to Sunnydale."

"You were there?"

"I grew up there actually."  He nodded at the ghost that floated in.  The guard gave him an odd look.  "Anne Boleyn if I didn't screw up my history."  She nodded, giving him a pointed look.  "Ma'am, I'm only here for the tour.  Is there a problem?"  She nodded.   "A demon sort of problem?"  She nodded and pointed.  "Let's follow her.  That way I'm not trespassing and we can hopefully get it solved."  The guard moaned but followed.  Xander followed her up to her suite and found the reason.  "Crap."  He found the amulet that went with the figure drawn under the bed, handing it over.  "I hate zombie makers.  Probably the same idiot that I didn't manage to stop in Germany."

The guard kicked the door shut since he heard the tour group.  "What is this?"

"Mystical figures to call back the spirit," he said with a point.  "Talisman to focus the energy.  I'm guessing he's calling her back to take over someone.  If it's the same guy, he was psycho about getting the old Christian ways back in charge.  Tried to raise one of the ancient German kings."

The guard moaned, shaking his head.  "Any way we can tell?"

"Figure out who drew it?  It looks sloppy so they did it by feel or from below since I can feel air."

"There's a loose stone we found last year but nothing like this."  He looked.  Xander touched his arm and he could suddenly see it.  "That's probably why."

Xander nodded.  "Probably."  He pulled out his phone and called someone.  "I'm at the Tower.  No, not arrested, Willow," he sighed.  The guard laughed.  "Just found a zombie maker having fun here.  Markings that I had to expose.  Talisman.  Head guard has it.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "She'll be down later.  Redhead, babbling, my age."  He got up and looked around, staring at the ghost.  "If he calls, come find me.  I'll kick him around for you, ma'am."  She smiled and nodded slightly.  Xander left since she didn't want to possess him.  The guard followed.  Willow showed up a few minutes later.  "In town?"

"Doing the grocery shopping."  The guard held up the talisman.  "Yeah, that's a sending a spirit into someone else thing.  The marks, Xander?"


"Crap.  Like in Germany?"

"Maybe.  He didn't have any in his tomb and I missed the guy by about an hour.  He had tried to smudge most of them."

"That's fine.  I can break them."  The guard led her up there while Xander went back on the tour.  "Do not get possessed again, Mister."

Xander looked at her.  "It hasn't happened in five years, woman.  Shut up.  You nag like the wife and you're not."  She huffed.  He stared her down.  "By the way, I ran into a non-paranormal person who wanted to know about that king.  Giles sent him books."

"Wonderful!" she huffed sarcastically.  Xander smirked and strolled off.  She looked at the guard.  "If he's ever possessed, call us and we'll come get it out of him again."

"I shall," he agreed.  He let her check the marks.  She scratched over a few things with something from her pocket.  "No mystical herbs or anything?"

"No, most mystical figures can be broken by destroying lines and breaking the magic holding it in place."  She got up and dusted off her knees.  "Who was he trying to call?"

"This is Lady Boleyn's cell," he said quietly.

"Oh.  Well, he can't make her a zombie since her head came off.  That's a good thing.  So it had to be a possession wanted.  If so, there's some young woman that just got lucky."  She smiled and waved a hand at the hall.  "I'll see if I can find him."

"Thank you.  If so, we would like to charge him since he did deface the Crown's property."

"If I can."  He nodded and led her out the back way.  She walked off calling the coven she worked with.

The guard stared at her back.  He wasn't sure which was more worrisome, that someone had tried to call back their queen to try to take over again or that someone like her was the one they'd have to rely on to fix it.  At least the young man had seemed more normal to him.  Not nearly as strange and creepy feeling either.  Though that did remind him to call someone about that poster.  Surely that young man had to be related somehow.  They looked nearly identical.


The agent following Xander wasn't real subtle so he sat down somewhere easy to approach.  The agent gave him a dirty look as he walked up to him.  "I saw you a block ago, dude.  I'm retired from the Council."

"Who are you, sir?"

Xander pulled out his wallet and put his drivers license on the table.  The agent looked it over.  "Is this about finding the guy trying to get someone possessed earlier at the Tower?"

"No.  This is about a thief we're on the lookout for."

"I saw that poster.  It came out when I was three."

"You do not look your age."

Xander leaned on the table and pulled out something else, holding up his passport.  The agent took it and moaned.  "I'm retired *Council*.  I was the one sent to train after they went boom."

"Oh, I see."  He handed them back.  "Do you know of that person?"

"No.  All the relatives I've ever met have been American.  Mostly dead now but all from around Sunnydale."

"That town that sank?" he asked.  The person backing him up had looked that town up when he had flashed the ID card at the camera he wore.

"Yes.  I was born there and grew up there until we had the battle there."

"Interesting.  Who runs the Council now?"

"Rupert Giles.  He's in Cleveland on the new hellmouth."  He smiled.  "I really don't know that person.  I have no idea who he was or is."

"Have you ever been to St. Petersburg?"

"Briefly passed through there on my way to one of the slayers that was in upper Russia."  He found that page of his passport and let him see it.  He took note of that.  "Am I in trouble for someone ancient who looked like me?"

"Well, he's in trouble if we can ever find him."

Xander nodded.  "Okay but I'm still not him.  I was three when that poster was made, dude."

The agent grimaced.  "Clearly you're not society either, young man."

Xander smirked.  "Far from it.  No matter how often the slayers or Giles tried."

"Well, some people will not be high society no matter what," he decided.  He listened to the orders.  "We have a blood sample of his.  Can we compare yours?"

"No, because you won't get a good reading."  He pulled out something from the back of his wallet.  It listed things for medical personnel.  He held it up.  The man whimpered.  "I'm told it screwed up my DNA by adding an extra chromosome and changing three others so they're fairly warped.  If you can compare it outside that, I wouldn't care.  But I'm told that's nearly impossible."

"It may be," he admitted.  "Let me call and check."

"I'll be having a snack," Xander said, putting things back.  He got up to get some food and came back to sit down.  The agent was on the sidewalk talking to his bosses.  Xander ate, shaking his head when someone stared at him.  "I look just like an ancient jewel thief.  I found out today at the Tower of London."  The woman shook her head and went back to reading.  That made sure she knew he wasn't dangerous.  Though the person that sat down across from him was.  "Didn't I dump you once?" he asked between bites.

"Twice actually.  You rebuffed my generous affection and attention when I had you hostage as well, Xander."

Xander grinned.  "I forgot about that but I kinda slept through most of it anyway."  He ate another bite.  "Why the visit?"

"Why are you in town?"

"Favor for Giles.  Book delivery."

"Oh, that's wonderful."  He stared at him.  "How's the job?"

"Retired due to injuries."

"I warned you that would happen."  Xander kicked him.  "Ow!  Heathen!"

"Well, I am pagan," Xander quipped, staring him down.  "What else did you want today?"

"Dinner?  If you can be civil?  I'll treat."

Xander shrugged.  "I was going to do some more sightseeing."

"We can use my car."

"As long as you realize I'm not putting out, even at the groping stage.  You will not drug me this time or try to keep me.  You will be a perfect gentleman."

"Fine.  Take all my fun but it's still charming to spend time with you."  He noticed the agent staring in horrified awe.  He smiled back and waved a bit.  "I dated him but he didn't like my career and I hated demonic emergencies he had to be part of."  He looked at Xander.  "Hurry up?"

Xander ate another bite and pointed at the agent.  "We cannot test around that but we may be able to do paternity.  Can we have enough for that?"  Xander nodded and rinsed out his mouth then bit into his cheek.  He spit a piece of tissue out onto a clean napkin and handed it over.  "That should be enough, yes.  Thank you, sir.  Where are you staying?"

"He can have my flat's couch," his date offered with a smile.

"Giles paid for a wonderful suite for me.  Thanks though."

"Fine.  I'll continue to pine away for your affection."  Xander nodded with a grin.  "Fine.  Shall we?"  Xander finished his food on the way to the car.

The agent carefully took the piece of tissue back to the car so they could speed it back to the lab for processing.  They really wanted to know what was going on with that young man.  Someone had called the head of the Council and he had gushed about what a nice young man Xander was and of course he wasn't that thief.  He knew about the man, had met him during his wild days, and was sure he wasn't the same person.


Xander looked up from retying his shoelaces when the agent decided to finally come out of hiding.  "You're still crap at following me."

"I don't usually have to tail people with experience like you do in Africa, Mr. Harris."

Xander grinned.  "You're a lucky guy then.  How did it turn out?"

"It turns out that you are related somehow, but we're not sure how.  Have you had any contact with any family members over here?"

"No.  The only family members I know about are American outside of one Canadian and he's vowed to never acknowledge he's family after meeting my father, who was his cousin.  That's pretty well the whole family's opinion when they were alive."

"That's reasonable I suppose.  There's an estate here that he used to rent.  We think he left something.  Talking to the person you were here to meet, you seem to have a bent toward archeology?"

"No, I found a tomb he had been interested in looking over to handle a problem.  Why would he have left something?"

"We're not totally sure.  We know he has a daughter but she's moved somewhere we can't talk to her."

"If you're hounding her, I don't much blame her.  You can't really blame the kid for what the parent did."

"He stole a piece of the crown jewels and we'd like to recover it."

"Are you sure he still has it?"

"Yes.  We would've heard if it had been sold or broken up."

"I'm going home tomorrow so it'll have to be today and I'll have to tell my charming semi-stalker that I can't finish sightseeing with him."

"He's under arrest anyway thanks to trying to break in to kill a diplomat."  He smiled.  "He was very upset that he wouldn't get to spend more time with you."

Xander smirked back.  "Yeah, I date people like that.  Nearly married someone who had been a vengeance demon."  The agent shuddered.  Xander grinned.  "Since I seem to be less than busy I guess I can view the church as we drive past it."

"They run tours throughout the evening tonight as well," the agent said, leading him to a car.  He did drive past and the boy took a few pictures when he had to slow down due to traffic.  Thankfully he could hit the outer roads to get to the estate in a timely manner.  If it had been too much farther out he would've had to gotten them a helicopter.


Xander got out of the car to stretch, looking around.  "You have a demon holy site and a pagan shrine both."  The agent gaped.  Xander stared at him.  "They're probably near each other and in this part of the country it's probably about that battle way back when between the Little People and the local demon societies."

"How do you know about that?"

"I did a book report on it once.  The teacher was not amused."  He grinned.  "Sunnydale was like that though."  He walked around the front of the car and off to the side.

"Let's look for hidden areas inside," he offered.  "Then you can check on the shrines."

"Sure."  Xander followed.  He paused inside the doorway, looking around.  "A lot of people died here."

"You can tell?"

"Yeah.  I'm easily possessed and I can feel a lot of very interested looking beings staring my way."  He sighed.  "If you possess me, the Coven has to show up."  They fled.  "Thank you."  He looked around and spotted some small arrows in the foyer's floor seal.  He followed them to the next one in the kitchen.  There were three arrows in that one.  "I feel like it's a hidden object video game."

"What are you looking at?"

Xander squatted down to point at them.  "Three arrows.  The one in the doorway had ones pointing this way."

"Oh.  That's interesting.  We were hoping for something like a hidden wall safe."

Xander looked at him.  "How would I know?"

"We were hoping you'd feel or instinctively know?"

Xander nodded once.  "Sure.  Have you checked the usual places like inside suits of armor, the study, and the bedroom?"  The agent grimaced but nodded.  "With metal detectors?"

"No, we used a wall penetrating radar."

"That's cool.  I needed one of those a few times when I was looking for tombs in Africa to stop bad things."  He walked off, going to follow the arrows.  If this thief was his ancestor he probably had seen the same things.  One led to a tree, which did have a hollow spot but nothing in it.  The next one led to a hidden room in the pantry, which had some costumes and other things that his ancestor had used on the job or had fun with - something like that because Xander wasn't sure why he'd need a fancy ballgown.  He went back to follow the other one. 

That one led to a doorway that went to a bedroom.  He checked.  No signs in any of the rooms of that suite, even the closet.  He backed out and had to move some rugs until he found it.  That one was bent.  Which to him meant up.  He looked up and found the trap door for the attic.  He pulled down the ladder and went up.  Nothing that he noted right off though he did go stop the humming artifact in the corner by smacking it extra hard on a sturdy beam. 

He tossed it down.  "Needs to go into aluminum to shield it.  It's demonic and putting out magic."  He checked again then came down.  He popped his head back up, spotting something barely twinkling.  "It is like a video game," he muttered, reaching over to grab it.  He felt something off and followed it to the pantry again, finding a new trunk that had been hidden before.  "Huh."  He sat in front of it, staring at the push lock.  "Four push pins, poisoned dart if you get it wrong," he muttered.

"We can break it," the agent offered.

"If you do it can break whatever's in there.  Since it was hidden by magic there's no telling what it is."  He felt along the pins.  Two had indents so he pushed them.  The pin came out at the third push.  He tried it again.  No luck.  He did it again and got it this time.  The last two were around the poisoned pin.  The top opened and he looked.  "Huh.  Armor."  He dug through the trunk, coming up with something.  "That's even worse.  An official medal."  The agent gasped and knelt to take it from him.  Xander held it up next to the demon artifact, which put out a better hum.  Xander looked at him.  "What are you doing here anyway?  Did this one have anything to do with demons?"

"No.  Could it have something to do with the demonic shrine you sensed?"

"No, probably not."  He got up and took the artifact outside.  The shrine shrieked so he walked over to it.  He found a tiny little person with a wicked looking spear.  "Peace," he said quietly.  "They asked me to look over the house for something that's supposedly hidden.  They think I'm a relative of him."

The tiny one stared at him.  "You do look like him," he admitted.  "That is unholy."

"It was in the attic and it doesn't seem right."  He sat down in front of him.  "Any idea what is going on since I just found hidden, ancient armor?"

"No.  There's no reason for that sort here.  The last person who lived here wasn't interested in more than riches."

"Okay.  Is this one supposed to have a guardian?  I felt both shrines when I got out of the car."

"No, not that I'm aware of.  Can you silence that thing?"  Xander took off his shirt and dropped it over the artifact.  "That helps.  What are you?"

"Xander.  I'm from Sunnydale's hellmouth area.  I was born there."

"You're not the normal human."

"Swim coach wanted us to win so I got exposed to mermaid taint."

The little person shook his head.  "That's just weird."


"Good point.  We loathe those spots."

Xander grinned.  "I helped the slayers until I retired the other day."

"That's a good calling for one such as you.  I have no idea what is going on up there."

"They're looking for a piece of the crown jewels."

"Ah.  One of ours found it and coveted it.  I'll see if she'll turn it over.  Wait here."

"I'd never presume to follow. Giles did try to teach me manners."

"Good of him."  He went in to talk to one of the waiting guards.  Their leaders showed up to hear what was going on.  He got the necklace handed over and walked out to find the agent glaring at the young man.  He handed it over.  "She didn't think he'd mind since he disappeared into the woods a few weeks after getting that one."

"Thank you," the agent said, taking it from the young man.

"It's not a problem.  Though the demon artifacts are."

Xander nodded.  "It's not my house to clean and unless the owner asks, I can't do more than that.  This one was radiating so I can turn that in for confinement."

The little person smiled.  "That'd be handy of you, lad.  Thank you."

"No, thank you.  Peaceful days and nights."

"You as well."  He went back into the shrine and it sealed itself again.

Xander stood up and grabbed the artifact.  "Let's get this to whatever version of Gringotts you use."

"I can do that," he agreed.  He took the boy back to the city.  They had special confinement areas thanks to the old Council being stolen from a few times.  The artifact went into that.  The piece of the jewels were taken to be examined.   He was even nice enough to drop the young man off at the church so he could tour it.

Once Xander was alone he shook his head.  "The things real people deal with would make me crazy."  He walked into the church and went to see all their sights.  It was a great thing.


Xander got called to a meeting with Giles once he got back to Cleveland, so he went.  He still considered Giles like his father so he'd do almost anything for the guy outside of dealing with the slayers.  He made it to the restaurant and settled into his seat, looking at him.  "What's wrong?  The guy hate those books?"

"He called me and chewed on me for a bit about me not sponsoring you into a good college program."  He stared at him.

"I told him I learned how to read those from you.  He wanted me to go into archeology."

Giles rolled his eyes.  "I think you've done enough of that already and I know some others who wanted to know where you've been thanks to that one."

"I have most everything in my journals.  Why?"

"Apparently Charles knew a few others who had their life's work invested in a few different tombs of myths.  He called them to talk to me about helping them find them."

"I'll give you what I have," Xander offered.  "It might depend on which one and if they can describe it since half the time I didn't know what I was looking at, just what I was looking for."

"That's reasonable and about what I told them.  I did make your field reports available to them.  Two nearly swooned at what you had included.  Apparently you found a mythical tomb that they hadn't wanted to know existed."

"Which one was that?"

"The one with the skulls that had been encased in amber."

"Oh, that one.  Really nice demi-god napping in it.  I went to find it because he had woken up and tried to start shit where Samra was."

"I heard that part.  They're all pushing for you to lead them to the various places."

"Which would probably piss off the native deities of those places."

"They don't think they're real."

Xander snorted.  "Yet, I know differently.  I can show a few scars from them attacking me."

"I know."  He patted him on the hand with a smile.  "However, if you could mark a map?"

"Probably not reliably.  Not like I had a map most of the time.  I did write down directions."

"Could you make those available?"

"Sure, if they want to go be killed by those sorts."

Giles nodded.  "It's their holy grail, Xander."

"I can understand that.  I'd like to find Blackie's stash myself," he said dryly.  Giles smirked at him.  "What?"

"The Little People you reported you ran into?"

Xander leaned his elbows on the table.  "Apparently I had a relative that was British and a thief.  When I was doing the tourist thing at the Tower of London, someone freaked and pulled out an old poster.  I look a lot like him and he had hit them for a piece of the collection."  Giles swatted him.  "Hey!" he complained, rubbing that spot.

"You knowingly walked into one of the most haunted places in England?" he demanded quietly.

"They pretty well left me alone.  The former queen needed me to stop the marks that were under her cot but the rest fled from me."

"Willow told me."

"Was it the same guy as I ran into in Germany?"

"Perhaps.  She's not sure.  The coven is investigating."  Xander nodded.  "They'll want those notes as well."

"I included that all in the field report."

"That's wonderful.  I'll hand that over after I have Dawn dig it out for me."  He smiled.  "I can't believe you actually went in there knowing they could take you over."

"Why would they want me?  I'm not a Brit.  Or upper class.  Possessing me would only get them a body, not anything useful beyond that."

"True.  Did you have a good time?"

"Mostly.  The small hunt at the manor house was a bit strange.  I have no idea why he had a ballgown in his costume collection."

Giles stared at him.  "Patrick's?"

"I think that's the name, yeah.  They said I'm a distant relative.  He apparently disappeared into the woods right after the Tower heist.  The Little Person guard said so."

"Hmm.  Their shrine?"

"Sealed.  The demonic one is as well.  It radiates a bit but nothing horrible.  I think it was one of the battle shrines.  The one I saw with the Fairy guard was to one of battles for England."

"Interesting.  I'd like to go examine that."  Xander handed over a map.  "Thank you."  He looked at it.  "Locksley Manor."

"As in Robin Hood?"

"Yes, I believe it was the one that the tale was based on."  He tucked it into his jacket pocket.  "Are any of his relatives around?"

"The officer or agent mentioned a daughter who was hiding from them."

"Yes, I'd say since she's a nun in Ireland the last I heard anything about that family.  They had that same chaos gift that you have."

Xander shrugged.  "They said he's a distant relative."

Giles stared at him.  "How much did you loot from the temples you found?" he asked quietly.

"One small thing from each one.  Mostly a stone."


"Not usually.  They might get mad and curse me."

"True."  He stared at him and Xander smirked back.  "Would Anya coo over the rest?"

"Probably since half of them were demon shrines."

Giles rolled his eyes.  "That makes a lot of sense."

"They think I'm neat thanks to where I grew up I guess.  Is the Cradle of Life real?  I was up late last night watching the movie after you called."

"I have no earthly idea but I'd hope you never found it?"

"Not that I'm aware of."

"Good!"  Xander grinned.  "If you wished to go into that sort of business, I know many who'd enjoy that."

"I'd look sucktastic in her outfit, Giles."

He rolled his eyes.  "Not the point, Xander."

"I'm not actually a person that was born to the manor house like she was.  Nor am I able to get toys like she had."

"Andrew has been building again," he sighed.  Xander snickered and nodded.  "I know, it's his stress relief."

"Because the girls are treating him like they did me."

"I've stopped a good portion of that."

"No you haven't.  One called me to complain that I wasn't there for her to nag during a battle."

"Oh, dear," he muttered.  He pulled off his glasses to clean them.  "I have no idea how to cure that."

"Military boot camp style training.  They're slacking anyway and you're due a major event next year since this year's was so mild."

"I hadn't thought of that.  I'll ask some of my contacts about getting an extra trainer in."  Xander slid over a name.  "Will he?"

"Just got retired by force due to his age.  He can whip them all into shape and he won't put up with the pouting.  It's extreme but they could use the kick in the ass before the next apocalypse gets them all dead."

"That would be helpful, yes."  He tucked that into the same pocket.  "Thank you."

"Welcome."  He grinned.  "How much were they willing to pay to be led places?"

"Not a lot.  Most researchers live on grants.  These sort are usually at the bottom of the grant spectrum because they can't show a lot of results unless they run into someone like you."

Xander nodded.  "That makes some sense."  He tapped the table a few times.  "They're still going to be cursed at most of them."

"Three are Council," Giles offered.  Xander snorted.  "I know.  They're working on the one in Alexandria."

"It's underwater."

Giles sighed.  "I had thought so."

"It's also got three really tough demon guards who would hate me like hell and won't let them pass either."

"Even if they could find it and film the outside, that might soothe most of it."

"Guys like that, that's like feeding their addiction, Giles.  They'd do something stupid to get in.  Which would mean you'd be down more Watchers."

"I know.  Truly they're nearly foaming since they found your report."

"I'm not the one that threw me in the water."

"They said it figured since you had dated?"

"No, I didn't date and nearly get killed.  There was another researcher who decided I'd break his trail of luck from a demonic statue that was cursing those he worked with."

"I heard.  I also heard you had him arrested?"

"Yeah.  The police hated that artifact and let me destroy it.  The demon showed up to complain so I pointed out who I was and he winced, hissed, and fled.  The cops were very appreciative but asked me to leave town before more knew I was there."

"They're not very comfortable with the thought of demons," Giles agreed.  He fiddled with his glasses.  "Are you banned from going back?"  Xander shook his head.  "That's good then.  Would you at least show them where it was?"

"Yeah.  Mostly.  I can tell them how long I had to swim and where I landed."

"That could help.  Then maybe they'd fly over and calm down a bit."

"They'd send them out of the city as soon as they heard.  That temple is considered scary and dangerous.  Plus, not all that calm of an area right now."

"They know."

"They'd hate British guys being there."

"Two are women."

"They'd hate that more."

"I know."  He patted his hand again.  "If you could provide them with information on the area they might listen."

Xander snorted.  "No they won't because I don't have a degree.  They've all given me dirty looks and not listened to me, even when I was able to read the stuff they were struggling with.  They've never respected that I might actually know what I'm talking about.  Even about construction things like the roof.  Even after I pointed out I had experience and had actually put some on for a living for a few years."

"They're hidebound arses, Xander."

"I know," he said dryly.  "The whole damn lot of them need to get out into reality.  It might help."

"Most of them are taking teaching jobs and the like right now since we're in the slow season."

Xander snickered.  "Is that their plan to make more watchers?"


"Get some military guys, Giles.  You need field guys, not research guys."

"I know."  He smiled.  "Beyond that, I think it'd be a good idea if you set yourself up over there and did help with those things.  I'd like for you to go over the wreckage of the old complex and see if you could find any of the hidden rooms."

Xander nodded.  "I could see me doing that but it'd take a long time to do."

"Rent somewhere or sell your condo and buy over there, Xander."

Xander stared at him.  "Why?"  Giles blinked a few times.  "That's very pushy."

"There's a move to have the government take over the Council," he said quietly.

"There's been two or three.  How is this one different?"

"This one is the military."

"And England still hates you."

Giles nodded.  "Indeed.  Though they won't want field watchers."

Xander snorted.  "They're really going to hate when the Century Games start."

"I'm sure they will."  He smirked.  "I think it'd be for the best."

Xander considered it.  "Get me set up for now?  I'll pay you back once I sell the condo?"

"I can do one better.  One of the researchers wants your place."  He handed over an envelope.  "This is their formal offer.  They went through a relator and I did let them in to look around."  Xander raised an eyebrow behind his eye patch.  That was beyond pushy for Giles so there was clearly an order involved.  "The government truly hates the Council," he said quietly.  "You no longer have the protection since you retired."

"I thought the Customs guys gave me an extra hairy eyeball."  He looked it over then at him.  "Seriously?"

"Yes.  That's his family estate.  He's the last of the lineage.  It's just up the road from the old complex."

Xander considered it then nodded and signed.  "Let me pack."

"I'll have Dawn and Willow do it."

"Don't let Willow."

"Fine.  I'll let the others?"

"Not Buffy."

"I'll have Faith, that way you're not missing clothes."  Xander grinned and nodded.  "Thank you."

"I want kept up to date.  And send me any work you can since I'll probably need it."

Giles smiled and nodded.  "I'll have some of my contacts in the artifact business contact you about anything you may find."

"I have some of those hidden in my bedroom."

"I thought they were in the living room."

"I moved them when I painted."

"Wonderful."  He smiled at his adopted son and nodded.  "Be safe?"

"Gladly."  He accepted the keys and got up, heading out.  If Giles was being this paranoid, it had to be something that was going to happen soon.  He got back and found Faith packing his things with Dawn.  "Dawn, get the hidden stuff," he said as he walked in.  "There's three huge boxes and a trunk."  She went to do that.  Xander let her pack them into a subtly covered box and then the rest got packed together.  He got a shipping company in that evening through a demon contact.  The head demon stared at him.  "Giles wants me to go scavenge the old building."

"It will keep you safe."

"I hope."  He shook their hands.  "Don't worry about anything mystical.  Dawn shielded it."

"Good!"  He got everything loaded and Xander went to the airport.  Giles had even arranged airfare.  Customs there gave him a long stare.  "I'm retired," he said bluntly.  "Due to injuries.  I got asked to go talk to a few family members who want to join and do some sightseeing."  They stamped him out and he went to the lounge to wait on boarding.  Yeah, it was going to snap around the Council badly.  He sent a text to Dawn that he was at the airport and to be safe.  She knew how to find him.


Xander got off the plane in England and looked at the Customs person.  "I need to speak to someone," he said quietly when the man examined his passport.  "I'm retired Council."  The man stared at him in horror.  Xander nodded.  "I heard something's going on.  I need to ask for asylum."

"I'll get you someone.  Step off to the side, sir."  Xander did that.  He radioed for a supervisor and moved onto the next one.

Xander shook hands with the man who came out.  "Alexander Harris, retired Watchers Council and Sunnydale team member."

The guy winced.  "They just raided the Council over there to take it over."

"We figured something was going to try.  It's going to really suck when the Century Games start next month."

The man whimpered.  "I'll let that be known.  You are seeking asylum?"

"Yes.  I traded my condo with one of the old liners for their estate here.  Giles wanted me to scavenge and set up."

"All right.  Let's go talk."  Xander followed him.  "Can you prove you're one of them?"  Xander pulled out his wallet and held up a picture taken before graduation.  "That, yes, that's them."

"Willow may still be over here.  She's been with the Devon coven."

"No, she's back over there.  She blew up a few."  Xander winced.  "They tried to kill her though."

"Yeah, not a good thing.  Dawn?"

"No idea."

"Buffy's sister.  The other witch."

"Oh, her.  No, I believe she didn't react and they can't tell until she does something."

"Good."  Cordelia faded in.  "Hola, Messenger babe."

"I'm the Messenger for the Powers," she told the official.  "Yes, he's to be guarded over here."

"Giles wanted me to go tomb raid."  He grinned.

She shook her head.  "You found plenty.  Really."  She patted him on the head.  "Good job.  Summon her."

"I can do that.  Should I restart?  Give them shelter?"

"No.  They're to fade until something happens.  The US has lost their mind."  She faded out.

Xander looked at him.  "For obvious reasons I'm sorry about breaking any laws that might cause."

"I'd agree but I didn't hear a thing from a ghost."  He finished the paperwork, letting Xander sign it and hand over his new address.  "That's an estate."

"He's childless and a research watcher."

"Ah.  That makes sense."  He shook his hand.  "We'll be up to talk to you in a few days."

"Thank you."  He went to grab his bag he had checked then got a car from the rental desk.  He had a long drive tonight and a lot to deal with.  Including some magical herb shopping.  He couldn't trust the Devon coven to help him since they hated him.  He wasn't sure *why* but they did hate him a whole hell of a lot.  So he'd do it on his own this time.


Xander stepped into the circle he had drawn in his new basement, looking around.  He could do this.  He opened the three artifacts he was using to power it and then started the simple chant.  It would pull all the slayers out of the US, and specifically summon Faith and Dawn.  Buffy was with Giles according to the news.  They had left them in the building.  The rest had been taken into custody.  Since most were underage that was a problem.  He felt the magic start to rush and opened himself to the influence.  Suddenly, there was a clap of thunder.

"I could help," Willow complained.

"Get Dawn."

"Sure."  She worked on that summoning off to the side.  She'd be harder to pull.

The slayers all appeared in the circle.  Xander nodded and those that could stepped out.  A few had bruises.  A few looked like hell.  One was sobbing on her knees.  They got her calmed down.  Two more groups were brought over into the circle before the artifacts ran out.  Willow added them to hers.  Xander came to add blood to her drawing.  It strengthened it and Dawn appeared in a flash of flames.  She looked really pissed off.  Xander stared at her.  "Medical?" he offered.

"No.  Temper control maybe."  She looked around then at him.  "Now what?"

"Go upstairs or help."  She helped get the last few outside her sister and Giles.  "Buffy?" he asked.

"She said to leave her.  She's the figurehead, and they'll pay more attention to her.  She has some contacts that can help."

"Sure."  Xander helped the last few upstairs.  "Ladies, I think the kitchen is behind you."  He pointed.  They ran that way.  He looked at Willow.  "Go check for hunters in danger?"

"I hadn't even thought about that."  She went to do that.  "Why is someone trying an apocalypse with them?" she complained a minute later.  "The rest are safe for now."

"Then short circuit the attempt," Xander called.  He went to the door since he heard someone knocking.  He looked out the window beside it then opened the door.  "Yes, Officer?"

"Mr. Harris?"

"I am, yes."

"You're Council, lad?"

"Retired due to injuries.  Giles wanted me to scavenge the old site so I traded my condo for one of the researcher's houses."  He waved a hand around.  "Is that a problem?"

The officer stared at him.  "The US is losing their minds."

"I heard."  He grinned.  "That's one reason why Giles wanted me here.  I've applied for asylum."

"Good!"  He nodded.  "The boss wanted to speak to you.  Apparently there's been some problems in the county."  He looked behind him at the three women who appeared.  "Huh."

Xander looked back.  "She's in the basement, ladies."  They nodded, going to help Willow.  "Part of the Devon Coven.  Willow's down there working on something to short circuit an apocalypse battle."

"Wonderful!"  He smiled.  "Can you come down?"

"Can I come down tomorrow?  It's really late."

"Sure.  First thing?"

"Definitely."  He smiled and shook his hand.  "Let me get my guests some food and then I'm going to crash.  I'll be there about eight?"

"That's a fine time, yes."  He left, calling that to his boss.

Xander closed the door and looked at the girls trying to stay out of sight.  "I have no idea."

"Buffy said to blend in and hide anywhere not in the US," Dawn said from the stairs she was sitting on.  "She said Cordelia said so."

"That's what she told me too.  I'm not sure how I'd get them there."

Dawn nodded.  "We can work on that later.  For right now, let's rest, ladies."  They nodded and went to find a comfy spot to lay down in shifts so they always had someone on guard.  Dawn went to check on Willow.  "Need me?"

"No, we have it," she said absently.  "It's just a few very powerful higher ups having plans."

"Cool.  Let me go crash then.  We're taking shifts."  Willow nodded, still staring into the pool of water.  She looked.  "Huh, I know the shorter one.  He's met Buffy."  The coven stared at her.  "Can we do the talking thing?"  They shook their heads.  She refocused a tiny bit of the water on one's hip.  "Ah!  Phone number showing."  She called it from her own cellphone.  "Hi, you must be Sam.  Tell Dean it's Buffy's sister Dawn and I'm calling in an emergency?  He'll know." 

They watched as he said that and his brother snatched the phone.  "Hi, Dean.  Dawn Summers.  No, the Council was just taken over by the US.  All the slayers are out of harm's way but my sister.  She demanded."  She listened.  "Exactly, and Xander said there's going to be problems with the demon olypmics coming up.  But anyway we're looking around to make sure we're not leaving an apocalypse hanging and found yours.  So would you like some help from us?"  She smiled.  "We can do that but you've got protections, dear." 

She walked off to work on things.  "Let me get outside.  Yeah, like that.  Well, longer story, really.  Yup.  No, Xander's if she told you about him.  Few hours.  Guard yourself and we'll scry for an exact location in about two hours.  It'll take me that long to make the symbols.  Thanks."  She hung up and looked at the coven members, who nodded and walked out with her.  Willow canceled all the spells in the basement then followed.


Xander walked out in the morning to find the witches working and walked over to add some blood to the symbols.  "Since I know Dawn can't without tripping things."  They paused and the largest flash of lightening went off.  Two young men and their car were there, smoking slightly in the weak sunlight.  "Welcome to England, guys.  Xander Harris."  He caught Dawn when she passed out.  Willow sat down hard.  The other witches were in shock.  "Ladies, kitchen," he said with a point.  "I have to meet with the local PD about local problems."  He looked at Dean.  "They've got Buffy in custody."

"She told us.  What's going on?"

"Let them get some juice," Xander ordered.  "Or really....  Clara?"  She opened a window.  "Tired witches, then come explain things?"

"I'll send Faith.  She's making juice."  She shut the window.

"Let me go do that.  Be safe for a few hours and rest," he ordered, staring at them.  "It's going to be a long day."  He walked off.  Dawn was safe with the guys.  Buffy had told him about them and her massive crush on Dean.

Dean shook his head.  "This is freaky stuff."

"Yeah, but we're the remains of the Sunnydale team," Willow quipped weakly.  "We're used to that."

Faith walked out with a few jugs.  "Tang."  The witches took them to sip from.  She looked at them.  "They were going to hit hunters after the Council and you guys had an apocalypse.  That's why they're helping."

"What apocalypse?" Dean asked.  His brother was leaning against the car rubbing his head.  "Sammy, vision?"  Dean had seen the start of a vision last night.  Something was clearly going on since as far as he knew his brother didn't have any gifts.

"Headache, no vision."

"This is a slightly mystical area," Dawn said from her spot on the grass.  "It's also protected.  If your visions are from the Powers That Be, they'll be weaker and hurt less.  If they're bloodline gifts, they might not come as often but the important ones will get through.  If they're from some other source, they're blocked."

Dean looked at him.  "Which?"

"Feels like my head is full of cotton balls."

"That's blocked," Willow said.  She made herself drink some of the juice and handed the jug on.  "Xander?"

"Local PD wanted to talk about strange things around here," Faith said.


Faith nodded behind her.  "Barn for the car?  Before it rains?  I'm told it does that a lot in England and it's not clean, midwest rain either."

"That'd be great," Dean agreed.  He walked over and moved Sam off the car then drove her into the barn.  He came out to finish the sit rep the girls were giving him.  By then Xander was back and looking displeased.  "Problems?"

"The US is trying to pressure the UK to hand over any remaining Watchers.  The guys I filed for asylum with found me there?"

"Clara told the one that showed up to find you there," Faith admitted.  "Is it a huge problem?"

"No, and the UK doesn't want to.  They've told the US to quit sucking demon cock."  Dean snorted, shaking his head.  "I wrote out a list of the ones I knew had made deals."  He grinned.  "They're very unhappy with that."  He looked at the two hunters.  "Bigger problems?" he asked at their unhappy looks.

"Information we didn't have but needed six, seven months ago," Dean said.

Xander nodded.  "Well, here is protected land.  There's almost no demons that can get on here without angering a lot of other beings.  The compact that was made after the huge fairy/demon battles for England say so.  We're protected beyond that."  Dean gaped.  Xander grinned.  "Library's inside.  For some reason the guy had copies of most everything from the Council's history section.  I'm still looking for other rooms though."

"I can feel some magically hid," Willow said.  She looked at the coven.

"You're coming back with us before you attack more people."

"They were trying to shoot me," she complained.

"These are the US version of Iran's cleric's," Xander told them.  They nodded they knew that.  "It's safer if you're in this part of the world, Willow.  Or Central or South America.  You'd die in Africa for being a witch and the Middle East is the same way.  Asia would screw with your natural abilities."

"Okay," she said weakly.  "We can work that out."  She looked around.  "The girls?"

"Some are going back to their natural areas.  Some are fading to other areas."  They nodded.  "We'll work on that later.  I had to sneak a few out of their countries, I can sneak them back in."  They nodded and went inside with the two Winchesters.  "Library," he said with a point.  "Bedrooms are up on the third floor, guys.  They're possibly in use since the girls are rotating beds."  Someone knocked and he went to answer it.  "Yes?"

"Mr. Harris, MI-5."  The woman flashed her badge.


She smirked.  "We heard what you did to save the slayers.  May I?"  He let her in.  She looked around then at him.  "We heard that you're to let them fade into the normal population?"  She took off her sunglasses to show off her ice blue eyes.

Xander stared at her.  "Klenth's clan?"

"His cousin actually."  He grinned.  "How can we help?"

"We're working on those plans."

"Excellent."  She followed him into the library to look at some of them.  "MI-5.  We were asked to help disperse the slayers safely to other areas."

Faith grinned.  "Some of us can't really do that."

"If there's a valid US warrant we'd have to be careful where we sent you but otherwise we can diplomatically send you somewhere if we have to."  The girls in there nodded.  "So let's work where you're most comfortable and if you have wants of specific areas, like home."  She pulled out some paper to make notes on, going to each one to talk to her about where she'd want to be.  A few really wanted back in the US but that wasn't going to be able to happen.  They had too many ways of tracking citizens.  Xander paused a few and told them their new countries, getting nods for the reasons he selected.  Mostly that they needed training and the areas had former, retired watchers there.  The agent smiled and worked on the rest of the list.  She looked at the hunters.  "Council?"

"Hunters," Sam said.  "They found an apocalypse about to start."

"Okay," she decided.  "We can handle that.  Is there anyone we can contact?"

"I'm at Stanford.  I just met Dean for a case to find our father," Sam said.

"We'll see what we can do.  Girlfriend?"  Sam wrote down her number.  "We'll do what we can."  She left to call her bosses.  They could easily ship the girls places quietly.

Xander settled in with Willow to work on the Council's funds and other issues that the girls would have.  They couldn't let them totally without resources.  The US didn't have half of the Council's money, most of it was still here in the UK.  They arranged things when the agent came back.  Most of the girls got moved that night, quietly back to their new postings.  Xander sent them with a small trust fund to set themselves up.  By then he was exhausted.  Willow was asleep on the library table.  Dean and Sam had found a couch and the tv.  Dean was calling someone and not getting any answer.  Sam was trying to reach his girlfriend and wasn't getting any answer.  Xander looked at them.  "We'll scry tomorrow," he told them quietly.  There were a few girls still in the house and they were napping by the hunters.

Dean nodded.  "That could help, yeah.  Thanks."

"It sucks but a lot of politicians suck demon cock to get power."  They nodded they knew that.  "Are you guys related to John?"  They nodded.  "Is he the one you're trying to reach, Dean?"

"He's our Dad.  He's presently in fuck-off land."

"Let me see if I can find him.  I accidentally found him on a dream walk from Africa.  Maybe I can do it again."  He smiled.  "Rest.  It's probably going to be a few days."  He went up to his room.  Faith was in his bed so he went into the sitting room to settle himself down.  He knew how to dream walk.  A shaman had taught him.  He slowly let himself drift.  He found agents coming toward the house but the one in the lead was the one that had been moving the girls.  She seemed unhappy. 

He touched her mind briefly and she flinched then told him that they were safe.  There was an assault planned so they were coming to guard the rest of them.  Xander agreed and went back to his dream focus on John Winchester.  He found him and he was on a street looking pissed off.  He faded into view in front of him, earning a horrified look.  "Get somewhere calmer," he ordered quietly.  "Now."  John headed for the nearest alley.  Xander followed, smiling at someone staring at him in horror.  "Sharing family news.  Some of us do follow our relations."  He floated in front of him.  "I have your boys with me."

"Why?" he demanded.

"Because the Council stuff?  We found them on the cusp of an apocalypse using your family.  So they're safely with me."

"Where are you?"

"I traded houses with a researcher."

John blinked.  "It's safer there?"

"Yeah."  He smirked.  "By the way, what is going on with Sam's girlfriend?"

"I have no idea what you're talking about."

"There's a pretty solid line from Sam to her.  It feels like your line to Sam to me.  That same tainted feeling."  John gaped then turned and kicked a wall.  "We're pretty sure that somehow Sam's going to be used to start the apocalypse.  Not sure how," he admitted.  "But yeah.  He's been trying to reach her and can't."

"I'm within two hours of Stanford," he admitted.

"Get there sooner."  He looked that way.  "I can't travel to her, I don't have her marked, but I can sense a lot of power that way."  He looked at him.   "Your boys will be safe with me, John.  Protect yourself and the other hunters.  If they hit the Council, you're next."  He faded out, going back to his body.  He woke up to find Faith staring at him.  "Bad news?"

"No, not yet.  What the fuck?"

"Dream walk."  He stood up and went to find the boys.  Dean was in the kitchen.  "I got him, he's checking on Sam's girlfriend."  Dean grinned and nodded.  "He knows you're safe over here and there were agents converging on the town he was in."

"Crap," Dean muttered.

"He heard why."  Dean nodded and went to tell Sam that.  Xander went to talk to the agents, finding the asylum people in there.  "If I must, I can apply for citizenship if it'd help."

"No, we can probably do most everything.  Those two perhaps.  The other slayers?"  Xander shrugged.  "That's fine then.  We'll work it out with you."  Xander relaxed and smiled.  "Do we have any idea how far this is going to go?"

"Yes.  All the way to those who sold themselves for power being outed in a few days.  Because someone keeps track of that and it's being slowly exposed."

The guy winced.  "That might cause more problems."

"Perhaps but it'll get them out of the White House and Congress, plus three heads of agencies."

"That's a good thing then.  Are there others who aren't Council but do the work?"

"Hunters like the Winchesters.  I talked to their dad via dream stroll."

"Okay," he decided, making a note of that.  "What are your plans while you're here?"

"Giles wanted me to scavenge the old Council complex.  He thinks there's still artifacts hidden.  As for any slayers left here, I'll work on their training.  That was my job before I retired.  I guess I got unretired," he sighed.  He sat down.  "The ones that're underage will start school somehow.  Even if I have to enforce some home schooling for a while."

"That'd be a good idea."  He considered it.  "We'll do what we can for them, Mr. Harris.  We know how these things happen.  We had our own version before Mrs. Thatcher took over.  They were frankly quite scared to piss her off."

Xander smiled.  "I heard she had the iron underwear reputation."

"Quite and then some."  He smiled and packed up his briefcase.  "Let me talk to my superiors."  He shook his hand and left.  His supervisor was not pleased, and was a half-demon, but they had all wanted the Council to come clean up their complex for anything harmful that was left.  Someone had found Harris' file from his last trip so that was helpful as well.  The PM got invited into the conference along with the head of immigration.  They had to make some fast, easy decisions.  Really, were a few slayers with warrants out for them worse than some they had taken in?  And if there was a problem, they wanted slayers able to hit London at a moment's notice.


Xander gathered notes and went to talk to the people who were presently helping them.  He got signed in and she came down looking confused.  "On what's coming soon?"

"That's very helpful.  Here?"

"Some minor things, we're predicting London will stay calm."  He showed her.  "They hold a demon version of the olympics every century.  It gives them time to talk, make alliances, alliance marriages, trade agreements, all that."

"We do some of that ourselves," she agreed.  She looked.  "Are they held on this plane?"

"No.  Usually there's a lot of betting, a lot of fights over who actually won, all that.  LA is going to have a lot of problems.  London's got some good betting and a few pubs that service that community.  So we're predicting it'll be rowdy but not violent."

She smiled.  "You're used to bringing this to everyone's attention?"

"Yes.  And it's always better to warn than have a call going 'oops, we missed the signs'.  Plus the agents in the US liked to hear from us whenever we were foreseeing something."

"Okay.  Usually we'd give something like this to the local people."

Xander smiled.  "I paused at Scotland Yard and they said that's your job."

She rolled her eyes.  "That figures.  I'll get you someone you can liaison with over there?"

"That'd be really helpful.  Especially since I'm going to start working on the old Council complex soon and there's no telling what I'll find.  I know there's three roaming spirits of demons there that've caused a few problems.  Dean and Sam are fixing those with Faith.  My first job is to find the old ritual room and stop anything going on."

"Agreed.  That'd be very helpful.  The local officers?"

"Told me to tell them if I had to evacuate the area.  Otherwise, the Council gave them headaches."

"They did to us too," she admitted with a smile.  "I'll get the contact to touch base with you on that as well?"

"That'd be great," he agreed with a grin back.  "That way someone knows.  Just in case."

"Even better.  I'll get them onto it today, Mr. Harris."

"Thank you.  Oh, the last few went last night."

"Even better.  Have a good day."

"You as well."  He left, going to get some groceries on his way home.  The local village had a very small store with very little selection in cookies or anything he'd like.

She got an agency car and went to talk to Scotland Yard.  They had to set up protocols for who the Council people warned and kept in contact with.  Now that the main part of the emergency was over with, it'd hopefully fade back into more obscurity.


Xander looked up from his sketching the next morning at the cleared throat.  "Xander Harris," he said, waving his pencil hand.  "Old Council or cops?"

"Scotland Yard," he said, moving closer.  "What are you doing?"

"Any good search is helped by a map," he said, showing him.  "Also, with the explosion, some things got shifted and whole areas got put into subrealms from their emergency protocols."  He smiled.  "This way I know where I'm starting, where I'm going, and if something happens, someone can find me too."

"That's very handy."  He squatted down beside where he was sitting.  "What's your ideal rate for this?"

"I have to find the ritual room.  That will stop any works going on, which there were probably a lot of, and it can end the emergency protocols from what I've seen.  Then the main Council chamber.  That's got the emergency switch.  If I can do both of those, it'll unhide the other areas and I can go room-by-room for it."

"Excellent.  What if you find something?"

Xander smiled.  "I've found plenty of artifacts in my time."


"No, actually I was part of the Sunnydale team when we took over the Council."  That got a nod.  "I'm the guy Giles used to send out to train slayers and handle problems.  I've done a lot of handling problems inside tombs."

"That makes sense then.  You have a protocol for handing over anything too huge or dangerous?"

"I have containment boxes for most of them and more coming.  They're built like bomb containers."

"That's reasonable I suppose.  What about getting some grad students out to help?"

"Academics sneer at us who do the work but don't have the fancy papers on the wall," he said dryly.  "There's three people at Cambridge who hate my ass like hell because I read sixteen dead languages, four of them demonic.  And they can't."

"I've met some like that, yeah."  He grinned.  "What about any damaged parts?"

"I worked construction for three years."

"Even better.  You're probably the best bet to do this then."  Xander nodded with a grin.  "Okay.  Well, I'm to be your contact with the Yard whenever something happens."

"Did you get the notes on the upcoming Olympics brawls we're expecting?"

"We did.  We've had them staked out because they've been a bit rowdy recently."

"Yeah, this is a huge deal for the demonic societies.  This is their peace making, deal making, marriage making times and the olympics are a stress outlet for the societies that need it.  This way they have the official time to get drunk, rowdy, make legal bets, all that."

"We use it about the same," he agreed.  He stood up and pulled out a card.  "Call me whenever you hear of something we should know.  Or if you need to hand over anything too huge here, like artillery."

Xander beamed.  "I was the armory master before Giles hired for it.   I love me some weapons but around here they'd mostly be swords probably."

"Even better.  We have very strict gun laws."

"I heard."

He smiled.  "Good."  He left, going to make his initial report.  Harris was a bit rough around the edges but he seemed like a steady, level headed sort.  He looked up his details through immigration.  They had taken photocopies of his passport.  It was nearly full.  A lot of service in Africa.  So that meant he could handle most anything probably.  Which he liked.  His bosses would want them to handle it quietly.  Hopefully as quietly as the old council had.  Those guys were discreet, you never saw them.


Xander walked his notepad into dinner in the kitchen that night.  "This is the old Council building's plans as they stand right now."

"You got that much explored?" Faith asked.

"No, I used Willow's little scoping out robot that magically makes me a map and then traced over it so it wouldn't disappear.  I have to start here, then go down this way to go over this way," he said, moving his finger over his path.  "That's the ritual room.  That will then help unhide some of the stuff so I can find the old meeting room and undo the emergency switch to figure out what's really left."  They all nodded.  "How was the demon ghost hunting going?"

"We can't find where they're buried but we've scoped out what they were," Faith said.

"Probably the Council burial pit?"

"Possibly," Faith agreed.  "Any idea, X?"

"Two."  He pointed at the map. "Special Collections and the crematorium."

"So they're probably in a case somewhere," Dean decided.  Xander nodded.  "How soon can we get in there?"

"I need to get those two rooms open so you can get in there.  There's no telling how much of that is hidden right now.  Though you could probably walk into the room itself, maybe even safely, but I can't be sure yet."

"We can go in with you tomorrow," Sam offered.  Xander smiled and nodded.

"Klenth's cousin from MI-5 showed up today to see why some bank in Germany is looking for you?" Faith asked.

"Artifact from Africa.  Most of the protecting tribe was killed when the people were going after it.  I promised to protect it.  I'll call Jerry later."

"Not him," she said.  "A real bank."

"Huh.  I'll still call Jerry later.  He watches over all that for me."  She grinned.  "I had an incredible amount of finding things to solve the problems issues.  I found a few some archeologists wanted me to bring them to.  Tried to bribe Giles to get me to take them.  I pointed out the native deities that were protecting them would probably cause a lot of problems.  Like death."  He rubbed his outer right arm.  Sam tipped his head to look.  "One decided I was a good doggy and patted me."  He showed him the scar.

Dean shook his head.  "That's insane."

"Mostly," Xander agreed with a nod.  Dean moaned again.  "So, anyway, dinner?" he asked hopefully.

"I'm not the housekeeper but I made hamburger helper," Faith offered with a smirk.

He kissed her on the cheek.  "If I can afford one I'll hire one."  He grabbed the first plate and the others got theirs, sitting down to go over the problems.  Faith had decided how the girls would rotate and who needed more training time with Xander.  Suddenly, all those girls who wanted to nag and bitch at him about being a normal guy sort quit.  Dean had apparently shown them what normal men could do and they were horrified that he had beat a few.  "We might have to add something to the list."  They all stared at him.  "My apparent relative has some demon crap in his house."  He ate a bite.

"Giles told me about the Tower thing," Faith said, staring at him.  He shrugged.  "How bad?"

"Some.  A few things in the very open.  It was bothering the Fairy people shrine and possibly trying to activate the demonic shrine too."

"There was really a Little People and demon war over England?" Dean asked.

"Yeah."  Xander got up to find that book and brought it back.  He also stole half his dinner back from Faith's plate.  He let Dean see that history story, it was fairly short.  "There's about thirty shrines all over the islands.  Most you'll never see but a few, like there, are in the open and guarded so they can be reopened at a moment's notice.  I said if someone let me I'd come loot the demon artifacts that were radiating but they'd have to give me permission."

Dean handed the book to Sam.  "How many are close by?  I found a tiny little henge looking thing with an altar in front of it."

"That's an older shrine for a different reason," Faith said.  "I ran into one of those in Boston and freaked out until my first watcher told me what it was."  She smiled.  "Different Little People and very unhappy when disturbed.  They're basically prayer altars to make offerings to get them to leave you alone."

"Okay," Dean agreed.  "Glad I didn't do more than touch and take a picture."

"How did that turn out?" Sam asked.  Dean got the camera to let him see the digital image.  "That's really weird."

Xander stood up to lean over and look.  "That's still guarded.  That's the guardian scowling overtop of the image.  As long as you didn't touch anything he'll keep it there most likely.  If not, go offer flowers, cream, honey, and oats."  He sat down again.  "The ones in Africa you have to give meat to."

Faith shuddered.  "The same sort of Little People?"

"No, their sort of Little People, not like the ones up here.  Much less patient and more cranky."

Dean shuddered, turning off the picture since it had blinked at him.  "I'll make offerings there tomorrow."

"Cool."  Xander finished dinner and got some of the hidden cookies down.  Faith had already broken into them but there were enough there for dessert.  They went to their rooms to clean up, do whatever they did at night, and go to bed.

Dean let Sam look up the offerings to Little People.  Just in case he had to make a prayer, say he was sorry, or anything else.  They did not need plagued.


Xander looked at his first lock, tipping his head to stare at them.  "Pretty jewels," he said, touching them.  They didn't spin.  They did pull out.  But it looked like if you pried out the jeweled part then they'd kill you.  He could see poisoned darts behind it.  "Okay, so it's Jenga with locks and jewels."  He pulled his camp chair over and settled in to carefully wiggle each block of the lock and check it for resistance, how much pressure was on it, and how easily it moved other blocks.  He finally figured out the combination and pulled those, letting it open. 

Inside was a storage locker with a few covered things.  Xander looked and put them in containment boxes.  Two were seriously radiating so they really should go somewhere more protected.  He moved his chair and the next free box to the next one, trying the same combination.  It worked.  He was in the hallway to the ritual room and one of these lockers had the keys in it.  He decided to step outside for some water, taking one out of the ice chest in his car trunk, leaning on it.  He considered the room's map and sighed.  It was the same diagram as the lock. 

He figured out which locker it was and went to look.  That one the same code didn't work on.  He nearly got stabbed.  So he reset it and started the careful wiggling process again.  It took another two tries to get it and then he opened the ritual room.  It was a huge underground cavern area, complete with underground pool of blessed water that glowed an eery blue color from the fungus.  He tapped his fingers on his hips and moved around to look at everything.  As he moved around things, the color in the pool changed.  He looked up then at the pool. 

"Emergency protocols?" he asked it politely.  It didn't change colors but he found the ones that turned it red.  Not blood red but fire engine red.  That was the usual danger color.  The blood ones he wanted someone more experienced to end since they had sacrificial offerings.  He cut the emergency ones by destroying the figures hastily drawn.  He heard the alarm start and sighed, heading up and out to the main meeting room's area.  The building had been ten stories but the bomb had taken out two.  The rest, were hidden. 

He walked up the stairs carefully, finding that it was a hugely long hike thanks to the stretching.  It took nearly three hours to climb ten flights of stairs that seemed never ending.  He finally walked in and the alarm blared, making him wince.  "Shut up!" he shouted.  It stopped.  "Thank you!"  He found the area with the code on the walls, touching it.  He retraced it and it ended, making him a happier man.  Suddenly there was a view out the window, but not to England.  He retraced it and got the other views back.  That was better because there was a car and two local officers.  He opened a window and waved down.  "It's going to take me a while," he called.  He closed it and walked back down and out, getting a drink with a sigh of relief.  "Long damn hike when it's hidden," he said in greeting.

"Mr. Harris?" one of the local officers asked.

Xander grinned and nodded.  "Yup, and now that we've got things uncovered, Dean can search for the bodies of the demons that're causing you problems in ghost form so he can stop them."

"Oh, wonderful.  Any idea how long that'll be?"

"Few days at the most.  Hopefully.  If they haven't hidden it in some funky side-realm as a security precaution of being found out.  Or it's not in the special collection at a private former member's house."

"That's fine," they agreed.  "How did it do that?"

"Mystical emergency hiding.  It looked really ancient and felt really ancient."  He looked down at the cleared throat.  "I'm sorry if my tracing the ending bothered your people," he said politely, taking a drink.  "Want some bottled water?  It's still really cold."

"No, thank you, lad.  Are you Council?"

"I was retired until the US lost its mind.  I used to be the one sent to train the girls after this version exploded and they were rebuilt."

"That explains why you're not marked."  He smiled.  "We should have that fixed?"

"They're all either dead or under arrest in the US for being Council and knowing about demons."  He finished his water and put the bottle in his car.  "What marking?"

The Little Person guard grimaced.  "Things went to hell that fast?"

"The First Evil prophecy started.  That's why the building got blown up."

"That makes much sense.  It's in the library but I'm not sure if you can find it if you're not marked."

"I'll try to find it," Xander promised.  "I'm sorry if I caused problems."

"No, you only confused some."  He patted him on the leg.  "Do you think you can get those other artifacts out of that house?"

"I have to be given permission by the owners.  Otherwise it's theft."

"I have no idea who owns it."

"I told the agent I would if he'd find them and ask them.  Apparently he hasn't."

"I'll go remind him then."  He smiled.  "Good luck finding things."

"I know.  Trust me, I so know."  He sighed.  "But Rupert Giles was in charge and in the US on the new hellmouth."

"Damn.  Rupert was always a hothead when he was young."  He disappeared.

Xander grinned at the cops.  "Apparently I look just like a jewel thief and they came up to see if I was related.  They needed to find the piece of the crown jewels he had stolen."

The officers nodded.  "We're used the Council not being seen or heard from outside of things that made us drink."

"The new one, we warn ahead of time so you know to stock up," Xander said with a grin.  "It made a lot of people less nervous and it a lot easier when we had to show up with weapons."

"That's probably a good thing but the UK would like you guys to be very unseen and unheard.  Just pass on warnings and then fade after you've handled it?" the lead officer asked.

Xander shrugged.  "If I can.  This year's not going to be bad.  There's going to be some rowdiness from the Century Games betting.  Next year, we'll have to figure out how to have an apocalypse battle in LA without being seen."

"I wish you luck, Mr. Harris," the lead officer said.  "Tell us when he's got that solved?"

"I can do that.  Thanks, guys."  They shook his hands and left.  Xander walked in there, going to the library.  It was the artifacts rooms that had gotten destroyed, though a good portion of the library was on the floor.  He put down the Rosenburg Research Robot and let it go.  "Special markings for Watchers."  It rolled off, scanning the books until it found them.  Those it piled at his feet and went to find more.  Seven books in total then it came back. 

"Do an inventory please, and let me know what the title, author, and subjects are."  It rolled off to do that, printing a roll of paper to spit out behind it.  Xander looked up the markings in the books.  They were mostly blank until he poked his thumb and put them in the spot that had always activated Giles' magic books.  Then they flowed out and asked him where his mark was.  He got a pencil and wrote what had happened.  They told him which book to look in.  The inventory hadn't found it yet but when it did he got into it and settled in to read.  That made a lot of sense.  One of the lockers nearest the door had the stuff he'd need for it.  Now all he needed was a leftover watcher and he could summon one back.  He might even try for Travers to piss his spirit off.


Xander came home that night and sighed in relief.  Dean looked out of the library at him.  "Travers was really pissed off when I summoned him back."  Dean shook his head.  "But I found one of the skeletons.  The other two are at former homes."  They nodded.  "But I found the book listing who has it out."  He handed that over.  Faith looked at the bandage then at him.  "Special Watchery marking."

"Yay?" she guessed.  "Is that why you had to talk to the buttmuncher?"

"Yup.  It had to be done by one of them, even by spirit.  He argued with me until I pointed out the rest were forcibly retired, usually for theft or hurting the girls, Giles was under arrest by demon cocksuckers in the US, and I was about it.  He floated off to check, made Giles throw a fit in his cell according to him, and threw a fit about us being the only ones left.  He decided someone had to get the special stuff into holding and at least I'd probably have children some day that would help hide things. I had him talk to the person watching over all the artifacts for me and he came back scowling but agreed it was a great idea.  He also said I should go take over Wesley's family home instead."

"Did you talk to Jerry?"

"Twice.  He supposedly wasn't in the first time so I gave him enough time to wake up and called back while Travers was checking on things.  Travers freaked him out but yay.  Jerry's wanting to move those artifacts back here.  He said Germany's being a bit anxious about it and the US wants them in their custody.  So they'll be here tonight with Dawn."

"That's where she went?" Faith asked.

"Yeah.  She's good with the book stuff and the artifacts."

"Figures with what she is," Faith decided.

"What do you mean *what* she is?" Sam asked casually.  Xander stared at him.  "You can probably trust us, guys."

"Look up Glorificus and the battle we had against her," Xander suggested.

Sam settled in to look that up online, then blinked a few times.  "What the fuck?" he demanded.  Dean was staring at him.  "They fought a hell god!"

"So was the First Evil," Faith and Xander said.

"ADAM was about as powerful," Xander said.  "Wilkins changed into an Old One."

Dean gaped at him.  "What?"

Xander got something to drink and eat, coming out to explain the Sunnydale history to them.  Sam was looking things up.  He shared the site he found on the Sunnydale team with Dean.  Who shuddered.  He grinned at Sam.  "So...."

"Is Dawn holding her?" Sam asked.

"No.  She was not the host."

"Is she holding *it*?" Sam asked.

"Green thing?  Yup."

Sam grimaced then licked his lips.  "Is she safe?"

"Yeah.  She's a nice, normal girl most of the time, until you piss her off."  Faith giggled and nodded.  "Then she changes people into hamsters so she has something to pet."

"But... she can open...." Sam said, pointing at the wall of books that they knew held a doorway.

"Yeah, but she doesn't want to."

"Good!" Dean said, looking at him.  "The Key?" he mouthed.  Xander nodded with a grin.  "Damn."

"Yeah, Sunnydale kinda was," Xander admitted.  He looked at Faith.

"By Wilkins," she sighed.

"That's so fucked up, dude," Dean complained.  He went back to reading.  He ran into Wilkins and shuddered, handing the laptop back to Sam.  "I'm glad it's gone."

"Us too," Xander admitted quietly.  "Even though we would've wished for a different way."  Dean stared at him.  "We lost some people in that battle, Dean.  Hell, I lost an eye in the lead up to that battle."

"I wasn't going to ask."

"Evil preacher.  Thumbnail."

"Ah."  He and Sam nodded.  "That's still so fucked up."

Xander grinned.  "Yeah but it was normal for us."  He ate a bite of his sandwich.  "As for the door behind us, it's a simple pattern key and I'm pretty sure it uses the same lock pattern that the rest of the Council uses."  He got up to show them that combination and they nodded when the wall opened to a ritual room, a lot more books, and some artifacts encased in glass.  Sam looked at them and backed away slowly. Xander leaned down to read the nameplate then blew a kiss.  "Hey, baby.  Be good.  We miss you."  He walked off.  "I nearly married her."

Dean and Sam shared a look then looked at Faith.

"If that's part of Anya, he took her to the prom too.  She was nympho then.  Died in the battle."

Dean slumped down into his seat.  "I've got a headache."

"I wasn't going to ask you to roll over anyway," Xander quipped with an evil grin.  Dean flipped him off and got comfortable.  "Go ahead and hide while you read, guys.  We don't mind.  We know it's freaky and weird.  We were there," he sighed.

Faith batted him on the arm.  "I kept most of my sanity until Cleveland, thank you."

"You did good keeping it.  Mine was rotted by Buffy and Willow."

"Probably, yeah."  She got up and went to answer the door.  "Who're you?" she asked.

"Is Mr. Harris here?"

"X?" she called.  He came out to look at the stiff, upstanding young man at the door.  "He wanted you."

"What's up?" he asked.

"May I see some identification?" he asked politely.  Xander found his wallet and pulled it out.  "And the marking?"  Xander took off the bandage to show him.  "You are the only heir then," he sighed.  "I'm with the legal team the Council leaned on, Mr. Harris.  Mr. Travers' ghost told us to find you tonight."

"I was going to ask you guys for the right to loot the other houses for dangerous things."  He let him inside.

"We have much more than that to talk about."  He led him to the study and went over things with him and Faith, since she was clearly a slayer. He heard there were other slayers and he was glad of that.  He also told him of what he had suggested to Rupert Giles but he hadn't wanted to deal with it for the moment.  Xander, however, had to because there wasn't enough time 'later on' to handle things.  Too many dangerous things were being diplomatically given to the US.  So they set up a strategy and let him go handle things with his evil lawyer minions.  Faith and Xander went to their beds to collapse.

Xander did not want to run an underground guerilla movement.  Unfortunately he was the last one who could.


Xander woke up to a shove, glaring at the woman standing beside his bed.  "I've only been in here for two hours.  You have a home."

Kennedy stared at him.  "Where's Willow?"

"Um... the coven?" he guessed.  "Unless she decided to flit off somewhere to do something?"

"They won't talk to me."

"They downright hate me.  Have you tried her cellphone, Kennedy?"

"She's not answering."

Xander picked up his and sent Willow a nasty email about her girlfriend.  Then he put it aside and stared at her.  Her phone rang a minute later and she walked off talking to Willow.  Xander laid back down after checking the time.  Not even six yet.  Gee, great.

Kennedy stormed back in there.  "You took over for Giles?"

He stared at her.  "Do you see many others?"

"So?  You're *Xander*!"

He got up and punched her, knocking her down.  "I'm damn sure good enough to train you bitches," he said bluntly.  "Get over it!  All I'm doing is removing dangerous artifacts and making sure none of you get arrested by the demon cocksuckers.  If you don't like it, go jump off somewhere very high, Kennedy."

"You're not even a real watcher," she sneered, getting up.

"He's as close as we're getting until the US finishes losing their minds," Faith said from the doorway.  "And by the way, *I'm* the senior slayer, not you."  Kennedy attacked her.  Xander hit her with his emergency mini crossbow, making Kennedy wail as she fell down.  "That was harsh, boytoy."

"It's six in the morning.  I've had two damn hours of sleep," he told Kennedy.  "I don't want to hear your shit yet."  She gaped, staring at him.  "I'm the slayer's trainer, Kennedy.  I have been since we reformed.  It's not like I didn't train them to be better than you are."

"They mostly died," she sneered.

"Yes, because your girls sent your battle at them without warning or any weapons.  They needed artillery and the girls only had swords and crossbows.  If you selfish bitches had handled your own shit, they wouldn't have had that problem.  Instead, you went and got your nails done."  She shrank back away from him.  "Yes, I heard all about it.  I'm the reason they won because I was over an hour away when it happened and when I got there, I actually had some weapons on me."  She shrank back farther.  "For that matter, Buffy wanted to know if you could be stripped of the slayer essence for doing that. 

"Giles said you couldn't because Willow would've went off the deep end again.  That is the *only* reason you're still a slayer or alive.  And your usefulness in either capacity is still dimming.  You're a rabid bitch, Kennedy, and either you become a slayer again or you go jump off somewhere very high.  Willow doesn't need your shit and neither do the rest of us while we try to reform and work around this snafu from hell.  I'm certainly not putting up with it and if have to I'll have your ass committed.  I'd never waste a slayer but I'll damn sure have you put somewhere you can't cause anyone harm."  She was crying.  "So get off your ass, go pull that arrow out, bandage it, and then go home."  She wailed and Willow showed up.

"How could you, Xander!" Willow complained.

"He told her the truth," Faith said simply.  "We were all for putting her down for sending that demon after the girls in Africa for being lesser slayers.  We didn't because we were scared to death what of you'd pull."  Willow gave her a horrified look.  Faith stared back.  "I'll be damned if I want to see anyone harmed like you nearly killed Xander in stopping you.  Buffy agreed on that point.  Which was why she wanted to know if we could strip the slayer essence from her."

"There's no way to do that as far as I know but I'll look in the library," Xander said.

"G said there wasn't a safe way," Faith told him.  "He said that while getting reports from the hospital and you in that coma, and the girls nearly dead."

Xander nodded.  "I was out of it for at least a month after that."  He looked at his best friend.  "I would've killed her then and there.  I nearly got on a plane but Buffy reminded me we didn't want another Darth Rosenburg moment," he said bluntly.  "I couldn't take stopping you again; I nearly died the last time."  Willow burst out crying.  "So if you want her, you keep her muzzled.  I don't want to hear her shit.  I don't want to see her shit.  You keep her on a short, sparkly yappy dog leash and muzzle system and with you to protect you in case some demon comes at you, Willow.  You and Dawn both needed guarding anyway and Giles disagreed with me."

Willow wiped her eyes off, nodding.  "That's why I left the coven.  Something was trying to attack me."  She looked at Faith then at Xander.  "You're handling things?"

"Do you see anyone else?"

"No," she admitted, sounding miserable.  "I can help."

"You are."  She nodded.  "You've got your job and I need you to be much more open than I am.  You're also more polite if the US shows up."  She nodded at that, stiffening up some.  "I had to call Travers' spirit back to handle the handover.  He talked to Giles and agreed it was the only way, even if Giles did throw a fit in his cell."

"They're going to try Buffy for treason," Willow said quietly.  "Him too, Xander."

"Then snatch them somewhere safe and that doesn't have extradition."

She gaped, then whimpered.  "I can do that.  I've got a hidden spot."  He nodded.  "Next year?"

"We'll have to sneak in and handle it then disappear all at once."

"Okay," she said quietly.  "Can I take her with me?"

"Yes and take them with you." 

She nodded, taking Kennedy home with her to treat her injuries.  Then she went to snatch Giles and Buffy.  They didn't have hardly anyone else.  One of the soldiers spotted her.  "Not like you would've handled it."  She disappeared with Buffy.  She helped her sit down.  "We're in Central America.  I set up a protected area."  Giles slumped in relief.  "Xander's in charge."

"I have no doubt he can handle it," Giles assured her.  He checked on Buffy, who brushed him off.  He gave her a hug anyway, letting her break down.  "I'm sorry.  I didn't think they'd go that far."

She nodded.  "They were going to shoot us tomorrow."

Willow shook her head.  "I would've stopped them."  Buffy nodded, looking at Kennedy.  "You were going to let me keep her even though she's so harmful?"

Buffy looked at her.  "We weren't sure you weren't going to go all evil again, Willow."

"I...  I don't think I will but you're more important right now."  Buffy nodded, letting Willow take her to the bathroom to help her clean up her injuries.


Xander looked at the tv over breakfast when something huge started to happen in DC.  "Hey, Faith?" he called.  "Someone's pulling a Wilkins in DC."  He sipped his coffee.  She came in to watch it.  Dean and Sam followed, Dawn following them yawning.  "It all here, Dawn?"

"Two more things later but they're being shipped."  She yawned again and stretched.  "Buffy?"


"Huh."  They watched as the huge Old One, which was smaller than theirs, tried to eat the town.  "They need a big bomb in a building."

"They do," Xander agreed, sipping his coffee.  He looked at his phone, calling someone.  "Hi, Douggie.  It's Xander.  Blow the head off.  Look outside or on the news, Douggie."  He hung up and called someone else.  "Good, you're there.  That's a smaller version of what happened at our grad.  Ours was about ninety feet long.  You have to blow the head off.  Yup, that's why our high school went."  He took another sip.  "No, she's not there.  We had a moment of 'I'll be damned' and 'next time you handle it'."  He finished his coffee and put it aside.  "Blow the head off, yeah.  That's all you gotta do.  I know it's ten feet thick.  Ours was longer and bigger.  Have fun with that, dude."  He hung up.  He grinned at Faith.  "Remember Tony?"

"A lot.  He's cute to flirt with and flirts back without meaning it."

"That was him."

She grinned.  "His boss probably can find artillery."

"That might be treason," Dawn said.  "The newscaster just said that's the VP."

Xander and Faith snickered.  "They did it to themselves," Xander quipped.

"That's just wrong," Dean said.

"That's why they came after the slayers," Xander quipped with an evil smirk for him.  "They made the bed and if it gets past the US we'll handle it.  There's a few girls in Canada and Mexico."

"The army has got to have weapons," Faith agreed.  "Even if that was the Vice Prez."  She considered it.  "Wilkins took a century."

"Giles said there's about seven different methods of becoming different Old Ones back during that.  Wilkins went for the largest.  This one's still only half our's."

Faith shuddered.  "Damn glad I was in a coma."

"Me too."  He patted her on the arm.  She smacked at him then went back to watching.  Sure enough, the Army was there with some Marines from the Pentagon to handle it.  Xander spotted someone and called them.  "Blow the head off.  You can't get him changed back.  You can't control and cage it.  You have to kill it before it kills everyone. That's a smaller redo of our grad."  He hung up.  "Sorry, an ex I might miss."

Faith and Dawn both snorted.  "She was an evil bitch," Dawn said.  "Literally."

"That's not that unusual," Xander quipped.  Finally someone shot on the demon and got yelled at, but the demon ate the yelling ones and made a smug comment about them not being able to take him out.  At least until someone with a bigger weapon got there and hit him from the jet.  The soldiers all ran for cover when they were warned.  The demon tried to move after them but the heat-seeking missile hit him first.  "And splat went the head," Xander quipped.  "I wonder if that'll stop the US's issues."

"Who knows," Dawn said.  "Probably not though."  The house phone rang and she got it.  "Xander's place."  She listened.  "No, we had no idea but he called a few people to tell them how to deal with it.  Yup, he's going to be there later, ma'am."  She hung up.  "The MI-5 lady wanted to talk to you, Xander."

"I'll be there in an hour," he complained, going to get a shower and change clothes.  He got some more toast on his way out to the car.  She met him at the car.  He stared at her.  "I had no idea."

"What was that?"

"A demonic ascension.  The smaller version of my high school graduation."

She winced.  "We wondered about that incident when we heard about Sunnydale."  He grinned.  "That's going to cause more problems."

"We evacuated Buffy and Giles earlier.  As far as I know there's no others."

"Three," she said, handing over the notes she had.

"Dawn?"  She came jogging out.  "Three left."

She looked.  "We can't summon from there but I'll damn sure go get 'em if I have to."  She went back inside to call one of Xander's ex's over there to get herself help.  They all adored her like Xander's little sister and after earlier they did not want a single slayer harmed.

Xander grinned at her.  "I'm going to check more artifacts.  Dean and Sam are going to find the other carcasses that are keeping the demon ghosts around."

"Fine," she agreed.  "Thank you."

"If I had known, I would've warned, including some friends in DC."

"Thank you."  She left, going to report that to her bosses.  They heard later that day that two of the slayers had been rescued and the last was planned.  The US was trying to prevent it but Dawn had some really good help and some demon poker contacts she could ask for help.  When demons overtook the prison the guards tried to kill the slayer but the demons batted them down and injured instead and rescued her, taking her to Willow and Buffy.  Then Dawn went home.  The demons got happy since that left the US, and the newest, most open hellmouth, totally uncovered.


Dawn walked into a news station the next day.  "I have a statement by the New Watchers Council."  The receptionist got the editor.  She smiled.  "Hi, Dawn Summers, Research Council member.  Our official head had me prepare a statement with his blessing since he's hiding from the US."  She handed it over.

He read it and grimaced.  "That sucks."

"Somewhat."  She smiled.

"We'll need to do an interview, ma'am.  Are you authorized?"  She texted that and got back an agreement.  He smiled when she nodded.  "You're well dressed as well."

"My sister's a slayer.  She insists."  He smiled and led her back to his favorite reporter who could chew her up and spit her out but Dawn was very poised and answered all the questions she could.  They did agree to blur out her face due to the US's problems.  She gave a good statement and explained everything they wanted to know in as simple of terms as she could, though she did have to admit she'd have to look up the exact ritual since there were multiple ways of doing that.  The book appeared in front of her in a flash of magic and she looked it up, letting the reporter see the picture and the exact rites needed.

At the end, someone from MI-5 was there to take the book so they could make sure no one in their countries or territories could do the same thing.

Dawn smiled.  "Xander said there had been one in Russia but the guy flirted with him and when Xander found out he gutted him for courting him as a final sacrifice.  He was doing the smallest version because he thought all the cold would kill him if he was too large," Dawn quipped to the agent.

The agent stared at her.  "Is he sane?"

"Bad guys love Xander.  We're not really sure why.  We're just happy when they're not evil to us."  She smiled.  "I'm like his little sister."

"Good to know.  We'll bring this back to you guys later?"

"Please."  She grinned.  "I've got to restart the research council today."  She walked off, going to the lawyers' offices to see where she could help and what she needed to do to restart things.  They also helped her file a request to have her personal belongings from the house, things like her mother's picture and wedding rings.


Xander looked up from his inventory of dangerous artifacts when someone cleared their throat.  "Hi."  He grinned at his Scotland Yard contact.  "I'm putting things in containment."  He went back to it.  "What's up?"

"Do you remember the name of the person trying to do that same thing in Russia?"

"Yes.  Pieter.  His funeral made state news."  He looked at him.  "I didn't want to be a sacrifice and when they found out why, the Church ordered his body cremated no matter what they wanted."

"Okay, I can look that up."  He put his hands in his pockets.  "Do you know of anyone in this country or anywhere nearby that might be trying the same thing?"

"I heard a rumor of one in Sweden but I'm told the slayer up there handled him.  He was going to change out in the wilderness and then slowly move in starting with smaller villages.  It was a good plan if we hadn't heard."

"Good!" he said, smiling and relaxing.  "We're looking to ban the import of a few things."

"There's a few that are used for holy festivals by certain types of demons.  There's a procurer that would know which had any other use in the Circus."

"I know where that is.  Piccadilly Circus is large but there's only a few herbalists.  He's green with purple spots?"

"No, that's his daughter and she's ill.  He runs one about three streets over and in an alley.  It's a little shack, shady looking place and often lets herb-using assassins buy."

"Oh, him.  Yes.  We know of him."  He smiled.  "I'll ask him.  Anything too dangerous so far?"

"Yes but all mystical so we'll have to devise a case to lock them in and keep out any magic."  He grinned.  "Dawn's working on that."

"Good!  Excellent in fact!"  He beamed and left, going to tell his bosses that.  He and another one went to talk to that herbalist.  He smiled as he walked in.  "Xander Harris sent me to talk to you about what herbs are used for things."

The demon stared at him.  "Why did the Knight inconvenience me that way?"

"We're banning the stuff used for ascensions."

He took a hit on his hooka pipe then put it aside.  "There's a few that are used in rites for that and that alone."  He got his copy of the book to go over what each herb was used for, when it was used, and how it was used.  They got a good list of ten things they could ban and couldn't be grown locally so they'd know if someone was importing it.  It also let him know that the police were watching to see what he imported.  That was a very good warning and he could pass his illegitimate business over to his daughter and son-in-law.


Dawn walked into the house she had been given until the probates, finding a ghost of all things.  "Hi, Wesley's dad."  He glared.  She smiled.  "I'm Dawn Summers, Buffy's sister and research council member."  He groaned.  "The lawyers for the probate stuff gave me your place until it's all probated since we worked with Wesley and he's dead too."  He floated off.  "The other researchers are pretending to be a few college professors and hoping to stay out of sight of the US.   Mostly it's just me, Xander, and Faith right now, plus a few hunters." 

She headed for the kitchen to start some tea, a shopping list, and then to the study to find the protections on the house.  It wasn't that hard to do, it was engraved on a painting.  She tapped it with a touch of blood from the fingertip she poked and it suddenly relaxed and let her do things without worry.  The ghost glared at her again and she grinned.  "Giles was doing beautifully in Cleveland running things until the US started to get huffy and tried to arrest us all."  She looked around.  "The two carcases you have of demons?"  He pointed. 

She got that locked door open and looked then called Dean.  "I'm here and so are they."  She hung up after texting coordinates from her phone.  "There, that's going to be handled so they quit bothering the normal people."  She looked over his library and found what she needed, bringing it back to the study.  "Well, that's going to be nasty," she decided, pulling out some paper to make notes for Xander.  "Our next apocalypse battle in LA is going to be a bitch, especially since we can't really head there to handle things openly.  I wonder if the coven can black out LA somehow.  Maybe a massive sleep hex?  But it's probably too big."  She made those notes off to the side and went back to researching.

Dean opened the door.  "We're here," he shouted.

"Study!" she shouted back.  "Left hallway, on the outer side."  He came in a few minutes later with Sam.  She grinned and pointed.  "Demon carcases?"

"Great," Dean agreed, walking that way.  "We killed the other one late yesterday."  He looked them over.  "I know we can't burn the short one."

"That one takes a Fairy weapon to kill and destroy," Sam said.  "According to the research there was one somewhere."

Dawn walked in to look over his shoulder at the site he had pulled up on his smartphone.  "That's not that hard.  You can use fairy fire for it and that's an easy potion."

Dean looked at her.  "We don't really do potions," he said dryly.  "We may be dark haired with green eyes, but no scar, Dawn."

She smirked.  "Then it's a good thing I used to do that one to light up our old mangy basement before Xander and Spike fixed it, huh?"  She led them to the kitchen to prepare it.

The ghost cleared his throat.  "I have a lab," he offered.

Dawn grinned.  "That's handy.  Where?"  He led them to it and she had to go back for something then it was easily mixed.  She, Dean, and Sam carried the carcases outside for them to be destroyed.  One regular fire, one magical fire, and then some stomping on anything too huge leftover and it was done.  Sam called in that they should be destroyed and if not to let them know.  Dawn let Dean handle the shopping list since she needed bullets and food, while she and Sam got into the apocalypse battle research.  Dawn smiled at him.  "I'd love to have you join the research council, Sam."

"If we're not doing anything I can do that," he promised.  "Dean would go nuts though."

"Faith and he can handle anything going on.  She'll be bored soon too."  That got a nod and they got to work.  Dean came back and they came out to help him carry in groceries and the rest of the supplies Xander had arranged for her to hold.  Dawn looked at something and grinned.  "Hi, Xander's pets."  She closed the box again and put it into a closet.  Dean looked then gave her a strange look.  "Willow."

"Ah," he said weakly, putting them back.  "I don't want to know."

"Me either most of the time."  She got another load of groceries in and the others settled in for the night.  "What're you and Faith going to handle next?" she asked.

"We got asked to handle a small demon bothering a daycare," Dean said.  She nodded at that.  "Faith said she's bored."

"Usually.  Faith's not one to sit and study most of the time."

"Me either," Dean agreed.  His phone rang and he answered it.  "Hey, Dad.  How's wherever?"  He listened then smirked at Sam.  "He finally got the demon.  He was hovering around Jess."  Sam glared at him.  "He had her on the ceiling but not cut and Dad got him, killed him, and brought Jess to an ER.  So they're both safe and he has her safely out of harm's way for now.  They're still looking for hunters."  He listened. "Yeah, he's sitting here with Dawn, Buffy's little sister.  Longer than average story, Dad, but we knew that."  He handed the phone to Sam.  "He researched your sister after we met."

She nodded.  "He seemed paranoid that way, yeah."  He grinned.  "Anyway, are you guys going to keep staying with Xander?"

"Don't know, but probably.  I figure it'll be easier on all of us.  You going to hover up here?"

"We need to decentralize and I can handle it.  I might steal Sam now and then though."

"You're only an hour from where we are and we plan on hitting three other targets soon," Dean admitted.  "Including sneaking in to get those demon artifacts from that house if it's still empty."  She nodded, going to find the magic sniffer for him.  She brought it back.  "I saw his research robot."

"Xander, Willow, and Jesse used to be best friends," she said quietly, staring at him.  "Jesse got turned but he used to be into RC cars and little robots.  She kept tinkering with them as a way to remember him after her Darth Rosenburg moment.  She's made some pretty helpful ones."  He nodded and grinned, putting it in his lap.  "That one will sniff magic and light up, leading you to it."

"Good, that'll help."  He took the phone back when Sam held it out.  "Hey, Dad.  Yup, still here.  Working with one of the senior slayers, Xander, and Dawn.  No, we're good and safe.  Sammy can help Dawn with research stuff.  We're helping Xander with the building recovery and artifact finding stuff Giles wanted him to do.  I knew that.  Actually, no, Sam found a site on what the Sunnydale team went through.  She showed up to be protected from Glory actually." 

She hit him on the arm.  "I'm not telling him anything else, Dawn."  He listened.  "Yeah, that site I think.  Sammy found a section just on them."  Sam waved his phone after sending a link to the page.  "You should have it now, Dad.  Good.  No, we're safe.  We're handling things.  This year's not going to be too bad.  Something called the Century Games?"

"Olympics of the demon world.  It's a peacemaking, alignment making, social pressure release moment," Dawn said.  Dean repeated that.  She took the phone.  "It's Dawn, Mr. Winchester.  Mostly all the problems right now would be betting, bar brawls, that stuff.  No, it's meant for their social release valve times.  It gives even the most uptight species and societies time to relax, drink, have companionship, all that.  It's also highly important that the meetings for alignments and marriages take place to keep the peace.  No, not down here outside the pubs and clubs.  Just some rowdiness.  A few who might hit the community during it to cause problems but it's highly watched over because this is the only time some societies have to break social norms and let loose. 

"In a few it's a death penalty offense to have a beer.  Ever.  Except during this time.  Anyone who interrupts that would probably be in for shit.  Yeah, that was us," she said dryly.  "No, I wasn't a host."  He read on in a mutter and she grinned.  "Bingo," she said at a word.  He moaned.  "But I'm still like Xander's little sister and he'll kill over me.  I still swear that the last boyfriend I had went missing because he acted like snot to me.  Even though Xander was in Africa at the time I'm pretty sure the guy disappeared because Xander did something.  And if not, it was probably Spike."  He groaned again and she handed the phone back to Dean.  "He's making happy boy noises."

"I don't think he's groaning for that reason, Dawn," Dean shot back with an evil grin.  Sam was cackling.  "So, anyway, Dad.  How's things otherwise?  You guys all right?"  He nodded.  "Not that bad of an idea really.  What about Rumsfeld's research nerd human?"  He nodded.  "That's even better.  Good luck and we're safe.  No clue," he admitted.  "Especially since we got moved by the coven.  Yup, that's how.  All of it.  They had to warn us first because there was so much mass with the car.  Thanks, Dad."  He hung up.  "He's swearing in joy now."

Sam grinned.  "Does his blood pressure good."

"Hopefully," Dean agreed.  He settled in his seat once his phone was back in his pocket.  "Any other huge shocks or miracles today?"

"Only if you can set Xander up with a nice, slightly naughty guy or girl," she shot back with an evil grin.  "It's nice that they warned Xander they had to let one of his go because they couldn't prove he was dealing weapons."

Dean moaned and shook his head.  "Faith said most of his were evil."

"Some were evil, some were slightly bad, and then there was Anya."

"I had Sammy read up on her.  *Damn*," he said, looking a bit awed.

She giggled.  "Anya wasn't that bad.  When she was rehumaned and returned to demonhood she was pretty decent to us.  She shared a lot.  Pouted a lot about Xander not giving her enough sex.  But otherwise it was all right.  She explained guys to me.  She helped with history papers.  She helped hold the group together when Mom died and then Buffy died."  She sighed.  "Then when Buffy got brought back and Willow went magic addiction and I had issues."  Dean awkwardly patted her on the arm.  "It's better now," she promised with a grin.  "I don't miss Mom as much. I miss Anya's version of common sense sometimes.  She would've hated this, and wanted Xander to give her some of the artifacts."

"She sounded interesting to talk to," Sam said with a grin.

"She was.  Sometimes you had to decode all the sex talk and the money talk but she put things into a personal reference point that worked for her."  They both nodded.  "It was pretty cool though.  My teacher in ninth grade wanted to know which history book I had misread for my paper so I introduced them.  Anya still had her powers then so she told her some hard truths about history books.  The teacher went into orgasmic fits of glee talking to Anya about what she'd seen and done.  She used that when she fled Sunnydale to write some books."

"I saw those," Dean said, shaking his head quickly.  She grinned. "Freaked me out a bit."

"Anya would've liked that.  She did a lot of talking about sex to see your reaction to it."

"Some go for the tease, some go for the blush," Sam quipped.  Dean gave him an odd look.  "At Stanford, we get a lot of women who tease to be dick teases but will never follow through.  I thought Jess was one at first but she was more of a good girl than a tease."

"I try for that myself because I know my mother will come back down here and kick my ass if I become a slut," Dawn said.  Dean gave her an odd look too.  "Buffy promised she would even if she had to call her back to do it and Xander backed her up."

"How did your sister come back?" Dean asked.

"Willow.  She told us she was in a hell realm."  Dean shuddered.  "She wasn't."  Sam moaned and shook his head.  "Things were going out of control in Sunnydale.  We were planning on abandoning the town if something wasn't done.  Even the Buffybot wasn't helping all that much."  Dean shuddered at that thought.  She grinned.  "Andrew's evil geek friends made her."  She looked at the brothers again.  "She was very handy there for a bit but we were getting overrun and that was Willow's answer.  That and to prove she could.  Which is why she couldn't bring Tara back and why she went off the deep end."

"I heard," Dean admitted.  "Dad said he understood that emotion but wanted to kill her."

"I wanted to kill her and she only broke my arm," Dawn said quietly.  Dean stared at her.  "Locked Buffy and I in a crypt too.  Xander ended up stopping her.  We're not sure how Xander managed to live through the hits of dark magic, and all the other stuff that hit him over the years, but he managed to get her crying and the coven took over."

"What else did he get hit by?" Sam asked.  "I saw something about a hammer?"

"Toth's hammer.  Huge troll bastard Anya knew from way back when.  It split Xander into two.  If you kill one you kill them both.  He was going to use it on Buffy and got Xander."

Dean shook his head quickly.  "That had to be sucktastic."

"It was pretty weird, especially when Anya got to wondering about twins giving her orgasms."

"That was the whipped cream of weird on top of the normal weird," Dean complained but he was smiling.

"No, that weird was before I showed up.  Xander had just started to work construction and his crew was doing something at the college.  So Xander, out of all the crew, fell into the Native burial chamber."  Sam whimpered and muttered 'wrong' over and over.  "Especially wrong when they haunted him and gave him 'thanks for killing us' presents," she quipped.  "That cleared right up when they moved on."

Sam considered that.  "Could that cause later problems?"

"Yes and he has it handled," she said bluntly.

"Oh, crap," Sam muttered.  She nodded quickly.  "Some of his dates?"

"If they knew it'd be the sprinkles on top of their Xander wanting sundae."

"Hold on," Dean said.  "Huh?"

"What killed most Native American tribes, Dean?" Sam asked bluntly, staring at him.

Dean thought back to the history classes he liked to skip.  "Measles?"

"That too," Dawn agreed.  Dean moaned and shook his head.  "The way you two do that shows you're brothers," she teased with a smirk.

"Definitely, he learned it off me," Dean quipped.  He looked at her.  "Present worry?"

"Not that I know of.  Check his dates, we do."

"Okay," he decided.  "What're you going to be doing while we're off doing VanHelsing stuff around the UK?"

"Research council stuff," Dawn said.  "Sam can stay and help if he wants."

"Sure, but if there's one at the major colleges, I want to go," Sam told Dean.

"Agreed.  They'd probably like your eggheaded brain better than mine anyway."  Sam grinned.  "Xander's going to pull a Tomb Raider in the old building.  We're going to be cleaning up some messes from the First Evil crap."

"The lawyers for the Council have a lot of places to check.  You can start here if you want."

Dean nodded.  "Tomorrow.  Faith's coming up to join us then after she makes sure all the spirits are gone."

"Okay.  Then I guess I should find sheets and the beds, huh?"

"How did they not blow up this house when they got so many others?" Sam asked.

"He was at the Council building and there was only an heir in the US at that time," she said.  "Wes died right before the invasion.  They didn't touch any of the houses that didn't have Watcher heirs if their Watchers were already killed.  So there's like nineteen houses if I remember right.  Plus what's left of the main building."

"It looks like it blew out the one section but not all of it," Dean said.

"That's the new building.  There's the old building, which looks like a college campus but is falling in," she said.  "When the probates are starting I'll be moving the stuff we get there to set back up.  It's a safe fallback spot and has a lot of underground chambers plus very ancient stonework that held up to multiple invasions and bombings. One of the things I have to look up is to see if there's any sort of yearly tithe or anything to the spirits in that area or that overlook that area.  I'm not sure if Xander has to prove fealty to the Little People that might be there or anything else yet.  That's my main topic outside of the apocalypse next year and anything that happens near one of the girls.  The rest of the researchers are hiding in plain sight at colleges teaching things like history and English."

"That makes sense if you can't prove they're from here," Dean said.

"It was Xander's scatter plans.  He knew they might need some one day since this is the third attempt of the US to take over the Council.  The other two got shut down more diplomatically.  This time the military and others helped out, probably due to the demon worm that showed up."

"Probably," Dean agreed, considering it.  "I remember the other hunters getting real tense after the invasion but I never heard why.  I remember we got some groupies suddenly."  He shook his head quickly while Sam cackled.  "Shut up, bitch.  If they had known about you I'm sure you would've gotten some too."

"They did know.  One of the teachers asked me in the middle of a history class if I was related to Dad.  I told him yes, and I got kicked out for not wanting to hunt.  That I was going to serve humanity in other ways."  Dean rolled his eyes.  "I was going for my law degree," he said quietly.  "I'm taking my LSATs later this month."

"We'll see if there's a way you can take them over here," Dawn said, texting Xander and Willow.  He grinned at her.  "You should be able to go on and do great things, Sam.  I started out in languages because I'm fairly decent in them and it'd help my sister.  Even if I wanted to, I don't have much of an out of the life card.  I know I'm needed.  You can do better things from the outside if you can't handle the hunting nightly.  I had one teacher for a psych elective that jumped all over the slayers during a class.  Talked about us being abnormal and borderline serial killers. 

"I kindly stood up and pointed out she didn't know a single one of them, she had no idea how hard it was to hunt nightly, and to shut the fuck up until she did.  She gasped and demanded how I knew so I outed myself as the sister of one.  She babbled at me for hours.  Until I introduced her to Willow and Giles."  She grinned.  "Giles straightened her out and she was working on some theories about our mental states being easier because it either came with a trauma-induced slippery slope that had handholds to grab onto or it came with the slayer essence for the girls."

"I can see the trauma-induced slippery slope.  Most hunters draw the lines at demons and hate to hurt humans.  That grabbing point keeps them from going thrill kill on a group of idiots," Sam said.  "I'm not sure if the essence the girls get would help with that or not."

"Personally I think some of them have it innately, that's why they're chosen," Dawn said. "The essence has some sort of measuring stick and goes 'hmm, she might work' to each newly created female embryo."

"What?" Dean asked.

"All slayers are born with a specific mole," Dawn said, pointing at her shoulder.  "About here.  Dark, hairy mole according to my sister, who had hers removed.  That mark is what the old Council looked for when they came to collect the girls for training.  They may have tracked the essence but that was their final point of 'ah-ha, it's her'."  Dean nodded once at that.  "And then they took them in to train them to be mini soldiers and be obedient until death does them in and it passes on the slayer calling."

"Which sucked," Sam said.

"Yes it did.  They missed Buffy."  She grinned.  "She knew one that had been raised that one.  The one who died to call Faith, Kendra, was one of them.  She had *one* outfit.  She had never talked to a boy, kissed a boy, knew what boys were for, none of it.  She put all that stuff into carving a special stake she gave to Buffy."

"That truly sucks," Dean said.

"Which is why we don't do that.  We knew it sucked.  We hated that it happened to the girls and made sure that any of them that still had families got back in touch with them.  And the new ones kept in touch with them."  Dean grinned and nodded.  "The same as Giles would never allow another sucky birthday test like he was made to use on Buffy.  Giles took everything he realized he hated them doing and made sure it didn't happen this time.  The rest of us backed him up on that. 

"Thankfully it was mostly the research council who survived instead of everyone else.  The field watchers were trained just as much to go out there, watch and die, but never be a warrior.  Giles and then Wesley changed that because they did jump in and help their girls in the field, they did learn how to fight, they did allow their girls to have help so it wasn't a solo duty and death march to the grave.  Buffy would've died nine months into being called if it wasn't for Xander knowing CPR."

"How many times has she died?" Dean asked.

"Two that I know of.  I'm not sure if something during a battle or not though."  She shrugged.  "I was on the schoolbus during the battle with the First.  I was at the invasion but she was way far ahead of us in the rear support positions.  I know Willow said she was pretty beaten up when she rescued her so it's possible it happened while she was in jail.  Not sure.  Not really willing to ask either."

"I get that," Dean agreed.  "I wouldn't want to know either."  He looked at his brother.  "You're not allowed to do that, Sammy."

"I have no plans of dying for a very long time, Dean."

She smiled at him.  "Good!  That's the first Scooby rule, no dying without permission and you never have permission."

Dean smirked.  "I can't believe you guys had a group name and all that."

"The third rule was always take time out for some sort of stress relief and fun.  Even during an apocalypse you can have a movie night or else you'll snap and break at the wrong time and the world will end."

Dean nodded.  "I can see that point.  I usually find a waitress or someone sweet and nice."

"Not too many waiters who'd let Buffy pounce him," she shot back dryly.

"True.  Mansluts are harder to find than female ones," Dean agreed.  Sam moaned and shook his head.  Dean smirked at him.  "They are."

"Faith had to talk a few of the girls out of buying a sex slave for the house.  She pointed out how wrong that was and how evil it would be to them.  Plus they couldn't remember to feed the plants, much less a human.  Kennedy said she didn't want to hear them fight about when he had to sleep in whoever's closet.  That was her whole contribution to 'the slayers don't own human stress relief pets' argument.  Giles did the glasses cleaning and gave her a stern lecture about how slavery was immoral and wrong on many levels."

"I would've drawn parallels to how the Council raised the girls," Sam said.

"Giles did that after she got caught being under age at a sex slave auction to make the younger ones quit whining for a puppy."  Dean cackled.  "Yeah, that was not a fun talk and we had to evacuate the house so he could give it to her at the top of his lungs in two languages.  We were all impressed he held in his temper that much.  The officer that had brought her home was too."

"Dad would've killed your ass if you had tried that," Sam said to his brother.

"Yup," he agreed with a smirk.  "A whole hell of a lot of beating before I died.  That poor woman he'd have dropped off at a hospital with a word about her thinking she wanted to be a sex slave to his unfortunately dead son."

"Only girls?" Dawn teased him with an evil smirk.

"Never could get around to liking dicks the same way I do breasts," Dean quipped back with an evil smirk of his own.  "Not that I care if others do, just don't hit on me."

"You and Xander would be comfy together," she offered.

"Hell.  No.  Xander's much too wild for me.  I can't date bad girls the way he does.  Or bad boys."

"Sam?" she offered.

He smiled.  "Not really my taste sensation either, Dawn.  Sorry.  If I find a nice guy who likes boys I'll introduce him to Xander."

"Please do.  We all worry about who Xander will take up with permanently."

"Or what?" Dean asked.

"We wouldn't care as long as they were from a peaceful demon species and peaceful themselves."

The ghost floated in and stared at Dawn.  "How did Harris become in charge?" he asked politely.  He knew of her, he knew she could destroy all that he still held dear, including this shallow form of himself.

"Giles was in charge.  The US lost their damn minds and went after the Council and all the hunters they could find."  She stared at him.  "They were going to charge Giles and Buffy with treason and shoot them today.  Of course, that was after the ascending one in DC happened yesterday."  He grimaced.  "The VP."

"I see."  He considered it.  "So Giles is actually in charge but hiding so he sent his only competent ones to do things?"

"He sent Xander to loot and undo the old building.  That way anything harmful is hidden and there's better emergency procedures in place.  The slayers are scattered."

"I see that there's more than two," he said with a grimace.  "That's not the way it should be."

"Not like we could've fought the First Evil with only one or two," she shot back.  "Since it took seven."

"Yes, but her rising is because of your witch."

"And I'm here because of Glory but she was a timed thing that you hid from us."  He grimaced but nodded that was true.  "So now we're doing the best we can.  There's more of the research council in hiding right now than not."

"That's reasonable.  The First wouldn't care as much about them," he agreed.  "Who trains the girls?"

"Xander."  She grinned.  "He spent years going out to train the girls in their native environments."  The ghost moaned.  "He did a great job."

"Perhaps but how will they do things now?"

"Now they're scattered to handle things until the next apocalypse battle.  Which we'll somehow need to hold in secret so the US doesn't get any of us.  I hated like hell having to go on rescues yesterday with some of Xander's ex's and contacts."

The ghost stared at her.  "We wanted to take him out of the way so nothing else got warped.  Then it wouldn't have happened."

"Then we all would've died during graduation when the last ascension happened," she shot back.  He slumped and shook his head.  "Not like Buffy made battle plans and Giles forgot about spectators.  Xander made the plans.  The same as Xander made later plans for us."

He looked at her.  "Humanity wouldn't have been lost.  The military would've stopped him."

"He would've already eaten at least Sunnydale, if not another few towns worth of people, and been too strong to do anything but kill with a huge bomb, that would've cost more lives.  The military would've been stumped.  They were when the one in DC showed up."  He flinched at that.  "We would've lost a good portion of humanity and people would still know about demons.  There would've been a worse reaction too.  Hollywood has done an amazing job on hyping the supernatural for the last ten years.  Now they're doing an even better job of the truth.  Back then, humanity wasn't ready and would've had a religious orgasm of fear."

"Which probably would've led to another witch hunt and the Council being removed," Sam said.

The ghost sighed.  "I can see that point."

"Xander is right where the girls and the Council needs him.  If the Powers wanted him gone that badly they'd force the issue."

"True."  He looked up then at her.  "There are many duties not being filled."

"Faith and Dean are going to take care of anything local.  Sam and I are researching heads at the moment while the rest hide.  Xander's cleaning up the old building and then we're falling back to the ancient one."  He gaped.  "We won't be outgrowing it for ages now.  There's less than fifty watchers and about three hundred girls."

"Which really helps when there's a demon invasion in downtown LA," Dean quipped.

"Yup, a lot."

"If we had been able to get there, we would've jumped in," Sam said.

"Dad was too far away too or else he'd have been there too."

Dawn grinned.  "We handled it okay.  Considering how big the stream of demons flowing like piss out of the portal was, we did okay."

Sam cackled at that description.  "I thought it looked more like a dark wave of weapons."

"I was at the back and slightly higher up.  That close, it looked like something giant was pissing out his kidney stones and the pointy weapons were the things that were giving him pains."

Dean shuddered.  "Don't mention kidney stones.  I've had two."  She patted him with a grin.  "I never wanted painkillers like I did that day."

"I've heard."  She looked at the ghost.  "Beyond that, Giles changed all the things about the Council that we hated.  Because he came at it like someone who was actually in the field and knew what was needed, not from the princess's bedroom spot that Travers was working from.  Those of us in the field are helped a lot by the way we restructured."

"I suppose so."  He looked then at her.  "The old campus is falling in.  That's partially why we moved."

"Xander worked construction for years."

"Oh.  I didn't know that."  He blinked a few times.  "I suppose that's why he's finding things?"

"That and he has a real gift for it.  I saw the list of stuff he had hidden in Germany and I doubt that's all of it."

"He probably has something stored with the antiquities people in Egypt.  They get a bit pissed off whenever something from their historical peoples gets removed," Sam said.

"Maybe, not real sure.  They're having that civil war and overthrow right now."  She texted Xander, who sent back he did and had talked to someone down there earlier.  Also that he had went to check out the old campus, it only needed some simple fixing and he could find people to do that.  She showed the ghost with a grin. "He has plans."

"He probably does."  He floated off to check his walking garden.  It always made him calm down.  He needed to be calm.  Perhaps there was a way of guiding the foolish young back onto the path of the true slayers.  As long as the senior two had died.  Since the young chit had mentioned Faith that was a half-hope.  But maybe soon.

Dawn shook her head.  "How?" she asked with a point.

"We'd have to salt and burn his remains," Dean said.  "Any idea?"

"Should've been in the explosion?"

"Huh.  We'll go there and see if we can free the spirits that want to go on."  She grinned and nodded.  "Let's get to bed."  They went up to their rooms and snuggled in for the night.  Dean had a lot to think about.  His father was in Canada of all places.  With Sam's girlfriend.  That just seemed wrong and like the demon could still come back.  They'd have to be watching for it.  And for Sam to get his dad's approval to date Jess.  He'd want to give it now that he had met her.  Hopefully.


Xander looked around the building he was standing in, sighing in displeasure.  "They couldn't just *lock up* things?" he complained.  "You know, do the sensible thing instead of letting the artifacts feed off each other and create pretty elemental magic hell?"

"That would require sense and people like these never have it," a male voice said.

Xander looked back at him.  "I heard it when you tripped both the alarms.  Who're you?"

"Ever seen the Tomb Raider movies?"  Xander nodded.  "I'm like the guy that Gerard Butler played."  He grinned.  "For your great-uncle."

"Cool.  Are you going to try to screw things up so the world ends?"  He turned around again.  "And he was a cousin, not an uncle.  Or so the DNA said."

"Whatever."  He came over.  "You don't look too impressed."

Xander looked at him.  "I knew he had occasional partners.  He would've had to for some of his jobs he pulled.  The poster they showed me when I visited the Tower to take a tour said so too."

The older guy laughed, pushing back some of his dark gray hair.  "That's a good point.  Is this a paying job?"

"No, this is I'm quasi-in charge and have to handle it."

"Huh.  That sucks."

"This or the world ends."

"You could almost be as pretty as that girl in the movies.  They based it off your cousin."

"They based them off video games.  He might've come first but I doubt they based the games off him since it was a ploy to get more teenage boys to play games.  Or else she wouldn't have looked like a porn star in the first few games."

The old man laughed again.  "You even sound like your cousin, kid."

Xander smirked.  "All the best genes skipped a few generations."

"Figures.  You need help?"

"No.  I'm waiting on a member of the Coven to come disarm the glowing."  He pointed at them.  "And then I'm going to go home, make dinner, and watch some tv."  He looked at the old man.  "I'm not allowed to let outsiders touch the pretty artifacts that're dangerous enough to take over humanity or kill it.  They get really pissed off when I let someone do that."

"You sure they can?"

"Yeah.  These aren't the first ones I've found."

"So like your cousin then?" he asked with a smirk.

"No, most of the time it's more like a hidden object game at times."  He turned and shot something in a corner.  "I said no more imps."  It fled.  He put his gun up and looked at the older man, who was staring in awe.  Xander smirked.  "I spent years in Africa training slayers."

"So you're really wrapped up in all this stuff," he said.  Xander nodded.  "You sure?  You can make money finding other things."

"I don't need more than a good paycheck.  I'm not acquisitive like that.  I dated someone like that but I'm not."

"Pity."  He turned and found an old woman there.  "Ma'am," he said with a nod of his head.

She knocked him out.  "He's on the Interpol Most Wanted list, Harris."

"I knew that."  He shrugged.  "He said he worked with my cousin."  He pointed at the glowing spot.  "They put five of them together and it fed."

"I can see that.  Though there's one that's halfway open over there," she said with a point.

"I already set a trap underneath it to catch the biting things."

"Excellent."  She walked over the debris to look at the artifacts.  "How on earth were they that stupid?"

"Trainee watchers?" he guessed.  "Or the research guys who don't realize that people are real?"

"Possibly."  She broke the center powerball by removing one of the artifacts for him to box up.  "Where is Willow?"

"Central America somewhere or maybe South America.  Not totally sure on the exact area.  She's got a place set up safely to guard Giles, Buffy, and Kennedy if Buffy doesn't kill her."

"Good.  We had worried she was plotting."

Xander snorted.  "No, we're not plotting about anything until next apocalypse season in LA."

She looked at him.  "Let them handle it."

"We can't do that.  It'll be too big and the military aren't really geared to handling demon apocalypses."  He grinned.  "How much did they pay the coven to find us so they could capture us?"

"Six million and our freedom."  She shot something at Xander and it rebounded, making her shriek.  "How did you do that!"

He grinned and pulled something out of his shirt to dangle it.  "I found it in Asia."  He grinned.  She went pale and backed off shaking her head.  He nodded.  "Yeah.  Which is why Giles appointed me for this job even though I had retired."  He stared at her.  "You can try awfully hard but it won't work.  Now, can you disarm the glowy ball thing for us please?"  She finished doing that and huffed off.  He smiled and waved at her back.   "The locals already know you tried.  One of my ex's told me about it."  He called his liaison with Scotland Yard.  "I have three things for you," he said happily.  "No, it's Harris.  Sure, I'm sure the witch that tried to sell my location is going to be easily found in Devon.  And the guy who used to work with my cousin too.  Plus a major artifact."  He hung up and got to work boxing up everything else.

The Inspector walked in about an hour and a half later.  "Harris?"  Xander smiled and walked over a small box.  "What's this?"

"This," he said, opening the viewport on the metal box once his hand had covered most of it.  "Is actually the heart of a very ancient demon that can be used to call it back to eat all of humanity in one big gulp.  If you burn it, it'll summon it.  If you destroy it, it'll summon it.  If you expose it to sunlight, moonlight, or arcane lights, it'll summon it."  He closed the viewport and handed it over.  "That should be magic proof but it needs to be buried somewhere that no one can ever find it."

"I can have that arranged," he agreed.  He looked at the man on the floor.  "I've seen his picture."

"The witch from Devon that took money to tell the US military where we were knocked him out.  She's probably headed back to Devon to pack."

"I can find that as well."  He smiled.  "Anything near this level of nasty?"

"Quite a few," Xander admitted.  "But we can lock them in a vault once they're properly stored, unlike how some trainee did it here."

"We'd rather have it somewhere no one can use it."

Xander pointed.  "That one may call a huge demon but if it's used during an apocalypse battle he'll probably kill all the smaller ones and then let us kill him because he would've fed on them.  He'd be in a gorged and happy state so easier to kill."

The inspector grimaced.  "That sucks."

"Kinda, yeah."  He grinned.  "Those three spirits?"

"Gone from what I got reported from the locals.  Which is great."  He considered it.  "Where are you going to be putting them?"

"Back on the original campus.  The one they moved from to here.  It needs a bit of work but it'll suit us and it'll be fine.  Lots and lots of underground storage areas."

"That's good but we'd like to vet the storage areas ourselves."

"Once I get things fixed out there, you can do that."

He smiled.  "Thank you for not making us ask twice or get mean."

Xander smirked.  "You can't be more mean than the demon society that left during the Victorian age because things were changing.  They're *still* living in the Victorian age. With a touch of Rome's legionaries."  The inspector shuddered.  "They're polite.  Stiff and polite, but polite.  I had to get one of the slayers from them because she stopped them taking out an enemy species here on this plane."

"I'll remember that when I have tea and brandy later," he decided with a grin.  Xander grinned back.  "Let me know when it's fixed?"


"How many other things need sunk like this one?"

"Don't hold it back to get more together.  That needs to be safe ASAP.  Any others?  They didn't even have a proper inventory.  That wasn't on the inventory and neither were the ones having a glowy ball moment that the witch had to solve.  As I get them I'll hand over the worst things.  Some you can probably sink together.  That one.... I have no idea how you'll do that.  If it's destroyed by any means it'll call him back."

"We have a few places we can send it in the ocean and let it rest there hidden for all time."

"That might help," Xander admitted.  "I don't know if that box is waterproof."

"We can make sure it is and that no light gets into it."  The room had a great pocket of shadow they were standing in but he'd have to take it outside, so he took off his jacket and wrapped the box in it.  "Let me put this in the boot of the car and I'll come back for him."

"Sure."  Xander went to browse a dark corner and sighed.  When the Inspector came back he looked over.  "Do you guys have guys like the ceremonial Mounties?"

"No, why?  Well, I suppose you could call the Beefeaters some but why?"  Xander lit the torch in his hand to show off what he was looking at.  "How were those not found?"

Xander pointed.  "It was behind some hidden glass.  I was checking for tomorrow's work."

"I'll get someone up here today.  Perhaps from the London Museum."  He called his boss to see if he could call someone.  He also got his suspect locked down especially tightly and to the car.  He was tricky and had gotten away before.


Xander looked up from his lunch in the room when the Inspector led someone in.  "Hey.  Rupert would say hi I'm sure."

The man blinked.  "Giles?  Rupert Giles?"

"The head Watcher?  Yes."  The man moaned.  Xander pointed and then got up to reopen the glass wall.  Inside was an extra tiara but one was missing.  He felt and found it, pulling it out of the dark spot.  "I'm Giles' finding minion this week."

"I can see why," he admitted, looking them over.  "Not all ours but we can definitely take them, identify them, and give them back diplomatically.  How did the Council come to have these?"

"No clue," Xander admitted.  He pulled the one that was trying to wiggle back into the shadows out.  "I'd say they might have helpers, guardians, or are possessed though."

"I'm hoping for possessed.  That would be easiest to handle.  We have mummies that moved in the past so we've learned a bit on how to banish spirits."  He got a case from his car and came in to help the young man remove them.  Then Xander let the glass go and reopened it.  A few that had been packed were back in there.  So were some new ones.  They removed the case this time as well and took it too.  His people at the museum were going to be so ecstatic.  He came back to glance around.  "Any others?"

Xander shrugged.  "I've barely started in here."

"Any idea where Rupert is so I could ask him?"

"Somewhere hiding from the US.  Rosenburg-at-slayers-dot-net is Willow's email and she can get a message to him or give you a safer one."

"I can do that," he decided with a beaming smile.  He got into his car and drove back to London.

The inspector smiled.  "They'll have weeks of dealing with those things."

"Not like I want to deal with royals.  Half of them hate me and want to kill me, the other half want to keep me."

"Human ones?"

"I've only met one human one and he wanted to kill me.  The rest were demonic royalty."

"Ours are much more calm and phlegmatic.  They'd probably just thank you."  He walked off happier.  He was sure Yanks would get used to the royalty system.  With the way the US was going, Britain needed to revoke their independence and take back over to spank them.

Xander grinned and finished up for the night, cleaning up his mess on his way out.  He walked back in and found that cabinet back there, sighing in displeasure.  He walked off shaking his head.  He turned off the anti-theft devices and let the cabinet be stolen later when that museum guy figured out it was back here.


The inspector walked into their lab's meeting room.  He and a few others who needed to figure out how to hide that box were meeting tonight.  "Good evening."  They all nodded back, staring at the box in the darkened plastic container.  "That box is most problematic.  It can't get light from any sort of source or it will call the demon back.  It can't be destroyed by any means or it'll call it back.  Harris, from the Council, said it could basically slurp all of humanity and belch."  He sat down on a stool around the table it was on.  "I thought about sinking it if we can waterproof the box without opening it."

"We can," another said.  "Would that much pressure destroy the tissue is the real question."

"I have no idea.  That's why I come to you lot," he said with a smile.  They all nodded, figuring out how far down they could sink it without having to work on pressurizing the container.  Or they could design a pressurized container and put a note in it.  Which might be safer.  They had soldered the little viewport window already when it had been brought in.  They had taken a tissue sample using a totally darkened box and a needle.  Then resealed it heavily before taking it out of there.  The DNA and other tests on that tiny sample of tissue were going well and was very interesting.

They decided to build it a nice pressurized capsule and send it down with a note of warning.  It was gotten that night from an aquatic company and flown to a ship near one of the deep sea trenches.  The ship fired it down at the trench with weights attached to make sure it floated down deep enough.


Xander walked in the next morning to find the museum guy there scowling at the cabinet.  "That's why I turned off the security system."

The man jumped and looked at him.  "Any idea how to stop that?"

"No.  Unless the writing around the edge will tell you.  We'd have to light up the room first and I need to make sure nothing else in here is light reactive before I do that.  That'll take me most of the morning."

"Please," he agreed.  "I've done some work at digs in the past if I can help."

"Mostly it's finding, boxing, taking pictures and notes, then moving on.  Half of this wasn't on the main inventory and I haven't found one for just this room yet."  The museum person nodded and took off his jacket to help him scour the darkened corners.  As they made sure each one was safe, they lit it up so they  could work.  By lunch the whole cavern, minus a little cubby next to the doorway, was all lit up and that was glowing with darkness so they had left it alone for now.   The museum guy got to sit and translate the markings on the sides of the cabinet, making him a happy guy.  Xander got to box up some more nasty things that would love to eat him, which made him a happy guy.

They both looked at one box when they heard a slurping sound and then a snapping shut.  "I suppose that's trapped better?" the museum guy asked.

Xander nodded.  "Yup.  So it can't eat me."  The museum guy smiled but shook his head, getting back to work.  He finally figured out how to unstick it for good and to release all the crowns so they could be returned, getting a lapful of them when they fell out.  Xander helped him box them up and carry them to his car, with the cabinet, and that was much better.  Once he got to the museum, he stuck the cabinet on a wall in case more were taken.  It was safer than their security system.  If anyone removed one, it'd be brought back.  His coworkers were not amused by that when it happened but they were happy that they wouldn't have to worry about theft.  And they could diplomatically give their people headaches for upcoming meetings.  It was a great job.


Xander sighed, turning on his computer and the video conferencing software Willow had set up on a secure line.  He stared at her and Giles.  "Do you know how much shit I've found they have that they never put on any inventory?" he asked in greeting.

"Not even the main one?" Giles asked.

"No.  That one's got more books than artifacts and so far I've found a lot more artifacts than I have books on the main library level.  And this is on the same level as the ritual rooms, Giles.  Is there another inventory?"

"Well.... not that I'm aware of.  That was more specific need storage, usually of darkness."

"I figured that out," he agreed dryly.  "Especially when the member of the coven showed up to unstick the five that were going glowy together.  Who, by the way, took a bribe."

"We heard," Willow assured him, rolling her eyes.  "I talked to the head of the coven and she apologized for her.  She also said it was nice that the Inspector was so polite."

Xander grinned.  "He's my liaison while I'm looting the building."

Giles nodded once.  "That could be helpful if something's released."

"I've handed them something to get rid of that was too dangerous.  They have ways of hiding things that no one, short of an undersea dwelling people, can get to."


"The Monarch's Heart."

"That was in there?" Giles demanded.

Xander nodded.  "Right behind the glowy things, thank you.  In a little silver box that I locked inside a bigger, tighter silver box."

"Excellent thinking.  I'm sure they can find a place for it and put a warning on it."  Xander nodded, shifting in his seat.  "How are things going otherwise?"

"We've talked with the lawyers over the probates a few times.  They told Dawn to use Wes's family home.  She and Sam are working on a few topics.  Dean and Faith are off hunting the local menaces.  Their first job was to stop the ones that were being ghosty demons around locally thanks to their corpses being preserved."

"I had heard rumors but no one knew why," Giles admitted.

"Dean destroyed them, therefore they quit," Xander said.  "He said to salt and burn the corpse or whatever's holding a ghost here."

"Good to know."  He made note of that.  "We have one in the local village."  He looked up.  "Other than that, how are things going?"

"Not too bad.  Faith and Dean are using one of the other spare Council's houses to do some training when they sneak over."  That got a nod and a smile.  "My cousin's former partner showed up wanting me to find stuff for profit instead of back aches.  He was wanted by Interpol."

"Good to know."  Giles stared at him.  "How are you otherwise?"

"I could use a housekeeper and a paycheck," he said dryly.  "So I can do things like eat."

"I'll talk to the lawyers to make sure you're all getting paid, Xander.  I know the girls get a stipend and we can work that out for you and Dawn, plus the helpers you've gathered.  Who are Sam and Dean?"

"Remember the hunter that Buffy met over that one grave?  Looked like a preppy midwest boy?"

"Yes.  Oh, that Dean," he said, realizing it.

Xander grinned.  "The other is his brother Sam, who was at Stanford.  He wanted a normal life but the demon after his family went after his girlfriend.  Their dad's watching her from their safe spot."

"Excellent.  So he's good at research?"

"Yeah.  Raised as a hunter.  Dawn said Latin's like his native language with English as his second one.  He's apparently an online researcher as well and has found a lot of spots that not even Willow's found."  He looked at Willow.  "You have email on this spring."

"I saw it last night."  She looked at Giles.  "We have the opportunity to stop it sooner."

"That would mean we'd have to go back to the US," Buffy said from where she was sitting.  "Xander, tell my dickhead sister to call me and Dean too please?"

He tapped out those text messages.  "Dean said your phone doesn't work," he said when he got that back.

She leaned into view.  "It should."  Willow took it and put more money on it then texted the number to Dawn.  "Thanks, Willow."  She smiled.  "There's a lot of hunting but a lot of it is self protection sort.  I got a jaguar the other day and some fruit."  She grinned.

"Congrats.  Did you need my recipes for how to cook native meats?"


"You gotta eat something," he said dryly.  "And if you caught it and killed it you should eat it, Buffy."

"We gave it to the local village for fur or whatever they'd use it for."  She sat down.

"I guess I shouldn't mention that I can do a wonderful creole style gumbo with scorpions then," Xander said dryly.

"That's gross!" Willow complained, going to sit with Buffy.  Which was what Xander intended she knew.

Xander looked at him.  "The old campus is not falling in."

"It was too small."

"Now it's not and it's safer.  Even if we did find some boxes hidden inside the walls."  He stared at him.

"Those should probably stay buried."

"They are.  I had them reburied in a new room.  Along with half the stuff I pulled out of that one."  Giles smiled.  "That still leaves a shitload of things.  The main work areas were what got blown up.  Right above the library so the roof's damaged and the books are all over the floors.  The meeting room was gone too.  The upper levels are stable and have been somewhat looted.  I didn't consider the antique furniture as important?"

"Some of that could probably be sold or should be within the probates."

"I talked to the lawyers.  They said it was donated.  Even if it was given for private use at the office it was donated.  Otherwise it'd cause problems.  I'm leaving all that in their hands."

"I can do that.  Do you need anything beyond a paycheck?  That way you don't have to eat squirrels or snakes?"

"A housekeeper.  Maybe Andrew.  That'll make it feel very Tomb Raider but yay."

"I have no idea where Andrew is," Giles realized.

"Aruba," Willow and Buffy called together.  "Trying to hit on the girls."

Xander rolled his eyes.  "We can help him with that too.  I've already broken two of the robots Willow sent, mostly because they got overused."  Giles snickered.  "There's still another eighty floors to handle though."

"The building wasn't that large," Giles said.

Xander smirked.  "Hidden levels showed up with the destruction of the two levels.  So there's literally two missing levels with two full ones between them and then another six on top of them.  Plus all the underground levels full of shit that's dangerous."

Giles sighed.  "I had no idea."

"I might have to turn the old campus into a storage area.  All the old mound buildings?  That's all they're going to be.  The rest can be housing, training, research, all that."

"That's not a bad idea.  Are you using the redstone one or the other one?"

"Redstone.  The old gray slate ones are in worse shape.  Yes, I saw the map to the oldest one, I'm sending Dean, Sam, and Dawn to scout that first since it had written blatantly that it was haunted and full of scrolls."

"That's fine then."  He smiled.  "Let us get Andrew to you."

"Sissy's in Aruba," Xander told him.

"I can have her talk to him.  Even if she doesn't like him.  Also, I'll find you a housekeeper."  He smiled.  "How are you settling in there?"

"I'm in the house and it's way too huge for just me.  And I'm usually too tired to cook when I get home."

"I can handle that then.  Behave, be safe, call next week.  I'm sure she'll have a new way of doing that then."

"You guys be safe too.  Remember, there's commando teams down there from the US."

"That's what I forgot, to get the guys out of the cellar," Buffy complained, getting up to go check on them.

Xander grinned.  "Did they tell you about the demon worm in DC?"  He hung up.  Ten minutes later Willow wrote back an email yelling about how wrong that was.  Xander cackled and sent one back about how that was why they were attacked and went to get something to eat and drink.  It was his day off.


Sissy, a burgundy haired slayer that was about 5-5 and about ten pounds heavier than she should be, huffed as she walked up to the man on the beach.  Andrew stared at her, mouth open around his straw to his fruity juice drink.  "Xander said he's going Tomb Raider and he needs assistants.  Mostly because he's been wearing out Rosenburg robots."

He got up and packed up his stuff.  "Where is he?"

"England.  He made jokes about getting a ropes set and some short shorts."  She stared at him.  "And maybe they can introduce you to girls who like geeks.  Around here, it's all about the pretty, Andrew."

"I know, but I'm wealthy so I should get some points for that."  He walked off.  "Thanks, Sissy."

"Welcome.  Send Willow your recipes for native foods too.  Xander said they need to eat what they catch and kill."  He grinned back and jogged off.  She sighed in pleasure.  Now her beaches weren't being infected by geeks.  It'd be much easier for the women to hit on the pretty ones.  She saw a darkness spreading around her feet and looked.  "Eww!" she complained.  "What the hell!"  The huge tentacle hit her.  She screamed.

Andrew looked and pulled out his pocket laser, cutting the tentacle.  It retreated and he went to his room.  She could handle it next time.  Maybe.  He left her a note telling her how to kill those on his way out of the resort.


to part 2