Started November 1, 2010 12:05am

Note: thank you to the list and Susie Essing especially for the Colorado Springs info.  Also, I did move backward times in NCIS and CSI:NY, Miami.  This starts in 1998.   That means pre-9-11 and yes, they're going to tell people.

Destiny Of A Chosen Few.

Destiny.  That's a funny thing to think about.  Especially when you're standing in front of a Higher Being who thinks that they know what should be going on.

"I do know what should be going on," she sneered.

"Um, no, I don't think so.  Not from what I've heard complained about over the years.   Just answer me one question, what was I supposed to be doing in this life?"

She read him.  "Nothing in particular.  You were a place holder, meant to have four children.  Pity you didn't get to before you died."

"Yeah, that would be because I haven't been fertile since I was a teenager," he said dryly.  She gave him a confused look and read him again.  "Also, you might wanna check what I *actually* did.  Not what I was supposed to do."

She did and glared at him.  "You interfered."

"I made sure humanity survived," Xander corrected.  This was sounding familiar, though she didn't look like Buffy.

"They would have pulled together.  Those battles would have had humanity pulling together to fight them off."

"First, no, they wouldn't.  Humanity can't agree on what color the sky is, much less that they have to fight something to save their own asses, because they'd gladly let their enemies die of it first."  He shifted his weight, crossing his arms.  "Especially during the ascension battle, when no one who was there, outside those we mobilized, started to do anything."

She stared.  "That can't be."

"It can be.  Also, sucks to be them, but destiny is crap."  She glared again.  "If I can warp a prophecy, it changes destiny, so therefore it's not absolute."  He leaned on the fake leg he now had.  Ten years of fighting demons and he had died in a car accident.  Wasn't that sweet.

"No one can change true prophecies," she informed him.

"Name one that was in Sunnydale in the last decade," he shot back.

"That the slayer would die at the hands of the Master."

"She did, and then I restarted her breathing."  She gasped.  "Yeah, that created two, but she's still not dead.  She's still bitching at something getting goo all over her clothes somewhere in the world."

"No slayer cares about such things."

"You haven't met Buffy."

"She's not the slayer."

"Yeah, that was her with the Master.  Little blonde yappy thing?  That's Buffy.  Take a look if you don't believe me.  I'm sure you can check on things."  She retuned something to check on the current slayers.  She saw a lot.  He pointed.  "That's Buffy.  Run her background."  She glared but did that.  She moaned and whimpered.  He nodded.  "Yeah.  Not exactly in her destiny I take it?"

"No," she said.

"Can you run what would have happened if I hadn't stepped in?"  She did that and gasped at the death and destruction.  He looked over her arm then at her.  "The ascension, Glory, or the First?  Or the invasion?"

She read it, going limp.  "The ascension was what caused humanity to be lost.  All humanity is lost because they cannot work together."

"Some of us can.  There's still hope that others will learn as the older generations that couldn't die off."  He stepped back to look at her.  "Let me guess, you wove or wrote them centuries ago?"  She nodded.  "Hmm.  Want to take a walk on the human world so you can see what's actually going on?"  She nodded, taking her with him.  He pointed around them.  "This is one of the lower income areas of LA.  Better known as a hellhole.  People here are happy to survive, much less live."  He looked at her.  "Can they see us?  Because around here, we'd be shot at."

She took the meaning from his mind and made it so they weren't noticed.  She walked along, him limping beside her as she read the lives around them.  She was getting more and more depressed.  She pointed at something.  "What's that?"

He moved them out of the way.  "A car.  We've had them for a little over a hundred years now.  Most humans have one, have access to one, or use a bigger form that takes multiple people set places."  He pointed.  "That's a smaller version, it only takes a few people at a time and you pay them for it."

She looked up that information and groaned.  "That is not how it is supposed to happen!  Beyond that, those are disgusting and make my planet look bad."

"It's only been in the last few years that we really started to care about that again," Xander admitted.  He walked her on, taking her to a club he knew would have a source of enlightenment.  He pointed.  "That is LA's slayer team hunting."  He looked at her.

She read them, shaking her head.  "None were meant to be slayers."

"So the books are wrong and the old prophecies and destinies are crap."  She looked at him.  "They have to be."

"You warped things."

"I think they were warped before me, I just happened to be in the right place to lynch-pin things together."  She sighed, taking him back.  She reset the books of destiny she had.  They grew, one shrank, and two got worse and darker.  She could see steam coming from them.  Xander picked up one to look at.  "Hmm, can't be.  We stopped that prophecy for them."  He let her see it.  "I helped.  Be damned if I wanted to see hell again and all the angels were cranky bitches who wanted to end the world.  Not exactly *good*."

She reset that one, then linked it back to reality.  That one stopped steaming.  The other still did it when she linked that in.  The others all looked more cheerful, partially.  She looked at the steaming one, adjusting something.  "Are you willing to prove your point?"

"Yes."  He knew this was a trap.  "In what way?"

"What if we gave someone a chance to change her destiny?"

"Depends on who and when."

"Miss Summers should not be the current slayer."

"She's not, she's a slayer, a senior slayer, the last of the old line, but Faith is the actual current last slayer," he corrected.  "She was the one who had the active calling when they all got called."

She gaped, rereading that section.  "Yes, I can see that."  She reset it again.  It helped with that new knowledge.  She walked into her viewing portal, sinking into it, letting the knowledge fill her.  Then she came back and reset the books.  Still that one problematic one.  "Would they give you up, and your changing ways, for the good of humanity?"

He snorted.  "Yeah, probably.  They keep thinking I'm normal."

"Clearly not.  I thought all humans could reproduce."

"Not, not all can.  Some are infertile and some choose to be infertile, and some, like me, got tainted with demon DNA."  He stared at her.

She gaped.  "That's just wrong."

"Tell that to the former swim coach," he quipped, shrugging some.  "The mermaid taint has come in very handy."  He shifted.  "If I let you ask them, will I still end up with the missing leg?"

"Perhaps.  Do you prefer it?"

"No, actually I loathe the thing," he admitted.  "I like the missing eye better but no."

She stared.  She ran the possibilities past her new knowledge.  What she saw horrified her.   Surely someone would take his place.  Humanity did not rest on a single person's soul.

"Tell that to Sam Winchester," he said dryly when she muttered that.  "All of humanity rested on his."

She considered it then took him back to a very young life.  He was still whole and healthy, able to have children.  If she worked this right, then the bad things would be lessened and humanity would have another chance.  She found the blonde one, who was still not supposed to be the called slayer.  She appeared with Xander beside her.  "Would you give up this helper of yours to save humanity?"

"If I had to.  What's the catch?" she asked, staring at her.  "Xander?"

"Higher Being.   She's a bit behind.  She didn't know about cars."

"Huh.  Okay."  She looked at her.  "Why would humanity hang in the balance if I make him quit following me around?"

Xander stared at her.  He felt that familiar tingle, which meant he still had his 'gift' of sight.  "Oh, go ahead and tell her," he called.  Whistler appeared, giving him a dirty look.  "You can counter offer.  I'm going to stand here and look adorable."  He grinned.

"Are you actually Xander?" Buffy demanded.

He stared at her.  "In ten years I will be."  She shuddered.  "Car accident."  She sighed, shaking her head.  "After having taken down another apocalypse by myself, thank you."  She glared.  "You were getting a manicure."  He smiled.

"Quit pissing her off, Harris," Whistler ordered.  "If you take her up on her offer, it will dramatically change the future for your successors."

"What about mine?" she asked.  "Will it matter?"

He stared at her.  Then Xander coughed.  "You won't feel it, dear."  Buffy gave him a horrified look.  "See, that would change the whole drowning thing."

"Angel...." she said.

"Vampires don't breathe," he mimicked back.  He stared at her.  "Ask Whistler."

"Kid there pulled him out of his apartment at cross-point," he sighed.  Buffy stared then looked at Xander, who shrugged.  "The next one would never be able to survive the ascension.  That's why we moved her out of sequence," he explained to the Higher Being.  "Otherwise we'd have Faith dying during the battle, then another six or seven dying by the time Glory happened."

"Initiative?" Xander asked.

"Still going."


"Wouldn't happen but would at another time.  Then that's the end of humanity.  The people over the invasion would get really pissed when it messed with their plans."

"Hold on, invasion?" Buffy asked.  "Glory, First?"

"Glory was a hell goddess trying to open a portal to pull her world onto ours," Xander said.  "You'll meet her in a few years.  Initiative are military assholes torturing demons.  We stop them but we have to talk to the First Slayer for that."  He stared at her.  "Willow brought you back after Glory when things went bad.  Faith's bad streak has her repenting in jail and becoming a better slayer.  She'll get out for the First Evil battles.  That's going to start by killing the potentials and the Council for good, and then trying us.  We'll be going into hell to fight her.  Which, really not happy making but Sunnydale became no more."  Buffy shuddered, wrapping her arms around herself.

"She had to know," Whistler agreed.  "That way she can make an informed choice."

"So if I say yes, I'd be dead right now," Buffy said.  Whistler nodded when she looked at him.  "And the later slayers...."

"Like tissue.  Two or three a year most years.  One has six or seven."

"Damn it!" she said, stamping her foot.  "I can't do that to them."

"Which means that you are not following prophecy," the Higher Being said.

Buffy pointed at Xander.  "That's his only skill as far as I can tell.  He warps them a lot."

"Actually he's a latent seer, just like Chase is," Whistler said.  "Car accident?"

"Yeah, I was kinda exhausted after that damn portal killing demon."

"Good point.  Where were the girls?"

"Manicures for one's wedding the next day.  I got the answering machine.  Dawn called but she's still weak.  Though, I'd still be limping along if it wasn't for that semi that crossed the center line.  The accident wasn't my fault.  The vision I got a second beforehand...."  He glared.

"Sorry," Whistler said with a shrug.  "You weren't supposed to die then."

"I know."  He smirked.  Then he looked at Buffy.  "If we make it to the point where we've gone past the invasion, you have to immediately find the Winchester brothers and stop theirs.  The side of supposed good is starting an apocalypse using them and one's the Key to stopping it.  They'll use both to break Seals."  She nodded slowly.  "Also, the vision I had right before the crash?  Heldara is going to have a battle and if so, it's going to spill over and we're all going to be fighting both sides as they spill out of the new hellmouth.  I suggest artillery to just blow the fuck out of them for not keeping it on their own plane."

"Okay," she said weakly.  She looked at Whistler.  "What are my choices?  You give me bad ones but honest suckiness."

He shrugged.  "You can accept the change to destiny, at which time you'll lose him.  Maybe not then, but in the future.  Before he loses the eye."

"I'd still probably be in that battle," Xander pointed out.

"True, you would.  You're like that."  He stared up then at Xander.  He was here for him, not Buffy this time.  "There's a third choice.  They can remove you after that battle.  Send you somewhere."

"I'd still be a seer."

"You'd have a better destiny and go back a few years."  Whistler stared at him.  "The girls can handle the invasion and other things."

"They don't have a seer."

"We can knock one down.  If you take that, it'll be better.  You'll actually possibly have that family."

"With my DNA warping?" he asked dryly.

"Forgot about that.  Yeah, you'd have all that."  He stared at him.  "You'd get to go back to high school."


"Not here."  Xander stared at him.  "That reality doesn't have a Sunnydale."

"That's going to suck if I appear somewhere else.  We all know the strange will follow me."

"There's demons.  There's even the Winchesters.  There's others there that could use you though."  He stared at him.  "It's the better choice and it will let the Powers balance this one after the invasion."

"But they'll be needed in three years for the other one," Xander said smugly.  Whistler gave him a horrified look and checked.  The Higher Being was as well.

"Do I want to know?" Buffy asked.

"Invasion time six.  With tiny cannibal imps."  He grinned.  "Through New York."

"Shit!" Whistler shouted.  "No!  You can't do that without all the slayers unless you're going with the angel's plans."  He got brought back and came back a minute later.  "I can tell her how to stop that one," he said, looking pissed off.  "And another ten."  Xander grinned.  "Any last requests?  You're going to overbalance things and they're sure now that the final apocalypse ten years past your death will have you being the new First."

"Huh.  That's sucky.  I want everything that was mine before I died.  All the weapons and everything I had with me before the accident.  All the skills, all the taints, all of it.  And somehow all my bank accounts.  That way I'm not starting over without anything."

"Fine, and two others.  The latent skills the hellmouth gave you?  It won't be there to block you."

"Yeah, I saw the prophecy about why I was supposed to be a blood sacrifice," Xander said dryly.  "I want someone there who knows and who can watch my back."

"Your new pack will."

"Shape changers?"

"That wasn't one of your skills."

"You said pack."

"You'll gather them but they'll all know.  Some may even search you out."  He waved a hand.  "Done."  They sent him off.  Reality was changed for Buffy after Sunnydale fell in.


Xander landed, looking around the forest area he was in.  He checked, no fake leg.  No eyepatch or fake eye, he had peripheral vision out of that eye again.  He stared around then nodded.  "It's pretty.  Too bad the old Mayor ruined it," he said quietly.  He got into his car and headed off.  He had cash in the glove box.  It changed to local money, with the old date.  He checked in the mirror, he was sixteen or so again.  That helped a lot.  That meant Sam was too, and Dean was barely able to hunt on his own.  It meant John was still alive and he'd have to get around him.  The fucker would kill him for telling his sons a prophecy.  Now, he had to find them.  Which might be tricky.

Things had to be different this time around.

No one deserved the sort of fate that awaited the Winchester clan.


Xander, finally, two months later, found Dean.  Alone.  On a hunt in Alabama.  He cleared his throat.  "You'll want wood for it, Dean."

"Do I know you?" he asked casually, hand going to his knife.

"Not yet."  He moved closer.  "I'm Xander.  I'm technically not from around here, but I met you in my original home plane."

"Home...plane," he said.  "Do you need help getting back?"

"No, right now I have to tell you how things went down there.  Before you spend a year in hell."  He stared at him.  "To get Sammy back from the dead."

"No way," he said, shaking his head.  "The dead should stay dead."

"Yup, they should.  But the demon that killed your mom?  He's after Sammy in a few years.  That's the start of the plans."

Dean shuddered.  "I need to hear this?"

"Yes.  Because even the higher ups want an apocalypse and they're using you two.  The angel guy was pretty nice, but a bit creepy.  Very Spock-ian."

"Angel?" he asked more weakly.

"Yeah."  He saw John stomping their way.  "Don't even," he ordered.  "Or I won't tell you the name of that damn demon."  John paused, staring at him.  "I met your sons on my original plane, in a few years their time if it's running the same.  I helped them finish off the plans he's starting."

"You know?" John asked too calmly.

"His name's Azazel.  His goal is to open a nifty hellgate and have Sammy lead his army."  John stared a cold, hard stare.  Xander shrugged.  "I'm also a seer," he sighed, looking at Dean.  He hopped up to sit on his hood.  "In my original plane, I backed up what's known as a slayer."

"The line here died over ten centuries ago," John told him.

"There, all of them had been activated when I died.  Then I got to argue that destiny was crap.  She didn't even know about cars."  John snorted, shaking his head.  "So we had a talk about rewriting prophecies and talked to the slayer, who needed to make a decision.  Our Powers That Be stepped in to help her, 'cause that's their job.  Whistler, their mouthpiece of fucked upness, sent me back here.  Back in age and off my original plane."  He looked at Dean.  Then at John.  "If you kick Sammy out, you'll lose him.  The demon will pull him back."

"What's his hold on him?" John asked.

"Four little drops of blood.  Because way back when, Mary made a deal to save your life, John Winchester."  He stared then got up and got something out of the trunk, tossing it at him.  "Dean's from my timeline.  He left it in the glove box the last time I had to give him a ride because the Impala broke something and his leg."  He sat on the hood again.  Xander shot the demon and put his gun back.  "Takes wood," he told Dean with a slight smile.

Dean took it to look through.  What he saw did not amuse him.  "I did that last month," he said, getting his hunting journal to look through.

"Right before Sammy's set to graduate college, John disappears," Xander said.  "You can't find him, know something's wrong, and something prompts you to talk to your brother about coming back to help find him, for a single case," he told Dean, staring at him.  "John's off tracking Azazel; doesn't stay in contact so it won't endanger you two."

"I'd do that," John agreed.  He had a few times.

"You're also an ass for it," Xander assured him.  "He's been tracking Sam.  That's why he replays the ceiling scene with Sam's future wife and fetus."  John gaped, dropping his gun.  Xander nodded.

"Jesus," Dean muttered.  He found that area, moving on.  "Oh, my god.  I did..."  He read faster, going through the normal cases.  "There's others?"

"Yeah.  He has to have a backup plan.  This isn't his first attempt."

"Where is he now?" John asked.

"Probably with one of them.  I only met Dean after you died to bring him out of a coma, by making a deal, which fucked with your sons badly, and after Dean made a deal to save Sammy."

"Usually he'd bitch about that name," Dean quipped.

"He does but he's dating someone who's like a sister to me.  The slayer Faith."

Dean kept moving forward, finding the demon's information.  He showed his father, who went cold and stony again.  They moved forward, finding where Sammy died.  "Cold Oak," he muttered.  "Graveyard."  He moved on and winced at the stupid thing he did.  Then the next entry that was almost a year later.  "That year, Xander?"

"You told me once you burned everything you had that year so you didn't have to remember.  It's not pretty and it gets less pretty."  Dean nodded, going back to reading.  John's knuckles and fingers were white he was gripping the book so tightly.  "Relax, John.  That's why I'm here now."  John stared at him.  "Be damned if I want to see that, especially without the slayers here to back me up.  I'm just glad Dawn could defeat that, though it's taken her years to get back up to the point of peppy."

Dean kept going and getting paler and paler.  He finally handed it to his father.  "Okay, what price does this information come at?"

Xander shrugged.  "I'm not a demon, Dean.  Though, if you can still sense them like you used to be able to, that's because of a DNA taint.  We had a swim coach that wanted to win *really* bad."

"Mermaid DNA?" John guessed.  Xander nodded.  "Detoxed?"

"Mostly.  Some remnants.  Dean quipped that it let him find me no matter where I was getting into trouble."

Dean nodded.  "Yeah, I can kinda feel it."

"That is because there are lines of hunters who are gifted like slayers were," he said, falling into the vision.  "As Athena demanded once upon a time, not only females shall battle the dark.  She added in the line of her favorite hunter.  One who could stand strong and support those others who fought.  The Council did not like it but they were mortal and unworthy to argue with her.  The same gifts, though the healing is diluted.  The same skills, though the early warning system is diluted.  The same desires, though the drives are easier to bear in the males."  He shook his head.  "Sorry, hate those."

"Athena's Hunters I've heard of," John admitted.

"Dean's basically like a low powered male slayer.  That's why he's the better hunter.  He gets it from you, which is why the demon wanted your family line.  Mary's family hunted but yours was the real threat and why he let her make that deal.  A son of the line would make a fine general to his army.  Even the nicer one."

John nodded once.  "I understand."

"Also, don't bitch at Sammy about wanting a life."  He stared at him.  "You lost him for years.  You regretted it every day.  Don't do it this time."

"I won't," he sighed.  "What did he do?"

"He went to college.  Had a 4.0 until Jess died.  Nearly finished pre-law at Stanford."

John gaped.  "My boy?"

"Yeah, your boy."

"Damn," Dean said.  "I knew he was a nerd."

"Am not!" Sam called as he walked over.  "Another hunter?"

"And a few other things," Xander admitted with a grin.  "Displaced to change destiny in my former world.  They'll be dead in ten years if they don't fix things."  He looked at the trio.  "The Colt...."

"I'm having it moved to a safer location," John assured him. "We'll fix that problem tonight."

"Those others need help.  Sam's the most usual and normal of all of them," he warned John.

"I will, Xander.  Any other things you need to tell us?"

"Yeah, don't get dead."  He sighed.  "It sucks and you have to talk to Higher Beings who think that we still ride horses."  Dean snickered, shaking his head.  He got up and got something, tossing the spear at Sam.  "You always coveted it but it was never the right time for it to pass on.  I got it in Africa.  It's meant to kill demons in a shaman's hands."  John gasped, looking at his nerdy son.

"A shaman is one who knows the spirits and the material world.  Who can tell you what is going on, and fix it both.  Who can protect his tribe and himself, but is not a warrior per se," Xander said.  "So one told me."  It glowed in Sam's hand when he nodded.  "Looks like maybe you should study some more, Sam."  Sam gave him an odd look.  Xander grinned.  "I'm not quite the seer I was there.  No missing eye.  Made apocalypse battles a bitch though so I'm glad it's back."

Sam swallowed.  "I know you."

"You probably got a vision of me," he said.  "Probably one of the dream ones at this time in your life."  Sam nodded slowly.  "They'll come out in your twenties when he prompts it.  Don't let them hurt you like they killed others, Sam.  And don't drink any demon blood.  Please?"

"I don't have plans of it," he admitted.  He grinned.  "You're kind of weird."

Xander nodded.  "Kinda even among my own group, yeah."  He saw a car pulling their way.  It had the brighter headlights in.  "Cop car I think."  He closed his trunk and Sam put the spear behind Dean against his car hood.  Xander hopped back up to sit on his.  "I'm going to see if Faith's the same woman for you, Sam.  You two clicked pretty well."  Sam grinned.  "So, Stanford?"

"How did you know?" he asked.  Xander gave him a look.  "You saw it?"

"Not quite.  Knew you in a few years in my world."  He looked back as the officer got out and stomped over.  "Yes, Officer?"

"We had reports of gunshots," he said.  Xander pointed at the demon.  He turned his flashlight on it, grimacing.  "I'd have shot that too."  Xander grinned.  "Yours?"  He nodded.  "You got your hunting license?"

"Not on me.  I don't have any of my licences on me, Officer.  Sorry.  I left it back in the hotel room."

"Fine.  Where you from, boy?"

"California."  He smiled.  "Small town.  Hunted some and had some rabid strays now and then too.  It tried to bite me."

"I guess that's fine.  You leaving soon?"

"Yup.  Thanks for the warning."  He grinned a goofy, nice boy grin.  The officer huffed but went back to his car with the carcass.  Xander waited until he was gone then looked at John.  "I need to set up a new place anyway and finish stuff.  Since they so nicely sent me back and my graduation won't have a demonic ascension this time."

"It had a what?" Dean asked.

"Minor demon or former human who makes deals to become one of the pure Old Ones," Sam said, staring at him.  "I didn't get that from a vision."

"No, Whistler said some people here would know so I could have a smoother entry."  He shrugged.  "We were drinking buddies before."  Sam grinned.  He looked at John.  "Wherever I settle, your boys are always welcome."

"Thank you.  Are you planning on going back there?"

"Sunnydale doesn't exist here.  Do hellmouths?"

"Hell gates but not multi-plane hellmouths," Sam said.  "Damn it!"  He rubbed his head.  Then he looked at him.  "No, Faith's not the same here.  Unfortunately she didn't get saved."  Xander sighed but nodded.  "She did get taken in and helped but she's not the Faith that we knew."  John and Dean both looked at him.  "It's called an imprint.  I basically touched minds with the me there.  His doing totally."  He stared at Xander.  "That last battle and you dying from a charmed semi was so fucked up, dude."

"I know.  So was the vision I had right before it of Heldara's fight spilling over.  I suggested we just hit all of them."

"Probably, yeah.  I'd want the military for that.  Then again, the one you handled, I'd have wanted them for that too."  Xander smirked.  "If they had heard, you'd be in deep shit."

"Buffy heard when they brought me back some to ask her to give me up.  Then she found out it would've made her dead."

"No, she probably wouldn't like that."  He stared at him.  "Yes, your pack will be secure.  You'll have pack members in a lot of places."  He smiled.  "But I like being your pack anyway, Xander."  He got a grin back for it.  Sam slid off the Impala's hood and looked at his father and Dean then back at Xander.  "Let's work on setting you up somewhere.  They wanted you to not hunt by the way.  My last vision there was what got the pack to do the imprint."

"Yay me," Xander said with a small shrug.  "I don't care what the Powers want."

"Good point."  He looked at John.  "I'll switch schools."  He walked off with his spear and Xander.  "Meet you guys back at the motel."

"Sure," Dean agreed.  He watched them drive off then looked at his father.  "Are we normal?"

"No, probably not," John sighed.  "Imprinting probably isn't a healthy thing."

"Sammy's always been weird," Dean said dryly.  "Now he's just a bit more weird.  Though, that seer thing?  Yeah, bad headaches.  My journal said that he talked to one who died of hers."

"I'll have to see if we can detox that from him," John decided.  "And see if we can make that kid more normal."

"He's jumpy and wanting to make friends, Dad.  Like the new kid in school.  Sammy does the same damn thing each time we switch."  John sighed but nodded.  "It's scary but they'll handle it I guess."  He walked around.  "I'm driving."

"Fat chance, Dean.  Move."  Dean sighed but scooted over.  He'd get his own keys someday.  John got in to drive back to the motel.  Sam and Xander were talking about things, but Sam had a tape recorder going so they knew later on.  In case something got forgotten.


Sam looked at Xander the next day.  John was in the room with them.  Sam had fallen asleep while talking to Xander.  Xander had curled up next to him, giving him a warm pillow, but nothing else had happened, which was weird.  Dean didn't let him cuddle when they had to share a bed.  John sure as hell didn't and after the first time had made him sleep on the floor instead.

Xander had been all pliable and 'of course I'll share my sleeping space', which was really strange for a hunter.  Xander was in the shower right now so Sam was thinking over things.  He was going over the notes he had made as well.  There were a lot of things he had to know.  A lot of people that Xander had helped before that might be part of the new pack.

"How does this imprint work?" John asked.

"We basically touched minds psychically and I got a memory download so I wouldn't freak about Xander.   Seems Xander and I had a few really badass hunts at times and a few more fun ones too."  He smiled at his father.  "It worked well for us."

"How old is he?"

"Sixteen now."

"He should be in school.  He'll get in trouble."

"He will be when he settles down.  His glovebox has emancipation paperwork.  Plus two handguns and a huge knife," Sam added as an afterthought, going back to his notes.  He sighed.  "I...  I still want to meet Jess."

Xander leaned out of the bathroom.  "It'll hurt."

"I know.  But this time she won't be dying."  Xander stared at him.  "You saw something?"  He nodded.  "What?"

"It was...  A bit coincidental, Sam.  She was in how many of your classes when she's another major?"

"Huh, I didn't think about that.  The demon?"

"Minion.  She never knew."

"Anything forced?"

"No.  Not that I'm aware of."

"Then maybe I'd still like to meet her, maybe take her out on a date, see if we can still click without the lower realms hook up."  He smiled.  "I'll be okay."

"Okay."  He pulled back in.  "Let me get dressed."

John stared.  "What are those marks?"

Xander opened the door once he had his boxers on.  "Which ones?  Mostly they're scars."

"Not those, the tattoos."  He motioned him closer to look at them.  "Anti-magic?"

"Anti-black magic.  Got hit with some."  Sam snorted, shaking his head.  "Yeah, I did tell you about that while I was drunk."

"Yup."  Sam grinned.  "Two are anti teleporting without his consent.  One's to protect him from holy warriors on high, since they really fucking hated him after we stopped that apocalypse."

"Hell, I warned Loki he was going to get high from me," Xander said dryly.  "They're still blaming me for Dawn redecorating.  Fucking pansies.  I've seen tougher girls in the mall."  He looked at John and turned around to show him the ones on his back.  "Got them done in Africa when I searching lost and missing slayers.  Done by shaman I trained under."

John almost touched one.  "Protection, what's that one against?"

"More spirit animals trying to adopt me.  I'm kinda a medium but things stick.  A lot."  He turned back around.  "The first one being a hyena matriarch helped a lot."

John nodded slowly.  "That doesn't really surprise me for some reason."  He stared at him. "You need to finish high school."

"I'll have to take tests since I've been home schooling," he said dryly.  "Once I get set up, I will."

"Fine.  Do we have plans for that?"

"Yes.  Colorado Springs.  I got a head's up in the shower from Whistler that another pack member is there.  He'll need some help soon."  He looked at Sam.  Who smirked.  "You're welcome to help me pick it out."

"Of course I am.  You're a crap decorator, Xander."  He smirked and got online to look things up.  John was shaking his head.  Dean came in with bags.  "Thanks, Dean."

"Welcome.  Xander, I stole your five bucks from the glove box."  He stared at him.  "How in the hell?"

"I don't trust banks since Wolfram and Hart cause me problems to this day."

"Do we know them?" John asked.

"Law firm of ultimate evil?  I'm not sure if they have offices locally or not," Xander said, taking his coffee.  "Thanks, Dean."  He sipped.  "Sugar, nice, thank you."  He went to put on pants and a t-shirt, then socks and sneakers.  He came back out to sit on the bed.  "I'm not sure if they do have a local office."

Sam looked them up online, nodding.  "Yup, six of them around the world."  He looked at Xander, who shrugged.  "Bad?"

"Incredibly so.  I wonder if that means they can still pull that invasion like last time."  He considered it, thinking really hard at Whistler.  Who nicely sent back a brain ripping vision.  Dean saved the coffee from spilling on the laptop they had while Sam moved to hold him and try to keep him calm.  Xander blinked, moaning some.  "Damn, I hate those."

"I'm sure I will some day too," Sam soothed, stroking over his forehead.  "Invasion?"  Xander moaned and nodded, making himself sit up.  He took the coffee back to gulp so he wouldn't throw up.  "Bad?"

"Horribly so."  He pointed at the doorway.  Dean went to charm whoever and make them disappear again.  Turned out to be the same officer, who wanted to make sure Xander was leaving soon.  Xander said he was and that they were heading west so he could hit home for a while.  The officer left and Xander slumped, rubbing his forehead.  "I hate those."

"What invasion?" John asked firmly but trying to be polite.  He knew better than to piss off a seer.  They didn't have to give any information, or even right information, when they saw things.

Xander looked at him.  Then he snorted.  "We have to stop it.  We don't have an army to stop the newly opened realm of biting things that will kill us all so they can take over."

John gaped.  "Excuse me?"  Xander nodded.  "Who?"

"Black Thorn."  He got up and wobbled out to his car, coming back with his own journal and something else.  He took half the packet with some water from the bathroom sink.  "Sucks and tastes nasty but it works okay."  He sat down, flipping until he found it.  "I was in Africa at the time.  They didn't call me back."  He let John see the information he had found.  "I noted it after the fact because I ended up hunting two of them down when they ran to hide from everyone else."

John read the scanty information then shuddered.  "How many?"

"Took five, six hours to fully close the portal and clear them all."

"Damn," Dean said, taking it to read over.  Sam was whimpering so Xander turned to hold him.  "Xander?"

"He's having his first one," he said quietly, stroking Sam's back.  "Don't fight it, Sam.  It lasts longer and it's cloudy when you fight them," he soothed.  Sam panted, looking sick.  "Get something to drink.  That'll help."  Sam shook his head, running to get sick.  Xander took Sam's coffee and dumped the rest of the packet into it.  "Headache powder that actually works."  Dean took it in to him.  He looked at John.  "I'll find a local supplier for it."

"Thank you.  What is it?"

"No damn clue.  I know it's not narcotic, because it doesn't work on the migraine you get afterward.  I know it's not addicting.  I know it kills the headache and that's all that usually matters to me."  John nodded.  "I'll let you know what's in it when I get the next batch from someone."  He laid down, curling up around the pillow.  "Let me know if something happens."

"I will.  Try to sleep it off."  Sam came out finishing off his coffee and laid down with Xander, who put an arm over his chest and nuzzled Sam's neck, making him calm down so he could rest.  John watched for an hour, looking up information on that cult.  There wasn't much but they had to stop it.  Hard.  Before everyone died.

He finally gave up and looked at Dean.  "You can drive his car," he said quietly.  "We'll meet in Colorado Springs."  Dean nodded at that.  "Four days."  Dean nodded again so John left to pack and go.  Dean got his own things and moved into Xander's room.  They could leave in the morning.  He had paid for another day.


Dean decided he was driving and that was the end of it.  He didn't want Xander to have another vision and then an accident.  Or Sam, who barely had his license.  So Dean got to drive.  Xander complained but oh well.  He was still exhausted from the whole dying/fighting with a Higher Being/coming back to life thing.

At least he had decent music.  There was a whole CD page in the holder that held 'Dean music'.  Another page of 'Sammy music' made Sammy grin.  There were a few CD's titled 'girl and slayer music' but they left those alone.  It was bad for guys to listen to girl music.  That was nice of him.  And hey, some Metallica he hadn't heard yet.  Some more mellow, some not so much.

It wasn't a long drive to Colorado.  Whenever they had to stop and got asked they were 'roadtripping buddies' and that was good enough.  Xander was asleep before they hit the state line.  He snored off-key but they could ignore that.  They just turned up the music.  Sam was reading a book he had pulled out of the trunk that morning.  Something old and moldy looking.  Finally, Dean had to ask.  "Research?"

"Um, no," he admitted, marking his spot with a finger.  He smiled.  "Something Xander found in a demon marketplace.  It's a really ancient romance, a human one, and a different look at society values of the time period."  He went back to it.

"You're reading a historical romance for *fun*?" Dean asked.

"I'll need the history perspective for a paper probably," Sam said absently.  "And it's a really good story.  The me there really liked it a lot and said I should try it.  Something in the ink kept visions at bay for days when he read it."  He shifted.  "Also, Castiel agreed that was a correct view of history even though it's not popular."


"The angel guy."  Sam looked at him.  "He looks a lot like an accountant."

"Clever disguise?"

"Has to possess a body too."

"Just like the higher demons?"

"They were angels originally if you believe that book."

"Good point I guess."  He shrugged.  "Okay then.  Point him out if you see him."

"I will."  Sam got back to reading.  It actually wasn't a bad story for being a romance.

Dean rolled his eyes.  His little brother was the biggest nerd on the planet.

Sam grinned.  "I'm not that big of a nerd.  Wait until you meet the next pack member's coworkers.  They're professional nerds."


"Some.  Language guys, physicists...."

"My brain's already hurting," Dean complained.

"Yeah, I know that feeling," Sam sighed.  "Rodney did it to me often enough."  He shook his head, going back to the story.  It was nice that the special ink would hold off visions for a few hours.  They hurt and he wasn't in any hurry to have another one.  Ever again if possible.  He felt a cold hand come up and tease his neck, smiling.  "Sleep, Xander.  I doubt Dean will let either of us drive anytime soon."  The hand went back down and the snoring came back.

Dean snickered.  "You like being his pack mate?"

"A whole lot.  So did you there."  He grinned.  "He even picks up worse women than you do."

"That's bad," Dean decided.  "We should break that."

"Maybe.  His last girlfriend before he died was another vengeance demon."  Dean shuddered, making the car swerve a bit.  "My turn to drive?" Sam quipped.

"Hell no.  Don't say such things, Sammy.  Especially not around Dad.  He'll die of the heart attack."  Sam nodded and got back to the story.  Dean was mentally ranting.  That was just *wrong*!  Especially for a hunter!


Sam looked at the options for an apartment.  There was a quirky choice a bit from the bases.   Maybe ten minutes drive.  He steered Xander toward that one.  All the other apartments had 3 bedrooms and this one had 3 and an office so a fourth one.  It was in a gated community sort of place.  John and Xander toured it - no one was going to rent to a teenager even if he did have the cash up front - and it was a nice enough layout.

Small kitchen with counter/eating bar.  Small dining room area.  The living room had a ten by ten patio off it with sliding glass doors.   The bedrooms were big enough for beds, dressers, and the usual things.  The master bathroom was really nice.  Had a nice sized closet.  The others had reasonable space.  It had washer/dryer hookups.  All in all, expensive but not bad.

John signed for it and Xander paid up front for six months then they got their keys, the parking spots, and John lied when they asked, saying Xander was going to the local schools, and was going to have lot of visiting relatives to check on him.  Xander called around to the storage places he'd usually use, finding his old apartment's worth of stuff nearby suddenly.  A rental truck was easy enough to move them.

There wasn't much in there.  Two real beds with only the metal frames.  A couch, a giant tv, a lot of pillows.  A box with dishes.  A bag with pots and pans.  Six shrunken boxes that would turn into a weapons cabinet system that could be put into the master suite's bigger closet to hide them.  There was another smaller one so they could use that for Xander's clothes.

Xander looked around.  "That works," he decided.

"Why so many pillows?" John asked.

"Because now and then I snuggled with the pack during movies, and other times the girls would come over to use my tv," Xander said with a grin.  A large envelope twinkled on the kitchen counter.  Xander looked it over.  "Aw, Dawn, you should be resting," he muttered.  "Not sending my ass things."  He looked it over.  All his accounts.  "Huh, she transferred everything to the demon bank, Sam.  So I have to move some back to normal accounts since I can't directly draw from them without penalties."

"They have *banks*?" John asked.

"Banks and law firms, and all sorts of service industries."  Xander grinned.  "I can even arrange for them to move it to a human bank, for about one percent of my total net worth."

"Who left it to you?" John asked.

"My former fiancee, Anya."  He gave him a sad smile.  "She died during the last battle in Sunnydale."  John nodded, patting him awkwardly on the shoulder.

"Anyanka was a mean little snot from what we got told," Sam agreed from the couch.

She appeared.  "Of course I am."  She stared at Xander, who stared back.  "Why did the me there give you my things?"

"Read my memories, Ahn."  She scowled but did that and gasped, giving him a horrified look.  "I never could decide if they showed us the worst possible outcome or not."

"Possibly.  They missed me."  She stared, head tipped slightly to the right.  "I can see why I'd like you but... no.  Not in this life."

He kissed her on the cheek.  "I know."  He smiled.  He whispered something in her ear.  "She never got to use that."  She shivered and nodded, disappearing.  "Thank you."

"You can have *her* things," she said.  "I'll make sure they weren't mixed up."

"I'm not paying for your shopping if we're not dating, woman," he said dryly.

"It was mine."

"Yeah, uh-huh."  He concentrated and zapped her, making her squeak and give up.

"Fine.  It's all yours.  Thank you for letting me know."

"Welcome.  Say hi to Hallie for me.  I missed having her come around for tea."  Anya whimpered and went to hug her best friend.  Xander looked at John, who was shaking his head.  "As long as she didn't try to take it, we're all good."

Anya reappeared.  "I can, can't I," she said smugly.

He pulled her closer.  "Then I'll sell your jeweled dildo collection."  He smirked.  "That was bought when you were human not using my money."  She gaped and whimpered.  "I'd rather have the money than the toys."

"I..."  She swallowed.  "Pretty?"

"In the car.  I kept your keepsake box in the car since I traveled so much."  He took her to get it and came back after talking to a new neighbor.  He closed the door and let her see.  She moaned, touching one.  "Leave me the rest of her things?"

She took the three of them, checking them over.  "I had very good taste there."  She looked at him.  "This is all you kept of me?"

"Read farther, dear.  After the aborted wedding."  She did and shuddered.  "It's what you packed."

She whimpered.  "You went back."

"Twice."  He grinned.  "That's all in storage probably.  They might not know I had that."

She slumped, nodding.  "Fine, you can have all the money.  I'll put it back."  She went to do that.  The toys were worth more anyway.  Plus she now had a few new ideas.  Really wicked ones.  She put things back and felt the conscience she didn't really have twinge.  She even put back the interest.  He was making her feel things so she vowed never to look at him again.  Then she got back to work.

Xander called the bank, speaking in the teller's language when he got transferred to an account representative.  He got everything arranged.  They had to check twice to make sure she had put it all back.  They said they'd send over the human documents in a few hours and hung up on him.  He smiled and hung up, getting comfy on the pillows.  The two tougher Winchesters were staring at him still.  He looked back.  "What?"

"You're insane," Dean said.

"She was pretty decent to me.  Never tried to kill me, unlike my others."  He shrugged.  Sam was giggling.  "What's left on my list, Sam?"  An envelope dropped into his lap.  "Thank you."  He looked it over.  She had put it all back.  "Huh, didn't realize I had that much cash in the car.  I'll have to figure out where I put that."

"Under the tire," Sam reminded him, looking over his shoulder.  "That's your bribery stash.  That's not bad."  Xander changed pages.  That was better.  That was a trust fund and a regular account.  The trust fund paid into the regular account every month.  "Do we pay utilities?"  John shook his head.  "Cable?"

"Not sure," John asked.  Dean hooked the tv to the cable outlet.  No cable.  Sam called them to have that turned on.  Plus the internet so he could browse.  He looked at the kid.  "Let's unload the car."

"It should probably be done at night," Xander admitted.  "Or we should mystically find boxes to use."

"We have two," John said, helping him take them down to the car.  Xander focused on the backseat, which got a few weapons and a few t-shirts, plus a pile of books.  They came back to clean out the glove box except the big knife and one smaller gun.  Xander seemed to enjoy hand cannons for some reason.  "Isn't it hard to find bullets for those?"

"No, they're a standard size.  Only about two bucks more a box."  He grinned.  "It's real handy.  Speaking of, I have to transfer my licenses."  He carried up the next box.

John shook his head.  "He's insane, I swear he is."  For such a nondescript sedan, it sure had a lot of stuff that seemed to magically appear when they cleared off the stuff on top.  Xander came back down.  "How is it doing that?"

"Shrinking probably?"  He grinned.  "Dawn."

John shook his head.  He got both boxes of extra stuff while Xander got an armful of books.  They kept going for another few hours and managed to barely clear the stuff in the front seat.  Underneath the seat was a whole 'nother pile.  Then the backseat's and underneath it, then the trunk.  This was going to take days.  "Why don't I get groceries," he decided.  He was tired of books.  Mystical and otherwise.

"Okay," Xander agreed.  He got into the trunk, moving things to get to his spare tire and the flap underneath it.

John looked then groaned, taking the shotguns to hide and carry up there before one fell out.  "He has no sense," he told Dean.  "Help him clean his trunk."

"Are there more books?" Dean asked.

"I didn't see any little books."  Dean grinned, going down to help Xander gather up things.  Xander handed John some money and Dean got a duffle bag from the trunk to stuff weapons into.  John noticed someone watching and walked over to talk to them.  "My son's smartass college boyfriend," he said dryly.  "They're just off a roadtrip."

"That's sweet though."  She smiled.  "Is he a good boy?"

"He's a very good boy.  I've never heard anything about partying or stuff like that, ma'am.  I'm going to get them real food."

"I know, college boys never eat properly.  Mine didn't when he was one."  She patted him on the arm.  "Will he have oversight?"

"Quite a lot.  Including my sons, who have sense."  She smiled and walked off.  John walked to his truck.  The apartment manger met him beside it.  "Problems, ma'am?"

"Was that a shotgun?"

"He was on a road trip and he hunts," John said with a small shrug.  "He's already figuring out where to get his licenses switched."

"That's good then.  Just the one?"

"One huge knife in his glove box and a smaller revolver," he offered.  "For protection on his former trip."

"I suppose I can understand that.  He doesn't like the party life, right?"

"No.  He doesn't party at all.  He has friends but they don't cause problems.  Like I said, we'll be checking often."  She smiled and let him go.  He got in and looked back.  Dean and Sam were both carrying the duffle bag up the stairs and Xander had shut the trunk lid when he had spotted her, gushing over the sword he had found at a flea market.

John heard 'won't it look so pretty by the patio doors, glinting like a mirror only more manly' before he started his truck and backed out shaking his head.  The shopping only took an hour.  The place was crowded with yuppies and military wives this time of the month.  He brought the bags back, including the text requested soda and twinkies, handing them to Sam since he was outside.  Sam grinned, handing them to Xander, who made him carry the books instead.  Knowing Sam, he liked them better anyway.

John walked in and found Dean looking antsy.  "Problems?"

"Those cabinets should probably shrink again," he said.

"I had another one but it broke," Xander complained.  "I stepped on it by accident.  That's why they were all over the car."

Dean gave him a strange look.  "Seriously?  With what's in those other boxes?"

Xander shrugged.  "What?"

"Are you expecting an apocalypse?" Dean asked.

"Yes, every spring," he quipped back then went to answer the door.  "Hi," he said, smiling at the older lady.  "I'm Xander, this is my new place."  He checked, the weapons were hidden so he let her in.  "Are you my new neighbor?  Because just tell me if my movies get a bit loud.  I don't party or anything, ma'am, so don't you worry about that," he said, babbling a bit with a grin.

"That's good to know, dear.  Did I see a shotgun?"

"Yes, ma'am, I hunt.  I also had a huge knife for my roadtrip for protection."  He grinned.

She chuckled.  "That's nice.  My son's an officer."

"I'm going to get my license switched later, ma'am.  I promise.  Tomorrow at the latest."

"Good boy.  No drinking, no drugs?"

"No, ma'am, and I beat the shit out of the last dealer I met," he said dryly.  She smiled and patted his cheek.  Then she left.  He looked at John, who was staring.  "I did."

"So do I," he admitted.  "And molesters."

"Amen," Dean and Xander agreed then grinned at each other.

"Those cabinets still need to be hidden."

John went to look, making choking/strangling noises when he opened the first one.  "Xander?" he asked calmly.

Xander leaned into the bathroom area so he could lean into the closet door.  "Yes?"

"How in the hell?"

"You try fighting a hell god without them.  People die."

John stared at him.  "These should remain hidden."  He shut it and glanced in the other ones.  "They have room for the other things."

"I'm working on the sorting."

"I'll do it," Dean muttered, carrying the rest in.  "Do we have any clothes in the car, Xander?"

"Um....  No clue," he admitted, going to look.  Sam took him with him to get some new clothes.  They liked to hang out together.  It was a pack member thing.

John helped.  "He needs shelves too," he said.  "We can probably use those free form shelves."

"He used to work construction," Dean said.

"Good.  That's a handy thing to have."  They went to sort the books into normal and occult.  There wasn't really any in between ones.  It was all sci-fi/fantasy and occult books.  "He needs more fun things to do."

Dean shrugged.  "He's going to date evil chicks," he offered.

"No, I meant fun things, not drawing something that wants to kill you."

"They usually want to sleep with him first these days according to Sammy."  John stared at him.  "That's what he said," he defended.

"The boy need hobbies."  He got back to what they were sorting and it was better.  He drew up a list of what they'd need for some homemade shelving units.  They could ring the room.  The boys came back laughing and carrying bags.  "At least those'll fit with those cabinets shrunken again."

"Yup, sure will," Sam said happily.  "We found our first evil girl in town.  She was blonde and scowling badly at us for being guys."

Xander nodded.  "I kinda recognized her by description.  So she's a brainy slightly evil thing."  They went to hang up the clothes and shrink those cabinets.  Then they went back to carrying the stuff from the backseat.  That got cleared in about ten loads so they tipped the front seats back and raked everything into a box, which got carried up.  That helped and they were tired so they stopped for the night.  John took the couch, Dean took the spare bed, and Sam decided to curl up with Xander again after dinner.  It was better.


Sam walked up to the registration desk, smiling at the guard.  "Hi, I wanted to know if I could see someone for a minute please?" he asked, concentrating on looking harmless.  These guys looked twitchy.  They had been in town for a week and heard John was back down here.

"I can send a message that they have a visitor, sir.  Who are you here to see?"

"John Sheppard."  The guy called down and told he was on base so they could send him up.  Sam grinned and waited a few feet away.  A young thirties looking guy with messy hair walked out, staring at him.  He paused, looking confused for a minute then his face lit up.  "Hi, John."

"Sam!"  He shook his hand.  "What are you doing here?  And how did I suddenly remember you?" he asked more quietly.

Sam grinned.  "Longer story.  Xander just moved here.  He's inviting pack members over to see the new place, scent mark a corner, have dinner.  Bring a movie if you want."

"I might be able to make dinner but I try really hard not to pee in corners anymore," John said with a grin.

"Cool."  He wrote the address on his hand.  "We're about ten minutes away.  After hours there's an intercom system.  He's in 12b."  He winked.  "We're planning spaghetti and jarred sauce since only Dad could cook and he left with Dean for a hunt."

"That's cool.  I can be there later."  He grinned.  "You'll explain the memory thing?" he asked quietly.

"Super long story but yeah.  Remember how you met Xander?"  John nodded slowly.  "Reverse it."

"Shit," he said in awe.

"Yup, so they had a better balance.  He even got to argue with people about destiny not being realistic."

"That's Xander for ya, yeah.  Hold on, he was?"  Sam nodded.  "So this...."

"Rebalancing and they sent him back," he said quietly.  "He's my age."

"So eye thing?"

"Still there."

"Even better.  I'll see you guys tonight."  Sam smiled and walked off.  John went back inside to take down the address before he washed his hands.  That was really...weird, which said something considering his job.  He went back to the meeting.  "Old friend inviting me for dinner."

"How did they know you'd be here?" the general asked.

John shrugged.  "Some say Sam's psychic," he said dryly.  "Mostly women who want to sleep with him or kill him."

The general shook his head quickly.  "Fine.  Are you going there tonight?"

"Yup.  If I can, sir."

"You may."  Landry looked at the others.  "We were nearly done.  We have to go over staffing levels, Colonel."

"I've already started drawing up projections based on injuries we've had so we're not down too far."

"Weapons?" he asked.

"We'd love some more, sir," he assured him.  "And more explosives too."

"That may be arranged for you."  He looked down.  "Anything you wanted to point out?"

"Our medics said that they will riot if we do not get more birth control pills that will help control cycles.  I was off the city on a mission when they took the caf hostage for not having chocolate pudding."

Sam Carter coughed.  "That was not my fault.  I was trying to negotiate," she said.

"I'm sure you were," Landry sighed.  "We have a list of needed medical supplies?"

"I believe one got emailed back," Carter said.  "I didn't carry one."

"They were still doing an inventory since some bandages happened to disappear thanks to the city using them to plaster a broken thing on a pier," John said.

Landry shook his head.  "I'll check for it then.  Dismissed.  Have a good dinner, Colonel."

"You too, sir."  He smiled as he left.  He checked on Rodney first.  "I've been invited off base by a friend for dinner."

"Am I coming?" he asked absently.

"No, I think you'd scare him or he'd warp you," John said dryly.  "I'll be back late."  He left, signing out and getting a cab to there.  It wasn't far, only ten minutes, and the buildings looked nice enough.  The gate guard was still there so he got let in after a quick call.  He paid and got out, heading to the door.  Xander opened it, staring at him.  "You did get younger," he sighed.

Xander grinned.  "Yes, I did," he said happily.  "They're discussing me redoing high school too since I did so sucky at it the first time."  He let him in and shut the door.  "We're just on the leafy green stuff Sam demanded."

John smiled.  "Salads are good for a body," he assured him.

"I can go forever without lettuce," Xander quipped.  John bopped him on the arm.  "Anyway, this is my place.  You're welcome to come hang out whenever you want to."

"Thanks, Xander."  He gave him another bop on the arm.  "So what happened?"  Xander sat down and told him, letting John pick his own seat on the couch.  He gave him a rub on the arm.  "I've done that myself once or twice.  They always brought me back quickly though."

"That's good.  Otherwise they'd ruin your giant brain," Xander told him.

"The ones I work with, they're giant brains.  Mine's just useable."  He looked at him.  "Those last few credits?"

"I'd get the same result," he sighed.

"No you won't.  You know more now."  John stared at him.  "They're going to make you prove it."

"I can do a GED."

"No you can't."

"Yeah I can."

"No, you can't," Sam complained.  "Since Dad said I can stay, we can do it together, Xander.  That way you get those last few credits out of the way."

"I need a soundproofing spell."  He looked around.  "Ah, that book."  He pulled it out of the stack and found it, doing one on the apartment.  Now he couldn't hear the neighbors arguing and they couldn't hear him, hopefully.  He did it again, pointed inward, just in case.  "There."

Sam listened from the other room.  "Nope, no sound."  He came out to stare at Xander.  "We can.  I'll be lonely without Dean to pick on me."

Xander shrugged.  "I sucked at it, Sam."

"I know.  So do I sometimes."  He grinned.  "It might help if you have decent teachers.  School's nearly out for the year, we'll start this fall."  Xander grimaced but nodded.  Sam hugged him.  "Thank you."  He went back to stirring.  "It's clumping together."

"Add oil and stir more often," John said, getting up to help.  "Or we'll have to have patties of spaghetti and sauce."  Xander shook his head, turning on some quiet music.  John grinned at him and they got back to work straightening things out.  "You need bookshelves."

"We were going to put up a ring of those do it yourself shelves that are brackets and planks," Sam said.

"That could help," John decided.  "We can pick those up easily enough."

"I have my toolbox so I have the auto nailer," Xander offered.  Someone knocked and he went to answer it.  "Yes, ma'am?"

"I thought you were in college."

"I got told I missed about six credit hours earlier."

"Oh, dear."

"So I need to handle that before I can start.  Maybe community college for them or taking a few classes at the high school, not certain yet.  This is John," he said with a point.  John smiled and waved.  "He's a buddy."

"It's nice you have mature friends.  Is he a *special* friend?" she asked.

"No.  He likes brainy women with really nice legs.  He's got a masters degree in Math."

She smiled.  "That's very handy.  Are you going to be okay doing those few credits?"

"Probably.  That's like three classes.  So unless I find something I like there, I'm free after a semester or so."  She nodded and left them alone.  He shut the door.  "I need to make sure that spell worked."

"It did," Whistler said as he appeared.  "Nice job."

"Thank you."  He smiled.  "Problems?  Concerns?"

"John was right, those cabinets will end up getting you in trouble sometime."

Xander grimaced.  "I might need them."

"They won't have the same problems here.  However... your pack mate," he said, staring at that John.  "Probably could."

"Why would I and who are you?" John asked casually.

"Whistler.  He's the rep for the Powers That Be," Xander said dryly.  "He's the one that shifted me."

"Huh.  Why would I need them?"

"Because Dean nearly freaked out at them," Sam said dryly.  He smiled at Whistler.  "Any other heads up so I don't have to have a vision for a while?"

"Three."  He looked at Xander.  "Find a more normal life."  Xander shrugged.  "That is an order."

"I'm not going to hunt unless it's necessary or happens around me.  I'm a bit burnt out."

"I get that.  Second, you can't join his project."  He pointed at John.  "It might help but it would warp things totally wrong."  He stared at him.  "Third, you might get Dawn some day."

"If I have to, I can do that."

"Good."  He looked at Sam.  "Most of the time we have nothing to do with your visions."

"I know.  Can I not have any anyway?"

"If your father and brother get him sooner."

"Hey, tell me where he is and I'll get him myself," Sam offered.

"That's their job."  Whistler stared at him.  "Protected is good, Samuel.  You may have blocked a plan but they don't always only have *one*."  He disappeared.

"Huh, so we'll be on the lookout for another higher being plan," Xander decided.

John stared at him.  "What did you bring?"

"Everything that was mine before."  He smiled.  "Including the apocalypse closet."

John gaped.  "No way."  Xander nodded.

"Yeah, all shrunk down," Sam said dryly.  "Dean turned into a pacing mother hen.  How do I know when it's done?"

John took a piece to taste test.  "It's done and a bit mushy."  Sam drained it with a grin and added butter and sauce.  John got the bowls down for them and made quick garlic bread by spreading margarine on some bread, sprinkling garlic powder on top, then putting it under the broiler.  In a few minutes it was done and they sat down on the couch to watch movies.  John finished first and put his stuff on the counter.  Sam got up to get his and Xander's.  "Xander, how did you get the pack alpha spot?" John asked.  He sat back down.  "That always confused me."

"The possession."

"What possession?" he asked.  He stroked over his shoulder.


"Aren't they matriarchal?" Sam asked.  Xander nodded.  "So you're really the den mother?" he teased.

"I was surrounded by girls, Sam."

"Good point."

John snickered.  "So technically you're an alpha but the female head.  What happens if one of the pack decides they're the male half?"

Xander looked at him.  "Have they been possessed?"

"With some of us.... you never know."

"Good point.  I don't know."  He shrugged.  "I'd like to think we wouldn't have a dominance fight most of the time."

"Maybe before battles or something," Sam said.

John nodded.  "We might have to fight about who leads.  I have actual combat experience, ground and air.  If I remember right, yours was self training and a possession."

"Yup, including many battles and apocalypses," Xander agreed.

"Huh.  Planning?"

"I'm not bad.  Not like the greatest ever but I made ours."

"That'll work then," John decided.  "We can work on that later.  After we find all the rest of the pack."

"They're all over," Sam admitted.  "Here was the safest and most steady, plus close to his former pack lands."

"Yeah, I never considered Cleveland pack lands.  Strange girl land, but not pack lands."

John laughed.  "I can see that actually, yeah.  From what I remember of the ladies, that's a fair statement."  He ran a hand through Xander's hair, getting a funny look for it.  "You need a trim."


"No probably about it.  You need a trim," John said with a smirk.  Someone pounded on the door.  Xander hopped up to see who it was.  He looked at Sam.

"I'm not going to fight for dominance.  It's nice to let others make some decisions now and then," he said quietly.

"There's plenty of days I'd like that too."  He saw who was complaining at Xander and got up.  "Problems, General?"

"How do you know a guy this young?" he asked.

"I didn't know friendship had an age limit, sir.  To be blunt, he saved my life once."

"That's not in your records."

"No, it probably won't ever be."  He stared at him.  "It shouldn't have to be actually.  Why is there some concern?  Xander, let him and my teammate in.  Rodney, this is Xander.  He's a pretty good friend."

Rodney nodded.  "Nice meeting you.  The general is possessed or something."

"I have some holy water," Xander offered.

Rodney blinked a few times.  "You have what?"

"Some of us do have a few vials laying around," Sam quipped.  He got up, looking at him.  "He's not possessed by something I recognize.  Who told you what, General?"

"Who're you?"

"Sam Winchester."  He smirked.

"I'm betting it's someone like Wolfram and Hart," Xander said.

"They are not the root of all evils," John said.

"How do you know about such firms, Harris?" the general asked.

Xander grinned and took off his shirt.  He pointed at something.  "One of their mangy lawyers tried to kill me a few years back."  He stared him down.  "Be more polite or get out, General.  I'm not in the service."

"You're doing inappropriate...." he started.

Xander snickered.  "No, I'd probably never let John fuck me.  I'm not his type.  He'd be settling or it'd be stress relief.  I'm sure there's plenty of pretty women who want him."  He stared at him.  "Also, you have no right to barge into somewhere even if that were true.  You're not supposed to ask those questions."  Landry glared harder.  "I've seen worse on teenage girls."

"You know tougher girls than I do," Rodney muttered.

Xander nodded.  "I know a whole army of them."  He looked at Landry.  "So, why did you get sent here to bother me?"

"They said you're hoarding military only weapons."

Xander snorted.  "Look around, do I look like I buy weapons?"

The general looked then at him.  "Who in the hell are you?"

Xander found his wallet and license, holding it up.  "Displaced.  Here, your Sunnydale didn't get created."

"Displaced?" Rodney demanded.  Xander nodded.  "From another reality?" he checked.

"Yeah.  That way the Powers could balance things and the slayers could handle their own problems without me."  He shrugged.  "So I got a reward."

"What's a slayer?" Rodney asked.  Sam found that book and page, handing it over.  He read that section then gaped.  "There's no way!"

"Like there's no way I have mermaid taint?" Xander asked dryly.  "My former swim coach."  He shrugged.  Then he looked at John.  "Is he usually this huffy about you?"

"No, he's not.  Which is why this is really strange.  Sam, can you check him for a possession anyway?"

"If so he'd be trying to climb into Xander," Sam said but he went to get some holy water anyway.  The general fought but Xander growled.

"Holy shit, they're not yellow.  No pouch," Rodney said, checking.

"No, that's his past possession, which is why his friends are all his pack," John said dryly.  "We like her, she's taught him a lot over the years."

"By what, if such things aren't mystical fantasies instead of reality?" Rodney asked dryly.

"Hyena," Sam said.  "A lot nicer than some could've been."  He threw the holy water on them.  The general flinched.  Xander just snarled more.  "Xander, please move so I can help him?"

John grabbed Xander around the waist, pulling him back.  He smacked him on the side of the head.  "Behave.  Before they pull you in for scans and things."

"Eww, doctors," he complained.

John smiled.  "I know a few good ones."

"They'd still freak at the DNA taint."

"Ours, not so much."


"Yeah.  I can even bring some back to make sure.  That way we know if we have more down here."

"They like the shallow waters so they can come up and feed now and then.  Warmer coastal waters."

John stared, then shook his head.  "Anything current military issue, I'm so taking home with me."

"Fine," he muttered.

"Thank you."

"Since Whistler ordered."

John smirked.  "I like it when you're reasonable."  He patted him on the shoulder.  "New marks since the last time I saw you."

"Some of the shaman did them for me.  Mostly to keep out other beings."  He looked at the stunned stupid other person.  "Did we break him?" he asked more quietly.

"Yeah.  He's going to start yelling soon."  He walked Rodney into the bathroom and closed him in then came back.  The general was moaning and holding his head.  "Feel better, sir?"

"Much."  He stared at Sam.  "How do you know how to do that?"

"I did my first exorcism at eight.  This was something lesser so not that hard."  He stepped back.  He heard the ranting and complaining in the bathroom and winced.  "Should I break into the medicinal liquor stash for him?" he asked John.

"Please."  Sam got him one of the malt liquor/wine cooler things and handed it in through the bathroom door then shut it again.  John looked at the general.  "What were their objections to me hanging out with a friend, sir?"

"How do you know him?" he asked more calmly.

"He saved my life."

"When?" Landry demanded.

"When I got displaced for about six weeks."

"When was that?"

"Afghanistan.  They knew, they covered it up.  Had me resting a broken foot."

"I saw that mention," he complained, looking at Xander.  "Must you be shirtless?"

"My house," Xander said with a shrug.  "Yes.  Right now."  The general groaned.  He stared at him.  "I consider John like my pack, General.  I'd never hurt John.  Nothing inappropriate happens.  I'd never ask him to bend me over and fuck me or anything like that."  The general shuddered.  "So you can relax.  Really."

"Calm down, Xander."  John patted him on the back.  "Go sort stuff out for me now that I know."

"I'll do that tomorrow."

"I leave in six days."

Xander pouted.  "I forgot you were doing the heroic bullshit leaps and bounds thing.  I'll get it to you before you go."

"Yes you will," the general assured him.

Xander looked at him.  "Still not military and all you have is rumors."  The general glared.  "I helped save my world dozens of times in dozens of battles without the tech you guys consider necessary for survival, General.  We didn't use guns.  We used swords and stakes."  He stared him down.  "Your project, because I heard through the underground long ago in my own world, not an issue.  Until you've faced down a literal hell god with only five fighters and one of your relatives taken hostage, don't start with me.  I'm perfectly nice until you do."

The general shuddered.  "How did you do that?"

"We had to.  Otherwise everyone would've died."

"Can you prove it?" Landry asked.

"There's some film floating around on my computer.  The same as there's files relative to the military special project we helped shut the hell down."

John gaped.  "Why?"


"Can I see those?" John asked.  "So we can make sure they aren't here too?"

"It's on my laptop.  Which is... Sammy, where's my laptop?"  He pointed.  "Thanks."  He got into it, including the special files section.  He let John have it once he had it open.  "It's protected.  Can't be copied."

John nodded, reading over it.  "I know him..." he muttered.  "I'm almost glad he died now."  He kept going.  "That truly sucks."  He let Landry see it.  "I think they're all stopped."

"I don't think they'd be active here."  He read it and blanched.  "Never mind."

"Are they gone?" Xander asked.

"Yes, they are," he said, handing it back.  "Where did you get those?"

"From their systems after we broke them down and made them run screaming to mommy."  Xander stared at him.  "We really hated them.  I carry them because I've had to compare a few other projects against them for reports to the Council."

John shuddered.  "He helped me when I ran into one of those."

"NID fuckers," Xander muttered.  He stared at the general.  "I'm perfectly nice and calm if you are," he said when he was still being glared at.  "You came into my apartment pissy and bitching.  I got plenty of that from the women in my life for years."  John snorted, shaking his head.

Rodney flung open the door and stomped out.  "Prove it beyond that."  Xander turned on the tape in that file, letting him see it.  Rodney turned green.  "What is that?"

"Something we stopped."

"Here, O'Neill stepped in and stopped it when he heard," Landry said.

"The underground said he was pretty neat."  He looked at Rodney again.  "If you make me do CPR because you pass out due to your blood pressure, I don't want to hear 'ick, he kissed me', okay?"

Rodney snorted.  "Smartass."

"Often.  I enjoy the hell out of it."

"What are those marks?"


"Huh."  He handed back the laptop.  "Should you have those?"

"Yes."  He handed Sam his laptop and looked at the general again.  "I'm not mean or a bad guy, General.  You can quit acting like I'm going to tie your colonel down and make him squeal and like it anytime now."  Landry shuddered.

"Nah, I'd have to be on top," John said.  "I don't think I could take that from you, Xander.  You're cuddly and things."  Xander bopped him on the arm with a smirk.

Rodney felt his forehead.  "Maybe it's a fever dream."

"Well, I am that hot," John and Xander said in unison, making Rodney moan and shake his head.  Xander grinned at John for mirroring his thoughts.

"I'm still getting them."


"No, not maybe.  He said so."

"Fuck it."

"Please?  Before you get into trouble?" John said, staring Xander down with a smile.

"Before you go.  When your huffy general is gone, dear."

"Fine."  He looked at the general.  "It's nice you wanted to save me from my friend, sir, but there wasn't anything going on before you showed up.  We were watching a movie.  We had dinner."  Someone else knocked.  "Who now?"

"I predict, a coworker," Sam said, looking out the door.  "Regulation female haircut."  He opened th door.  "We really don't need more help, miss."

"That's colonel."

Xander looked at her.  "No, that's colonel bitch.  I don't want the 'tude, sister.  You can't outdo a roomful of teenage girls on the rag so stop trying,"  She gaped.  "Also, not invited."  He pointed.  "Out."  She glared.  "I can escort you out."

"She's technically heading my project at the moment," John said.

"Really?  So she who intentionally killed a whole solar system full of people ...."

John winced.  "How did you hear about that and it was a battle to protect us all."

"No, that was expedient.  I know about expedient very well.  That's why we blew our high school to stop a battle."

John nodded.  "Yeah, that makes sense."

"There really wasn't another way," Rodney complained.  "And how did you hear about that?"

"People like to talk to me.  And you're sure?  Nothing like a retrovirus would've worked?"  Rodney gaped in horror.  "I'm all for the bad things going away, Doctor McKay.  At least yours was an accident.  Hers was arrogance.  And frankly, since I only draw evil bitches, I'm striking her off the list right now so I don't have to worry about having to guard my back from her."

"I'd never touch someone your age," she sneered.

"That's cute since I'm actually closer to John's."  John nodded.

"You don't look it."

"I know that.  The wonder of switching realms."  He stared her down.  "Out.  Please."  She huffed but left to stand in the hallway.  He looked at the general then at Rodney.  "Am I really that mean?"

"You don't seem it.  A bit upsetting.  You're giving me an ulcer at the moment.  Can you perhaps stop that?"

"Sure.  If everyone quits being huffy, I'll quit giving you an ulcer and John can bring you back.  I don't mind his friends."  He smiled.  "I'm a nice guy if you don't try to make me be the warrior asshole I am."

"You can be, yeah," Sam admitted.  "General, do you really have to keep pissing him off?"

"How did his eyes glow?"

"Past possession," Xander said.  "Hyena."  The general shuddered.  "That's why I have pack members."  He pointed at John and Sam with a grin.  The general moaned, shaking his head.  "I'd do most anything to protect my pack."

"Hyenas are matriarchal," Rodney said.

"I know," he said dryly.  "She's very nice and purring at the moment.  Well, chuffing and being happy."  He looked at the general again.  "Was there really a need to cause the big drama?"

"You're not normal."

"No, I went into hell to fight a Hell God, I'm not."  The general whimpered.  "I went in with an army of teenage girls and got most of them out of there.  Then I went to find some in Africa and other areas.  I handled plenty of things on my own.  I've seen plenty of combat that even the hellhole that John and Rodney work on can't match at times.  Give me some props for that please.  I'm not yours.  I'm not joining your service.  Unless you guys have a problem that spills out, I'm not going to step in.  I might send John emails and presents when he's gone but otherwise I respect your project.  I'd like the same thing."

General Landry took a deep breath.  "I can see that.  My assumptions were wrong but whatever you're hiding is going with him."

"I've already told him that and I try very hard not to break promises to my pack."

"Fine."  He left.

"I'm sorry," he told John.

"No, you had to show your ass or he probably would've had you being scanned tonight."  He ran a hand through his hair.  "What do you have?"

"We need to sort out the guns."

"I can take those too."

"No you can't," Xander said dryly.

"Fine.  Can I see them?"

"Can't I just surprise you?"

"No," he said with a smirk.  "You can't."  He gave him a hug.  "Calm down."  Xander relaxed, leaning against him.  "Good job," he whispered.  "Treat O'Neill like a pack member if he shows up.  Him or Daniel Jackson."  Xander nodded.  He let him go.  "Want to show me now or tomorrow?"


"We can sort them tonight," Sam said.  "Doesn't really matter.  I'm glad you did that spell."

"Me too.  We promised the neighbors I was going to be a good boy."

John smirked.  "You try so hard."

"I know but now and then I gotta date."  He punched Rodney on the arm.  "It gets more freaky."

"I'm sure it does."  He stared at him.  "Did you hit me?"

"Yes."  He smiled.  "Just a friendly one though."  He walked around him.  "Movie?"

"Sorting," John ordered.  Xander huffed but took him to the closet to expand things.  "Holy shit," he said.

Rodney followed to look.  "Where did that come from?"  He looked and found another one.  He moved it out of the way and stared.  "How did it do that?"  Xander opened a door and it grew.   Then he leaned forward to start sorting little boxes.  Rodney stared.  "How did you do that?" he demanded.  "Does it equalize the weight?"


"Can you do that at will?"

"It was done for me."

"Can I take one to scan?"

"Hell no, you'll break it," Xander said dryly.  "I'll let you bring stuff here to scan it."  He smiled.  "I'm not mean."

"You're incredibly strange."

"Well, yeah but I'm fun."

Rodney shook his head.  "That sounds like something Sheppard would say," he sighed.  He looked.  "What are these little boxes?" he asked as he opened one.  "Oh, holy shit," he said in awe.  He closed the lid and it shrank down again.  He looked at Xander.  "Yes, they're coming with us."

"I already agreed to it.  Don't nag.  Unless you're my wife you don't get nagging rights."

"No, you're not my type.  I prefer breasts.  Fairly nice ones.  With brains to back them up."

John shook his head.  "Don't get him started."

"I won't."  They shared a grin.  "Apologize since I was huffy in the moment?" he asked quietly.

"I might.  We have a retrovirus?" he asked Rodney.

"We have three but Landry cut research on them," he admitted.  He looked at John.  "Back when he was at the other labs."

"Figures."  Rodney smirked.  "Why couldn't they send it?"

"That would've meant cooperation."

"Ah, that reason."

Xander shrugged.  "Bombs should always be a last resort.  The devastation lasts for generations and tends to make more enemies than friends.  Even if you're doing it on their behalf."  John and Rodney both stared at him.  So was Sam.  "It was that or be killed.  I actually didn't have an alternative.  At least I cleared the hostages first."

"Africa?" John asked quietly, getting a nod.  He shoulder nudged Xander, getting a weak grin back.  "It'll be good.  You'll calm down and be normal again, I promise."  He smiled.  Xander grinned back.  "You still can't have these."


"Can we narrow it down to two cabinets?" Rodney suggested.  "With just guns and sharp, pointy things that have no modern reason."

"Slayers don't use guns.  They use stakes, swords, axes, the occasional piece of artillery for the really big things.  Sometimes we wish we had them for the really big things.  I wished like hell for one when I was in the waiting room of hell."

Sam shuddered.  "I somehow got a memory of that one."

"Cas," Xander told him.

"You know, I think I saw him earlier."

"Possibly," Xander said with a shrug.  "You heard what they said."

"True."  He leaned over to give Xander a hug, getting one back.

"Awww, you're all touchy feely," Rodney said dryly.

"Hugs are nice, you should try using a real person who can hug back instead of the blow up doll," Sam quipped back with a grin, making Rodney glare.  John cackled, shaking his head.  Rodney slugged John on the arm to make him stop.

"You can be a part-time pack member," Xander offered, smiling at him.  "You're snarky and mean like most of us."

Rodney shook his head.  "Maybe.  I'm not usually around here right now."

"Neither's John.  You can come over for movies."  Rodney smirked at him.  "I know, mushy, but well, I was raised by girls."

"Most of us were raised by our mothers."

"No, I meant someone my age," Xander said dryly.  "A literal girl."

"Ooh," John said with a wince.  "The redheaded menace?"  Xander nodded.  "I'm so sorry."

"It's all good."  He grinned.  They went back to sorting.  John was having a lot of fun with his new toys.  He had all sorts of plans to use them on the wraith.  "What's this?" Xander asked, holding one up.  "I got it in payment and no one would tell me."

Rodney looked then gasped.  "Expand this!"  Xander tapped it and it grew.  "It's one of our generators."

"Huh, another crossover product."  He got back to his sorting.  He was trying to hide some but John would pluck them from his lap.  He managed to drop a few that John hadn't been able to grab.  Sam was giving him long looks each time he managed it too.  He grinned.  "We should get more movies."

"We should," he agreed.  "Which is the local high school?" Sam asked.

"Cheyenne Mountain, right?" John asked Rodney.

"That's where the ones who live near the base go, yes."  His eyes lit up.  "That's also where someone else goes."  He stared at John, silently willing him to get ESP again.

"That was well before my time probably."

"Probably, yes, but the little...."

"Oh!"  He nodded.  "Yeah, he does go there.  So we can introduce you to someone who's not totally normal too," John agreed with a grin for the boys.

"Like another hunter?" Sam asked.

"Not quite.  The same sort of odd things happen to him," Rodney said with a smirk.  "I think you'll get along fine with him.  He doesn't bully and he's slightly a jock."

"Okay," Sam said with a shrug.

"It's still going to suck," Xander complained.  "I hated it last time."

"Last time your school was so far below standards even the standards glared down at them for digging the hole deeper," Sam pointed out.  "They were teaching you guys middle school stuff in ninth grade."


"The standards are higher now but I'm fairly certain you learned a lot since then," John said.  "You can do it and then we can party when you're done."

Xander grimaced.  "Fine."

Sam hugged him.  "I'll help."

"I'm going to need it.  I couldn't pass algebra even with Willow."

John smiled at Rodney.  "My pack is very huggy."

"Your pack on the base would probably run from hugs."

"Maybe, yeah."  They got back to sorting.  He got the ones Xander was hiding when he tried to put them back.  "No, you don't need those in a normal life."

"Fuck," Xander muttered.

John blinked at him.  "You promised you weren't going to ask me on the first night here," he said shot back with a smirk.

Xander kissed him.  "If you hit on me, that's all you, John."  He walked off.

Sam cackled, shaking his head.  "You two are so bad."  He got up to follow.  "Want me to make some coffee?"

"Please," they called together.  They shared a look and John shook his head.  "I love my pack.  They make things much less difficult."

"If they could get along well with others, it might help some," he said quietly.

"I'm sure the girlish panicking fit is over with.  Though I don't know why he doesn't like Sam beyond that incident."

Rodney sighed.  "She reminds him of Buffy," Sam said as he walked in with cups.  "Instant.  Sorry.  No coffee maker yet."

"That's cool," John said, taking it with a smile.  "She does?"

"A know-it-all blonde who pushes her weight around?  Yeah.  Now all he needs is a redhead with addiction issues."  He left, going to calm Xander down.  He hated losing his weapons.  Even to John, who probably needed them more.  Sam leaned over.  "That general seems like the vindictive type," he said quietly.  "He might turn in that you have them."  Xander nodded he knew that.  "We'll try to lay lower and help the pack all we can."  Xander nodded, shifting closer.  "I get that it sucks, Xander, but at least you do have us."

"I know.  I appreciate the hell out of you guys."

"We like you too."  They sat there and watched movies, falling asleep that way.

John and Rodney came out after emptying out the rest of the stuff that was illegal for Xander to own.   They smiled at the boys napping together.  John got a blanket from a bed and covered them, making Sam snuffle and hug Xander.

"Shh, we'll protect you now.  We're pack."

John smoothed over Xander's hair.  "That's right, your pack will help and protect you," he said quietly.  "I'll see you two tomorrow.  Let me head back to base for a few hours."  He straightened up and they left together, John carrying the plastic bag with the sorted cabinets.  "They probably can't be wormholed."

"We can ship them on the Daedalus," Rodney said once they got into the car.  "They're nice kids."

"Xander was about my age when he was at home."

"He'll understand the mini general all too well then.  Are we worried?"

"That he's going to stress and struggle.  He wasn't the kid that people counted on before, and his girls put him down badly, Rodney."  He stared up there.  "There's other pack members.  I have to find some of them.  See if they want to stop by."  He smiled at his buddy.  "The being normal thing will bother him more than the age thing.  He can shrug off the most weird stuff easily.  Though, he does only date the truly evil things that want to kill him.  You should ask him about Ampata."  He started the car and drove them back to the base.  He was thinking, trying to make a list of all the pack members.  Some would be harder to reach than others.  He parked and they got out, getting checked back in and down to the general's office to check in.  "We're back, sir."

Landry stared at him.  "What's in the bag, Colonel?"  Rodney pulled out the generator and enlarged it with a smile.  "Never mind, I don't need to know."  He rubbed his forehead.  "Is the kid sane?"

"Most of the time," John assured him.  "He's a nice guy, General.  He fought over ten years of battles."

"I understand that.  What was his reason for baiting Carter?"

"She reminds him a lot of the friends who used to think he was too normal, sir," John said.  "The same attitude, the same nature, the same hair color as one."

"So it was a flashback?"

"No.  He didn't like her and probably won't.  Even if she's all Mary Sunshine and I doubt she could be.  Xander can sense liars a mile away."

"Where does he come from?"

"His world...  Our world doesn't have his town.  The thin spot between dimensions never grew here."  Landry nodded once at that.  "There, it had one and a really high death rate, even when his former team was working all the time."  He stared at him.  "He started at this age the first time around, sir.  He's as much of a vet as we all are here.  Only his wanted to eat him in the bad way to make more of themselves.  Or to torture him as a toy.  I respect the hell out of Xander for doing what he did, even when people tried to cut him down so he'd stop."

"Do we have similar thin spots here?"

"No.  Ours is a bit thicker.  That's not to say that it won't open.  It could."  John shrugged.  "We'd probably hear about the emergency as it happened."

"I understand why he's so tough but he didn't have to act that way."

"You pushed your way into his house and threatened him, sir.  What would you have done?" John countered.

The general huffed.  "Probably shot me."

"Xander's a lot like O'Neill.  He'll make fun of you and then shoot you," John said with a grin.  "He's a good kid.  He's going to have to adjust to not being on the front lines anymore.  Right before he got switched, he stopped an apocalypse by himself."  The general shuddered.  "He's used to it.  Including service time in Africa."

"I get it, Colonel.  Can you calm down Carter?"

"I don't know why she was there anyway, sir, or why you brought McKay."

"He wanted backup in case he was building something huge, the thing's words," Rodney said.  "I do not know why Sam was coming."

Landry nodded.  "I don't remember inviting her."

"Then I can talk to her.  She's probably down to huffy," John sighed.  "There's some days I wonder how things got managed on SG-1."  He and Rodney left.  The boxes went into a special box he shipped to himself on the city.  Colonel Ellis got it personally to put on with a warning it was fragile and could cause problems.  That John had gotten it from a geek friend.  Ellis agreed and made sure it was sealed before putting it in a safe carry container.  Then he joined McKay in the lab.  She was still ranting.  John stared at her.  "Why did you show up anyway?"

"It's not like you and McKay know the same people so something had to be wrong," she said snidely.

"Do you think we need more holy water?" he asked Rodney, who shrugged.

"Why would you?' she sneered.

"Because you're really not yourself, Sam," John said dryly.  "Are you snaked again?"  She threw something at him.  "Oh, this is huffy girl syndrome.  For your information, Xander saved my damn life once."  She huffed.  "I appreciate the hell out of that guy.  Even at his age.  Yeah, he's a friend.  Rodney didn't know him until Landry brought him based on specious, mean rumors spread by a law firm full of evil shits."  She glared harder.

He glared back.  "Leave him alone.  You remind him of his using, worthless friends."  She threw something else at him.  He got her pinned against the wall for it, no matter how much she struggled.  He stared at her then looked at Rodney, who was calling for medical intervention.  Clearly something was wrong with her.  Doctor Lam and her team got there.  "She's acting totally unreasonable, Doctor Lam.  She decided to threaten someone I knew in town, who I was hanging out with, for no reason.  She's thrown things tonight instead of arguing."

"Let me scan her, Colonel.  Can you let her up?"

"Only if you have a sedative."  She nodded, sticking her with one.  John let her go once she went limp, letting the medical team lift her onto the gurney.  "I don't know what's wrong with her, Doc."

"I know, Colonel."  She smiled.  "Good dinner?"

"Very good dinner.  He's just moved into the area.  He and Rodney even snarked in a friendly manner."  He smiled.

"Good to know."  They took her to the infirmary to figure out what was wrong with her this time.

John and Rodney shared a look.  "I don't know," he admitted.

"Are you thinking possession?"

"I'm not sure if she's not snaked again.  The gou'ald queens would adore Xander a lot.  Would that leave a taint?  Sam said he had seen her in the store."

"I don't know," he admitted, going to ask that question.  Though, if that was his sort of woman, maybe they could talk Xander into going gay?  Sam seemed very nice and like he could easily go gay too.  They were all huggy with each other.

John went to his room to rest and see if he could find some of the other pack members online.   He hoped they'd remember like he had.


Sam got an SAT prep book and brought it home, handing it to Xander.  "Do one of the practice tests to see what areas we need to work on?"

Xander sighed but nodded, sitting down to deal with that.  He hated homework.  Sam smiled and handed him a glass of soda too, then looked in the cabinets.  "I need to get groceries."

"I can do that this time.  That way we get more than soda and stuff like that."

"Vegetables, yuck."

Sam smiled.  "They keep you strong and healthy."  He looked at how he was doing and sighed.  "Dude, was it that bad?"  Xander looked at him.  Sam looked at the answers and sat down beside him to go over the answers with him.  Xander was doing the most sucky ever.  Xander kept giving him confused looks so he sighed.  "Should I get some textbooks to go over stuff?"

"Only if I can shoot myself."

"No," he sighed, looking at him.  "Clearly, something's up."

"I'm handling it."

"Uh-huh.  How about this," he said, finding something online.  "Take that test."  Xander grimaced but this one was shorter.  It was easier too.  Though he didn't understand why this one was this way.  Sam took it to look at the results.  "That explains a whole lot."  He let Xander see the screen, watching him groan.  "So we'll work on that."

"I'm still math stupid."

"You're not stupid."

"I am about some things.  Everyone has something that they're stupid about."

"Yeah but you're not stupid.  This is something you can get past to do better."  He stared at him.  "Plus it'll be easier in school."

"I hate school.  I loathed school.  I can't imagine that I'll like it anytime in the multi-universes."

Sam gave him a hug, making Xander pout.  "I told you I'd help."

"It's not going to matter.  So did Willow."

Sam made him look at him.  "I'm not a bitchy girl, even if Dean thinks I am."  Xander shrugged.  "They're going to test you to see where you place.  You can test out of a lot."

Xander grimaced.  "I can't pass this one."

"This one is meant for people ready to graduate and we can work on this."  Xander slumped, shaking his head.  "Hey, you need to do this."

"GED?" he suggested.

"That's actually a bit harder than this."

"I couldn't pass algebra with Willow cheating for me sometimes."

"Why were you taking classes with Willow?  Wasn't she some sort of genius?"  Xander stared, looking confused.  "Most schools track the really smart kids into honors classes and things.  College prep classes.  Ones that will give you college credit early."

"We didn't have that.  We had classes everyone took."

Sam shook his head.  "That's not how it's supposed to be."

"That's how they did it in the old days.  Willow asked once."

"Yeah but we know more about education and how best to do it now."

"I do good at manual things."

"We can change math into things like construction and chemistry into explosives and gunpowder."  Xander relaxed some.  "I had to do that with Dean sometimes too.  We can get through this, you can learn to like some of the social stuff at school.  Like dances?"

"I hated them.  No one ever danced with me.  Damn, I sound whiny," he sighed.

"With your school, I'm not surprised.  I'm only surprised that they were alive."

Xander shrugged.  "Mostly."

Xander got another hug and cuddle.  "We'll work on it."  Xander nodded.  "It's a decent high school.  They actually have someone who deals with this sort of learning issue who can help if we can't get you around it.  Plus they have a tutoring club."


"It's good."  He let him go.  "Let's go grocery shopping.  We can come back to his later."  He got up and grabbed some money, going out with Xander.  "We need to get a car."

"We do," Xander agreed with a sigh.  "I'll start looking."

"We'll have Dean look.  He likes cars.  He's frustrated."

"That might be nice.  Something cheap that'll run.  Insurance is going to be a pain though."

"Yeah but it won't be that bad.  What did happen to your car?"

"It died."

"I meant why."

"Something in the engine.  He said something about a seal and a head and maybe giving it a blow job?"

Sam considered it.  "It blew a head gasket?"

"That was the cheaper one."

"Huh.  It ran fine on the way up here."

"I don't know," Xander sighed.  "It was easier to scrap it."

"Good point.  Well, we can take that money and find a better one."  Xander waved the cash.  "I thought that was from your trunk stash."

"No, that's in the bedroom."

"We can take some of that then.  I'll see if Dad will chip in too."  Xander shrugged.  "I need to pay part of my own way."

"It's fine.  You're pack."

"So?  I still have to contribute to the pack."  They got on the city bus and went to the nearest grocery store.  Xander was avoiding the vegetable aisle but Sam chose some nice things and joined him in the bread.  Sam switched some out for better stuff.  Xander pouted.  "We need some healthy stuff."  They went on.  Sam snuck in an extra box of ice cream and a frozen pizza for that night, earning a grin and a second one.  "We do need two, yeah."  They got two more and kept going.  Xander had to pull out some extra cash for the soda but that was all right.  They took the bus back and walked past the gate guard.  "Hi, Saul."

"Hi, boys.  Nice time shopping?"  Sam smiled and nodded.  Xander just nodded.  "You know there's a cheaper spot than there, right?"

"No," Sam said.  "I didn't.  Where?"

"Cheyenne Meadows and 115 has a chain one and so does the strip mall at Academy and 115.  You take the same bus and go a bit farther.  You boys should use your bus passes to go explore all the little touristy areas.  Including Tinsel Town, going down to Lake, there's a lot of restaurants and things.   There's a huge dog park with hiking trails down on the far end of Cresta that a lot of locals like to play in.  That's a long ride but worth it.  Plus you can go up by the Air Force Academy, they've got malls and stuff.  They're used to people about your age."

Xander grinned at Sam.  "Can you find the bus routes for that?"

"I can do that," he promised.  "Thanks, Saul."

"Welcome, boys.  Don't let the ice cream melt."  They grinned and headed inside through the patio door.  "Those two are adorable at times."  He did a check of the car coming in and waved them through.  "The boys just came in, ma'am."

"Thank you," Sam Carter said with a smile.  She parked near their apartment and got out, heading to their door.

Sam opened it.  "Xander, it's the blonde lady that the general called."

He looked over from the kitchen.  "Let her in for a few.  We can kick her out if she's stupid."

"I'm not stupid."

Xander stared at her.  "Really?"

"I was... having a problem that day."  She stared.  "Before McKay left he said you had some DNA warping?"

"Are you NID too?" Xander quipped.

"No.  I like to beat the crap out of them actually."

Xander stared.  "Then why ask?"

"He wanted someone to do a study of it."  She handed over the letter.  "He left that for you."

He read it, then looked at her.  "I saw his handwriting."  She growled and her eyes glowed. "That's a bad sign, Sam."

"It is."  He knocked her out since he was behind her.  "Huh."  He looked at Xander.  "Call?"

"I will.  He'll probably remember me."  Xander found the phone book and his new cellphone.  He found the number for the base's main line and called.  "I need to speak to General Landry please?  One of his people just had a problem at my apartment.  No, not an MP, he'll know.  Thank you.  That would be fine.  Thank you."  He got transferred to Landry's assistant.

"Chief Master Sergeant Harriman, this is Xander Harris.  I have Sam Carter here with glowing yellow eyes.  No, knocked out.  She gave me a letter supposedly from Doctor McKay for my blood."  She groaned and lifted her head.  "Please.  Yeah, we're home.  I'll be nice with the handcuffs."  He hung up and got a set, letting Sam use them.  "So, this eye glowing thing?" he asked her.  "Is that like my possession?"

"I'm not."

"You are," Sam assured her.

"Why am I here?"  Xander held up the letter.  "That's my handwriting."

"Yeah, you told me it from John's friend Rodney."

"I don't remember that."

"Which is why I called your boss so he can come help you.  I'll be really nice.  You can sit there and wait."  He went back to putting up groceries.  "Sam, why do we have leafy green things that isn't lettuce?"

Sam looked.  "That's romaine lettuce, it's more tasty and better for you.  It's also softer and less water."

"Eww, leafy green things," he complained.

Sam grinned.  "Leafy green things are still good for growing bodies who need to keep muscles."  Someone knocked.  "That was fast."  He went to open it.  "I don't know you."

She looked over.  "That's Colonel Mitchell.  I have no idea when I got here, Cam."

He walked around Sam and let him shut the door.  "What happened?"  Xander handed over the letter.  "That's her handwriting."

"She said it was from John's friend Rodney."

"How do you know Sheppard and McKay?" Cam asked.

Xander grinned.  "I like John.  He's a nice guy."

"Okay.  You're Harris, right?"  Xander nodded.  "The general said that you were really hostile last time."

"That's because he forced his way into my apartment and was possessed.  It got annoying really fast.  This is the second time she did it."

Her eyes lit up.  "We would be very good with some of your blood and you will give it to me.  I know you want me."

Xander stared at her.  "No I don't.  You remind me a lot of my former friend Buffy.  Since she dissed me for years and I'd never date her, even if she was naked in front of me and needed it to live....  No.  Sorry."  Sam coughed, shaking his head, trying not to smile.

"That's harsh," Cam complained.

"You'd have to meet Buffy.  Are you going to keep doing that?" he asked her.  She faded and looked confused again.  "See?"

"That's a good reason, yeah.  We couldn't get her to do it at the infirmary though.  We couldn't find a single hint of it."  He called someone.  "Can you make her do it again?"

Xander pulled out a knife and cut his finger, running it under her nose.  She moaned and changed back.  Cam took film of it.  "What is it about my blood you like?  And do you have a name?"

"Jasara," she moaned.  "It smells divine."

"Because of the taint or something else I got exposed to?" Xander asked.  She stared at him.  "It's an honest question.  There's a few reasons people want my blood, dear."  Sam stiffened, staring at him.  "I doubt they're going to tell people, Sam, relax," Xander said without having to look.  He stared at her.  "You have to prove yourself worthy of me."  He ran a drop over her lips, letting her lick it off.

"Eww," Cam complained.

"Hush."  He stared at him then at her.  "Well?"

"You taste sweet.  Innocent yet filthy and dirty."

"I'm very dirty when I want to be.  You should ask some of my ex's."   He moved closer, smirking at her.  "Why want my blood?"

"We can resurrect the lines."

"Which lines?" Cam asked.

"The slayer line."

Xander shook his head.  "I'm not one of the Hunters.  I'm a seer," he said in her ear, making her whimper and moan.  "I'm a medium and a seer.  I'm the Chaos Child."

She whimpered, going limp.  "We need you on our side."

"John has me on his side.  He's my pack."

She changed back.  She licked her lip.  "Eww."

"Not like I have funny things, Carter."  He stared at her.  "Jasara?"

"Never heard of her."

"That's who she said she was," Cam said.  He looked out the spyhole and let the doctor in.  "Guys, this is Doctor Lam."  He let her see the film he had taken.

She looked at Xander.  "What did you get exposed to?"

"Classified," he quipped with a grin.  "And highly improbable in a way only I can do."

"If it's something that others want, we should probably know," she said calmly.

Xander nodded.  "No comment.  Because I don't know you, don't trust you, and I'll be damned if I'm going to just hand over blood after killing others who wanted it."  She gaped.  He stared back.  "Yeah, there's some people who might really want it.  Including to sacrifice me, which is what she wanted to do."

"You don't know us, so of course you don't trust us," Cam said.

"We know a few of you.  If it's that important, I'd let him talk me into it."

"I get that," Cam decided.   "Does he know?"

"No.  Not everything."

"Fine, I'll talk to your...pack mate and find out if we need to know," Cam said.

Xander nodded, looking at Sam, who shrugged.  "That seems reasonable," Sam agreed.

Xander nodded at Cam.  "I'll listen to my pack."

"Sure, I can email him later."  He looked at the doctor.  "She doesn't seem to remember when she's out of it.  What was that hunter thing?"

"Long story, not important, but also highly improbable."

"It made that Rodney guy's head nearly explode," Sam agreed happily.

"That's not hard to do," Carter complained.  "Can I get free and go to the bathroom?"

"No," Cam said.  "I don't think that'll be safe.  We don't want to dent the boys."

"The boys can actually kick some ass," Sam said dryly.  He looked then put the last of the groceries up since the ice cream was still out.  "Xander," he sighed.

"Huh?"  He looked.   "Shit, sorry, Sam."

"It's still mostly frozen."  He smiled.  "It's all good."  He balled up the plastic bags.  "Aren't we saving these?"

"Under the sink."  Sam found the bag of bags and tossed them in there.  Xander looked at Cam and the doctor again.  "So?"

"We'll take her back," the doctor assured him.  "Colonel, do you have cuffs?"

"Make sure I get those back," Xander said quietly.  They nodded and walked her out.  Xander looked at Sam.  "Since we've had so much excitement, a comedy tonight?"

"The cable's actually on," Sam offered.

"Cool.  Your turn to pick."  He came in to start one of the pizzas in the oven.  He and Sam picked up the light mess they had created in the last few days.  By then the pizza was done and they sat down to nibble while watching Comedy Central's movie of the night.

"We need to decide some chores," Sam said.

"We have chores?" Xander asked.

"Things like cleaning the bathroom?"


"I know, I don't like it either."


"There's also vacuuming and some light dusting," Sam said.

Xander looked at him.  "Mom?" he asked.  "I didn't know you quit drinking."

Sam poked him hard on the side.  "If I see your mom, I get to beat her ass."  Xander grinned at him for that.  "The bathroom is starting to look fuzzy.  The toilet is nearly black with mold."

"Eww, trying to eat, Sam."

"So you want the shower or the toilet and sink cleaning?  Then the vacuuming and dusting when we get to it?"  He ate another bite.

"I'll...  I hate doing toilets after fast food jobs but I guess I can.  Can't we get some of that shower spray stuff?"

"Definitely."  They shared a smirk.  "And since we don't have pets we can use the little drop in tablets.  That'll help some once it's cleaned."

"They make little robot vacuums," Xander said.  "That's how the slayers solved their issues with the dread machine of suckage."

"Not for a few years," Sam said quietly.

"Damn.  We don't own a vacuum."

"I'll look in the thrift stores."

"Okay."  Xander shrugged.  "That'll work.  Or they can gather dust for a few more weeks."

Sam nodded.  "It'll be fine for a few days."  They got up to get the other frozen pizza out to cook.  Then they went back to the couch.  The oven had a nice timer and the movie was pretty decent.  They'd think about all those domestic things some other day.


John read the email and sighed, answering it back and putting it into the queue to be sent back to Earth.  That was not good news and whatever had infected Carter, it was even worse news.  But apparently she was dangerous enough for Xander after all.  He got into his other ones and it was better news, slightly.

Sam had written about Xander's self esteem issues related to school work.  John pointed out that some guys didn't do well with book learning, they were hands-on.  The news of the learning disability didn't surprise him.  He had figured there was a reason Xander hated school so much.  Though he probably wouldn't like it when he was having to hunt some of his classmates.  He gave Sam some good advice in time for the earth send-back.


to part 2