Jon looked up as the shrieks of 'Jonny!' started, grinning at who he saw.  "They're in the woods."

"That's cool.  Hi, girls."  They smiled and waved.  "Shouldn't you guys have jackets on?"  They cackled and ran off again.

"Emma, jacket or I'm telling your mother," Jon called.  They put them on and went back to playing.   "I'm above the garage.  Sam has the blue room.  Xander has the master.  That leaves two."

"Decent.  Anything else to report?"

"Not yet."  John went inside and dropped his bag in a room then came back out.  "Madeline!" he called.  She came to the door so Jon pointed.

"Emma, get your damn jacket back on and leave it on!" she shouted, stomping out to get her daughter.  "You too, Jasmine!"

"Yes, ma'am," they sighed, putting them back on.

"Thank you, Jon.  This new one?"  She stared at him.

"Colonel Sheppard."

"Hi.  I'm in on leave for upper brass whining events."

She smiled.  "My husband was with you that first year, Colonel.  He said good things about you."  She gave him a hug and walked the girls off.  "That's the one who saved your father when he was away that year, Emma."

"Wow.  And he's cute too," Jasmine said.  Emma giggled.  Madeline took them inside for a snack and to call Jasmine's mother about her jacket situation.

The two John's shared a look.  Girls, they had no idea about what they thinking.

Someone pulled up a few hours later, while they were enjoying the peace and quiet because Sam and Xander were training/building things to train on.  The man parked in the driveway and got out, smiling at them.  "Are you the owner of this house, gentlemen?"

"He's in the woods," Jon said.  "Xander!" he bellowed.  Xander came jogging out a few minutes later.  "He is."

He stared at him.  "You're very young to own a house."

Xander stared back.  "Kinda but yay.  Is there a problem?"

"Sir, the government is buying this house via eminent domain.  I'm here to present papers."

"Um, yeah, we're here because we kinda work for the same people."  The lawyer looked confused.  "Let's call the general."

John called him on his cellphone.  "Walter, Sheppard.  I need Landry please.  Thank you."  He put him on speaker.

"This is General Landry, Colonel.  Is there a problem?"

"Slight one, sir.  Someone's here to claim Xander's house via eminent domain?"

"Sir, I was told all the houses in this neighborhood were to be cleared."  He knew the general's voice.

"Some of our people are already there, Mr. Henders.  There's only two houses that aren't owned by us at the moment."

"Oh, I see.  The firm thought the others weren't.  I'll have to correct that."

"I'll be at the boys' house in an hour.  Meet me there then."

"Yes, General.  Thank you."

"Not a problem."  He hung up.

John put his cellphone back with a smile.  "Xander's kind of pre-approved for a special project among us."

"I don't need to know, Colonel.  I'll be back in about an hour to talk to the general."  He got in his car and left.

Xander looked at Jon.  "Was he a bit creepy?"

"Yeah but he's a lawyer."

"Not that sort of creepy."  They both stared at him.  "I don't know what it was."  He went inside to look at something.  Sam was being led in the back door by Jensen, holding his head.  "You fall or a vision?"

"I fucking hate visions," Sam complained.  They got him situated on the couch with a new packet of headache powder in some tea.  Sam drifted off, getting comfortable.  Jensen hugged Xander and bounced off again.

Xander went back outside.  "Sam's on the couch.  He had a vision."

"That's cool," John said.  "It's a pretty day for November."

"It is, yeah."  They watched as the two girls ran shrieking from the house in bathing suits and flip flops.  "We should stop them, right?"

"Yeah, probably," John said.  "Um, parental units?" he called.

"Madeline!" Jon called, standing up.  Nothing. One of the other women came to the door but she wasn't Jasmine's mother.  Jon pointed.

"You stop them since I can't."  They nodded, going to corral the girls back inside.  She went in to call up the street.

Jasmine's mother stomped up there as they got the girls back inside.  "What is wrong with you?  Can't you see they're kids?" she demanded of Jon.

"Sure, they're kids who were just wearing a bathing suit outside in this balmy fifty-two degree weather."  She growled.  "I tried to tell Madeline but apparently she couldn't hear this time."  He walked off.

Xander shrugged.  "They were already blue."  He walked John off.  "I'm planning on making Yule dinner.  Are you going to be here?"

"I think I will be, not real sure.  I can check."  He grinned.  "That was a nice herding action.  Your training's going well."

Xander smiled.  "Sometimes."  They went inside to the kitchen to wait.  Xander made coffee for them since it was really chilly.

Jon went to answer the door when Madeline came over.  "She's got PMS?"

"Yes," she muttered.  "Perpetually.  She's one of *those* mothers."  Jon smirked.  "Thank you for herding them inside, boys.  Especially without making them feel scared."  John smiled at her too.  "I'll do what I can to stop Jasmine's mother from being that way."

"Did they tie you up?" Jon asked.  "Your wrist is raw."

"Duct taped me.  Jasmine thought it'd be fun."

Xander pulled her in and got the first aid kit, putting some cream on the marks.  "Sam's going to be going to med school," Xander said proudly.

"Aww."  She left, going to spread that news around.  And teach her daughter that duct tape was not a good play toy.

Jon looked at Xander.  "Think they'll dote on him?"

"Yup.  He's smart and the sort of boy mothers like."

"Good point."  The lawyer showed up.  The general showed up.  John let them in without an invitation, which meant the lawyer couldn't come in.

Xander stared at him.  "Swear peacefulness," he ordered.  The demon stared at him.  Xander stared back, lowering his mental shields.  "Now."  He mumbled something and the wards let him in.  "Thank you."  He firmed back up his mental shields and finished making them all a snack.  He presented them to the general with a grin.

"Thank you, Xander."

"Welcome."  He walked off to check on Sam then took John back to his room to go over an idea.  The general and the lawyer went over which houses weren't theirs and which ones had been bought from them specifically.  The team's houses and this one, McKay's new huge house.  The other one in that cul-de-sac they could debate about for a while.  It was an older woman who lived there and most of the people on base didn't need something that large.  When someone showed up, Sam got up to get the door, still holding his head.

"Sir, our employer said we should get a Colonel Sheppard to check things before we finished up.  We were told he was here?"

"Yeah," he said quietly.  "John?"  He came out.  "Rodney's construction people."

"Let me grab my jacket," he said, grabbing it and following him out.  They talked on the short walk.  It was time for the final homeowner inspection.  John had explicit instructions from McKay on how things were meant to be and what colors they should be.  Only a few things needed corrected, one room was white instead of very pale green and things like that.  One window wouldn't meet perfectly to lock so they had to fix that.

The alarm system wasn't installed yet but the company was coming out to connect the wires they had run to the boxes and computer for them the next day.  The construction crew leader took notes and said they'd be fixed by Friday.  John promised he'd be at the boy's house most of that day.  He didn't have meetings.  They shook hands and John went back there.  He saw Jasmine pouting in the playground by herself.  "You should still be wearing a jacket."

"My mommy said I know when I'm cold."

"That's why you're blue," he said dryly.  "You look like a smurf."  She glared.  He stared back.  "The other one grounded?"

"Yes," she huffed.  "Her mommy's totally unreasonable.  Just because we duct taped her to a chair...."

"Uh-huh.  Go get warm.  Before you get sick."  She pouted.  "No other kids?"

"They won't play with me.  They're older."

"Go put on a jacket and I'll help Jon put up the basketball hoop he was wanting."  She grinned, grabbing her jacket.  "O'Neill, let's put up this hoop," he called.  The lawyer's car was gone and so was the general.  Jon came down from his place and opened the garage to get the ladder out.  "You can wait inside so you're out of the wind."  She stepped in and quit shivering.  He and Jon shared a look as they put the hoop up.  Jon ran up to get the ball.  "The secret to staying warm like soldiers do is to wear more layers," he said quietly.  "You wear a short sleeve shirt under a sweater under your jacket.  You make sure no skin shows because that'll get cold first and then make the rest of you chilly. And you always wear dry socks."

She smiled.  "Thank you," she said quietly.

"You're welcome."  He took the ball from Jon, and the pump to blow it up.  He gave it a few test bounces then they taught her to throw baskets.   When she was started to shiver even inside her jacket, John walked her home.  Some uppity mother was not going to upset him.  "Sir," he said, smiling at the father getting out.  She ran over to pelt him with a hug.  "She was out alone so we taught her to play some basketball."

"You're freezing," he complained.

"Yeah, they were having some jacketless time earlier."  He smirked.  "You might also talk to Emma's mom about duct tape."  Jasmine ducked her head, looking sheepishly at her father.

He stared at her.  "You duct taped Emma's mother?"

"Mommy said she was being a stupid whiner."

"Your mother and I are going to have a talk.  Thank you, Colonel."

"Not a problem.  She's a good girl."  He smiled at her.  "Remember what I said about layers.  That way you don't get as chilly."

"We're from Texas, sir."

"I perfectly understand," John assured him with a grin.  "I told her how to layer a t-shirt and sweater so she'd be warmer."

"That's helpful, yeah."  He walked her inside.

John walked off, happy that hopefully the kid had one non-reactionary parent.  He found Emma with the ball.  "Aren't you grounded?"

"Mommy and Daddy are making cooing eyes at each other."  She grinned.  "He told me he needed some mommy time."  John nodded, teaching her how to shoot baskets.  She wasn't bad for four, but she needed a lower basketball hoop to make shots.  She was good at dribbling though.  Jon brought out cocoa and they sipped then went back to playing.   They couldn't do that with Jasmine, her mother would freak out and probably call the cops on them.

Emma's father came over.  "Your mother said you were grounded.  Hi, Colonel."

"Hey."  He shook his hand.  "She said you made her give you some privacy."

"She did."  He picked his girl up.  "Now toss it."  She tossed the ball and it went in, making her cheer.  "We'll put a smaller hoop in the playground area."  He walked her off.  "You two should get inside before you become icicles, sir."

"We are."  They headed into the kitchen, finding Xander cooking.  John hugged Xander, who hugged him back for warmth.  "Ah, warm."  Xander snickered, pinching him.  But it was nice and warm in the kitchen since Xander was making muffins.  Jon was standing next to the stove.

Sam walked in, staring at them.  "Want me to make some coffee?"  Xander pointed at the pot.  They got some and warmed up, eventually able to shed a layer of sweater down to t-shirts.

"What do you have the thermostat set at, Xander?" John asked, going to check it.  "That's going to yank your heating bill."

"We have a propane heat system and the tank's full.  They set that level.  I suggested sixty."

"Sixty's a bit chilly but sixty-four is a good temp."  He set that and the heater finally kicked off.  "That should help."  He came back.  "It's set to stay about sixty-four all the time."

"Cool."  Xander took a cheek nuzzle.  "Sam, check the muffins?"

Sam looked and took them out.  "The darker side of golden brown."

John nodded.  "That's about right for muffins."  He helped with dinner, making them all eat real food tonight.  Xander wasn't doing too bad though. The cooking lessons everyone had given them had paid off.  They settled in to eat on the couch and watch the news and then fight over what was next.  It was a good pack night.


Sam looked up from changing his oil on Saturday, smiling at the parent walking over.  "What's up?"

"Which high school is the local one?"

"I don't know.  We go to Mountain.  There's one about four miles that way," he said with a point.  "We decided not to change."

"Hmm.  So you don't know where the bus stop is?"

"'Fraid not, ma'am.  I can ask the school on Monday."

"Please do, Sam.  Thank you."  She smiled.  "You like cars?"

"My whole family likes cars.  We have a cherry condition Impala that was my father's and is now in my brother's greedy hands.  This is Xander's."  He grinned.  "He can't do car stuff but he does some construction stuff."

"That's wonderful.  A good split.  Don't you two have parents living here?"

"No, but he's emancipated and we're both nearly eighteen," he offered.  She smiled at him.  "We don't throw parties or anything."

"That's fine, boys.  Are you working at the mountain?"

"Special sub-project," Xander said as he came out with a bottle of water for Sam.

"I guess that's a good thing."  She smiled again.  "Do you know where the bus stop is?"

"There's supposed to be one at the road," he said with a point at the main road.  "But I don't know which school it goes to."

"I can check on that."

"We can ask someone Monday," Sam assured her.  "Xander has detention anyway."

Xander shrugged.  "I caught a bully complaining at a geek who wouldn't do his homework and threatening him so I kindly dangled him out a window to prove how wrong that was."  He grinned sweetly.

She laughed.  "Bullies have always been a problem."

"Yeah but it doesn't mean we have to put up with 'em," Sam said.  "Hi, Jasmine."

"Hi, Sam.  What're you doing?"

"I'm changing the oil in the car."  Xander went inside and got a stool, bringing it out to let her watch.  The mother smiled and walked off.  Jasmine sat and watched, letting him explain what he was doing.  He was going to do a tune up too.  It was never too young to teach practical skills.  Xander was outside carving things.  "Ornaments?"

"Toys.  There's a toy drive at the school," he said.  Jasmine looked.  "I'm using a really sharp knife, Jasmine.  You can't help me."

"Okay."  She went back to watching Sam.  He did neat things and maybe they'd help her play some basketball later.  They had the new shorter hoop and no one was around to play.

Xander looked over at the playground.  "Looks like we had more big kids move in."

She grimaced.  "They don't want us little kids around.  We get in the way."

"I think if we presented it right it might help," Sam said with a wink.

She wiggled and grinned, watching him climb under the car to get the drain plug back in.  "What're you' doing?" she asked.

"There's a little rubber plug that keeps the oil in," he told her.  "We have to put it back in place so we can pour in clean oil."


"Like when the washer drains and spins," Xander told her.

"Oh!"  She nodded.  "So you're draining the oil to put in new oil like the washer does with water!"  Xander nodded.  "That's neat."

"There's all sorts of neat stuff about cars," Sam promised, coming back out.  He was grinning.  "When you're older, you'll get to drive so you need to know how to take care of your car."  She nodded.  He poured in the new oil and got to work on the tune up.  She was watching in awe.

Pooch came over.  "Tune up?" he guessed.

"Yup.  Pooch, this is Jasmine.  Pooch lives on the other loop, on the backside of the woods."

"Hi," she said with a smile and a wave.

"Hi, Jasmine."  He got under the hood to help Sam.  "Ours are all running at peak because I'm magnificent."

Sam grinned.  "Ours was starting to run a bit rough but Jon's really needs worked on later."

"We can see what it needs."  They finished up quickly and she pouted at them.  "We're doing Jon's car later."

"He had an appointment thing at the college," Xander said.  He looked up from his carving.  "There's a toy drive at the school in a few days."

"Interesting."  He came over to see.  "Train?"


"Nice outline."  Xander grinned and got back to work.  "Clay was looking for you."

"I'll go find him after I finish this.  Because I have a load of homework to do tomorrow."

"Okay."  He heard a sputtering and looked.  "Yeah, Jon's car needs some serious attention."  He moved the girl and the stool, pointing at the spot.  Jon parked and got out.  "What did you do to it?"

"Got into an accident yesterday when someone ran a light," he complained.

"It was sputtering before then," Sam assured him.  They popped his hood and got into it.  Jasmine got down and moved her stool but Pooch moved it to the space between the cars.

"I can't see," she complained.  Sam helped her move it somewhere easier and she climbed back up to sit down.  "Hi, Jonny."

"Hi, Jasmine."  He watched Xander.  "Toy fair," he moaned, going inside.  "I'm buying some puzzles later."

"Cool."  Xander went back to carving.  The kids might think it was old fashioned but a toy was a toy.  "Jasmine, tell us when you get cold and you can hide in the garage as long as you don't touch anything."

"Okay, Xander."  They heard the cheering and noise from the playground and looked.  She sighed.  "I wanted to swing."

"You can go swing," Jon promised.  "I can take you over to make sure you can swing."

"Maybe."  She got down and walked off with him.  "Can I swing?" she called.

"The swings aren't near the court but stay off the monkey bars in case we knock the ball and it hurts you," one called.  She smiled at him and nodded.  He nodded at Jon.  He went to the same high school.  "We're worried they'll get hurt."

"I can agree to that."  He held the swing for her and gave her a push, making her giggle.   "That guy with Sam is Pooch, who's a transpo expert.  If you guys like engines, talk to him about that stuff."  They went to talk to him.  Most of them liked cars enough to want their own.  Pooch was happy to give opinions on their wanted rides and explain what sort of maintenance nightmare most were.  Emma came running over and hopped in a swing too, giving Jon a pointed look so he pushed both girls.  They both giggled and swung until he was tired.  Then they went to climb all over the 'fort with ramps, ladders, and nets' system.   Jon let them play, going back to the house.  "Don't get too cold, girls."  They nodded.

Jasmine's mother showed up an hour later.  "What are you doing?" she demanded.  The girls had snuck over to see what the bigger kids were doing.

"Learning about cars for when I have my own, mommy."

"We pay people for that."

"Some girls don't," Pooch said.  "I know plenty of good female mechanics.  Besides, everyone should be able to do the basics."

"Are you military?" she demanded.

"Yes, ma'am, I'm Spec Ops."  She blanched.  He grinned.  "I'm a transportation expert actually.  It's good for all kids to know how to do the basics.  Saves money and if they break down at night they're not helpless on some dark road."

Jon nodded.  "It helps me sometimes."  He was taking lessons too.  He wasn't that great with engines.  Planes yes, cars no.

Xander looked up from carving.   "She was watching Sam change my oil earlier."  He held it up.  "What do you girls think?  Think the toy fair will like it?"

"It needs paint," Jasmine said.

"I know.  I was going to paint it like one of the old time trains."  The girls grinned.  "I need to do some work on the wheels so they're more independent but you think they'll like trains?"

"I would," Jasmine said.  "Because they can take barbies on huge trips around special places.  Or they can carry horses and cows or all sorts of stuff."

"I've seen trains do that," he assured her.  She grinned. "Go home."  She nodded, going with her mother, who was complaining she had gotten dirty.  Xander watched them, muttering how someone needed meds.  Emma giggled.  "Don't repeat that, Emma, please?"

"I won't.  My mommy says the same thing."  She hugged him and went back to watching.  Jasmine's stool was conveniently still placed so she sat on it, looking over one boy's arms.  "Move," she complained.  "I wanna see."  They shifted so she could see.  "What's that part, Mr. Pooch?"

He pointed.  "This one?  That's the radiator, which makes sure the engine doesn't overheat.  You put water and antifreeze in it."  He checked.  "Jon, you're nearly dry."

"I put some water in last month."

"We need to switch to water/antifreeze mix."  He went to get some out of the garage and added it.  "Emma, you must never touch this stuff," he told her.  "It might smell okay but it's very dangerous.  All right?"  She nodded.  "Even if you see it on the ground, you tell your parents so they can cover it.  It's bad for you and bad for animals."

"Okay.  I can do that."  He grinned and the older kids smiled at that bit of teaching.  She grinned back.  "Someday I'm going to be really smart like Sam."

"Sam is what all kids hope to be," Xander agreed happily.  "Good grades, he's happy in sports, he's going to college."

"Wow," Emma said, looking at him.  "You're really smart."  He shrugged but he was grinning.  She watched Pooch fuss over the rest of the engine.  The boys were still asking questions about stupid cars but that was fine.  She was learning a lot about not-stupid cars.

Clay walked around the garage.  "Boys."

"Hi, Mr. Clay," Emma said happily.  "Mr. Pooch is teaching us about cars."

"He's one of the best guys to teach you that stuff," he agreed.  "He does it very well, even in the field."  Pooch smirked at him.  "Boys, training."  Xander held up the train.  "Toy drive?" he guessed.  Xander nodded.  "Later?"

"Before I start on the homework of doom?  Definitely.  Maybe afterward too for a stress break."

"That's fine.  Your education has to come first."  He smirked.  "We want good grades."

"Last time I got B's.  That's really rare for me, Clay."

"I know."  He patted him on the head.  "The front needs smoothed flat."

"I noticed."  He got to work on that.  "I think I'll disconnect the wheels and just dowel them."  He went into the garage to drill the needed holes.  It'd save him some work and his sandpaper was in there.  "I need to start earlier next year," he said as he came out.

"You got ten or twelve done," Sam reminded him.  "All but painted."

"I was going to do that Monday."  He finished that one and got to work on a few cars.  "Flat cars you think?"

"It'd be easier for the kids to pretend to haul things around."  Xander nodded.  "Plus easier to carve."  Xander nodded that was true and got to work on making the block two flat cars.  He'd have to attach joining clamps but that was fine.  He had gotten some from the hobby shop.

Emma looked over.  "Wow.  That's a lot of shaving."

"Yeah but it's good and we can gather up the shavings to burn or as mulch for the trees."  She grinned.   "We'll do that later."  She nodded, getting back to the engine lessons.  It was starting to get late so the kids had to go in.  Emma watched for a while longer then her father called her for dinner.  She bounced over to tell him what she had learned today, which made him happy.  Xander knew that someone was staring at him in a pouty way so it didn't surprise him to see Jasmine standing there.  Her being pink faced and sniffly wasn't a good thing since she didn't have on a jacket.  "Jacket?" he asked quietly.

"Mommy put it where I couldn't reach it."  She leaned on his arm.  He put away the knife.  "What's that going to be?"

"Two flat cars for the train."

"Oh."  She nodded.  "Where's Emma?"

"She went in for dinner.  Want walked over?" Sam asked.  She nodded, still sniffling.  He took her hand to walk her across the street even though there was no traffic.  Emma's mother came to the door.  "Her mommy put her jacket up too high."

"Her mother needs drugs," she said.  Jasmine laughed and coughed.  "Get your butt inside and warm up.  Go snuggle up to Emma to get warmer faster."  She trudged inside.  "Thank you, Sam."

"Welcome.  Is it okay that Emma watched us work on Jon's car?"

"I don't mind in the least.  It's a practical skill more girls should learn."  He grinned and walked off.  She closed the door and checked Jasmine's forehead.  Her face was cold to the touch but her forehead was burning up.  She called her mother, no answer.  She called the Mountain to get her father.  "I have your daughter over here.  She's sick.  No jacket."

"Mommy put it up in the front closet and I couldn't reach it," Jasmine said quietly.

Emma hugged her.  "Your mommy shouldn't do that.  How else are you supposed to play?"

"She said I was making a mess and Mrs. Greenly is coming over today."

Emma's mother repeated that.  "Burning up.  Hon."  He got up and got the thermometer, knowing what she wanted.  She took it.  "One-oh-three.  I don't know; I called and she didn't answer.   Yeah, she can stay for a while."  She smiled.  The girl was trying hard not to cough.  "If you need to cough, cover your mouth with a napkin, Jasmine."  She watched.  "It's already yellowish, Bart," she said quietly.  "Not a problem."  She hung up and got her some soup.  Emma was in full fuss mode so that was good.  Her daughter was a good nurturer.   They got the poor thing on the couch with some blankets and a heating pad for her chest.  Her father said she didn't usually get fever reducers but she was still chilled.


Xander looked out at the flashing lights.  "That's at Emma's."  They stood in the doorway.  "Damn.  That's Jasmine."  He walked over.  "She didn't have a jacket on earlier, guys."

"We heard, sir."  Emma came out and Xander caught her.  The paramedic smiled.  "Thanks."

"This is hers," Emma said, holding it up.  "She can borrow it until I'm sick next time."

"I'll tell the nurse that, sweetheart."  He handed her the doll before getting in.  His partner closed the door and her father got in the front.

Emma looked at Xander.  "Will she be okay?"

"She'll be just fine.  It's probably just a really bad cold from not having her jacket."  She nodded, running back to her mother, who cuddled her.  Xander looked at her.  "Anything we can do?"  The ambulance took off.

"If you hear me screaming at her mother, make sure I don't rip her head off," she said quietly.

"I can do that too."  He grinned.  "They were very helpful earlier."  She smiled and nodded, cuddling her girl.  Xander went back home.  "Jasmine's sick."

"I'd like to thump her mother," Jon complained.

"I thought that's why there's the family auxiliary," Jensen said from the couch.  "To yell at people like that."

"Maybe," Jon agreed, looking up the base's information to see who ran that.

"Mrs. Greenly was who was supposedly coming over earlier," Xander said, sitting down again.

"I know her.  She's not the top wife.  The general's divorced.  Cam's single... Ellis has a wife," he said, considering it.  "What's-his-name in the other ship is divorced recently."

"Ask Walter," Jensen said.  "He'd know."  Jon nodded, calling his desk.  He was probably there.  He said he'd tell her that she needed to see if that family needed help and got back to work.

Jon sat down.  "He'll talk to whoever oversees family stuff."

"Good."  They settled in to watch tv while Jensen hacked and Xander watched what he was doing.  Jensen grinned at him when he caught him and taught him what he was doing.  So that was nice.  He even gave Xander some typing time to help.  Sam leaned over to get his own lessons in.  Jensen grinned and showed him what they were doing.  He was working on the Wilkins problem.  He hoped they had heard right and he was going to do the rite again.  There was always a doubt until you were sure.  Jensen compared his recent purchases against the manifest of what he needed for the rituals.  Then he went looking for the special ingredients, which were going to his house.  So someone there was doing the rituals.

"Is there any other reason those things could be used?" Jensen asked.

Sam got his own laptop to look them up.  "Gavrock have been used to distill their poison."  He kept looking.  "One other ritual and it's not good."  He let him see it.  "They only have other ingredient in common."

Xander looked.  "That's an earlier ritual in this one I think."  Sam looked farther and nodded.  He and Jensen shared a look.

"All the demons are expecting Xander to handle it," Sam warned quietly.

"I know.  We heard that."  Jensen grinned at them.  "We'll see."  They nodded and settled in to watch tv again.  They had months to work on Wilkins and the other problems.


Clay watched Xander run the obstacle course they had set up.  He was doing as good as most of the soldiers who lived around them.  Which wasn't good enough in Clay's book but he was getting better.  "Watch your footing," he called.  Xander, of course, tripped.  But he got back up and took off again with a sigh.  Clay shook his head.  "Do it faster, Xander."

"I'm exhausted."

"Why?  We've only been out here an hour."

Xander stopped to look at him, then at his watch, then at him.  "You're full of shit."  Clay glared.  "I've been out here since eight.  You've been out here two hours," he said dryly.  "Therefore I'm going to eat lunch and take a damn nap."  He walked off.

Clay looked at his watch.  "It has been two hours.  Huh."  He followed the kid.  "Is that why you tripped?"

"No, I tripped because I'm in the middle of my last growth spurt.  We big boys have those," he said sarcastically.

"I had my last one at fifteen."

Xander looked at him.  "I'm not that lucky.   I'll be in the middle of it for another five months."

"Oh.  Shoe size?"

"I'll probably go up another one.  Already went up one."

"Are you turning into a giant?"

"No," he said dryly.  "I'm turning into a bulky, big footed guy with goofy hair.  Or I did last time."

"There's no way we'll let you have hair like that.  Cougar barely gets his and that's because it helps keep the sunburn off his neck."

Xander looked at him.  "Just for that, I'm growing mine out into princess hair."  He tripped and got back up with a sigh.  He looked at his feet.  "Keep it up and I'm cutting you off."  He walked off again.

"Brush off.  You're covered in dead leaves and stuff."  Xander shook out his shirt and jacket.  "The other half too."

Xander grinned.  "I'm hoping there's someone who wants to brush that off for me."

"You're not going out tonight.  You did crap today."  Xander flipped him off.  "You were slower than you were last week."

Xander turned to look at him.  "Again, I was probably faster around eight, when you told me to be there."  He turned back around.  He walked up the back porch steps, going inside.  "Please let there be food?" he begged as he walked in.

"Only if you go shopping," Sam called.  "We didn't last night because of the studying."  He came out of his room.  "Which we still need to deal with."  Xander grimaced.

"What test?" Clay asked.

"Math," they said together.

"She's giving one right before we go on break," Sam told him.  "Did we get the stuff for the holiday meal?"

"No.  Not yet."  He grimaced.  "Let me check with the bank.  My trust check didn't hit my account yet."  He walked off to call the bank and bitch someone out if it wasn't there.  "Nope, it says it's there."  He went into his room and came out with his wallet, which was suspiciously full.

"You have an ATM in there?" Clay guessed.

"Some emergency funds stored in case it's not on my card since it was only put on yesterday."  Sam brushed him off as they walked out the door.  Clay followed.  "Are you helping us shop?"

"I probably should so you get something more than ham and potatoes."

"Maybe."  Xander got in to drive.  Sam got into the back because Clay beat him to the passenger's seat.  Xander drove them to the bigger market.  Which was full of people.  Xander whimpered.

"It'll be okay," Clay said dryly.

"Maybe."  They parked and got out, heading inside.  Xander checked his wallet, the money was still good.  He handed it to Sam, who grinned.  "In case."  Sam nodded.  The protections on him would protect it in case something was after Xander.  He was a bit paranoid.  Usually for a good reason.  They stared at the hams for a few minutes.  Xander finally went with a large one.

"Will that fit inside the oven?" Sam asked.

"Maybe not."  He got two smaller ones.  That should feed all of them.  Sam nodded that would work and they moved to look at vegetables.  Xander whimpered.  Sam got two bags of potatoes, which they'd all eat.  They seemed to live on them some nights.  They looked at the other vegetables, Sam picking up ears of corn.  Xander shrugged, he liked corn.

"Green bean casserole?" Clay asked.

Xander frowned.  "A what?"

"It's a holiday thing," Clay said.  "Green beans, cream of mushroom soup, those little crunchy onion things?  Jolene makes a good one."

"You lost me at beans," Xander admitted.  Clay smiled, going to find a can of the onion and showed him the picture on the front.  "Huh.  I've never seen those."

"I've seen some at diners," Sam admitted.  "Your parents didn't cook on the holidays?" he asked Xander.

Xander snorted.  "My parents, cook instead of drink?"

"Good point."  He shrugged.  "I guess we can try.  I can find a recipe."  He got what he needed for that according to Clay.  They walked off to look at stuffing boxes.  "What's the difference between the boxes and the bags?" he muttered.

"About a buck and a name?" Xander guessed, pointing at the cheapest one.

"That ones comes out crumbs," Sam told him.  "This one's good," he said, selecting another generic.  "I made this last week."

"Okay, I liked that.  Do we have one for ham?"

"Chicken was what we had."

"I guess if it'll work."

"Yeah, it should," he promised, putting in three boxes.  They kept going.  They picked up soda, bottles of water, and milk.  "Get extra for the mashed potatoes."  Xander nodded.  "We need butter or margarine too, and pie."  Xander picked up some of that and headed for the frozen case.

"You can make pies," Clay pointed out.  "Jolene can teach you how to make pie crusts."  Xander whimpered, shuddering.  "Okay."

"Not yet.  Frozen is good."  He looked.  "Apple?"  Sam nodded and they got four.  "Will all this fit in the freezer?"

"The hams can go in the fridge.  It's only six days," Sam told him.  "Well within their expiration date."  Xander nodded.  They checked out and Sam still had the wallet.  The money hadn't changed, and it was good.  They headed out to the car to pack the trunk.  Which was when the demon attacked.  Xander and Sam turned to defend Clay and the food.  It bellowed as it appeared, glaring at them.  "Oh, fuck you," Sam told it.  It appeared to everyone else, making them scream and run inside.

Xander grabbed his special dagger and lunged, beating the thing back.  Sam flanked him and it finally went down, tripping over a VW sedan.  It tried to get up but Clay shot it.  Clay looked at them.  "Guns, boys.  Guns."

Sam shrugged.  "You can get in trouble for discharging a firearm in public."

"I doubt we will be."  Xander stabbed it, making sure it was dead.  "Xander," he complained.

"It took silver."

"Fine."  Police cars sped up and they went to close the trunk.  One stomped over.  "It attacked."

Xander checked his wallet and handed it back to Sam.  Sam grinned at him.  Xander looked at the huffy officer.  "It attacked us first."

"What.  Is.  It?" he demanded.

"Demon," Sam said.  The officer snorted.  He pointed.  "If you can't call it a bear, and it's not natural, and had to be killed by silver, it's a demon."

The officer groaned, walking off.

Xander followed, looking at it.  "Someone sent it."

"I don't want to know," the officer assured him.

"Okay.  We're picking up the Yule dinner.  Can we go?"  He nodded so they ran back to the car and headed back.

The officer glared, calling in the DNR people to come gather the remains.  They didn't know what it was either.  They hated the demon label just as much as he did.  His boss hated it too.  They realized that it was Harris and decided to ignore him totally for a while.


Jolene was waiting when the boys came back from school on Monday.  Xander held up a hand.  "It's been a craptastic day.  The math teacher is a fucking bitch.  She threw a standarized test that we haven't seen stuff on; in my class that was most of it.  I'm going to go downstairs and scream."

"There's better ways of getting that out, Xander."

"No, there's not."

"Yeah there is."  She smiled.  "Drop things and come back."  He sighed but did that.  Sam looked furious.  "You can protest if you've never seen it."

"We have.  Every single class did.  It might not matter.  If it does, we'll have a new test our first day back and she'll be pissed off."

"Drop stuff and come back to wash your hands."  He nodded, doing it with a sigh.  She smiled.  "You two are so alike sometimes."  Xander came back first.  "Flour and things?"  He pointed at that cabinet.  She looked.  "That'll work but it's not the best stuff."  She called home.  "Pooch, bring me stuff to do some dough work."  She hung up.  "Wash up.  You can't cook with dirty hands and fingers."  He nodded, doing that with the dish soap.  Sam came out to do the same.  Pooch walked in and handed over things.  "Thank you."  She kissed him.  "Their teacher pulled a damn dirty trick."

"We heard.  Jon called to complain earlier and warn us that they weren't in a good mood."  Both boys nodded.  "Have fun, boys."  He left.

Jolene measured out things.  "There, pour in the water."  They did that.  She had given each of them their own bowl.  "Mix them.  You can use your hands."

Xander looked at her.  "Why are we making dough?"

"It's wonderful when you're in a bad mood.  You too, Sam."  He nodded, getting his hands in there to mix the flour and liquids around.  "When it's a sticky ball, we'll pull it together."  They did and she showed them how to make it a ball and let it rest for a while.  She found pans but no bread pans so they could make baguettes instead she decided.  When it had been a half hour she taught them how to punch it down.

They put it back and she went over their plans for the holiday dinner.  When it was time, she taught them to knead it.  "When you overwork it, it gets really tough so plan ahead for that."  They nodded and Xander was seriously working the bread.  "If we have to, we'll make yours into croutons, Xander."  He grinned slightly but it was therapeutic.   Even Sam was getting into the exercise.

Finally Xander gave up and sat down.  "Let's form it into ropes so it can bake into bread," she ordered.  They did that and put it in the oven.  She went over what they had bought.  They needed something.  She called Cougar to come watch the bread and make sure it didn't burn the house down.  She was taking the boys to the grocery store.  Xander had his check card so it was all right.  He had used it earlier and it worked.  She noticed Xander tried to avoid the vegetables.  "Didn't you grow up around them?"

"Which is why I hate them now."

"Uh-huh.  You need some to stay strong."  She taught them how to pick various fruits and vegetables.  Xander shied away from lettuce but Sam picked out some romaine.  Xander grimaced.  "You liked that one," she reminded him.  "That's what I put on the sandwiches last Sunday, Xander."  He shrugged, getting a bit pouty.  She walked them to the fruit section and he perked up some at those.

"You can get some frozen but they usually end up a bit mushy.  They're good for things but not for pretty things like pies."  She let Xander get what he wanted and changed one out because it had a bad berry.  She showed them the frozen vegetables and Sam got something for breakfast.  She glared.  "Do you need that, Sam?"

"Yes.  They make a good breakfast," he said.

"So do Hot Pockets," Xander agreed.  She snorted, taking them to check out.  Xander sighed in pleasure when his card worked.  Sam gave him a pointed look.  "You know I'm paranoid about someone trying to say something about my trust fund."

"I know.  I doubt they would."

"You never know what someone might protest."

"I know."  They took the bags to the car, not arguing when she got to drive.  Pooch would kick their butts if they argued with Jolene.  She drove them home, helping them stuff things into the fridge and the freezer, which was full.

"Four pies?" she asked.

"Yeah, because it'll be us, Jon, any pack members that make it here," Sam said.  "The guys you're not feeding."

"Oh."  She nodded.  "Then four might not be enough.  Jensen can eat a whole pie himself."

"They can bring more if they want," Xander said with a grin.

She pinched him and moved them to the bread Cougar had left cooling on the stovetop.  "There, let's try this.  Warm bread is some of the best stuff in the world."  She showed them how to cut it and they got the butter out, Xander warming up a stick for ten seconds so it could be spread easily.  They ate some and Sam moaned, nodding.  She grinned.  "It's the best reward and a great workout when you need to defeat a bad temper."   She pinched them both on the cheek and nibbled hers.  "Now, you can see the difference between Xander's and yours, Sam.  Whatever's left we can even use for stuffing."  Sam pointed at the cabinet, looking confused.  She snorted.  "You did not buy boxed crap."

"We like the boxed crap," Sam told her.  "It's nice tasting and it's better than some stuff I had at the diners."

She nearly cooed because he looked so confused.  "You can make your own, that way it has stuff you want in it."

"That would require spices and herby stuff, which we don't really have outside of meditation herbs," Xander said.

"This year it'll be fine.  Next year, we'll try to get you up to making your own."  They nodded and got some more bread.  Sam mixed some cinnamon and sugar, sharing it among them.  That made it even better.  Pooch and Clay walked in.  "Boys, they made bread to fix their tempers."

Clay got himself some and the cinnamon sugar mix, nodding.  "Which one of you had the worse temper?"  Sam pointed at Xander, who was waving a hand.  "You can tell but it's good."  He tried the other one.  It was harder but he didn't say anything.  Pooch didn't either.  It might start Sam off on a lifelong hatred of cooking.  "What did you two do to the teacher?"

"Every single student protested," Sam said.  "But we didn't do a thing to her."

"I only growled," Xander said.  "Because nothing on our test was covered."

"Only half of mine was and I'm in calculus.  I'm not sure Rodney could've passed that one."  He ate another bite, taking some of Xander's.  "That is a bit tougher but good.  The chewy is good.  More filling."   He fixed it and it was good.  Xander got some of Sam's and it was better.  Jensen and Cougar came over.  Roque followed a few minutes later.  "Jolene taught us how to make bread before we went after the math teacher."

"She said she did it on purpose.  She was in a stand-off at a mall in front of some Santa exhibit.  Said she hated you kids and she had done it on purpose.  That it would have to stand and she would've ruined more of you little brats' futures," Roque told them, sounding dry and sarcastic.  "Then she tried to traumatize the kids there but the Santa and elves had gotten them out of the way and into a shop."

"Damn," Sam said, earning a kick from Jolene.  "She was whacked in the head."

Xander nodded.  "Very whacked."  He stuffed his mouth again.  "I wonder if that means we'll come back to a new math test."

"We can call MacNash and see," Sam said.  He found his phone and called the office.  He was gone so he called his house.  "Hi, Mrs. MacNash, it's a student of his and I wanted to ask a pretty simple question.  Thank you.  Hi, Principal MacNash.  If she did that earlier like we heard do we get a makeup?  I need to help Xander study," he said at the dirty remark he was getting.  He smiled.  "That's what we wanted to know so we could study instead of train.  Yeah, one of them's wife taught us to make bread.  Thank you.  Yup, thanks."  He hung up.  "He's not sure yet and he didn't hear about that yet."

"I'm sure he'll be getting a lot of calls later," Clay said.

"From the way he sounded he'd had a few already," Sam admitted.  Xander got online and sent something and then came back to his nibbling.  "This makes a pretty good lunch but we need cheese too."  He got some and came back to cut it up and let others take some.

"This used to be a workman's lunch back in history," Jolene said with a grin.  She nibbled hers.  "Hmm, nice sharp cheddar."

"Kraft," they said in unison.  She laughed. They nibbled and it was good.  They finished both loaves and she wrote down her recipe for them.  Sam tucked it into the binder they had in there of ones they had cut off things.

"We'll get you boys a real cookbook for single boys," she told them.  They grinned.  "Have you christmas shopped yet?  You don't want to wait until the last minute like my man and Clay do."

"We got each other little things and shipped off the stuff to the pack members in other areas since almost no one could get out this year," Xander said.  "Including sending John, Rodney, Ronon, and Evan some, and for their female pack member since they talk about her a lot."

"It was hard finding some all natural shampoo and things," Sam told her.  "We thought she'd like it.  We even remembered not to send citrus stuff so it wouldn't set off Rodney's allergies."

"We went with pine scents and flower scents because I wasn't sure which one she'd like more," Xander agreed.  "We got her a set each.  Evan got a guy's gift pack.  Rodney got candy.  Without peanuts and citrus stuff.  It has one peanut butter one but I put a post-it on top so he could give that one to someone and it's all unnatural peanut butter.  And if not, John got other candy so they can trade."

"Ronon got a new set of knives," Sam said with a grin.  "Roque helped us pick them out."  Roque smirked.  "According to John he's a massive warrior who almost never talks and grunts sometimes but he almost always has a lot of knives."

She smiled.  "Sounds like you picked well, boys."  They grinned.  "Finish up.  That way you can get some studying in before Clay starts on you again tomorrow."  They nodded and finished up, Sam losing the coin toss so he had to do the dishes.  She smiled at them for that.  She and Pooch walked off.

Clay looked at them.  "Xander, why are you so worried?" he asked quietly.

"Because I've seen three Wolfram and Hart lawyers recently and one hinted that they knew who I was."

"Do we think they'll try something?" Clay asked.  Xander nodded.  "Why?"

"Because it's Wolfram and Hart and I have the potential to screw up a lot of stuff for them."  They shared a look.  "I'm working on it."

"I figured you were.  You're going to let us help," Jensen ordered.

"Sure, when I get to that point," Xander said with a grin.  He went back to nibbling on stuff from the fridge as he walked off.  "I guess we'll cook yule on Saturday?"

"Works for me," Jensen agreed.  Cougar nodded that was fine with him too.  They shared a grin.  They'd be on hand for emergencies.  Clay walked off shaking his head.  Jensen waited until Roque and left too then followed Xander back to his room.  "I've been hacking them."

"They know.  They have a slightly magically active system that sent up an alarm."  He took a hug.  "It'll work.  I know it will."

"If you're sure."

"Yup.  I'm only not sure how we won't be caught and get in trouble."

Jensen smirked.  "For that you definitely need me."  He winked and went back to their house.  Cougar followed.  Jensen went to his room to look over the Wolfram and Hart system again.  He had Xander's computer, which had magical protections on it being hacked, which is why no one could.  He had permissions and could find the passwords to the parts he didn't usually have access to.  He'd have to share that with McKay since it had frustrated him to no end.  What he saw was really not all that subtle of Xander but he was seeing a thread that Xander had unsubtly unraveled and that he had a subtle trail going too.  "Interesting."  He pushed his glasses up his nose and followed that thread.  It led many interesting places that he printed and saved down.  Wolfram and Hart was a bad idea on many levels.


John smiled when he was handed the bag of presents from the pack members.  The ones in Miami and New York had sent him stuff too.  It was sweet of them.  He walked them back to where his team was eating dinner, putting it on the table.  He sat down and dug into the bag, handing over things.  "Rodney, you need to have someone take out a single candy.  The note says they used faux peanut butter."

He turned over the package to look at the ingredients, nodding.  "I can handle that."  He looked at the other one.  "Major Lorne, they sent you something," he called.  He came jogging over from the other side of the mess hall, going back to his seat.  Teyla smiled when she got one.  Ronon too.

"Do we have to give one back?" Teyla asked with a smile.

"No, it's not necessary," John said, grinning at her.  "Ronon, yours was heavier than it looks."

"Is there some sort of ritual to gift opening?" Ronon asked.

"You can wait until Christmas day or do it now," John offered.  "We're not really decorated for it."  Ronon opened his, moaning in pleasure when he opened the wooden case.

"They certainly picked well," Rodney teased with a smirk.  There was a set of four knives.  Two larger combat style knives, two smaller hidden knives.  They were already sharp and a new whetstone had been included with a bottle of polishing oil.  "What did you get, Teyla?"

She opened hers, smiling.  "Bathing products."  She looked them over.  "Make sure you don't get sick from these, Rodney.  If so I'll trade off that scent."  He sniffed them, sneezing at one.  She put that one aside and the rest he just smiled about.  She sniffed some.  "They smell very strong but very clean.  I will trade off that bottle."  She put it into her bag.  "What did you get, John?"

"I got some stuff from the other pack members and from the trio in Colorado Springs."  He opened his main present, smiling at it.  "I got a new PDA and the note says Sam and Jensen preloaded it with e-books and things."  Rodney took it to look over.  "Hey."  He took it back.  "It's got the software CD's too so you can copy off them if you need to."

"I might like that."  He looked over the inventory list.  "You have extra cards so probably more selection or games."  John smirked and nodded.  "That was very nice of them."

"It was," Teyla agreed.  She had no idea what an e-book was or what a PDA was for but it was a nice, shiny present that John liked.

Rodney smirked at his large box of candy.  He could let someone pick out that one piece later for him.  Then he'd get his hands on the new books to see what was in there.  "Anything scientific?"

"The new one by Otto and the one by Hawkings."  He grinned.  He put it into the box and looked at the other things.  "Aww, Don got me some new t-shirts and socks.  Danny got me some videos."  He looked.  "From Miami I got sauces because I told Speed things sometimes tasted disgusting.  Ryan gave me bags of snack mixes."  He looked in the other one.  "From Las Vegas I got.... oooh, I got some really great movies from David."  He put them back.  "Dean sent me candy.  Cougar sent me a gun cleaning kit."  He grinned.  "I love the pack."

"They do seem quite nice," Teyla said.

Ronon nodded.  "Xander's a bit strange but a good warrior sort.  Young and bouncy."

John grinned.  "You should see him and Jensen together playing pranks."  He dug into his dinner.  It was a nice night.  They were having a holiday dinner, supposedly.  The artificial, alien turkey wasn't quite the same.  Tasted more like pigeon to John.  But it worked and it was nice.


The day after New Year's, Xander walked into an office, waving a letter.  "I got a mealy minded whine from one of yours for no reason, ma'am.  May I talk to your idiot please?"

She took the letter.  "It looks like something's wrong, sir."  She smiled.  "I can get him for you."

"Considering he has nothing to do with my trust, that might be a good idea, yes.  Because I've already filed charges against him."  He smiled.  She shivered but called.  The lawyer and an older demonic lawyer came out.  Xander knew he was a demon.  He could feel him trying him.  "First, I'm blocked so your pathetic attempts aren't going to work," he told that one.  He looked at the other one.  "Second, the FBI wants to know why you're trying to get into my trust when you have no business being in it."  The lesser lawyer laughed.  "I don't think it's funny and nothing in it is in this law firm's hands, or your masters' hands."  He stared at him.

"Mr. Harris," the upper lawyer said.  "We should take this somewhere more private."

"If we do I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to break into my old life."  He grinned.  "I'm not the nice fairy.  I think you're pushing me that way and it's always a bad idea."

"We know who you are," he said.

"Really?  All of who I was?"  The older lawyer nodded.  "Then recite some facts, dear."

"You're Alexander Lavelle Harris, born in 1981."


"Excuse me?"

"Wrong.  I wasn't born in 81.  My birth certificate is a forgery put into the system by Willow when we were ten.  Keep going."  He waved a hand.  "You think you know me, prove it, because I'm pretty sure you don't."  He smirked and crossed his arms over his chest.

"You're from a hellmouth."

"Yes I am.  Keep going."

"You're a medium."

"Not fully right."

He stared.  "You've been possessed and kept memories."  Xander nodded, waving a hand.  "You're not shaman trained."

"Wrong.  Took it in Africa."  He smirked.  He stared at him.  "Keep going."

"You backed up that annoying bitch Buffy for a few years before she sent you out on your own."


"Excuse me?" he demanded.

"Very actually.  See, I went to Africa on my own because I got tired of the girl fits.  I needed to grieve, to train, to do a lot of things before I died in an apocalypse, but she didn't send me off.  She fought damn hard a few times to get me back."  He stepped closer.  "She also finally understood after the Winchester apocalypse attempt.  After we had handled it without her."  The higher demon swallowed.  "She never really saw the real me and what I was capable of.  Neither did Willow and I grew up with that one."  He smirked.  "Keep going."

"You trained slayers in a minimal fashion and sent them to Cleveland for the rest."  Xander shook his head.  "You sent most of them."

"I sent them to change them out to get them varied environment.  A lot of the natural living slayers only needed told the different classifications.  They were a lot better at it than Buffy was because she only knew how to hunt in a mall.  Keep going."

"You were tragically maimed during one apocalypse, making you lose a leg just below the hip joint.  You retired."

"No.  I was in six apocalypses after I lost that leg.  And the losing of the leg was because one of you sent something at me during the battle."  He smiled.  "Also, you forgot a few things.  Like seer."  The man stepped back, looking alarmed.  "I'm actually a stronger seer than Winchester ever will be," he said quietly.  "Secondly," he said smugly.  "You forgot my other title."

"The White Knight?" he sneered.

"No, the other one."  He stared at him.  Then up.  "I can tell you're listening."  He looked at the higher demon again.  "Keep going if you want."

"You're going to destabilize things."

Xander shook his head.  "No, I'm not.  I'm saving a lot of people's lives."

"Things will still happen," the lesser one said, staring him down.

Xander snickered.  "I know.  With each changing event, something new pops up on the strings.  Yay.  Also, you might not have heard, but I got my *other* name taking down the DeForest Guild."  The higher demon swallowed.  Xander stared at him.  "Keep going.  You've already built something based on the observations Buffy told Angel, who was a bit jealous of me in Sunnydale because he thought I wanted her."  He waved a hand.  "I wanna hear what you guys think."

"You're an arms dealer."

"Wrong, so very wrong," he said dryly.  "The FBI knows that."  He smirked.  "Including the one here."  The demon blinked a few times.  "Anything else you wanna try?  Because my trust doesn't go through you guys."

"Miss Emmerson," the lesser one started dryly.

"I've already talked to Anya here.  Yeah, she's a pretty girl but not my sort any longer.  I have tougher standards now and I wouldn't spoil her the way I did when she was mine there.  Also, the trust doesn't go through any demonic entity.  I made damn sure of it and that the demon bank didn't slip in anything ...controversial that I'd have to deal with."  He shifted his weight.  "Anything else you guys wanna try?  Because you guys just made my top ten list of things I wanna destroy this year."

"You'll never do anything," the upper lawyer said.

"Really?" Xander asked dryly.  "Hmm.  And yet...  Pity about the sacrificial circle you guys had downstairs.  And the hostages you guys were keeping to sacrifice."  The upper demon gaped then called someone.  Xander smirked at the lesser one.  "Also, I know the Anya here wouldn't have said a single thing considering I gave her something of more value.  Thirdly, you should've read the full file, dear.  I'm not the nice one of the Sunnydale Team.  That was actually Willow."

He smirked at the upper when he hung up looking pale and shaky.  "Did they tell you that the FBI loved to help me come free them after I killed the fourteen demons down there with calcium dust?  Or that they got very interested when I broke the circle by summoning Heladron to inform him of this problem of yours.  He basically snorted and said you guys were wooses he would've double crossed and took it with him.

"If you guys had read my file from my original world, you would've seen I did the same damn thing on my roadtrip when someone captured me to be the last sacrifice.  See, he's one of those who would love to possess me for a night or six.  Pity about all those souls that are now free and thirty-nine years of work going down the drain, dude.  I mean, it must suck since the Lords Wolf, Ram, and Hart will eat you for that failure.  I saw them do it the last time.  And laughed my ass off over it."

"How dare you!  We'll ruin you!" the upper one shouted.

Xander pulled out something, bouncing it in his hand.  "A demon who threatens me becomes a hunted one," he said smugly.  "We can start now."  He held up the thing.   "Geez, the things you learn in 2010."  He smirked.  The demon started to look scared.  "You didn't think I came alone, did you?"  He looked out there then at him.  "I believe that's an FBI agent."  He looked at the receptionist.  "You might get to flee but I'm not sure."  He looked at the lesser one.  "Your challenge to my trust means that you're an idiot.  I mean, there's no way it can be broken.  It was sent over by the Powers themselves.  Do you think they'd want it to be broken so I'd do to this set what I did to the that set?"

"Oh, dear," he murmured.

"Yeah, quite," he said, mimicking Giles' accent.  "Remember, I took lessons from some of the evilest mother fuckers on that plane, and off that plane."  He smirked.  "From supposedly good guys on down the line to true blooded psychos and people who could legitimately screw up the world.  I mean, even Castiel was more evil than you guys, if only because they had to teach him what a sensor of humor was."  He opened the door.  "All yours, Uncle Bob."  He put the device on the desk.  If Jensen had gotten a bad signal before he was now getting a perfectly clear one.   Xander leaned next to it.  "Can I make them fun toys?"

"No, Xander.  Sorry.  If they're in custody you can't hunt them down."

"Pity.  I haven't had to hunt through the woods in a while."  He stared at them.  Jensen said he only needed three minutes.  His watch's 'net connection beeped so he looked at it.  "Oh, well, lunch is nearly up."  He winked and grabbed the device, heading out.  "Gotta love it when the principal lets me have time off for doing this without needing an excuse."  He strolled off.  "You've been inadequate opponents.  Thank you."  He headed down the stairs and to his car, taking the longish drive back to school via a taco joint.  Fred would've been so happy with what he had just done.

Agent Fielders smirked at them.  "Let's go, gentlemen.  There's another sixty FBI agents outside waiting to rip your office apart."  The lesser one tried to move so he tazed him.  "I warned you."  He smirked at the older one.  Other agents came in and he cuffed them.  "Down the stairs.  Harris said they had the elevators rigged in case of being arrested."  The agents nodded, leading them off.  The receptionist too.  Agent Fielders nearly skipped off.  The higher ups would get a lot of fun and mileage out of this bust.  Even if the head of the FBI was some sort of peaceful demon.


Xander walked into Fielders office, staring at him then handing over the summons.  "I can't hack."

"You're learning from your pack member," he said dryly.

"Barely, and I can't hack banks.  It was nice someone put it in my name but I didn't hack it.  It came from the east coast from what Jensen said."

"We have more proof linking you."

"I'm not stupid enough to put it into my real name, Fielders.  Really!"  He stared at him.  "Do I look that dumb?  Hell, I've already got three fake ID's set up for necessary things."  The agent moaned, shaking his head.  "I would've put it into a totally unrelated fourth one or one of Dean's.  It wasn't me, it wasn't Jensen.  It wasn't one of McKay's hackers either."

"I need definitive information saying it wasn't you."

"Jensen's in the car."

He called him to come up.  And his boss.  Who was smirking at Xander.

Xander stared at him.  "I don't care if you're a peaceful demon.  I only deal with those causing problems.  It's the Sunnydale way."  He flinched.  "Do I really seem that dumb to you?"

"Someone gave it to you."

"Yeah, it'll help when I'm off fighting the rest of them next year."  He shrugged.  "Or the one at the end of this month who's going to try something major this spring."  Jensen was let in.  "He said it came from the east coast."

"It did," Jensen said, presenting the evidence.  "It's Willow."  He smirked at Xander.  "The people who took her are evil shits but they hate the competition and think you'll be a danger so they're trying to knock both down."

"Huh.  I'll deal with them later.  Even if she is like the Baroness from the movie," he sighed.

Jensen gave him a hug.  "We're a kick ass GI Joe force," he promised.  "Even if you do need more training."

Xander nodded.  "Now if only I had time for it between tests."

"He knows."  He smiled at the higher ups.  "He can't hack banks yet.  He can barely hack emails."  Xander nodded, sitting down.  The higher up looked at that information.  "So, can he keep it?"

"It was stolen," Fielders admitted.

Xander shook his head.  "Technically they never had the agency name on the accounts that I remember."  He looked at Jensen.

"No, the original account name was switched to his and then switched to the Caymans," Jensen said.  "Totally legal within the banking industry as a new trust fund."  He showed them that information.  "So he's not at fault."

The higher up grimaced.  "That is shady but legal.  It looks like it was done by one of their own."

"Of course it does.  She wouldn't want it coming back to bite her either," Jensen said with a grin.  "It's not a bad thing though.  I would've been even more subtle than she is.  Maybe made Xander an owner or something.  Senior partner, however that works."

"I'd have to shut down their germ lab first," Xander mused, considering the options.  "Then their people trafficking and weapons trafficking business.  Even though I like the second the first I love to destroy.  Then maybe the artifact business that keeps taking stuff that Daniel could really use.  Or John and them."  He looked at them and smiled.  "I could make some *wonderful* plans for them if we want us to go that way."

The higher up licked his lips, then shook his head.  "We'd rather destroy them in a way that was less fun, Harris."

"Pity."  He stood up.  "So, can I keep it?  I can maybe pay for Sam's education and stuff."

They shared a look.  "We need to make sure it's totally legal," Fielders said.

"Sure."  He grinned.  "Let us know soon?"

"Hopefully within two weeks," he assured them, shaking their hands.  "Thank you for being reasonable and unhuffy."

"I'm all about being reasonable and practical," Xander quipped, walking out with Jensen.  "We need a milkshake."

"We do," he agreed, going back to the house to make some and then training.

"I'll get our forensic accountant on that," the higher up decided, taking the information to that part of the office.  They were peaceful demons too and they actually were hoping for Harris to pull off a few miracles, but they'd do their duty as agents.


Xander got the good news and settled in with Clay to get his help with the plans he had for that extra cash.  Including a Winchester Relief Fund - for later Dawn clothes and shoe shopping of course.  And a Sammy Education Fund, which Sam would growl at.  John would too but yay!  Xander was back in evil-shits-be-gone mode and donated a whole bunch to a local children's charity.  The same one that he had signed Roque and Pooch up to take some of the kids shopping.  Roque had agreed afterwards, shopping was torture.  And they hadn't even been teenagers.  Xander was happy back in plotting mode.  Later that month he got to take a weekend off training to handle Wilkins and then he had the summer free.

Clay was watching Xander make plans.  "Training this summer," he said.  Xander gave him a funny look.  "Jensen gets that same damn look whenever he thinks he can slip in a few extra days of leave."

He nodded.  "Okay then.  Yeah, I can donate this summer to training."  Clay smirked.  "But that means you have to tell John about this."

"Fine.  I can track down my cousin and tell him."  Xander grinned, handing over that paperwork once it was signed.  It was faxed back and the confirmation got faxed over then the information on the account.  It was all set up and they'd be waiting on John to find a local bank to draw it to.  Or Dean.

Xander bounced into Sam's room, pouncing him.  "We have things set up."

"Why did you pounce?" Sam mumbled from underneath him.

"Because this way you can't swat or pout at me when I tell you part of the Wolfram and Hart funds are your college account."  He kissed him on the cheek then lapped him.  "If you try to argue, I'm so making Cougar spank."  He got up and bounced off to the training course before Sam could flip over and pout.

"I'll get you for that later," he yelled.  Clay laughed, but he left too.  Sam pouted.  He didn't need it.  It would draw attention to him.


John looked up from his beer when Dean sat down next to him.  "You got called here too?"

"Yup."  He leaned back, getting a beer from the waitress.  She smiled and he flirted a bit.  He even tipped her nicely, which made her sway as she walked off.  Dean sipped his drink.  "Wonder what Clay wants."

"It's Clay?"

"Yeah.  That's who told me to get here."  He looked at him.  "You probably decided to avoid him again."

"Yeah, it's dangerous," John said dryly.

Clay walked in and sat down, staring at them.  "Tough shit, John.  Get over it.  It's now our job too, officially."  John shuddered.  He put something on the table.  "In that envelope are the results of someone hacking Wolfram and Hart's Denver office recently.  Willow kindly put it into Xander's name, that way they could fight each other."  Dean nodded once at that.  "So he created a Dawn shoe shopping fund.  And a motel fund."

He looked at Dean then at John.  "Yes, you have to use it or I'll have Jensen make sure of it.  With more people knowing, you're not as subtle as you think.  Jensen said anyone decent, even the lower levels, could track you now."  John slumped, shaking his head.  "This will give you a tether but it's also filtered through three different places.  To an ID that's not you two."  He tapped the envelope.  "All that's in there."

Dean took it to look at, handing his father the other ID and check card.  He looked at the fund, moaning in pleasure.  "Damn."

"Xander said he thought Dawn would shop it bare in about ten years," he said dryly.

"Dawn didn't always shop with her sister, just tagged along," Dean said, tucking his into his wallet.  "How filtered?"

"Doesn't lead back to you guys inside this country."

John nodded.  "I don't want it."

"Tough.  He made sure your other son could do medical school."

John stared at him.  "Medical school?"

"We thought it'd be really practical and they talked me into it," Sam said as he sat down.  He looked at his father.  "We made sure, and it does go through one of the untouchable banks that even the US government can't touch, Dad.  It doesn't lead back to any Winchester.  Xander made all the provisions and all that.  Though I did try to pout about it until he put me on a single's site for women in prison."  Dean snickered, shaking his head.  "I met a very nice penpal who'll never get out but she's very sweet.  She just killed her husband for being a dick."  He looked at his father again.  "It's already done.  The agents liked that we did this because there's some people who don't like hunters."

"Damn it," John muttered, looking around.

"Dad, this is a demon bar," Sam said dryly.  "A peaceful one.  They're not going to attack us or tell anyone."  He smirked.  "I picked the bar."

Dean swallowed some beer.  "How much do they not like us, Sammy?"

"Do you know how many have done deals?" Clay asked dryly.  "We were warned they'd be on our list some year."  John shuddered.  "They knew before but with us being moved that way they have a new focus.  That's who got Willow out."

Dean whimpered.  "That's bad."

"It's not that bad.  They're very anti Wolfram and Hart," Sam offered with a grin.  "Which is how we got the money."  Dean snorted, shaking his head.  He looked at his father.  "It's safer and you won't end up being the daddy in prison.  We'd hate to have to find you penpals and start calling some lesser con Mom."

John cuffed him on the side of the head and sighed.  "I suppose it is safer."  He took the paperwork to look over.  "Not even Dawn could shop all this out at the porn stores."

Dean cackled.  "Yes she could."  A tiny blueish green demon walked over and poked Dean on the thigh, staring up at him.  "Yeah?" he asked, smirking at him.  "What's wrong?"

"You know of Dawn?  Dawn Summers?"

Dean nodded.  "Yeah.  She's safe."

He blinked.  "Are you a monk?"

"No, I'm Winchester."

"Oh," he said, sounding weak and almost in awe.  "Great One, thank you for protecting her.  She's very special."  He nodded at Sam.  "Thank the Knight for us?"

"I will but for what?" Sam asked.

"He goes to talk to Wilkins this weekend I heard."

"Damn it," Clay muttered.  "I thought the timing was coincidental."  He called home.  "Where is the other young brat?"   He listened to Pooch be confused.  "I'm told he's heading to Minnesota and Wilkins."  The demon walked off smiling.  "Make sure he doesn't need backup.  Jensen isn't backup," he growled.  "We can....  Already?  Fine."  He hung up.  "Yeah, he did."  Dean snickered, nodding.  "You knew?"

"His last hundred days he'd be untouchable and unkillable," Dean agreed.  "The eclipse is on a different date here."


John smirked.  "Out smarted you?"

"Yes," he complained.  "I'm making him run until he pukes blood for this."  John snickered.  Dean too.  Sam just smirked.  "Jensen's not enough backup."

"Yes he is.  This is Xander we're talking about.  Jensen's going to be guarding the car."

"He needs to stop that shit."

"Yeah, well, too many told him he was too normal.  Including those lawyers," Sam said dryly.  He handed over something to Dean.  "For your combined porn needs."

"She doesn't care as long as they're not ugly or bears, she doesn't like hairy men," he said dryly, looking in that.  He gaped then looked at Sam.  "How?"

"Long story that starts 'Once Upon a Time, there was a prince named Jensen and a younger prince named Xander'.  It moves on from there to various other things that make people swear and blush.  That's the porn account for this part of the pack."

Dean shivered.  "What's his?"

"Too much," Sam said dryly.  "He threatened to start sending me blow up dolls if I moved onto campus."

Clay shook his head.  "The boy's warped," he said dryly.

"Clearly," John agreed.  He looked at that one when Dean showed him.  "I don't think even you can use all that, son.  Or her."

"Fifty bucks a dvd," Dean said, considering it.  "Online access...."  John swatted him harder than he had Sam.  "Hey!  Watch the prettiness."

"Shut up, Dean, before I marry you off so I get sane grandchildren."

"I'm snipped," he said proudly.  "Had it done last month."

Sam grinned.  "Me too.  Just in case one of Xander's girlfriend wannabes gets me for that purpose."

Clay nodded.  "That's an excellent idea," he assured him.  "I wondered why you needed Jon to take you to the doctor's."

"You'll find most of the pack is, though most of them did it before they met Xander, for about the same reason," Sam told him.

"That makes good sense," Clay agreed.  "That way you can reverse it but it's a sure bet you won't be leaving babies everywhere."  He looked at Dean.

Dean gave him a smug look.  "I'm even more safe than Xander is."

"Good," John and Clay said together.

"Damned if I want grandchildren yet," John complained.  Dean cackled, shaking his head.

"Welll....." Sam said, looking at Dean.  "What's her name, Lisa?"

"Not," Dean assured him with a small shrug but a slight grin.  "Pity but not."

"Pity.  He was like the mini you."

"Yeah, he kinda was."  He shifted and put his feet up.  "Dad, Dawn's pouting that everyone's mean again."

"If I could get chocolate into the ball, I would," he said dryly.  "Is she in your porn stash again?"

"No.  Sitting on the seat.  She shrank herself down a marble again too.  That way she could get out more in my pocket."  He shifted because that brought up awkward thoughts.

Sam grinned.  "You could've brought her in, Dean."

"No thanks.  I want her to stay safer than that.  Beyond that, she ended up inside my can of beer one night and got drunk.  I nearly swallowed her."

"Eww," Dawn said from Sam's shirt pocket.

"Sammy?" Dean asked dryly.

"She flew out to cuddle."  He handed her over.

Dean patted the top of the green, glowing marble.  "Behave.  Before I put you in some spicy chinese food."

"No thanks," she muttered, floating up to sit in his overshirt's pocket.  Then she switched to his pants pocket.  "That way you can't leave me by accident.  I'd have to tell Xander you're mean."

Clay snickered at the unamused looks on their faces.  "I take it she's grumpy."

"Yup," Dean agreed.

"No new porn," Dawn quipped from her resting spot.

Dean looked down.  "That's your own fault.  Be more subtle."

"I don't like strippers."

"Fine."  He looked at his father, who gulped his beer while shaking his head.  Sam was snickering.  Clay was laughing too but quietly.

"She's one hell of a girl," Clay assured them with a grin.  "I can't wait to meet her for real."  He looked at Sam, who pointed at Dean.  "You sure?"

"Yup.  Had the most massive crush."

"She never acted on it?"  Dean shook his head.

"He's not ready to be exclusive and I deserve better than that," Dawn quipped.  She could feel Dean glaring.  "I do."

"Yeah, you do, kid."  He looked at Clay again.  "It's complicated."

"Clearly."  He looked around the bar then at Sam.  "Isn't that one of the hellspawn lawyers?" he asked with a point.

"Yeah but that's Lindsey what's-his-name that worked with Angel at times."

He nodded.  They'd make note of that and not underestimate him.  He clearly played both sides to whatever benefitted him.  They could handle that when they took down the main law firm.  He texted Jensen that he wanted an update as soon as he had one and they were both going to be doing latrine duty and extra training when they got back for forgetting to let them know it was going down this weekend.  Then he put his phone back.  "We'll see what's going on up that way too."

Dean nodded.  "Xander always does shit like this, Clay.  The team was very X-Men about most things.  They could work together but they didn't get along all that well at times and they didn't always like each other, for all that they thought of each other as family."

"I can understand that.  A team takes a lot of work from everyone.  I'm hoping we can get him more used to the teamwork approach."

"He does good when he's part of one but he's still going to be hyper protective of himself in case they turn on him too," Sam said dryly.

"I figured he would be.  Trust isn't something that's easy for everyone.  Even Roque took years to learn to trust the others to have his back."

"Yeah, they're a lot alike in some ways," Sam told him.  Clay nodded he understood that.  "Though he's more like a kid between Roque and Jensen."

"Don't give me nasty thoughts, Sam," Clay complained, scowling at him.

"Yeah, there might be wish demons running around that might think that was fun," Dean ordered, glaring at his brother.

"Hey, he could've been Jensen and Cougar's kid, he is a gun nut," Sam quipped with a grin.

One of the demons looked over.  "Winchester, I know you're great, and everyone wants you to be evil, but please quit giving me the evil tingles of joy?  If I did that, everyone would kill me and then them."  He smirked.  "Beyond that, I could make it a trio of parents.  Hell, I could even make Jensen pregnant.  Or Cougar."  He smirked.  "Or Roque."  Clay shuddered at the very thought.  "So let's quit giving me the evil tingles that're making me want to pounce my wife extra hard and it'll be all good for humanity."

Sam got up to whisper in his ear.  "That'll even help Xander, dude."  He grinned.  "He said if you would, it'd be very cool."

The demon whimpered, shifting in his seat.  "I heard Xander could be more evil minded than you and your brother combined."  Dawn cackled at that.  He whimpered and nodded, making it so.  Then he finished his beer, paid his tab, and went to pounce his wife.   He didn't care if she was in her sewing circle and they did have sex on top of the stitching frame in front of everyone.  "Evil thoughts from Winchester and Harris," he moaned between thrusts.  "Oh, Dark God Below, so evil," he moaned.

Sam sat back down with a grin.  "Xander had an idea," he said at the staring he was getting.

"Which was...." Clay offered.  Sam leaned over to whisper it in his ear.   Clay moaned.  "That's every evil boy's dream I think."

"Xander is planning on going to talk to the guy who made his special dagger," Sam said quietly.  "Sometime this summer."

Clay nodded.  "He's already cleared that trip with me."

"Cool.  Think we can tag along to go to Hawaii?"

"Probably," Clay admitted.  He smirked.  "He wants to find another one?"

"Something like that."  They shared a look.  Xander's mind was a twisted, deep place and even Sam didn't know it all.  "Jensen probably reads him the best of anyone."

"They are scarily like twins sometimes," Dean agreed dryly.

Clay shuddered.  "That's another bad thought."  He got them another round and settled in to talk about the upcoming issues they were all seeing.


Xander looked at the man who was walking into the ritual clearing.  "Pity it isn't going to work, Wilkins."

"Who are you?" he asked tolerantly, smiling some.

"Ahhh, see, the other you knew me," he said dryly, staring at him.

"Other me?"  Xander nodded.  "You know another of me?"

"I helped stop another of you."

He snorted.  "That can't happen, young man.  It's impossible to stop destiny."

"Destiny's for the weak.  Prophecies almost always have an out clause."  He stared at him.  "Beyond that, it still won't work for you."

"Ha!  I'm nearly immortal right now."

Xander stared at him.  "Well, problem with that.  Ya see, you didn't eat the right things for true immortality."  The older man gaped.  "They sure looked like them though, right?"  He smiled.  "And secondly," he said, sliding off the log he was perched on.  "There's ways around that too.  Including that you're not totally immortal and something that messy has never bothered me."

"You'd...  You're not that sort.  You're a clean cut American boy."

Xander snorted.  "Yeah, right."  He smirked.  "We hunters often do."

"Hunters.  Well, that's an interesting, but dangerous topic.  I'll have to start with them when I change."

"You won't be changing.  Sorry."  He shot him with the colt.  He had borrowed it from the source John had it hidden with.  The demon almost mayor of Sunnydale died.  Xander tucked the gun into his waistband and walked over to cut off his head.  He heard a gasp and looked at the older woman and officer.  "Morning."  He finished and got out of the way of the blue blood.  "Knew he wasn't human."  He walked around the growing puddle, looking at the officer.  Who pulled his cuffs.  Xander blew a kiss and the man collapsed as Uriel touched the back of his head.  "Hi, Mrs. Wilkins."  She backed up.  "Are you like him or were you going to be one of the first he ate when he turned into a giant snake demon?"

"My husband will be revived," she said firmly.  "He'll do glorious things!"

"No.  No he won't.  Sorry, the rest of the world doesn't want to die as a pile of flaming demon snake crap."  She gasped, backing away from him.  He stared at her.  "Well, are you or aren't you?"

"You'll murder me anyway to keep me quiet!" she sneered.

"Lady, that artificial bit of energy he created?  I'm from a real one.  I can suck up yours so it's gone for good."

"That may be unwise," Uriel said.

"I know."  He looked at her.  "Well?"  She turned and fled, screaming 'help me'.  Another officer came a few minutes later and Xander pointed at the downed one.  "He passed out at my magnificence."  The officer was staring at the blue blood.  Xander looked then at him.  "Yeah.  In another few months you'd all be flaming piles of demon snake shit."  He walked over and made the officer look at him.  "He was evil."

"But...  He ...he was our mayor."

"Yeah, and he's evil.  His wife may be evil or may just have supported his reach for evil ultimateness since it would hopefully give her power without all the work.  Not real sure.  We can check but it'll mean poking her with a needle so she'll bleed."

The officer swallowed.  "I should arrest you."

Uriel walked over and showed him what would have happened.  "The Lord does not like his plans.  It would be bad for his creation."

The officer blinked at him.  "Which one are you?"

"Uriel," he said with a smug grin.

"He's kinda stalking me to help me now and then," Xander said with a grin.  Uriel growled at him.  Xander looked at him.  "What?  You're doing it for some other reason?"

"To try to keep you out of trouble."

Xander kissed him on the cheek.  "Thanks, Uriel.  It's nice to have you at my back for that reason too."  The angel looked stunned but blushed and ducked his head.  "Shoo, go calm down in peace and quiet."   He winked.  Uriel disappeared.  He looked at the woman again.  "Hi.  Wanna poke your arm for me please?"

"I will not!  It's unseemly and blood is disgusting and dirty!"

Xander looked at the officer, who grabbed her and used his pocket knife to stab her in the arm.  It came up red but with green traces.  "She's only tainted, probably got fed some demon blood to make her strong enough to put up with him.  During the wedding?" Xander guessed.  She sobbed, falling to her knees.  "Well, now you're a widow."

He looked at the officer.  "Uriel showed him the same thing, that's why he passed out," he said quietly.  "They were showing up after Wilkins to watch him sacrifice a few babies."  He pointed at the box that was out there.  "They're all healthy but I gave them some herbal syrup to keep them calm and quiet because he couldn't sacrifice them properly if they weren't awake."

"How did he get infants?" the officer demanded.

"I don't know," Xander admitted.  "Maybe he had them stolen, maybe he killed their parents.  No clue."  He shrugged.  "There's thirteen of them."  They walked over to look inside the box.  One was blinking at them.  "Hi, little one.  It's all right," he cooed.  "Go back to your nap."  The baby sighed in pleasure as it wet itself, drifting off again.  Xander looked at him.  "Up to you, dude."

"That would be Officer, not dude, sir."

"Sorry, I'm from by LA."

The officer cracked a slight smile.  "I can only imagine what might come from out there.  We'll get the babies to the hospital."  He looked at the 'grieving widow'.  "She might go into a home."

Xander nodded.  "Whatever you think is best."  He smiled.  "Have a better night with the paperwork.  Look at what you can take credit for saving."  He faded into the woods, heading back to the car.  "Saved them, it's all good," he said as he slid in.  Jensen was slack-jawed and staring in the distance.  Xander did the exorcism, getting the dead idiot out of his pack member, then kissing him.  The spirit fled the gay kissing.  Jensen blinked at him, looking confused.  "Hi."

"Hi.  That was weird."

"It was, yes."  He grinned.  "Who was it?"

"Ethan for some reason."

"That's really weird.  Is he out of his body?"

"Yeah, fully alive and all that.  He decided I needed to know more about ritual magic."

"Huh.  Interesting."  He started the car and drove them off.  They had motel rooms about a hundred miles away.  They settled in to watch the local news.  They had the announcement of Wilkin's death after catching him planning a sacrificial satanic rite that included children of unknown origin but clearly very young.  His grieving widow 'collapsed and was admitted to the hospital when she found out'.  Jensen and Xander decided to just have the one motel room tonight and snuggled together.  They woke up when they heard someone burst into Jensen's planned room.  Fortunately his computer stuff was over with them.  They listened to the confused sounding people.  "Cops?" Xander asked quietly.

"I'm betting law firm," Jensen murmured in his ear, then yawned.   He heard a bang and winced.  "Someone fell into the dresser."  Xander grinned.

"Cougar," they said together.  Police showed up, their spinning lights flashing through the thin curtains.  They cleaned up the mess.  Cougar slipped into their room and locked the door again, putting on the chain.   They grinned at him, letting him go clean up and come to rest with them.

Xander yawned.  "I used some of the money to set up the pack porn accounts," he murmured into Jensen's ear.  "Dean has one for him and Dawn.  There's one for you two and Sam, and one for the rest of the pack to use."

Jensen hugged him.  "You're great.  That means I don't have to hack porn servers anymore."

Cougar swatted them both, shaking his head.  He didn't need porn, he only needed to smile at some girl and she was his.  He watched them fall asleep and it was nice.  The police didn't come anywhere near their room.  They had been rented under different names and different credit cards over the phone by different people.  But it did mean they'd have to move more quickly against that law firm.  What was left of them.


Xander looked at his pack.  He sighed.  It was spring break in two days.  The one person he wanted to see this summer wasn't going to be there.  He had talked to Clay, who had complained but they were in the middle of taking down Wolfram and Hart's New York office at the moment.  They'd do LA's last.  So he had agreed to them going on vacation.  "Pack for warm stuff," he told Sam and Jon.  Jon gave him an odd look.  "I need to go talk to someone so I'm going to Hawaii for a non working vacation.  Did you want to stay here?"

"I have a date," he said sheepishly.

"Have fun," Sam said with a grin.  "I'll be surfing."

"Damn," Jon sighed, calling her.  "Tiff, Jon.  Yeah, I was going to ask if we could move the date night up or back.   Xander wants to talk to someone in Hawaii.....  Yeah, as in the islands."  He looked at Xander, who shrugged.  "You'd have to pay for your own room.  Because I'm not cohabitating and we'll probably be sharing one together?" he guessed.  "That'd be me, Sam, and Xander when he was there."  He smirked.  "Yeah, I didn't think you'd like that.  I don't know.  Sure, we have a few hours."

"We're going tomorrow," Xander said next to the phone.  "I'll have him back by Friday though."  He walked into the kitchen.  "Surfing does sound really nice.  I haven't done it since Mexico."  He got a snack and went to pack a bag.  Sam was doing the same in his room.

Jon hung up.  "Okay, I can go.  I have to bring her back stuff because her mother just had a fit."

"Plenty of gift shops," Sam quipped.

Jon went to pack and get things ready.  He did need a real vacation and this would be nice.  He sent a letter to Jack's email account to let him know he'd be out of the area for a few days.  That way someone would pay attention to their house.  He went to talk to Madeline too.  She was sniffling in her living room before he knocked.  He saw why when she opened the door.  "What the hell?" he demanded, staring at her eye.

"Some stupid prick tried to mug me," she said dryly.  "I kicked his butt but he elbowed me trying to get away."

"Cold compress, Madeline."  She smiled and nodded.  "We're going on spring break tomorrow."

"I thought this week was inspection week by the general."

"It is?"  She nodded.  "Huh.  I'll talk to Walter.  We might be leaving after that."  He sighed.  "But we're going to Hawaii.  Should I bring the girls something?"

"She'd adore it if you did, Jon.  Thank you for worrying."  She kissed him on the cheek.  "I'll keep an eye on the house for you boys."  He grinned and went back to call the base.  She went to make a new ice pack.  Clearly it looked worse than it was.  She called Jolene, with Pooch out of town she was probably bored at the house and most of the wives liked her, outside of Jasmine's mother.

"I'm bored and I ache.  Want to do something?"  She smiled.  "Nearly got mugged," she said dryly.  "Black eye.  Jon was a sweetie and nearly threatened to beat someone for me when he saw it.  Sure, I can do that.  Be right over."  She took her ice pack over there.  It was a pretty walk through the woods.  Jolene needed to finish cleaning the bathroom and then they could hit the shopping center.  Jolene looked at her eye and handed over something.  "What's that?"

"Something Xander uses on his bruises.  It works pretty quick so your husband won't worry too much."  She smiled.  "Pooch uses it for that reason too."  Madeline giggled and put some on while Jolene finished with the bathroom.  Then they went shopping.


Xander walked into a nice villa, heading back to the man's work area.  "Excuse me," he said politely.

"I'm not making things right now."

"I wanted to talk to you about something you already made, Mr. Villacent."  The middle aged man looked at him.  Xander walked in and sat his dagger down in front of him.

"That is not anywhere the numbers I'm working on.  It's a fake," he said, handing it back.  "Though it is pretty work."

Xander smiled.  "I got it in 2008."  The man gaped, shaking his head.  Xander nodded.  "Not here though."

"Oh, dear."  He took it back to feel it.  He crafted partially with magic and partially by hand.  "It is one of mine."  He looked at him.  "You use it in rites?"

"I use it in demon hunting and rites," he admitted, sitting down.  He handed him a bottle of water with a grin.  The dagger was handed back to him.  "I was going to ask you some questions about things I had heard you were making there but I hadn't had the chance to look into."

"You wanted another to make a set?"

Xander pulled out the notes he had made, handing them over.  "You were making those there when I got transferred."

The man read, going pale.  "There's only one reason for those."  He looked at the boy.  "Who are you?"

"Alexander Harris.  Formerly of Sunnydale.  My original dagger has been blessed in many traditions and many ways."  The man sat down, staring at him.  "It was a present from a close friend before I went back to Africa."

"I see."  He stared at him.  "Why would you need such a set?"  Xander laid out the vision in front of him.  He read it over, sipping the water to keep his stomach calm.  "I can see why but that would take a specific artifact."

"Yeah," he said, pulling Dawn out of his pocket and putting her on the table.  "You can grow and show him, Dawn."  She did and turned to 'stare' at him.

"Oh, my."  He touched it.  "It is her."  Xander nodded.  He looked up at him.  "My grandfather was one of the monks."

"She's being guarded by the Order and by some hunters specially chosen to protect her."

"Dean's really sweet, he even puts porn in John's glove box when he hides me in there so I'm not bored," she told him.

He had to smile at that.  "The mystical Key likes pornography?"

"In her last life, she was like my little sister," Xander admitted with a grin.  "With a huge crush on a hunter."

"Glory showed there?"

"Glory nearly killed everyone.  We closed the portals at the last moment," Xander admitted.  "Then we lost the town we lived in to the First Evil."  He shuddered.  "I want to stop that prophecy with everything in me, Mr. Villacent.  They would be for her protection.  The obsidian set would be hers.  The other my ritual set."

He stared at him, taking his hand to test his energies.  "You have many issues."

"Yeah, I was born and bred on a hellmouth," he sighed.  "With medium and shaman skills."

"You survived?"

"I hunted with a slayer.  I know I'm not the sort you usually practice your art for.  I know I am not a priestess, not a true believer, though I do know that all sorts of higher powers are playing games with humanity.  I've talked with a few, hunted with a few, managed to sleep on an angel's really bony shoulder once during a trip to a battle."  The man let out a small whimper.  "I know what I am and I know there are higher powers.  Someone, sometimes, has to be the chosen one.  In this universe apparently I'm one of the cadre of them.  They would be passed on to the other hunters after I fall.  Or if a miraculously magical accident happens and I end up with a child, to them."

He considered it.  "It is a difficult thing you ask."

"I know you've already made seven of them probably.  I would not wish to take them from anyone.  I can have them blessed if you cannot or will not."

He nodded.  "I understand the need.  I understand it very well, Mr. Harris."  Xander grinned.  "I'm not sure I can do that comfortably."

"I know.  Your art is based on emotion and willpower.  The same as other crafters are."  He put something down.  "This will trap the spirit that's been sucking at you for years," he said with a point at it.  The older man gave him a sad smile, shaking his head.  "Are you sure?"

"She's my former wife.  I cannot do that to her."

"I nearly married once.  I understand.  I left her at the altar because she'd be miserable if we married."

He smiled.  "Who?  If I can ask."


He blinked a few times.  "Perhaps you need them more for self protection?"

"I won't lie and say I haven't put one into the side of a man who was trying to rape someone.  Most of my women anymore are dangerous but no longer want to kill me."  He grinned.  "I've learned a lot about women since then."  The older man laughed, nodding slightly.  "All I ask is that you consider it.  I'm in town until the middle of Thursday.  We go back on the redeye.  This is our spring break."

"You do not read as that young."

"I was thirty-one before."  He smirked. "I lasted over half my life hunting demons and stopping prophecies."

"That is quite some work.  I will think."

Xander handed him a copy of his cellphone number.  "Mine.  I'm in Colorado Springs."  He stood up.  "Thank you."  He left with Dawn.

Mr. Villacent looked over the information and the little ball he had left.  He had wondered how other people created things in metal.  He could examine that one as he wanted.  He got up to look up that prophecy.  What he saw didn't please him.  The boy had already changed it so it was better for humanity but still bad.

To stop that.... something would have to be done.  The boy already had one of his children.  He knew the risks and the responsibilities it carried.  He had been asked for special commissions before, some for very good reasons, but he was not sure if this was the right one to do or not.  He would have to see what came to his dreams.  He finished the water and went to take a nap.  Maybe the Old Ones would speak to him.


Xander all but danced out of his high school the last day of school.  He and Sam had cut up all day.  He was very happy.  He was free!  Finally free!  They rushed home to burn their school books and go play in the woods.

Clay walked into the practice area, watching the boys goof off.  "Welcome to boot camp, boys," he said with a smug smirk.  "You're mine now."

Xander blew a kiss.  "I'd expect dinner and a good blow job if that was true," he quipped back.  "You're falling way behind on the whole dating part if I belong to you."

Clay snorted.  "Not that way, Xander, and for that, do a few laps around the course."  Xander grinned but did that for him.  "You too, Winchester."

"Bite me.  We don't start training until Thursday, Clay.  You told us that.  We're going to Mexico for a few days to celebrating surviving school."  Xander cackled and nodded.  "But you're my cousin so I can't belong to you either.  Now, if I find a nice boy, I'll let you tell me what do with one."  Clay walked off shaking his head.  They were so evil to him sometimes.  His poor mind.

Xander shared a smirk with Sam.  "If so, I'll treat him like pack as long as he's a nice boy."

"Thanks, Xander."  They ran off to pack, kidnap Jon, and head to Mexico as fast as they could.  They were free!  Finally free!  Even if someone would want them to save the world someday soon.

The End.
(Ending word count: 219,981 after all betas)

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