Xander smiled when their native guide showed up.  "You didn't have to quit working," he said, giving her a hug.

"Of course I did."  She smiled.  "Hi, guys.  I'm Abby.  I work at NCIS here in DC.  I'm a friend of the pack."

"You are pack, woman."  Xander gave her a squeeze.  "We rented a van I think."

"We did," Jorge said.  "They weren't sure why the school wasn't coming."

"Because we don't have a teacher," Sam said with a small shrug.  "If we have to, I have a good fake," he muttered.  Xander nodded he did too.  Abby waved a hand with a grin.  They all grinned back and let her get the car from the rental company, who normally wouldn't want to rent to anyone under the age of twenty-five.  She let the boys drive while she chatted and directed them to the hotel they were using.  She gave Jorge maps on how to get to the competition site.  It was a few miles up the road from them.  When they got there, she bounced in to chat with Sam and Xander for a while.  The others just smiled and let her.  She seemed nicer than some of Xander's friends.


Xander lined up his shot and winced.  Something was digging into his liver.  He shifted a bit and tossed the rock backwards, earning a snicker from the monitor.  "Sorry, I'm already sore."  He lined it up again.  It was a longer distance than normal and Jorge hadn't brought his good rifle.  Xander fired his trial shot.  It didn't make it.  He sighed, flipping over.  "Jorge forgot my actual rifle."

"You want to ask to borrow?"

"My roommate has his.  Can I?"

"I'll get it.  Who?"

"Winchester."  He handed over his so they could be traded out.  Sam's rifle was for longer distances.  Xander mentally swore.  Then he got handed Sam's piece of crap.  "Did Jorge forget all the good ones?" he complained.


Xander looked it over.  "This isn't Sam's.  wrong serial number."  The monitor looked at him then called Jorge over.  "This isn't Sam's."  He let him compare it against the forms.

"No, it's not."  The monitor called that in and the judges came over to check.  "I have no idea.  I put ours into custody at the airport, as I should have."

"I was running late or I would've checked them," Xander agreed.  He got comfortable.  "I can... call Abby, see if we can bum."

"This gun is listed as another school's weapon," the head judge said.  He went to talk to their teacher, who checked and sure enough they had the wrong gun.  That kid had Sam's.   They checked the others and handed them over.  The kids were allowed to reshoot theirs.  Xander's good gun was still back in Colorado.  This one... was still pathetic really at this range.  Xander sighed, looking at Jorge.  "We can borrow one since I don't believe that one will do the proper range," the judge offered.

Xander sighed and pulled something out of his pocket knife holder, opening the small case.  He put the one with the handgun back and let them check his.  Jorge took his crap rifle for shorter targets.  The judge gaped in horror.  Xander shrugged.  "It's only to shrink it for easy hiding.  I have a death threat."

"Nothing else?"

Xander shook his head.  "No."

"Can all that be taken off?"  Someone from another team sneered but took all the spells off it.  "Thank you."

"It was only on the box," Xander said, tossing that over.  "Someone made the boxes for me."  That got fixed as well.  The gun was checked and approved.  Xander fired his test shot.  This time the bullet actually made the target.  He smiled at the near perfect shot.  Then he calmed his mind and did his official one.

"As a test, I want to make sure of something.  Hit the outer ring on the left upper quadrant," the judge ordered.

Xander took aim and hit that on the line.  The target got pulled back and he nodded.  "Nothing to make it go where you want?"

"Give me another one and I'll do it again," Xander offered.  Someone more official, and Marine, let them borrow so he reshot his qualifier round.  Still nearly perfect.  Xander handed it back with a smile.  "She's sweet, Lieutenant."  He grinned back and walked off.  Xander took back his.  "Am I cleared?"

"Yes, you are."  Xander nodded and got up.  "Change out," he ordered.

"I can have someone get mine, sir."  He walked off calling them.  It would mystically appear and Abby could bring it to him.  He put his back into the box, which didn't shrink.  Xander tapped it three times and the spell reset so it could shrink.  Jorge gave him a dirty look.  "What?"

"Nothing," he sighed.

"I couldn't even make it to the target at that range."

"I know.  Sorry!"

"Don't worry."

"Thanks, Harris."

"Next time, Sam's packing."

"Fine.  I can agree with that.  I'm horrible at it."

"But you're a good motivator," Xander said with a grin.  Jorge laughed and bopped him on the arm, getting a wince.  "I'm fine," he said at the dirty look.  "It's getting better."

"I hope so."  They went back to the staging area.  "Xander had to redo his qualifier round but he did pass."  They all grinned at him.  "Xander, gun?"


"How long?" Sam asked, texting her.  She said she had it but she was in the middle of some really important things.  He offered to come get it.  She said it was fine.  She'd bring it later tonight.  He agreed that'd be fine.  "Later tonight.  She's running massively important tests."  He put his phone back.

Jorge nodded.  "I can get that.  We don't shoot again until tomorrow."

"Individual qualifiers," their female member said quietly.  "It's this afternoon."

Xander texted Abby, who got a bit huffy at the new interruption.  She promised she'd be okay and he sent a virtual hug then got Jon to do something for him.  He had something that would let anything in the cabinets get to him.  Jon found what he wanted and put it on that.  Xander caught the take apart case and set it on the table.  They all gaped in awe at it.  "Romania, when I got the other."

"Didn't she give you that?" Sam asked quietly in Xander's ear.

"Yeah."  He smiled.  The monitor came over to look.  "Not my usual one."

"We can clear it, Harris.  Is it legal?"

"It was."  He let him see it.  "As far as I know it hasn't been used.  It was a present though."

The monitor was FBI so he ran it through the system.  "It's not listed on any license."  Xander pulled out his paperwork from Fielders.  "Oh, I heard."  He nodded.  "They haven't made this number yet," he muttered.  Xander shrugged a bit.  "Used?"

"Not here.  I hide that.  It was a present.  She's a beautiful woman I appreciate the hell out of."

The agent looked at him.  "Is she a spy?" he joked.


The agent moaned, shaking his head.

"You get used to them being noisy together," Sam promised with a grin.  "She makes him happy and only dangerous women like him."

"Figures from what we got warned."  He took it to have it cleared for use.  They decided that was a better one for the kid than the magically shrank one.  He brought it back.  "Use this."

"Yes, sir.  Thank you for having it cleared for me."

"Shrank?"  Xander showed him.  "That's very handy.  Can anyone do that?"

"No.  I had them made for me overseas.  In England."  He grinned.  "Some druids."

"Never mind.  They don't want to hurt people."  He walked off. "Use that rifle for all your qualifiers, Harris."

"Yes, sir."  He sat down to check it over.  One barrel was worn down so he switched to the other.  He had another long range barrel underneath the padding to switch out for those.  He had his scope, which he set.  The case got put with their guns.  His old gun got put there too.  Xander attached the strap and waited for the individuals.  Sam and he were both qualified for it.  So was their female member on her range.  They headed out when they were called for.  Xander's newer barrel was crisp, clean, and pulled to the left on his test shot.

He compensated well and it made the center, but not perfect.  He made some adjustments and the next one was better.  They moved onto the others.  The handgun was easy enough.  They moved back to the sniper qualifications.  Xander's ground was lumpy.  He was blocking out the pain well.  He did a good job.  Not great, because he wasn't going to show off, but good enough to medal.  There were only five of them in that top range group.  He saw a familiar hat and smirked.  He got a nod back.  "Shooting here?" he quipped.

"Judging," he said smartly.  "You can do better."

Xander stared at him.  "I shouldn't."

"I know.  Isn't that Lady?"  Xander smiled and nodded.  "Go."  Xander got up and went back there to clean her.  Cougar went to tell the judges that he couldn't do Xander's.  He knew him.  They sent him to watch another school's kid.  He wasn't bad and he was in a military academy so he could talk to him about signing up as a sniper.  Xander came back for the longest shot.  There were only two of them in that group.  Lady shone with a recent cleaning.  She had a longer barrel as well.  Cougar took it to check it.  It was regulation and very nice.  Xander took it back with a grin when he did it the other kid's gun.  "You'll never make it," he told the kid.

"I can.  I have in the past."

"He can go first," Xander offered.  He got comfortable.

"No adjusting the terrain," the other monitor ordered.  Xander shifted.  "Fussy?"

"Sore muscles," Xander said dryly, focusing through his scope.  "All over sore muscles."

"Que?" Cougar asked.

"Long story.  I told Jensen."  The other kid got ready so they fell silent.  He shot and it was nice enough.  Xander closed his eyes for a second then opened them.  The pain receded and he shot perfectly.   The other kid gave him a horrified look.  Xander  shrugged a bit.  "Second?"

"Do so," the other monitor ordered.  "All three please."

Xander nodded and lined up, taking his other one then doing it without the scope to show off.  The other kid made his tighter and they were nice.  Xander grinned, shaking his hand.  "Good job."

"You too.  How...."

"I was in Africa for a few months.  Had to hunt."

"Oh!  No wonder."  Xander nodded, grinning some.  They cleaned up and went back to the waiting area.  Xander sat down to clean his rifle and put her away.  "Is that a take apart?"

"Yeah," Xander said, waving him over to see her.  "She was a present."

"Wow."  He checked down the barrel.  "Why two lengths?"

"Longer for tougher, more distant shots," Xander said.  "It leads to more accuracy but she kicks sometimes."

"I bet."  He put it back carefully and went back to his own.  For having a normal gun, he had done really good.  He had done really great for the gun he had.  Xander wrote out a name and rifle name, handing it to him.  "Specialty?"

"That's what I was supposed to have with me.  It's very accurate, can do the longest distances.  Some of the foreign snipers I've met through the one who gave me that one use it."  He looked at him.  "It's a great gun if you're going to be doing this professionally.  It's light.  Easily carried, all that."

"I'll look into that.  Thanks."

Xander grinned.  "Also, the monitor we had with the hat?  That's his job."

"Cool."  He went to talk to him about his options for signing on as a sniper in the service.  A few others heard and went to talk to him too.  Two of their other monitors were also service snipers so they settled in to talk to the kids while the scores were tallied.

Xander closed his case and put a lock on it.  Then he looked at Jorge, who was gaping in awe.  Xander grinned back.  "I hunted."


"Couldn't eat if I didn't get something."

"Yeah, I get that."  He nodded quickly.  "She's still a sweet gun."

"Yes she is," Xander agreed happily. They got their preliminary scores to see who had qualified.  Then they headed back to the motel.  His and Sam's weapons were hidden and they settled in to eat burgers and watch tv.  Abby showed up with the other one, making Sam happy because he needed one.  They let her cuddle in and hang out for a while, even explaining the show to her.  She made them watch Mythbusters with her and explained the science stuff to them.  It worked well with them.  Xander might even pass his next chemistry test thanks to it.


Xander smiled at the agent waiting at the screening booth.  "Problems?" he asked politely.

"Just a few, Mr. Harris.  Who gave you that nice rifle?"

"How much do you know about me?"

"Just about everything," he said smugly.


"Ah, that makes a lot of sense."  He walked him out of the way.  "There's things you know that could be a help to us.  Future things."  Xander nodded slowly.  "Will you tell us?"

"I'm not sure if it'll matter or not," he admitted.  "I'm not sure what'll change."

"That's fine.  We'd just like to know about big things."

Xander nodded.  "Let me get home and get my journal.  You can come talk to me tomorrow after my chemistry test?  I have to keep my grades up to stay in martial arts too."

"I can do that, Mr. Harris.  Thank you.  Your roommate?"

"You can ask but he has a chem test too."

"That's fine.  We can send Agent Fielders to talk to you?"

"Sure, we like him.  I joke and call him Uncle Bob when he shows up."

"He told us."  He smirked.  "Anything you want to declare today?"

"No, everything I have is hidden."

He looked him over.  "Did you disarm?"

"Yeah.  It's all packed."

"You're totally disarmed?"

"I'm never totally disarmed," he said dryly.

"Our scanners are better than the ones in Colorado Springs."

"I'm just glad it's not the TSA yet."


"We'll talk about that tomorrow.  I have some files at home you'd probably like to see as well."

"Probably, yes.  Fine.  Go.  If they catch them...."

"We have magic sensors?" he quipped, walking off.  His dagger was caught but he was allowed to put it into his bag.  God bless the screeners back in 1998.  He got a soda and one for the plane and then settled in with the group to wait.  Sam looked over.  "Some files we have that might be helpful.  Someone pointed out a temporal discrepancy in my travels that no one wanted to talk about."

"Oh," Sam said, then stiffened.  "Yeah, they'd probably want to hear that.  I didn't even think."

"Me either," Xander agreed.  He shrugged.  "We can only tell them."

"Good point."  They settled in, calming themselves for the trip back.  There were storms over the midwest so it'd be a bumpy flight home.


Xander looked up from his detention to find Agent Fielders staring at him.  "I pissed him off by flirting."

"Figures.  Was she that dangerous?"

"No, but she was having a bad day and it cheered her up."  He grinned and finished cleaning, looking at the chemistry teacher.  "How many of you guys are Brits?"

"Me, the principal, the shop teacher, the track coach, your martial arts club instructor, and a teacher you'll probably never see because he teaches research seminars."  He smirked.  "Problems?"

"I'm assuming you know about him then?" Agent Fielders asked.

"In general terms.  Go ahead and take him.  Next time, be more subtle than leaning over to inhale her ear, Harris."

"It made her feel better and she is very pretty and does smell very nice.  Though I still like you more than Ms. French, the praying mantis lady who came in as our science sub to find virgins."  The man gaped then shook his head, moaning.  Xander grabbed his stuff and followed him out to the car, letting him drive him home.  "Sam?"

"Already there."  Xander nodded.  They got out and headed inside.  "They did a nice job redoing your kitchen."

"They did, yeah."  He sat down, taking his laptop from Sam, who was clearly worrying.  "Which one?"

"Dean hasn't checked in all week," he said quietly.  "His phone's not working either."

"I'll ask," Xander assured him.  "Or something."  Sam grinned and nodded.  Xander got into some of the slayer files he had stored.  He let the agent see them.

"Towers?" he asked when he ran into that.

"The ones in New York," Xander said.  "It made everyone a lot of paranoid and started a war.  Well, two."  He found that file and let him read it.

"But...." Agent Fielders said.  Then he sighed.  "Okay," he decided.  "Can I send these to my boss?"

"No.  There's no sending the specially shielded files off my computer.  They can't be copied or anything due to security."

"I understand fully.  Is there anyone who might have a copy?"

"Jensen managed to break the encryption once," Sam said.  "McKay might have, but I doubt it."

"I can talk to the corporal."  He smiled.  "Anything else we should hear?"

"We miss the fourth amendment," Sam offered.  "And later on, there'll be a bank problem that'll lead to a lot of housing problems and job problems.  That's about a decade after this.  So right as we died it was starting."

Agent Fielders nodded at that.  "Okay, I can warn of that.  That might be a thing a lot of agents want to hear to protect their savings."

"Pensions," Xander warned.  "We're talking the stock market plunged," he said at the awed look.  "They were talking recession fears when I died."

"Oh, damn.  Yeah, we definitely want to think about that.  Thank you."  He got up and went back to the office.  His boss was waiting.  So was Fornell and the higher boss.  "You told him?" he asked Fornell.

"Yes.  That kid might have some potentially helpful information."

"He didn't make it out of Sunnydale until 2004.  Before then though, the US is going to be attacked."  The head of the FBI stared at him.  "There's heavy encryption but I made notes.  We can't break that, sir, but he did say we could see it."

"That's probably helpful and a start," he said.  He looked over the notes, going absolutely pale.  "Any other bad news?"

"A stock market based recession was starting when they died."

"Oh, shit," he said, looking at him.  "Like '29?"

"They said it plunged and people were starting to talk recession.  So it was at the start.  They did say housing crisis and pension funds.  Bank problems."

"I'll let some people know.  That was what, 2010 or so?"  The agent nodded.  "We'll start looking at that then.  Any bets on who becomes president?"




"Really?" he demanded.  Agent Fielders nodded with a smirk.  "Well, damn.   No one was mentioning he wanted to run."  He left, going back to DC to talk to the other higher ups.  They had been made aware of that file that had been sent and that he had some knowledge about a decade ahead.  He also knew a few hackers who might be able to get into his system.  His lower agent had a note saying that a corporal could so he'd talk to him first.  He turned out to be in Iran on a covert mission.  So he'd talk to him when he got back.  The higher ups all met in the back room of a bar to talk and have some beers.  They really needed beers.  He put the notes down.  "An agent of mine out in Colorado Springs talked to the subject of that file."

They read them over, one whimpering.  "Housing crisis?  Like with Regan?"

"Could be worse.  It was just starting when they died."  He sipped his beer.

The president read them over then looked at him.  "Can we stop it?"

"I sure hope so.  Hopefully really fast, sir."

"Please do."  He handed it on.  "I wish we had a way of getting more information.  I know that boys like him weren't going to track those sort down."

"He knew a few," the head of the FBI said.  "Mostly because they're after him for his blood."

"Same boy," the head of the ATF said.  The head of the FBI nodded.  "All right.  That makes sense.  I've heard rumors about an apocalypse closet that some people have weeded down."

"Yeah, same boy.  He brought it with him somehow.  Since what he did handled those things that none of us want to talk about.....  I'm thinking there's a reason he had it.  Especially since something like that killed their entire world."

"Damn," the president sighed, shaking his head.  "All right.  What can we do right now?"

"Apparently we need to get some intelligence assets into certain areas," the head of the CIA said, handing them on.  "Can we break his encryption so we have full copies?"

"He had files of slayers he was training, gentlemen.  Since we don't have slayers here any longer..."  That got a nod.  "They might be perfectly normal people here."

The president considered it, lighting a cigar to puff on.  "All right.  Here's what we're going to do.  Do we have any way to get edited copies?"

"There's a hacker who can.  He's in Iran right now.  I checked before coming over and I left a message for his CO to tell me immediately when the team got back, sir."

"Good.  Excellent since they might know something about that area's problems."  He looked at the head of the CIA.  "Looks like my predecessors plans are twisting.  So..."

"We'll look into it and see if we can stop them, sir.  We don't need that or a war."  The president nodded.  "Can we start some more subtle maneuvers to ease the problems?"

"We'll see.  I'll talk to my Joint Chiefs and ask them.  I'm not a tactical military guy."  They all nodded.

"Sir, that team... I can have them report to DC so we can both talk to them," the head of the FBI offered.

"Please.  Since they've been over there."

"Gladly."  He made that note for himself.  "Anything we can do right now?"

"Make disaster plans," the head of the CIA said.  "Because it sounds like we need some and possibly some later financial help."  They all nodded and broke apart to drink some pepto, start their agencies' planning, and see what they knew about those subjects already.

The president went to the Pentagon to wake some people up.  Including O'Neill since his people were known to the boy.  He stared at O'Neill.  "General."

"Sir," he said, saluting when he spotted him.

"As you were, Jack."

Jack stared at him.  "How bad is it?" he asked bluntly.  He got handed the notes.  He stared at them.  "Harris?"  The president nodded once.  "I'll get a fuller debrief from him."

"Apocalypse closet?"

"It went to Pegasus, sir."


"Sheppard was very happy to bring it with him."

"Even better."  He looked at the others walking in, waving off the salutes.  "Pass that around.  I want options for solving it quietly.  There's no way I want that on the next guy's watch."

"How?" one asked.

"Harris," Jack told him.

"Okay, so a minor herald then."  He went back over things.  "War?  Iraq?  Afghanistan?"  He looked up.  "Huh?"

"Bush," the president said.

"The one from Texas that's running?" Jack asked.  The president nodded.  "I'll change the briefing."  The president smiled.  "It's a bit technical."

"I remember."  He looked at the others.  "I'm talking to a quiet team who's presently in Iran once they get back.  I want some quiet options to see which the ground troops like."  They all nodded.  "We need to prevent this from happening, guys.  Before it goes too far."  They nodded and left.  "Jack, he has encrypted files.  Get us the pertinent parts, either with that hacker or another way.  I know you're hoarding some of the best."  Jack nodded and walked off.  The president went home to put on some music and think.  Knowing a disaster was coming was unnerving but better to stop it instead of watching it go on.


Sam handed Jon a list the next morning.  "We figured someone would be asking you to ask us."

"Jack said he's coming out to talk to you two this afternoon."  He looked at the list then at him.  "The non-strange?"


"Okay," he decided.  He read it over again, shaking his head.  "We can talk about that too.  The files?"

"Specially encrypted.  He'll let people read the pertinent ones but copies getting out could hurt people.  Some of them are files on the ones he helped train," he said quietly.

"Agreed.  Totally agreed.  By the way, that closet of his?"

"His," Sam admitted with a grin.  "We keep weeding it down."

"Uh-huh.  Good damn idea, Sam."

Sam grinned.  "We're allowed to keep those."

"Uh-huh," he repeated.

Xander walked past them.  "Less than two months until the next mind warping event."

"How cheery you sound," Jon snarked.  Xander just smirked at him.  "We'll talk later."  They nodded and went to class.  Jon tucked that list into his specially sealed pocket in his jacket then went to class as well.  He hated being a teenager just as much as Xander did.


Jack looked over as the kids walked in together.  "Boys."

"Hi,"Jon said, handing over that list.

"Closet, Xander?"

"Allowed," Xander said firmly.

"Fine.  It's not as bad as it could be."

"Clay sorted it out on us again."

"Figures."  He looked over the stuff.  "I had someone hack in to look things over.  Even then it wouldn't copy."  Xander shook his head.  "We need some of the information you have."

"It's going to change."

"True, but not all of it.  You have maps and things."

Xander sat down with a sigh.  "I'm not against that but some of those files will hurt people if they get out."

"Yes they will," he agreed.  "We don't want any of the personnel files or anything like that.  Nothing from your porn collection."  Sam groaned and hit Xander on the arm.  "I think all guys your age have some, Sam," he quipped.  He looked at Xander.  "Let us delete?"

"There's every chance that it'll spill."

"Yes there is.  It's a problem I agree with, kid, but we still have to fix this shit."

"We do," Xander agreed.  "I agree totally with that.  I just can't let some of those out."

"Who do you trust to get into them?" Jon asked.

"In matters of computers I usually only trust Jensen and Abby.  Sam knows some."

"That's a good duo to trust," Jack agreed.  "I like Abby.  I met her last year and she was perky and nice."  He smiled.  "We can talk to her and Jensen about getting into the full files?"

"Jensen's actually managed to get full access."

"Even better."  He grinned.  "We can take it with us?"

"Hell no.  I need it for paper writing," Xander complained.

"Fine.  We can send them out here, they could probably use some downtime," Jack decided.  Xander relaxed and smiled.  "He's a pack member?"  Xander nodded with a happier grin.  "How soon before something happens?"

"Two months.  We'll be in Arkansas."

Jack whimpered.  "Really bad?"



"Apocalypses usually happen in the spring," Sam said, bringing over bottles of water.  "A few man-made ones happen around Halloween or Yule."

"Good to know," Jack decided.  "We had a gate malfunction last Yule for some reason.  We thought it was a strong Northern lights thing."  He sipped his water.

"No, Dad shot it," Sam said with a grin.  "Dean said it slobbered a lot and put out some sort of EMF flux that nearly gave him a tan."

"Huh," Jack said.  "Anything on that thing?"  Sam looked and got into a book, handing it over.  "You're really good at that."

"It's a calling," Sam quipped.  He sat beside Xander.  "Drink."

"I am."  He looked at Jon.  "How much did you snoop?"

"Way too much for my own comfort level.  Thankfully I also figured out how to shrink it again too."

"That's only a tenth of what he used to have," Sam said with a small shrug.  "When things happen, you need a weapon *then*, not when you can find one on the black market."

"What's going to need that level of weapons?" Jon demanded.  "A full Ori invasion wouldn't!"  Xander got into his files and let him see the invasion.  "Holy God," Jon muttered, resisting the urge to pray.  He knew it hadn't happened here.  "Where was that?"

"LA.  The year after Sunnydale fell," Xander said.  "They didn't call me back."

"Clay's team is working on stopping them and Wolfram and Hart subtly," Sam told Jack.

"I appreciate the hell out of that service," he assured them, leaning over to watch.  "Is that an invasion?"

"Yup," Sam quipped.  "An open portal and vomit another plane here."  He drank some water.

"I spent that day dealing with guerillas," Xander quipped.

"Like King Kong?" Jon asked hopefully.

"Damn I wish since half of them were zombies brought back to be an unstoppable force," Xander sighed.  Sam gave him a hug.  "Still sore, no squeezing," he said, wincing some.

"Did any of it go away?" Sam asked, checking him over.

"Some.  Rabbit said it was on the hellmouth taint."

Jack looked at him.  "What's a hellmouth?"  Sam explained.  "Why do you carry taint, Xander?"  Xander got that book to show him that prophecy.  He grinned when Jack glared at him.  "Can we maybe help weed that out of you?"

"When they were fighting the taint, did it get lowered any?" Jon asked.

"No," Xander admitted.  "It climbed a bit actually because my healing was forcing out more of it."  Jack moaned, shaking his head.  "It's fine.  I just can really lose my temper somewhere and let it out concussively.  Because then I'll create one."

"It kinda goes along with the whole 'Xander's a dangerous guy to fuck with' thing," Sam quipped with a grin.  Xander nodded, still grinning.

"Did you mess up x-rays?" Jack asked.

"No.  Not that I know of.  Have I had x-rays?" he asked Sam.

"I don't think you have since you got here," he admitted.  He thought about it.  "Dean has with his foot but I haven't and I don't think you have.  Not unless they did some while you were in the tank."

"No, they didn't," Jack said.  He called Doctor Lam.  "Doc, Jack O'Neill.  Question.  When you had Harris up there, did you find any sources of radiation or other uneven energy output?"  He listened to her look over those notes.  "Any idea what that was related to?"  He nodded.  "What about something like space radiation or something?"  She asked him why.  He explained what a hellmouth was.  "No, she didn't pick any up."

"I usually have it clamped down and one of my protections was to keep it down," Xander told him.  "That way I'm not putting out tasty human signs."

Jack listened to the doctor.  "Can you?  That'd be super.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "She'll come see if she can pick it up so we can gauge a relative strength, see if it's dangerous to others."  Xander shrugged.  "Did the airport security stuff get bothered?"

"No.  But we don't have the TSA's full body imagers either."  Jack stared at him oddly.  "They take x-rays of your body underneath your clothes."

"Uh-huh," Jack said.  "I'm sure people hate that."

"A lot," Sam assured him.  Xander nodded.  "I think they should've stayed with dogs."

"I think the imagers were supposed to be more sensitive but they're also patting you down and things.  Everyone."

Jack groaned, shaking his head.  "Everyone?"

"Yup.  Now you can't bring a nail file on board.  Or anything like shampoo beyond three ounces.  Sodas or waters if you buy them in the airport it's fine, if not you can't."

Jack shook his head.  "That sucks."

"Yeah, basically," Xander agreed.  "Traveling isn't fun.  It's not that fun now but then it's even less fun and more stress."

"I think we should've all shown up naked, it'd help speed things up," Sam sighed.

"No, then they'd want us to go through cavity checks," Xander said dryly.  "Not my idea of fun since they do it in the open."

"No, not mine either," Jon said dryly.  He and Jack shared a look.  "Let's see if we can stop that from happening."  Jack nodded.  Jon went to let the doctor in.  "Hi, Doc."

"Jon."  She smiled.  "Boys."  She came over to scan Xander.  "Hmm."  She changed a few parameters and nodded.  "Yes, I can see that."  Xander pointed at the protection.  "Can we rate it without that?"

"I need to redo a lot of the lines," Xander admitted.  Sam handed him his knife.  "Thanks, Sam."  He cut that line and she redid it, giving him a horrified look.  He shrugged, using his thumb to smooth over the small cut.  "It's to keep me from being eaten."

"I can tell why."  She showed Jack the differences.  She saw the file and looked at him.  "Where's that?"

"LA in about five years.  Or six.  We're working on it."

"Good!"  She looked at the general. "I have no idea how to weed that out."  Xander shook his head.  "You don't think we can?"

"Not really.  I've managed to sweat some out but otherwise no.  Not really."

"Okay.  How was the sweating looking?"

"Sweat lodge," Sam said.  "Because whatever he got sent to help John with on the spirit realm got him a lot of muscle pain that's linked to that."  Xander nodded.

"Huh?" Jack asked.

"Jon gives me that look before first period," Xander quipped with a grin.

"Yeah, I give it to many people before coffee."  Jack shifted.  "What were you helping Sheppard with and how?"

"On the spirit realm.  Helping him get some stuff from the middle of a maze.  It apparently took my fishy taint."

"I'd really like a report from Sheppard," Jack said.

"We got an email round from them a few days ago," the doctor said with a smile.  "I can ask."


"They were small chains," Xander said.

"Oh!"  She nodded.  "I did get a report on that.  It helps you change form."

"Like you look different?"

"Like the pictures included had him being furry."

"Furry.  Okay," Jack said.  "Oh!"  He blinked at the kids.  "So you needed you fish taint...."

"Apparently," Xander agreed dryly.  "And I ran into a statue of Hecate.  It hurt like a bitch.  Which I'm told is now residing within the taint."

"We can try to weed that down some," the doctor offered.

"We've been doing sweat lodge work," Sam said.

"Hmm.  Uh-huh.  Well, if that works for you then that's fine but I'd like to know how it goes."  They shrugged.  "Thank you, boys."

Sam grinned at her.  "Can you tell me how to hide vegetables on Xander so he'll eat more healthy?"


"I do that one," he admitted.  Xander hit him on the arm.  "He found the zucchini last time."

"Yeah and that pesto...  Really clear what it was, Sam," Xander said dryly.  She leaned over to whisper in Sam's ear and Xander slumped, shaking his head.  "I eat good enough most of the time."

"Yeah, that means you eat twinkies for lunch," Sam said.

Jon nodded.  "Yeah, because it's been disgusting.  Even I can't eat it, Sam."

"Me either but there's still better than twinkies."

"Yeah," Jon agreed.  "I keep an emergency sandwich in my locker like Xander keeps his cases of soda."

Xander nodded.  "It fits real nicely.  Have we tried that new high octane one?"

"It gave you heartburn," Sam reminded him.

"Oh, yeah.  That stuff in DC that Abby had me try."  He shrugged.  "I'd do that but anything I want to eat probably won't last real well in my locker and we don't have a microwave at school.  That means I can't just get hot pockets or something.  Speaking of my locker, I need to restock the emergency supplies.  I'm out of all three simple pain killers and condoms thanks to the QB."

"Who was he doing?" Jon asked.

"I didn't ask.  I was just really happy he wanted to use them," Xander told him.  "It's always good."

"It is," Jack agreed.  "Does the nurse know you keep that?"  All three teens nodded.  "Doesn't she complain?"

"Not about us," Sam admitted.  "Not since she found out how good we were at stitching each other up."

Jon nodded.  "That does help a lot, yeah."

Jack shook his head.  Doctor Lam was staring at them.  "Do we not like doctors?"  They all shook their heads with a smile for her.  "Fine.  I suppose I can understand that."  Someone pounded and Jon went to answer it.  "It's nice to see him more settled."

Jon smirked at her.  "I'm fine."  He opened the door.  "Yes, Officer?"  He let him in.

He looked at the two on the couch.  "Boys, there's a woman in town who was in the ER with your picture and she said you were the reason she was here?"

"Got a picture?" Sam asked.  He handed over the picture.  "That's Sascha," he said, handing it to Xander.

"We've been at school and then here, Officer.  I adore Sascha and whoever hurt her, I'll make them beg you for mercy."  The officer gaped at him.  He stared back.  "For that matter, whoever did it, unless they jumped her, is probably pretty badass.  She's an agent."

"Oh," he said, then grimaced.  "You can come with me?"

"Yeah, I can do that."  Xander got his wallet and keys, put back on his shoes, and followed him to the car.  The officer nicely drove him to the ER.  Xander got out and walked inside.  "Hi, my friend is here.  Beaten up pretty hard, pretty, German."  The nurse pointed at the waiting area.  "She sent an officer to find me, ma'am."  She glared and walked off.  Xander gave it a minute then snuck back to Sascha's room.  "Hey," he said as he snuck in, looking at her.  "Who in the hell, Sascha?"

"Some girl," she muttered, her voice hoarse.  "Real winner of a chick."  He came over to smooth a hand over her hair.  "Can I stay with you?"

"Of course you can.  You know that.  We'll be sore together."  She smiled weakly.  He kissed her on the forehead then he looked out and checked her over.  "Nothing broken.  Just bruised."  He helped her sit up.  "Got your 'scrips?"  She shook her head.  "Want me to scare the nurse?"  He looked over as the door opened.  "Officer."

"Sir, do we have any idea who did this?"  Sascha whispered it to him.

Xander nodded.  "I believe I might.  She's a very badass chick and I'm going to kick her ass later."  He smiled.  "I know someone in the army who wanted to meet her."  The officer shuddered.  "Can we get her discharged so I can take her back to my place.  She could use some ice packs and tylenol."

"I can get a nurse," he said, turning around.  There was one there.  She walked past him and he felt something wrong.

Xander stared at her.  "Aisha.  Pleasure to see you in this world."  The nurse attacked and Xander defended, kicking her back.  The officer got in the way so she hit him on the throat and ducked away.  Xander grabbed a needle and uncapped it with his thumb when she attacked again.  He defended Sascha, who was too injured.  It hurt like hell but oh well.  He eventually got the needle into her in a lucky shot, making her choke since it went into her voice box.  Another nurse came in and Aisha pulled the needle and tossed it at her then attacked again.  Xander round kicked her and then followed it with a fist to the ear.  She went down.  He stared at her.  Then he smiled at the nurse and officer, who was being helped up.  "There you go.  You can do all sorts of threatening to make her beg but her daddy is a drug dealer."

"Thank you," the officer said, staring at him.  "How do you know?"

Xander smirked.  "Don't ask, don't tell, dear."  He looked at the nurse.  "Can I take my friend home?"

"I'll get her orders," she said, jogging out and coming back with it.  "Are you all right?  Do we need to check you for injuries?"

Xander looked at her.  "No, I'm fine.  Thank you, dear."   He let Sascha sign them and helped her up, taking her prescription and the ice pack for her.  "Thank you."  He walked Sascha out to the cab stand, getting them one and going back to the apartment.  He walked in.  "You can tell Clay that Aisha is under arrest here for attacking her," he said as they walked in.

Sam stared at her.  "Seriously?"

"Yup."  He put Sascha on their bed and tucked her in.  "There you go, Sascha.  You rest.  We'll make sure she doesn't get in here."  He smoothed down her hair and got her a bottle of water and some painkillers, earning a weak smile.  "I know, she drugged you.  You rest.  We're here."  She nodded and snuggled in.  Xander added a few things to the bedside table and left, closing the door most of the way.  He flopped back down.  "Aisha also attacked her in the ER."

"Charming," Jon sighed.  "Who's that one?"

"Clay's future ex."

"I called him and he said he'd be here in about two days.  They're wanted in DC."

"That's fine," Xander agreed.  "We can protect her."  The other two teens nodded.

"We can help," Jack offered.

"No.  Her bosses might not like that," Xander said quietly.  "It's better if it's private guards."

"Okay.  We're going to be talking over the next few days anyway," Jack assured him.

"I know."  Jack smirked.  "Let me order dinner."

"I can make dinner," Jon complained.  Jack stared at him.  "The simple stuff.  Not like we're expecting gourmet food."  He went to do that.  Jack got the door when it was knocked on.  "Hi, Agent Bob."

"Boys.  Who was that nurse?"

"Aisha.  Clay's going to want to talk to her maybe."

"I can make sure we hold her that long.  The nurse called you scary."

"Well, I am now and then," Xander said dryly.  He smirked.  "She didn't like the needle?"

"No.  She didn't.  The officer said thank you for protecting him."

"Not a problem," Xander said.

"General, anything I should know?"

"Not at the moment.  Whenever Clay's team gets in, maybe then."  He nodded and left them alone.  He looked at Xander.  "You sure you can handle it?"

"Yeah.  She's in jail.  I'm a good boy and so is Sam.  So is Jon if he wants the couch tonight."

"Fine.  I'll be at the house," he told Jon, who nodded.  "We'll be back tomorrow after school."

"We'll be at rifle club," Sam said.

"I can hang out."  He left, going to make a report.

Jon shook his head.  "He's a bit paranoid but he knows what's out there."

"I don't mind that sort of paranoid," Xander said.  He got up and checked on Sascha then went back to the couch.  "Can I help, Jon?"


"Okay."  They settled in to do some homework that needed to get done.


Clay showed up at the jail.  He wanted to meet her.  She wasn't breaking and he still wanted to meet her.  He stared at her through the glass.  Agent Fielders showed up.  "She's a revenge sort.  There's also a father that will be pulling strings."

"We've seen her father's lawyer," he admitted.  "So, how do you know her?"

"I don't.  Here."

"Oh, that thing.  Okay.  Any hints of how to handle her?"  He handed over Jensen's letter about her.  Agent Fielders read it, nodding.  "That's actually some good ideas.  Thank you, Colonel."

"Welcome.  It's a shame.  She's supposedly one hell of a volatile woman."  He left, going to check on the boys.  Jensen had Xander's laptop already and Jack was waiting.  They were figuring out what needed to be copied off.  Clay sat down.  "The boys?"

"School," Jensen said.  "Sascha's still sleeping off the bruises.  I don't know why she's not happy."

Sascha came out pulling back her hair.  "Where did I go after I got fired?" she asked him.

Jensen smiled at her.  "Spetsnaz, though you didn't get fired there.  Did they here?"

"Because I talked to Helena."  She sat down.   "My bosses were not happy.  Hers were not happy but they said it was good she was making contacts."

Jensen gave her a gentle hug.  "We'll help where we can, Sascha."  She nodded.  "His field kit is in the bathroom under the sink."  She smiled, going to get it to find something to help her feel better.  Jensen got back to hacking.  "There we go," he said.  "That's the slayer files.  Annndddd....  I'm a fucking genius," he said proudly, smiling at his colonel.

"I'm so genius there's people like McKay that would look at me in awe."  Jack gave him a snort and a head shake.  "Seriously.  I found *all* the hidden files on his baby."  He let Jack see.  "Willow's computer originally.  And little Miss Willow was doing all sorts of naughty things."

Jack took it to look over, moaning at some of it.  She had broken the SG's backup files.  She knew about Atlantis.  "Before you ask, that's not how she knew.  A dead person showed up to rant at Xander and she was drunk enough to see it and not drunk enough to forget."

"So Xander knew from a spirit?" Jack asked.

Jensen grinned.  "Yeah, that was before John showed up.  That's actually why John showed up.  The spirit somehow messed with the gateway when he was going home and it hit a new realm.  Where Xander was taking out something and brought John with him when he found out.  Then John got mixed up in the problem of the moment and they had to save each other.  They were occluded for about a week or so on that realm and spent most of it watching each other drink.  Then they showed back up, John went home, got chewed out, checked on Xander, and they became closer friends."

"That makes more sense than some other things we decided might have happened," Jack said, going back over the information.  "Is she alive here?"

"There's a group looking at her hacking skills to get her out of the hospital her parents put her in for daring to hack.  She got them for child neglect because they'd spend six, seven months a year on the road without her.  Have since she was four."  He smirked meanly.  "Xander asked if I knew of a group that could rescue her."

"That's fine," Jack agreed.  "Government or private?"

"Private but I've never heard anything bad.  I can check."

"Nah, I will."  He looked at the system.  "This is far beyond what we have right now."

"Yup," Jensen agreed.  Xander and Sam walked in, Jon behind them.  "Xander, can I bum your computer?"

"No.  I can't replace it for another decade or so.  If I could I might."

"I know."  He gave him a hug.  "Sascha's self treating."

"Sascha, need help?" Xander called, walking that way.  He found her putting something on her bruises.  He came closer, kissing her on the forehead and taking the tube to do it for her.  She moaned a bit.  He smiled.  "I'm very gentle.  Kick me gently if I hurt."  He dosed them all and then handed her a small envelope.  "Pain killer?"  She nodded, dry swallowing it.  "Need more help?"

She shook her head.  "My bosses were not happy," she said in German.

Xander nodded.  "Your bosses are uptight."  She nodded.  "But... you do have a fall back and a reason for you to get your job back."  He whispered in her ear, making her shudder.  "Exactly.  They're finding that out right now."  She nodded, walking out there to see.  Xander walked out.  "She's going to look too, Jack."

"Where do you work?" Jack asked her.  She rattled off a name and he flinched.  "Good enough reason.  You guys have some really great spy networks."  She smirked and nodded.  "Fine.  It can only help us stop the problems."

"If I can.  They did not like me knowing KGB."

"They're uptight that way," Clay agreed.  She smiled at him.  "Any idea what she drugged you with?"

"They took blood," she told him.

"Then they must have the results by now," Clay said.

She nodded.  "Probably.  We would."  She looked over the information again.  "Whoever built this system is good."

"Willow," Xander said dryly.

"Ah."  She nodded and they went over the other files she had hidden.

"Don't destroy anything please.  I can't replace it."  They nodded.  Xander leaned back, looking at the ceiling.  "Cordelia?"  She faded in glaring at him.  "Where is my pack?"

She stared.  "I don't know," she admitted.  "Probably gone now?"

"It should've been in the car."

"Huh."  She went to look and came back with two things and dropped them on him.  "Mister, I'm also the clue bus," she said, staring at him.  "You need to pack bond."

"Yup.  They're not here."  He waved a hand.  "Only Jensen, Sam, and Jon are."

"Good point.  I'll drive the clue bus past them soon enough."  She stared at him.  "He may bark but you'll have evidence."  She disappeared.

"Thank you," Xander called.  "Did you steal the chocolate?"

"Yup, sure did," she quipped back.  "And I love you for having it."

"Welcome."  Xander texted someone and the rest of things showed up.  He checked and got the other things that he should still have.  That pack slammed into his stomach and he groaned.  "Ow.  Still sore."  He glared at the ceiling and pointed at a box.  "Jensen, that was your holiday present."  Jensen slid to the floor and dug into the box Xander had pointed at.  He tossed something to Sascha, letting her catch it.  Jensen found the other laptop and hugged it.  "Yup, yours."

Jensen got into it to look at the specs.  "Oh, God," he whispered.  "I love you!"  He hugged Xander, getting a cuddle back.  "Why are you sore?"

"Don't ask," Xander muttered.  He grinned.  "I'm getting better."

"Uh-huh.  Go fix that.  We'll have a movie fit tonight."  Xander nodded, heading to the sauna he had picked out for working on things.  He could spend most of the day there, it was run by neo-pagans.  They understood a cleansing sweat lodge.

Sascha smiled at Jensen.  "That is a good present?"

"It's a wonderful present.  It's so high tech it's not funny and it's Israeli hacking software."  He hugged it again, beaming at her.  She laughed, shaking her head.  He showed her and she was impressed even though she didn't know much about computers.

Clay watched, shaking his head.  "Jensen, put that to use to find the idiots now."

Jensen nodded, settling in to do that.  It was lightening fast compared to the current laptops.  It had more storage than some mega systems he knew about.  It was such a sweet present from the future.


Xander spotted the start of the apocalypse.  It was within days.  He sent out warnings and got ready to go.  Sam came home and packed his own gear.  "You sure?" he asked.

"Shut up, Xander.  Of course we're going."


Sam gave him a shoulder nudge, smiling at him.  "I know you're trying to protect me."  Xander nodded.  "That's fine.  Dean does it too."  They left, after making sure no one could find any of the weapons or gear.  It was a pretty good drive and they were missing a test.  The principal got the same warning though so he'd either cover or whine when they got back.

Jon was waiting beside the car with his own bag.  "How long of a drive is it?"

"Two days," Sam said.  "Arkansas."

"Day and a half with a stop there for prep time," Xander said.  He slid in to drive.  Sam slid into the front seat.  Jon got the back all to himself with the bags.  Sam turned on the radio.  Jon groaned so he changed it.  Xander slipped in a CD and it was better.   Yeah, they could handle this.


John heard the message and knew they had to go then.  The general had told him it was time.  He got what he needed and tapped a few to come with him.  Rodney stared.  "It's purely physical.  Sorry."

"I'll be here manfully complaining but I expect chocolates."

"Yup, sure can," John quipped.  He handed over the ropes and they left through the stargate once they had put them on.  He had an extra two.  He had decoded the visions enough to know that Xander at least would need one.  Sam too probably because he wouldn't let Xander go without him.  They got back to earth and were beamed to the area.  He saw Jon O'Neill.  "Where's Xander?"

"Left," he said, pointing at his position.  He followed.  "Xander."

Xander looked over.  "Hey.  We have three groups."  He pointed at the mock up.  "I need you to take this one.  Yours is larger than ours and that's going to be mostly just holding them so it doesn't take knowing a lot about various demons."

"If there's only one sort," John said.  "We can take this group."

"That's mine," Sam said.  "Xander's taking this side's because it's the bigger risk of them pulling something weird out of their asses.  That means you guys can basically shoot a lot and handle the biggest part since there's six of you."

John nodded.  "That's reasonable but who's backing him up?" Evan asked.

Xander looked t him.  "Me.  I'm not all that bad really.  Plus, a lot of demons and there's only four.  You guys have between twelve and eighteen.  Sam has four and he has Jon.  Plus Dean and his dad if they show up."

"You should still have someone behind you," John said.  "I know this is an old argument, Xander."

Xander blew a kiss.  "Once I have them I'll come over to back you guys up."  John huffed.  "Yay."  He shrugged.  "It'll work easiest."  He walked off.  "Jon, did you get the spare bullets?"

"Yup.  Need more?"

"Nope.  Three of the ones I'm taking on need silver in the chest cavity.  Which means a blade."  He pulled his out of his pack and handed it to John.  "Here, have some spares."

"Thanks."  He held up the rope, staring at him.  "Are you all right?"

"I'm always fine.  That's why the bad girls love me."  He took it and put it on, changing down then back.  "Huh, Coyote was right, it did feel really natural."  He walked off.  "We have them starting in an hour, guys.  Find your spots."  He melded into the woods.

"Is he Rambo?" Evan asked quietly.

John snickered.  "Sometimes, yeah.  Because people kept telling him he was normal.  We can't seem to break that most of the time."

"Hell, he didn't even let me fuss when he came back so sore he couldn't stand being touched," Sam quipped, staring at John.

"Why?" John asked.  Sam gave him a pointed look.  "It shouldn't have stayed."

"It latched onto the hellmouth taint."

"Is it better?" John asked.  "Xander?" he called.  No answer.  "Fuck," he muttered, walking off.  "C'mon, guys."  They found their waiting spots and settled in, going over their weapons and the borrowed stuff.  Evan held up the two tiny boxes, letting John put them into his tac vest.  He hoped they didn't need it.  He hoped it was just a straightforward battle.  It'd be nice for an apocalypse.  They hadn't had an easy apocalypse in years.

He heard one demon roar and changed, nodding at the others.  They changed and shifted forward to get ready.  The demons were stomping their way.  Twenty-two but a few were stomping towards Sam talking about 'the chosen one is here'.  Sam and Jon could help later.  They moved to take them out.  He heard a roar of pain and it wasn't them.  It wasn't nearby because he couldn't smell blood.  So it had to be Xander.

They got the demons out and saw Xander dart into their range then leap over one and change in mid-leap to go after another demon.  "What the hell, Xander!" he called, shooting at the demon trying to follow him.  He followed.  "Ronon, help Sam!"  The rest of the group was cleaning up their messes.  He found Xander over a demon that wasn't like the ones they had expected.  "What the hell?" he demanded.

Xander stabbed it again and it exploded, but didn't touch them.  Then the blood spout got sucked back in.  He switched to something else and it died.  He looked at John.  "The higher up?"

"Not here yet."

"Fine."  He walked over the body.  "Problems?"

"You ran into the battlefield," John snarled, stopping him.

Xander stared back.  "Yeah, because he had a victim."  He pointed at the cowering being in the woods.  "It's the full moon, John.  She's changed and tiny."  John looked and whimpered.  "I can't let that happen.  Beyond that, I got all but one of mine and it's hobbled."  He changed and ran off.

John watched.  Xander was a hunting hound, a Plott.  It was a general hunting sort of dog that he had known through a friend's pet.  John changed and followed.  Xander had tackled the demon in dog form then changed and killed it before it got back up.  John trotted up and looked at him, changing back.  "Nice."

"Thank you."  They walked off.  "Sam?" he called quietly.

"We're good," he called.  "The Higher is here."

Xander swore and ran off.  He changed into a bird, which shocked him and John.  It made getting there faster and quieter.  Flight was like when he was merged with the eagles near the house.  He dove at the higher demon, changing in mid-dive to land on him and drive him down.  One of the soldiers got him on the arm with a graze but that was fine.  The demon's spine snapped and Xander stabbed him in the back of the head.  It screamed and flailed, shoving him off.  Sam stepped in to get it beheaded.  Xander rolled over, spitting out blood.  "Ow."

"You okay?" Sam demanded, helping him up.

"I'm fine."

"Don't start that shit again," John ordered.  "I'll tie your ass down and treat you like they would."

"Sure, I can rip your arms off if you try," Xander said, staring at him.  "It's a graze."

"You spit blood," Sam noted.  He looked in Xander's eyes.  "You had a vision?"

"Yup.  That's how I knew that other one had a victim.  She's a changer.  Sam, make sure she gets back to pack lands?"

"Got it."  He walked off to find her and calm her down.  Jon helped.

Xander took off the rope, handing it over.  "Thanks."

John stopped him.  "You're not a slayer but I know you know your limits," he said, staring into his eyes.  "You need to be more careful."

"I'm fine."  He got free.  "I'm not fucking helpless just because I'm sixteen again!  Quit treating me like a damn child, John!"  He walked off.

"Xander," he called.

"Go," Evan ordered quietly.  John nodded.  "Guys, let's clean up this mess."

Xander came back and moved Ronon then pulled the pin on the canister and rolled it out.  It went 'whompf' and acid came out to burn the ground.  "That's handy."

"Especially after huge battles," Xander agreed.  He ducked into the trees and wandered off again.

"That won't save you from the reminder that you're still human," John called, trying to follow him.  He ended up changing into his German Sheppard form to follow him.  Xander was more than a tiny bit injured.  He could smell the wrongness.  That was the hellmouth taint and it was still draining out of him.  He finally found him and pounced, changing back to stare down at him.  "You have to take care of whatever's making you leak taint," he said quietly.  "And learn to work *with* people, Xander.  We respect you for the badass you are.  Quit treating us like trainees."

"I'm not.  Get off!"

"No!" John said.

"Get off!" Xander growled.  John moved.  "Thank you!"  He stood up, holding his side.  John pushed him against a tree to check his side.  "John, I swear to all the Gods," he started.

"It's my job to make sure you're not injured," John said firmly.  "So stop it."  He found the bruise.  "One managed to hit you?"

"Twice and kicked, thank you.  I've had worse in class."

"Uh-huh.  You don't have PE, Xander."


"Against you?"

"Hell no," he snorted.  John stared at him.  "I'm fine.  Really."

"Bull."  He pressed closer.  "It's the pack's job to look out for each other, including you, Xander.  You can't be the best alpha when you're injured. The same as I can't for my part of the pack."  He shifted closer to him.  "Now, how injured are you?  Otherwise I'm telling Doctor Lam and she will nag.  Or sedate and then check."

"It's just a bruise and the residual pain."

"Okay, first, what caused the pain?"

"The damn beams."

"You fought them."

"Not just them.  And if I hadn't, I'd be fucking dead."

"Oh.  I did not know that."

"I could've sworn I said that."

"You may have," he sighed.

"Why are you turning into Buffy for real?"

"Insult me again, watch me paddle you," he shot back.  "I appreciate all the insanity you bring to my life, all the good stuff, all that.  Even you when you're in tough guy mode and trying to out badass me to prove that you're the pack's alpha."  Xander sighed, staring at him.  "I'm not putting you down but you just treated me like the newbie warrior O'Neill is."

"I ....  You started it."

"How did I start it?"

"You started it with that other demon I handled."

John huffed, backing up a few inches.  "It wasn't really wise."

"Yay.  It was necessary."

"I know.  I realize that now.  You could've shouted a warning."

"It would've told it."

"Fine.  Whatever.  I'm not arguing about this.  It's still my job to make sure you're all right."

"I'm fine!"

"You're not fine.  You're bitchy."  Xander growled and he stared back.  "Don't pull her up.  There's no need to go all hyena."  He moved closer again but Xander moved.  John pulled him back and sighed, nuzzling Xander's cheek with his.  It worked, the hyena calmed down.  "Let me check for injuries," he said quietly.  "We can talk later."

"There's no need."

"Shut up, Xander."  He walked him off.  Evan had Xander's pack and was waiting.  "Sam?"

"No complaints yet," Evan admitted.  "Ronon followed."

"That's fine."  He walked Xander back to their car.  Ronon showed up first with the two behind him looking upset.  "Problems, guys?"

"The pack alpha said thank you and dissed Ronon," Sam said with a small grin.  "She called us fakers."  Xander raised an eyebrow.  "Oh, no.  No.  No no no."  He took Xander from John.  "Injured?"

"Got a slight kick," he admitted.  He looked over Sam's shoulder, staring at the wolf there.  "Hi."

The wolf changed.  "We are peaceful."

Xander shrugged.  "We're not here for you.  Are there hunters we need to stop from being idiots?"

She stared.  "You would go against your kind?"

"They're not my kind if they're indiscriminate," Xander said bluntly.  He moved around them.  "Is the child all right?"

"Scared but healthy.  What had it?"  Xander led her to that corpse, letting her sniff it.  "Hmm.  That is not a good thing and there's no reason for it to be on this plane as I know of it."

"No, the other demons may have summoned it, but it has to be summoned."

"We will be on guard for whoever summoned it if it wasn't them."  She looked at him.  "You are a hunter?"  Xander nodded.  "You are young."

"Eeeh, a bit."  He smiled.  "It's all good.  Some of these are my pack."

She sniffed him.  "Hyena?"

"Possession by the matriarch."  He smiled.  "Of course, I have some of the fussiest people in my pack."

She laughed.  "That is good for any alpha.  It means they worry less."  She pointed.  "That is Tezerel."  Xander picked it and sniffed, putting it into his jacket pocket.  She smiled and left them alone to tell the others.

"Be safe, Tara," Xander called.  She looked at him, head tipped slightly.  He smiled.  "Hecate said to make sure you were protected.  She has great things in mind for you."  She blushed and ducked her head before changing and running off.  Xander picked more of the herb and walked off sniffing it.  It did smell very calming.  He found John watching him.  "That was Tara," he said quietly.

"Willow's Tara?"  Xander nodded, smiling a sad smile at the way she had run off.  "She was pretty and kind."  He led Xander off, taking the herb to smell.  "That's nice."  He led them back to the group.  "Any other injuries beyond his bruise?"

"Not yet," Sam said, looking at Xander.  "Let's head home."

"Car," Ronon said with a point.

"I don't they can take the car," John sighed.  "We can travel back."  They all shrugged.  It was a two day trip and the ship wasn't going to leave for a week anyway.  It'd give them time to calm down and talk about things.  Xander turned and pulled his knife, lunging at the being rushing their way.  "Xander!" he shouted, moving to help him.

"You profane a gift of the Goddess!" the changer shouted.  "False ones!  You all have to die!"

"No, we don't," Xander said, dodging his claws while trying to wound him.  "Who do you think gave them to him?"  He lost his knife in the next swipe but Xander could still fight.   He got clawed and saw the man reach for John.  So Xander kindly lost it.  Because *no one* fucked with his pack.  He snarled and batted the changer, locking him into his animal form.  He howled and struggled, rolling around.  Xander stared at him.

"You'd better pray your Goddess is merciful.  Because I'm not and you attacked *my* pack."  He got handed his dagger by Evan and turned to look at John.  "Are you all right?"  He pulled him closer to check the claw mark.  "It's not very deep and we have something to put on it so nothing on his claws can hurt you," he said quietly.  "Sam...."

Sam handed over the small tin and he gently applied it, then looked John over.  "You'll be okay."  He heard a howl and looked back, glaring.  "Shut.  Up."  The changer quit howling.  "You'd better be damn lucky I was too tired to kill your dumb ass for coming after my pack."  He hauled the creature up and walked off.  "How far?"

"Other side of the woods," Sam said.  "I'm coming."

"Stay," he ordered.  Sam stopped and looked at John.  Who pointed.  Sam shook his head, coming back to fuss over John.  Xander carried the struggling thing all the way to where the others were growling.  He dropped him in front of Tara.  "He stupidly decided to attack my pack mate.  I am not pleased."  He stared at the elder, he could tell he was the alpha by the way the others were protecting him.  "He's obviously young and stupid.  Thankfully I'm tired after the battle earlier.  If he's lucky, he'll figure out how to get back to human form again sometime."  He walked off.

"Most would kill during a challenge," Tara called.

Xander turned to look at her.  "I'm not most people, Tara.  I never have been."

"How do you know me?"

Xander grinned.  "I knew you in my home actually.  Which isn't here."  He walked off again.

She looked at the elders, who all shrugged.  She'd have to figure things out.  For now, she had to see if she could undo what that stranger had done to their pack member.  "He should've killed you," she reminded him when he started to whine pathetically.  "That's what would happen in any other pack if you challenged them.  He was being merciful."  She walked him off so she could see what had happened.  She did have a touch of magic and she could feel something warping things.

The elders shared a look and followed to help.  There was something strange about that pack.


John looked at Evan the next morning when they had stopped for a bit of rest.  "Problems?" he asked quietly.

"It's nice that he fusses over you like your mother," he said with a slight grin.

"Xander has always fussed over the pack."  He smiled.  "It's nice most of the time."

"Very nice.  Is that scratch going to bother things?"

"No.  Probably not."  He looked at the room Xander and Sam were sharing.  He sighed.  "I'm going to check on them.  Xander's still in pain from when he showed up to help us get those chains."   He went that way, and Jon opened the door, staring at him.  "How is he?" he asked quietly.

"Napping without a nightmare for once."  Jon let him in and watched as John slid down onto the bed in front of Xander, getting cuddled for it.  "Sure, I'll go take your bed," he quipped.

"Half the time the pack cuddles, Jon."

"I noticed."  He left, not really in the mood to cuddle.  Evan smiled and handed him a cup of coffee.  "Thanks, Major."


"Check in go okay?"

"Landry threw fits.  He didn't like that whole thing."

"Yay," Jon sighed.  He sipped his coffee.  "Maybe I'll drive later today and let those two nap."  Evan smirked at him for that suggestion.  It'd never happen.  He saw another car pull in and walked over.  "He's fine, Dean."

"It's tonight, right?"

"Last night."

"Damn it!  They didn't call?"

"We didn't really need more help.  Xander told you it'd be okay."

Dean stared at him.  "Xander has a really bad habit of taking on some of the bigger things without the backup he needs.  It's part of that problem with having to prove he's not normal over and over."

"We noticed."  He nodded and Dean got out, walking over to where Evan was.  "This is Major Evan Lorne.  He's on John's project as his second."

"Hey," Dean said, shaking his hand.  "Dean Winchester, Sammy's big brother."

Evan smiled.  "I'd guess things like this would be a family business."  Dean nodded.   "They're napping together."

"Yeah, the pack tends to dog pile together," Dean said.  "Especially after battles."

"I guess that makes sense.  Must help calming down.  There was a slight problem with the local pack of changers but Xander handled it."

Dean stared at him.  "Dead and gone, right?"

Xander opened the door.  "Leave Tara's pack alone, Dean.  It was some unschooled young punk who needed to make a name for himself.  Somehow I stuck him in canine form."  He shut the door.  "Sam, your brother's here."   Sam walked out a minute later pulling on a t-shirt.  Xander stared at John but got pulled down to rest again.  He sighed, this was really comforting.  He had missed having the pack around a lot more often.

Sam smiled at Dean.  "We didn't think we'd need the help.  I left you a voicemail."

"I got it but Dad said to show up anyway.  Just in case."  He checked him over.  "No bruises, cuts, nothing?"

"Few bruises but otherwise no."  He grinned.  "We're okay.  Really."

"Xander take on the big, bad thing?" Dean asked dryly.

"And got into a fight with John over it."

"Figures.   Xander's having to reprove his alphaness now and then.  John and Tony both look at the apparent age instead of the skills."

Evan cleared his throat.  "We heard about Xander from John.  Usually he doesn't."

"Yeah but the John here isn't as used to Xander and us as the John there.  The John there was totally blown out by all the fighting you guys did," Sam said quietly, glancing around.  "Because yeah, things got worse.  You guys landed at home for a while, reloaded, and went back."  Evan shivered.  "You were low on power, rounds, all that.  There was a lot of talk about abandoning it."

Sam stared at him.  "Our John, the one who learned the easy way to respect Xander, had a few more years than yours does.  Yours is a lot nicer than ours was.  Ours was a lot more cold when he had to be.  He and Xander challenged each other in sparring a few times but otherwise John knew that he could trust Xander to fuss and protect him."


"Is younger, feistier, and hasn't seen as many problems," Dean agreed.

"Are there still wraith in that timeline?" Evan asked.

"I don't know if they got destroyed when everything else was," Dean admitted, looking at Sam.

"No clue on that but yeah, there were still a few very militant ones before that battle.  By the imprint, John went from one serious one there to the one down here."

Cordelia appeared in a huff.  "How much more brightly colored do I have to make the clue bus, Sam?"

Sam stared at her.  "Home," he said dryly.

She glared.  "No!"

"Yeah.  Besides, this wasn't like that one.  After that one we needed it.  Now, we're tense but not that way."  He smirked.  "You still forgot some of his stuff because you forgot the figurine I gave him for his birthday."

"How many places did he have things hidden?" she demanded.

"How many safe houses did he have?" Dean shot back with a slight shrug.  "Beyond the main council building?"

She stared then groaned, looking up.  "That's probably the small spark of something there that's giving the higher ups there hope it'll reform."

"Maybe," Sam agreed.  "Still only a quarter of his stuff."  She glared.  He grinned.  "Wasn't that the deal for sending him here?"

"Yes," she complained.  "Whistler was stupid to make it.  It's causing a lot of issues."

Sam sighed, staring at her.  "You guys wanted it, you got it, Toyota Cordelia."

She sneered.  "Not cute, Sam.  Though you're never really cute."  She smirked.  "You're much too dorky and all the higher ups think you and Xander should both go gay."

"Xander dabbles but I really don't like dicks.  Hell, I don't even masturbate usually because I don't like dicks."  Jon spluttered.

Dean looked at his brother.  "I taught you better than that."

Evan shook his head.  "You guys are stranger than we are."

"Sometimes," Dean agreed.  Castiel appeared with a small box.  "That's not the figurine."

"No, it was the last spark of that world."

"So yup, probably gone," Cordelia said.

Sam smirked.  "No it's not.  Ask Dawn."  She growled.  Sam smirked.  "It probably went to another Xander?"

"Probably," Castiel said, handing Sam the box.  Sam looked inside then shut it and glared at him.  "That was the last spark."

Dean took it to look at then at him.  "No, it wasn't.  Because I did an imprint right before I died."  Castiel gaped in awe.  "Let's go, Cas."

"I cannot."

"I can," Sam assured him, staring at Cordelia.  "Remember, they have to clean up the rest of the mess to start over again."

"Yes they do.  Like tearing down things to rebuild after earthquakes."  She got an order from her new bosses and took the brothers and angel with her.  Sam had magic in this world from the demon blood.  He summoned the loose ends and the last thing, which was Dawn's orb.  It snuggled into a shirt in one of the boxes and seemed to sigh in pleasure.  They all got sent to the apartment and then Sam did something, which ended everything officially.  Dawn came back so Sam cuddled her as they went back to their own realm.  Sam sighed as the old powers left him.  Cordelia stared at the ball.  "That's a dangerous thing to have," she said quietly.

"Dad," Sam said.

"Fine."  She waved.  "Cas, thank you.  These Powers are nicer."

"More sane as well," he agreed, smiling at her.  "Thank you for your help, Cordelia."  She smirked and faded out.  Castiel looked at the ball, petting it gently.  "It's fine, dear.  Xander is resting.  We'll get you to John."

Dean took it and the ball sighed in pleasure.  "I knew you had a crush on me, kiddo."  He looked at Sam.  Who only grinned.  "I'll catch you back in Colorado Springs in a few days."  He went to the impala.  She settled into his lap, which was weird but so was Dawn.  She had the most massive crush on him that she'd never act on.  She had played pretend girlfriend very well but wouldn't even let herself try to get close to people.  She was scared of her power and what she might do because everyone else was, and no one outside Xander and her mother had told her she could control it.  Well, Faith started on that rant a few times but it wasn't close enough to the problem.  He drove off with a blast of Iron Maiden and she hummed.  She liked that tape.

Sam grinned at Evan and Jon.  Castiel coughed.  "Sam, things are still going on."

"We know, Cas.  Trust me, we both know."  Castiel nodded and disappeared.  "And that was the Angel Castiel."  Evan whimpered, shaking his head.  "In his original plane, the angels started an apocalypse using the family."  He walked off.  "Night, Jon."

"Night, Sam.  I'll take Sheppard's bed."  He looked at Evan.  "Yeah, they're stranger than the SGC ever could be," he said quietly but he was smiling.  "Just because they think life's like that for everyone."  He went to John's bed and laid down to rest.

Evan looked up and said a prayer, hoping that no one tried that here.  He'd hate to see an angelic apocalypse.  The good guys weren't supposed to start one.


Dean walked into the bar where his father was.  Ellen had allowed him back to the Roadhouse to talk to a young idiot hunter who had gotten bitten by a demon.  Dean turned a chair around and sat down, staring at the guy.  "What sort was it?"

"Big teeth and mouth," he said dryly.

"Sammy has a lot of ancient books at his disposal to look it up."

"I asked Jensen to do that since he's at the apartment right now.  They said it shouldn't taint him," John said.  He was staring at the green orb.  "What's that?"


John stiffened.  "Already?"

"They wanted to rebuild.  Had to clear the last few links."  John nodded, touching it gently.  The ball rolled toward him and snuggled against his chest.

"That's freaky like that thing on the Heavy Metal cartoon movie," the other hunter complained.  "Is it evil?"

"No.  That's the Key," Dean said with a grin for him.  "We're protecting it.  It's an intergalactic lock pick and realm opener.  There's going to be a hell goddess who will want to use her some year soon.  By then she might be in human form."

The hunter whimpered.  "Do you guys never do things like the rest of us?"

"Nah.  That's why we have Sammy," Dean quipped, grinning at him.  "And why Dad and I are such badass hunters."  He petted the ball, earning a purr back.  "Sleep, Dawn.  You're safe with Dad."  She giggled and snuggled better.

John looked at it.  "You're getting very comfortable."  The orb blew a raspberry and he rolled his eyes.  "Never mind."  She snuggled again and he petted it gently.  It calmed her down.  "We'll work it out, kiddo.  Maybe you can live in the glove box until you're ready to be changed."  She blew another raspberry.

"There's a temple to her in Mexico according to Sammy," Dean told him.  "Not too far from the border."

"I'll find it and take her there to watch over her."  Dean nodded.  "They good?"

"Yeah, handled it without me.  I showed up after it was done and they all said they had it.  Apparently John and Xander got into an alpha snit fit sort of thing.  Cordelia wants the pack to bond.  So we'll see."  John nodded once.  Ellen walked over.  "Hey, Ellen."

"Dean.  Who's that?"

"That's a mystical, good artifact.  There's a hell goddess who'll want to use it to open a demon realm onto this plane."  She shuddered.  "She can't be destroyed and they wanted some of the best to guard her.  That was Dad's job since we got the demon."

She nodded.  "I can see why.  Is it dangerous?"  The ball moved over to tap her hand then rolled back to John and snuggled in again.  "She's clearly sentient."

"Yeah, in other realms when she was threatened, they changed her into a girl.  The one Xander was on was her last one.  So we're waiting to see what happens here."

"I guess that's fine, even if it is a bit odd."

"She's a good girl," Dean assured her.  Ellen walked off shaking her head.  "Have a good trip to Mexico, Dad."

"I will.  You make sure your brother actually passes this year, Dean."

"Dad, we're talking about Sammy here.  The same Sammy that took your rifle and beat down a small tree because he got a B on a test."

"He hasn't been focusing as much," John complained.

"He's got a 3.8 right now, Dad.  He had to drop physics so it wouldn't tank him.  The last time he got a low grade was for PE.  Otherwise he'd be 4.0.  We *all* know Sammy has a giant brain."

"True.  Do we think his extra curricular things are bothering his grades?"

"I think it wouldn't matter because Sammy has to train his shaman skills," Dean said firmly.  "Or like Xander, he'll end up with soul deep pain every day thanks to a higher up."  John shuddered.  "He's fixing it slowly by weeding out his hellmouth taint."  He shifted on his chair, crossing his arms on the back to rest his chin on it.  "It'll be fine.  Sammy's going to go to college and he's trying to talk Xander into it.  Someone suggested instead of pre-law he might want to go pre-med."  John nodded once at that.  "Hard, and a lot of work for about eight years, but worth it in the long run."

"It would be," he sighed.  "How would he afford it?"

"That's why he has the paperwork to declare himself emancipated," Dean said.  "So they couldn't take more than his income into account."  He grinned.  "Plus it'd mean you wouldn't have to drive to Colorado Springs to bail them out of jail the next time Xander dates."  He got up.  "Ellen, can I have a beer?" he called as he walked that way.

John shook his head.  The other hunter gave him an odd look.  "Xander only draws dangerous women.   Including a KGB agent and another one from Germany."

"Why?" the hunter demanded.  "Is he one of us?"

"Yup," Dean agreed as he came back, grinning at him.  "They're just his sort of woman.  Though Sammy thinks it's the hellmouth taint drawing more slightly evil things to him."  He sat down and took a sip.  "Bottom of the keg, Ellen?"

"Yup, just for you, Dean," she quipped back with an evil smirk.

"That's fine.  I can get back on the road sooner tomorrow."  He looked at his father after another drink.  "Cordelia was trying to push some pack bonding time."

John took the beer to gulp.  "I don't want that mental image, son.  Ever.  It's bad enough when the whole pack cuddles together."

"Are we talking a were's pack?" the other hunter asked.

"No, Xander was possessed by a hyena," Dean said dryly.  "The primal spirit has gathered a pack of friends and near family.  Including me," he admitted.  "When we're all together, it just seems to naturally gravitate to us watching movies and falling asleep in a pile on the couch and floor."  He took his the last of his beer back to gulp.  "Nothing ever happens," he said at the odd look he was getting.  "Hell, half the time Sammy and Xander end up curled up together.  I'm starting to wonder if that's their spirit guides doing it," he told his father.

"I have no idea and I don't really want to," John assured him.  The ball of Dawn giggled.  He looked down at it.  "I don't."  She purred.  "I know, you used to jump in the middle of it."  He looked at his son again, shrugging slightly.  "No clue, Dean.  Maybe the higher ups have something other than a plan?"

"Could be," Dean agreed.  "I hope."

"Did we not clear the possession?" the other hunter asked.  Ellen had come back over too.

"Xander's a medium," John said dryly.  "And a shaman in training."  Ellen moaned, shaking her head.  "Sammy's taking the same training."

"No wonder he's that way," Ellen sighed.  "He's training with someone good?"

"A very nice older guy up the road from them," Dean assured her with a grin.  "He's guiding Xander on what he didn't get in his last life too."

"Even better."

"Xander said the spirit guides nagged," Dean told her.

She rolled her eyes.  "That's because he's like you, Dean.  He needs a good hand on his ass to cure him."

"Xander would probably break someone into tiny little pieces if they tried," the ball of Dawn said.  "Really."

Ellen looked at her.  "I take it you hung around him before?"  The ball giggled again and pushed against John.

"Yup," Dean said.  "They had made her the sister of a slayer there, the one Xander worked with.  Here, Dad's the next best thing since the slayer line is gone."

"Huh," Ellen said.  "I guess that makes sense."  She looked at the ball.  "Is she going to change?"

"No clue," John admitted.  "There, the monks made her change when they got attacked from what I got out of Xander's journal.  I've talked to a few of the other hunters to make sure if I die she'll still be protected."

"I guess that's reasonable.  Who'd fight a hell goddess though?"

"Xander," Dean and John said, then sighed.  Dean shook his head.  "He was in the battle with her last time."  Ellen gaped.  "Yeah, things were that fucked up and heavy on their world.  Her, a military project, the First Evil."  She shuddered.  "Exactly.  And he helped a lot, even when the girls didn't want him to because he was a normal guy sort."

"So he's a hunter," she said.

"Yup, basically.  Just a fairly stubborn one.  Which causes his pack, especially Sammy, to nag."

"I'm sure he adores that," the other hunter complained.

"No, but they handle it and then it's better.  Sammy's turned into a nice wifely sort.  He can cook, he can nag.  He can do laundry better than Xander does."  John swatted him.  "Xander does a lot more soaking stuff and then washing.  Sam actually treated the stains and did laundry properly.  If we could talk them into going gay that might be the best option."

"Maybe," John agreed.  He shook his head quickly.  "Still not something I want to speculate about, Dean."  The ball nuzzled.  "What?  If you're hungry I have no idea what to feed you."  She laughed again.  He shook his head, getting up.  "Let me get to the motel.  Let me know if others need more help, Ellen.  Dean?"

"Coming," he agreed, standing up and turning the chair back around before following his father out.

Ellen looked at that other hunter.  "That special Winchester insanity is why some angels started an apocalypse with them in that other realm," she said quietly.  "They managed to stop it here."

"Thank God.  Angels?"

"Yup."  She walked off.  "You need to change that dressing."

"I will.  Thanks for calling him, Ellen."

She looked at him.  "If they wouldn't know what it was, Harris would," she said with a smirk.  "Because he grew up around a lot of demon species."  He shuddered, heading to his room for the night to change his bandages and take a shower.  Ellen got the holy watered cleaning spray to clean that table in case that orb had left some sort of trace that a demon could sense.  She wish John a lot of luck with his future glowing ball of daughter.  Because anyone more sane would be driven to the nut house by the very thought.


The vision slammed into Xander's head and he winced, squeezing his eyes shut.  "Shit," he moaned, holding his forehead.  Jon pulled over so he and Sam could handle the problem, getting him back to the point where he could speak.  Sam was rubbing Xander's arm but didn't mind when he got shoved off and Xander got out to throw up.  Xander finished, spitting a few times to get the bad taste out of his mouth.  He looked around, then at Sam.  "We have to go to Mexico."

"Already?  Alvarez wasn't for years."

"Same area, last time Kendra handled it," he said blandly.  "Cordelia said hi though."  He waved down the car that John had rented for them, making him pull over.  "I have to handle something in Mexico.  I'll be back in a few days."

"We can go help, Xander."

"It's not that huge."

"Bullshit since you had a vision.  Where in Mexico?"

"Alvarez," he said quietly.  John shuddered.  Xander nodded.  "Something simpler."

"We'll follow."  He looked at his teammates, shaking his head.  "I hated the last time I was there."  He followed Xander to the interstate and lower Texas.

Xander got back in to drive.  He knew the way very well.  Sam was looking up things.  "It's a sword battle," Xander said quietly.  "A two higher demon sword battle."  Sam nodded, passing that on.  "Nothing like last time but maybe we'll be able to destroy that shrine for a few months.  They're going to start sacrificing victims soon I think."  He rubbed one temple.  "It's probably about a ten hour drive.  You two rest and you can take over in about four hours."  They nodded and Jon settled down to rest.  Xander turned up the music slightly, concentrating on the road instead of the last battle he had fought there.  Or even the first battle he had fought there.   Most of the pack hated Alvarez.

Sam called home.  "Jensen, Sam.  Xander got a head's up.  Alvarez for something small.  No, only two higher.  They'll start that massive sacrifice series soon he thinks but not right now.  No, this is something Kendra handled there.  By Lubbock.  So yeah by tomorrow morning and then we'll head up through New Mexico.  No, enjoy the cable if you can, dude.  It's not a problem.  No, we have John's people, it should be okay.  Thanks though."

"Six years before we have to fight that one," Xander called.

"He remembers and he hated it."

"Him and me both," Xander sighed.  "And the other one too."  Sam shuddered.  "Tell him to get new ice cream if he ate it all?"

"Xander said to restore the ice cream supply if you scoffed it, Jensen."  He grinned.  "That's cool.  Thanks.  Yeah, just a day later than planned.  Laters."  He hung up and went back to looking things up.  "Any idea which highers, Xander?"

"Um..."  He considered it.  "Remember the ones in Cresta that were fighting?"


"Their cousins are having a Springer match."

"Shit," Sam muttered, looking up how to kill them.  "Blessed blades."

"You know, I can handle this on my own.  Hit greyhound...."

"Shut up, Xander."

"Fine."  He sighed.  "We really don't need John's team too.  They should get some downtime."

Sam called John's phone, which got answered by Evan.  "Major," he said, putting him on speaker.  "Xander said you guys could go on downtime if you wanted.  It's only two and he's going to need swords to solve it."

"Hold on, Sam.  Colonel, Xander's trying to shove us off because it'll take swords and there's only two?"

"Sam, tell Xander to stop thinking.  He doesn't get to go into battle alone while we're here."

"I told him that when he suggested he hit greyhound."  Jon was snickering.

"Xander, stop it."  He heard the huff and sigh.  "I can swing a sword.  I've been taking extra practice with one even.  The others can enjoy the show while we kill it.  Keep it up and I'm switching people around so you're in my car and Sam can drive yours.  That way Ronon can have your radio."

"You can bum a few CD's," Xander said dryly.

"No, that's all right," Evan quipped.  "Jon was flipping through your CD's and they were not most of our tastes.  Though I think Ronon might like Linkin Park.  I did when I listened to it last night."  He hung up.

Xander shrugged.  "Fine."

"Don't make me beat you later," Sam said, putting his phone back in his pocket.


"Xander!" Sam sighed.

"You two are sounding married again," Jon quipped from the back seat.  Sam shook his head.  Xander rolled his eyes.  Jon grinned and drifted off again.  It was better now.  Less tension in the car and less bitching.  Because Sam could bitch like a cheerleader on the rag at times.


In the other car, John was trying to figure out the shortest distance.  "I miss google maps," he decided.  "It could GPS you, it could find your route...."  He called Sam back one handed.  "Sam, me.  What's our route?  Because I have to get gas soon."  He handed the phone to Evan.  "Take that down.  He's looking."

"How is he getting an internet signal in a car?" Evan asked.

"Satellite.  Don't ask."

"Fine."  He took down the directions Sam had found.  "We're thinking maybe eleven hours then, right?  Including gas stops."  He nodded.  "Makes sense.  Thanks, Sam."  He hung up and put the paper on the dashboard.  "Down 87 to San Antonio.  Head to Laredo.  Cross the border at Laredo, then go the forty or so miles up to Alvarez.  Then we can hit San Antonio on the way back, take the interstate to New Mexico and go right up I-25 he thinks.  That's probably 17 hours."

"Even better."  He glanced at it.  "That's a hell of a drive."  He sighed.  "We'll switch off."  Ronon nodded.  The others had decided to be beamed back before they had driven off.  They hadn't wanted to ride in a mini van, which was all that would've fit them.  So they were lounging on base and getting orders from the email switch to fulfill needs.  John and Evan would do that when they got back.  Ronon was just sightseeing with them.


John dove out of the way of one of the higher's huge fists, glaring at Xander.  "I thought this one was easier."

"Whine," Xander panted, glaring at them.  "C'mon, bitches.  Leave the nice pilot alone.  You know you want me like all the other evil bitches out there."  They both lunged at him and Xander killed one then ducked around the other to get her in the back.  Sam jumped in to help John since he was stuck.  Someone took a shot but it only made her madder.  "Gee, thanks," he called, waving absently.  "We needed her more pissed off, right?"

He kicked her.  "Sam!"  Sam stabbed her.  Xander lunged forward to get her from behind and John got the critical spot.  She died with a wail, falling on top of the other.  Xander wiped his forehead off, looking around.  "We done?"  Evan and Ronon were staring at him oddly.  Jon was grimacing.  Xander shrugged.  "Welcome to fighting the demon community 101.  Now we get to clean up the mess because this kind doesn't turn into dust or goo."

Sam jogged back to the car and came back with a bottle, pouring it on the remains.  They fizzled and smoked but there wasn't any left when they were done.

"How dare you!" a female voice shrieked and appeared.  Xander turned and beheaded her.  Sam poured some of the contents over her too with a sigh and a grimace.

Xander gave him a shoulder nudge.  "Thanks, Sam."

"Welcome."  He looked over at the shooter.  "Hi, Dad.  Why are you in Mexico?"  John held up the giggling green ball.  Xander gasped and moved closer, hugging it.  Sam stopped John, shaking his head.  "That's Dawn," he said quietly.

John walked over, patting Xander on the back.  "You look like she's your teddy bear," he said with a weak grin.

"She's a good cuddle."  He looked at John.  "Thank you."

"Welcome.  That temple?"  Xander and Sam both pointed behind them.  "She'll be safe with me, Xander."

"I know.  That's why I nominated you, John."  He handed her back.  "You be good until you come back, Dawnie."  She purred at him and snuggled into John's chest.  "Good girl."  He looked at his John then at the older one.  "So, just going to the temple?"

"Yup, and saw the huge demon."  He stared at him.  "Why couldn't you use blessed rounds?"

"They're bulletproof," John said dryly.  "I tried.  They lost cohesion as they got injured."

"Damn."  He shook his head.  "I hate things that take up close and personal dirty work."

Xander shrugged.  "It's all fun and games until it's an apocalypse battle with swords," he said dryly.  "I have to rehide the weapons before we cross the border."

"Probably, yeah," John agreed dryly.  "Or let him hide them and bring them to you."

Xander grimaced, shaking his head.  "No thanks.  We might need them in town."

"Xander, we have plenty of weapons," Jon said as he walked over.   "If it's safer, UPS them."

"Whatever.  We'll figure it out."

"We need a night to rest before driving anyway," Sam offered.  They all nodded at that.  "We'll be at the place beside that bar with the strippers, Dad."  He walked off.  "Join us when you're ready."

"I will, Sammy."  He waited until they were gone to shake his head, making Dawn giggle again.  "Yeah, they're insane."

"Yup," she agreed.  John got back into his truck and drove to the temple.  The priests there gaped in horror at him holding it.  "Poopy heads," she complained.

"Be nicer," John ordered.  "Someone sent her over?"  He held her up.

"This way," one of the priests said.  "We have a special room that will protect her."

"I'm to protect her," he ordered.  "Because in a few years Glory is coming."  They all moaned and a few prayed.  Dawn got put on her special spot and she glowed.  Then she floated back to John.  "They made it for you."

"It's chilly.  Not comfy.  The glove box is better."

John huffed but the priests all laughed.  "I take it you heard about her last life?"  They all smiled and nodded.  John looked back, finding Castiel watching him.  "Orders from on high?"

"I wanted to see her again," he said with a sad smile.  "She was a very special young woman who helped me deal with things."  He touched the ball.  "Give John a few days, Dawn.  Then go back with him.  That way the priests can protect you from the demons who are going to fight soon."

"Would that be the ones that the pack just took out?" John asked.

Castiel stared at him.  "I forget Xander is a seer.  Possibly.  I will check and let you know."

"Please. Then we'll work on the protection plans for her with the priests."  They all nodded.  She huffed but went back on her pedestal.  John and Castiel walked off to talk to the priests about how to protect her in her glowing form.  They thought it was very odd she had liked his glove box.


Xander walked in and flopped down on his couch, cuddling up to Jensen's side.  "Hi.  We're back."

"I can tell.  You're an octopus."  He hugged him.  "Bad battle?"

"No.  Not really."  Jon, John, Evan, and Sam walked in, shutting the door.  "No Ronon?"

"He's back on base for a few hours," John said, flopping down.  "We need more chairs."

"We do," Sam agreed, curling up on some of the pillows.

"If you guys want to decorate, go for it," Xander said with a hand wave.  They all grinned at him.  He yawned.

"I said I'd drive," Sam reminded him.

"I tried to drive more than once," Jon said.  "You both hog the wheel."

"Dean and Dad never let me drive," Sam complained.

Evan curled up on some of the pillows too.  "My parents didn't either."

"They're always on the road," Jensen said.  "Hi, I'm Jensen."

"Evan Lorne.  I'm John's second-in-command."  He shook his hand.  "Are you part of the pack too?"

"I am."  He gave Xander a squeeze.  "You should nap."

"Do I have to clean up the closet?"

"No.  Cougar wasn't here to go through it on you."  He smirked.  "O'Neill wanted to but it wouldn't open for him."  Xander grinned.  "Go rest."  Xander got up and went to rest, which let Jon sit down too.  "How was Mexico?"

"Two huge highers having a Springer moment as Xander put it," Sam said with a grin.  "They were having a 'my man' fight over a wanna be novitiate."

Jensen shook his head.  "That so figures.  Why can't they share?"

"Because sharing a man is evil," Xander called.  Jon and Evan both snickered.

John shook his head.  "Yeah, the same as sharing a woman between two guys can be."

"But fun," Jensen said.

"Very fun."  They shared a smirk.  "Cordelia's been nagging."

"Yup, I heard.  Clay heard because I was talking to him at the time.  He said 'don't ask, don't tell' works for higher spirits wanting us to fuck too."

Evan snickered.  "He didn't get a headache?"

"Nah.  We run into some pretty bad things now and then."  Someone knocked.  "Who is it?" he called.  He heard the muffled 'Agent Fielders'.  "Open."  He walked in.  "He's in bed."

"That's fine.  Why were you guys in Mexico?"

"Two demons fighting over a guy," Sam said.  "Seeing if we could undo the shrine that will lead back to a major battle in six years."  Fielders moaned, shaking his head.  "He'll need to start sacrificing victims to it soon."

"Does it never stop?" he demanded.

"That battle was pretty damn bad," John told him.  "It was bad enough that the whole pack got drunk and unhappy.  We all got injured.  Xander nearly admitted he needed the ER it was so bad."  Fielders shuddered.  "But that's in six years."  He grinned.  "There'll be a hundred and one virgins sacrificed before then."

"Eww," Evan said.  "I'm sorry but if it was my daughter or son, I'd start encouraging the cure to virginity as soon as they were old enough to be a sacrifice that way."

Sam shook his head.  "No you wouldn't.  Half of them were kids."

"Very eww.  You're right, I wouldn't.  When they were teenagers then."

"There's a few demons that can only go after sluts," John said with a shrug.  "Xander saved me from one of them once.  I accidentally picked her up in a club."

Evan moaned, slumping and shaking his head.  "Is no one safe?"

"Depends.  Most people are safe because the demons don't want to bother them," Sam said.  "Though, about eighty percent of all demon species are actually harmless or at least peaceful.  Those sort hide and Sunnydale used to be filled with them and vampires."  Jon shuddered.  "I'm damn glad you could defeat that one at the club," Sam told him.  "I didn't even realize you were gone."

Jon nodded.  "Me too."

"Hey, some take dead man's blood, some take beheading," Sam offered.  "Only eight out of all the vampire species can be staked."

Agent Fielders cleared his throat.  "Sam, are most of the harmless or peaceful ones native?"

"No, most are not.  Though, most of the harmful aren't either.  Hell's actually a series of other planes."

"Interesting.  So the hell spawn are from those planes."

"Yup, and the others are from other planes, usually within this reality.  Some of them are at peace, just overcrowded or having bad economies.  Some are still fighting with humans.  Some have made peace pacts with humans so they coexist.  Some are just human.  It depends on the plane.  There's over a thousand planes that are considered hell planes because hell is what you determine it to be.  Dean's hell has lesbians who would hate him and no music.  There's one that has no shellfish."

"That's interesting to know.  Is there a good guide?"

Sam looked then pointed.  "The blue books.  They're the basics all Watchers learn."

He looked them over.  "They're old and in Latin, Sam."

"Yeah, a lot of the books the Council has are in Latin," John said dryly.  "I hated learning Latin."

Sam grinned.  "I learned Latin before I was ten.  Xander learned that and all the others in high school and later."

"Are there translated copies?" Fielders asked.

"I don't know.  Ask our principal?"

"I can do that.  If not, know anyone who can translate?"

"Doctor Jackson," Jon said with a grin.  "He might be bored."

"I'll ask.  Thanks, boys."  He took them with him.  His boss was amused at the fight in Mexico.  The principal was scowling when he went to him.  "They just got back."

"They're over two days late."

"They had to pitstop in Mexico to stop two bigger things fighting over a human."

The principal groaned, shaking his head.  "Alvarez?"  Fielders smiled and nodded.  "I heard a report of my students being there.  I didn't know Sam had those books."

"I think Harris had the books since he used to train slayers in the middle of nowhere.  Do we have copies in English?"

"It's a very bad translation so we all ignore it," he said.  "I can get you one."

"Can I ask someone on O'Neill's project to translate?"

"Please do as long as we get a copy.  Some of us hate Latin."

"Sam said he learned before he was ten."

"That doesn't really surprise me."  He smirked.  "Are they all right?"

"Harris was having a nap.  The others were all on the couch."

"Fine.  They're to be back by Monday or I'm retroactively suspending them.  That will keep Sam out of college."

"I'll let them know."  He smiled and left.  He went to the base to see if he could talk to Jackson, finding him coming out and heading to a car.  "Doctor Jackson?"  Daniel looked up.  "May we speak?"

"Agent Fielders.  Jon said you wanted to talk to me.  About what?"  He held up the books.  "Hmm, Latin.  Easy enough."

"The people who wrote the books said that the only english translation they have is crap.  I was going to ask if you could do one for us, and they'd like a photocopy of it if possible?"

"It's not a hard project.  It'll take about a month or so."

"That'd be fine."  He grinned.  "The boys have other books all in Latin and other languages."

"I saw.  I almost coveted two of them."  He smiled.  "Are they back?"

"Apparently just back.  They're all in the living room."

"Good.  The general will be pleased.  I'll pop over tonight and start working on these."

"Thank you, Doctor Jackson.  The government would like to take some of the more creepy work off the boys' shoulders."

"We fully agree."  The agent left.  Daniel went back to his office to get to work on the translations while he called the General to let them know the team was back.  That way he could check on Sheppard and Lorne.  "What language was this in originally?" he muttered.  "The grammar is atrocious."  He called Sam to ask that.  Sam called that to Xander, who said he had an original copy but it was in a demon trade tongue that the Council used to use from way back when to keep it out of others' hands.

"I'd like to learn that, Sam.  Can I borrow them?  Thank you."  He hung up and decided he could check them against each other.  That way any updates were known about.  Xander's even had hand-written notes in the margins at some places.  It was an interesting project.  He went to get those from him and see what else he had that they might be able to snatch a copy of by translating.  He came back with a large box of shrunken books to look through.  Including the ones with the myths about the stargate and Atlantis.


to part 8

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