That night, Evan and John had taken the two smaller beds while Xander, Sam, and Jensen took the biggest bed.  Xander was up meditating in the living room for a while because he was feeling post-battle twitchy.  It wasn't like he could jump his pack, especially not with non-pack member in the house.  Evan probably wouldn't say anything about it but it wasn't worth the chance.

Jon had went home to hide and do whatever O'Neill's did after a short battle and a long drive.  He had no idea what was going to cure it since he couldn't really pounce his pack mates.  These weren't really his pack mates.  The original John and Sam would've pounced him if they thought it was necessary.  This world's Sam wasn't even going to let him cuddle as more than a pillow.  The single time he'd had a dirty thought Sam had went to sleep on the couch.  So that was out and sucked badly.

So Xander was trying to meditate out the twitchy urges that made him want to scent mark his pack.  He could handle this. Even without his pack helping he could handle this by himself because he was a big boy.  Even if he wasn't anymore.  He tried to drop down but it wasn't working.  Maybe some of that new herb?  It smelled calming and he hadn't found anything bad about it in the book he had looked through earlier.  It was calming and it was helping him center himself to get rid of the twitchiness.  He yawned but it was fine.  Tomorrow was Saturday.  He had it off.  He stretched and went back to his trying not to think.

John woke up and sniffed, smelling something nice.  "What's that?" he muttered, getting up.  He saw Xander sitting in front of his little space for candles and incense.  That's what smelled so nice, the fresh herbs burning with the incense.  He sniffed as he walked closer.  "That's nice."

"Tara pointed it out."

"Hmm."  He took a deeper sniff.  "Very nice."  He petted over Xander's hair.  "You should sleep.  Jensen will probably want to bounce around tomorrow."

"It's cool."

"You're not sleeping enough."

Xander looked at him.  "I'm fine, John.  Really."

"That's why you're not sleeping all night?"  He stared at him.

"I haven't slept more than four hours in years."

"That's not good for you."

"I'm fine."

"It's not healthy.  We need you healthy."

"I'm fine.  Really," he insisted.

John sighed, pulling Xander up.  He blew out the candles.   The herbs were almost burned out and were in a safe bowl.  He stared at him.  "What do you need?"

"My original pack members," he said quietly, staring at him.  "Because you didn't used to nag."

John nodded.  "Good point."

"You also used to trust me more."

John sighed.  "It's hard, especially with the age thing."

"Not like I asked."

"I know."  He stared at him.  "That got passed over too."  Xander stared at him.  "Yeah, it's not a thought that immediately hits me.  You guys had a lot more battle experience together.  He was a lot more tired than I am."

"I know.  Which is why I was trying to mediate it out."

"Sam...."  Xander stared at him.  "He didn't mind then."

"He also had a lot of stuff that changed him.  Including college, grief, all those years hunting."

"Good point."  He pulled Xander onto the couch with him, staring at him.  "We need to work this out."

Xander shrugged.  "I'm doing the best I can to accept all this and I'm not going to push for things to be the way they were.  You guys aren't them.  They were ten years older and harder."

"It's something that made all of us more comfortable and able to work better," John said.  Xander nodded.  "Plus I heard Cordeila nagging."  He looked up at the giggling going on.  "Stop it."  She faded out again.  He looked at Xander.  "You need to date better women."

"I liked Helena."

"I didn't mind Helena but I doubt it'll work here."  Xander shook his head.  "How is she doing?"

"Good.  I need to talk to her sometime soon.  Maybe this summer."  He wanted to snuggle in because John gave some of the best cuddles.  Unfortunately this wasn't his John.  John cuddled him and he relaxed again.  "I'm working on it," he said quietly.

"I think we all are."  He nuzzled Xander's temple with his chin, getting a huff back.  He grinned. "We'll deal."  He led Xander off to his room.

"Evan?" he asked quietly.

"There's a lot of stress relief that none of us pay any attention to in our war zones."  Xander nodded.  They settled in on John's bed, just holding each other.  Each of them relaxed something inside them because they were safe with the pack.  All the wariness could relax for a while.  They both needed to relax their vigilance and actually relax.  John nuzzled Xander again, giving him a gentle squeeze.  "I forgot how good this was," John said quietly.  Xander snuggled in.  John let them both relax and just lay there for a few minutes.  John felt something building and looked down at himself.  "I have no idea what's going on," he muttered.

Xander giggled.  "I thought it was pretty obvious what it was by your age," he teased.

"Well, yeah, but I have no idea why."  He nuzzled Xander again.  "Normally I don't get horny just giving cuddles."

Xander looked at him.  "Me either."

"Maybe it's that new herb?"

"I didn't see anything about that.  We're not counted as weres, right?"

"No.  Why?"

"In some were breeds it's known to cause going into heat in unmated cubs."

"Well, I guess I count as a shifter now," John admitted.  "But you wouldn't."

Xander shook his head.  "Though I did learn how to possess an animal quietly so they wouldn't feel me."

"How did you change forms?  Evan and I tried it, we're stuck with the one."

Xander shrugged.  "Freaky Xander stuff?  Have Sam try?"

"I might do that tomorrow."  He cuddled in again.  Xander wiggled against him.  He moaned because it was sweet of Xander to offer but he was right, he shouldn't.  Xander still knew that the pack alpha's job was to prove dominance and to take care of his pack.  He could do both by making John's big problem a bit less hard to handle.   John started to shift but Xander nipped him on the thigh.  John went limp and let Xander do whatever he wanted.  It was part submission and part pleasure.  As long as he submitted, he'd get the pleasure.  If he fought or tried to do anything else, he'd get the dominance.  He moaned and twined his fingers into Xander's hair when he opened his pants.  "Please?" he whispered.

"Of course."  He moved to lick across the head of John's cock, making him twitch in a good way.  "Let me."

"Of course I will.  You're the best to your pack members."  He spread out some, going limp to let Xander do whatever he wanted.  Pure submission for his alpha.  Xander laved him, sucked him gently, and teased him horribly.  John was wincing when the torture got to be too much but Xander was paying good attention and moved on to tease his balls.  John whined.  Xander nipped John's stomach so he quit.  Xander was in control and he knew that.  Eventually though he got tired of being played with and rolled them over to tease Xander.  Xander growled but John nuzzled him and went down to tease him.  "It's not the same," he whispered.  "I'm just making you happy."

"It's my job," Xander said, trying to get out from under John.

John stared at him.  "Let me, Xander.  I'm not going to flip you over."  He nuzzled him and played with his poor alpha's neglected cock.  No one ever really played with Xander unless they were evil these days.  He did let Xander flip him over and do what he wanted but that was normal for the alpha.  John shifted so they were sixty-nined and that was better.  Xander was moaning in pleasure.  John was ready to explode and let go of all his control.  Xander teased his perineum with a blunt fingernail and he lost it with that.  Xander swallowed, which was very kind of him.  John got back to his own pleasuring when he caught his breath.

"You don't have to," Xander said.

"Shut up, Xander."  He went back to it.  Xander went limp and let him since John wasn't pushing anything.   There wasn't any hint of dominance in the act.  John wasn't trying to get on top, wasn't proving his own desires.  It was just a friendly blow job.  Which Xander appreciated more than anything else.  He finally let go and came, making John happy.  John scooted up to kiss him, making Xander moan and shift closer.  "See, better."  He let him snuggle in and it was good.  Someone tapped and walked in, Sam following Jensen.  "Boys."

Sam smiled.  "He's our alpha too."

"You hated..." Xander started.

"That's not the same, Xander."  He crawled in behind Xander.  Jensen got John's back, making him wiggle.   Sam kissed Xander's neck, making him growl.  "We're pack too."  Xander flipped over to nibble on Sam's neck, making him tip his head back.  "Of course I'm your beta warrior," he whispered.

Jensen leaned his chin on John's shoulder.  "I missed pack bonding," he said quietly.  "I expected it last time and didn't think about asking."

"All you ever have to do is ask," Xander reminded him.  "Because I wasn't sure that you remembered and would welcome it."  He took a kiss from Jensen, one from John, then went back to making sure Sam liked being his beta.  Sam never made moves to upset his dominance acts.  He just laid there and accepted it like it was the greatest thing.  Which he adored about Sam.  Sam came with a groan and went limp, making small whimpering noises until Xander kissed him.  "My Sam."

"Your pack," he promised, smiling at him and stroking through his hair.  "Jensen hasn't been pack claimed at all."  Xander pounced him with a growl, making John shift over next to Sam, who cuddled greatly.  John didn't mind Sam cuddles, he wasn't the octopus Xander turned into when he was cuddly.  Jensen groaned when Xander put him onto his back and nuzzled his stomach.  Sam grinned and John shared it with him.  "He's always been good to us."

"He has."  They watched as Xander blew Jensen and his mind, making him writhe, beg, and make pleading noises.  Jensen tried to move Xander up to tease him back but Xander nipped him hard, making a small bruise on his inner thigh.  Jensen groaned and spread out farther.  Xander gave him what he needed and he came, going limp.

Xander kissed him.  "You're my pack, Jensen."

"Yeah, I am."  He kissed him again and pulled him down to cuddle.  "I should get to make you happy."

"I'm good."  John shifted closer and nuzzled Xander's throat, reaching down to stroke him.  Xander whimpered and shifted but Jensen held him and made him take it.  It was helping and not even close to being a dominance move.  It was comforting and they needed to take care of their alpha just as much as he needed to take care of them.  Jensen was nuzzling Xander's shoulder and licking that sweet spot on his throat while John stroked him.  Xander came with a groan and hid his face in John's shoulder.

"Our alpha," Jensen whispered in his ear.  "Too strong for your own good."  He kissed him on the neck.  "Sleep, Xander. We're here and your pack," he whispered.  Xander nodded and snuggled in.  John smiled at Jensen, who grinned back.  They had been missing that pack bonding.  It calmed them all down and made them realize that this was the pack home.  They were always welcome here.  There was always comfort here for them.  They drifted off together.  "We should be on the bigger bed," Jensen muttered before drifting off, making John snicker.


Evan looked at John on their way back to the base, just staring.  John shrugged a bit.  "It made you relax, finally," he said quietly.  John grinned.  "You good?"

"We're all good."

"Our native pack?" he asked quietly.

John shivered.  "If I did that, they'd be his too."

"So we'll talk.  It could help."

"Maybe."  He shifted in the backseat of the cab.   "Are you wondering about Jon's placement?"

"Not really.  He seems like an accessory pack member."

"He kinda is I guess.  They'll figure that out."  They pulled up to the gate and John pulled his credentials.  Evan flashed his too.  They paid the driver and got out, grabbing their bags to hike into the base.  The general was glaring when they got off the elevator.  "Sir," John said, saluting.

"Why are you back later than you said?"

"Because we ran into another situation on the way back and had to fight something huge in Mexico, sir."


"Alvarez.  There's a lot of activity there."  The general gave him an odd look.

"Two huge things, sir, and Colonel Sheppard wasn't too bad with a sword."

"I learned from Xander."

The general stared at him.  "I want an explanation of that."

"Sir, even if I wanted to, I can't.  It's not something we can talk about.  It's pack business."

"That's not the Air Force's take on that matter, Colonel."

John stared at him.  "Sir, did the Air Force want me to leave the two huge demons capable of causing another apocalypse fighting just across the border from Texas?  Because the last time we let them fight it out, they pretty well destroyed a national forest sized area in Columbia."

The general blinked.  "Excuse me?"

"As in the size of the national forest around us, sir."

"That's... No, the Air Force wouldn't like that, Colonel.  Did you have to drag your Major with you?"

"Yes, sir, there were only two cars and he chose to ride back instead of being beamed back. If he had asked, he could've come back sooner."

"Frankly, sir, I needed some fresh air," Evan admitted.  "And some calming down time after the intense, yet surprisingly short battle."

John nodded.  "We're lucky it was so short.  We've had ones that were over ten hours.  We had one that was running battles for three weeks."  The general whimpered.  "In that other time zone, sir."

"I heard," he admitted.  He cleared his throat.  "How is Mr. Harris?"

"He's fine.  We taught him how to make omelettes this morning," Evan said with a grin.   "He's becoming a pretty decent cook."

"Good to know."  He looked them over.  "Injuries?"

"No, sir." John shifted.  "Not even a scratch."

"That's good.  Report to the infirmary anyway."  They nodded, walking that way.  "Then my office so I can have a report on that battle."

"Yes, sir," Evan agreed.  They got stared at by the doctor, who shrugged when they showed they had no injuries.  So they went to the office.  "Sir, reporting as ordered."

John put his bag in the corner and took Evan's to do the same with.  "Sir, what did you need reported that hasn't been?"

"First, Mexico?"  John pulled out the report he had written last night before bed.  He read them over, nodding slightly.  "So they were bad and how did you hear?"

"Mr. Harris has visions."

"I see.  Like what happened to Dr. Kusangi?"

"The same source actually."

"That's good to know."  He looked at him.  "Were there any complications?"

"Not really, sir.  There was a friendly local pack that had an upstart little bratty male that tried to attack Xander.  Xander kicked him around and handed him back.  Then we moved to the motel we had planned to recuperate at for a few hours."

"No one else showed up?"

"The elder Winchester son, who had thought he might be needed and the battle was the next night.  Then he got a call and had to go help his father.  He'll be in town sometime soon."

"In Mexico we did run into his father with an artifact they're now on to protect."

"Artifact?  Like ours?"

"No, sir.  Like mystical and very special," John said.  "Which we will not be telling you anything about because we know that the base has leaks.  We do not want to endanger it or get it stolen by someone who could use it."

"Is it ...explosive?"

"No, sir, it's a key to open dimensional portals."

"Oh, dear," the general said, staring at him.

"It's suitably guarded, sir," Evan said.  "The Winchesters protect it with their lives.  So would Xander and the rest of his pack."

John nodded.  "We would.  In that other time zone, we guarded her there and loved the little brat like a sister."

"It was human?"

"To keep it out of the hands of a hell goddess," John agreed.

"Is it going to happen here?"

"That's why Winchester has it safely guarded, sir," John said.  "And he has plans in case he falls.  They have that planned out to the point of the world could end and she'd still be protected."

"Good!"  He stared at them.  "Did anything inappropriate happen, boys?"

"No, sir, why would it?" Evan asked.

"Nothing like ... someone heard pack and asked about *bonding* rituals."

"We tend to pile together, sir," John said dryly.  "Cuddling only most often.  Xander knows the rules for DADT."

"Yes, well, someone did say that it was likely you, as the head beta, were probably compromised."

"Sir, that's an allegation that I can easily refute," he said dryly.  "I don't take anyone up the ass."  The general blanched.  "Not Xander or anyone.  Xander never asked for it to be honest.  If so, I'm sure he'd make it fun and I'd still never be compromised, sir.  And frankly, that allegation stinks of someone who got kicked out of Atlantis."  The general gaped.  "Because there's only a few people on base who'd know about pack hierarchies and both of them got kicked off our city for being fucking morons."

"Language," the general said.

"Truth, sir, but I'll try in their regard."

Evan shrugged.  "That's the most polite thing any of us called them, sir," he agreed.  "I usually add a few more descriptive words since one nearly got their team killed on purpose."

"I read that report," he admitted.  "It was one of them."

"Sir, unless they were sneaking around the apartment complex last night, since we only got back yesterday, what proof did they give?" he asked dryly.

"A very long paper on pack hierarchies and bonding rituals."  He held it up.

John took it to look over, shaking his head.  "That's on wolf packs, sir, and Xander was possessed by a hyena.  It's a bit different since they're matriarchal."  He handed it back.  "If I wanted to I could press for the male alpha spot, and I'd have a boyfriend for life.  Xander and I are just different enough that it probably won't happen that way at the moment."

The general stared at him.  "Do you pack bond?"

"We curl up together.  We watch movies."

"They do couch cuddle, sir," Evan agreed.  "It calmed them all down and I nearly asked to join in."

The general looked at him.  "Major, I don't need to know that."

"Cuddles are elemental and primary comfort sources, plus a source of warmth.  People with tactile deprivation are actually encouraged to join groups that form cuddle piles.  There's actually social organizations that create cuddle pile groups in various cities around the world."  The general held up a hand with a grimace.  "It's good for a soul."

"It may be, but it's not exactly what I'd expect soldiers to do, boys."

John shrugged.  "Sir, being held is an innate need in most people.  I'm sure when you were married you held your wife."  The general glared.  "It's not that sort of relationship between us but it's the same sort of comforting."  General O'Neill walked in.  "Jon came through the battles just fine, sir."

"Good."  He smirked.  "I talked to him earlier."

"There have been allegations of gay behavior among the pack," Landry told O'Neill.

Jack shook his head.  "Jon said they cuddle on the couch.  It's a basic human need to have that sort of contact.  It lets you relax and let go of the warrior instincts.  There's been plenty of days I could've used one when I was in the field.  There were even a few times I rented some attention to get some."

Evan coughed, ducking his head.  "We have women who kidnap us for that, sir."

"That is less costly," John quipped with a smile.

"It was when I was on SG-1," Jack agreed.  "Until they try to kill you."

"Ronon gets us free before then," John said with a smile.  He handed over the report.

"Fucking moron," Jack muttered.  Landry moaned, shaking his head.  "The idiot even tried to take coffee from Daniel."

"Damn, I didn't think anyone was that stupid," Evan said, looking awed.  "Not even McKay, who was jonsing and had DT's from caffeine withdrawal, did that, sir."

"Exactly."  He put the paper into the shredder.  It made a lot of noise as it chewed up the badly written paper on things he'd never understand.  "So...  All done with the emergencies?" Jack asked.

"For now, sir.  We think there's one coming on Atlantis in about four weeks.  Plus the usual threats."

"Good.  Did you guys remember to stop and get yourself stuff like books and treats?"  John smiled and nodded.  "Did you get things to make McKay less huffy?"

"He'll be fine.  I did get him a few candy bars though."

"Good.  Because I hate to hear him bitch manfully."  They shared a look.  "Ship leaves in a few hours, boys."  They saluted, grabbed their bags, and left.  He looked at Landry.  "That's a dangerous allegation."

"A pack," he said dryly.

"Yeah, and now Sheppard can change shape," Jack shot back.  "It's probably very comforting for the group.  God knows you can use one in a battle zone like they're in.  Leave the pack alone."  He smirked.  "That's a presidential order by the way."  He handed over the sealed envelope he had carried.

Landry read it and went very pale.  "Why?"

"Because all that information got back to him.  All the forward information that he had, all the information about terrorists and a few things that we had happen.  All that."  Jack stared at him.  "Plus, with Sheppard's unique status, it's thought to be helpful for his training," he finished dryly.

"Can we use that gift for other soldiers?"

"No.  The president said, after talking to some people who knew about such artifacts, that it was only up to the alpha's decision or he could kill the forced pack members.  That it's very common in canine packs of any sort, including hyena.  And if he didn't, Xander would.  And then pack mark him to make sure he was still all right and his beta.  Which could injure him.  The president asked the people at the National Zoo."

"So we're stuck with him doing inappropriate things?"

"Jon said that Xander would not do that because they weren't the same as they were in his time.  There's ten years of things that they're missing."

"Oh," he said flatly.

"So just leave it alone, Hank.  You have to be able to ignore some things in this job.  Even if you don't like Sheppard in charge of Atlantis."  He smirked.  "Because it'll take an ATA carrier and it's me or him and I'm too old for a combat zone."

"Your clone...."

"Is too young and not military.  The president doesn't want to risk it actually."  He smiled.  "Especially since a certain Ascended being showed up and told him that Jon was not to go military.  He and the non-military pack were going to be doing important things down here stopping all the demon menaces."

"But," Landry started.  Jack shook his head.  "We can't protest?"

"No.  The president said no.  So things stay the way they are until the election."  He smiled.  "Which we're hoping to change.  Actually we're hoping to change a lot of things, like a terrorist attack on the US."  He left him alone to think about that.

Hank Landry carefully put the letter into his top desk drawer and made note of things that would impact that decision.  Then he made some new decisions.  Before he got fired by the president.


Jensen made it back to Clay's meeting point, grinning at him.  "We have a job."

"I heard we have a job.  We're being briefed later," Clay said, staring at him.  "Find a drunk girl?" he joked.

"No."  He smirked.   "We had some pack cuddle time when they got back from the battle."  He looked at Cougar.  "Xander said to write him soon."  Cougar nodded.  "And I know why we're going.  I got to see a whole lot of information that Xander had on ahead points."  He looked at Clay.  "Al Qaida?"

"Super religious cranks?" Clay guessed, blinking a few times.  Jensen held up the CD he was carrying.  "What's that?"

"Information from Xander's systems."  He sat down and ran it so they could look it over.

Clay nodded once.  "I can see going after him, yeah."  Their overlord of the month showed up.  "You're.... NSA?"

"Correct," he said.  "You're on loan from the Army to us about that subject.  Thank you, Corporal, for pulling that up for me."  He handed over another one and Jensen ran that CD.  "That is what we currently have on file for that target, that group, and that immediate target.  I know it's not all good," he admitted, smirking at Clay.  "We did what we could with native sources."

"Understood.  We'll expect it to be crap," Clay assured him.

"It's good you understand.  You are to take out target number one no matter what it costs.  Even if it involves civilians.  Make it look like an accident if you can so no one turns him into a martyr.  The rest of the group if possible and see if you can destabilize the secondary group because they'll be a later issue."  He stared at the team.  "This will keep us out of a war, gentlemen.  Actually, two wars."  They all nodded.

"I don't care how dirty you are.  I don't care what sort of damage you think is necessary.  I don't personally give a damn if you nuclear bomb the country," he said bluntly.  "But others will."  He stared at Jensen then at Clay again.  "You may not need him as much outside of comm work.  They're not real technological."  He smirked.  "You have absolute deniablity.   We don't care who you are, what you're doing, and how you do it.  It sucks but you're totally on your own here, Colonel.  I'm sorry it has to be that way but when you get back, you can resume normal activities."

"Just us, sir, or are you sending in multiple tangential teams?" Clay asked.

"We have one team we'd like to send but they're off stopping something equally bad in another part of that world."  He smirked.  "If they get done sooner, I'll send them to help you.  If not, do what you do best, Colonel."

"Yes, sir.  What can we bring with us?"

"Anything you can sneak over there.  And if you get help while over there, so be it."

"The Germans do know as well," Jensen told him.  "Sascha was in at the same time," he reminded Clay.  "She's going to email me later about any plans her bosses have so we can coordinate.  They agreed, the pack could handle some of this since they couldn't do it and not be noticed.  Helena will have the same information as soon as Sascha finds her."

"So that's a KGB asset and a BND one," Clay said, nodding slowly.  "Any other pack members over there?"

"No.  John's heading home.  The boys are at home.  The others are CSI and things."

"Good to know."  He looked at the NSA supervisor again.  "Any restrictions at all?"

"Not a one.  If you do nuke them, you might get in a bit of trouble."

"Understood, sir."

He smirked.  "Good.  Have fun and we'll make sure that your paychecks are deposited where they usually are for the next six months or so."

"Is that our timetable?" Pooch asked.

"Within a year," he ordered.  "Six months is hopeful and people might ask a question later on.  We don't want to risk that."  They all understood that hint that they'd be declared dead before their mission leaked.  "Use whatever things you can, Colonel.  Just stop the fuckers before they try to stop us."

"Transport orders?" Clay asked.

"Have Corporal Jensen arrange it," he said dryly, leaving them alone.

"Jensen, run it," Clay ordered, letting them see what they already knew.  A few profiles, some native intelligence.  Not all great information.  Some of it was clearly crap.  Some of it was only half crap.  Some pretty decent.  Jensen added in the information he had and it was better.  They studied things.  "Jensen, get us flights.  Pooch, Cougar, go raid those shoeboxes.  Get us a good box worth of stuff."  They nodded, heading to do that.  They were only a few hours away from Pooch's house.  "Roque, you're going first, set up a base camp and scout a backup location."

"Got it."

Jensen got to work hacking the airlines.  "I have you on a flight to Paris in five hours," Jensen said, looking at him.  "From there, you connect to Saudi."

"I can work it from there."  He took the information and left.

Clay looked at Jensen.  "How bad?"  Jensen pulled up a report on the attacks, making Clay shudder.  "All right.  We'll stop that shit.  What did we do after that?"

"Iraq and Afghanistan."

Clay blinked a few times.  "Who became president?"

"George," he said dryly.  "Dubbya."

"Fuck."  He walked off shaking his head.  They had gotten into some trouble in Texas and the governor hated them.  They weren't allowed to talk about why.

Jensen got back to making plans online for them.  They needed flights and they needed transportation once there.  He also sent an email to Xander saying he'd see him in a few months.  Plus one to Helena and Sascha asking them to write soon.  Then he packed up and went to pack for the mission.


Xander looked at Jon, who was over hanging out, after their detention on Monday.  The principal had screamed and ranted for almost an hour at them for being late.  When he told them about the two in Mexico, they had to call the paramedics over his blood pressure.  The vice principal had been horrified but when Sam had told him they had been late due to stopping an attack on some innocents he had shuddered and given them detention instead.  Sam was fussing in the kitchen.  Jon was on the couch with him.  "They wanted more chairs."

"We can shop," Jon promised.

Sam grinned.  "We had our eye on a few that need to be test lounged on."  He brought out the popcorn to share.  Xander let him cuddle next to him.

"Are you two...closer now?" Jon asked quietly.

"The pack has always cuddled," Sam said with a grin.  He let him steal more popcorn.  "We're not dating or anything."

"Sam's allowed to date whoever," Xander agreed with a grin.

"You're not," Sam quipped, smirking at him.  "Because we'd kill you if you brought in someone who was bad to the pack."

"I know."  He nibbled some of the popcorn.

"Am I part of the pack?" Jon asked.

Xander shrugged.  "Up to you, Jon."

Sam grinned.  "There's not much responsibility with being part of the pack.  Mostly we get to nag Xander about his dating habits and make sure he's actually taking care of himself instead of just us."  He ate a few more pieces.

"But you guys...cuddle," Jon said.

Xander nodded.  "We couch cuddle, sometimes we stress relief cuddle.  It depends on which pack member it is."

"Horatio used to send Ryan up whenever he got to be a pain in the ass or did something wrong and wrote an email telling us to straighten him out.  If we couldn't find Xander, it was my job half the time, or Dean's to get him drunk, make him talk, and then make him miserable the next day."

"We did that for Danny a few times too when he and the baby came out because they had another fight," Xander agreed.  "Don put him on a plane once with a promise he'd only torture his best friend's wife a little bit for him.  Lucy got some international travel since I was in Paris helping the slayer there with something.  She got all sorts of cooed at by the slayers."

"Does he...  Is he still a dad here?"

"No.  Lucy was only two when I died," Xander admitted.  "We all promised Danny that nothing would ever happen to Lucy.  That if something was going to take her to hurt her, we'd either stop them or do whatever we could so she'd never be tortured."  Jon shuddered.  "There's some badasses up in New York that would've done that," Xander said quietly.  "We promised Danny the same thing if they came for him."

"Some rituals for dark magic and summoning can take six days," Sam said.  "For a single victim to die."  He sipped his drink.  Xander nodded.  "That promise was made after day four when we finally found Xander and Dean."  Jon shuddered.

"Yeah, exactly," Xander said.  "They still hadn't broken us.  Most normal people would've but we were still resisting."  Sam gave him a hug.  "Thanks, Sam.  We know it won't happen here."

"Damn right it won't," Sam promised.  Jon shuddered again.  "Should we tell Mac?"  Xander looked at him.  "Claire," he said quietly.

Xander nodded.  "We should tell Don."

"We can hit New York in a few weeks for a weekend."  Xander grinned and nodded.  "Maybe after we're finally out of detection."  Jon snickered, shaking his head.  "It's not our fault."

"I know.  It's nice he's all right."  The boys nodded.  Jon groaned when he heard his car alarm, getting up to turn it off and glare at the kid who had hit the ball into it.  "Do you mind?"  She ran off with her baseball.  It was a dent and John would have it looked over in the morning.  He went back to relaxing with the duo of really strange guys.  The whole pack was made up of very intense strange guys really.  Which Jon fit in very well with but he didn't cuddle.  Ever.  So he'd have to think about that.


"So, this guy comes up to Xander," Sam was telling Jon as they walked up the halls.  "What're you doing tonight?  Totally hitting on him.  Xander stopped, looked at him, and said he was too fantastic for that guy.  The guy sneered and said he'd probably seen better.  Xander's retort was 'I can show you pleasures that would make you start screaming 'look, Ma, no hands!' to the heavens if you could mimic even a quarter of them '."  Jon cackled, shaking his head.  "That poor guy slunk off somewhere.  Embarrassed as hell."

"I didn't know Xander had a mouth like that on him."

"Oh, yeah.  Definitely.  Him and Dean both."

Xander looked over from his locker and his soda.  "You just had to tell him about that incident?"

"Yup," Sam said with a grin.

Xander rolled his eyes.  "I've done better but some of my best quips are post one drink."  He closed his locker and put on the special lock then walked off again.  The teachers had all agreed that they liked Xander with caffeine and he was allowed to drink as much as he wanted.  Because he drove them nuts when he was bouncy.  One of the girls were giving them odd looks.  "What?" Xander asked.  "In awe of my muscular physique?"

"Are you gay?"

"I'm kinda bi but I mostly like women.  Men are okay now and then though."

"So you're a slut," she said.

"No, I'm discriminating about it but when I need it to break the stress, it's all good.  When it's something long term it's almost always been girls."

"Oh.  So like half the football team?"

"Yeah, I heard.  And no, I'm still more discriminating.  I have fairly high standards."

"Pity."  She walked off.  "Maybe you should talk to the kicker."

"I will.  Thank you."  He looked at Jon.  The jocks were his people.

"I'll talk to him," he agreed quietly.  "We share home room."  He headed for it and the other two went to theirs.  Jon sat down in his seat, looking at the upset guy.  He was moping and had a black eye.  After the teacher let them go, he hauled him off to a bathroom by force, not getting much complaint.  "Someone told me I should ask you what happened," he said bluntly.  He looked at his eye.  "Coach see that yet?"

"Yeah.  He said I might've deserved it too."  He shrugged.  "I hit on someone I shouldn't have."

Jon stared at him.  "We don't care if you're gay, bi, or straight, Rory.  As long as it's not kids or pets or really dead things."

"No, not even close."  He sighed.  "You know about the pact, right?"

"Yeah and I about kicked their asses when I heard," Jon said.  Rory, the other anti-bully person in the school gave him an odd look.  "It's not right and you're not the team mascot."


"Fuck 'em.  Don't let them do that to you.  The next time they try, you come see me.  Me and the boys, we can beat their asses if we have to."

"I know."  He patted him on the arm.  "I graduate in a few months."

"Uh-huh.  Did pole vaulting get you into college?"

"Yup."  He smirked.  "And the coach tried to tell that one I was gay.  That coach just shrugged and said 'good, more diversity' and warned me not to let anyone use me."  He scratched his arm.  "They're going to pick on Jenkins next."

"No, they won't," Jon assured him.  Rory smiled.  "You don't have to let them."

"It's the only way the QB will win."

"Then we lose something," Jon said dryly.  "He's an ass."

"I know."  The bell rang.  "We're both late."

"I was pulling a peer intervention," Jon said with a small shrug.  Rory smiled and they walked off together.  The teacher saw the black eye and stared at Jon.  "I was asking him about it," he assured her quietly.  "It's what peer intervention is for."  She nodded and let him go.  His teacher wouldn't really care.  Rory's was the hardass of the english teachers.


Xander found the football team's coach out that weekend at the gay bar and smirked.  He so wished he had a camera phone again.  But that was fine.  He walked over and got a drink, blatantly making it a virgin, and headed onto the floor.  He was more mercenary than Jon and hell, the guy couldn't be that bad.  He'd let him get to groping and then threaten to turn him in if he ever made another student the team's winning blow job.


Xander looked at the principal on Monday, staring at him.  "Rory's going to be just fine."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah, I checked on him yesterday.  He's okay.  Has a fracture but not a full break.  Apparently he asserted himself as not being the blow up doll for the team."  The principal shuddered.  "And one of them decided that was wrong of him.  Since the coach so nicely slurred that it was good for morale and maybe he'd bring me onto the team...."  He stared at him.

"He's favored because he's winning, Xander."

"That's fine.  He touches another kid that way and I'm *so* making complaints."

"It'll be hushed up."

"Not before someone hears about it in the news."

"Good point."  He smirked.  "Don't be vindictive."

"I'm not but he's already picked out another one."

"Save them if you can and I'll talk to him."  Xander nodded and left.  That gave him ample excuse to talk to the man when Rory's attack hadn't.  Unfortunately Rory wouldn't file a report so he had no concrete proof.  He went to find him in his office.  He found a student in there with him and nodded for the student to leave.  The grateful look he got proved he needed to speak to him later.  "What do you know about your kicker's attack?"

"I know he's an uppity bastard," he said, sipping his coffee.  "I know he forgot his place."

"I doubt his place is on his knees for the entire team."  The coach spluttered.  "I also doubt that we're going to allow that tradition to go on."  He stared at him.  "I don't allow that and if I had heard about it sooner, it would've been stopped.  I don't care who you have in your pocket.  If I *ever* hear of another occurrence I will be sending you to some other county's team."  He walked off to talk to that student.  He was in the bathroom scrubbing his face.  "Let me guess, he made a pass?" he offered as he joined him.  The kid stared at him.  "He's been letting the team hurt another student as I found out," he said quietly.  That kid nodded.  "I've heard that he's picked out another one."

"He...  He didn't want me for a team, sir," he said quietly, looking at one of the stalls.

The principal nodded.  "Come to my office.  We'll work on some paperwork."  He nodded and followed him.  They had a good talk and he offered to talk to the kids' parents.  His father was one of the soldiers at Fort Carson.  He was a big guy.  Couldn't fight all that well for all his muscles but he looked pretty scary.  He sighed but let his father come down to hear about this.

His father walked in and took off his cap.  "My boy did what?"

"Your boy was being sexually harassed by one of the coaches."

"What?" he demanded, looking at his son, who nodded.  "Who in the hell tried that?"

"Football coach," he said quietly.  "He was picking a backup assistant and we all know, Dad."

"As I found out this weekend he's been coercing another student into *assisting* the football team after wins.  When he refused he got the hell beaten out of him.  I went to talk to him today because we can't get someone to report him and found your son being pressured.  So I thought we should talk."

The father nodded.  "Is he gone?"

"If I can.  If he'll make a complaint, yes.  If I can get the other to make one definitely."

"Rory won't because it might hurt his scholarship," the other kid said.

The principal smirked.  "I had one of my badass little bastards go to the gay bar to check on his behavior on Saturday, Pauly.  He hit on him too."  The kid smirked.  "Xander's not very kind to that sort."

"No, sir, he's not."  He looked at his father.  "Xander's the new kid on the rifle team I told you about, Dad."

"I saw that match up at our range.  He's damn good."

"He's part of our anti-bully patrol," the principal said smugly.  "He stepped into that role without even being asked to."

"He sounds like a good boy, a credit to a father."  He looked at his son.  "Would him making a complaint get in the open?"

"I'll keep it as quiet as I can," he offered.  "I can't promise someone else won't spill it though."

The father nodded, looking at his son.  "Up to you."

"I don't want him to do that to anyone else.  If I do report it, I'll look like a vindictive girl."

"No, if you were a vindictive girl, that would mean he slept with you," the principal said bluntly.  "At which point in time, you're fifteen and he's going to jail.  I'll be damned if I want that in this school."

"Who did he pick to follow up Rory's spot?" Pauly asked.

"Jenkins.  Xander's already handling him."

"Good.  He could use the backup."  He looked at his father.  "Mom's going to freak out that he thought I was gay."

"You're right but I've known for years," he said with a small shrug.  "Doesn't bother me like it does her.  She'll settle down as long as yours can act like a proper wife."  His son snorted, shaking his head.  "Or you do."

"I'd rather be equal, Dad.  Really."

"It never happens in a relationship, son.  Trust me on that.  I wanted the same thing."  His son snickered so he swatted him gently.  "Are you going to?"

"Yeah.  I don't want him to touch another kid."  The principal handed over the forms.   Once he was done his father brought him back to his office for the rest of the day.  That way no one could retaliate.


Xander walked up to the kid at lunch.  "Come join us, Jenkins."  He helped him up and grabbed his tray, walking him over to their table.  He put him down beside Jon and got his own, coming back to sit down.  Jon was talking to him quietly.  Xander sat and stared at him.  "Guy made a fatal flaw earlier," Xander said quietly.

"We heard the principal took Pauly DeMartins to the office after he talked to the coach," Jon said.

"Yeah, I saw a big army Major show up too," Xander said dryly.

"Huh.  So probably his dad.  I know his dad's a supply guy up at the base."  He went back to talking to the other kid.

Xander stared at him.  "If they pressure you, you come find us.  There's no way in hell I'll let that happen, kid."  The kid smiled and nodded.  "I may not be Rambo but damned if I'll be bothered by being expelled."

"Are you sure?"


"He might try for others."

"If he tries for you, we'll handle it.  If he tries for another kid, we'll find out and handle it," Jon said bluntly.  The kid nodded, relaxing and digging into his lunch of slop.  It was nice to have the slop back.  Xander and Jon both picked at theirs but it was better than tofu any day.

Sam sat down, staring at the new kid.  "Hi, I'm Sam."

"Randall," he said, shaking his hand with a grin.  "Xander and Jon just told me about someone's plans."

"Yeah, you don't want to know how the backup QB talks about you," Sam admitted.  The kid shuddered.  "By the way, I'm suspended in school starting tomorrow for kicking his ass in math class."  He smiled at his buddies.

"I'll make sure you get lunch," Xander promised.  "And you can have my walkman."

"Thanks, Xander."

"He need the ER?" Jon asked.

"Unfortunately two other team members got in the way.  They needed some ice packs too."

Xander nodded.  "So be it," he agreed.  "You tell your dad yet?"

"No.  I'll defend myself when he calls or shows up."

"A man protects those who can't protect themselves," Xander said bluntly.  "It's part of the definition."

Jon nodded.  "Yes it is."  The kid grinned at them.  "You run into problems, you find us.  Or the principal.  He'll stop that shit or we will."

"Yes, Jon.  Thank you, guys."  He got up and went back to his friends to warn them he had a bully problem so they could help.

Xander looked around.  "There's two separated tables," he sighed.

"Yes, there are," Jon agreed.  "We've saved almost all of them twice.  Oh, hey, new kid."  She was looking scared.  Xander waved her over and she took a seat with a grateful smile.  "Hey.  I'm Jon, this is Xander and Sam.  We're the unofficial anti-bully patrol."

She smiled.  "It's good to see that there is one.  I'm Cassandra."

Sam grunted since his mouth was full but he waved his fork.  "Nice to meet you," Xander said with a smile.  "Just moved?  Sam and I moved here before the school year started."


"No, I'm emancipated and Sam's my roommate."

"Oh, wow.  That's cool.  No, I'm Doctor Janet's daughter."  Jon stiffened, staring at her.  "You know my mom?"

"Yeah, I'm related to Jack O'Neill."

"Oh!"  She nodded.  "She said I might find you here."  She smiled.

"I'll make sure you get home tonight.  I haven't seen Janet in years."  She beamed.  "You can trust these two," he said more quietly.  She nodded.  "Anyone gives you shit, you tell me."

"Of course."  She smirked at them.  "Are you the one Doctor Lam said was cute but slightly tragic?"

"Alas, yes I am," Xander sighed.  "But she's not near dangerous enough for me."  Cassandra giggled.

"She's not," Sam agreed.  "He only likes deadly women.  Drives his friends nuts."  She cackled.  They finished lunch and Jon hung out with her for now.  Not in a 'wanna be more than friends' way but it was cool between them.  There were a few other kids who belonged to the staff in the Mountain and they all knew about Jon and sometimes hung with him too.  He introduced her to them.  It gave her more protection and some instant people she knew she could talk to.


Sam got home a few days later and found his father waiting on him.  "I'm still suspended."

"For?" John demanded calmly.

"Protecting a kid the football team wants to fuck as a mascot."

"Good."  He patted him on the arm.  "I like that."  Xander walked in and shut the door.  "Are you suspended too?"

"I was yesterday.   Because I nearly ripped one of their livers out."  He smiled.  "The principal was not amused when he heard after the paramedics got there."

"Is she okay?" Sam asked.

"Yeah, she'll be fine.  He didn't get beyond clothes ripping and biting her a few times.  He won't be using that tiny dick of his for a while though with the way I got him in the nerve cluster."  They shared a look.  "Or with the concussion."

"The police?" John asked, sounding calm.

"Congratulated us for helping," Sam said.  "And arrested the coach finally.  Plus six other players."

"Rory might need a place to hide," Xander said.  "His parents might not be too fond of that fact."

"If so, we have a spare bed?" Sam said with a shrug.  "He's only got a month until he's off to college."  Xander nodded that would be fine.  "We'll see what that fallout is."

"Rory can get away from his dad," Xander said.  "His mom swings a mean bat though.  She's on a softball team.  Did you call him?"

"He was at school today and heard first hand.  One of the ones trying to get away from you ran into our classroom gibbering to be saved.  Tried to pounce him to do that and tried to call up team loyalty to do it.  That's why he got thrown into the door and I got suspended again."

Xander nodded.  "Makes more sense to me, Sam."  He walked into the kitchen to get a drink, handing Sam one as well.   He called Rory's home phone.  "Hi, Rory's Dad, it's Xander.  Can I talk to him?  Yeah, well, I'm blatantly checking on him too.  No, I was a bit busy beating the rapist and Sam told me one of them had tried him."  He sipped his water.

"Rory.  Did you need some help?"  He listened.  "That's fine.  We have a couch if you need it sometime soon," he reminded him.  "Hey, even better.  Whatever works, dude, but if you need it let us know."  He smiled.  "Thanks, Rory.  Be safe, man."  He hung up.   "He has a couch he can inhabit easily enough and he thinks he'll be okay.  His mother is still fuming that someone tried that with her baby.  She wants the coach for right now."

"Good," Sam decided.  "If he needs it, we'll help."  He sipped his coffee.  "One of the other kids wanted me to sit with him when he told his parents."

Xander stared at him.  "Go for it if you feel comfy."

Sam smiled.  "I'm doing that Sunday afternoon.  His dad's going to be back from a trip then."

"Cool.  If we have to, he can bum the couch for a few days."  He looked at John.  "It's nice not being bully bait."

"It probably is.  I never was."  He looked at his son.  "Will that help him?"

"Yes.  Backup is always good, Dad."

"Fine.  Are you?"  Sam shrugged.  "You don't know?" he taunted with a smirk.

"I don't really think about it."  He walked off.  "How's the ball of glow?"

"She's fine.  She's in my bag.  She's pouting because I made her get out of the glove box."

"Did Dean put more porn in there?" Xander quipped.  John groaned, going to look.  Sam cackled, shaking his head.  "Dawn loved her porn."

"She did, yeah."  They turned on the tv and sat down.  The green glowing ball floated out and got between them, like usual, and it was fine.  That was Dawn's spot.  Though Xander did meanly turn it to PBS for some really horrible shows that used to annoy Dawn to no end.  She was making shrieking and complaining noises.  John flipped the channel on them before sitting down.  The ball purred at him for that.

John shook his head, tossing the magazine to Sam.  "I think he meant to give that to you, son.  It's not my thing and not his type."

Sam looked at the Penthouse.  "Nah, they're too clean for Dean's usual girls."  He put it on the table.  Xander took it to flip through.  "I doubt they're dangerous," he quipped.

"Oh, I don't know.  They could be.  Besides, sometimes all I need is pretty."  The ball of Dawn cackled.  He petted it.  "Buffy used to worry that I'd let you act on your crush.  She nagged a lot about not humoring you and if you tried to pounce me I was to beat you off like you were Dru and then run shrieking and find gay men forever more because you traumatized me."  She cackled harder at that story.  "Then she met Helena and warned me not to let her pull you into a threesome with us."  He shook his head.  Sam was cackling now too.  Jon knocked then walked in.  "Hi."

"Hi.  I see the ball of freakiness is back."  She giggled.  "Hi, Dawn."


"Shit she sounds like one of your anime," Sam realized.  Xander smirked at him.

"I have been waking up to cartoon network most days," John said dryly, staring at the ball.

"Adult Swim," Xander said, knowing why.  "She was the official holder of my anime whenever I was out doing stuff."  She cackled and said something Japanese.  Xander looked down at her.  "Sure, you turn into a girl again and we'll let you dress up like an anime schoolgirl.  Though the skirt had better be longer than theirs, young lady."  He went back to the Penthouse.

Jon sat down, giving it an odd look.  "Special occasion reading?"

"Dean left it in my glove box," John said, rolling his eyes.  "He's rotting his mind."  He watched Dawn float over to sit in Jon's lap, which was freaking him out a bit but she was purring at him and turning to 'see' the tv again.  "Sorry," John mouthed.  Jon shifted and the ball floated for a second then settled in again.  Jon hesitantly petted it and she was happy with that.  She snuggled up to him and went back to watching tv.

Xander got up to answer the door, staring at the boy on the other side.  "Hey."  He let him in.  "Problems?"

"One of them called my house," he said.  "Told my parents I was going to be the team mascot.  Which my mother approved of until I told her what that meant.  Can I hide until she's no longer pissed off?"

"Sure," Xander quipped.  "This is Sam's father John, and you know Jon.  The ball's name is Dawn."

"Hi," he said, waving at it.

"It's a Japanese thing," Jon said with a smirk.  "Xander got it."  She spit out something in Japanese, earning a dirty look from Xander.  "Did she just call me a stupid water buffalo?"

"More like unwise, stubborn water buffalo," Xander admitted.  He sat down again.  "We need more chairs but there's pillows."

"Thanks, guys.   My mother so went nuclear.  I thought she was going to stroke out like a junkie or something."

"Call and tell her you're all right," Sam ordered.  "That way she can't report you as a runaway."  He shook his head.  "Dial it and I'll talk to her."  He handed over the phone after dialing it.  "Hi, Mrs. Roscoe.  It's Sam, one of your son's school friends.  He's taking refuge with me right now.  I'm letting you know so you don't have to worry.  No, me and Xander are watching tv with another kid from school and my father.  He's perfectly safe.  No, ma'am, I'm one of the kids who beat the shit out of some of them earlier," he admitted. "He wasn't their first choice."  She shuddered.

"I'm actually suspended for the second time this week because of this situation and the kids know they can come hang at our place for safety.  Yeah, I can tell him that.  Yup, he was worried he'd need a paramedic.  No, he's fine.  No bruises that weren't there earlier.  Thanks, ma'am."  He hung up and put the phone down.  "You're cleared until dinner but she's already told your stepfather and they wanted you back for dinner to discuss how to deal with this issue."

"Was my dad yelling?"

"No, and she didn't sound hoarse so maybe they're back to thinking."  He grinned.  "I'll drive you home."  The kid relaxed and nodded.  "Did she see that bruise on your arm?"

"She asked and I told her it was another kid at school but I didn't elaborate."  They all nodded at that.  "Is Rory okay?"

"I talked to him earlier and he was," Xander admitted.  "His mom was going to take her softball bat to the coach though."

"My mother was going to burn him at the stake," the other kid said.

Xander shuddered.  "That's a horrible scene you never really want to see."  He yawned and took Dawn back so Jon could relax again.  She snuggled between him and Sam again, purring at the movie that came on.  He rolled his eyes but the other kid was looking at it oddly.  "It's Japanese.  It's a virtual pet.  Her name is Dawn."

"Oh.  That's kinda cool.  Better than the Takahashi craze or the pokemon thing."

"Yeah, the pocket monster thing is really weird slightly disturbing if you think about in terms of slavery or what the name could mean," Sam agreed.  His father gave him a strange look.  So did Jon.  "They capture these creatures in little balls and make them fight each other, like the gladiators.  It's slavery," he said.  "And the name 'pocket monster', which is what pokemon translates to, is really filthy minded."  Xander nodded.  "Teaching ten-year-old kids to go out and gather creatures to keep in little balls in their pockets isn't exactly healthy.  It may warp the next generation horribly."

"Son, I hate to say this but study less and date more?" John said calmly.  "Before your brain explodes?"  Jon and the other kid cackled.

"He has a point," Xander said.  "And some of those creatures do look like sex toys."

John stared at him.  "Did you catch something funny from your dangerous girls and give it to Sam?"

"No, I'm Trojan Man with my women," he quipped with a grin.  "I haven't caught anything yet, thank you, and as for passing it to Sam I didn't know I rode Sam into a coma some nights, John.  Where was I when you saw this happening?"  John blushed, ducking his head with a moan.  Dawn cackled and nuzzled him and Sam.

"Geeze, I didn't think your mind could get worse," Jon complained.

"Yes it can," Sam assured him, leaning over to look at him.  "I've seen Xander's mind go some really strange places and still end up back on sex.  Usually kinky sex.  Just... don't let him drink tequila.  Ever."

"Sure, I can live by that rule," Jon agreed.  The other kid was still giggling.  "Breathe, Peter.  Before you pass out."  He ran for the bathroom he could see.  Jon looked at Sam.  "Any other good rules to avoid his mind going there?"

"Watching _The Wall_ puts me in a bondage mood for some reason," Xander said with a small shrug.  "I have no idea why.  I mean it's about a repressive regime partially and some mental illness with drugs, but yeah I have no idea why."

"Sure, we can not watch that," Jon agreed.

"We watched it in English the other day," Xander said dryly.  Jon whimpered.  "Which was why I was doodling about restraints in chemistry and the teacher caught it and made me go confess to the principal about why I was thinking about tying people up.  The principal said it reminded him to talk to his mother."

"You're so messed up sometimes," Jon said bluntly.

Xander nodded.  "Yup.  But I usually enjoy it."  He went back to petting Dawn's ball since she was still giggling.  Peter eventually came back out and sat down again.

When the movie went off, Sam got up and helped Peter off the floor to take him home.  He only lived a few blocks away.  Sam even walked him up to the door.  "Here you go, Mrs. Roscoe."

"Are you Sam?" she asked.  He nodded with a smile.  "Was he safe?"

"Yes, ma'am.  I'd never hit on your son even if I thought he was interested.  That's not where my interests lay.  The only thing he got exposed to was Xander's mind going strange."  Peter nodded.  Sam grinned.  "Xander's emancipated."

"I've heard about you two," she said.  "Where did that bruise come from?" she asked her son.

"One of the wide receivers.  I managed to get free on my own and came home."  She gave him a hug.  "I didn't really apply for that position, Mom."

"I know, son.  Thank you, Sam."

"Ma'am, to be honest, Xander and I are on to stop the bullies in the school when they start.  We've both been busy the last few days," he said dryly.  "Because he's not their first one."  She grimaced but nodded.  "So if he needs us all he has to do is ask."

"I'll remember that.  Thank you, dear."  He nodded and left, going home with a stop to pick up some ice cream and soda, plus nibbling stuff.  She walked her son inside, leading him to the kitchen.  "I talked with Sam.  He does help the bully boys stay off all the weaker children."

"Sam, Xander, and Jon all do," Peter agreed.  "Jon was over hanging out with them when I made it there."

His father stared at him.  "Why pick on you?"

"Because I tried out and made it as second string," he said bluntly.  "Plus I'm smaller, easier to catch, and easier to intimidate.  The last one the guys had to help get free of that situation was a kicker."

"Oh, dear.  I know Rory's mother."  His sighed.  "Is he all right?"

"So far.  Xander said he talked to him earlier.  Rory knows he can go hide with them too, Mom."  He sat down in his chair at the table.  "A couple of kids have turned them in, that's why the team started to react.  That's why Rory has a broken ankle as well.  He refused."

His father nodded once.  "Is the coach under arrest?"

"Out on bail I think.  The rest of the team has been stopped by the guys and by the principal but then the other jocks tried to step in until Jon told them why.  So the second string team got called in to support their first string and even though most of them are younger, they're still steroid bulls with little brains.  One of them was the one who grabbed me earlier.  Yesterday, Sam slammed one of the backup quarterbacks into a wall and cracked the skin behind his ear for trying to made a cheerleader wannabe blow him in the hallway."

"So we think it will stop?" his father asked calmly.

"I don't know.  I'm hoping we run out of idiots soon."  He grinned a bit.  "Xander's a bit weird but he's *real* protective.  His first day, when they were doing the transfer testing, he stopped some of the jocks then going after one of the smart girls."

"If the old principal was around," his mother started.

"Mom, he's had a *mascot* for the team since his second year there," Peter said bluntly.  "She never stopped a thing."  She glared at the refrigerator.  "I know for certain that one of the cheerleaders last year got the hell beaten out of her on his orders because he thought she might be pregnant."

"So the coach is the real problem," his father said.  Peter nodded.  "Is he going to be allowed to come back to the school?"

"He was packing earlier but they kept all the kids away from him.  I know the track coach about killed him.  So did the one that does the martial arts club.  The other two weren't there yesterday or today.  They had team things out of state."

His father nodded.  "We are going to press charges against that boy," he ordered quietly.

"Yes, sir.  I wasn't sure that it was a good idea since this is going to cause a huge stink.  I'd be one of many but still probably in the papers."

His father nodded.  "We'll deal," he agreed.  "We'll talk about you staying in football next year when they replace the coach."

"Yes, sir."

"Thank you.  Are you calmer?"

"Mom lost her mind," he said, staring at him.  "I ran for my life before she got me too!"

His father smiled.  "Yes, that's how we got your sister actually.  Calming her down when someone tried to carjack me.  Speaking of, she's with her friend tonight so we could talk."  Peter nodded, relaxing some more.  "Son, are you gay?"

"I have that artistic streak that has me look but I've never thought about sleeping with a guy, Dad.  I know you'd have a problem with it even if I did want to."

His father sighed.  "We like that you're artistic and if you are, we'll deal," his mother said, patting him on the hand.  "So you can tell us."

He shrugged.  "Not really.  I think some are pretty but I *really* like breasts."

She smiled.  "That's fine then, dear.  We appreciate you being so honest."  She patted him again and got up to get them dinner.

His father stared at him.  "Some men are very pretty.  That one that brought you home was cute."

"I'm not sure if Sam and Xander are together or not.  Xander has a pack mentality about things and Sam has a room at his place so he can attend a good school because his father travels a lot.  Xander's emancipated," he said at his father's curious look.  "They have an apartment about six blocks away."

"That's an expensive place."

"Xander has a trust fund from a former almost fiancée sort who died.  There were all sorts of rumors about him working for it with some high class clientele but it's not true.  He settled here after doing a lot of traveling."

"Good to know.  He sounds like he's making plans for his future."  His father patted him on the arm.  "We'll ice pack that bruise later, after the officer can take a picture of it."  His son nodded.  "We'll go after dinner."  The dinner was handed over and they settled in to eat and talk about the school.  Ten or twelve bad ones out of twelve-hundred wasn't a bad average.  They were sure once they were away from that coach those boys would do better.


Jon looked at the jocks the next day.  He had gathered most of them with the other coaches' help.  "Listen up, guys."  They all stared at him.  "And ladies."  He looked at them then around.  "The last few days there's been some atrocious crap going on thanks to some of Coach Robbert's favorites."  A few moaned.  "Including attacking some of the lighter of you and a few of the ladies on the squads."  One shifted but nodded when people looked at her.  "I'm hoping like hell we're done with that issue.  If not, Harris, Winchester, and I all have in-school suspension for the fights it started.  I'm hoping I can count on some of you to break up the bad things?"

"What happened?" the head cheerleader asked.  "I was off with my dad and the basketball team."

"Coach Robberts has had a few...special mascots of the team," her father, the basketball coach said.

She nodded.  "Yeah, he tried to pressure the cheerleaders into giving all the guys blowjobs and sex for inspiration before games.  We all walked off and threatened not to show up at games and to tell the school board why."

"He did force some kids," Jon told her bluntly.  She shuddered.  "Including one of their own.  He's been trying to line up another one since that one refused.  They beat his ass for it too."

She gaped.  "Oh, my God," she whispered.  "Is he all right?"  Jon nodded.  "Damn it!"

"Yeah.  There's been six other kids who've come forward from past years.  There's been three kids we had to help and one we warned that they were looking toward.  Plus some of the players have been interested in getting their own personal one."  The girls all whimpered.  "Not all of them are you girls.  Which is why the three of us have in-school suspension for the next three days."

"They touch us and I'll plant a spiked heel in someone's forehead," one of the cheerleaders said.  The others all nodded.

"The real problem is that the coach found out a few of the players, the male players, were gay and used that to blackmail them," the swim coach noted.  "Which is how that one got caught."  Jon nodded.  "So we need to be supportive, even if you don't like gay people."

"I don't care where anyone sticks it," the head cheerleader said with a hand wave.  "I more care that you're good to your lover.  Because bad boyfriends abound in this school."

"Yeah, I caught one of those yesterday on the way out the door," Jon told her dryly.  "Ordering her to never wear that outfit again because she looked like an easy slut and she was to go home, wash off that makeup, and get ready for him to come do whatever he wanted with her.  He needed a cast for his wrist.  We got her to one of the peer counselors to talk about abusive mother-fuckers who deserve to die."

He looked around.  "I'm counting on you guys to be on the watch for them to start things.  There's still a few players left, most of them are decent sorts who never did it.  A few aren't.  Reya's brother's still here," he told the head of the basketball team.  Who grimaced but nodded.  "I know he's a senior and bigger than most semi trucks, but I saw him stalking someone yesterday.  I got her out of the way."

"He could be looking for a new girlfriend.  He's a big guy but he's not usually mean, Jon."

"He was helping one of the guys try to carry off someone.  I don't care, but if he starts it, or any of the others...."

"Hell, I knew I wore the high heels for some reason," the head cheerleader assured him with a smirk.  "Harris all right?"

"He's fine.  He jumped into one fight with three of them.  Only got a black eye and a split lip but all three of them are evilly glaring at county jail bars."

"Good!" the swim coach agreed.  "Is the bastard still in jail?"

"Bond.  He packed his office yesterday."

"Even better."  He looked around.  "Be aware today of your fellow jocks and other students.  This is not a trend we want to continue.  Should you have a worry about someone, tell one of the teachers or us."

"If you see them trying, just do what you can and call for help," Jon ordered.  "We'll be in the office all day.  Sam has some dusty old books he wanted to read and translate.  Xander wants to meditate and I'll probably nap if possible."  That got a few smiles.  "If you see someone doing it and you can't handle it, just yell because half the school is going to step in to help.  Yesterday, Sam had to slam one into a doorway to get him off some kid.  Xander had to put one's head into a locker, and there's a huge dent.  We don't expect you guys to do more than watch, warn, and try to prevent if possible.  We know some of you can't fight."

"Some of us can and I'll be damned if I let that happen," the head of the basketball team said, looking around.  "Ladies, if you've had that sort of run in, please report it if possible.  It can only make the case stronger against him."  A few nodded.  "Can we go to home room, coaches?"

"Go."  They filed out and Jon went to the office.  The coaches met to discuss what rules they need to put into place to make sure it did not happen again.  Because they had hints but it had always been said to be consensual.  Not forced.  If they had known it was forced they would've kicked his ass years earlier.


Sam looked up from his reading, sniffing.  "What's that smell?"  Jon woke up with a snore, looking around.  "Jon, what's that smell?"  He nudged Xander out of his meditation.  "Xander?"

He sniffed.  "The lab rats in biology are all sick," he said, rubbing his forehead.  "All malnourished."  He sniffed and concentrated, going to the ones in the lab areas.  Then the outer areas.  He found a nice squirrel who could see the back garage area.  "We have smoke," he said, pulling back.  He got up and went to the principal.  "We have smoke out back?"

"They're working on some really old cars."

Xander hauled him out and to the halls.  "Smell."  He sniffed and walked off quickly.  Xander went back in there.  "He's investigating."

"Good," Jon said.  "How did you know the mice are all sick?"

"Shaman like Xander can merge with the animals around him," Sam said.  "It's very advanced and something I'll probably never be able to do.  It's part of why Xander's so detached from his body sometimes."  The fire alarm went off and they gathered things, heading out.  Xander headed for his locker.  "Xander!"

"Hush, Sam.  Your gun's in there."

"Shit."  He jogged off to get it.  Xander got his backup out too and they went out to wait.  The secretary gave them an odd look.  "With our *permissions* it could've caused more problems if they had been part of the fire," he said quietly.

"I understand.  The one for the rifle team?"

"Out in the sports shed but locked," Sam said, looking at that building.  "No, it's open."  He walked that way.  "Coach," he called, pointing at the building, getting a confused look.  "Rifle team's gear?"  He looked alarmed and headed that way at a jog to check it over.  Sam and Xander joined him.  They had touched every single gun on the team helping the others.  All their open gear was missing.  The stuff that was locked in the cabinet was still there.  "All our bullets," Sam said.  "Xander, Lady?"

Xander found her, checking.  "Still here but she should be in the cabinet."  He popped the lock and looked.  "We're two guns short.  Ask Reya if she brought hers home."  Sam went to find her and ask.  His went in there and he reshut the lock.  The coach nodded.  "We had six boxes of ammo, all the cleaning gear, and the glasses and ear muffles in here.  Plus our vests and a few of the spare scopes."  He looked around.  "Why take them?  If you don't have a gun...."  He checked.  "I don't know why they'd take bullets.  You don't need an ID to buy bullets right now."  They walked out together, finding a frantic team captain.  "None of the bullets.  Reya's guns?"

"At home.  She took them home last time to have a grip fixed and to go over her new favorite.  The other stuff?"

"Bullets and other gear is missing," Xander said.  He went in to look and came out muttering swears.  "It's easier to get bullets than it is a gun.  Why take them and the glasses and stuff?"

"I don't know.  Maybe some deadhead video game player?" he guessed.

Xander stiffened.  "Shit, a school shooter situation."  He looked around, pointing at Jon.  They moved to talk.  He hoped he was wrong.  He had to explain the reference but that was fine.  There would not be a school shooting here.  Not if they could stop it.  The officer who responded to the alarm came over to talk to the coach about what was missing with the captain of the rifle team.  "Sam, when we get home, do a gun inventory?" he asked quietly.

"Yeah.  Do we think we have one?" he asked.

"I don't know.  Why take the handgun bullets?  The spare scopes?  All the vests and glasses?"

"No clue," Jon said.  "We'll be on watch for it, Xander."  They went back to their assigned spot and studied the other students.  He spotted two other holsters and nudged the guard to talk to them.  Sam's was in the open so he tugged on his shirt until Sam covered it with a nod of thanks.  They continued to watch the other students.  Whoever had taken the bullets had a very bad idea in their head.  Something they might need to stop.  Xander saw something and snuck off before the others could catch him.  Or stop him.  He made it up to the roof and stared at the kid there.  On his stomach.  Rifle in his hands.  "Oh, no," he muttered, sneaking closer.  The guy tried to flip over and stop him but Xander had a bit of momentum when he pounced and they both went over the edge.  Fortunately Xander was on top.  The guy he landed on.... not so healthy.

The principal came running.  "O'Neill, make this safe!" he bellowed.  "Someone get the damn paramedics!"  Someone was already calling for one.  "Harris, next time, just warn us," he ordered, cracking a few of the nervous students up.  Xander was unconscious.   The other guy was trying hard to moan.  The officer came over.  "He had a sniper rifle in his hand.  Harris apparently pounced him wrong and they both fell off the roof."

"It's only two stories, so they're probably just damaged," the officer said.  "Who is that kid so we can search his locker and things?"

"He's got the locker next to mine," one girl said.  "It's always full and stinks like dirty socks."  The officer nodded, taking her that way.  "If it ever matters, Harris' lock supposedly, by rumors, has sleeping gas," she said quietly as they walked.

"We know.  It's his gun cabinet lock."  He smiled.  "We like that idea actually."  She pointed and he got into the locker.  "Some of the rifle team's gear."  He called that in and for someone to get his stuff off the roof too.  The principal joined him once the duo were in an ambulance.  "Looks like we know who stole it."

"Apparently.  Thank you, Miss Scien."  She jogged off.  He and the officer shared a look.  "Xander needs to learn how to pounce better."  The officer snickered but nodded. A few more came in.  "He was on the roof over the front door," the principal reported.  "This is his locker."  They gathered the things he had stolen and shouldn't have.  Another pair went to check the roof.  They could handle this.  "It's been a bad week," he said.

"We heard," the officer with him assured him.  "I'm glad they could stop most of it before it got worse."

"Me too but this is beyond bad."  He walked off to get that student's file so they could talk to the parents and tell them their son was in the ER with probable broken ribs.


Xander snapped awake, grabbing the hand on his arm, staring at the nurse.  "Let go."  She backed off.  "Thank you."  He looked then sat up with a moan, holding his side.  "What happened?"

"You pounced a student with a gun off a two-story roof, Mr. Harris."

"Oh, yeah."  He nodded once then rubbed his head.  "Damn that hurts."  He checked.  "Unhook me please."

"Sir, your parents haven't shown up."

"They're dead.  I'm emancipated.  Unhook me please?" he requested again.  "I loathe hospitals and it's not real safe to be here since I have a death threat against me."

She grimaced.  "I'll have to check with the head nurse."

Jon leaned in.  "Winchester's father is here.  He's stomping, scowling, and huffy."

Xander nodded once.  "He can turn into the world's biggest hardass at times, yeah.  The other guy?  They stopped him, right?"

"Yeah.  His ribs are in itty, bitty pieces, Xander."  He walked in to stare at him.  "You landed on top of him."  Xander grinned at that bit of luck.  "John's *so* livid about you not sneaking better and stopping him."

"Yay," he said quietly.  "He caught me sneaking."

"I figured he did."  He stared at him.  "You're going to be so sore for days."

"It happens.  Not the first set of broken ribs."  The nurse came back.  "Can I go now?"

"Do you have that paperwork?"

"Our friend's dad picked it up," Jon said, going to get him.  John glared at Xander when he walked in.  But he did hand over the paperwork.

The nurse took it to look over and they agreed he was entitled to make his own medical decisions.  They unhooked him and got him ready for discharge.  Xander looked at the fussing doctor.  "Doc, I've had broken bones," he said quietly.

"You don't show that," she said.

"I'm a pretty quick healer.  It didn't leave much evidence but I've had a concussion and broken bones before.  I promise I'll be a good Xander.  Okay?"  She nodded, grimacing.  "I'll take my pain killers as needed and I'll rest all I can.  I'm on in-school suspension right now anyway."  She huffed but handed John Winchester the forms and medication rules.  John let Xander sign and helped him get dressed so they could go.  A quick wheelchair ride to the curb and they were free.  Xander settled into his back seat, lounging for now.   "Thank you," he said quietly.

"It wasn't that dangerous to stay," Jon complained.  "No one there was looking."

"No hunter likes hospitals.  It draws attention," John told him.  Jon groaned, rolling his eyes and shaking his head.  "Though you messed up mentioning the old injuries, kid."

"I know.  Sorry."  He waved a hand.  "I wasn't really in the mood to be fussed over by some doctor."

"Fat chance Sammy won't," Jon said dryly.

"I can take the pack fussing.  I can't take women, strange women, fussing.  It always comes with 'you shouldn't do that because you're not special that way'," he finished with a mimic.

Jon looked back at him.  "Those girls of yours screwed you up *hard*."

"I know."  He shifted carefully.  "Three broken?"

"Three broken ribs, sprained left wrist, sprained left hip, sprained left knee," John recited.  "Concussion, possibility of whiplash, they weren't sure.  He's in worse shape thankfully.  All but one of his ribs is broken in the back, there's a slight vertebrae fracture that they think will heal nicely, and a fractured pelvis to go with his certain whiplash and very bad concussion.  By the way his parents want to sue you."

"Yay.  He was on top of the school with stolen materials and a gun."

"I pointed that out to his mother," John admitted.  "She huffed and said it wasn't her boy's fault, he was *sensitive*."

"He's a fucking psycho," Jon complained.  "The first time I saw the kid he was stabbing teddy bears on some girls' backpack he had stolen.  I took it from him and the knife, handing them both to her so she could run to the office.  He burst out crying and told me it wasn't his fault, he was *damaged*."

"Bullshit," John said.  "He needed paddled more or put on meds."  He pulled into the apartment complex, finding Sam waiting.  Sam helped Xander out and upstairs while John went to get his prescriptions filled.  Even if the kid didn't take them, the medical kit could use the stocking.  By the time he got back, Sam had fussed Xander into a nap with some cocoa and a few books to read for when he got up.  His son was very much like Xander's girlfriend at times, he had to agree with Dean about that.


Xander walked in the next day, handing the nurse his bottles.  "I probably won't need them but just in case."  He walked off holding his left side with his left hand.  He made it to home room, getting a funny look from the teacher.  "Isn't it home room?"

"We didn't expect you to get back today, Xander."

He grimaced.  "It's not that bad.  Sam drove since things were still blurry."

"You're insane."

"I know but hey, in-school means I can nap," he quipped with a grin.

"True."  She pointed.  "Go ahead so no one will jostle you wrong."  He nodded, getting up carefully and heading that way.  "He's insane," she decided, getting nods from the other students.

The principal was waiting.  "You have a medical excuse for the next week."

"I know.  I may take it when I'm out of this tiny room," he said dryly.  "If the concussion isn't halfway better."  He sat down and shifted seats, getting the bigger desk.  He moved one with his foot and put his feet up, then let himself fall asleep again.

The principal walked off shaking his head.  He got another chair in there for Sam and Jon, plus the other student joining them for PDA in the halls.  They had a pep rally and the principal went to assure the students that they were safe, all the bad things had been stopped, and they were stepping up security on campus to make sure nothing else like yesterday ever happened again.  The students relaxed and it was good to start the school day in a semi-normal way again.


Sam had hacked the school's cameras to get the film to Jensen in Saudi Arabia.  He watched it, scowling.  "I'm *so* working on Xander's sneaking and pouncing skills," he complained.  Roque looked over from sharpening a knife.  Cougar grunted.  Clay and Pooch were on surveillance.  "I mean, how hard is it to sneak across their school's roof to get the guy with the fucking rifle?  And then, you don't tackle people so hard you both fall off the building!"

Cougar gave him a patient stare.  "He's fine.  His left side's mostly bruised or broken ribs.  Small concussion because he landed on top of the other kid."  He waved a hand.  "Xander, of course, according to Sam, snuck off from the trio to find the kid who had stolen the rifle team's bullets because he saw something.  Because this is Xander and he never lets anyone back him up unless it's a real battle.  He learned that little trick way too early on."

"Sounds like he needs straightened out," Roque said.

"We've all tried.  Xander's so doesn't get that.  I'm sending my sister to nag him, I swear I am."  He typed that back to Xander.  Plus added to the rant he was building.

Clay walked in and stopped behind him since he was muttering.  "The kid did what?"  Jensen reran the video Sam had gotten him.  Mostly of the sneak and the pounce.  "He needs trained better."

"He can't do that because he's still so screwed up by the damn girls."  Jensen looked up at him.  "He got checked out early because the doctor was fussing at him.  We can't undo what the girls screwed up because it's going to take *months* and then we'll have to reinforce it for years."  He got back to his rant back at his alpha.  "I mean, Jon and Sam would've helped.  That way maybe none of them would've went tumbling off the roof."

Pooch shook his head.  "That sucks.  He good?"

"Broken ribs, the rest of his left side is bruised," Jensen said as he tapped on the keys.  He finished up with another threat to send his sister to nag.  He sent it.  Ten minutes later he got one back from Sam's account that was Xander typing.  His //I'm fine.  Do NOT send your sister, I'll just duck the woman.  Quit nagging like the wife, Jensen,// wasn't really a good message.

Jensen glared at the screen.  "I'm still going to get you out of that lone ranger mindset."  He sent back another one pointing out that Sam and Jon would've been there to help.  Maybe even the school's guard.  Or hey, they had seen an officer on campus thanks to the fire and the theft.  Xander's point back that it would've created a panic and given the kid time to shoot didn't help him any.

So Jensen kindly told him how commandoes did it in *teams* for a reason.  Even if they were acting in separate areas, they were still a team and *communicated*.  He went on for six pages of ranting about Xander never trusting anyone with anything unless it was a true battle.  He never asked for help, for backup, nothing.  And it annoyed them all because they all would help if he asked.  After all, they had helped him move stuff to Paris!

Xander sent back that it was something that was done more easily by one person while the other two moved people.  Though Sam added a note that Xander hadn't told them so they could move people.  Xander finished off by saying he was swatting Sam for being a nagging girl again.  Jensen said he was telling his sister alllll about them so she could come introduce herself and his niece.  That way Xander knew *decent* women who were only a bit warped but good women who would help him too.

Xander sent back a 'no thanks, she's not dangerous so she wouldn't like me' response.  Jensen gave him over a thousand reasons why she would like him in one very long email.  With bullets even, he had done the list properly.  He kept going until his fingers started to ache and he sent that one.  Then he sent the video to his sister.  She would like to meet more of his friends.  She had always wanted to know about Xander.

Xander sent back a groan and a whimper but said he was fine and to quit nagging before he made Cougar calm him down.  Jensen snorted at that but responded his sister already knew.  Xander threatened to spank him if he got more nagging women in his life to screw him up further.  Jensen pointed out she wasn't that sort of woman and wouldn't screw him up.  She might big sister him a lot but she wouldn't screw him up and she might even teach him more about hacking.

Xander groaned and whined that she had already sent an email to him about being safer and she wanted to meet him during the summer vacation.  Jensen said he had told her about the pack and it was fine.  She would support the pack and had always wanted him to be the toy of the team.  She said repeatedly that they could wear the bounciness out of him if he'd let them.  Plus he'd focus better on the computer stuff when his ass was full of sperm according to her.  Xander pointed out that was just as warping but Jensen snorted and replied, making Xander pout.

"Ha!" Jensen said, finding a good argument and sending that back.  That would serve Xander right for doing stupid things that would get him killed.  He would miss his dickhead alpha matriarch if he died.  He added that as well.  Xander promised to be careful but only if he quit nagging and didn't sic his sister on him again.  Jensen said no promises and his sister was totally cool.  He would come drag her to meet him if he could get free sometime soon.  Unfortunately they were going to Pakistan in a week.

Cougar's phone rang with a text message.  He groaned, staring at Jensen.  "Quit nagging before I get told to calm you down again?"

Jensen looked over the top of his laptop at him.  "Excuse me?"  Cougar showed him the message before deleting it.  "Sam.  Definitely Sam."  He sent a dirty message at the two there in Colorado Springs that he did not need to pack cuddle with Cougar.  Cougar wouldn't cuddle.  He sure wouldn't pack bond.  Xander sent an order to Cougar's phone to calm Jensen down before he nagged himself into turning into a girl.  Jensen growled and responded in kind via the phone.

"Enough," Pooch complained.

"Xander just said I'm going to fuss myself into a mystical sex change."

"If so, we'll find you a burqa," Pooch said dryly.

Cougar took his phone back, sending a simple message.  He got one back that made him look at Jensen like he was confused.  Jensen looked then shrugged.  Cougar growled.  Jensen got back to his typing at Sam's email to fuss.  He sent one to the other members of the pack as well.  Including the video.  It took a lot of stubborn people to change Xander's mind about anything.  The pack had some of the most stubborn bastards ever.  Cougar pulled him up and walked him off after sending that last message.  Jensen needed to calm down and it was their turn soon for surveillance.

Clay and Pooch shared a look.  "It's nice he gets to nag someone," Pooch said.  "Means he's looking out for the stupid one."

"I might've done the same thing," Clay admitted.  He got into the email messages, staring at some.  One made his eyebrows go up.  He closed out the window completely and shut down the computer.  "His sister is very warped."

"This surprises you?" Roque asked.

"She suggested he be the *team mascot*," Clay said dryly.  "To calm him down."

Roque looked at him.  "Even if he was, the kid would still bounce and annoy us all.  He'd just be unable to sit and do it."

"Not from what she thinks."  He shook his head as he walked off.  He did not want that mental image.

"Do we think they pack bond or some shit like that?" Pooch asked Roque.

Who could only shrug.  "I have no idea and I'm not sure I want to know.  That's way too gay for me."

"We have two pack members here."

"Yes and they're obsessive about being together," Clay called from the bathroom.  He came out once he had flushed the toilet.  "Who knows with those two."

"What would pack bonding be?"

"A dominance fight for who's on top?" Roque guessed then shrugged again.  "Still way too gay for my radar."

"There's a subtle art to dominance and not going over it is the mark of a true alpha," Clay said.  "Not like in boot camp where you're yelled at constantly to prove the sergeant has a bigger dick.  If he's doing it right, they can probably just stay on the pillows and cuddle or shit and get it done."

"So you don't think it's sexual?" Pooch asked.

"I can't see Cougar giving it up that way," Roque complained.  "Nor do I want to."  He walked off to finish sharpening his knives in another room.

Clay shrugged.  "Probably not.  It might be Xander actually encouraging the bonding and just taking the stronger ones.  I don't know.  Why the interest?"

"What happens if they do that shit on a mission?"

"They probably haven't yet or we haven't seen it.  It shouldn't matter."

"Good point."  He shuddered.  "I can't see the growling, pinned down fucking you see on the animal channels."

"I doubt that'll happen.  They don't have more subtle ways of proving alpha and beta positions.  Humans do."  Clay smirked.  "I know a woman who could make you feel like you were beneath her and submissive to her while she rode you into a coma.   Without saying a word."

"Huh.  I guess Jolene's never going to try to prove that over me," he quipped.

"Why would she?  She already knows she has you pussy whipped, Pooch."  He smirked and went to check on what they knew so far.  They were tracking the main guy's helpers.  They wanted to take them all out during an upcoming meeting.  They accepted white converts so that was helping some.  Roque made a scary convert with the cover story that his whole family had been taken out by an accidental misfire by the American military.  He had been training on his own to take out most of them when he was found and brought into the fold.  Jensen came back first and he didn't look happy.  "We compromised?"

"The second guy is in town too."  He packed up his gear.  "They're moving tonight.  They have new weapons."


"Tagging the vehicles with GPS."  That got a nod and they all gathered to go.  Roque went ahead to talk to the others who would be bringing him.  They'd track the shipment.  Cougar joined them in the car when Pooch paused downtown and they headed into the desert.  Going across countries was harder but necessary. There were tracking the shipment as well.  Not even Xander should have that much artillery.

"So," Pooch said as he drove.  "Do you guys pack bond or anything?"

"We pack cuddle," Jensen said, glancing at Cougar.

"So nothing like on the animal channel?" Pooch asked.

"Now and then we do have a bit of a jockeying for position for top beta but not really."

"So, blow jobs, cuddles, actual sex?" Pooch asked.

Jensen snorted.  "Ask to join the pack, Pooch.  Pack cuddling is for the pack.  Not like we film it."

"Will we have a problem if you and Cougar need to...cuddle?" Pooch asked.

"Have you yet?"

"No," Clay said.  "Drop it, Pooch."  He nodded, letting it go.  He looked back at them.  "I don't care as long as nothing bothers the team."

"It hasn't yet," Cougar noted.

"No, it's not.  I'm glad.  If you two need time to recenter or whatever, keep it quiet."

"Of course," Jensen sighed.  "We're not going to start rabidly dragging each other into closets.  We haven't yet.  I don't foresee us having a torrid affair that would make Roque gag at the cooing."

"No matter what happens, make sure it doesn't impact the team," Clay ordered, staring at him.  Jensen nodded, looking bored.  "Thank you."

"It's not my style anyway.  I'm not a clingy boyfriend sort.  I could never be the clingy boyfriend sort."  Cougar shook his head, looking up to say a silent prayer for strength.  Before Jensen got started babbling about how not gay he was.


Xander came back feeling better on Monday.  He was actually in classes again so it was nice.  Of course, he had finals in two days so he wasn't happy but it happened.  They had to figure out what they were doing over the summer.  Sam might go hunt with Dean and his dad.  Or he might spend most of the summer with Mr. Tailfeather.  Xander might go bother the other pack members for a bit, maybe head overseas to stop a few problems.

There were so few going on.  They'd talk about it later.  When he didn't have to pay attention to what was on a test in two days that he hadn't really studied for and he was lost in the class anyway.  The teachers were nice enough but he hated school so hard most of the time.  Though it was nice, napster was still around so he had plenty of traveling music.  Even stuff he'd like for years to come.  So he'd deal with things.  Maybe he'd talk to Jensen about his crazy P2P idea for hunting information.  That way you could quickly download books and things.  Maybe Ryan could help.  He loved getting into the old books with Speed.
Xander took notes on what was on the test, knowing he had no idea what half of it was.  Between the injuries and the fighting... he was so behind.  Sam wasn't but that's because he was Sam.  Brains did things like that.  Hell, even Jon did.  Though, Jon had to be pretty smart to make it into the Air Force academy in his original life.  Xander looked at her.  "Is that in the textbook or the supplemental out of thin air book?"

"The supplemental, Xander," the teacher said.  "Next time, don't get so injured."

He stared at her.  "Sure, next time I'll let someone else handle it."  She blanched.  He opened his textbook to look up where things were.  This was a comprehensive final so things he had forgotten in October were on it.  Charming!  He went to his next class.  A few students nearly got near him but one of the cheerleaders pulled them out of the way.  "I'm okay," he said, smiling at her.  "Thank you though."

"You're welcome, Xander.  I know broken ribs suck.  I had one once."  He nodded she was right and went to chemistry.  The teacher gave him that pity look.  "The final is today?" he asked.

"The practical is today."


"Sit down.  Let's see how well you do.  I may be able to give you a makeup with the new student class."  Xander sighed but sat down to do his best.  He had a pretty good handle in here but math was going to kill him.  So was english.  He got done early, which was probably a bad sign.  The teacher nodded for him to go so he went to get a soda and took an early lunch.  The cafeteria ladies had made bad food again so he got something unhealthy and sat down to eat.

"You should eat better," one called.

"When you make stuff I can eat I will," Xander quipped back.  "I can eat MRE's but not that."  She growled.  He looked over.  "It's nasty looking.  I've puked up prettier stuff."

"It tastes better than it looks, Harris."

He snorted.  "There's no way."  She brought him a spoonful on a small plate, letting him eat it.  He grimaced.  "What is that?"

"Chili powder."

He swallowed and looked at her.  Then he wrote down an address online.  He knew it was there, he had run into it.  "That is for a nutritionist sort of person who does diet plans.  They do all sorts of individualized diet plans for allergies and things."  He handed it to her.  "Including some for bigger families and upsizing.  Though, tuna isn't bad for you."

"It has fat."

"Yes, but you need some fat in your diet to be healthy.  Just look there.  They have a lot of really good ideas.  Sam's even been cooking from there."

"I'll look."  She smiled.  "Too spicy?"

"Just a bit.  Oh, and they have major soup recipes with reduced sodium."

"That could be handy."  She went to look it up.  She tasted and yes, the chili powder was a bit strong and so was the salt.  The site was informative and did have a lot of recipes she might want to try, including allergen free ones. "Gluten allergies?" she mused.  "Do we have any?"

"Wheat," Xander called.

"Then we have two."

"And soy and egg and a few peanut allergies," he reminded her.  He got a banana and sat down to eat that.  "If you give us spices to individually use, that could help too.  Or hey, mediterranean and middle eastern cuisines are both healthy.  Just watch some of the bean stuff."

She looked out at him.  "That's not a bad idea.  Or chinese food."

"Watch the sauces for sodium and sugar," one of the junior cooks said.  "My sister's a diabetic and they warned her about the sugar in some of them."

"I can do that."  She looked up those and it was interesting plus healthier.  Low in calories, fat, and a different texture.  She could add in some other things to help it out.  Cottage cheese and tabulah.  She wrote out some planned plates and ideas for the menu, what it would take.  That was a lot vegetables, which was good.  Some cheese, which was excellent.  Some lighter whole grains could be substituted.  The new vegan lifestyle out of California had a lot of ideas she could include as well.  "Are people allergic to mushrooms?"

"Some," Xander called.  "Very few.  And if they were, they wouldn't have eaten the things the other day."

"Good point."  She got back to it.

He came in to write out a few names.  "I've seen portobelo mushrooms done that way many times.  Always very nice.  You can also use them as a meat substitute for things like burgers."  He smiled.  "Or there's stir fry with them.  Which is easier and quick to make more of if you run out."

"Good point."  She smiled.  "Thank you, Harris."

"You're welcome."  He walked outside with his soda to calm down and make sure he could still move all right.  His ribs ached.  A lot.  His whole left side ached like hell.  His head was still throbbing some.  He turned and found the guard and nurse staring at him.  "I'm taking a break to try to breathe deeply," he quipped.

"Pain killers?" the nurse offered.

"If I do, I'll be drooling all afternoon.  They're kinda strong."  She sighed but nodded, getting him some aleeve.  "That'll help.  Thank you."  He took them with the last of his soda and went back inside to go back to the drudgery of classes.  At least home ec didn't have a final.  All he had to do was prove he could cook and sew, which he had done very well already.  So he had a pass on that.  Sam too.  Sam looked at him across the counter.  "I took some aleeve," he said quietly.

"Good.  I'm still driving tonight."

"Yup.  My head still hurts too much."

"Thank you for being reasonable."

"Finals are going to be a bitch."

"Yup," Sam agreed.  "Remember this next time you go to do heroic shit without backup."  He grinned.

"Fucker," Xander muttered.

"Boys, language," the teacher ordered.

"Yes, ma'am," they sighed.

"He's picking on me," Xander said.

"Yes he is, Xander.  You're very sweet to pick on."  She smiled.  "Shoo.  Go take a nap in the lounge."  He and Sam both ran out.  She got to work helping her last few students who were helpless.

Xander stretched out on one of the uncomfortable bench couches and let himself fall asleep.  Sam sat and studied, keeping watch for him.

The principal walked out, sighing.  "Did the teacher expel you two?"

"We already passed home ec," Sam said with a grin.

"That's fine then.  How's his head?"

"Still hurts," Xander mumbled.

"Sorry."  He walked off to let him rest.  He knew the boy was stubborn.  He'd still be on bedrest if it were him.  He'd ask to make up the finals.  Well, he might see if Xander could make up any he failed.


to part 9

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