The Old Ones Return.
Xander woke up somewhere very light. It was so light it was hurting his eyes. Though one hurt when he tried to cover them. "Shit that hurts," he muttered, sitting up.
"Stay down," a growled voice ordered. They touched his face gently. "Stay still, kid."
"Shut up, Roque. What're you doing here? And where is here? Did Willow go nuclear?"
"Kind of I think." He pushed him back down. "You're injured, stay." Xander slumped. "Tip your head up." Xander did and winced. "Yeah, that's a debris injury. I have no idea where we are."
Xander felt around them. "Outside the home solar system I think." He winced. "I hope like hell someone got her for this."
"I'm pretty sure they did. You know your group is watched over."
"Damn I hope someone shoves a boot up her ass this time." He made it to his feet, wobbling. "Any other concerns? Do we have temporary shelter and can we find food?"
"Food yeah. I killed a rabbit looking thing. Shelter... Not that I can see."
Xander looked around, sighing in displeasure. "Well, if we had shadows."
"I know." He steadied him. "There is one bright spot." He pointed. Xander realized he had to turn to look that way. "Your eye looks like shit. Want me to lie?"
"It feels like shit."
"It's got debris in it, Xander."
Xander considered that ring. "Okay. Hopefully we can get medical attention then." He tried to walk toward the ring but Roque had to help him. They ate the rabbit thing for energy. "Just us?"
"Then we'll figure it out. Or I'll find us a shadow there hopefully."
"I hope too." He gathered his shirt and the axe that had come with them. "Your axe feels normal."
Xander tested it. "It's in quiet mode." He put it back and winced. "I think someone's displeased. A lot. Though I'm hoping not at me." They made it to the ring after a few hours of walking, falling down to sit in the shade of it. There wasn't a lot of shade, not enough to fit inside of. That was probably because there were two suns in the sky. One was fairly distant though so they weren't frying to their bones yet. Xander stared at the device to dial it. He knew what they were. He had learned when he was younger about the Supposed Ones and their rings. A faint memory came back and he drew in the dirt. "If I forget, this is home, the main gate." He nodded at that. Xander got up and went to dial it. The wormhole blew into life.
"Clay said they have a shield."
"Then I hope someone over there is listening." Xander broadcast that way, hoping to find a mind he could touch. And he did. "An ascended." He broadcast at them and shut it down to conserve power and because he was now dizzy as hell. He sat back down and they waited. Nothing and it was starting to get slightly darker. Still no shadows. "She really screwed up this time."
"Yeah, well, she's a woman. She's definitely Clay's sort of woman."
"She might even make me swear off women." He looked at his buddy. "Let me.... Do something dumb."
"Don't you dare."
"Your people taught me."
"Good point but still!"
Xander stared at him. Then he let himself drop. He moved into his mind and out of his mind and body, toward the feeling of other beings. That wormhole had left a tangible, ethereal connection and he traveled that way, finding the ascended arguing with people. He asked politely then invaded his mind. "Hi," he told the ones watching. "General Landry, this is Xander Harris, from Sunnydale. John's half-brother.
"We had a small issue with Miss Rosenburg, who sent us wherever we're at. Which was why I just called this partially ascended guy." Landry was choking. "I'm kinda injured and I really need to go kill me a former best friend. Especially since it looks like I may be losing an eye from the damage. Can we perhaps come home now?"
"This is entirely unorthodox!"
Xander stared at him. "Fine. Let me call someone higher up who can authorize it."
"You will not and get out of his body."
Xander floated out and manifested. "Better?" he asked dryly. "So, did witnessing what the Initiative did make you happy or something?"
"That's not really a way to get help," Daniel complained.
Xander looked at him. "Do I look happy and cheerful?" He used Daniel's hand that he grabbed to dial the phone. Including a nine to get out because most systems you had to. "Dawn, me. She did something. We're trapped somewhere with a gate. I'm injured, I'm with Roque, tell Clay not to worry. Tell John not to kill her without me, and please come get me."
"Where's Buffy?" she demanded.
"No clue. I'm partially possessing someone. Out of my body, going out of my mind. No shadows there. Hel said she was pulling hellmouth energy."
"Yeah, there was a huge explosion!" she complained. "I'll tell Pepper. It's a bad day around here too."
"If it was her, get me back and I'll solve it." Landry hung up. "That was rude."
"Who the hell are you?" he demanded coldly.
"Alexander. Guardian of the Villages for the true Asgard." Landry snorted. "No, the little aliens? We knew about the Supposed Ones. We even liked them most of the time. But huge ass issue? I can call my dad down to come bother the piss outta you. After all, he is Loki." Loki appeared, staring at him. "Willow."
"She'll pay," he vowed.
"Get me back so I can make sure of it and get something to kill the fucking pain in my eye. Please," he ground out. He hated asking his father for anything. Even in emergencies. It usually came back to bite him on the ass.
"I'll do what I can. I do have some pull." He studied him. "Go back to your body before you wear yourself out, Alexander." He let Daniel go and snapped back. He sighed. "Well, that's charming of her." He called someone. "It's Nathaniel, put me through now." The phone was switched over.
"Nat?" a male voice a few in the room recognized asked.
"Yes, it's me. Landry is preventing us from saving someone."
"Why do you know General Landry?"
Loki snapped his fingers, bringing him there. "Because I'm not just him." The vice president stared at him. He smiled and kissed him. "Miss Rosenburg sent my son and my son's almost spouse there."
"Who are you really then?" he asked.
"Loki." He smirked. "My son is Alexander."
"That figures if we're talking about Harris." Loki nodded. "Anything else I should know?"
"He's injured," Daniel said. "His left eye looks like pulp."
"Landry, retrieve them."
The vice president glared. "Now!" Landry backed off. "Walter, dial that address from wherever again and get my people back please."
"Yes, sir," he said, doing so. He dialed it again. "SG-1 can go get them, sir?"
"Go," he told Daniel and Cam, who rushed off. "Bring a damn doctor too."
"Willow," Loki told him.
"She's going to get her ass kicked."
"My son assured me he'd be helping." The doctor ran past and he moved closer. "I am not near you for any reason I have not stated," he said, staring into his eyes.
The vice president smiled. "That's good to know. Do you and your son get along?"
"No, not in many years. I tried to arrange those two into a marriage and they didn't like it. Now Roque is apparently married to his choice and my son is miserable. Which I should cure." They shared a look and watched the two immortals be walked through. "Dear Odin, that's worse than it looked." He walked down to touch his son's damaged cheek. "Son?"
"Dad, ow. Pain killers," he muttered. "Get Coulson to go lock her up so I can kill her?"
"Gladly." He stared at the doctors. "Do take care of my son."
"Does he have any healing gifts?"
"Mermaid taint means I heal a bit faster," Xander mumbled, then passed out.
"His blood's contaminated with a few things he got from a burial chamber he fell into," Roque said, leaning on Cam's shoulder. "If he doesn't kill her, I'm going to do it and do it nice and damn slow."
"I'm sure it will be pleasant to watch," Loki said dryly. "I'll tell your spouse?"
"No, he'll flip out on someone." They went to the infirmary. "Are you going to be able to save his eye?" he asked the doctor working on it.
"That depends on how much damage the debris did. If I take it out would he grow a new one?"
"He doesn't heal that way. Neither of us do."
"Pity. This is going to suck a lot for him. There's a lot of damage. Who has his medical power of attorney?"
"The bitch that did it to us," Roque said bluntly. "Or Dawn Summers. She's interning under Stark's main assistant, Pepper Potts."
"I'll see if we can reach them. For now, he needs treatment for the burns, the same as you do, and the eye. We've sedated him." Roque nodded. "Should we contact anyone for you?"
"Fury can email them."
"All right." She moved to look up the number for Stark Enterprises. Then she patted him down for a cellphone, finding it. "There we are. Coulson/Dawn?"
"He's an agent, works with Fury."
"That may work then." She called it from the desk phone. "This is Doctor Carolyn Lam. I need to speak to a Dawn Summers or whoever her legal guardian is if she's underage due to a medical matter with a Mr. Harris please." She listened. "He said she's in Egypt?"
"Who knows with Stark," he admitted. He took the phone. "Coulson? No, pussbag, put the fucking uptight nerd on or I'm going to come over there and rip out your goddamn throat with my damn teeth!" Coulson was handed the phone. "Coulson, Roque. We're with Doctor Lam... Yes, Willow. Xander's in pretty bad shape." He handed the phone over. "Him." He sat down and let the nurses fuss over the burns. "The scar's ancient," he said quietly.
"It's a bit enflamed. This creme should bring that down, sir."
He smiled. "You're nicer than my spouse is going to be."
The doctor looked at him. "He said he's sure of that." She went over the problems she was looking at and he said they'd be there in a few minutes. She wasn't sure how but.... "Thank you." She hung up and went back to picking out debris. The boy was starting to come around so she upped the sedative. The other was staring at her but that was normal for friends and teammates. "Are you military?"
"I was army. I was on Colonel Clay's team." She stared at him, mouth slightly open. "I'm the one who hooked them up with Xander helping them with all that but I didn't reup."
She nodded. "He mentioned you, Captain."
He shrugged. "It happens and we worked it out."
"Should we send an email up there?"
"He'll flip the fuck out and storm the infirmary to kick my ass for being hurt."
She smiled. "That's a good, telling reaction." He nodded he knew that. She got back to work on Xander. Someone stomped in, General O'Neill. "Sir."
"Doctor. How in the hell?" he demanded, spotting Roque.
"Willow. Lost. Her. Mind."
"That's good to know. Dawn's on her way down with Coulson and Potts supporting her." He looked and winced. "Any chance, Doc?"
"Not sure yet. Give me a few more to pick out debris."
"And wood and some glass...." she said, plucking out some of that. "It looks like he was in a bomb blast."
"It probably was," Dawn agreed as she walked in. She went pale and turned around. "Okay, that's bad and I'll never be a doctor because it kinda looks gross." Pepper petted her on the shoulder. She squeezed her eyes shut then turned back around. "All right, how bad and can we save it?" She made herself look at Xander's injury.
"Give me ten minutes. Does he have any allergies?"
"Three." She wrote down what she knew. She also called someone. "Is she dead yet? Xander's going to want to kill her dumb butt." She listened. "Please do. Any word on Buffy?" She nodded. "That may help, yeah. Thanks." She looked. "Oh, his dad's here." She hung up. "Loki."
"Dawn." He smirked. "You're adorable."
"Yay me." She looked at the doctor again. "He tried to marry these two off and it was a bad decision."
"Sometimes parents don't know best," she agreed. After a few more minutes of cleaning and looking at the eye under a magnifying glass she shook her head. "No, I can't."
Dawn swallowed. "Then you do what you have to do, Doctor Lam," she said quietly and calmly. "And we'll kick her ass into hell if we must." She smiled and nodded, taking him to surgery to clean that up. "Are we moving him?" she asked Pepper. "I know you said this was a super eyes-only base when she called."
"Probably. I can arrange that once the doctor releases them," Pepper said calmly. "It looks a lot worse than it is, Dawn. He can function pretty well with one eye."
"Yeah but I'm still going to give Willow hell. Mom would want to spank her."
"Your mother doesn't need that stress. We can tell her later, together." Dawn nodded, smiling at her and getting a hug. "It'll be okay."
"Where did he go?" Lam shouted.
"Atlantis," Loki said, looking up. "He was having a vision about his half-brother Jonathan."
"I can't shadow shift the same way," Roque admitted. He was not going to let them get hold of his gifts. They might want to keep him and that would complicate his life with Clay. Besides, if he was with John, Xander was highly protected. John was nearly as badass as he was.
"He showed up before," Dawn quipped. "Because John's mom had her assistant's boyfriend make anti-wraith germs." Roque smirked at her. "They said it right in front of me. Of course I heard."
Doctor Lam came out. "Doctor Keller can finish it easily enough. She's a trauma surgeon so she might be more delicate than I can be."
Pepper smiled. "Special people often give you headaches."
"Quite," she agreed. She checked Roque over. "You could be good to go."
"I'll get him to a civilian hospital then. Thank you for helping, Doctor. And you as well, General. And sir," she said, spotting the vice president. She shook his hand. "Thank you."
"You're quite welcome. I want a report on who gets her butt and how they're going to kill her."
"I believe Agent Fury was on his way to find her with most of SHIELD's agents behind him."
"Good!" Pepper smiled back. "Captain?" Roque looked over. "Go with the nice ladies and be less scary please."
"Yes, sir." He followed them. "Thank you, nurses. Better than the usual ones I've seen." They all smiled. "He'd say the same." He nodded at the general, who gave him a pointed look. "No, please don't tell them."
"I won't then." They left. "Today." Doctor Lam laughed. "They'll want a report on the injuries." She nodded, sitting down to work on that for him. The vice president went to chew on Landry some more.
John looked up as someone fell out of a hallway shadow onto him. "Shit, Xander! Medical!" People came running. "You smell like antiseptic. Who was operating on you?" he demanded. Keller came jogging out. "Doc."
"What the hell?"
"My half-brother. He shifted up. He smells like he was in surgery."
"Let's get him to the medical bay," she ordered. "Ronon, carry him for me please?" He nodded, lifting him and taking him after her. "We'll see what I can do about that really bad eye injury. Give me ten to look him over," she told Sheppard. "You swear out here." He nodded, catching his temper before following. That way he wasn't hovering.
Xander woke up with a groan, and someone caught his hand. "Don't touch, it's bandaged," Jensen said quietly. Xander blinked at him then turned pale. "Bucket," he said, handing it over. Xander puked a bit then laid back down with another moan. "Doc, he's up."
"I heard." She walked over. "That's a common thing after surgery."
"Can I still kill the bitch?" he mumbled.
"Which bitch?" Jensen asked.
"Willow. Is Roque okay?"
"She... Well, hell. We'll figure it out, Xander. He's pretty indestructible, the same as you are." Xander let out a bitter laugh. "Shh." He hugged him, even if the boy did push at him. "I know, but you need one."
Xander nodded. "I need shot. It'd hurt less."
She stopped him from touching his eye again. "Don't, please. You'll only cause more damage." Xander stared at her. "It was already half gone when you appeared up here however you did that."
"I was having a vision about John."
"You mumbled that at me and I wrote it down for him," she said with a weak smile. "You're his half-brother?" Xander nodded. "Same mother, right?" He nodded again. "She hasn't shown up yet."
"She's not fond of hospitals."
"That's fine." She stroked over his hand. "Your eye was beyond saving." Xander slumped but nodded. "You have some interesting second degree sunburns. Can you tell me what happened?" He went over it all for her. She sighed. "Then you were on base and Doctor Lam has to be complaining. I'll write her an email and tell her how you did."
"I thought I heard Dawn."
"I'll write her," Jensen promised. "Just rest for now, Xander. Quit fighting the medicine to make you sleep." He nodded and drifted off again. John walked in and Jensen made 'quiet' noises.
John stroked over Xander's hair. "You're all right. You're safe and I'll protect you." Xander blinked at him. "I know. We'll deal with it." Xander nodded and drifted off again. John hopped up beside Jensen. "Willow's magic addiction went postal. She blew up half the town."
Jensen stared at him. "Who has her?"
"Fury. From the email I got from O'Neill for him, he's living up to his name."
"Good!" Xander mumbled something. "I know you want to kill her first."
"He might let him. For right now, let's get him healthy so he can shift home, Doctor Keller." She nodded. "They also want a report." She nodded at that. "The one they got from Roque made him hellishly pissed since he was taking out a terrorist against orders."
"Sounds like him, yeah," Jensen admitted. "With a knife?"
"He's good at it too," Jensen quipped. "You should tell Clay that."
"I like my little brother, Jensen. I always have." They shared a look. Then he went back to his office to rant at the Gods about this not being fair to Xander.
Jensen kept watch for now. Xander would stay asleep longer if he had someone there he trusted.
Nick Fury looked at the young woman tied to the chair. She was still mouthy. "Willow Rosenburg, you killed over seven hundred people with your reckless actions and endangered thousands of others."
"I did not!"
"You did so," he said calmly. "You also displaced and nearly killed your supposed best friends." She flinched at that. "Because of you, Mr. Harris has lost an eye. Miss Summers was nearly killed in Rome." She looked down. "Do you have anything you want to say for yourself before we start deliberating about how we're going to kill you?"
She stared at him. "I didn't do it on purpose. They were treating me like I was some criminal."
"If you weren't then you are now," he assured her dryly. "There's been offers from almost every single person we work with in SHIELD plus a few other countries who'd like to talk to you." He stared at her. "You are the single biggest threat to humanity I have ever seen and yet you don't look like an evil villain out to destroy or rule the world." She gasped, shaking her head. "Yes, you. You killed seven hundred people," he told her.
"No, I didn't. I can..."
"Do jack shit," he assured her. "We made sure any powers you may have are blocked, young lady. And if I ever meet your parents, they're getting an earful over how they didn't raise you making you be this fucking dumb." He leaned forward. "Do you even care that you nearly killed them both?"
"He'll have to retire now and he's safer."
"Plenty of us do it with one eye," he said dryly, pointing at his own patch. She whimpered. "He's going to be more maimed than I am. Miss Summers needs the hospital for another day and a half thanks to what jumped her in Rome." Willow tried to slumped own. "I'd hope that you were at least sorry but I doubt it." He stood up. "Take her back to her cell." The guards brought her back and let her sob about her stupidity. He went to talk to others. "Miss Potts," he said dryly, finding her in his seat.
"It needs padding."
"It does but I'd be too comfortable to get up and kick butt," he admitted with a smirk. "More problems?"
"Dawn needed to know if you needed her to bind Willow's powers."
"No, I'm going to kill her stupid ass. Even if someone can find a use for her, I doubt it'd be safe."
"She's an addict."
"I realize that. I remember when she first found magic. We were watching back then too." Pepper gave him a slight smile. "Any word on them?"
"Miss Summers is back stateside in New York in a hospital. She'll get out tomorrow probably and go to LA to be with her mother. Who I still need to tell if Dawn hasn't. Dawn's been crying non-stop. I can't find Tara."
"She's with Coulson. She got knocked down pretty hard and he respects her. He's trying to recruit her because she's a lot like him, only nicer."
"That's good. It can help Dawn." She smiled. "Xander?"
"With his half-brother at the moment."
"That's good. At least it'll be someone supportive."
He nodded. "Probably. Any other news I need to hear?"
"The terrorist Roque was working on is dead. The flash that took Roque killed him."
"Even better news!" She smiled and let him have his chair. "If you ever want to switch, I wouldn't mind an executive assistant like you."
"You couldn't drive me nearly as insane as Tony does." She smiled and left, being sent down to talk to Dawn and get her calmed down. "Let's go see your mother."
She nodded, taking her with her. They appeared in Joyce's room, startling her. Stark had found out how to build the beaming machine and he adored that device. He had put it on the Stark Enterprises satellite. "Mommy," she whispered, hugging her.
Pepper sat down. "There's been an incident in Sunnydale."
Joyce hugged her younger daughter. "Buffy?"
"She's back in the US, she'll be out of the hospital in New York tomorrow. Xander should be back soon. He sent himself out of harm's way or he was banished out of harms' way. No one's entirely certain."
"What happened?" Joyce asked.
Dawn pulled her head up. "Willow lost it."
Joyce hugged her as hard as she could. "I'm glad you weren't there, Dawn." Dawn sniffled and cried on her shoulder. "Tell me what I need to hear today so I don't flinch when I see them, Miss Potts." She smiled and laid it all out for her. Joyce smiled and Pepper left her alone with her little girl. "I'm glad she can be here for you when I can't."
Dawn looked at her. "You're still here for me and I know that but you don't need all the stress right now. Pepper does really good teaching me how not be an easy slut too."
"Good! I'd hate to spank you for that." A nurse walked in. Dawn got a scowl. "Her sister got hurt and is in the hospital."
"I'm sorry to hear that. Bad?"
"It was, she'll be out tomorrow." The nurse nodded, making a note about her treatment overnight. She went out and told the other nurses that Dawn was being emotional and crying on her mother but there was a reason. They got Joyce extra pudding that night so they could share it. When the nice Miss Potts came back they smiled and let her take Dawn for now. Joyce got out of bed and wandered down to the gift shop to get some real chocolate. They let her, she clearly needed it.
Clay held the boy down. "Xander!" he snapped, waking him up. "Let the nurse go. You're affecting them with your powers." Xander gasped, panting hard. "Let. Her. Go." Cougar helped her down off the ceiling before Xander dropped her. Xander moaned and went limp. Clay let Xander go slowly. "What was that, Jensen?"
"Vision. With powers coming out to fight what he saw I think." He wiped Xander's face off, watching him drift off again. "I'm sure he'd be really sorry," he told the nurse.
She smiled. "He was when I startled him earlier and he flinched. It's all right. It's something that happens now and then. You should've seen what happened when Doctor McKay got hit with an ascension machine." She checked him over. "He's okay." She went to make a note. She came back a minute later. "Do all visions do that?"
"No, usually it's like a headache inducing movie preview that only you see as it rips your brain apart," Jensen said. The nurse smiled. Jensen stroked over Xander's head, making him moan. "Just rest, Xander. We're here guarding you."
"Can we find what he saw?" Clay asked.
Jensen nodded. He gave Xander a harder pet, making him moan and move to his right side. "Xander?" Xander blinked at him. "What was the vision?"
"An attack only they had more people. Last time there weren't any of you. Now they do. And others." He drifted off again when the nurse upped his medicine.
She smiled at them. "It can wait, guys. Really. It sounds like the one he had during surgery too." She noted that down and it was better for her infirmary.
Clay looked up when his comm earpiece went off. "This is Clay," he answered, touching it. He listened, grimacing. "I can do that. Send someone to watch the kid and we'll be ready in ten." He hung up. "SGA-1 got taken hostage."
Jensen leaned down next to his ear. "I'll be back in a while, after I go save John," he whispered. "I'll have someone I trust come watch over you." Xander mumbled something. "Sure, you still get to kill Willow when they let you wake up again, Xander." He left, calling someone to see if they could patient-sit. He passed Cadman, earning a smile for his hug. "You really busy?"
"Radek sent me to babysit."
"Thanks, Laura." He jogged to catch up to the others. "How technical are the villagers?" he called.
"Clubs, minor handmade things," Pooch said.
"Right, I'll pack extra ammo," Jensen quipped, doing just that. They wouldn't need clothes or his computers but they'd need weapons. A lot of weapons. And maybe some explosives. They had missed explosives.
Joyce looked at her daughter. She had just paused in the doorway to her hospital room. Buffy's hair was now chin length to help hide the new layers on one side where the first hospital had to trim it to stitch her scalp for her. She looked exhausted. Joyce pulled her down to cuddle her. "Oh, Buffy," she whispered.
"I didn't even realize she was pulling power, Mom," she whispered back. "Xander realized and yelled to warn but I don't know where he is. Or Tara."
"Tara's with us," Dawn said as she came in with two cups of cocoa and a glass of iced tea for their mother. She hugged her. "I worried so much."
"Is Tara all right?"
"She was knocked out. The city's not exactly healthy."
"Xander?" Buffy begged.
"Injured, with his half-brother in their infirmary. She sent him totally off the earth for a bit." She cuddled her. "Xander has some burns and he's now missing an eye."
Buffy choked back a sob. "How could she?" she asked.
"Addicts do stupid thing," Joyce reminded her. "Look at the ones on drugs. It's not much different, but we'll help him all we can." Dawn nodded. "When does he get out and come home?"
"Within days they think." She stroked over Buffy's head, watching her flinch. "It'll be okay. Agent Fury has Willow." Buffy swallowed but nodded. "He's so very totally pissed at her."
"Me too," Buffy admitted. "I'm so mad and I can't let it go. Not after.... that."
Her mother hugged her. "We'll do what we can, girls." Buffy nodded, settling in against her shoulder. "Though I like your hair." Buffy gave her a weak smile. Dawn handed over a crazy straw for her cocoa so she wouldn't have to let go to drink it. Joyce smiled. Dawn settled into a chair on the other side so she could see them both. "Dawn, what are you doing?"
"I'm learning a lot about office stuff. Including that some guards need to learn how to count." Her mother stared at her. "One thinks I'm cute but he's twenty-six and I said you'd rip his brain out and use it to add to yours. Or Buffy's so she's smarter." Buffy snorted, shaking her head, taking a sip of her cocoa. "Pepper heard me the last time and gave the guard a look like he should run since he did. All the way to Rhodey, who gave him a good, long lecture about finding a deep hole."
"Good. I'm glad they're protective of you."
"Pepper even helps me shop, Mom. She's helped me find some really tasteful things for work and school that're still cute."
"Even better." She smiled, squeezing Dawn's hand while cuddling Buffy. "Is there any news on Rupert?"
"He's in Sunnydale trying to rebuild some things," Dawn admitted. "Like the store again." She pulled out her phone, noticing the missed text message. She turned up her ringer again and got into that one, answering it back. It was only two minutes and she apologized about having it off in the hospital. She called Rupert, putting it on the speaker setting. It helped Buffy and Joyce feel better. Pepper showed up to gather her a few hours later, smiling at them.
"Thank you," Joyce said quietly.
"If I was a mother, I'd worry all the time. Dawn has good sense. She's making sure you don't have to worry too much about her."
"I'm happy with her conduct as long as I'd hear anything bad."
"Of course. If she needs spanked, you'll hear second." Joyce beamed at her. "She's been very helpful actually. I've needed an assistant. She's saved me from going after Tony with my claws a few times too."
"He's so fired," Pepper assured her with a smile. "He was as soon as I heard." She gently woke Dawn up and smiled at her. "Let's go for the night. You can come back Sunday since she's got a treatment on Saturday." Dawn hugged her mother and sister then followed her out. "It could've been much worse, Dawn. Quit stressing out. No one's going to be fighting anything anytime soon." She nodded, taking her arm to walk with her. "It'll be okay. Your mom's doing great. Your sister's healed well. Xander's going to be fine soon too."
"I hope. Because if not, I'm fighting my urge to kick butt."
"It'll be okay," she promised. She got her into the car and up the coast to the apartment she had above Pepper's garage.
Xander woke with a gasp, staring at the room. "What the hell is that?" he mumbled, looking around. He got up, holding his eye. Something was seriously wrong. He knew what it was because it was way too familiar to him. He stumbled out of the infirmary and to a transporter, hoping the city would send him where he needed to be. His axe came back to his hand as he came off the transporter and he lunged into the battle, attacking those not wearing BDU's.
He moved Cougar behind him as he swung on someone, making them scream and run. Xander growled and followed. The gateroom was full of fighting people until he lunged in and started to beat him again. The others stared but Xander wiped out a good seven before they attacked him. Xander's snarl sounded more happy as he went after those trying to attack him.
"Xander!" John shouted. "Back down!"
"Evil shits," Xander growled. He went after the foreign dragons helping and the other two types of shape changers. They were falling back but the soldiers were following his lead.
"Alexander," John shouted again. The dragons stared and backed away in fear. The two changers growled and lunged but Xander gutted one and then ducked the other's swing and backswung to take his spine out. He moved forward. The dragons ran off. The others followed. John came down to keep him from following across the gateway. "No." Xander stared at him, sniffing him. He calmed himself. "Thank you," he said quietly. "You protected what is important to me very well." He moved closer. He kissed him on the head. "Go back to the infirmary bed."
"Bad, evil shits," he said bluntly, looking around.
"We got most of them and the guys are getting the rest." He handed him to Jensen. "Please put my little brother back in bed."
"Yes, sir." He walked Xander off, babbling at him to ground him back to reality.
John took a deep breath. The rest of the problems were dragged in and tossed back. "Did we miss any?"
"Two are locked in a transporter," Chuck replied. "I'm waiting on a team to gather them. They are some of the changers."
Cougar and Evan growled, heading to grab them. Cougar changed. Evan stayed human. They came off trying to fight and realized it was a very bad idea when Clay joined in with Pooch and Evan's team. They submitted and got thrown back across the gateway too and it was shut down. John nodded at them. Clay nodded back. "Are we going after them?"
"The Genii are problems," John admitted. "I'd like to some days." Clay nodded. "I'm usually inclined to let them kill each other."
"We'll sit guard on the gate while people clean up and calm down," Clay offered more quietly.
"Thank you." He ordered that and calmed himself down on a pier before going to the infirmary. Jensen had Xander's axe, cleaning it off for him. John leaned down next to Xander's ear. "Next time, let me do more fighting, okay?" Xander pulled him down to cuddle. "I like you too, Xander." He let himself be cuddled and calmed down during it. Xander purred. "No, not the hyena. I want my brother back." Xander chuffed but licked him on the temple before fading back to the human boy. Xander blinked at him. "How's your head?"
"Better or worse?"
"Head better. Eye aches like shit. Back hurts."
"From the battle?" He nodded. "Did you wrench it or get hurt?"
"I think hurt but I'll be okay."
"I'm sure you will. We'll make sure of it. Let Jensen finish cleaning your axe."
Xander pouted, taking it back. "Only my mate should and you're not mine."
Jensen kissed him. "You're sweet enough to be mine." He watched him fall back asleep, still pinning John. He pointed and John rolled his eyes but got comfortable. Evan walked in, staring. Jensen grinned. "Xander pulled him down to purr at him."
"Aww. It's nice when brothers are close." He hugged Xander, getting one back. "Thank you."
"'Elcome," he mumbled. "No more bad guys or I'll sic Mom on 'em."
"I'm sure you will and it'll be epic." He helped John get free, weathering the pout. "Want Jensen to cuddle?"
"No, he's not mine."
"I can still cuddle since I don't have a mate either," Jensen promised, moving so Xander could cuddle him. Xander relaxed back into sleep again. John smiled and left them alone with Evan. The doctor came in. "He's back asleep," he mouthed.
She stared then shook her head. "I'm glad it's only cuddling."
"Some day that'll be removed," Jensen pointed out.
"Yup, but it's not today."
He shrugged. "I doubt Xander would want me to bend over for him."
"Good. We'd miss you when the shrink tries something." She went to get some supplies and start the mandatory checking over.
Jensen shrugged, hugging him. A few of the Marines walked in. "He's asleep," he said quietly. They smiled. "He needs it to stay asleep."
"Good of you, Jensen. He's a nice guy. Even if he did just growl at people."
"Does he change?" another of the Marines asked.
"No. He was possessed by a hyena a few years back though."
They just nodded. This was Pegasus, possession wasn't that strange. The nurses got them cleaned up. When the shrink came in they explained it was helping keep him asleep from where he had lost his temper, not Jensen stating a preference.
John walked into Dr. Heightmeyer's office, staring at her. "Xander's not military."
"Corporal Jensen is."
"He's just keeping watch over Xander. Xander won't stay sedated without someone he trusts there. They're not together."
"How can you be sure?"
"Because I know Xander. He told Jensen he couldn't clean his battle axe because he wasn't his." She slumped. "Your suspicion is dangerous. Personally, we don't care who you fuck out here as long as it's consensual." She shuddered, looking down. "If you do, then we can switch you out. It can't be good for us to have someone watching us like we're evil." She slumped so he walked out. He did write O'Neill a memo about her needing some time off. And why.
Doctor Keller finally let Xander out of her care, staring at him. "A few more scars," she said, staring at his face. "Most of the burns are down to peeling. Your eye will need to heal for another three weeks before you think about a glass one." He nodded, hugging her. "Be safer, Xander. The world needs more guys like you, not less."
"It wasn't my choice to do it this time."
"I know. You muttered about her most of the time you were up here." She pinched his injured cheek with a smile. "It'll be okay but take some time to train without it." He nodded. "Say bye to John and everyone then do whatever."
Xander turned to Jensen, getting a hug and a whispered comment, making him grin. Clay and Cougar shook his hand. Pooch gave him a manly, backslapping hug. John just hugged him. "I'll see you soon, Xander. You be safer and remember to take the training time." He stared at him. "Or I'm telling mom." Xander shivered, shaking his head. "Go."
"Thank you, guys. I'm sorry for all the stress I caused. Can you apologize to Landry too?" They nodded and he faded into a shadow, going home for a few minutes. He walked into Valhalla, reporting to Odin. "Am I in Sunnydale still? If there's anything left."
"There's some left." He stared at him. "You look good in the patch."
Xander gave him a dirty look. "Not like it was my intention."
"It was for a better reason than me losing mine, grandson. Are you all right?"
"I feel like shit," he admitted. "My head still hurts." He touched the patch over the bandage then put his hand back down. "I keep trying to rub it to make it feel better."
"I did for many months." He smiled. "You get used to it."
"I need training."
"You do and you'll get it." Odin smirked. "Your father is fussing."
"Father helped me get back to earth."
"He told us. He threw a fit, grandson. Take him and go?"
"Of course, All Father. Thank you." He left, going to be pounced by his father. "I'm okay."
"I heard what you said." He stared at him. "We'll see one of the healers." He walked him off to do that. The healer moved the injury closer to being fully healed. It was a bad one and wouldn't be fully healed for a while.
They let Xander go to another realm to do some light training and catch his balance. He needed that to make sure he didn't die before he could really retrain himself. After a few days of that, they sent Xander to earth, which was about the same time he would have appeared if he had went right there. He nodded at Fury. "Hey, we match."
Fury smirked. "She's still in prison until we decide how to kill her."
"I really want to beat her to death," he admitted quietly. "Buffy?"
"With your uncle and Coulson."
Xander nodded. "Sunnydale?"
"Your construction job has a lot of work."
"Figures. Do you need me?"
"No. We've already agreed to deal with her."
"Thank you. Let me know?"
"Definitely. Go check on Joyce." He nodded and faded out. Fury relaxed. Xander felt more powerful now. Something had clearly happened during that.
Xander showed up that night next to his uncle, sitting down in a free chair and getting dealt into the card game by Coulson. He stole some of his uncle's M&M's for betting.
Thor stared at him. "Are you better?"
"They moved it forward again." He looked up. "I get to retrain a lot of skills."
Thor nodded. "That's wise. Heimdall could help."
"I didn't see him when I was up there." He leaned on the table, checking his cards. "Is Tara all right?"
"She's much like our women," Thor said with a smirk.
"You hurt or upset Tara and I'm going to stick my axe up your ass, Uncle. Then spin it like a rotary drill."
"I know. You are overprotective. It is who you are." He patted him on the shoulder. "The younger one cried on me."
"I love Dawn like a sister too." He got back to his hand. "Do I have an apartment still, Coulson?"
"No. Anya's in New York before you can ask."
"I figured she was somewhere else. No one's asked me for sex." He looked at him. "Roque?"
"Just had some mild burns. He got healed and sent home. Landry is pissed off but he realizes you were injured."
Xander nodded. "I'm not sure I trust him anyway since he was against us getting any help, even with the VP there ordering it."
"Fury heard and let the President throw his fit for him." Xander grinned. "The team?"
"Good. Jensen spent a lot of time with me so I wouldn't react out of nightmares. Apparently I pinned one of the nurses to the ceiling during a vision."
"That was sweet of them." He patted him on the hand. "It'll be okay, Xander."
"Yeah, maybe. I'm pretty sure it'll be harder than ever to get dates."
"Perhaps but that would mean they're shallow and not worthy of you," Thor told him.
"Well, yeah, but most of my girls really think evil things are good."
"You need a good mate."
"Yeah, I do." Thor smiled. "John's planting some of Hera's things."
"Excellent." He handed him a few more M&M's. "I know not to play with you, nephew. You tend to win somehow." He ate a few of his M&M's. "I can see why you like these." Xander grinned. The girls came in and pounced Xander to hug him. "It's nice to see good women around him."
Dawn snorted, looking at him. "If he likes bad girls that much maybe his family should've taught him better." Xander spanked her. "Ow!" she joked, hugging him again. "I'm glad you're okay."
"So am I." Tara smiled. "Are we going home soon?"
"Tomorrow. You need to rest tonight." He nodded. The ladies let him win that hand and bring his M&M's with him. They could curl up with him tonight.
Coulson smiled. "It's nice that he has girls who care about him."
"It is. I wonder if I can get Tara up to be a mead server." He didn't know why the agents were staring at him until a shield on a wall hit him over the head. "Ow!" he complained, rubbing his head. "She's scarily starting to remind me of my sisters." He glared up the hallway but the shield floated up again and got him again. "Ow! Wench, stop it!"
"Wasn't me," Dawn quipped loudly. "I'm sure they're sorry they messed up your man mane."
Thor moaned. "Women do vex me."
"They do normal men too," one of the agents quipped. Thor trudged to his room. The agents shared a smirk and got back to their game.
Xander showed up for the trial. He listened. He tried to understand. He didn't but he was trying, like he was trying to keep his temper. He got up at one point and walked out shaking his head. He went to the bathroom to splash water on his face then went back in there.
"Mr. Harris, we called you as a witness for your statement," the judge announced. "Are you feeling all right?"
"I'm fine," he said, walking up there. He stared at her then he took off the bandages he had kept on under his patch. He didn't want to look at his face. He was sure she didn't want to. He put the patch on the judges' table and then the bandages, looking at her. She gasped, staring at the hole and the scar tissue. "You did this because you got mad that I told you to butt out of something that was none of your business."
He held up a hand, moving closer, making sure she saw the damage. "You caught me planting flowers for Tara, flowers special to Hera and good luck. When I told you to butt out because it didn't concern you, you threw a hissy. And when your hissy got dangerous, we confined you. Because we sure as hell didn't want another incident due to your addiction issues." He made her look at him. "You caused this damage, a whole lot of damage to me and others, because you are spoiled." She started to cry.
"You killed seven hundred and three people in your addiction hissy fit, Willow. Over some pretty, nice, special, good omen flowers being planted." He let her chin go. "I hope like hell that they find somewhere good for you to serve the rest of your life. Because when I woke up, wherever in the universe you had sent me, I would've killed you. You nearly killed Buffy shifting her. Then she got attacked. She nearly died. I nearly died.
"If I hadn't been able to get someone higher up for the general to be beaten over the head by, I would have died there. You nearly killed your best friends over *flowers*." He stared at her. "There is nothing you can do to make up for all this, Willow. Your shit does stink, no matter what your parents told you. You're an addict and the worst kind. You're worse than the drunk driver who plows into a family and kills them all. Hell, you did something worse than homicidal drug lords who have destroyed *countries*. All because of some flowers."
He stared at her. "I'm not sure if they'd let me but if they can't find a place for you, and the sentence is death, there's every chance I'll be there. I vowed after Jesse and Angel that she would not have to take out one of us if we ever got turned. You've turned into an evil that not even Satan wants." He walked back to the table. "I think if she could be blocked from using her skills, she has useful skills that could help someone like my uncle or other heros. I worry about her powers and those things that addicted her. I worry that she'll do it again, but I also know that the new group you're putting together can learn from her mistakes and they need someone to help them research."
He swallowed. "I know how much damage she's done. I saw it in graphic detail due to a vision when I was down." The judge nodded. "I still want to kill her. I can't even look at myself in a mirror anymore. I might never be able to." She burst out crying. He closed his eyes and then opened them, looking at him. "She's a good lesson that others need to learn and she can be useful if you let her."
"Do you really think she can remake herself?" Nick Fury asked from beside the judge.
Xander shrugged. "I think that's up to her to renounce her problems, fix that shit, and then learn how to do good again. If not, then I think she's a danger to humanity," he said honestly. "I believe that would be her choice though and while I think she might make one out of panic, if you have someone help her make an informed choice it would be hers instead of ours," he finished more quietly. "Because I don't think Sunnydale can take many more deaths at the moment."
Nick nodded. "I can agree with her having an informed choice if we give her one. Do you believe that she can reform herself?"
"I think she has to be shown how to willingly block all of her magic and then it can be enforced. Because even right now she's got control of the Sunnydale hellmouth's power." A few in the crowd gasped. "I can feel it in her. Yes, she has problems. A shitload of problems. Then again." He pointed at Tony Stark. "So did he and he made a conscious choice. I think if she's given a real choice with real knowledge she'll know. And she knows what will happen if she chooses to help and fails to find control."
Fury looked at Stark. "You've struggled for years with your alcoholism." He nodded. "Do you think this sort of addiction is harder or easier to cure?"
"Harder. She can pull up magic just by walking past something with it in it. Her addiction blinds her to when she's doing it, unlike me being able to avoid places where drinking is going on. While I agree with the kid's viewpoint, she could be invaluable, I personally don't trust her not to do it again. I saw that damage. She destroyed more people than have been killed in smaller civil wars. Not all of them are dead but they've all been destroyed."
Nick Fury nodded. "I can agree with that." He looked at the boy. "I would never ask you to do something like that."
Xander nodded. "It's still my duty."
"No, it's our duty, Xander. Yours is to protect. In this manner, the protection has to come from someone outside the group or it'll eat you." He reached over to adjust the eyepatch for him. "It needs to be a bit bigger." He smiled. "Dismissed." He nodded and left. Nick Fury looked at the crying girl and her parents. They were sitting there stony faced like Willow was a distant relative. Yeah he'd be talking to them later. He called the next witness to give a statement. That was Buffy. She looked at Willow, then burst out crying and walked off shaking her head. Dawn followed her to calm her down. Xander was already hugging her.
Dawn hugged her free side. "Mommy wouldn't have let there be a trial," she said quietly. "She would've beaten her to death already." Buffy hiccuped but nodded, pulling Dawn around to hold too.
"We'll figure it out," Xander promised. Tara walked out and he grabbed her to hug too. Buffy hugged her tightly. Tara relaxed. "You're still ours, Tara." She nodded, relaxing somewhat.
Dawn felt her phone go off and grabbed it to look at. "Crap. That can't be today." She looked at her sister.
"You go learn how to do important things for people. I'll be around later."
"I'll be in Amsterdam later," she admitted. "But I'll be back Tuesday."
"That'll work. Come see me and Mom." Dawn nodded and jogged off, grabbing Tony on the way. She held up her phone so he could see the message. He winced and nodded, following her. She got them back to the office so they could leave properly and without suspicion.
Xander looked up from his pie eating when someone sat across from him. "Hey, Cordy."
She stared at him. "You need a bigger patch."
"I can't find one and can you please quit staring? It's bad enough when little kids do it." She shrugged but handed over one. He grinned. "Thanks. I'll switch it out when I won't gross anyone out."
She smacked him on the side of the head. "Dork. Not everyone's staring at you."
The waitress came by to get her some coffee. "Please don't change the eyepatch at the table, sir. This is a dining establishment," she said quietly. "We have a bathroom in the back." She pointed and walked off.
He looked at her, eating the bite of pie on his spoon.
"Okay, fine," she sighed. "They'll get over it." He shrugged, looking down again. "Any news?"
"Not yet. Though I have heard from her parents, who are blaming me for some reason." He cut off another piece and ate it. "I told them to blow me, it was their own fault for not teaching her how not to be a junkie. If they had done a better job, she might not have been so eager to show off and gather things to let her feel necessary and powerful."
"You know, you could point out the issues that come from your parents."
"I did something in front of them and they sneered like I'm the abnormal one." He stuffed his mouth again. "It's good pie."
"Yeah, they do make good pie here." She got her usual when the waitress came back. They ate for a few minutes. "How's Buffy healing?"
"Not good. She's fully healed but it shook her some."
"It proved she was mortal. Last time she barely died and you saved her. This time you were a bit concerned about saving yourself." He nodded, stuffing his mouth again. "Are you going to be all right?"
"Some year." He shrugged. "Shit," he muttered, spotting an incoming problem. He put money on the table for the check. He caught her look and glanced in the mirror, making her grimace. "So," he sighed. "How's work?"
"That night, someone came in wailing that something had happened. It took us two days to find out what, Xander."
"You forced our daughter into things!" Mrs. Rosenburg shouted, stomping over to them. "How dare you!"
"Bitch, she damaged me because I wouldn't let her have her way about some stupid goddamn flowers. Your daughter's a spoiled bitch because you are. Maybe if you had been *home* more often instead of always off at conferences it might've made a difference. Instead, you left her alone starting when she was *six* *years* *old*. You left her alone for months on end! And then you dare tell people how to raise kids? Why does anyone listen to you?" She slapped him and he got up, staring down at her.
"You're a worthless parent. Your daughter killed over seven hundred people because I didn't want to give in to her over some *flowers*. That's all. She killed half a town over some flowers. Aren't you proud?" She tried to hit him again but he caught her hand. "Don't even." She pulled away, looking scared. "Go. Away." She stomped off to her husband's side, who was calling the cops. He looked at the waitress. "Do the cameras work?"
"Yes, sir. I can make sure any cops that show up see that as well. Are you two done?"
"No, they're not," Nick Fury said as he walked in, getting a few awed looks. "Sit, kids." They sat. Xander paid the waitress anyway. He looked at the Rosenburgs. "Anyplace else and the way you left her for months on end as a young child would've gotten you arrested. I'm shocked someone didn't. I will be making sure that everyone who reads your trashy excuses for helpful books on raising kids knows that." She burst out crying and left. He followed. An officer walked in. "They started it."
"We have a closed circuit system, Officer," the waitress said. He nodded, letting her lead him to it to view it and take a copy of the tape.
Nick Fury sat down, looking at him. "I'm not sure that we should even give her the choice."
"If you don't, Buffy will think it's her fault for years. So will Giles. Because we didn't stop her."
"I get that," he said. "I really do. But what if she chooses to try and fails?"
"Then she's got to know that she's gone," Cordelia said. "Angel said he'd do it, Xander. I know you think it's your job but he'll eat her. Him, Spike, hell Dru called and asked if she could have her."
"Dru might change her," Xander admitted. He looked at him. "If you don't, it'll weigh on them for years."
"I know." He smiled at the officer coming back from the office. "He's sorry he yelled back."
"Sir, who is her daughter?"
"She's under federal trial for that explosion upstate," Fury said. "I'm sitting on it and we're talking about the options of life and death."
The officer nodded. "They do what?"
"That's Sheila Rosenburg and her husband. They write books on how to raise kids. They keep mentioning exemptions for genius kids, which they used on their daughter. They left her alone so often she was surprised when they were home. I know this because we were best friends and I used to hide from my drunk parents there."
He nodded. "She's on trial?"
"Right now," Fury said.
"Thank you. I'll make them go somewhere else."
Xander snorted. "You can point out it's transference of guilt and denial on their parts. She's always been too special according to them. Smart so she has to do extra or take more classes. Really good in computers so she learned how to hack to get back at them. They were proud when she was asked to teach a computer class after the teacher got killed. Then our group and they said it was just a rebellion." He nodded, leaving them alone. He looked at him.
"Oz is the better hacker," Fury said.
"He's in Tibet."
"Yeah, I heard that." He sighed, leaning back, looking at him. "She's a good example but she's damn dangerous, Xander."
"I know. Since she's firmly gay, make her part of Thor's team?" Cordelia's mouth flopped open. He smirked. Then at Fury. "He definitely won't put up with shit. Women in Valhalla aren't like her. She'll teach him women's lib and he'll beat her ass if he must."
"His girlfriend would complain."
"I know. He introduced me." He leaned on the table with a sigh. "I don't know. Have someone who can do minds stare into hers?"
"That's not a bad idea. I can ask one for an evaluation." He stared at him. "If she's too dangerous...."
"Then she should be put down for the safety of everyone. Before we have another apocalypse thanks to her," he agreed quietly. "And if I have to, I will."
"No, I won't let that be on anyone's conscience."
Xander smiled sadly. "We had a best friend that was turned right after Buffy got to Sunnydale."
"Yeah," Xander sighed, pointing at Cordelia. "To save her and I hated her in those days." She moaned, shaking her head. "I should."
"No, you shouldn't. You should spend more time retraining."
"Good." He stared at him. "I'll have someone look. I have to say, the younger mouthy Summers woman was all for kicking her butt."
"So am I," Xander admitted. "But I might not stop."
"Why did she pull Roque there?"
He shrugged. "I'm guessing that even after all this time and him being...hitched now he's still my phone-a-friend."
"You need your own."
"It's going to be a long time before I can date." He took Cordelia's pie to inhale, then looked at her. "Anya took one look at me and started to cry, and left. I haven't heard from her in four days."
She growled. "That fucking bitch."
"Well, it didn't get her powers back," he sighed. He looked at Fury. "There's not a whole lot of hope of getting more than laid for a long time."
"Yeah, I felt that way for a few months too and then I moved on."
"Right now I have to find a new job because I can't measure anymore. My boss said so earlier today."
"You can work on that," he decided. Xander shrugged. "Are there other crews?"
"They all think the missing eye is too much damage to work with heavy power tools. The state wants to take my license."
"That sucks," he decided. "I don't know but you'll find something, kid."
"I know you will. You're too resourceful for anything else." Xander nodded at that. "Even if it's not perfect."
"That also means I'd have to move. Well, I have to move anyway," he said dryly.
"FEMA is stepping in."
"That could help for a bit," Xander admitted. "Plus the insurance money. I filed for that earlier and my insurance guy was moaning in pain because of my life insurance and injury policies." He leaned back again. "Right now, I have no idea."
"Your parents?" Cordelia asked. Xander shook his head. "Their insurance?"
"Them, keep up with payments?"
"Good point. No hope?"
"I asked, they let it lapse over a year ago." He yawned, covering his mouth. "Other than that, my mind's stuck in place."
"Are you guys going back?" Fury asked.
Xander looked at him. "Yeah, I saw about the upswing in violence. I also saw a picture of Captain Commando Ate My Neck."
"I'm having them recalled. Also, Landry wants to yell at you some more."
Xander stared at him. "Is that really my fault?"
"No but he's uptight. We have to keep the peace."
"Right now, someone yelling at me will make me snap and then there'll be a mess, Agent Fury. I don't know if I'd need my axe for it...."
"I'll tell O'Neill that. Are you all right otherwise?"
"At least you're honest."
"Most of the time." He sighed, leaning on his arms. "I have no idea what to do next."
"Next, you go home, go to bed," Cordelia said. "Or wherever and sleep."
"Take the night off training at home," Fury added, giving him a look.
"As soon as I do there'll be an attack," Xander shot back.
"Probably, yeah. Here or there. Neither of you are ready to handle things yet." He stared at the boy, who only shrugged. "I've got a whole agency full of people who say they're bored. I think we can have some of them go patrol. I can even ask your uncle to go help." Xander quirked up a brow but winced and used the other side. Fury smirked. "Go rest, kids." Xander and Cordelia both moaned, holding their heads. "In unison? That's a gift," he said dryly.
Cordelia came out first, squinting at Xander. "The old guy? He's an ass but you can't destroy him."
Xander blinked at her, wiping away the tears. "Fury, FEMA's going to pull shit on Wolfram and Hart's orders." He looked at him. "I'm going to end up in the mood to pull out weapons. I probably will when the insurance agents are told not to pay out."
"FEMA is run by other people," Fury said dryly.
"Yeah, who're scared to death of you since Wolfram and Hart has him on a chain. And later on, when we have a natural disaster like a hurricane in New Orleans in a few years, they're going to screw the people over there too. It's going to take years to rebuild and I'm going to have to do something about the great evil."
"I thought that was our job," Cordelia complained.
"Apparently not since they're deciding to take advantage and screw with Sunnydale." Someone walked in and plopped down beside him. "You can buy your own pie."
"Yes I can," he said smugly. Rhodey smirked at Fury. "Stark's out hunting?" Just because they were friends and design partners at times didn't mean they told him anything. If there was a problem, he wanted to help and people were keeping things from him.
"Can I borrow a suit for two days?" Xander asked him.
"Probably not," Rhodey said smugly. "It'd take longer to train you."
Xander nodded. "Then I'll do it my way." He smirked. "If you'll talk to FEMA and the people who're trying to pressure the insurance people, which would include some demon cocksucking politicians, I'd be very happy to go destroy for you."
"Kid, what can you do?" Rhodey asked. "You're a lot like me, a sidekick."
Cordelia burst out laughing. "Have you been listening to Buffy? I mean, seriously?" Xander smirked and faded out into the shadows. "Oooh, pity. Well I guess we'll get a few weeks off dealing with the lawyers that serve hell." She smirked at the agent. "By the way, this is him being in pain. And have whatever bald guy used to run that project show up for the debriefing." Fury nodded at that. "It'll go a lot smoother and the mountain won't cave in." She smirked and got up, heading out since Xander had paid for her pie too.
"What is he hunting?" Fury asked.
"I don't know but I saw him out flying around."
"That's strange. I haven't heard of any threats." They all paused as an earthquake started and stopped pretty quickly.
"Was that the kid?"
"I don't think quakes are his area," he admitted. "Though he is the son of Loki so there's no telling what he made go screw up." He got onto the local news servers, watching for information on either source. "Stark's blowing off steam. He's doing some showing off flying with a new jet design." He kept going, wincing. "Tunnelers." He shook his head. "Their whole block went down and their weapons were there, though the LAPD somehow lost track of half of them already."
"He likes weapons?"
"Yeah, and if Chase was right, he's in pain and not real rational right now." They shared a look. Fury took the bigger eyepatch to hand to the kid when he stopped him from destroying parts of the state. Not that he'd mind but it'd bring attention to them.
Xander shadow faded after he got back from the training time off-plane, looking around the area he landed in. It was pretty and daylight here. Back in LA it was the middle of the night. He walked up to the gates. "I need to talk to someone learning here," he told the two watching werewolves on duty.
"We do not allow outsiders."
"I'm Alexander. The priests know of me." The one in charge called the pack leader to tell him that, and he asked the head priest, and the priest said to let him in. "Thank you." He walked in and up to the temple. The other weres were watching him. He smiled at one young one, patting her on the head. "You have years of running yet, pup. You should be somewhere kinder." She ran off to her father's side. Xander nodded at him, getting a smirk back. He walked up to the temple's stairs, nodding at the pack's leader and the head priest. "Soloman."
"Alexander. You are injured. Do you come to rest?"
"I could use some but no. I come to notify someone."
"One young one has a shirt that smells like you," the pack leader said.
"That's because he was the boyfriend of my former best friend. Which is why we have to talk, Pack Elder." He stared at him. "I'd never harm the temple or the pack. I've defended it in the far distant past." The were stared at him. He smiled. "There used to be a mural in one of the meditation rooms."
"There still is," the priest admitted with a smile. "The young one you seek is in the back woods somewhere."
"I can find him." He bowed and walked into a shadow, shifting off to find Oz. He was in the middle of a clearing, eyes closed. "Felt me coming?" he joked as he walked out of the nearest shadow.
"I felt something, might be hellmouthy," Oz said, looking at him. He blinked a few times. "Tired?"
"Quite." He sat down in front of him. "I'm here to notify you of some stuff, Oz."
"No. I've always been this way. I just couldn't tell the girls that." He stared at him. "I'm the same Xander I always was. Even during that acid tea thing during my roadtrip." Oz smiled slightly and nodded. Xander sighed. "It's not happy news, Oz." Oz nodded he realized that. "Willow... You saw her get too wrapped up in it?"
"Addicted?" he asked.
"Fully. I know you guys don't get the news over here." He swallowed and told him what had happened. Oz stared back and nodded at the end. "They're still arguing about whether or not she'll have a chance to redeem herself."
Oz considered that then nodded. "She's special to the Wolf."
"She's special to my hyena too. There's every chance you'll feel it if they do." He stared into his eyes, getting a nod back. "If you need me, you call and I'll come."
"I know." He patted his injured cheek. "You need more rest."
"I know." He kissed him on the forehead. "I hate being the messenger but you needed to hear it from one of us."
"Not a problem, Oz. You're a friend." He smiled at him. "Some day you'll be able to run free because you want to run free, when you want to run free, and you'll keep yourself in control." He got up and walked into the shadows, heading back to LA.
Oz meditated on that news and got in touch with his wolf about her soon dying. There was no way someone sane would let her redeem herself after that death count. Not with the reason it had happened. The pack leader's wife found him later that night and he stared at her. "She's going to die."
"She's not your mate, Oz. You never marked her. You said you didn't."
"I didn't," he said. "There was always the doubt that magic was more important in her life."
"Now you know." He nodded, staring at the stars. "It's dinner. Come eat."
He got up and followed her back to his part of the camp. He had something to nibble on even though his stomach was in knots. "Will I know?"
"If she's part of your pack, you'll know. You'll feel it, and it'll hurt, but it's not like a mate's death would affect you," she soothed, giving him a hug. He nodded and she left him to grieve in advance. She told her husband. He told the guards to be aware that Oz was going to be losing part of his pack soon so they could help him when it was time. It was the only thing they could do to cushion it for him.
Xander smiled at the two warring people the next day, whistling to get their attention. "You guys can't do that. That's against the law. I will be suing and if you really want to close Sunnydale that completely I can do that."
The FEMA guy laughed nervously. "You know the one who set off that problem?"
"Yeah. She's the reason I'm missing the eye."
"Then you should sue her."
"She doesn't have money. She's also in federal custody. But if you're really intent on taking down the city, I can do that for you. That way you can go back to your demon cocksucking duties. Or are you a ball licker?" The man went red and opened his mouth. "Don't start. We have a slayer here." The man backed up. "I'm on her team. She's behind you." He looked and whimpered. "Now, you can do what you're supposed to do by law or I'm going to make all of you fucking suffer. After all, I have the right to sink this damn town if I want."
"Maybe you should move," the insurance guy offered with a smile.
"I was born here. What's your excuse?" The man swallowed nervously. "Yeah, I'm still a Harris." He smirked. "I already have half the town mined with discreet, high impact explosives. I need to do a bit by the college but then the college could buy the rest and make it a wonderfully nice campus. Maybe even start a botany program to plant wonderful things."
"Xander, take some advil," Buffy complained. "You can't blow up Sunnydale if I can't help."
"I'll let you push the button," he offered with a grin. He pulled some of his new babies to him, petting them. "Well, gentlemen?" They both looked nervous. "What's it going to be? Your demon cocksucking masters' ways or the legal one that means I quit being pissed off?" They fixed the paperwork then and there for him. "Thank you! I'd advise you to send people who aren't in thrall. Or kill the people who are." He walked off, putting the artillery back.
"Xander, you have that meeting," she called. "And you still need pain killers." He flipped her off as he faded into the shadows. "Oooh, yeah, he's pissed. Did you have to make my patrol tonight harder?" she demanded, swatting the FEMA guy. "Half of the demons in town are already scared of him because he's bouncy and mean when he's in pain." She stomped off. "My mother wants to speak to you both. She's in LA in the hospital." Xander came back and took them both to Joyce's room so she could scream at them. "That's really handy," Buffy decided, going to get a milkshake.
Xander showed back up in Colorado. "Sorry, had to move the FEMA guy and the insurance guy so our might-as-well-be mother can yell at them from her hospital bed." He smiled.
"Mr. Harris, how do you feel?" Doctor Lam asked.
"I'm in shitloads of pain and it feels like there's something digging into my eye," he admitted. "Which sucks majorly. I know you're brilliant and you did what you could. Thank you for trying." She smiled and let him hug her. "I'm sorry about the whole vision thing."
"It happens I'm told. Sit, let's talk." Xander sat down next to her. She looked under the patch, grimacing. "The digging feeling is probably the scar tissue forming and being a bit tight." He whimpered. "We can fix that later, or a really good surgeon can." He nodded and she let him go. "How are you related to John Sheppard?"
"We share a mother."
"He's your big brother?" she asked.
He could protect John and his duty/job easily enough with a tiny lie. They didn't need to know that much about John unless John wanted them to. "We joke he's my big brother because if I said he was my younger one when I look like this, people would start to question things. Thanks to our mother, I have the gift of deaging to fit in better. Which is very handy as a warrior. If I looked like either general in here with us, I'd be in a lot worse shape when things happened."
"I can see that point. How far back can you go?" she asked.
"I usually go back to early twenties so I don't have problems but when I'm sick I can't always stop it that easily. This last time I went back to a year old and got sent to a foster family automatically by the spell. It always picks someone who's related to the lineage somehow. It's a failsafe."
"I can understand that. What were you sick with?"
"It felt like the plague. I've had that once before but I think it was some sort of ebola light thingy since I was dying of the bleeding. Though I'd come back but still be sick. Deaging meant I could break that and I was about forty anyway. To old to be getting into battles."
"Age isn't always a factor," General O'Neill said.
"It is when your people use swords and battle axes."
"That could be, yeah." He smirked. "You knew about Atlantis?"
"Yeah. I keep tabs on John through the demon community and others. When I heard about the wraith and someone reminded me to ask, I asked the families for any information on those subjects for him."
"That's how they got those books," Landry said. Xander nodded. "How did you get up there while you were in surgery?"
"I was having a vision about him being attacked and the shadow shifting is a gift that comes with my hereditary duty. Which is from my father's family. Mom has a wicked sense of timing when she gets drunk and friendly. I came from mead. John came from some nice Greek wine." O'Neill snorted, shaking his head. Xander shrugged. "It happens."
"It does," he agreed.
"Visions aren't real," Landry said.
Xander stared at him. "Yes they are and you've seen evidence of it when your former posting took over the Initiative's crappile of misguided information. By the way, when they were torturing Oz they made some wrong assumptions. Oz's specialness is because he found a way to control it. He's not the average."
"So you know about all that stuff," Landry said flatly.
"I grew up this time in Sunnydale. When a slayer got sent to us, I stepped in to help her. Not that I didn't know how to hunt demons before then but I did have a learning curve based on growth spurts and things. Plus trying to hide my identity because that would lead to me being attacked."
"I can understand that reason," O'Neill said. "How did you get to that other place?"
"What?" O'Neill asked.
"Rosenburg. The same reason I'm missing the eye, General, and why half of my town got blown up. That was her losing her temper and throwing a hissy."
"Oh. What's she doing now?"
"They're debating life and death for her."
"Good!" He stared at him. "Who has her?"
"Even better." He stared at him.
"We should've kept you on some pain killers for longer," Doctor Lam complained.
"It makes me fuzzy headed and I have enough to deal with right now. Thank you though. If I didn't have to rebuild a life, I'd gladly take you up on it." She patted his arm. "It's kinda sucky. Thanks to her, I have no job anymore, no town, no apartment, almost no stuff, no car. The state wants to take away my license because of my eye. My job won't hire me back because they say it's too dangerous around power tools.
"I have no idea where I'm going from here. Beyond the fact that I'm going to finish destroying that demon law firm later. Then maybe I'll move to Canada. I'll look scruffy in no time and people can stare at me for more than the eye patch. I might even get to scare little kids so they won't stare. I can look like Wolverine within weeks, only without the claws."
Doctor Lam hugged him. "It'll be all right. I promise." He shook his head. "Yes it will be." She winced when the alarm went off. "Please let that not be a threat."
Xander sensed. "No, it's the partially ascended one and some people, one of which he's pissed at." She laughed, pinching him on the cheek. "Thank you."
"It's a normal reaction, Xander."
General Landry cleared his throat. "I still don't believe in visions."
Xander shrugged. "That's your issue since I had one up there and got up out of a sick bed, partially sedated because I kept waking up whenever anyone came near me, and went to fight the Genii with my brother." Landry dropped his pen, staring at him. Xander stared back. "It was a vision that prompted me to get up and do that."
"That axe you have," O'Neill said. "Since I saw video of that. I got sent the surveillance tapes, Hank. I'll show you later."
"That's my blessed weapon from the All Father."
Landry blinked. "Odin? The real Odin?"
"Well, yeah, if Loki's my father then I have other relatives up there," he said dryly. "Can't have one without the other."
"You're an intolerable smartass, Harris," Landry said.
Xander stared at him. "And you're still possessed by whatever, General. I'm not in your project and while I thank you for helping me when I got sent there, even if my father did have to force you to help me, I don't have to be bitched at. I have many people I can go destroy to make myself feel better today." Someone knocked and walked in. "Doctor Jackson. If I never said it, thank you for that body lending for the few moments."
"You're welcome. Do you know these warriors?"
"I suggested that they should come talk to O'Neill since we all know about the Supposed Ones. Some of us even used to drink with some of the younger ones when we were younger. Was there a problem with one? I can talk to them."
"They're a bit.... pig headed."
"Yeah, that's a common thing. Like how you never hear about women in any of the Norse myths unless they were really special? Another failing that needs to be cured quickly. Other than that they were picked for being good warriors."
"They're excellent for that but they're very vocal about some things."
Xander nodded, getting up to follow him back there. "Warriors."
"Alexander," one said, standing up. "Why are you here?"
"What happened to your eye?" another demanded, moving closer.
"Same answer. A witch that had problems lost her temper and blew up a town." They stared at him. "Ask Doctor Jackson before spouting off things *we* know that most people won't. Especially if they were stolen by the Pretenders. They might not know and you could cause a lot of civil damage that way." They nodded. "We're counting on you to train yourselves to help me protect your peoples."
"We will," the oldest said. "Are you still fit to fight?"
"I'm retraining with the injury. I'm hoping when I deage next time it comes back." They all nodded. "Though, Odin made a joke about it." A few shuddered. Xander nodded. "Yeah. Exactly. So make me proud." They nodded. "Good boys. None of the female warriors?"
"They should be at home," one said firmly. "Having our children."
"To humans, females can be warriors," Xander pointed out dryly. "I work with one of those myself."
"No wonder you didn't marry," the eldest said.
"No, I nearly married but Freya had a hand in it." They all moaned and a few prayed to her to leave them alone. "Exactly. Train hard and we'll talk about my half-brother's posting sometime soon."
"Your sister who acts and talks like a man?" the eldest asked.
"No, John. Other side of the family."
"Oh!" They all nodded and smiled.
"He's always been much nicer than your sister/brother."
Xander shrugged. "Dad fucked up her mom. What did you expect from him?"
"Good point," they agreed.
"Beyond that, she's got a lovely wife that she adores. I envy her that true mate." He smiled. "Make me proud. Do what you can to help. Learn what you can of new military strategies for the next time the giants decide to act." They all nodded. "Thank you." He went back to the conference room by the shadows. "They'll talk to Doctor Jackson first since not everyone would know what we do and it could cause harm." He stared at the new person. "Cordelia said you should be here, General...."
"Hammond. This was originally my project, Mr. Harris. Why are you here?"
Landry handed him the reports. "I was making sure it wouldn't happen again."
Hammond sat down and so did the boy, letting the doctor check him over again. He looked up. "Any lasting injuries beyond the eye?"
"Isn't that bad enough?"
"Yes it is, son." Xander relaxed slightly. "I'm not the mean one. That's Jack." He nodded at O'Neill.
"He's been working with Agent Fury to get some people I know up to your city."
"I heard about that and that they've been a great credit to the project." He smiled. "Do we think it can happen again?"
"The only one I know who is strong enough is Dawn and she's being mentored right now while her mom's in the hospital. She had a sudden onset brain tumor."
He nodded once. "That truly sucks, kid." Xander nodded. "I know it's been suggested that we move our training facility out that way."
"We're working on calming things down but I nearly bombed the town earlier. I do have high impact charges all around the area below the campus. Even then your people would be safe. I figured the campus could buy it up and make a nicer campus."
"Possibly," he agreed dryly. "You were a bit harsh on him. We're not really used to people showing up that way. He was probably a bit flustered."
"Even when the VP told him to?" Xander asked dryly. "And he said no?"
Hammond looked at Landry. "I was not told that part." He called him, walking off to get a report on that situation. He came back a few minutes later. "Those warriors are very good fighters." Xander smiled. "Teal'c seems to like having them as well, he said that they're more like his people." He sat down. "By the way, your father says hello. Apparently they were having breakfast."
"Dad and I don't really get along, though I was very thankful that he stepped in that time."
Hammond nodded. "Having a parent like that might be odd at times."
"That and he tried to use me for a few plots."
"Ah, yes, that can be another downside of having someone who has ambition as a parent." He stared at him. "Is there anything we should know about that team?" Xander looked clueless. "It was noted that the former member and you were close?"
"Yeah, that was a plot by my father. He tried to marry me off to Roque but we didn't work. I just helped set him up with his thing."
"Is his thing military?"
"I can see why."
"And even if they were doing what you're thinking, they're not presently military."
"Also a good point." He smiled. "I hate that law, Xander."
"So do I." He smirked. "But I still won't break it for anyone."
"That whole team's new status is something that the higher ups won't like."
"If they hear, someone has a leak," Xander pointed out.
"True." He smirked. "It's nice you can think tactically."
"Beyond that, the army and other agencies used them in the 'I don't know you exist' things. That would probably make them more effective. Most generals that would think tactically would really only care that this made them better."
"I know a few who would and one that would complain to God."
"It wasn't his fault he was bitten on a rescue mission." The general gave him a pointed look and Xander smirked back. "They may know about other things as well. No idea and not really fond of the army after the Initiative mess anyway." He smirked. "I saw some of their supposed best. I like these ones a lot better."
"Us too. I went over those files and I got sick."
Xander nodded. "Us too."
"Yet your team handed someone over?"
"Giles. Not me. He was tormenting Giles and that was Giles' decision. Which I did not like. Which is why he managed to sneak and get free."
"Yes he did. It took a few days but he did." Xander nodded. "Indirect?"
"Yeah. It was the best I could do. Sadly they still think I'm really normal." Hammond snickered. "Buffy actually started on that until her mother swatted her the other day." He shifted and grimaced. "The duty's not pretty. I'm sure you have your own version of that."
"We do," he agreed.
"We hate it like hell," O'Neill agreed.
Landry looked at them. "We don't have units like that anymore."
"No, you cut them to Atlantis," Jack told him. "What is in him?"
"I'm not fully sure," Xander admitted. "But I think it was a person. I can almost see a double image but that could be the headache again. And ow, that digging." He rubbed around the socket. The doctor looked and found a piece of glass, which made him wince. "Debris?"
"Yup. Want me to knock you out and get it?" He sighed but nodded. "I'll do it as lightly as I can, Xander." She got a small tray sent up with a nurse. They knocked him out and removed that, which made all three generals grimace. She found a few little things too and got them as well.
Nick Fury knocked and walked in, grimacing. "Figures he still has shrapnel."
"It's working its way out." She finished up, rinsed it out, dried him off, put back on the patch, and let him wake up on his own, even though he was nicely cuddling her shoulder and purring at her. It was sweet of the boy.
"I like the kid," Jack said.
"He scarily reminds me of you, Jack," Hammond said dryly, looking at him. "Which is why I'm sure Agent Fury has a tums bill like I did."
"He's nothing against the others we have in hand," Fury said dryly. He stared at Landry, who was slack jawed. "Can I have that fixed?" He called someone and she sent back how to fix it and that she was majorly busy. He let the doctor see it. She grimaced but did it for him. Landry shook himself and gave them confused looks. "You back?"
"I am. Though I've been watching. He's still a smartass."
"Who was it?" Hammond asked.
"Eww," Jack muttered. "That's a sickening thought. Nearly as bad as him having sex." Hammond glared so he shrugged. "It is." The doctor snickered, sitting down. The boy quit pouting and rested against her shoulder again, purring at her and petting her hair. Jack grinned. "He's cute, Doc."
"He's very sweet."
"He's single and you'd be the nicest woman he's ever dated," Fury said. "Most of his have been a bit evil. His last one stomped off crying after seeing his eye."
She smiled. "I'll consider it." She petted him back and he quit purring, just hugging her instead. "Such a good boy, Xander. You're very sweet." He burped but muttered something in Norse. She smiled. "I'm hoping that was an 'excuse me'." Fury nodded. "So what are we going to do about things?"
"Well, he got some demons to destroy the foundations of a building last night," Fury said dryly. "But they were evil lawyers."
"Stereotyping?" Jack quipped.
"No, they worked for the bad demons. He took half their artillery, which I really need to confiscate."
"He said he had his town mined with explosives."
Fury nodded. "Good." They all gaped. He pulled up stats on the town, letting them see it. "With him and the slayer patrolling nearly nightly. I compared his to our plan and his was nicer." Jack shuddered. "Which is why I thought moving your training center there might help things."
"How about we just take over the town and use it for a training base?" Jack suggested. "With the underground tunnels I'm sure they have, it'd be good to train a lot of people there."
"If we could seal the hellmouth more firmly shut, I'd agree," Fury admitted. Xander woke with a snort and a blink, giving the doctor a shy grin. She smiled back and patted him on the hand. He sat up, stretching. "Feel better?"
"Much." She pointed at the pile of debris, making him grimace. "Much more?"
"I didn't see any, Xander." He beamed at her. "Does your town have underground tunnels?"
"You mean besides the abnormally large sewer system pipes and the apartment complex?" he asked.
Fury stared at him. "Our maps...."
"Google maps is *so* wrong." He pulled out his phone to get into that file, letting him see it. Fury projected it via his own super phone so the others could see things. "I have it mined to here."
"Good!" Fury assured him. "That really is an underground apartment complex." Xander nodded. Fury shook his head. "Huh."
Xander grinned. "Very. The former mayor built all that to help his ascension bid and get him friends and power."
"Where is he now?" Jack asked. "Do we have to take care of him?"
Xander found the file on Fury's computer that had the graduation battle, letting it be projected the same way. They watched and Landry was whimpering by the time they blew up the school. Hammond and Jack both shuddered at that. "We were all so happy he ate the fucking principal because the man was a little picking, bullying troll."
"I heard the cheer," Jack said weakly, staring at him. Xander grinned. "Who's the blonde?"
"Buffy. The redhead was Willow," he said quietly. The doctor patted him on the wrist, earning a smile. "Doc, can I take you out to dinner later?"
She kissed him on the cheek. "We'll see but not tonight. I have three teams coming back tonight and I know one's going to be a walking injury circus." He grinned at her for that. "Is it always like that?"
"Most springs. This spring's problem we already cleared. Thankfully Agent Coulson had brought my uncle to thump my father when he showed up to nag me about not marrying Roque. Again." He rolled his eye. "His powers got scrambled by Sunnydale. I spotted Glory and walked off after handing Dad over and noting that fact. Coulson followed me and got Ironman in. Still took him and Willow an hour to destroy her." She shuddered. "She was a hell goddess though."
Fury nodded. "I got the tape from Stark. She kept complaining they were burning her clothes. She had to nag her minions about stealing the bad stuff until she got the better clothes."
"And you thought it was just the evil hollywood types that wore Gucci," Xander quipped with a smirk for him.
"No, most of them wear another designer," he quipped back, smirking at the kid. "Smartass."
"Well, yeah." He looked at her. "Did you give me something for the pain?"
He hugged her. "Thank you!"
"I'll make sure you get an as needed one, Xander." He kissed her on the cheek, making her blush. "You're very sweet but fairly intense."
"That's because my last girlfriend only wanted orgasms and money. As much of both as she could get." She swatted him lightly on the shoulder.
"She did. She complained she wasn't getting her eight a day," Fury told her. "We all figured she was compensating for a long life as a demon." Xander nodded. "Where is she?"
"No clue. She huffed off crying after looking at me for a minute."
"Pity. You deserve better, kid." He smiled at the doctor then looked at the generals. "Anyway. How are those warriors working out?"
"Good," Hammond assured him. "Doctor Jackson loves having them as long as they don't spout off knowledge in front of villagers." Xander nodded he had talked to them about that. "Teal'c adores having other warriors who are just warriors. They're a lot like his."
"They can drink most of our staff under the table," Jack said dryly.
"Well, yeah. The water sucks so we're weaned on weak beer, General O'Neill. Mead's special but we drink most every day and it's not a need, but a necessity."
"I've seen places where it was necessary and done that way," he assured him. "How's your tolerance?"
"I'm out of practice. Even my uncle could beat me these days. Though, Mom can outdo every single one of them probably. Then take two more, find someone to get happy with, and then I'd have a new sibling." Doctor Lam giggled at him. "Seriously. John had to order the booze stash up there locked when Mom showed up to nag him about needing to find a good spouse." He looked around. "Mom's got some real firm opinions. Including that John followed me into the stupid shit business." He smiled at the doctor. "That is her label for anything that has to do with being a warrior or a protector. Since I can feel her she's around here somewhere and I have to use her terminology."
"A boy has to follow his mother's ways sometimes," she agreed with a grin.
Xander's mother appeared, looking at them. She smiled at Xander. "Go get my other baby for me?"
"They might not like that, Mom. He's in command up there and these are his commanding officers. This is General O'Neill, General Hammond, and General Landry."
"Ah, you do professional stupid shit," she said with a grin. "Baby, you should try that. Roque found he liked it."
"Mom, I'd have to follow orders and let someone else run battles for a while," he said dryly. "I can't imagine that happening."
"Well, no, you don't follow orders all that often. You do a lot of free form stupid shit. Now, go get my John."
"He might be busy, Mom."
"He's never too busy for me."
Xander sighed and faded up there. "Clay, Mom wants John. Is he busy?" he asked since Clay was behind the head guy desk.
"He's on a mission with Lorne's team."
"Killer, thanks." He faded back down there, sitting down again. "He's on a mission, Mom. We can't interrupt that."
"Fine. I'll check on him later."
Xander stared at her. "Don't make me throw you in salt water, Mom. Please? John is in command and the guys have to respect him and all that," he said at her pout. "He's really busy protecting us all from the wraith."
"Fine." She pouted. "I'll check on him soon then."
"Just email ahead so he knows to be on base. They get email once a week," General O'Neill said with a smile. "That way he can make sure his room's clean and things."
She smiled and pinched his cheek. "You're very sweet. Xander.... when are you going to settle down with someone nice?"
"I tried; Freya interfered, Mom."
She sighed. "I know. That sucks and I'm going to pull out her hair by the pretty blonde roots for it. Though I believe Anya wasn't good enough for you, dear." She kissed him on the head. "Try to find someone nice?"
"Mom, I'm already flirting with someone who is a good girl, very sweet, and tough enough to put up with me. She's even seen me since I was injured and didn't flinch. If you ruin it for me, I'm *so* flooding your river with salt." He stared at her.
She kissed him on the head. "Don't threaten your mother, dear. But I'll leave any nice girlfriend alone as long as I can stand her." She disappeared.
Xander thumped his head on the back of the chair, shaking it. "Her most recent assistant has helped her learn slang and things," he apologized.
Doctor Lam smiled. "She seemed very nice and cares a lot about you."
"Yeah, most of the time." She patted him on the hand. His mother showed up. "Problems?"
"Dear, what are those things in your storage area?"
"Anya's dildo collection? I warned her a few days back if she didn't remove them I'd give them to my sister for use with her wife."
"She heard. I just talked to her and she said your former girlfriend had bad taste in clothes and sex toys."
"She should know," Xander agreed. "Does she still have the special one?" He smiled at Doctor Lam. "For a wedding present I took her to the best crafter I could find and had him make her something so she could please her wife better. She's been very firm in the belief that she was as good as any man and she's been my brother since she was eight and decided that. Used to piss the fight trainers off majorly when she'd join in and then kick their butts."
"I know a few women like that."
"She's a really good warrior but her wife is a bit fussy. She nags too."
"Well, if she could find a way to get her pregnant it might help," Xander's mother said dryly. She faded out again.
Xander shrugged. "Sorry," he mouthed. She grinned and O'Neill waved it off.
"Salt water?" Hammond asked.
"She's the goddess of a major river in India."
"What benefits does that give Sheppard?" O'Neill asked.
"It makes him a little bit harder to kill but he's not like me. He's a lot more normal."
"So he can't do the shadow thing, nothing like that," Hammond checked. Xander shook his head. "Is he a god?"
"No, and I'm only immortal." They nodded at that. "I may have some power that's been unlocked due to all this but I'm not totally sure. Uncle Thor was giving me funny looks. One of the agents said he felt magic or something around me."
"I have too," Fury admitted. "I asked your uncle and he said he thought you might've moved up the ladder of responsibility."
"If so, no one's told me."
"That's fine, kid. Just keep it in mind if you lose your temper, all right?" Xander nodded. "I want to know your future plans for Wolfram and Hart."
"No, you don't," Xander said with an evil smirk. "That way you can deny to the ones they helped with making small pledges for support and soul percentages."
"There's not that many," Hammond said dryly.
Xander looked at him. "Yes there is. We actually sat down one weekend to look over all the pictures we could find of politicians and found that forty percent had strong marks and another ten had more hidden ones that were only exposed while on vacation in bathing suits."
Hammond gaped. "That many?"
"It can be as little as a few percent of their soul to get a bit of voting help or something. Not enough to tip them over. Wolfram and Hart are the lawyers for the higher demons. Everyone who works with them signs a soul turn-over clause as part of the agreement to become clients. So do their staff. That's why Angel's group in LA has been fighting them. That and they like to try to take over the world." He looked at Fury. "By the way, I froze their labs. Literally. I called ice down when I borrowed again."
"How are you borrowing from him?"
"Actually, if it's a battle to protect my people, I can borrow from pretty much anyone." He smirked and disappeared. He needed to find a nice card and maybe some nice chocolates in thanks and as a wooing attempt. That doctor was really pretty, smart, and good to him.
Hammond looked at the doctor. "If you take him up on his hints, make sure he's good to you. I'm not sure Jack can kick his butt." She giggled, shaking her head. "But don't play with him."
"I won't. He's a very nice young man. I could appreciate more nice young men." She got up and left them alone to talk about General things. And her father to fume himself into a fit she'd hear later when he stomped in to complain as General Landry instead of as her father.
Fury shrugged. "I like the kid. He reminds me a lot of me."
"Me too," Jack agreed dryly. "How do you feel about her pulling Roque?"
"I've heard. She said Anya caught them together so clearly they're dating. I corrected that."
"Is she going to stay around?" Jack asked.
"The telepath I asked said she's got a few redeeming qualities but I'm not for it by any means. Though he's right, she's got to have that choice to keep the rest of her team from feeling too much guilt about not stopping her sooner. Even though they tried a lot."
"Do you think she can turn herself around?" Hammond asked.
"Not unless she suddenly quits being blind. She still thinks Harris is a normal guy." He got up. "Call me when you guys want to talk about Colonel Clay's team next time too."
Jack smiled. "Sheppard said he adores having his own personal rescue squad that's not Major Lorne's team. It's saved a lot of work and worry. People tried to bribe Pooch to put them first by handing over some of the sacred chocolate stashes."
Fury smirked. "They are that good. I'm told they have the rep for being the sort of team that could pretty well handle any stupid, fucked up assignment and live."
"They've proven that a few times," O'Neill said with a grin. "Oh, a few guys wanted a battle axe to be standard equipment up there."
"He is pretty badass with it." He smirked and got sent back to his flying office.
O'Neill looked at Hammond. "If he was a simple soldier again, I'd love to have him here or there."
"Me too. He might've made you look normal," Hammond joked. He looked at Landry. "We need to talk anyway. The next president may want us to cut the budget a lot more."
Jack snorted. "The president warned me recently that it might happen. I told him I'd get Sheppard to knock out and send me a wraith to put into Congress." He smirked. "He told me if I did, he wanted video of it."
Landry shook his head quickly. "That's a really bad thought."
"Maybe it'd get all those marked ones out of Congress," Hammond quipped.
Xander showed up again, staring at Jack. "Would you rather I let Wolfram and Hart's present apocalypse attempt rampage for a few minutes to get press attention and very little property damage or destroy a few blocks keeping the press from seeing them?"
"Property damage," Jack said bluntly. "Because it'll help our budget as mercenary as that sounds. Right now?"
"Later tonight and now. And probably all week...." He grabbed him and took him with him. He pointed. "Them. That's above my skill set. Even before I lost the eye."
Jack stared and sent video to Hammond's computer. "Shit." Xander nodded. "How soon before the do more than mass?"
"They're probably already starting." He pointed at the ones stomping off.
"See if we can stop them soon but not too harshly. It looks like a parade."
"It's a protest against the government discriminating against them by the signs. Which will turn into a riot soon. There's agitators. That blue thing is one. He's well known for it and we kicked him out right before graduation."
Jack nodded. "Let me call around. It'll be a half hour before things get too good." Xander nodded, heading to corral that protest. Jack called his former assistant. "Walter, O'Neill. Put me on with the LA FBI office please. As an official." He put him on hold and connected them. "Look out your building's windows toward the harbor." The guy did and he heard him shudder. "I'm told it's supposed to be peaceful but there's agitators." He hung up. He called his people in to help too. Troops appeared behind him. He looked back.
"People, these are supposedly a peaceful protest. We are to herd, we are to protect and keep it from becoming a massacre on either side of the equation," he ordered. "We can herd them downtown or wherever the FBI decides." They nodded. "You are not to fire on them unless they start a battle." They all nodded and ran forward to ensure that nothing bothered either side.
The agitators were shouting at the military guys but Jack punched one. "My people are here to make sure neither side feels the need to destroy the other or the city. We're riding herd, you're going downtown if you want and the FBI allows it. Get over it." That agitating demon backed off and started to shout in another language. The demons cheered and they marched off.
Xander stepped in front of a gang trying to make a move on them. "Don't even try, kids. We are not going to let a battle happen in LA today."
"Liberal white boy," one sneered.
"Not hardly. I'm one of the people that hunts the bad of their kind. If they want to be peaceful and out some of the government as demon cocksuckers, so be it." They looked stunned. "They're protesting the way the government treats them worse than you guys. So join in peacefully or be spectators because if I see a single rock or bullet thrown, I will make your last few minutes horrifying for your friends to see." They backed down.
"Your choice." They moved around him and went to watch for now. A few had weapons. Most had knives and most of the guns were in waistbands for now. The FBI screamed up in their SUV's but the demons pushed past them and overturned a few cars. Xander looked over. "I said it's staying peaceful!" Xander shouted. "Or else I'm jumping in!"
"Oh, shit, it's Alexander," a few muttered.
One looked over. "That's Buffy's Xander."
"Yeah, that's *Alexander*!" the demon next to him said. "As in Norse Alexander!"
"Damn, no wonder he helps a slayer. We'll stay peaceful, Knight!"
"Thank you!" He followed, watching who tried to attack. The FBI was stopping them and the military guys were making sure they were down if the bigots got past the agents. The demons made it to their protesting point and set up to chant, picket, and walk a picket circle. The military guys watched. The FBI agents were calling their other offices to get advice. They weren't picketing them at least. But they had humans massing to cause a problem.
Xander pulled out a machine gun and clicked in the very large magazine. He stared at the bigots. "You cause a riot, you'll be cleaning up your own mess too." They backed down when the other guns came out. Even the gang kids pulled theirs on the bigots. "It'll stay peaceful. If either side breaks the tradition of peaceful protest, they'll be in itty, bitty pieces of pain and agony. Am I clear?"
The bigots backed off to regroup and discuss strategy. More higher ups showed up. Including the mayor. He started to make a speech to calm them down but the demons started to shout and laugh at him. They were shouting how the City Council treated them worse than illegal aliens and they had been there for generations. The gang kids were nodding they understood that.
Jack got some of his people between the mayor and the protest, earning some boos. But they didn't try to surge to beat him to death. The mayor gave up and left before the press got there. He went to a safer spot to make a speech about how disruptive this is and how it's harming the city. One of the bigots fired on him so he ran for cover and got sent back to City Hall. The media coverage was in full force. The two sides were being kept apart. Then one bigot threw a rock.
Xander shot him in the leg. "I warned your ass once. This is your last warning. It will stay peaceful. No matter which side starts it." The bigots backed down. The agents were looking panicky but the military guys were looking stony faced and pissed off. The demon agitators were trying but Xander cleared his throat, staring at one. "Really?" The agitators fled. He put his gun against his shoulder, looking at the agent stomping his way. "Hi, I'm on the team that used to patrol Sunnydale." He smiled. "They're mostly peaceful clans and species, guys."
"You fired a weapon, sir."
"Yeah, that one threw a rock to start a riot. Would you rather they thought they could do that? I barely grazed his calf. And yes, I'm a very good shot."
"Do you have to do this in Sunnydale?" one demanded.
"No, we have a high death rate because we have the non-peaceful ones mostly." He smirked. "We *patrol*." The officers shuddered and backed off. "If they don't start it, I won't react, but I'm not going to let this turn into a huge ass mess. Neither side needs the bad press the atrocities of a massacre will bring. And they don't deserve it for feeling underwhelmed for being treated like shit."
"Can you get it stopped sooner?" one of the officers asked. "It's kinda creepy."
Xander looked over. "See the woman with the turquoise eyebrows?" They nodded. "Her spouse is the head of the local demon community. Ask her to lessen the time." They nodded, walking that way. They were peaceful, but were wary. Xander caught her eye and pointed. She nodded, moving to talk to them. She told them something that didn't make them happy but apparently it wasn't a bad answer.
O'Neill got with the head agents and the other military people showing up with other orders. "Kid?" he called.
Xander looked over and then strolled over. "It's going to stay peaceful. They've got the right to peaceful protest. That is the American way." The new general glared at him. He smirked. "I'm from Sunnydale." He gave him a horrified look, backing away. "It's going to stay peaceful because I'm making sure of it, General. So are General O'Neill's people.
Xander checked the crowds again before looking at the general again. "It's probably not going to go on for more than a few hours but trying something against them will cause this to turn into a riot. Which will destroy LA since there's more demons than humans in LA and the rest of the state's will show up to help. They have their ways to get somewhere quickly. So we can get ones from all over the world showing up to riot here in LA. Which do you want?"
"The president wants this ended," the new general said.
"I feel for him but I don't really care. My duty is to protect the people of this area. Letting them have their protest and keeping it peaceful will make sure of that. Because I can guarantee the first one hurt will start that riot. Unless you think you can evacuate all of LA within ten minutes or less, they're screwed." He walked off. He found that same wife. "The president sent the military to calm you guys down and quiet you guys up," he told her.
She snorted. "We will riot."
"I'd really rather you didn't," he said dryly.
"I know, Knight. Keep them out there."
"I'm trying." She nodded, passing that along. "Please, try?" She nodded, walking off. He walked back out there. "They're going to keep it peaceful. They know you have orders and she has said she can't stop them from starting a riot. I've already driven off some agitators trying, General."
"I get that, sir, but I have orders."
Xander nodded. "Which sucks badly. Can you inform him of that fact?" He nodded, walking off to call his higher ups and let them know. He came back grimacing. "Do they still want you to pick on the people who have been peaceful for generations?"
"No. They want us to drive them off and hope they go back underground."
"You do know that the assistant to one of the Joint Chiefs is a demon?" Xander asked with a grin. The generals both gaped in horror. "His people have been warriors for centuries. They're earth based, they're strong warriors. He's served honorably as one of you. That's why they're protesting. Because you guys see them as worse than illegal aliens."
"I get that," he said. "Though I did not know that about that assistant. Which one?" Xander quirked up an eyebrow. "Never mind, if he's honorable I'm all for it. I'm sure that his general knows." Xander smiled, adjusting his eye patch. "Recent, sir?"
"Yes. When Sunnydale exploded." He looked back at the shouting, going to stop that person. "You fucking moron!" He shook him. "Step off!" He threw him off into the watching crowd. An agent came to get him and arrest him. He helped the demon up. "Need a doctor?" he asked more gently.
"No, Knight. Thank you for protecting me." She patted him. "We were all sorry you got so injured." She walked off.
Xander looked at him. "For your information, she's over three hundred years old, she has great-grandchildren, and she's been here longer than your family probably has. You just touched a little old lady. How manly you are," he sneered.
The agent looked then at him. "My grandmother looked the same stooped over way she walks," he admitted, walking him off.
Xander smiled back at them. "How long, people?"
"Two hours," the leaders said. "Total. Then we'll fade."
Xander nodded. "Okay." He looked at the generals, who nodded at that. Xander scanned the crowd and spotted a problem. He shifted his gun, staring at one of them. The gang kid sneered. "The Crypts have more sense," he told the one getting near him. "O'Neill! La Familia."
O'Neill looked. The agents looked. The gang pulled guns. Xander pulled smoke grenades and set them off. The gang members tried to rush the group. The military guys were guarding them and Xander was going to lose his temper. He got the head one down and went to get the others off the military guys. They shouldn't have to deal with gang members shooting them. The Crypts were helping the agents, which was nice to see. Xander kicked one off a tinier demon. He winced when the demon grew huge and growled.
"Don't," O'Neill ordered. "We'll have to react. Let us get them." The demon sneered. "I'm Jack O'Neill."
The demon sniffed. "The ring's O'Neill?" He nodded. "Then we trust you to serve the best of earth peoples." He shrank and stomped off. The demons sneering at the military got a lot more respectful of the SG troops. Two demons got hurt and Xander got them healers and taken out safely. The rest slowly left and faded. The last few disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
Xander took a deep breath and looked at the generals. "Orders?"
"Guys, clean up the humans," he told the agents. They nodded, shooing off the crowds. The ones under arrest got taken to the federal building. He checked, most of his people only got a few cuts. One was more injured but Xander had them taken with the demons. He got the address and had them retrieved to be sent back to base. They had him mostly fully healed. Jack thanked the healer before taking him.
Xander looked at the dispersing crowd. Then at the other general. "Thank you."
"It's good it was peaceful."
Xander nodded. "I'm glad I could keep it peaceful." He walked off.
"Sir, that gun?" the general asked.
Xander put the safety on with a grin. "It's nearly apocalypse season." He disappeared.
The general looked at his second-in-command. "Do we have his dossier yet?"
"It's sealed. Still. Even from the president asking for it."
"Yup." He shrugged. "He's rated as helpful and necessary but not to feed him chocolate."
"Interesting." He grimaced, looking at the troops that got removed somehow. "How?"
"Sir, I looked up O'Neill. The head of the Army said he's insane but he does protect humanity, he's got a very important job, and he's slightly insane but it works."
"Do you think they do things like this in the Air Force?" he asked.
"No clue, sir. From what the head of the army's assistant told me, he deals with things more insane than this sometimes."
"I'm glad I don't serve with him then. Clean up the people. Let's go get a beer." He sent that order and they cleared off back to their base.
Xander walked up to where Buffy was sitting and watching. "You could've shown up."
"I'm not sure I can handle a real battle yet," she admitted.
He smiled. "Well, there's always Faith. We should go visit anyway since we're here."
"Yeah, we should," she decided. "I'll see when we can."
"Ask Wes. He's working with Angel."
"I can do that." She smiled at him. "Are you all right?"
"The doctor who helped me gave me something nice for my eye. A nice card and chocolates are a good first motion, right?"
"Yeah, I'd like that." She smiled. "She's nice?"
"She's very nice."
"Huh. Strange for you."
"Yeah but I'm sure she can be dangerous if she wants." He winked and got up. "We can go see Angel and listen to him bitch. Cordy sure will."
"I could like that." She got up and walked off with him. "What happened to the gun?"
"I put it back."
"Can I pet it later?"
"Sure." He grinned. She smirked back and swatted him on the shoulder. "Hey," he complained with a grin.
"You stole that."
"From the law firm I was knocking down with the tunneling demons," he quipped with a grin. "It's a public service."
"Even better." They got a cab to the Hyperion. They walked in and she smiled. "Hi, Wes. Hi, Cordy. Wes, can we visit Faith?"
"Yes. It might do her good." He smiled. "Excellent work, Xander."
"Thank you. I had a lot of help though."
"I know but it was good it stayed peaceful."
Cordelia quit drinking her tea, nodding. "Very good."
Xander walked over to work on her shoulders, making her moan and relax. "If you're tense, the headaches hurt more. I found that out quickly." She nodded and let him fix her neck. "Better?" he asked quietly.
"Much." He let her go with a pat. "Thank you."
"Welcome. Not like I don't know." They shared a look. "So, the fussing, yelling vampires?"
"They're in the basement. Spike showed up so Angel wanted to tie him up."
"I did a few times when Giles made me let him sleep at my place."
Buffy looked at him. "That's worse than us chaining him in the tub."
"I only duct taped him to my old recliner. It was comfy."
"Geek." He smirked. "So anyway." She rubbed her head. "I hate that."
Wesley looked at her scalp. "That's healed, Buffy, but I can ask a true healer to look at it if you wish."
"Can we? The doctors thought it was fully healed but it feels...weak. I feel weak."
"I can arrange it for tomorrow." She smiled. "Have you met Fred?"
"Not yet." He led her off to introduce her. "Xander?"
"I met Fred last night." He grinned. Cordelia smirked and swatted him. "Hey! It's not swat the Xander day."
"Yes it is. It's always swat the Xander day." She smirked. "Do you know how much of a fit Angel threw about that?"
"Welcome," he quipped. She cackled, taking him to the kitchen to make dinner. He brought mugs of warmed blood down to the vampires. "Here, Fangless." He handed him the first mug. "It's clean." He handed the other to Angel. "Buffy and Fred are bonding." Angel walked off shaking his head and gulping his dinner. Xander looked at Spike. "You better?"
"M'fine," he muttered, taking a drink. "You?" He smirked.
"No, I still have a headache." He undid him. "Be peaceful or else. The headache's making me mean and the pain killers are running out." He walked off again.
Angel glared at him. "He's dangerous, Xander."
"He's got that chip in his head, Angel. He still can't eat people. And if he tries I'll stake his ass." He sat down, looking at Cordelia. "I need to find a new career. Wanna help?"
"Sure." She smirked. "Can you sew?"
"Yeah, why?" he asked. "I took Home Ec the same as you did."
"No, I mean really sew."
"Yeah, a shitload better than most people think since I had to fix my own gear for years."
She smiled. "I know a designer who could use a new sewer."
He shrugged. "Can I do that without depth perception?"
"Probably. And hey, you can move up to designing hunting clothes."
He kissed her on the cheek. "I may be bi but I'm not that bi." She cackled, hugging him. He grinned. "Beyond that, I'd have to fix certain skirts that're being sucked up by a butt roll." Buffy pushed back down her skirt. "Are we going back to Sunnydale?"
"I don't know," she admitted. "We need to."
He nodded. "Sometime soon."
"Should sink the town," Spike offered.
"I can do that." Angel gave him an odd look. "I laid explosives." He smiled. Angel moaned, shaking his head.
"It's a good plan," Buffy assured him. "I like it a lot. So does Mr. Fury. I saw him earlier."
"So did I." Xander nodded. "Any word?"
"Damn. From Dawn?"
"Yup. They gave her enough time to sightsee one night during the meetings in Amsterdam. She saw some things that blew her mind and she had to have Pepper explain some stuff, which Mom got to reexplain when she mentioned it. Mom was laughing at her reaction to whatever the Red Light District was."
"That's the authorized prostitution area," Angel told her. "It's legal there as long as they follow the rules."
"Girls sit in windows framed by red lights," Xander told her with a grin. "They tempt you, they tease you, and draw you in to go see girls just like them." Buffy gaped, shaking her head. "Yeah. They have mandatory health checks and things."
"Uh-huh. In the open?"
"Yeah. It's legal there, like it is in parts of Nevada," Cordelia said. "It's a stunning sight. They're classier than strippers, have some of the best not-trashy clothes that are still alluring. Men visit just to see the window shows."
"Like the ones in New Orleans," Spike agreed.
She shook her head. "Does Mom know that?"
"Probably. She had a better education than we did," Xander quipped.
"Huh. Well, as long as she didn't get any tips."
"You've seen how Pepper dresses her?" Xander quipped. "Do you really think she'd let her go trashy?"
"No. Pepper has made her look nice and subtly pretty instead of trashy. Didn't I pack her things?"
"Yeah but you packed her clubbing clothes."
"Oh." She nodded. "That figures. I was cleaning out my closets." She rubbed her head. "Wes, we can visit Faith, right?"
"Yes, we can. I can arrange it for this weekend, after I get you to see that healer, Buffy." She grinned and he smiled back. He made sure the healer could see them for a full work up. That memory lapse was worrying.
Xander looked up from his reading when someone was sat across from him. "Hi."
"Xander," she said flatly.
"It would be me and Buffy but she's in the hospital about her skull fracture that didn't heal straight." He handed over the book with a grin. "Joyce suggested that one. She read it from her hospital bed."
"B's mom?" she asked, looking confused.
"Brain tumor. She's fighting it hard."
"Damn. I know B looked up to hers."
Xander nodded. "We all do. We're all hoping really hard. Wes took Buffy to a healer on Tuesday and he nearly had a fit about the skull fracture that didn't heal right."
"Damn." She stared at his eye. "I saw the news on what happened."
"Shit." She slumped. "She gone?"
"In federal custody. They're deciding if she's getting a second chance or not."
"Decent." She looked at the book then at him. "I'm ...."
"Faith, I understand. Not like I've had happy years." He stared at her. "I know. I realize. And if you want my help working through all that, all you have to do is reach out. Whenever. You're still part of the group."
"Red's going evil changed things?" she asked bitterly.
"Do your remember them telling me I'm normal?" She smirked and nodded. "Do you know how wrong they are?"
She stared. "No they're not."
He leaned forward. "Yeah, they are. My dad's a chaos God," he said quietly. She whimpered, slumping more. "So yeah, I've had some not fun years of my own. I've fought an awful long time and I've lost my temper to the point of destruction. A lot of destruction." He stared at her. "If you ever want to talk, or need to talk, tell me."
"I can do that," she said, staring at him. "So the eye?"
"Gone. With some shrapnel."
He nodded. "Yeah, a lot of ow." He patted her hand quickly. "If you need me, you tell me. I'll be here. If you need to talk about that stuff, you let me know. I'm used to girls talking to me for some reason," he said dryly.
She smirked. "They know?"
"And *so* threw a fit."
She nodded. "Sometimes they're judgmental."
"It happens," he agreed. "We move on. But yeah, we'll be here if you want us to be. Buffy would've been here but well...." He waved a hand. She giggled. "Seriously. We're debating what to do with Sunnydale."
"I can do that," he mouthed.
She cackled, shaking her head. "You're goofy."
"Some days, yeah." He smirked. "So.... The book's good. If you want more books, give me a list?" She nodded. "I'm not working right now and have to find a new career anyway so I can do that. Need anything else?"
"No. I'm pretty self contained here." She waved a hand around. "I'm learning a lot about myself."
He nodded. "It sucks that it came to this," he said quietly. "I hate that it did."
She looked at the book then at him. "It's a step up for me, X."
"Then when you're ready to need something, you'll let me know. Oh, I put thirty on your account for your birthday." He grinned.
"You remembered my birthday?"
"Yeah." She gave him a funny look. "I do things like that."
"How's the loud one you were seeing?"
"She took one look at me and ran off crying to New York."
"Fuck," she said flatly, staring at him.
"Language," a guard ordered.
"Sorry. She just found out my fiancee ran off because of my eye's damage." He looked at her, shrugging some. "At least she didn't come after me with a flaming pitchfork."
"True, but da..." She shook her head. "She needs slapped."
"I'm sure she'll get it in New York." He smirked slightly. "It's a harder city than LA is."
"Yeah, it is. Boston too." She patted the book. "Any other news?"
"Buffy's sister has a good mentor toward a semi-normal life. One who can teach her not to get kidnaped. Spike's been watching over her anyway as a favor to Buffy. Joyce's treatments are going okay right now. She got good help. Giles is in England for a few days to talk to some witches over there and things." She grimaced but nodded. "Other than that, things are things."
"B still with the commando boy?"
"Good. He wasn't that good."
"He was being a feeder."
"Well, you know, a step up from the stakeable boyfriends."
"Yeah but not much." They shared a look and he grinned. "I've only got five years," she said quietly.
"Two with good behavior."
"I try really hard." She smiled at the guard coming her way. "Time's up."
"I'll be back soon. I'll try the next visiting time, depending on if I have a job by then. If you need stuff I'll definitely show up."
She smiled. "They won't let you bring me food."
"I know. I asked about cookies. Willow's girlfriend was going to send you cookies." Faith grinned and let the guard take her back. Xander left, going back to the Hyperion. On the way he looked up, seeing the problem that was making the radio DJ nearly piss himself. "What the hell?" he muttered. He pulled over and watched his uncle do something stupid. Against Ironman.
His phone beeped with a message to not interfere, Thor had been drugged. So he let them handle it. He just watched for now. His uncle went plummeting to the earth again and he sighed, following his trail to pick up his pieces. He stared at his uncle until he got blinked at. "Need some aspirin?"
Thor growled and stood up. "You little freak," he snarled.
Xander hit him, knocking him back down. "Yay you?" He kicked him around a bit then stared at him. "Want the cuffs now or later?" Thor moaned at him. Xander smacked him on the side of the head. "Idiot! Throwing away your chance to get it back? Are you that stupid?" He ranted at him until someone else showed up. "Your father would still be ashamed! Straighten up and be a man instead of a teenager! You're old enough to know better, Thor." He nodded, hanging his head. "And if you *ever* call me a name again, I'm going to make sure you regret it for *years* as you crap out a hole in your side into a bag."
"I'm sorry, nephew." He looked up.
"You'd better stay sorry and remember this. You're just like me now and each time you do stupid shit, you make me look bad. Then I have to fight against all that drama. I get enough drama from the girls in my life."
"I know. I will not."
"You'd better not. I can and will call Mjöllnir during a battle and keep her." He nodded at that, letting Xander help him up. "Now go apologize for whatever stupid things you did. You were taught to detect poisons in your food when my father kept trying you, when you were both younger and more stupid."
"You're right, I was. I was lax." He walked over to the agent and Ironman. "I'm sorry, Stark. I did not pay attention and it got me into that state. It will not happen again."
"Good enough for me." He looked at Xander. "I talked to her earlier about addiction things."
"Did you remind her how hard it is?" Xander asked.
He nodded. "Yeah. I did. I hope it helped."
"I hope it did too. Thank you."
"Welcome. You need to talk?"
"No. I'm not like that."
The agent, who Xander didn't now, stared at him. "Are you on anything?"
"Hell no. They didn't give me painkillers like that."
"You're awfully angry."
Xander stared at him then at his uncle. "You explain being a warrior to him?"
"Yes, I can. Go home?"
"I'm still trying to figure out where that is." He walked back to the car. "Later, guys. Have a safe and easy week. No terrorists." He moaned, grabbing his head and going to his knees. "Never mind, there are some." He took a deep breath, trying not to puke. "Oh, shit." Stark helped him up, putting up his visor to stare at him. "Someone's taking over Max's plans," he panted, moving to puke. "It's maybe a minion but it's a female. I saw a picture of Black Widow and her back around college or late high school age. Black and white, but she had medium hair."
"I can ask her," Stark promised, taking off calling her. "I want full details," he called as he flew off.
"Yup," he said, puking again. "When I can stand." His uncle came to help him. "Visions suck ass."
"So does your almost mate now," Thor joked. Xander snorted, nodding. He spit a few times and let his uncle steady him. "Can you drive?"
"Yeah. It's just a headache. I'm getting really used to headaches." He stared at him. "Thank you."
"You're welcome, nephew. None of us wanted you afflicted that way." He patted him on the shoulder and let the agent lead him off. He would tell Coulson that when they made it to him.
Xander leaned against the car, catching up with the pain until it eased enough to drive on the back roads. He wasn't going to trust himself on the highway. It took too much focus and stress.
Angel stared at Xander. He looked wobbly and like he was in pain. "You shouldn't be driving."
"Bite me. I can drive."
"You were shaky earlier."
"I had a vision halfway back."
Angel grimaced. "What happens if you have one behind the wheel, Xander?"
"Did you give Cordy this talk?"
He sighed but nodded. "She kicked me on the ankle and stomped off." He stared at him. "You have even more reason with the eye thing. You're still in pain from it. The visions are really new to you. You could crash into someone like a drunk driver would."
"I could die from the stress on the highway too." He stared at him. "Not like I drive often right now."
"I realize that but let someone else drive?"
"Have you seen how Buffy drives?" he demanded.
"Well, yes. Fine. But try not to?"
"I am. Quit nagging. I'm not dating you."
Angel grimaced. "I heard about your last one."
"Anya?" He nodded. "How's she doing?"
"Her fault," he quipped. "I've already got my woo on with a nice, professional, smart woman." He walked off. "Thanks for trying to channel Giles, Angel, but not necessary."
"Fine. But you can't borrow my car."
"Whatever." He waved. He finally had the insurance checks. He was still fighting the urge to sink Sunnydale and move to Canada. He hated people staring at him. He glared at one who was frozen on the sidewalk, making her hurry off.
"If you keep scaring people that way you're never going to find a job," Angel called after him.
"Bite me squared, Deadboy." He walked in. Fred pouted at him. "They're staring again!"
"They stare at me too, Xander. It sucks that people have no tact." She gave him a hug, getting one back. "At least they're not crossing the street to get away from you."
"Maybe. I'm still thinking about hiding in the wildness of Canada." He went up to his room to sulk for dinner. He found a bag on his bed and smiled at the orders on it. He faded out to pick up something and then to her infirmary, hugging her from behind and handing her the stuffed monkey. "Thank you for taking such good care of me, Carolyn. I appreciate the hell out of you, even if you hadn't given me something for the headaches." He gave her an extra squeeze. "Did you get the chocolates?" He went back to his room, took a pill, and went to bed. They made him dizzy but that happened. Better than the headache.
She smiled at the grinning, happy monkey she had been handed. "He hugs very nice," she told the watching nurses.
"He sent me a small, very good box of chocolates and a card for how we had taken care of him. I shared the card with Doctor Keller." She smiled, taking the monkey to her office. He was such a sweet boy.
"Doctor Lam, if I give you a stuffed teddy bear can you make the stitches not hurt this time?" Cam Mitchell called as he walked in.
She pulled out the bigger needles. "Sure, I can do that, Colonel Mitchell." He flinched at the sight of the needle. "Bend over, let me make sure you don't feel anything." He whined but let her stick him with the sedative. "Such a baby about a few stitches," she complained. The nurses all laughed. He shouldn't have picked on her. He knew better.
Xander and Buffy walked back into Sunnydale together, him slightly behind her. Things were still a wreck. They could hear the demons having a street party and headed that way. No victims and no vampires so they left it alone and walked on after a few spotted them. The vampires were celebrating whatever holiday they still held dear with a lot of victims begging.
They walked through the group, staking as they walked. He slightly separated from her to get his own pathway. Most of the vampires didn't even sense them coming they were so high on the fear and fresh blood. Xander looked around before summoning his axe and sending it out in a circle to get a few more. One of them yelped. Xander summoned it back and put it away with a grin when a few stared at him. "Hi. Is this to welcome us back?"
"Slayer's here!" that one shouted, trying to run. Xander staked him and they made it to the center.
"You know, this really doesn't compare to Disney," Buffy said dryly. "We should go back to Disney, Xander."
"Sure, Buffster. Once I get a job again."
She nodded. "Good point. It's really expensive." She looked around. "So, what's the what, guys? Some sort of holiday we forgot?" The vamps started to look nervous. She pulled out a second stake. The nervous looks got worse.
Xander pulled out something and bounced it a few times before depressing the trigger with his thumb and tossing it into the crowd. A few snickered at that. It went 'fomph' and the vampires went poof. The ones that hadn't been hit stared at him. Xander smiled and tossed out three more. Then he and Buffy moved to clean up more. While Buffy was staking the last few that were too stupid to run, Xander went back to free the victims. "Anyone want to play roulette with the ER?"
"The state stepped in to fix it," one of them said.
"Okay." Xander called the local EMS number and got paramedics their way. "Call made." She nodded and they faded to follow some that had run. He looked back, seeing the paramedics and cops rushing toward the victims. "New cops."
She looked back. "Huh." They walked off again. The Bronze was calling their names. There were always vamps there hunting. The Bronze was actually mostly quiet, only a few vamps, but it was a Wednesday. They got a drink and headed out after getting them. The store was still whole. Giles had told them to stay there and reopen it. Xander saw the official looking letter on the door and looked at it. "The new Chief of Police wants to talk to Giles when he gets back."
"I'll talk to him tomorrow."
"No, you have to go see your mom. I will." She nodded. They walked in and went to the various couches/cots. Xander checked the weapons before going to bed but that was just him being paranoid about being back in Sunnydale.
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