Old Ones in Style.

Buffy looked up while patrolling.  "I've been wondering how they know you.  The ones at the protest started on 'that's Alexander' and so did that vampy vamp, Xander.  Were you doing something before you got here?"

"I've been at a few important battles and my duty is to guard villages from giants."  He shrugged.  "There's no telling what rumors started from something innocent and moving onward with each retelling.  Like the one that said you have a clit ring that someone started."

She shook her head.  "Not likely," she complained.

"I'm told they're fun," he joked.  She swatted him.  He smirked back.  He turned and staked the vampire trying to sneak up on his blind side.  Then he looked at her again.  She was giving him a strange look.  "Battle senses."

"Oh."  She nodded and they went on.  "So it was just being in the right place and someone older realized and spread that you were mean?"

"Probably.  I mean, it could've come from anywhere."  Well, not really but he didn't want to hear her take on godly wars and things like that.

"Are you in the Ragnarocky thingy?"

"Slightly in the full version.  Apparently I'll lose my temper and kill half of everyone in my way to get to my mate's side.  Which is strange since I haven't found one yet."

She grinned.  "They'd better be nicer than the one your father set you up with."

"Roque's not a bad guy, Buffy.  He's a bit tired from all the fighting he's done over the years.   He's scary and growly but not a bad man overall.  He's a warrior, like I am."

She nodded.  "You're not built like that."

"No, my father's a skinny dork," he said dryly.

"I've seen that."  She grinned.  "He so showed up last night to talk to Mom."  Xander rolled his eyes.  "Mom ripped his ass a new one and the nurses ended up seeing him when they thought Mom was hallucinating.  One ran into him so he had to become visible."

"Good of him.  Why was he talking to your mom?"

"About you."

He nodded slightly.  "I'll go talk to him later."

"Maybe it was happy talking," Buffy offered.

"I doubt it.  It never has been before."

"She said he was trying to figure out what you've been doing recently."

"Huh."  He considered it.  "That's probably a bad thing then."  She smirked.  "Who knows with him.  As long as he doesn't try to set me up in another arranged marriage."

She laughed.  "Would you two have worked?"

"Back then, nope.  He wouldn't even agree to switch off which duties we'd do.  He decided I was younger and prettier so therefore the wife.  We didn't agree to that.  That's why we didn't marry."

"Pity.  You could use someone there all the time."

Xander stared at her, then smacked her on the head, making him change back.  "Hi, Dad," he said with a smirk.  "How long have you been a blonde?"

"Dork am I," he sneered.

"Yes, you're the patron saint of them," he said bluntly.  He stared at him.  "Where is she?"

"With her mother.  Being a dutiful daughter.  Is it really so strange to think that I might want to know how you're doing?"

"Yes.  Because you're not like that without a plan or a plot."

Loki stared at his son.  "I could be trying to bridge some of that gap."

"The last two times you tried that nearly got me dead from your plots," he said firmly.  "I doubt any sort of 'wanting to get to know the son' things from you.  We all learned better."

"I could legitimately have a good intention, son.  Especially toward my only son."  Xander kept staring at him.  "Fine.  If you so believe me that evil....."

Xander snorted.  "Like I said, it's nearly gotten me dead a few times."

"How do those sort know you?  And the firelings, son.  You weren't there when they showed up."

"I was so."

"No... you were in the villages."

"Odin sent me to Greece, remember that?"  Loki nodded slowly.  "It was only a few centuries after that.  So where was I again?"

Loki stared at him.  "We all assumed you had went back to your duty."

"Odin told me I wasn't needed, to go help others and make the pantheon friends and contacts."

"He never mentioned that."  Xander nodded.  "How do you get back and forth?"

"Shadows.  I don't have to use the bridge."

"Oh.  I hadn't thought of that potential benefit."  Xander grinned.  "Are you actually happy doing this?"

"Not every day, no.  But I'm needed."

"Girls have done it alone for centuries."

"Yes, which sucks for them.  Which is why ours is the longest lasting ever."  Loki moaned, staring at him.  "Then again we've handled a lot of bigger things that no single person and a watcher would be able to handle.  Like an ascension."

Loki licked his lips.  "I believe your half-brother was worried that this style of hunting would warp you."

Xander snorted.   "No.  Killing people I've known for years has always bothered me.  Them being vampires doesn't make it any easier or harder."  Loki stared at him.  Xander stared back.  "One last chance before I have to find out the hard way, Father.  What plan or plot is this?  I don't have the time right now to deal with you starting another one.  We have bad shit starting and we're not sure why beyond a chaos sorcerer."

"One of mine?" he asked dryly.

"One of Janus'.  I've already talked to him and he said he can't stop him."

"That sucks, son.  What are you going to do when you can't shadow shift?"

Xander smirked.  "That wasn't a gift from you guys."

"Krishna didn't make you immortal."

"You'd better ask that of him," he pointed out.  "And I don't have to be immortal to use that gift either.  Immortal just means harder to kill, not impossible to kill.  I've always known that."  Loki glared at his only son.  Xander stared back.  "Any other helpful words of wisdom?  No, Mother," he sighed when she showed up.  "He's not threatening me."

"He's right, Krishna never did get to confirm you, son."  She smirked at Loki.  "I clearly had better taste when I slept with John's father."

"Gee thanks," Xander said dryly.

"You are the only worthy thing he has ever done," she told him.

"I do have that sister, Mom."

"I...  She's a bit...."  Xander stared at her.  "I'm not used to women like her, son."

"Uh-huh.  Whatever as they say in this day and age."

"You have always supported her," Loki snorted.

Xander smirked.  "I've also leant her seed to have changed into her own so she can have a natural child."  Loki growled.  "This age has many miracles still available."  He smirked at his mother.  "Did he call?"

"I will."  She stared at Loki.  "I agree, you do lord over dorks."  She disappeared.

Xander looked at him.  "At least she's not Aphrodite," he quipped.

Loki shuddered.  "I do not like that Goddess."

"Yay, Dad.  Anything else?  Or can you end this plot now?"

"What if I found your mate?"

"I wouldn't trust them coming from you.  You had bad taste in what would suit me last time.  Roque and I would've been mortally wounded by the end of the honeymoon night."

"That was to give you a strong spouse."

"If I wanted one of those, I have some women I can go pick up," he said dryly.  "Including some of the Asian pantheon's daughters."  Loki moaned, disappearing.  Xander looked up, seeing the face staring at him.  "I don't know," he told her.  "It's him plotting something again."

"Yes, it is," she said.  "Your father was correct however.  Krishna did not confirm you as part of our family, nephew.  Come."  She held out a hand.

Xander called someone and took it.  "Buff, me, I'm calling off early on patrol.  Mom's family needs to talk to me."  He hung up and they disappeared.


In LA, Buffy stared at her phone then at her mother.  "He said he's calling off early.  His mom needed to talk to him."

"His father will hopefully be spanked by his mother's family."

"That'd be a nice change, yeah."  She smiled at Dawn when she strolled in.  "Are those two hundred dollar jeans?' she demanded.

"Yup," Dawn said happily, turning to show her the label.  "From my paycheck."  She beamed.  "I found a translation error that would've cost jobs."  She sat down.  "Plus I'm making decent enough money for my college fund.  Most of it goes in there but I have tonight off and Pepper said I could go to a teen club as long as I was safe. "

Buffy smiled.  "We can club."  Dawn beamed at her.  "You still can't pick up any boys."

"I know.  They're all yours."  Joyce snickered.  They both smiled at her.  "When you're at full Mommy strength, we'll bring you out to get a cute young thing that'll tire you out the right way."

"I know we came to be that way and all but I *so* do not want to think about Mom having sex," Buffy complained.

Joyce laughed.  "Some day I may want to date again," she agreed.  "But not yet.  Let me get fully recovered and back home."

"Of course.  Not until you're ready to be at full Mommy strength," Dawn assured her.  The daughters fussed over their mom.  It was a happy day that she was getting better.


Xander looked up from his meditating on Krishna's orders.  "'Nubis," he said with a nod.  "Are you visiting officially?"

"You have knowledge Hathor wants," he said.

"Of?  I'll probably share any knowledge I have."

"The Supposed Ones returned?"

Xander smiled.  "My half-brother John works with those who fight them."

"Interesting.  Where might he be?"

"The City of the Glowy Ones."

"Huh.  Is it there?"  Xander nodded.  "I don't have time to travel that far tonight."

"The ones here are being helped by military and non-military people."

"Any who might have ties to our peoples?"

"I know of a former ascended who works with them.  Daniel Jackson."

"I remember him finding out the truth and people not believing him."  He considered it and nodded.  "Do you know of him well enough?"

"He's in Colorado."  He looked around.  "Krishna and Mother have me meditating right now.  I would not show up as a human.  He has fought them for years."

"I can take that information.  Does he know more than the Supposed Ones?"

"Yes.  He has some of our warriors."

"Interesting."  He looked and nodded.  "I can sense an ascended that way.  Thank you."

"It's not a problem.  You know that.  None of us want them back.  Or else I'd have to help there and I don't think I can do military things like John does."

Anubis smirked.  "No, you do not follow orders very well."  He disappeared, staying in spirit form with his official head on instead of his human one.  He appeared, making a few people jump.  "Daniel Jackson."

Daniel stared at him.  "Anubis.  It figures you guys are somewhere if Alexander is real."

Anubis smirked.  "I do adore that boy.  He saves me work.  We wish to talk about the Supposed Ones.  Alexander has said that you have knowledge we want.  You will come talk to us."

"Sure," he agreed.  "Right now?  We're getting ready for a mission."  He pointed.  The warriors were all bowing their heads to him.

"Alexander has said that some of you chose to help this battle."  One grinned.  "Thank you.  I will bring him back by the morning."  He took Daniel with him.

"Apparently some of the attitude wasn't posing," Cam said, looking around.  The warriors all shrugged.  "Are they all like that?"

"Stately and demanding?  Yes," the lead warrior assured him.  "My father fought the Pretending Ones and said they were more polite than our own.  They don't drink mead either."

"Good to know.  Will they hurt him?" Sam Carter asked.  They all shook their heads.  "Because we have a bad habit of the Gou'ald wanting to keep him."

"He is highly intelligent and a warrior in his own right," the lead warrior said.

"All Higher Ups would want him," the youngest said with a grin.  "He's a worthy spouse for a great warrior.  Including for one like Alexander."

The oldest looked at him.  "Alexander needs someone to take his attention from the fights he gets into but who can run off with him when he needs to.  That one may read too often.  He seems to fight when someone upsets him instead of always being prepared for battles the way Alexander does.  Though he needs a wife or husband who would like to take his attention from his retraining.  Soon hopefully.  He's grumpy."  The other warriors snickered.

Cam and Sam Carter shared a look.  "There's a man who could understand your job, Carter."

She swatted him hard.  "He's too young for me."  They looked at the staring general, who shrugged.  "I'm hoping they don't want to go fight what's left of them," she decided.  "Looks like we're on stand-down until Daniel gets back, people."  They went back to preparing for the mission.

"I heard all sorts of stories about O'Neill and Jackson getting into the weirdest things but I think this takes the cake," Cam Mitchell decided.  The warriors laughed.  He followed them out to the prep area.  Who knows how long it'd take Jackson to get done.  He just hoped they didn't have to go rescue him from someone else wanting to keep him.  They had no idea how to get wherever the real Egyptian Gods lived.


Xander reappeared in Sunnydale, looking at the vampires in the cemetery who were staring back.  "Mom wanted me to be confirmed as a son of the Pantheon," he said.  They all nodded and backed away from him.  "I can stake you guys if you're that scared."  They shook their heads.  Buffy got them anyway.  "Hi."

"Why the flower wreathe around your neck and the dot thingy?" she asked.  "I thought only girls wore those in India."

"No, not just women.  Mom wanted me noted officially."

"Oh, okay.  So the flowers....."  He nodded.  "Huh."  She shrugged.  "Okay.  Are you coming back to patrol in that?"

"Yup."  He smiled at her.  "How's your Mom?"  She gave him a scared look and he shot her.  "Shape changers out of Sunnydale."  The demon whimpered and changed back then gave him pathetic looks.  His axe appeared in his hand.  The demon fled.  "I mean it."

"Yes, Alexander."

Xander put back his axe and walked off.  They really had to do something about Sunnydale some year soon.  Before it drove them all nuts.  He texted Buffy to make sure she was all right.  She sent back that she and Dawn were in the club.  He sent back a 'be safe and use condoms so you're not a mommy next spring' and left it there.  Buffy had sense sometimes.  He hoped.


Dawn jogged into Pepper's office the next morning, kicking the door shut.  "Quick talk because I'm freaking out."

"Okay.  Calm down.  What's wrong?" Pepper asked, smiling a bit.  Dawn was such an alarmist sometimes.

"The boss took my sister home last night."  Pepper gave her a horrified look.  "And I don't mean to Sunnydale either."

"Dirt," Pepper muttered.

"Yeah, maybe.  JARVIS called my phone to let me know he'd be late this morning."

"Why call you?"

"I heard her squealing in the background and you're supposedly off today."

"Oh, yeah."  She winced.  "Tony's known to play.  Buffy won't get too attached, right?"

"No.  She's not clingy that way usually."

"Good!"  They shared a look and she considered it.  "Tony's off today."

"They moved that meeting with the guys in Burbank at that lab that keeps pissing him off to this afternoon.  That's what he called in late for."

"Yeah, that'll...  Damn," Pepper muttered, checking Tony's schedule.  "Okay.  Let's ...  He has sparring and training before then.  Let me call Howdy."

"He's the one that picked me up.  I dragged him up so he's outside."

"Howdy?" she called.  Tony's bodyguard walked in.  "Are they....."

"She's really loud," he said bluntly but he was smiling.  "I'm guessing he called off training too."

"Probably," she decided.  "We won't panic about this, people.   I doubt it's more than a fling, even if it is creeping Dawn out."  Dawn nodded.  "We'll see if anything comes of it.  If so, we'll deal."  Howdy nodded.  "Any other issues?"

"Fury was looking for both of them," he said quietly.  "When JARVIS called Dawn's phone, he was talking to him in the background."  Pepper moaned and put her head on the desk.  "Sorry."

"No, it's better we know about this."  She put her head back up.  "I'm sure he'll handle it."  Dawn snickered.  "Just calm down.  It's probably not permanent.  But it's nice he can keep up with your sister's enhanced stamina."

"Means the training works," Dawn agreed.  Howdy laughed.  "Let me unfreak out."

"Report card?" Pepper asked dryly.

Dawn smiled.  "It's online."  She got onto the school's website to show her.  "Just one B and it's in PE, which I sucked at because I can't play the games they like.  Sunnydale plays dodgeball, not basketball, and I'm short."

"Did you show your mother?"

"No, we made her giggle."  She gave her a sheepish look.  "I forgot."

"Fine.  Show her tonight so she can sign off on it."  Dawn nodded.  "Good job though.  I know that's a tough course load."  She smiled.  "Did you two have fun?"

"Lots and tons.  There was a lot of cute boys who're too old for me.  A few who even tried to get me into the back room but I was a good girl."  Pepper smiled at her.  "Let me go home since it's quiet today and I'm off school."

"I was going to ask," Pepper said dryly.

"The school sent me a text saying that they were closed due to water damage."  She showed her.  Pepper nodded and let her go home with Howdy.  Though she did check.  Dawn hated the present school.  There were a lot of snotty, young, rich girls with a sense of entitlement who hated her for being a real woman instead of a shallow twat who'd push out trophy children some year.


Cam looked up.  "Xander?" he called.  He showed up a minute later, giving him a pointed look.  "Can you go rescue Daniel for us?  Anubis still has him."

"I can see if they're done.  Otherwise that would be rude and cause issues."  He shrugged but faded out again.  He faded into the greeting area of their realm.  "Goddess Isis."  He bowed.

"Alexander," she said happily, hugging him.  "Are you on official business?"

"Someone wanted me to ask if you were done with Doctor Jackson yet.  His friends are getting nervous that you'll keep him like the Supposed Ones tried to do."

"He is charming and we do have a few daughters who are much taken by him."

"If they can handle it, their project could use help.  My half-brother is in Pegasus fighting the wraith through that project."

She considered it.  "That is a bad habit to have."

"They wanted to recover Atlantis and woke them up."

"Hmm."  She nodded.  "I'll see if any of them want to join them.  They're military?"

"Yes.  Some of our younger warriors that didn't have anything to do joined as well to help."

That's charming of them."  She walked him back there.  "Daniel, do you think some of our bored ones could help on your project?"

"Most of them aren't warriors but if they have college degrees in sciences it could help, yes."  He smiled at Xander.  "Cam or Jack?"

"Your team leader guy."

"Cam."  He smiled at his hosts.  "Can you tell them I'll be back tonight?"  Xander nodded and left again.  "When we found out who and what he was, we were shocked but he seems like a very good warrior and is a great helper at times."

"How did he lose an eye?" Thoth asked from his seat.

"There was an explosion by a witch in his town and it got damaged in that.  They couldn't save it.  My people's doctors helped him."

"That's very sweet of you," Hathor said.

"She transported him and Roque to another world.  He had to find me to get them back and him to our infirmary.  Then he had a vision so he went to see John on Atlantis.  He helped in a battle up there as well."

"Roque," Hathor said with a grimace.  "He is not one our pantheon likes."

"I'm told he's found a true mate that is good for him," Daniel told her.  "That Xander helped set up the consummation event as well."  They smiled at him.  "They had been on the same Army team for the US while Xander guards the hellmouth in Sunnydale."

"That figures," Thoth said dryly.  "He is very protective.  We adored having him helping us with that final battle.  He volunteered before we could ask his people."  He smiled.  "I do hope he finds a true mate of his own."

"I think we all hope that," Daniel assured him.  "Including his half-brother."

"John is quite the man," Thoth agreed.  "He offered his help once Xander had and he heard."

"John is a very nice guy.  I've worked with him on the city a few times.  He's a great pilot."

"I'll have to ask him about that," Thoth said.  "I have not seen any of the flying machines the humans have created."  He sipped his tea and the servers brought in a snack.  He nodded at the one serving him and she smiled back before leaving again.


Xander showed up that night, staring at the server who met him.  "His friends are saying they're keeping him and they're upset."

"He is coming now, Alexander," she said quietly, smiling at him.

"Thank you."  Daniel walked out talking with one of the high priests.  "Your female member is getting antsy."

"We've had to pull many rescues over the years."  He bowed to the priest, getting a smile and a bow back.  "I'm glad I could help.  Thank you for being such kind hosts."  He shook his hand and let Xander bring him home.  He smiled.  "I'm back.  Did you miss me that much?"

"Yes, it's been three days," Cam told him, staring at him.  "Are you all right?"

"They're wonderful hosts and we talked a lot about what was known and wasn't known.  Thoth wants to talk to John about planes and those things."  Xander gave him a strange look.  "John's a pilot, Xander."

"Considering he pissed off a witch once so he could be a bird for a few days, that doesn't really surprise me."  He smiled at the doctor.  "Hi."

"Xander."  She smiled.  "How are you feeling?"

"I'm okay.  Burned my mouth at dinner."  She laughed.  He grinned back.  "Really hot cheese on the pizza."  He gave Daniel a nudge at her.  "This way you can make sure he was a good boy."

"I'm sure he was.  He's a very good diplomat for us."  She winked at the boy, who beamed back.  "Are you doing anything this weekend?"

"Only the usual patrols.  I was kinda hoping you might like a picnic?" he asked, sounding hopeful.  "Somewhere with fresh air and sunlight?  I never get out in the sunlight anymore.  The job I have right now is in a little store."

"We'll have to see what's going on around here.  Do you like the theater?"

"I haven't been since the 1890's in Paris."  She beamed at him.  "I'll have to buy a suit."  He winked and disappeared.

She smiled at Daniel.  "He's very sweet."

"He's very nice."

"We have teams coming back tomorrow night," General Landry said.

"It's still my day off."  She smiled.  "We do have other doctors on base and I haven't had a night off in months.  Plus I've been looking forward to this play for months, General."

"I believe your night off is the next night, Doctor Lam."

"That's funny, it's been Saturday for years."  Her voice was getting in that icy range.  He was going to pay hard for that.

"Tomorrow is Friday."

"Today is Friday.  Perhaps the general needs a full exam?"  The general gave her a horrified look.  "Doctor Cedric, the general can't remember what day it is. I think he needs a full workup.  Since we're related I can't do it myself."  She smiled at him.

"Of course, Doctor Lam."  He walked the General off.  "Come on, sir, we'll make sure you're still fine."

"That's so mean," Daniel said quietly.

"No, I believe he needs the *full* workup," she said dryly.  She texted Xander on her way back to the infirmary.  She had a lot of plans for her father's exam.

Daniel and Cam both shuddered.  She was going to be torturing him for month.  They were so lucky to be able to get out of the firing range.


Xander looked at the woman walking his way.  "Kyra."

"Alexander."  She kissed him on the cheek.  "Many of us are gathering in New York soon."

He grinned.  "I'll see if I can get off patrol for that," he said, taking her arm and walking her off.  "Why are we all meeting?"

"Sybil called and wanted a reunion."  He gave her an odd look.  "We're not sure."

"Huh."  He shrugged.  "We'll see."  She laughed and shot a vampire.  "Thank you."

"I don't like the ones I have to deal with in London."  She smirked at the blonde they were walking toward.  "She's cute."

"This is the slayer I work with."

"Hmm.  Interesting."  She smiled.  "I'm Kyra, dear."

"Buffy."  She shook her hand.  "Coming to look at Xander?"

"A few of us are getting together and no one can figure out how to look up his phone number."  She rolled her eyes.  "Some of us are a bit... technophobes."

Xander snorted.  "That's putting it mildly.  A few would rather we use mail owls instead of phones."

Buffy snorted.  "That'd take forever to get messages back and forth.  Even more than the regular mail does."

"Maybe," Kyra agreed.  "Do you need him tonight?"

"Unfortunately we have patrol and a lot of vampires to handle tonight."  She grimaced.  "You can have him in about two hours?"

"That'll work," she agreed.  She smiled at Xander.  "Let me find somewhere decent to wait."

"Two bars," he offered.  "My apartment's a wreck."

"That's fine."  She walked off, shooting another vampire.  "They are foul, dirty little roaches."

Buffy stared then at Xander.  "Family?"

"Closer to John.  Greek."

"She's pretty."

"She's vicious."  Buffy smirked.  "Not even considered."  He walked off with her.  "We've got the other two cemeteries tonight."

"Don't remind me.  One of them played football and they always want to tackle me."

"They're groping, Buffy."

"Uh-huh."  They walked off together.


Roque picked up Clay during his downtime on the city.  Clay had told them they were on downtime for the next six days due to injuries.  Clay had his ankle wrapped and propped up on a pillow.  "Twisted?"

"Dislocated.  It's back in."  He stared at him.  "The city still hates you."

"I know."  He grinned.  "I got recalled home to introduce you."  Clay went pale, shaking his head.  "Oh, yeah.  My mother can kick my ass so I have to follow that order."

Clay called John to let him know that and got told to say hello for him, and to wear pants.  Clay got changed into more casual clothes than his BDU's.  Nice jeans, a nice shirt.  His crutches for his foot.  Roque took him back to his home.  "Traveling that way is still really strange."

"It can be, but it's faster," Roque said with a grin.  "Xander taught me.  It came with his hereditary duties."  He looked at him.  "Bow, be polite," he said quietly.  "Don't let anyone hit on you.  If anyone says something about you being white, sneer back."  Clay nodded once.  "Don't drink the beer.  It's stronger than Valhalla's and it'll knock you out after a pint."  He opened the door and walked in with Clay slightly behind him, as was proper.  "Announce me to my mother," he ordered the guards.

They stared then at Clay, then back at Roque.  "She is in the gardens."

"Bull shit.  She's meeting my spouse for the first time.  She's big on protocol, she's in her throne room."  They nodded and opened the doors for them and announced him.

"Roque and his new husband," they called.

Roque smiled at the squeal.  "Good day, Lady Aphrodite."  She beamed at him.  He walked Clay in.  "He's on downtime due to his ankle, Mother.  May I present Franklin Clay, my consort."

She came down off her throne, a regal, tall black woman with her hair braided and intricately bound on top of her head using strips of gold and colored cloths.  She looked Clay over.  "My boy has told me much about you when he served with you, Franklin.  I'm glad he could find happiness with you."

"I love the dork, ma'am," he said, bowing to her.  "Even when I'm pissed that he's being an asshole."

She laughed.  "Often, yes."  She gave him a careful hug.  Then her son.  "Come, we'll go to the garden.  Aphrodite, join us?"

"I'll be back tomorrow.  You need to get to know your son-in-law."  She winked at Roque.  "We're all still looking for Alexander's mate."

"I know it's in the prophecy but I don't think he'd do that."

She gaped.  "What?"

He shrugged, putting his hands in his pockets.  "Sybill called a get-together the other night.  Kyra and the others thought it was Malan.  From Thai's courts?"  She nodded she remembered her.  "It suited the full requirements of being his mate but they hated each other and Xander has always warped prophecies."

"That's a good point."  She went to look that idea over.

His mother looked at him.  "In many ways I'm glad you didn't take Alexander, even if he would be a credit to our people, Roque.  He was always so intense."

"Whenever he was here, my sister kept trying to steal him."  She laughed and nodded, leading them to her private sitting garden.  Clay gasped as he looked around.  Roque grinned.  "She's a fertility goddess."

"This is amazing.  I know some of the city's botanists would kill just to get a few clippings."  He sat down where she pointed, getting comfortable on the soft cushion.  Roque sat beside him and poured them a weak tea blend that was refreshing and cool.

"How did you two finally get together?"

"Xander," Roque said dryly.  "He kidnaped me, locked me in a sex sling, and then got Clay there to 'talk' out our problems.  We ended up together and I realized it."  He sipped his tea.

She beamed at them.  "That's wonderful."

"I've made sure he's not going to get pregnant while he's in the military, Mother.  They'd take him to use as an experiment.  Since he's helping John on Atlantis *there*, it'll be a long time."

"Of course.  You shouldn't have children before you're fully settled into the same house for years."  She stroked over Clay's cheek.  "Very fine bone structure.  My son has always had an eye for beauty."  She patted Roque on the cheek and poured them more tea, asking Clay about his family and childhood.  They had much to catch up on and him being a yellow fur was a great thing.  It would mean her son wouldn't be left alone.


Aphrodite showed up in the Magic Box, staring at Xander.  "How did you manage to warp Ragnarok?"

He shrugged, leaning on the counter.  "Being my charming self?" he guessed with a grin.  "Why?"

"It said that your true mate would be attacked and you'd go off and kill a bunch of warriors for it."  He nodded he knew that.  "The mate they were talking about was Malan."

"We couldn't stand each other.  Beyond that, she wasn't my mate.  She wasn't marked."  She gaped.  "It was your own seer that said my true mate would wear my family's mark in the form of a shield birthmark.  She didn't have one.  I checked more than once, Lady Aphrodite."

"I know.  That's the only time you two got along."  She moved closer.  "That warps that prophecy."

"Only part of it.  Some of it is still in effect.  Most of the minor details aren't.  A few of the planned deaths won't happen.  I checked."  She smiled at him.  "I even told Frigg that and she snorted, said I was a stupid boy."

"No, I told Freya and she threw an unholy fit that Frigg had discounted you."

Xander grinned.  "I'm a seer myself now."  She cooed, patting his cheek.  "Still kinda hurts," he said, ducking her petting.  She hugged him.  He hugged back because she gave great hugs.  He grinned at her.  "Until then I'll date, play the field, all that.  I nearly married Anya and contemplated giving her my apple but Freya was involved."

"I heard, dear.  Oh, did I hear.  Strife sent up a moaning fit that made everyone hide, even in their weakened state."  He grinned.  "You're a good boy.  That garden?"

"John said it grows well and the transplanted tree branch is growing well."

"Excellent."  She stroked his cheek.  "You should use my oil."

"I don't have a reason to use that special oil," he teased with a grin.  "I've been flirting and dating a female doctor."  She gave him an odd look.  "One who does know.  She works on the main project that John's split from."

"Huh," she said, nodding.  "Interesting.  Does your mother know?"

"I told her if she ruined it I'd be dumping salt in her river."

"Okay, I get that."  She pinched his good cheek.  "So... is she nice?"

He grinned.  "When she wants to be."

"Even better."  She winked.  "Have you met all the other immortals?"

"Yeah, all those functions?  I've met everyone.  Plus the occasional get-togethers."

"Good point."  She patted him again and left.  She had to find Xander someone worthy of him.  A doctor was a great start since she probably wasn't evil.  Which was a nice change for Xander.  She went to find Thor, finding him working out.  She grimaced.  "Eww, sweatier than Heph."  He put down the weight to stare at her.  She grinned.  "Malan was Xander's listed mate in the prophecy."

He tipped his head to the side.  "That can't be.  They loathed each other, Lady Aphrodite."

"Which somehow warped the prophecy."

Thor considered it.  "I have heard that my nephew does much of that these days."

"And he's a seer himself now, not what the prophecy stated.  Freya thinks almost all of the minor parts have changed, and so does Xander."

"I will listen for someone to tell me the updated version," he assured her.  She smiled and pinched him on the cheek.  "Must you?" he sighed.

"I must."  She beamed at him.  "Do you like the woman he's dating?"

"He has not brought her to meet me.  I hear she's a doctor and helped when he was injured.  He treats her like she is fragile but he said her father hates him."

"Hmm."  She patted him again.  "All right then we'll wait to meet her."  She smiled.  "If not, got any ideas on who to set him up with?"

"No.  Not in the least.  Though it is nice he made sure Roque found happiness."

"It is," she agreed.  "I hear his pookie is much like him."

"On the same team.  Xander met them when Roque asked him to save them because he was in a bad position."

"Hmm.  Interesting.  I heard the consummation was really hot."  She beamed at him.  "Speaking of dating....."

"I have one I like and she does know of me," he said firmly.  "I do not need help."

"Fine.  Spoil my helpful times."

"Alexander talked many of the younger, single, bored warriors into helping John's project."

"I might help there."

"They're taking out the rest of the Supposed Ones.  They've killed many of them."  She beamed and kissed him.  "And Alexander's girlfriend is one of their doctors."

"Wonderful.  Thank you, Thor baby."  She disappeared.

He let out a sigh of relief.  His girlfriend was staring at him from the door.  "That was Lady Aphrodite."  She just nodded at that and went to rest her headache.  Thor went back to working out.  He had to be stronger so his nephew didn't show him up any longer.

Aphrodite appeared to where John was, which was back on the planet thankfully.  She kissed him on the temple.  He smiled at her.  "Lady Aphrodite, is there something I can help you with?"

"Bit of news."  He nodded, pulling out a chair for her.  She sat delicately.  "The true mate foretold for Xander is gone.  It was Malan."

"She wouldn't have let him be her mate."

"No, it warped the prophecy somehow."

"Well, Xander's known for it," he said dryly.  She swatted him on the arm, getting a grin back.  "It changed it?"

"A lot.  We're not sure the total depth of the changes but most of the minor things are changed and Xander's happy dating?"

"As far as I know.  I haven't sat down and talked to him about it."  She smiled.  "I know the woman he's courting and she is very good.  A good soul."

"Excellent.  Xander had bad taste in the past."  She winked at him.  "What about you?"

"What about me?  Mom's trying really hard and nearly lost me all respect among my men, Lady Aphrodite."

"Uh-huh.  We'll figure it out, John.  We miss having little tousled haired scamps running around Olympus getting into everything, asking questions, and talking Cupid into flying piggyback rides."

"Not this decade you're not getting any," he said dryly.

She laughed.  "I'm sure, dear.  Oh, Ares just called and said to send one his way later.  He wanted to know something about a tablet you guys found that relates to a war he's looking at."  She rolled her eyes.  "I think he's grumpy.  No one's screwing him recently."  She kissed him again then disappeared.

John pushed back in the chair and grinned.  "Cupid gave some of the best piggy back rides."

"I was told that you were mostly normal," General Landry said.  "Your half-brother said so."

John nodded.  "I am.  I don't have any special gifts.  I was partially raised by my father.  My mother let me visit them whenever anyone wanted me to, General.  I spent quite a few summers there because it's cooler than it was in India.  I played a lot among the grape fields and all that."

"Interesting.  Your father?"

He grinned.  "Not all that important."  He knew what Xander had told them, he had confessed to doing it.  "A guard of theirs in one of the healing temples."

"That's fine I suppose.  Why did she want you to know about Xander's mate?"

"It was part of the Ragnarok prophecy, a minor part that most people don't see because it's in the long section that everyone cuts out because it's all about the death count.  Supposedly, his true mate would be attacked in their home and Xander was going to berserk and kill a whole bunch of the warriors for it."  General Landry nodded once at that.  "But the prophesy was warped long before then because the mate that was written into it, they got on like alligators and pigeons.

"She tried to kill him anytime she saw him outside of when he was screwing her.  We have no idea why but from the time they were introduced she kept trying to kill him.  That would change the prophecy, which Xander's an expert at doing, and therefore the end battle in Valhalla, which I'm not written into but if it's changed I'd probably be there with Roque to help him calm down."

"So no attack on his family home?"

"Probably not.  Xander's still dating but he's not been totally certain.  Freya interfered when he was dating Anya but I'm told Odin broke that.  His new one is all of his own free will, and much nicer in taste and temperament than the last few who were deadly.  So he's seeing where it'll go on its own.  Without any love god or goddess prompting."

"That's wise of him," Daniel agreed.  "She'd probably hate a fated thing."

"We all hate fated things and the love gods getting involved usually makes things weird," John said with a grin.  "That's why I nearly ended up married in Bermuda once."

"Did one step in?" General Landry asked.

"No, a bitch named Aisha stepped in and killed her, trying to frame me for it.  Xander finally killed her when I couldn't.  She's the one that got Colonel Clay's team into things."  Landry shuddered.  Apparently he had heard.  "So she's no longer a threat."

"Wonderful," Daniel said.  "I heard that whole story from Jensen."  John grinned at him.  "Where is Clay?"

"Roque got ordered home to visit his mother and Clay's limping so he borrowed him for a few days to cover his backside.  He'd be in his room getting bored without it."

"What happened to him?" the general asked.

"Dislocated ankle during a bad rescue.  Cougar got a minor gunshot wound to the arm.  Pooch got one to his lower calf.  Jensen got two and he's still in the infirmary chatting with the nurses.  Since Doctor Biro gave them a week off to heal I let Roque steal him.  His mother can nag when she's in the mood."

"So could mine," Landry admitted, tapping his pen a few times.  "He'll have to go back on the ship."

"No, sir, Xander was able to teach Roque how to shadow shift.  That's how he got him from Atlantis and they can get him back up there."

"Good."  He looked at him.  "Doctor Keller has put forth charges against that team saying that they won't let her examine them?"

"That's because she's treating them like a science experiment.  I'm not letting her do mine either, General.  She's good for everyone but them, but I can't trust her not to do something stupid because they had the misfortune of being bitten by a Pegasus werewolf."

"I can understand that.  Do you want a different doctor?"

"Keller does good most of the time.  As long as they have another doctor they can go to they've said it's fine.  I'm not sure what would happen if they had to have real surgery and she would be the only one doing it.  Then again I've asked for some extra doctors before."

"You have and we're sending you one of Doctor Lam's staff this time," he assured him.  "He is a surgeon and will not treat them like lab rats.  As I found out, he knows Xander too.  He was sharing news of Xander's past lives."

"Peter Jennings?" John asked, looking confused.  Daniel smiled and nodded.  "When did he join?  The last I knew he was being a baby doctor in Philly."

"He's still a fully qualified surgeon and won't blink at anything strange," the general assured him.

"He's been a great doctor for generations, General, I'd welcome the man to the city.  He can manage it when Xander's really sick so he can handle whining Marines."

"Good."  He smiled.  "About the new weapons?"

"Sir, Xander did tell you he confiscated some and sent them to us?"

"No, he hadn't."  John got into that file to hand it over.  "Huh.  Where?"

"Roque found them; he was taking out the terrorist cell by himself.  He asked Xander if they needed anything in Sunnydale for an upcoming apocalypse and Xander kindly gave them to us."  John beamed.  "It's a very thoughtful present."

"Wonderful," General Landry agreed.  "Less we have to send, which the IOA doesn't want to do."

"Sir, for all I care, I can put 'nummy life source' t-shirts on the IOA and send them against the wraith," John said with a smirk.  Landry shuddered.  "They seem to cause more trouble than they're worth so I'd let them gladly go that way."

"No, I don't think we should," he ordered.

"I've had that same thought about them and replicators," Daniel said with a grin for John.

"Xander knows some vampires who'd love them," he countered.

"No, not a good idea," the general said firmly.  "At all."  They shrugged.  One of the warriors knocked and leaned in, saying something to Daniel.  Daniel got up and left.  "Why can't he speak English?" he muttered.

John shrugged.  "It's not his native language, General.  Though he just said that Teal'c got injured sparring with some newbies.  One fell on him accidentally and may have broken his leg."

"You speak Norse?"

"Yes.  Xander taught me."

"Interesting.  I'm assuming you speak Greek?"

"Ancient, not modern."

"I suppose that's reasonable with your parents.  Is that in your file?"

"No, sir, because I'm fairly rusty.  They tend to rant in English around me anymore."

"Any others?"

"I learned a few phrases in Chinese once upon a time but again, long ago.  We were greeting some of their protectors during a banquet the higher ups were throwing."

"All right.  Go rest."  John saluted and left.  General Landry went to talk to Doctor Lam.  Maybe there was a reason to break them up, but found Daniel had already told her about that intended mate thing, and she was cooing that the first one had died.  So maybe no hope there.  He didn't want Harris as a son-in-law.  He really didn't.


Roque brought Clay back, helping him into a free seat in Pooch's room.  "Better?"

"I'm fine," he complained.  Roque smirked.  "If your mother was free I'd hit on her."

"I know.  That's the great thing."  He smirked at the others.  "By the way, the new weapons were because I finally got Perkins out of Yemen."  He disappeared.

"Ice pack?" Jensen asked, holding up his.  Clay took it to put on his ankle.  "I didn't mean for there."

"Not needed," Clay shot back with an evil smirk.

"What's his mother like?" Pooch asked.

"You know the regal old line ladies from Spain and Italy?  The matriarchs with that bearing that you realize means that they're royal *somewhere*?"  They all nodded.  "Just like that only she cracks dirty jokes and is flirting with a set of twenty-year-old twins.  I swear the woman walks around wearing a sarong most of the time and bare feet, but her hair is more elaborate than any geisha's.   She's a damn good cook too.  She's really like Jolene.  The only problem we had was that she wants grandkids some century soon and he had to remind her that we're presently in separate galaxies."

"Who's his mom?" Jensen asked, looking confused.

"A major fertility goddess."

"Do you think they have some sort of hierarchical rank of 'my parent's more important'?" Pooch asked.

"Yes.  It's ritualized, it's based on who's fighting who and who's got an alliance at the moment, and if you're between two pantheons you've got it in both," Jensen told him.  "The royalty rankings have nothing on these.  The last time they had one of those banquets where everyone was supposed to show up, the Heralds took six days announcing everyone's titles and that's with six pantheons refusing to show up.  Some of their kids did and earned a lot of hell from what the history teacher told me.  She was there and I did a report on it in school."  He grinned.  They all shook their heads.  John showed up a few minutes later.  "That last banquet, how long did it take them to list all of Xander's titles?"

"Two hours.  Every time he helps another pantheon they piss off Odin by rewarding him.  Odin doesn't like Xander because of his father, so the others all adore Xander.  He's the best ambassador Valhalla has.  He has titles in, I think, thirteen other pantheons."  Clay moaned.  "Roque has them in three others.  Including one in Valhalla.  Odin still thinks it was him that saved that village and not Xander."  He flopped down.  "How did it go?"

"I'd hit on that woman if it wasn't for him."

John grinned.  "His mother's kick ass.  She's even told my mother to calm down."  That got a grin from Jensen.  "Landry asked, I told him you were covering Roque's back."  Clay nodded.  "He's still trying to keep his daughter from dating Xander."

"Xander deserves a good woman."

"He doesn't disagree, he just doesn't want it to be his daughter."  They all grinned at him.  "The reason I showed up is to tell you the new doc is safe.  He's one of us.  He's from a Celtic family.  He's been a doctor since they stopped teaching healers by the apprentice method.  Usually a baby doc and surgeon."  They all grinned.  "He's a smartass too.  If we still had Carson they'd get on like brothers and Peter would pick on him so badly for being Scottish and not a Celt."  He grinned.  "So you can trust him."  They all nodded.  "Though he'll swat if you whine."

"That's fine.  I'm sure he's used to whining sick people," Pooch said, looking at Jensen.

"I got bored.  They wouldn't even let me have a laptop."

"You're supposed to be resting," John said, but he was smirking evilly at Jensen.  "They do the same thing to Rodney."  He stood up.  "The new personnel are green as grass.  Right out of SG Basic, guys."  Clay whimpered.  "Most are under five years in.  There's a few idealistic ones.  Yeah, I'm going to have to make you ride herd during something simple but not until you're all better.  They've got six weeks of Atlantis bootcamp.  And don't you dare pull what Team 7 did last time and get shot right before they're due out.  Lorne sent them out together anyway."  He gave them another evil smirk.  "Half of them are women too."  Pooch moaned and Cougar started to pray.  "Four of the seventeen new women are like me though."

"Experienced?" Clay asked hopefully.

"Two.  Both botanists."


"Landry's choice, guys, and I'm giving the same lecture to Evan Lorne's crew in a few minutes.  Mitchell said he warned them and half the returned personnel did too.  So maybe they'll make it.  Not real sure."  They sighed but nodded, Cougar saying another prayer.  John left them to team bond or whatever they did on their downtime.

"Damn it, that's a ticklish spot, don't oil there," Jensen complained a minute later.  John snickered.  Only that team.


Xander was with Carolyn Lam when she got attacked.  Which was a good thing because he doubted she could've handled the clearly military trained people.  He, however, could and did.  She got a bit bruised fighting one off but Xander snapped his neck and moved on.  It was good to kick ass for real again.  By the time the help her emergency button had summoned got there, most of the guys were groaning and the two left standing tried to run.  Xander looked at her.  "Are you all right?" he asked quietly, moving closer.  She blinked at him.  "Carolyn, do you need a medic?"

"No, I'm okay," she said quietly.  He ran his hands down her arms and checked the new bruise on her cheek.  "I'm fine, Xander."

He kissed the booboo with a smile.  "I'm glad."  She hugged him.  That's when the General got there.

"Sir," one said.  "Doctor Lam is being fussed over.  Whoever he is left most of them alive for us to question.  Three of my men chased the ones that tried to run."

"Harris," Landry complained.  "Why were they attacking you?"

"They weren't."  He looked at him.  "They went right for her, General.  None of them expected me to do anything but whimper apparently.  They all seemed real shocked when I went into battle mode on 'em."

"He was very impressive," she said, clinging to Xander's arm.  He got free and put it around her shoulders, pulling her against his side.  She shivered.  "I know it's shock."

"It's reaction," he corrected.  "It's normal and you should feel a bit chilled and shaky."  She nodded.  He walked her to the jeep and stared at one of the guys.  He got out of the way.  He settled her into the seat, did her seatbelt on her, and then tucked his jacket around her.  "Let me see what they wanted," he said quietly, smiling at her.  He walked over to one who was groaning, kicking him over.  "Fucking speak now or forever hold your peace, dude."

"Who're you!" he demanded.

"Harris, from Sunnydale's team."  He stared at him.  The man started to babble 'no' over and over.  "Shut up!" he snapped.  The soldiers all flinched.  So did the general.  "What the fuck were you doing attacking a doctor?  I want a simple, concise answer.  If I do not get one, I'm summoning something to *play* with you for me."

The man swallowed, looking at the general.  "He's not mine, I can't stop him from torturing you," the general admitted.  But his daughter wouldn't like that so it was something he'd let him do.

"I'd never torture someone who wasn't doing something to warrant it," Xander assured him dryly without looking away from the bad guy.  "The last time I did, the idiot had six kids hostage and hidden.  You'd better believe he told me what I wanted to know about where they were and who had ordered them taken."  The guy on the ground stared at him.  Xander summoned his axe, letting it rest against his leg.  The guy was crying.  "Simple, concise sentences, douchebag.  Why attack the pretty, young doctor?"

"She has information we want on someone!" he shouted.  He was trying to move away but Xander shook his head so he quit.  "We weren't going to hurt her but you jumped in.  You're a victim, you're not supposed to fight back."

Xander snorted.  "I've been a warrior longer than this country has had people," he said dryly.  "There's no *victim* in me."  The man gaped.  Xander stared back.  "Now."  His axe glowed.  "What, exactly, were you supposed to ask her about?"  He picked up his glowing axe, which was just an illusion.  The man babbled all sorts of information.

"I don't know any of that.  That's Doctor Keller.  She's not around right now," she said dryly.

Xander smiled.  "Are you ever going to do this again?"  The guy shook his head quickly.  "And you'll report that so she doesn't have to be paranoid?  I can find her a beautiful guard dog that would make sure nothing and no one touched her against her will ever again."

"No!  No!  We'll never come near her again!" he shouted, trying to get away again.  "Don't chop me into pieces."

Xander sneered.  "You're not worthy of my axe turning you into kindling.  Feel *real* damn lucky."  The guy nodded and started to cry.  He put his axe on his back and walked back to her.  "If you want, I know someone who's raising some very good guard puppies."

She smiled, patting his cheek.  "They'd hate being in the infirmary all day."

"As long as they got walked now and then they'd be perfectly happy to be adored."

"That's all right, Xander."  He kissed her gently then stepped back with a shy grin.  "Thank you for saving me."

"Scum like that shouldn't even think about touching a woman against her will.  You deserve a real gentleman to make you happy and content."

She smiled.  "Sometimes I like naughty."

He winked his good eye.  "That's good to know."  She giggled.  "I'll call later this week?"  She nodded and he disappeared.

She got comfortable in her seat, looking at the staring soldiers.  "He's a very sweet, nice guy."

They all nodded.  "Mushy too," the one guarding her agreed.  "I said about the same thing when I was wooing my wife, Doc."

"I don't think we're close to that level yet.  We're just dating."  He grinned at her.  She snuggled inside his jacket.  The breeze was a bit cool and it was picking up.  "General, which agency are they from?"

"I don't know yet."  He looked at that one.  "I can ask him to ask you."

"Area 51," he whimpered.  Landry smirked.  "Please don't feed us to a wraith?"

Roque showed up, looking amused.  "Did someone beg to be fed to something evil?"  That guy shrieked and tried to move.  "Freeze," he snarled.

"Roque," Doctor Lam complained.  "Xander already scared him."

He smiled.  "Good.  Boy should be considered scary by this sort, but the VP asked that I handle that little *qualm* someone has about things that go on in your project.  I had a watch on you guys in case one of you was pounced."

She smiled.  "Xander thumped them for me."

"Xander's good at it," he assured her.  "That's why so many villages are still around."  He winked.  "Let me talk to these assholes and I'll drop them in your brig, General."  He gathered the ones that didn't need medical attention and brought them to where the Vice President wanted to know what was going on.  He didn't really like that guy but it was a job.  And he could always kill him later.  Or have Xander talk to whichever demon he owed so it'd be called in.

General Landry looked at his only daughter and sighed mentally.  "Let's get back to base, people.  I want them in the brig ASAP."  They nodded and gathered them to take back.  The ones tracking the two runners called in and got picked up.  He babied his daughter all the way back to base but she was all right.  He was going to beat Harris for being so evil in front of her.  Though it was a bad sign she hadn't been scared of him.


Roque snatched John from a briefing with a wave at the guys.  "Bad shit's going down and they want to own him.  I'll bring him back in a day or so, as long as it's not an emergency, guys."

"No, it's not," Evan Lorne said to the blank spot.  "What now?"  The others all shrugged.  He looked at Clay, who shrugged a second time.  So there was no telling.

Roque grabbed Xander on his way back to the Mountain.  He dropped them.  "Stay," he ordered.  Then he went to grab the other three involved, brining them back.  General Landry was throwing a fit about the people being brought to his office.  "So," he said when he reappeared with both O'Neills and Daniel Jackson.  "I was hired by the VP to solve an issue in my usual charming way that related back to your program."

"Then why am I here?" Xander asked.

"Because earlier today he was pumping me for information on any kids you might have, bright boy."

"No, I don't have any.  And now I have DNA warping.  By the way, Mom doesn't know about yours, John."

"Thanks, Xander.  Roque?"

"I had no idea the weenie in charge was such an idiot," he admitted.  He sat Daniel down.  "That attack to get that pretty doctor Xander's seeing?  They wanted to pump her for more than what they said.  He admitted that they had wanted to know more than what they had admitted to.  Considering I questioned them first and that didn't come out then....."

"So they wanted to ask Doctor Lam questions about Sheppard's DNA and other things," the general said.

The older Jack O'Neill, not the clone, gaped at him then at Xander.  "They attacked us when we were coming out of dinner the other night."  He called her.  "She deserves to hear."

"I'd like to cushion her," Landry ordered.

Xander stared at her.  "Then how can she protect herself?  She's not going to be able to stay on base all the time.  No one can live like that if they're not moles."

"Good point," O'Neill agreed.  "And I agree," he said, staring at Landry.  "Even though she's your daughter."  She walked in and shut the door.  "Doctor Lam."

"Boys.  Generals.  Roque.  New information about that attack?"

"The higher ups that hired me to find out and fix the inner problems between your group and others were behind it.  They wanted more than they said.  That same higher up also asked me pointed questions about any children Xander might have."  She grimaced but nodded.  "About Sheppard's DNA, if you had ever found a difference between the two clones, and if we could find a way to make ascension happen for anyone by another means."

She considered it.  "I can answer a few of those."

"There's different sorts of ascended," Xander said quietly.  Daniel looked at him.  "We...lost Cordelia recently.  She's ascended now to be the Messengers for the Powers That Be, who're over slayers.  They're the ones in control of that whole game and chess board.  Her visions ended up harming her brain too much and it was the only way she could be saved."  Roque stared at him.  "Mine's not the same."  That got a nod.  "But... that's not the same sort of ascended that Jackson was.  Totally different energy signature.  That would also explain why I sent three NID people into the infested lake, right?" he asked Roque.

"Yes.  They hated that the lake had little biting vampire fish."  Xander smirked.  "Why were they after you?"

"They wanted to harness what makes Buffy so special.  They've wanted it since the Initiative tested her."  That got a nod from Doctor Lam.  "I found them stalking her, not me.  I haven't seen any stalking me.  I've seen one stalking Tara but that was after she had to magic a demon up a tree to protect herself."

"So this is the Initiative again," the younger O'Neill said.

"No," Roque said.  "They didn't have official permission from the president.  The VP did."  The clone shuddered.  "And he's real certain you're not a real person, kid."  The clone nodded at that.  "The same as he's real certain he wants Xander's blood to test and any kids he might be able to create and turn into better soldiers to take John's place on the city so they're back in control."  He looked at the two Generals, Landry first.  "You two are in their way but you especially, O'Neill.  Before I ...talked to him he asked me how best to plant a car bomb in a protected lot without hiring an expert."

"Geeze," Jack muttered.  "So they were going to kill me, capture the younger me, capture Xander's whole team, impregnate Lam, and then treat Daniel like a lab rat with the others."  Roque nodded.  "Are they alive?"

"Nope."  He smirked.  "The VP is barely.  He ....got attacked by a demon."  Xander beamed at him.  "I told Jimmy you'd pay him back."

"He owed me twenty kittens anyway."  He shrugged.  "That'll cancel that debt nicely."  He saw Carolyn's look at him.  "Jimmy is a demon that can implant memories.  So instead of Roque beating him for information, he got the injuries from a demon attack.  And they already know demons are going to attack them over the Initiative thing.  There's been three we've stopped from going out there to get revenge for what happened to their families.  I'm damn glad we stopped that NSA/NID joint program."  He got into Landry's system and typed in a code, getting the file sent to him from Fury, who said he already knew why they were having a meeting and he was trying hard to keep them away from his people.  "Fury said they've made moves on the Avengers."  He let O'Neill have the keyboard.  "Their full files that we gave to Fury.  And I did make sure he got a *full* copy even though Willow didn't like it."

Roque smirked.  "I liberated one."  He held up the keydrive, letting Daniel take it to run on a separate system.  "Also, the NID people are *rabid*, Xander.  You're in deep.  Your whole team."

"My whole team is used to being in deep over our heads but I'm starting to get a funny feeling about Buffy."  He crossed his arms over his chest.  "I'm still infertile thanks to the mermaid taint that never got cleared.  Even if they had my kids there's no guarantee that they'd be warriors or immortal.  Hell, my father's a chaos god and my mother's a river goddess.  Warrior doesn't really come into that anywhere on either side.  Her parents were a fertility goddess and Grandfather was an ethereal entity.  Odin's not really a warrior either.  So even if they could manage a kid, there's no way they'd be warriors.  From what I heard, Odin had a good, long laugh that Loki's son turned out to be a guardian."

Carolyn patted his arm.  "Maybe some day you'll fix that taint?"

He kissed her on the cheek with a smile.  "As soon as I'm married and I'm sure that whoever wants kids, definitely.  Until then, not a chance."  She laughed and nodded she understood.

Roque grinned.  "Good.  In case you break up with her or someone tries something, that'll mean that it can't happen accidentally."  Xander's face lit up and he left suddenly.  "I know that's an unholy look.  The last time he had an idea that managed to not sink Venice but ruined a royal family."  He looked at John.

"Mine may or may not pass onto a child but I'm not infertile," he admitted.  "Is Xander an ATA?"

"Yes, very minimally," Carolyn told him.  "So if that passed on...."

"If that passed on, it'd be my heir," John said bluntly.  "Until they could get one of mine or O'Neill's."  He looked at the clone.  "Which means they can use you for both purposes."

"Charming," he said grimly.  "Just what I always wanted to be."

"With the state of medicine and DNA work, they could make little O'Neill/Sheppard or O'Neill/Harris kids," Roque pointed out.  All three shuddered.  "Which would probably gift the child with Xander's innate inheritance and their skills."

"With some tampering they could make sure it was an ATA carrier and what they needed," she agreed.  She was grimacing.  "How many more are left in this plan, Roque?"

"I only got the top guy and no one knows I got him except a guard that tried to interrupt and when I told him why he said he didn't hear a thing as he walked off humming."

"So we have two agencies and people in a third," John Sheppard said.  O'Neill nodded, looking at him.  "NID, Area 51, and the NSA has some.  Which one first?"

"NID," O'Neill said.  "Maybourne has got to go."

"Area 51?" the younger O'Neill asked.

"They're the ones that attacked me the other night," Carolyn told him.

Xander came back.  "We've already got an issue."  He called someone from the desk phone, putting it on speaker.  "Fury, I need you and Stark on a conference call to talk."

"Why?" the other end said, sounding disgruntled.  "He's being an asshole."

"Because the current NID plan somehow got Buffy knocked up and the last person she slept with was Stark."

"I saw you get into that file....  They are?" he demanded.


"Oh hell no!" Fury shouted.

"My feeling too.  She'll be due in the middle of apocalypse season, Fury.  NID and Area 51 all have plans and someone wanted to try to do the Initiative thing again.  They were NSA funded before so....."

"Figures," he muttered.  "STARK!" he bellowed, making General Landry wince on their end.

"I had a ...talk with the VP earlier but a demon attacked him," Roque said.

"I want to know everything you do, Roque, today."

"Agreed.  After this."

"Fine."  That end got muffled while he said something.  Someone started to rant.

"Buffy's on the pill," Xander told the phone, staring at it.  He leaned his hands on the desk to get closer.  "She's been on the pill for *years*, Stark.  I don't figure you're that potent."

"I'm snipped!" Stark complained.

"And the NID was following her the other day," Xander said.  "I threw them into our lake that's infested with nibbling fish."

"Ow," Stark said then sighed.  "Does she know?"

"I just had her do a test in her mom's room so she's scaring nurses."

"That's bad," Stark decided.  "Why the meeting?"  Roque went over everything he had told them.  "Wonderful," he sneered.  "I'm so going to cancel my work with those three groups.  You guys are sacred to me but not them.  That means no new lab equipment too."  They all winced when something slammed on that end.

"He's going to rant at Pepper," Fury said.  "All right, what are we doing first?"

"NSA, we need to weed them out, see who's involved now," Roque said.  "If not, we can ignore them outside of keeping them off our backs."

"Maybourne and Kinsey have got to go," Jack ordered.  "Today."

"I can do that," Xander and Roque both said.

"I'm better at quiet eliminations, kid," Roque said roughly, staring at him.  He glanced at the doctor when Xander stared back.

Xander smiled.  "Yes, but I can chaos their cars into going over a cliff without any help or anything noticeable."

"They don't deserve nice," Fury said.  "Maybourne's filed a request with the president to get Summers, you, and Maclay taken in for observation.  He just sent me a memo asking me to pick you up."

"I can sink another building," Xander offered.  "DAD!" he bellowed.  Loki showed up looking amused.  "Your former lover wants you to have grandkids so they can torture, test, and use them.  Are you in on that plot?"

"No.  I'd never want that for my grandchildren or my children."  He stared at him.  "You do think horrible things about me, son."

Roque coughed.  "Your lover, he's gone."

"I heard.  You're welcome for all his other guards not knowing a thing, Roque."  Roque smirked at him for that.  He looked at his son.

"The president just agreed me, Buffy, and Tara can be taken into custody."

"You'd destroy them."

"Buffy's already gotten knocked up, probably by them since there's no way it was natural."

"No, that's not a good thing."

"Tara's beloved of John's aunt Hestia."  He smirked.

"That's even worse.  Go get them to safety, son."  Xander went to do that.  He looked at Roque.  "Want his help to hunt them down?"

"No, I might take my team back for a week or so but otherwise I can probably handle it without Xander."

"I know he's been in wars, Roque.  Don't do it because we're seeing each other," she said quietly.  "I've seen plenty of soldiers."

He grinned.  "I like you," he decided.  "Even if you two don't make it you're safe from me, Lam."  He looked at Loki again.  "It's worse than bad.  How far did you want your son to go?"

"Nowhere.  Though I know it's a pipedream."

"Did you hear that he warped Ragnarok?" John said with a smirk.  Loki gave him a confused look.  "His intended mate by that was Malan."

"But..."  He considered it.  "Is..."  He snapped his mouth shut.  "Totally invalidated?"

"Not the main six battles," Roque told him.

"Excellent.  I'll look forward to it."  Xander reappeared looking sweaty.  "Problems?"

"They set the shop on fire with Tara knocked out inside.  Apparently they didn't like her fighting back.   She's fine though.  She's in Fury's infirmary with Joyce and Buffy.  I got Dawn up there too.  And they're in the fire."  He looked at Roque.  "All NSA."  He handed over the ID's he had taken.

Roque looked then nodded.  "I've seen a few on our team's orders in the past."  He put them on the desk.

"I want them," Fury said.

"Sure," Roque agreed.  "In a few."  He looked at O'Neill.  "You're the general.  Xander and I are soldiers.  We can cause some pretty hell and havoc between us but if you want us to work toward a plan, let us know now."


"Maybourne is shut down," he reported.  "Taken into custody.  The bag team heading for LA was stopped by Stark's people and Thor, who is in a snit of epic proportions.  And... the president is really not happy that I'm disobeying orders."

"You can tell him I'm older than this damn country and I will destroy *everything* if I have to.  I'll send the ones I like to my big brother to guard for me."

"Son, that would take godly powers," Loki said.

Xander grinned.  "Really?"  He winked at Carolyn.  "It was a good dinner.  Picnic on Atlantis later?"

She swatted him.  "Be serious, Xander.  Beyond that, if I left the infirmary here, they'd wreck it on me."

"It would be safer," John told her.

"They still need my skills here."

"There's no travel going right now," Landry told her.  "At all.  You're going to Atlantis, Carolyn.  I want you safe.  When Sheppard goes back, so do you."  She huffed but nodded.

"Small problem, we've been tracking an Ori ship for months heading this way," Daniel told him.

"I know that.  We need to prepare for that battle anyway.  The gate teams are to go to standby today and prepare for a battle."  Daniel nodded, passing that out to Cam Mitchell, the second-in-command for the base.  Jack O'Neill nodded at that plan.  "Harris, Roque, you have a focus.  For right now, take out subtly, question, gather information."

"Yes, sir," Xander said.  "Let me get them home.  Roque?"

"I can do that, kiddo."

"I'm older than you.  Quit that."

"You look younger," he said smugly.

"Bite me."

"You are like Clay's son," he said dryly.  Carolyn snickered, shaking her head.  "He is!"

"A lot," John agreed.  "MOM!"  She appeared, looking amused.  "There's people who want to torture us, breed us, and then use the kids.  Can I count on some support?"

"Baby, they're so dead," she said dryly.  "Water is not just a nurturing element after all."  She looked at Loki.  "Are you protecting our son?"

"Yes, if he'll let me."

"You can follow and be amazed," Xander quipped.

"Dear, let your father do some of the heroic stupid stuff," she ordered.  He shrugged.  "Good boy."  She kissed him on the cheek.  Then John.  "You, be safe.  You can't be the warrior that Xander is."

"Mom, I'm pretty damn good at it," John said dryly.

"Yes, but he's been in more battles, dear."  She disappeared.  Xander had told her that he had protected John as well.  She went to talk to John's father.  Hera interrupted to find out what was going on too.  Not a happy Goddess day in any pantheon by the time they got done talking.

Xander looked up then at John.  "She went to your dad."

"Oooh," he said with a wince.  "He's going to blow his stack."

"Yeah, probably."  He looked at Loki.

"I'll go talk to Tyr for you."  He disappeared.  There was something he wanted to know and he couldn't find it out by standing in the same room with his son.

Xander looked at John, then at Roque.  "Call it."

"NSA," Roque said.

"NID," Xander decided.  That got a nod and they left the Area 51 people to the generals.  He smiled at Carolyn.  "I'll pop up for a picnic in a few days.  John?"

"I'll take 'em.  You've got a team in trouble," Roque reminded him.

"I have them," Fury assured him from the phone.

"Good.  Let me go bitch out someone in Sunnydale.  By the way, Fury, thanks for the new cops.  They're actually really good.  We like them a lot."  He hung up and disappeared.  The police chief was staring at the store.  Xander walked up next to him.  "NID."

The Chief looked at him.  "They said you're wanted on a federal warrant."

"Huh, that'd be amusing since they want to torture me and then breed me."  He shrugged. "I'll destroy them.  Giles is in LA driving and the rest of us are safe.  Outside of Spike.  I'll warn him and then head."  He smirked and walked off calling Giles.  "It's me.  The store's toast thanks to the fire set by NID weenies trying to revive the Initiative.  Buffy, Dawn, and Joyce are with Fury.  Yes, I'm serious, Giles.  Exactly.  So... I'd think maybe you should hide somewhere the NID can't find you, yeah.  Talk to Agent Fury, Giles."  He hung up and found Spike, knocking on the crypt door until he got up and let him in.  "NID is back."

"Bloody hell," he muttered.

"Knocked Buffy up."  Spike gaped at him, then tried to walk into the sun.  Xander pushed him back.  "We're all scattering.  They torched the store.  Wanted to dissect Tara and me."  Spike started to growl.  "Exactly.  So scatter, today."  He nodded, moving to grab some things.  Xander brought him to Willie's.  "Guys, this is an official notice.  NID is back.  They wanted to restart the Initiative mess," he announced.  The demons in there all stared at him.  "They actually knocked up Buffy and were going to burn Tara in the store earlier when she fought back against them."  A few shuddered.

"Yeah, they're in there.  As of right now, the team is calling a scatter.  They're not fully formed here.  The NID base is in Arizona and they have two other hidden bases."  A few nodded at that.  "We're scattering too.  Protect the young and innocent, people.  They've got *presidential* permission this time."  The patrons got up and paid their tabs then went to spread the news.  He looked at the bartender.  "Sorry."

"It's good to know," he assured him.  "Tell her we hope the baby's good."

"The baby's most likely a baby Ironman."  He grinned and took Spike to LA, handing him to Angel.  Angel let Spike go and was glaring at the floor.  "They call?"

"Cordelia.  She said to hide very well, Harris."

"I can hide on most any plane, Angel.  It's not an issue.  Hell, I could go home and raise an army or something."  He shrugged and left.  He felt himself being called home and went to talk to his higher ups.  He walked into the throne room in Valhalla, nodding at Odin and the ruling council.  "I'm in the middle of an emergency on earth."

"Impertinent," Odin warned.

Xander stared at him.  "It's not you they want to torture and breed, Odin."

"Good point."  He stared at him.  "Have you broken out in powers?"

Xander shrugged.  "If so, it's not because of your heritage."  He crossed his arms.  "I have people I have to protect.  Are you helping or not?"  They gaped.  "I don't have time to be polite, people.  They've already knocked up the slayer I work with.  They tried to capture the woman I'm courting the other night."  A few shuddered.  "So I don't have time to be polite, play footsie games, none of it.  Be blunt."

"Have you broken out?" Odin asked again.

Xander shrugged.  "I've never tested it.  I'm not interested in testing it.  If I have, it's from Mother's side of the heritage, not yours."

"That's good to know.  Are you certain?" Odin asked.  Xander nodded.  "Will you allow it to be tested?"

"No.  Because I don't need to die if you're wrong.  I have too many people counting on me right now.  If I have, it'll come out naturally during a true battle.  If not, then I'll do my usual job."

"That is a good point," his father said.  "But it could leak out, son."

Xander looked at him.  "If it was the chaos gifts, we'd already know, Father.  It'd have already killed a few dozen people."

"Good point," he admitted, looking at his father.  Who nodded at that.  "You let us help with them, Son."

"Roque's dealing with the NSA people.  I'm dealing with the NID people, Father.  If you want to help, go for it.  I can work around your plans and add them to my own.  But first I have to free anyone they have hostage."  That got a nod and Tyr, the God of War for this pantheon, moved closer to help him plan that.  Loki could help.  So could Thor if he wanted to.  Xander let him do what he needed to do in New York for now.  He'd call in the extended family for worse battles.  He was sure there were some coming.


Xander walked out of the shadows that night when he was yelled for.  He looked at Tony Stark.  "Needle insertion method?"

"Yes," he snarled.

Xander grinned.  "Want ear pets?"  Stark gave him a dirty look.  "You're growling like Ares' war dogs.  I thought I'd offer."

Tony smirked.  "Smartass."

"I try really hard, even during battle times.  Did you get all the victims?"

"Yes.  And the doctors wanted to make sure you weren't injured."  Xander opened his mouth.  "So does Dawn."

"I'd die for Dawn," he sighed.  "I'm not injured.  One tried to shoot me but I faded into the dark before it hit."  He let him see the tiny injury.  "You can tell her I'm fine, just really, really pissed off.  And there's three other labs."

"They got raided by the FBI."

"Whoo-hoo," he said flatly.  "How many did they euthanize?"

"None.  The FBI gassed them then went in.  Everyone was out.  Their projects were taken to a secure military hospital so they can't get them back.  A few of us helped hack into their systems to get all their information.  I gave Roque what he needed for his target too."

Xander grinned.  "Thank you for saving me some work, Mr. Stark."

"He's a professional, you're the old school sort of warrior, kid.  For now, be overprotective of your family.  They could use you."

Xander nodded.  "The last time I saw Buffy she screamed at me like it was my fault so I was giving her a chance to calm down."

"She beat the hell out of one of them for it."  Stark smirked.  "Pepper cheered her on and Dawn helped by giving her suggestions."

"Sounds like Dawn, yeah."  He shifted.  "How many more are there?"

"The president believes it's a really bad idea now."

"Is that because the demon he's vowed to is treating him like the cocksucker he is?"

"Possibly," Stark admitted.  He smiled.  "Go rest with the girls.  They need you."  Xander nodded, heading down to get pounced and cuddled.  Tony took a breath of fresh air.  It was nice.  Though he was taking full custody of whatever that child ended up being.  Joyce could bitch but have visitation.  He didn't want his son to learn how to battle demons until he was older.

"Oh my god, you have more power!" a female voice shouted.

Tony looked then followed.  That was strange.

Xander was staring at the woman in the hallway.  "Why aren't you in a cell?  Or dead?"


Xander stared at her.  "Why?"

"Why is she free?  They're doing the final sentencing tomorrow," Stark asked.  He tapped his communication button.  "Chandler, it's Stark.  Why is Rosenburg wandering?"  He hung up.  Guards ran their way and Xander handed her over.  He looked at the boy, who shrugged.  "Power?" he asked quietly.

"I may have broken out in powers but I'll figure it out during a battle some day," he said with a smirk.  "It's not on Dad's side of the family."

"Ah.  Can this be used......" he let that trail off.

"To make my uncle feel pitiful?  Maybe."  He strolled off looking happier.  "There's my girls."  Tara pounced him and he cuddled her.  "Are you feeling better?"  She nodded, sniffling some.  "I know."  He settled in on her bed, which was in Buffy's room, letting Tara cuddle him.  Dawn stared from cuddling her mom across the room.  "It gets any worse and I'm taking you to John to guard for me."  They all grinned.  "NID may be totally gone.  Roque's got NSA people since he worked with them before.  I did warn Willie's about them, Buffy."  She nodded that was wise.  "I told Giles to scatter, brought Spike to Angel so he could hide easier."

"That sounds like our scatter plan, yeah," Buffy agreed.  "What about the one you're dating?"

"She saw me kicking some ass the other night when they tried to attack her.  We had no idea it was related until earlier."

"Good.  It's good she won't shy away from you."  She frowned, looking around.  "What's that noise?"

Xander listened, then shrugged.  "I don't know.  What are you hearing?"

"A buzzing noise."

Xander concentrated on the energy flows.  "Shit," he said, and concentrated really hard.

The sudden lightening of the infirmary disappearing from the flying fortress meant that the dampeners came on automatically and everything went into lockdown.  Including the force field around the prisoners so Willow couldn't attempt to break free again.


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