Notes:  Reflections and Shadow are to blame for this one.  Really, they are.  I even pleaded sore wrists but he tried very hard and Shadow cheerleaded with the help of a few others on the list.  Oh, well.  Guess I'll have to write it now.  Though Xander doesn't have a fake eye in this one.


The student nurse in the ER looked up with a scream as a body fell from seemingly thin air.  One of the others caught the body with her and they eased it onto an empty gurney when one was shoved close enough.  "How did that happen?" she asked, looking up at the lack of hole in the ceiling.  "There's no way."

"It doesn't matter right now.  Let's treat him first then worry about where he came from and who he is," the other nurse snapped, checking his vitals.  "He's unconscious, he's got numerous cuts and bruises, all fresh.  It looks like it might be internal injuries too.  Get me one of the trauma docs!"  The student nurse ran off and she got to work on her patient, starting with an IV once she had drawn blood to type and test for diseases, drugs, etc.  A few doctors ran her way.  "No idea where he came from.  We caught him falling from the ceiling."  The doctors looked up then at her.  "Like I said, no idea.  He's got numerous cuts and what seems to be some internal bleeding by his pulse and blood pressure."

They checked him over and rushed him to surgery.  The bloodwork could be presented up there.  This guy was going to die without immediate help.


Doctor House looked up as someone walked into his office with a folder.  "What's this?"

"Strange trauma case," his boss said, handing over the folder.

"Surgery's up the hall," he reminded her.  "Trauma isn't my job."

"The boy has signs in his bloodwork of having a rare, extinct form of smallpox, a fairly rare strain of syphilis, both causing no symptoms but no antibiotics or antivirals in his system, multiple healed injuries that weren't treated by any known professional or I hope whoever did lost their license, and he's got six different DNA anomalies.  Plus he showed up out of the middle of nowhere, fell from a ceiling without a hole, and his body looked like it had run a marathon even though he had numerous stabbing and puncture injuries, none gunshot wounds, and bruises from what looks like a going through a hallway worth of frat boys with locks inside pillowcases."

He reached over to take the folder to look at.  "That strain of syphilis died out before the turn of the last century when it mutated to another strain."

"Exactly.  The smallpox strain as well.  The last known case of that strain, according to the CDC, was back in the eighteen-hundreds."

House looked up at her.  "Spy transporting it in his body?"

"No.  Probably not.  He's twenty-one."


"Um-huh."  She smirked.  "And he appeared out of nowhere in my ER.  They spent seven hours working on the injuries.  We have no idea what those DNA anomalies come from.  One's a radiation one as far as they could tell but it's not on record in the system or any system she could find."

House gave her an odd look.  "Who is this kid?"

"His driver's licence said Alexander Lavelle Harris, of Sunnydale, California and he was reported to be there as of ten days ago because someone did a bit of digging and found a parking ticket then.  The local cops said 'wandering person' and left."

"Multiple mysteries then."  He put the folder onto his desk.  "Did we start the right antibiotics and antivirals?"

"The diseases aren't bothering him.  He's had them long enough that he's now got an immunity to them."  House gaped.  She nodded and beamed.  "See, your sort of case, House."  She walked off much happier.

"Gee, thanks, Cuddy."  He paged his residents and had them join him wherever the boy was.  He walked down there reading the file, frowning at a few things.  "That's just...wrong."  Two of the three were already there when he got there.  "Did Chase have the runs?"

"No, he's getting the surgical file."  House waved the chart.  "No, the surgeon made a separate report on the injuries in case the police wanted to know.  He's getting that."

"So we've known about this case?"

"Chase said something about being in the lab waiting on our last case's bloodwork when his came in and started to make everyone confused," Foreman said.  Chase walked in reading.  "Anything good?"

Chase held up a baggie.  "They have no idea what this is.  It looks like a nail to me but it's not human according to the tests and it was found in a wound tract."  He handed over the surgeon's report.  "They're running his blood through the CDC system right now."

"Charming.  And?"

"And?  He's got an immunity from either having smallpox or being exposed to them.  An ancient, dead strain.  Syphilis the same.  He had no fever, no sores, and however he got here he was unconscious.  Not responding to any stimulus.  The injuries suggest a brutal battle.  One of the DNA anomalies is radiation, she finally pegged it after a new report got entered into the system about a town that had a nuclear power plant and an earthquake but wasn't spewing any radiation into the air after the town fell into the hole."  He handed over that report as well.  "Which is where he was as of ten days ago.  No signs of radiation poisoning.  His clothes looked like he did manual labor, as do the calluses on his hands.  His clothes had multiple blood types on it, none with the same diseases, but all of them had the same radiation signature, which is not harmful to humans or animals."

House looked confused.  "So he was irradiated and nothing happened?  He has multiple fatal diseases and no symptoms?"


House looked at the boy's pre surgical picture.  "He doesn't look like Superman."  He walked in to check the boy over.  Something was seriously wrong here.  People didn't get dead strains of deadly diseases without a reason.  Especially without getting sick from them.  "The other DNA anomalies?"

"Was sent to the crime lab in New York for their DNA person to look over.  See if it's in their system or if we can get a positive ID match.  Should be three days," Chase told him. "I have no idea beyond that.  Nothing's making him ill except the broken bones, the internal injuries, and all that, and there's no reason he won't wake up.  The exhaustion he has isn't from exertion because it's still on-going."

"Hold on, exhaustion?" Cameron asked.

House handed her the folder. "That was one of the things they found in his first bloodwork."  He looked him over then took the folder back after they had read it.  "So, how did this happen?  You're right, he doesn't look like James Bond either.  Looks like a construction worker."

"By his license he is," Chase said.  He shrugged.  "I'm all for leaving him be since his system seems to be handling the higher diseases.  The lab wanted him quarantined but since we can't prove he's actively infected..."

"Okay, let's start working on the exhaustion," House decided.  "Then we'll figure the rest out as the injuries heal."  He looked at the bloodwork.  "Potassium is low.  Calcium, blood sugar's a bit low."

"I'll get a nutritional drip started," Foreman said, going to get one.  They used them to help long-term cases that didn't have feeding tubes but couldn't eat.

"Should we drop a feeding tube?" Cameron asked.

"Give it two days," he told her.  He looked at Chase.  "I want you monitoring all the bloodwork.  Each bit that comes in.  Do an antigen count ever day."  He nodded, going to check.  House looked at the young kid.  He was too young for this sort of thing to happen.  He was a clean cut, nice looking kid.  No tattoos, no piercings, nothing that would show he was 'alternative' in the ways that would count to them: gangs, S&M, those things.  "Let's see if the CDC thinks he should be in quarantine.  Put him in restricted access, no one in but us and the nurses.  If someone shows up I want to see them first."

"You think someone is going to try to claim him?" she asked.

"I think if he's carrying around smallpox in his blood system there's a federal agent somewhere sweating and I want to know why," he said honestly.  "It'll probably answer all the other questions we have."  Chase came back with a new paper.  "Good news or bad?"

"Bad.  One of the anomalies was looked over and she found it in a sea creature index.  Listed as a fish sample."

"He has... fish DNA."

"Only two markers," Chase said, handing over the report with a smirk.

"Charming."  He looked at it.  "Anything associated with that sea creature?"

"It was listed but had no information in the file outside of a Latin name that basically translates to mermaid."

"Mermaid!  Ah."  He nodded, handing it back.  "Someone in a lab somewhere is smoking pot."

"Probably," Cameron said, helping set up the IV.  "Just vitamins?  No antibiotics?"

"How old is the smallpox?"

"Three years," Chase said.

"Then no, he's probably not actively contagious.  Antibiotics won't help very much."  He looked at the young man on the bed.  "Let's order a CT."

"He's being put into traction in a few hours," Foreman reminded him.

"Then we can do the CT first," House assured him, making Cameron go arrange that.  "Anyone who sees him reports to us."  Chase nodded, writing that down for him.  He checked him again, frowning at his blood pressure and blood oxygen level. "That's fairly low.  Even for someone in a coma."

"Maybe the mermaid taint means he doesn't need as much," Chase joked.

"Could be.  Monitor and let me know if any symptoms appear.  It's wrong of a patient to have diseases and no symptoms."  He walked off, going to look up those strains.  Something seriously wrong was going on here.  And yes, he did expect a sweaty federal agent to be showing up soon.  They always seemed to take the good cases.


House looked at the next day's bloodwork.  "That exhaustion is still hanging on."

"I added more sucrose to the IV drip and it helped raise his blood oxygen levels," Chase said.  "More potassium helped too.  He's still reading as exhausted and now he's got a bit more of the radiation reading.  It spiked last night then seemed to go back to a level that read as 'safe' by the machines."

"Define safe?" he asked, frowning at him.

"Like he had radiation treatments six months ago.  He won't set off a monitor but he'll read it for a while yet."

"Still no symptoms with the others?"

"Small fever when the radiation spiked, went down when it did," Foreman told him.  "Nothing new beyond that.  They do think his legs are going to give him fits and he'll have to do a lot of therapy.  They think the stab injuries are healing a bit slowly.  Not uncommon with people exposed to radiation though.  What got me is he's not showing any signs of having radiation.  No anemia, no hair loss, none of it.  I even asked Wilson and he said he's never seen that spectrum of radiation used in a therapeutic case and he wasn't showing any signs of it."

"Also, that report that identified the radiation as being from his hometown has now disappeared," Chase added.  Cameron came in.  "He have any change?"

"No.  The nurses think he's going to be begging when he wakes up.  They don't want to give him pain medicine for some reason."

"Pain medicine is a godsend when you've got one shattered leg, one broken one, a Y- incision like he had been dead to fix all the internal injuries, and a concussion."

"They said they're wary of giving him pain medicine.  Apparently he growled at one and she thought his eyes glowed when she checked the reflexes.  Yes, I turned her into Cuddy to be drug tested."  She sat down.  "He did slightly growl at me as well."

"I'll give him his next dose of pain killers."  She slid them over.  "They wouldn't?"

"Absolutely refused.  Even when I got Cuddy onto them they refused to go near the boy. They think it's some sort of strange symptom."

"No, he's probably in pain," House said dryly.  "I growl when I'm in extreme pain.  I remember waking up after my leg and nearly biting a nurse's arm."  He went to give the pain medicine, glaring at the nurses.  They all shrank back but didn't go near him.  Sure enough, he heard a growl when he got closer.  He leaned down.  "Want something for the pain, Alexander?  If so, quit growling.  You're scaring the nurses."  The growling moved into more of a whining noise.  "I know you hurt.  Can you wake up more fully?"  The growl was back.  "I'm Doctor House, one of your doctors here."  The growl moved back into a whimper.  "Fine, let's do the pain medicine first."  He did that and the growl eased.  The boy's growl was now much more sedate.  He looked in his eyes, seeing ... a glow.  "Radiation exposure proven," he said, looking down at him again.  "Alexander?"  The growl came back.  "Hmm."

"He might not go by his full name," a nurse offered from the doorway.  "What is the glowing?"

"He was exposed to some radiation.  Probably that."

"Is he safe?"

"Yes."  He glared at her.  She came in to do a vital's check, petting him.  The growl changed tones, more menacing.  House patted him on the chest.  "Quit.  That's a nurse.  She won't hurt you."  The boy whimpered.  "We're looking."

"Sure.  You usually do.  As long as he doesn't nearly die like some of your patients do."  She walked off, going to make notes.

"Not funny," he called after her.  He looked over the boy's body.  He had some older scars and some newer scars.  Some very old scars.  He frowned at one on his arm.  It was well over five years old by the color, probably closer to ten.  "Was she right, want a different name?"  The whimper came back.  "Hmm.  What's all the nicknames for Alexander.  Al?  Alex?  Xander?  Tom?  Dick?  Harry?"  The boy let out one high pitched keen at the third name.  "Xander?"  The whimpering was back.  He gave him a pat on the head.  "Okay, we'll use that."  He leaned down.  "You need to wake up."  The growling stopped and the boy seemed to drift off again.  House went to make notes.  "The glowing eyes are probably because of the radiation exposure."  He wrote that on the white board.  Along with all his other symptoms.

"Could the exhaustion be linked to his body breaking down from the radiation?" Foreman suggested.

"No, no cellular breakdown or change that's outside normal parameters," Chase told him. "I checked that this morning.  The growling?"

"He was aware enough to make us aware he hated his first full name, he's scared of the nurse, and he needed pain medicine.  He's back asleep now.  No idea if it'll keep up.  Did we do a PET scan?" he asked Cameron.

"We can."

"I want to see if the concussion is making other areas of his brain fire oddly."  She nodded, making notes to arrange that.  "Let's drop a feeding tube too.  It can only help with this strange vitamin deficiency."  They nodded, going to do that.  He went back to looking up the town the boy had come from.  Something strange was going on out there too.  What he was seeing stunk of a cover-up attempt done by chimps.  They had a set of statistics for people killed by utensils.  That did not happen in real life.  Not in his reality.


House got paged to the boy's room a few hours later, finding a sweating Fed there.  "Get away from my patient," he said as he walked in.

"Sir, we're taking him...."

House pushed him back with his cane.  "I said get away from my patient.  He's in no shape to go anywhere with you."

"Sir, all we know is this young man is carrying potentially fatal diseases in his blood."

"Yes, from an exposure three years ago.  We checked."  The agent started to look confused.  "He's also got a bit of radiation poisoning from the town that got sucked into their supposed nuclear power plant the other day by Los Angeles.  Want to expound on how that happened?"

"Huh?" he asked.  House nodded.  "How?"

"I don't know.  Is there a database of people from out there by FEMA perhaps?"

"A bit.  Why?"

"Check his name, idiot."

The agent huffed and typed the name on the ID bracelet into his PDA.  What he got back came up as classified, do not touch.  "What?"  He called his boss.  "Sir..."  He listened to him answer his other line and then chew him a new one.  "Sir, he's here in Princeton- Plainsboro Teaching Hospital...."  He nodded once.  "I see."

House took the phone from him.  "This is his physician.  We would like some answers as well since the young man appeared out of nowhere.  Gregory House.  Just like the one you live in," he said at the 'spell it' command.  He listened to him say he couldn't say anything, it was classified.  "Uh-huh.  I've already seen his bloodwork, buddy.  All of it.  Everything from the odd DNA to the radiation, to the smallpox and syphilis.  Now, I need answers to treat him.  That would be acceptable.  We're here."  He hung up and tossed the phone back.  "I don't like idiots who try to threaten me.  Make sure it doesn't happen to my patient too.  He's not going to be dissected.  We worked too hard on him already."  The agent backed off.  "Shoo."  He ran from the room.  House checked the boy over.  The growling hadn't come back even when they held his medicine back for a few hours.  The PET scan had been interesting.  So were some of the scars.  He walked out and snatched a camera from the desk, taking a picture of a few of them.  He went to upload them into his system at the office to search for a reason.  "Maybe barbeque forks do eat people," he muttered.

Wilson walked in to take the camera and hand it back to the nurse who owned it.  Then he came back.  "Is the mystery boy frustrating you?"

"Very.  Look at this scar set."  He let him see.

"Looks like a bite mark with canines.  Dog?"

"It's on his lower throat.  No other teeth marks, no scars around it."

"So the dog had fangs?"

"The town he's from shows up on crank sites with vampire stories."

"So maybe he gotten eaten by a vampire," he said.  "How would I know?  We won't until he wakes up."

House growled.  "We need to know in case it's going to endanger him."  His pager went off so he went back up there.  "A change?"

"No, another idiot in a suit.  This one's NSA."  She pointed up the hall.  "Cuddy walked him off while I paged you.  He was trying to get back."  The agent came back up the hall.  "Him, Doctor House."

"Hmm.  Better class of suit than the last one.  Supervisor?"

"Regional supervisor," he agreed, holding out a hand.  "Reginald Cross, Doctor House."

"Yay you.  What is going on with my patient?"

"And why did my daughter come across his name on a goth site last night without me asking her to look?" the nurse added with a small grin.  "As a vampire hunter."

Agent Cross gave her a horrified look.  "You didn't have her search?"

"No.  She thought it was cute so she told me there was a missing person's listing put out for him on the goth underground.  That something had happened and his body wasn't identified at the scene.  That he was missing and no one knew why.  I had her write back he was on the east coast, under medical care, and that if someone had a clue what had happened to the boy his doctors wanted to know.  I had her sign my name and that I was her mother.  What I got back wasn't anything I understood but she babbled bad things."  She handed it to House.  "I was going to give that to you at lunch when they came in to do a new check on him."

House read it over, but the agent tried to take it.  "I can hit you with the cane," he promised, looking at him.  He finished up with it.  "Well, that might explain the radiation and mermaid DNA we found if it was reality."

The agent gave him a nervous laugh.  "Let's talk, Doctor House.  We both need things here."

"No, my patient needs to rest and heal," he said bluntly.  "You can bother him later.  He's still unconscious."


"No.  Just won't wake up.  Not that far down."

"I see."  He looked around then at him.  "May I see that?"  House let him read it while he held it up for him.  He groaned.  "Let me talk to someone.  We have a file on Mr. Harris."

"Why?  Is he an agent or a suspected terrorist?"

"No.  He does our job for us," he said honestly.  "Without the paycheck and none of the benefits."  He walked off, waiting until he was in the car to call his boss. "Director, small glitch.  One of the nurses has a goth daughter.  It's out on the underground sites.  They have partial information but Doctor House doesn't believe in mermaids or hellmouths.  What do you want him to know?  Because he mentioned radiation, two diseases, and other things, sir.  I checked the file the hospital had.  They have found out but they don't know the cause."  He nodded.  "I can do that.  I'll stay over this case until I can inform him of things, sir.  Please send Captain Finn with it so he can explain some things to Doctor House.  Because I can't and he won't believe me.  Captain Finn has the same sort of injuries around his throat.  Plus classified files I can't get into."  He nodded.  "Thank you, sir."

He hung up and called Doctor House's office.  "Put me on with Doctor House please?"  The woman said something smart.  "Young lady, I'm an agent with the NSA, I will have your medical license revoked," he said bluntly.  "Do it now."  She hung up and he called back.  She hung up again.  He waited ten minutes then called back.  "Good, a different minion.  You must be Doctor Chase by the accent.  I need to speak to Doctor House."  He was put on hold then transferred.  "I can have someone come up to give you a dossier of what we know about the young man.  It won't be everything he's been through.  It will also have proof of the reality of some things.  Yes I'm certain but if I have to deal with that annoying brat again I'm going to revoke her license.  We'll be up tomorrow."  He hung up and backed out of his spot, heading back to his office.


House walked into his office.  "Nice job pissing off the NSA, Doctor Cameron.  Let's hope he forgets about you very soon."  He looked at Chase.  "You transferred him?"

"I wasn't about to lose mine."

"That's self-reliant of you," he shot back with a grimace.  "No, the young man isn't an agent.  The agent who showed up said so.  Said he was doing the job without the paycheck.  Which is not making me happy.  We'll be getting a short briefing tomorrow and I hope it will know when things happened to him in what sort of order."

"Is he popping up symptoms of the other things?" Foreman asked.

"No.  That thing on his shoulder was a pimple.  Even if it did scare the nurses," House said dryly, going into his office.  He did not like strange things and this case was going where he hated to go.  Everything had some sort of reasonable, logical, scientific explanation.  Even this kid.


Agent Cross walked into the consultation area.  "Excuse us please, people," he ordered, letting Captain Finn and his box in.  "None of you are cleared to hear this."  They left, grumbling but they left.  House looked up from his gameboy.  "You want the proof or the talk first?"


"Captain Finn was part of a group that was working out in Sunnydale a few years back.  He was military and now he's Homeland.  His project was terminated with prejudice by himself and that boy with the boy's friends."  House raised an eyebrow.  "You want proof, it won't be pretty."

"I've hopefully seen worse, even if my government was sponsoring it."

"They thought they had reason," Captain Finn said.  House frowned at his neck so he touched the marks.  "I used to let vampires feed on me.  It's a hell of a rush and very sexual."  He handed him a DVD.  "That's on the boy, his friends, and what little we had on his dossier."  He held up a small case. "These are program notes and video files of experiments.  Why I left and helped them remove the project from US soil."  He handed it over.  House went to the office to run that one first.  Though they watched him get sick.  He switched tapes after a few minutes and a few other videos, and one other time getting sick.  When he came out he looked calm.  "What did you need to know?  I used to date one of his best friends."

"Syphilis and smallpox?"

"Three years ago at Thanksgiving the construction crew Xander was on broke into a Chumash burial chamber.  The spirits in there gave them to have as present for freeing their spirits.  Their way of saying thank you for killing us off.  Xander's open to the actions of spirits so they only got him.  His girlfriend complained the smallpox meant she couldn't have sex.  With their banishment we thought it had left him.  Everything cleared up within hours."

"No, he still shows spores."

"After that he never showed any symptoms."

"He shows he's immune to it for some reason.  The injuries?"

Captain Finn sighed, leaning his butt on the table to look at him, arms crossed over his chest.  "A few hours before he appeared here, the Sunnydale Hellmouth went rogue and opened, Doctor House.  They were battling something that was named the First Evil."


"No.  Higher level demon.  I can get you that sort of research if you want but this one had blown up and killed over three thousand people.  They blew up the headquarters of the people who were dealing with this issue so people like you never had to know.  Then they went after the girls who handle the issue, people like his friend Buffy."

"Your ex," he said.

"My ex," he agreed.  "We were over a long time ago though.  Anyway, the hellmouth opened and they had to go inside to battle it."  He licked his lips.  "There were thirteen girls with her when she went in, plus him, their best friend Willow, a geek named Andrew Wells, their mentor Rupert Giles, the boy's ex fiance Anya.  The rest of the town got out.  They started an evacuation."

"I saw that part."

"What you didn't see is that the hellmouth closed during the battle.  We don't know why.  We know they were trapped.  The only one who made it out alive your doctors spent seven hours patching up."

"He had a lot of stabbing injuries."

"He would."  He rubbed his face.  "The radiation you found was the hellmouth.  That's the frequency it radiates on.  Everyone from that town carries some.  Xander carries more than most because they studied overtop of it while fighting its minions.  He's got scars from fighting and hunting, the battle at graduation, and his parents probably.  I can't tell you where they all came from.  I can tell you Xander's one of the bravest guys I know, even if he wouldn't say it.  He jumped in when a friend got killed.  He stayed even after injuries, his friends picking on him, the girls trying to send him away, him nearly dying, and he kept going.  I'm guessing he got here because one of the witches saw him fall and sent him to you because they thought you could heal him and protect him."

"Someone should."

"He's the last of that group, Doctor House."

"He's going to be in traction for months, kid."

"Good.  It'll keep him from trying to date and bringing evil creatures to your town," Riley said dryly.  "Like he used to."  He stood up again.  "I don't like the boy.  Can't stand him.  He messed up my command's orders time and again.  I know why.  I agree with why.  He's still a pain in the ass."

"Yet you respect him?" he asked with a touch of bitterness.  People should be protected from guys like this.

"I don't like him but I respect him," Riley assured him.  "For right now, we're going to be protecting him and making sure his bills are paid.  We owe him.  They saved the world plenty of times when we couldn't.  When he wakes up we need to know so we can get a report of what happened.  The NSA would like to take some blood to see if it can be cooked down again.  If so, we want to put a suicide patch on him."

"We'll see about that.  His system can't take it.  The exhaustion?"

"The magical backlash."  He found a book in the box and held it up.  "It's a fantasy novel but she got a lot of facts right, including how backlash works and what it does to your body.  As far as we can tell you're doing fine."

"The growling?"

Riley frowned.  "Xander was possessed once by a hyena.  It's probably her."

"Her?" he asked with a smirk.

"He was pack leader and hyena pack leaders are always female.  That was before my time, back in tenth grade.   I've never seen or heard of her coming out after that."

House shook his head.  "I can't believe we're talking demons."

"We are.  He's one of the last lines of defense."

"He won't be able to fight for at least a year.  His left leg is shattered."

"We'd like it if he retired," Riley admitted.  "We've got plans in place. The next slayer was found, finally, and she's being helped and trained since she's a bit young.  If Xander gets his hands on her, she'll be a bit warped."

"Because he doesn't believe in torture being healthy and that there's a difference?" House asked shrewdly.

"Yup."  Riley nodded.  "I'm training her as best as I can to follow in Buffy's footsteps.  Including that there's some harmless species.  I'm working with others who have a clue.  Xander naturally warps people.  I doubt you were this protective of any patient anytime in the past."   House glared.  "Really.  It's instinctive.  We never could figure out why.  We tried once.  The researcher ended up wanting to mother him and bake him cookies."  He smirked.  He pulled out a card.  "If you have questions that aren't on that dossier, call me personally and I'll see if I can deal with them.  When he wakes up, call and I'll come back to talk to him.  Get what happened and let him know the body count."

"Will he want to know?"

"They were his friends and near family.  I'd expect it to be the first or second question he asks."

House nodded.  "Fine.  We will take a pint of blood but if any other people show up I will personally have them sedated and thrown into the furnace we use to burn medical waste."

"Agreed.  We want him that protected," Agent Cross agreed.  "Most things that would come for him are on the west coast.  I'm guessing whoever sent him away included a 'he'll be safe there' sort of clause."   House nodded once.  "You can't tell the younger doctors, Doctor House.  This is still a classified matter.  As is Mr. Harris' life and future.  We might have to put him into witness protection to help him."

"We'll see what the kid wants," House told him.  Riley smirked.  "I doubt he'd want you to decide anything for him with the way you talk about him."  Riley lost his smirk but nodded.  "Good.  Leave.  Thank you for the information."  They left, taking the box with them.  He called down there.  "Let them draw a single baggie of blood from Harris.  Yes, now.  That's all they're allowed to do.  Let one of the ducklings do it if they're hiding down there."  He hung up and went to take out his own trash.  It was disgusting and smelled.  Eggs didn't smell as good coming up as going down.  Then he came back to look over the dossier.  This was not good.  At all.  Wilson leaned in.  "Classified material."

"I already knew, House.  Wife number two used to be goth and moaned his name once during sex.  I called her to see what was going on.  She told me."  He walked in and looked.  "Buffy."  He pointed.  "That's the blonde."

"Good to know."  He sighed, leaning back to look at his friend.  "This is screwed up."

"It is," he agreed.  "But you can treat him and help him.  Make him heal.  He'll need it.  Consider him your redemption and karma repair for being a bastard so you can start building bastard points again."  He smirked at the ducklings when they came back.  House shut the files.  "They take blood?"

"I let them take a baggie."

"We had one stored," Chase called from the other room.   He leaned in.  "His exhaustion is clearing up a bit, but still present.  It's down to half of what it was."  He held up the fantasy novel.  "Aspirin, bananas, and orange juice?"

"Sugar, potassium, calcium, and pain killers."

"I added a daily aspirin to his list for the next week to see if it'll help."  He closed the door again, earning odd looks.  "I read it back when I had the flu in my undergrad."  He put it down.  "Any other cases?"

"Not many," Foreman said.  "None for us.  The town's going slower because the college is out for the summer."

"We'll see them at the end of summer vacation instead," Cameron tried to quip.  House and Wilson came out of the office.  "Are we staying over his case?"

"I am.  The NSA wants me there so they don't have to tell anyone else," House told her.  "If we get another one I'll spread myself thinner."

Cuddy walked in.  "Two agents and you let them walk out without bruises?"

"They told me what I needed to know.  It was that or they were going to try some black ops thing and steal him some night."

"Probably better then."

"How did he get the extinct forms of syphilis and smallpox?" Foreman asked.

"Native burial chamber he fell into on a construction site three years ago for Thanksgiving."

"The Natives paid him back for the way they died probably," Wilson quipped.

Foreman shook his head.  "Like the mummy's curse?"  They both nodded.  "Neither of those are airborne."

"He fell into the remains, probably got some bone shard stuck in him," House told him, covering it up.  He didn't want to believe in ghosts passing on their diseases.  "Still no symptoms?"  They shook their heads.   "Good.  Lunch."  They went to do that, Cuddy too.  He looked at Wilson.  "I'm hungry," he said at the amused look.

"You should be.  Agents aren't filling when you bite them."

"One had been his friend's ex.  He didn't like the boy but respected him for doing the right thing and stopping their torture program."

"Hopefully we won't have to see him again," he offered.  "C'mon, I'll buy since you'll con me into it anyway."  That got a nod and they went to do that.


House got paged in the middle of the night, which he abhorred.  He was going to eat someone this time if it wasn't an emergency.  "What?" he demanded.  The notice of his patient levitating and making all his machines go spastic did not make him happy.  "I'll be right there."  He hung up and headed to get dressed and ride his motorcycle back to the hospital.  It didn't take that long and the boy was still about a foot off the bed.  "No pea soup?" he joked dryly.

"If there was we'd have called a priest, not you," the nurse shot back.  "Stop him!  He's affecting his machines!"

"Duh, woman.  It's an electrical output."  He walked in there.  "Xander, you're floating.  You mind not freaking out the nurse?"  The boy fell down with the a thump, snoring at the moment.  House checked his vitals then frowned.  "Is he on aspirin still?"

"We stopped it when the exhaustion symptoms stopped," the nurse said.  She got him the chart.  Then she fled to watch from safely away.

House looked at the kid then shook his head.  "You deserve better than this."  He looked out there.  "Tylenol, people.  His fever just spiked again."  The same nurse brought him a packet then left just as quickly.  He shook his head.  "How am I supposed to make him swallow pills?" he said sarcastically. "Magic them into his stomach?"  The pill pack flattened in his fingers.  He looked around then at the kid.  "That's a neat trick.  I need to learn that some day."  The day shift nurse that liked Xander came jogging in.  "They called you too?"

"Yes!"  She got free of him and pulled out a needle, taking some blood.  "Shh, Xander.  Let me bleed some off, dear.  It'll help and make you feel better."  The fever started to come down.

"Why are we going back to the dark ages of medicine?  Should we try to drill a hole in his skull?"

"It only would've helped when he was possessed," she shot back.  "The power resides in the blood.  This is him being backed up.  Somehow he sucked up magic."  She got another needle from the cabinet and came in to draw some more.  "There, that should help."  She smoothed the sheets over him. "Xander, it's Gloria.  You'll be just fine now.  Just relax and I took care of it.  I'll make sure the blood's not used against you," she said quietly.  The boy shifted.  "Good boy, Xander.  Think you want to wake up?"  He started to snore again.  "That's fine.  You'll wake up when it's time, baby boy."  She smoothed down his hair.  House cleared his throat.  "What?"

"I thought your daughter was goth."

"She is.  She's also a practicing witch and she had this same problem when she had her first cycle.  The power floats in the blood.  Or as they put it, the blood is the power and the life."

"Hmm.  So bleeding him reduced that?"

"Just a touch.  Now I'll have it sent to be burned.   That way no one can use it against him."

"Send it for testing to make sure the exhaustion doesn't come back."

"It won't.  I'm making sure of it.  For right now, we'll find a way to bleed him of the excess energy he'd be normally wearing off.  He's a bit hyperactive."

"Uh-huh."  He stared her down.  "Anything else I should know?"

"According to the bulletin boards, don't feed him chocolate, he bounces."

House shook his head.  "The exhaustion?"

"Whoever sent him pulled some of his power to do that.  Basically used him as a battery to move his location.  Which means either the witch was tired, dying, or less powerful than his friend Willow from what we've heard."


"I have no idea, Doctor House.  I wasn't there.  I gave you what we found."

He rolled his eyes.  "Fine.  Test that.  If it's starting to show the exhaustion or any other symptoms, tell me first thing in the morning unless it shows a spike in either main disease he's carrying."  She nodded, taking it to write the orders and send on.  He walked out to see the scared nurses.  "Let her figure out how to deal with it.  She said it won't happen again and her daughter knows something about this stuff."

The nurse came back.  "He won't be doing it again.  It's a funny side effect of the radiation he took.   The energy has to come out somehow and he's not that active.  Even with daily movement therapy so he doesn't stiffen up."

"Is there a meter to let us know?" one of them asked.  She shook her head.  "Then I'm not touching the boy until it's out of him or he wakes up.  I don't need to be radiated from him and start to mess up patient's machines."

"Take that up with Cuddy, ladies," House ordered.  "What she did should last for a while."  They pointed and he looked.  "Or not."  The nurse looked and groaned, going in there to do something.  The boy went limp and floated back down gently.  "What did you do?"

"I linked him back into a drain that'll take the excess off him for now.  Basically I attached a ground wire by attaching the energy to the hospital's wall."

"Will that mess up another patient?"

"Shouldn't, this is an outer wall."

"Good point."  He smirked.  "It'll work?"

"It'll drain him of any his body is creating.  Which should let him heal at a normal rate since it won't be interfering in his body systems.  Too much energy in a closed system," she said at his confused look.

"We'll see if it works.  You can unattach him?"

"Of course."

"Good."  He looked out there.  "You might have to stay."

"I'm due back in another four hours anyway," she said cheerfully.  "My daughter will bring me lunch and we'll get it worked out with Cuddy later.  Let me change into scrubs."  He nodded and she went to do that.  "I've fixed the energy by linking him to a ground wire."  They all shrugged because they weren't going near him.  House stayed until she got back then he went back home.  She soothed the young man, making him have happier dreams.  He was frowning and it wasn't good for him.  "No more bad dreamies, Xander.  Just like my daughter, you need rest to feel better."  He shifted and she smiled.  "Not too much with the traction equipment, young man."  She walked out to get his chart and look it over, making notes on it for Doctor House's students.  She called home and her daughter called the witch she was learning from to make sure she had what they'd need if Xander had to go back to the CT or the PET scanners.  Magical energy could screw them up horribly.


House wasn't happy when he came in the next morning and found a note from Cuddy to see her.  He headed that way.  "Being the blue bird of happiness?" he asked sarcastically.

"Not hardly.  Your patient scared those nurses.  Every last one but the dayshift nurse requested to move floors.  They've also spread it around so most of them won't take that floor."

"Where are you moving him?" he sighed.

"The only way we could have him still under guard would be to put him in infectious diseases."

"He's not."

"I know.   It also means he might catch something, which I don't like.  So do you have an idea?"

"Third floor, by the broken equipment closet.  Brenda, Janice, and Josephine," Wilson said as he walked in.  "Gloria can move down there.  Her coworkers don't want to work with her either.  They've worked with House's ducklings before.  They all drool on Cameron.  Which is why they got put there."

She smiled.  "That's not a bad idea.  They won't be uneasy?"

"No.  Josephine is a practicing Catholic and her sister's Pagan so she knows what's going on.  Gloria told the other two and they like the idea.  They said Xander's cuter than their usual patients.  Since he's going to be in that bed for *months* before rehab for his legs...."

"I can arrange that today," she decided.  "How did you hear?"

"The coffee cart lady."

House moaned, shaking his head.  "It's too much energy according to Gloria."

"Which I can understand.  How did you cure it?"

"More bloodwork."

"Well, if you have to, you can keep a very close eye on his bloodwork," Cuddy decided.  "Whatever they think is best since I have no clue and I don't want a clue."  House shrugged.  "Get it done, boys.  Thank you, James."

"You're welcome.  It might make Cameron uncomfortable."

"Oh well," she said.  "Her or all the nurses and endangering patients on that ward."

"I'll make sure she knows," House told her.  "Thanks, Wilson."

"Welcome, House," he said with a grin.  "They're even pretty nurses so when he wakes up it shouldn't be too much to get him to stare at them."

"Is he?" Cuddy asked.

"He's snoring," House told her.  "The last PET scan shows some healing bruises in the area of consciousness.  We'll have to see.  It should be soon."

"Good.  Move him there."  She made shooing motions.  "Go.  Scare others."

"The last time I scared them I was drunk and hitting on House," Wilson said dryly, walking out to her horrified look.

"He has good taste at least," House said smugly, following.  He walked up there.  "Gloria, do we have him ready to be moved?"

"Not yet.  Have to get the traction people up here."

House looked then took it down.  "We can have them put it back up."  She smiled and they moved the bed that way.  The boy snored the entire way.  The delivery guy in the elevator gave him an odd look at the snoring.  "He's tired."

"I can tell."  He got off on the same floor but headed the other direction.

House followed the bed, waving at the new nurses.  "This is Mr. Harris.  He likes Xander, growled at the others."

"Aww, he's adorable," Janice said.  She was nearing her sixtieth birthday and all her younger patients were like her grandkids if they were young enough.  And sometimes the older ones too.  They got him settled in his new room and the orthopedists came to reset the traction equipment.  "How long is he in the sling?" she asked.

"Until his leg's fully healed."

"He's said to be hyperactive," Gloria warned him.

"When he wakes up he can whine like the others," the doctor quipped.  He finished with the weights and left them alone after making a chart note.

"I'm sure he will," House said dryly.  "His bloodwork?"

"Just fine," Gloria assured him, handing over the chart.  It was getting a bit thick.  "I talked with someone and they can arrange it so he can do future PET and CT scans, Doctor House."

"That'll work.  Let me know if he has any change or wakes up."  He stood up and signed off on the morning meds then handed it back and walked off.  He walked into his consultation room.  "Mr. Harris has been moved to three west, under Gloria, Josephine, Brenda, and Janice."  Cameron moaned.  "Cuddy said to tell you your dignity wasn't worth as much as the patients that wouldn't get cared for when all the other nurses walked off the unit he had been on."

"That's good to know," she muttered.

"Any change?" Chase asked.  "His blood work's been excellent."

"No.  Still snoring."

They all smirked at that.  "The kid's very unique," Foreman said.   "I heard about last night.  The machines still work?"

"I'm sure someone's checking," he said, sitting down.  "Anything new come in?"  They all shook their heads.  House went to his office to go over more of the information he had been left.  He still couldn't believe there were demons in the world.  Cameron came in a few hours later so he closed the window he was reading in.  "What?"

"We were wondering what you're researching and why you haven't made us go look things up for you."

"The agents left me information on Mr. Harris' life that's classified.  I'm still looking it over for more clues."

"Oh.  Why is it classified?"

"Because they said so."  She walked off shaking her head.  He locked his computer with both passwords then went to get a snack.  He was hungry and bored.  That was going to cause problems soon.

"Clinic hours," Cuddy called when she spotted him.

"Fat chance, not my day," he called back with a hand wave.  He got onto the elevator and went down to the cafeteria.

"That man," Cuddy muttered, heading off to do something about him, again.


House was paged at the first sign of waking up, so he was sitting next to the bed when the kid woke up.  The kid blinked at him then looked at Chase, who was watching his vitals.  "Excuse me," he said weakly.  "You're not...a hell goddess in disguise, right?" he asked quietly, his voice sounding rusty.

"No, the hell goddess is Cameron.  You'll meet her later, Mr. Harris," he assured him with a smile.

"Good.  That's good."  He closed his eyes then opened them a minute later, blinking at the two men in there.  "I'm not in Sunnydale.  This is too nice of a room."

"No, you're not," House agreed.  "You're at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital."

"Princeton?  Like the school Willow thought about going to in New Jersey?"  House nodded.  "How?"

"That's what we'd like to know since you fell from the ceiling," Chase admitted.  He put his stethoscope back around his neck.  "Let me check your pupils.  You had a concussion when you came in."

"Are my friends here?"

"No," House said.  The boy stared at him.  He shook his head.  "Only you."  The boy went rigid.  "I'm told I can call Captain Finn if you want to talk to him."

"Can I gut him?"

"No," Chase said.  "We hate getting new patients.  You'd hate prison.  It's not worth it."  He pulled back, glancing at House.

"Shoo."  Chase left, closing the door behind him.  "Want it from me or from your friend's ex?"

"So I take it you talked to Captain Cardboard-Cheats-On-My-Girlfriend-With-Vampire- Hos?"

"I did.  Along with Agent Cross from the NSA."

"That sounds bad."

"It is.  Which way would you rather have it, kid?"

Xander tried to sit up.  "Bed controls?"

"Left side," he said quietly, watching him figure them out and put the head of his bed up.  Xander calmed himself then looked at him.  "Ready?"  Xander nodded.  "According to them, during the battle something happened.  You fell."

"Um....  Clearly living.  I think."

"Seven hours of surgery to fix you, Harris."  Xander slumped, nodding at that.  "Stab wounds, internal injuries, a concussion, a shattered leg, a broken one."  Xander looked at him.  "We found the smallpox and syphilis and you drove us nuts for days until the agents heard and tried to descend."

"I take it they were beaten off because I'm not in Area 51."

"They were.  They did take some blood.  I about smacked one on the head with my cane."  Xander smiled at that, nodding a bit.  House shifted.  "This would be easier coming from someone else.  I'm not the most...gentle."

"Fuck gentle," he said quietly, staring him down.  "They were my friends and family.  Where are they?"

"They're not."



"Some were on the busses already.  Dawn."

"Dawn is in LA with Angel.  I got that information a week later from Captain Cardboard.  You're right, he does remind you of one of those cardboard cutout people you see at the movies."  He sighed, shifting some.  "Somehow, something happened.  Finn said the hellmouth shut?"

"It...we were inside fighting the First Evil and the Turok-Han.  It took seven slayers to kill her."

"It snapped shut before they got out."  Xander's lip trembled.  "I'm sorry, kid.  They do want to know what happened."

"I have no idea.  Um, Spike?"

"No idea. Wasn't mentioned.  They said they knew something was wrong when you were the only one that wasn't identified in the aftermath."  He handed over a picture.  "Downloaded that off one of the satellite websites."

Xander looked at the pulled in ground, seeing shops he knew.  He would not cry.  "Um..."

House stood up.  "I'll give you about an hour but if they hear first, they're going to come running up."

Xander looked up at him.  "Yeah, I can handle it.  Just give me an hour please."

"We have good therapists here if you want to talk to them."

Xander nodded. "I'll remember that.  Thank you."  House nodded, leaving him alone.  Xander slid back down as much as he could, looking at the destroyed area. The picture had enough magnification to let him identify the house that was in the edge of the photo.  It should've been a lot farther back from the hellmouth.  He hugged his pillow and cried silently into it.  When someone knocked he wiped his face off.  "Not yet," he called.  He calmed himself, swallowing to open his throat.  An older lady walked in and handed him a glass of ice water and a wash cloth, giving him a hug.  "Thank you," he whispered.

"Honey, it's hard enough when you see it.  To realize you didn't can be harder."  She stroked his cheek.  "We have people here if you need to talk, all right?"  She nodded.  "But there's a nosy asshole here to see you."


"Finn?  Something like that."

"Sure."  She nodded, helping him wipe off his face before going to get him.  Xander looked at him.  "What happened?"

"We were hoping you knew."  He shut the door, standing at the foot of the bed.  "What's the last thing you remember, Xander?"

"Being in there.  Seeing Anya fall but get back up.  One of them was going for Spike.  For some reason a few were going for Spike and ignoring the girls.  I was guarding a few of the younger ones on the left flank."  He looked at him.  "What the fuck happened?"

Riley held up a hand.  "All we know is you were sent out by one of the witches.  Not sure which one.  You literally fell from the ceiling in the ER here.  Our people out there heading to help got there about as the buses made it out of town and the hellmouth started to swallow the ground."  He swallowed, looking at the picture then at him.  "We got their bodies back.  They're buried there.  She's beside her mom."


"Not in great shape.  Wesley has her at the moment."  Xander nodded quickly at that.  "By Buffy's will she'd go to you once you get out but they're saying it's going to be a while so the state awarded custody to him for now.  Until you're able to get out."  Xander swallowed, nodding a little bit.  "We were going over the information Giles left at the mansion."  He coughed.  "Whoever gave the blood can close the portal."

"Like with Glory?"  Riley nodded quickly.  "Spike.  She tortured Spike to get the blood to open it."

"Okay. That makes more sense.  He must've fallen during the battle."  Xander glared.  "I didn't like him but I respected him, Xander."

"Good to know you see us the same way," he said dryly, staring him down.  "Any other cheery news?"

"No.  Not at the moment.  Agent Cross, the regional supervisor for the NSA, wanted a report on what went on.  Um, I should tell you we found one of the girls.  I've been in LA working with her and Angel and Wesley."

"Willow's spell called all the slayers," Xander said quietly.  "That's how we got seven to defeat her."

"That wasn't written down anywhere.  I'll let the others know.  My team's hunting them to bring them to Wesley.  He's the last one left outside of you."

"Oz is in Tibet."

"He is?"

"A monastery that has a way to gain control over the wolf."

"So that's why he didn't change on the lunar cycle."

"If I have to get out of this bed and kill you I will," Xander warned.

"I know.  I'd expect you too.  I'm here to tell you we have it.  You heal.  Then we'll figure things out.  You've got a long recovery and I'm not a good replacement for you according to Dawn, but I'm handling what I can."

Xander nodded.  "Good.  I'll be out soon."

"Xander, they're saying it's going to be nine or ten months until your shattered leg's healed," he told him.  Xander slumped again, looking at his leg.  "I guess you could suggest they amputate but then you'd have to hop after the vamps.  Dawn needs you whole and healthy.  Give that to her."

Xander nodded.  "I'll consider that."  He stared at him.  "Willow?"

"Next to Tara.  I know she's want to be there."  Xander nodded at that.  "Giles is on Joyce's other side.  It was a free lot and I thought they'd want to be together."  Xander nodded, holding in the tears again.  "Angel did some of the arrangements.  He found their wills too."

"It was a yearly ritual.  Every year in english class you'd make a pretend will right before spring break.  We kept it up."

"I realize that.  We've found most of them and we're working on it.  Wesley is working on the Watchers Council situation.  He's said he'll call if he needs common sense or if Angel's driving him nuts again."  He swallowed, staring at him.  "It closed with her in there."

"She saved the world a lot."

"We used the same headstone," he admitted.  "Just moved her next to her mother."  He stepped slightly closer to lean his hands on the footboard of the bed.  "We need a report."

"I was helping keep the girls occupied, Riley.  Giles was doing the research with the few watchers that made it to us."

He nodded.  "What do you know?"

"The First Evil came back because we brought Buffy back after Glory.  Willow did and I helped her set up the spell," he said quietly.  "We fucked it up."  Riley nodded once.  "Spike's chip didn't work on her.  We weren't sure what, exactly, was the thing that wasn't fixed right.  We had to, the hellmouth was building again, the demons were going rogue, and there wasn't any other option before we were overrun because Faith was in jail.  Only her death would call another girl.  Willow decided and talked me into it," he said, trying to make him understand.

"Not enough power?"  Xander shrugged a bit and winced.  "Easy.  You had a Y-incision to fix all the internal damage you had."  He leaned down.  "That's what started this?"  Xander nodded.  "Then?"

"She sent the blind ones, the Bringers, to take out anyone that could stop her. The first we knew were slayer dreams.  Girls, potentials, dying from them.  Then some showed up.  The Council blew up thanks to them.   One of the people in the council was in the dangerous artifacts basement.  She did something to bring the room's contents to us along with her dead body.  The scythe was in there.  Is the scythe....?"

"It was buried with her.  She had one in her hand," Riley said quietly.  Xander nodded, looking at the picture again.  "She would've wanted it that way instead of a car accident, Xander."  Xander glared at him and he had to take a step back at that coldness.  "You know she would've preferred it."

"Doesn't make it better," he said coldly.

"I know.  I'm trying to help and we all know I'm not a good emotional person."  He took a deep breath and so did Xander.  "So you found out the scythe worked.  You had to go in to fight her?"  Xander nodded.  "It took seven slayers to seal her back in?"  Xander nodded.  "Willow cast the spell how?"

"On the scythe.  It's linked in somehow to the slayer spirit.  Each girl gets a bit of the first slayer, Sineya.  What we called on to end the Initiative," he said flatly.

"I remember that.  Buffy told me what she found out about her."  Xander nodded.  "So, Willow cast the spell, awakening all the slayers?"  Xander nodded once.  "Then?"  Someone knocked them came in to check on Xander.  "I'll be done in a minute," he assured the nurse.

"Good.  He needs to rest to heal."  She smiled at Xander.  "Want chicken or beef broth for lunch?"


"Sure, Xander."  She patted him on the head then left.  Riley closed the door after her so she shot him a dirty look through the windows.  His ducked head said he got the point.  "He wants beef broth."  The nurse making lunch orders called that in.

Xander looked at him.  "Did anyone lock the mansion or the Magic Box so they couldn't get into the artifacts?"

"We sealed the town.  No one in or out but us.  My team's in Homeland now."  Xander grimaced.  "Someone had to do it for the US.  Those who're left transferred back."  He leaned on the foot of the bed again.  "How much of that stuff is harmful?"

Xander shrugged. "No idea."

"If I get you a list can you tell me?"

"I'm not allowed to do the magic stuff according to Willow and Giles."

"Xander, they found you floating in your bed a few weeks back," Riley said patiently. "When you showed up you reeked of magic exhaustion.  We think Anya sent you instead of Willow but my team's witch isn't sure why."  He grimaced.  "You have magic and you have to harness it now.  It could've opened whatever gift you had before.  We don't know.  We can help you find out."

"Giles' books can."

"It'll be a while before the state probates those estates."

"It usually takes about a year.  I know the meditation exercises.  I did them with Dawn."

"Okay.  If you're sure.  Agent Cross is letting you borrow one of his legal staff to deal with the probate and that stuff.  We'll lock the Magic Box and the mansion both up.  Maybe move the mansion back to the Magic Box?"  Xander nodded.  "Then we'll do that."

"Did my family make it out?"

"No.  Your father refused to be moved.  He was belligerent and drunk.   He shot at the person trying to get him out.  A few others refused to be moved too."  Xander nodded.  "I know Buffy's will was looked at due to Dawn.  I know she left everything she had to Dawn and if Dawn had died whoever of the group was still alive."  Xander slumped but grimaced and nodded a bit at that.  "So we'll have to see."

"Willow's did.  So me and Oz."

"If we can find Oz, Xander.  We can't get to Tibet. The Chinese have it blocked off.  I'll try to find him.  He should know."

Xander nodded.  "Find Ethan Rayne.  He can feel Sunnydale taint and it might help.  Plus Giles' will probably mentions him."

"I can have someone do that.  Need anything else?"

"Just to not itch."

"It'll go away.  Mine did the last time I broke something.  Feel better and if you want to talk, just call me."

"I'm told the hospital has therapists."

"Xander, this is so classified I'm not even supposed to know and I have an eleven for clearance."

Xander grimaced.  "Then I'll deal.  Thank you for letting me know, Riley."

"Not a problem.  You deserved it."  He patted him on the better foot then left to make his report.

House walked in and shut the door.  "He give you the BS that it's classified?"  Xander nodded, grimacing again.  "Therapists aren't allowed to say anything unless you state you're going to commit murder or suicide, kid."  Xander frowned at him.  "Really.  By law they're not allowed to.  Neither are priests.  There's one in New York who does exorcisms so I'm sure he can understand this stuff too."  He sat down again.  "We wanted to go over some of these injuries of yours."


"Will tomorrow be any better?" he asked, looking serious.

Xander nodded.  "I need time to process.  I'm sorry, but..."

House held up a hand.  "That one I understand."


"Yup.  The three bones are now ten bones and a kneecap."  Xander shuddered.  "That's why it's in traction."

"How long?"

"Eight to ten months."


"You have to keep it still.  Otherwise you won't be walking.  The orthopedist did what they could but some of the pieces were too small to screw back together."

"I can see how that's a pain," Xander said, glaring at his leg.  Then he sighed.  "Apparently I have custody of my friend's sister.  She's in LA."

"You can have her when you can get out of that bed."

Xander groaned.  "If I keep the cast on can I be out of traction?"

"I'll ask."  He stood up again.  "The other stuff?"

"Which one?"


"Swim team's coach wanted us to be faster.  Most of us turned into the creature from the black lagoon."

"Wonderful," House said dryly, getting a slight grin from the boy.  "Any others I should know about but I didn't find?  We know about the hyena because you growled your first week here.  Then quit."

"How long have I been here?"

"A month."


"Well, yeah.  You're up here because you started to float one night.  Scared the nurses to hell."  Xander shook his head, covering his face with his hands.  "But, on the bright side, you get the fussy nurses."  He smirked.  "Older injuries?"

"I'm told they refused to evacuate," Xander said, looking at him.

House nodded.  "Figured.  Who treated them?  You have ones that no good doctor ever touched.  We can tell with how some things healed crooked."

"Willow.  She played nurse from the textbooks," he said quietly.

"Ah.  Well, not bad for an untrained girl without a clue."

"She saw more than you think, Doc.  She saw a lot of me in those days.  She was also only ten when I broke my ankle.  Plaster of paris is still pretty easy to find.  Makes a crappy cast but it worked long enough."

"Uh-huh."  He stared at him.  "No hospital in your town?"

"CPS would've come and then I would've been killed.  He tried it the first time they showed up.  Then the mayor's people had the CPS workers killed for trying to send some kids out of the town when he wanted his future food sources there.  The hospital was more suited to being a takeout place for demons and vamps so they got their regular nutrition."

"If it was still around I'd send Cameron to straighten it out at the top of her lungs," House decided.  "It's not, right?"

"It was on the other side of town but Riley said they closed off the town."  He shifted.  "Are you sure I can't get up?  Even with a cast?"



"Because your leg will not heal if it's not held still."

"Isn't that the purpose of a cast?" Xander asked sarcastically.

"Partially.  That's to hold the bones in place.  The traction is to hold the rest of you."

"Fat.  Chance."

House smirked.  "We'll see."

"Sure, we'll see," Xander agreed.  "Anything else you needed to know?"

"Skull fractures?"

"Concussions I knew about.  Fractures, not a clue.  Old ones?"  House nodded.  "Within the last few years?  Like seven?"


"Falling headfirst into gravestones thanks to vampire hunting."

"Ah."  He looked the boy over.  "For right now, we want you to rest."

"I'm not tired."

"Yay.  You still need to rest.  Your incision is nearly healed."

"How bad was I that I look like I had an autopsy?" he asked, looking down the gown at his chest.  "Damn."

"Very.  You had bleeding spots on the outside of your lungs, lots of little bleeding spots on your intestinal tract, and a few other nifty places."

"Was my appendix still gone?"

"Yes, and now so is your spleen."

Xander frowned.  "Did it do anything?"

"Not much.  You can lose that easily."

"Okay then."

"They ended up taking about a foot of intestine they couldn't stop the bleeding in."  Xander nodded slowly.  "When you landed you were bleeding and you got about four pints of blood during surgery.  Your body didn't like the blood but we coaxed it into not shutting down the next day until it integrated."

"Charming.  Should I worry about after-effects?"

"Probably not.  So far you feel all right?"

"I want out.  I'm sure you're nice people but Dawn needs me."

"She needs you well, kid.  Not injured, not in bed, well.  The state won't give her to you until you're able to care for her."

"She's almost fifteen.  She won't need me to give her a bath and change diapers."

"Yes but you'd still have to be able to get her to school.  Pick her up from school.  Supervise her.  Earn a paycheck to support her."  Xander grimaced at that.  "Why the need?"

"The one who has her right now is in the same business.  They could be overrun any day because LA is a major hotspot," he said quietly.

"If so, they can send her here, kid.  We'd make allowances for that if we have to.  Have you called her?"

"Not yet.  I'm hoping she's in school."  His voice cracked.  "Sorry."

"No, it's a good time to do that."  The nurse came in with his lunch.  "Thank you, Nurse Brenda."

"Thank you, Nurse Brenda," Xander agreed, smiling a bit.

"Good boy."  She patted him on the head.  "Drink it all."  She left them alone.

House watched Xander gulp his broth.  "Hungry?"  Xander nodded.  "You've been on a feeding tube, I'm not surprised.  No one can live on slimfast."  He got up and leaned out the door.  "Brenda, get the boy some food in about an hour if he doesn't have any problems.  It's been a month, he should be fine.  Light, salt free, lacking sugar, all that."  She nodded, making note.  He looked at the kid.  "We'll work back up to real people food soon.  How about that?"

"That'll be a good start.  So, the cast comes off in a few months and then I can go home?"

"Physical Therapy," he said with a smirk.  "Which is evil, trust me."  Xander nodded at his cane.  House nodded back.  "Yeah, I've been there.  It's evil.  You'll swear."

"Now and then," Xander agreed frowning some.  "Can I get up and go pee?"

"No.  You're on a line.  Your bag probably needs emptied."  He checked and nodded.  "Yeah, you're doing okay.  Girls, his bag needs emptied.  Send some for testing," he called.  He looked at him.  "Other people need annoyed too.  I'll be back to see you tomorrow and we'll finish going over your medical history so we have a complete one."

"Yes, sir."

"Good."  He walked out smirking.  "He's going to be bored soon.  Make sure his tv works," he said as he walked past the desk.

"Yes, Doctor House," they said, making faces at his back.  They heard the kid laugh so they went to empty his urine bag and sent some of it off to the lab for testing.  It was filled again pretty quickly so they sent down a note to check for kidney stones or infections.  Sure enough, he had one.  So they got to call down for antibiotics too.   House sent Foreman to handle that.

Janice smiled.  "Kidney and bladder infection."  She handed over the test results.

Foreman looked then at the list of medicines.  "Let's put him back to a regular multi- vitamin," he decided, amending the orders and adding a decent antibiotic.  "Any allergies?"

"Mr. Harris, do you have any allergies?" Brenda called.  He shook his head.  "No."  Foreman smirked but wrote it down and signed it.  She smiled and called down to get him what he needed.  She walked in an hour later.  "You lucky boy you, you even get antibiotics and we're switching your nutrient shot to a pill too."

"I hate pills," he complained but he took them.  He shifted and moaned.  "How soon can I chop the cast off this time?"

"Few months," she said with a smile.

"Fat.  Chance."

She laughed, walking out there to tell the other nurses the good joke.  He was just adorable!


Chase looked at House since they were in the elevator alone.  "Why did he ask me if I was a hell goddess in disguise?"

"I have no idea," he admitted.  "Maybe he thought you were female and evil."  He shrugged, limping off the elevator and out to his motorcycle.  "Could use a trim, Chase."

Chase fingered his hair, stopping to look in one of the lobby mirrors.  "I could use a haircut," he decided, going to do that tonight.  Before someone else mistook him for a girl.  Especially an evil one.

Cuddy frowned at his back.  "What?"  She looked at the nurse behind her, getting a shrug back.  She went up to check on their unusual patient.  "What are you doing?" she demanded as she walked in.

"Checking to see how traction works."  He looked at her.  "You're not uptight enough to be an agent."

"I'm the hospital's administrator.  Doctor House's supervisor."

"Oh, hey," he said, waving.  He looked at the equipment again.  "Is it supposed to be boring?"

"You're supposed to rest so you go home sooner."

"The agent earlier said they closed off my town," he said, looking at her again.  "I have no idea where home is right now, lady."  She nodded at that.  "Why the visit?  Am I on the tour?  If so I think I need a shave.  I must look like a caveman."

"Not quite," she said with a smile.  "I wanted to talk to you about how you scared the nurses a few weeks back by floating."

"I have no idea.  That's not usually a Xander skill.  That's...that was a Willow skill," he said, catching himself.  She nodded at that.  "No idea why I'm suddenly floating.  If it happens again I'll try to keep control of it.  I don't mean to scare people unless they piss me off."

"Good to know.  Do you think you can behave?"

"I'm old enough to vote and drink, lady."

"Fine.  Need anything?  The agents wanted to make sure you didn't need anything."

"Well, I'm bored.  The cable here only gets ten channels?"

"Special arrangement and we didn't do that deal.  The owners did."  He grimaced.  "I'll let them know you could use things to do.  Anything in particular?"

"Pajamas and underwear?"

"I'll ask," she promised.  "Anything else?"

"Soda?  Twinkies?"

"Not in this hospital."


"Sorry, kid."  She smirked and walked out, going to email the nice Agent Cross.  He had been very pleasant to deal with.  She hoped he stayed that way.  Or else she'd sic House on him again.  She got back an email saying they were gathering things for him to do.  She sent back a simple thank you and gave him the boy's current weight and height so he could figure out what size of clothes to get him.  Then she went home.  Her day was done and it was a good day.  House hadn't bothered her.  House had done his clinic hours.  The boy had woken up and not sworn at anyone or tried to destroy things, which that Agent Finn said he probably would be trying to do.  Yes, a decent enough day all around.


Xander woke up in the morning to find the nurses had a large box.  "My stuff?"

"Some of it," she said, holding up a t-shirt.  "Work clothes?"

"I like my shirts."

"They're ugly."

"And?  I'm single, who cares but me?"

"That's why you're single."

"No, actually I walked away from my last one at the altar because I got shown how horrifying our life would be."  The nurse stared at him in horror.  "The last time I knew, she had been about ten feet from me where I was injured."

"Oh, dear.  I'm sorry."  She gave him a hug.  "Well, at least you have boxers and someone picked you up some new pajama pants, which you can't have while you have the catheter but you can wear boxers."

"Yay me.  When do I get the line taken out?"

"When you can get up."

"I can do that," he said.  She laughed, going back to unpacking for him.  They had moved a dresser in there for him since he was going to be a long term patient.  She heard a clink and turned, finding the traction gear down on the bed.  "What are you doing?"

"Getting up.  I can use a wheelchair and go pee," he told her, shifting slowly to the side of the bed.

"Oh, no!  You're not allowed to do that!" she ordered, coming over to stop him.

"I'm not going to the bathroom in this bed."  He swatted at her and managed to make it to sitting on the edge of the bed.

"Get back in there!"  She tried to push him back down but Xander smiled and patted her hands, pushing her off while he wobbled then carefully stood.

His right foot wasn't broken, he had no weight on his left, so he was doing ...okay, he guessed.  Not bad for not standing for a month.  He wobbled and waited then sat down with a sigh.  "Ten more of those and I get to go to the bathroom."

"No you don't."

"Yes I am," he assured her.  He stood up again, still holding onto the bed rail.  "Let's see.  Hopping."  He shifted slowly, wincing as he had to put a bit of pressure onto his worse leg for a second to move forward.  "I can do this."  He grinned and took another step.  The nurses came rushing and put him back into the bed.  "Hey!  I needed to go to the bathroom!"

"We have bedpans," one said.  "We're used to them."

He stared at her for a minute.  "Unless I'm having gay sex with you, you're not going near my asshole."  She blushed, giving him a horrified look.  "Good!  Then let's let me back up so I can go be a man in private.  Please?"  He shifted and tried again but they were trying to hold him down.  "Ladies, I was taught not to hit women by Willow.  She's dead now."

Foreman walked in.  "I know they call this the stubborn bastard ward, but really, Mr. Harris."

"I'm going to the bathroom even if they don't like it," he said, getting up again.  He made it to the foot of the bed before his better leg started to throb.  He took a deep breath and got another step but the nurses took pity and helped him into the bathroom.  "Thank you.  I can do the rest.  Really."  They left him alone, after a glare, and went to make a note on his chart.

Foreman called House.  "The patient is out of bed.  What would you like me to do?"  He smirked at the complaining.  "Bathroom."  He hung up and sat down to wait.  Chase walked in shaking his head, a needle in his pocket.  "Thorazine or an alternative?"

"Pain killer.  He's got to need one."  He knocked on the door.  "Mr. Harris, are you all right?"

"Few more minutes," he called, his voice sounding strained.

"We have medicine if you need it," Foreman called.

"Not really.  You guys won't let me eat anything but mush and potatoes."  A few seconds later the door opened, after the flushing and washing hands noises.  "There, I'm better now."

"Good.  Get your butt back in bed," House said as he limped in.  "Now!"  He pointed.

"I had to go to the bathroom."

"I can put you back on a liquid diet," he offered.  "Now."  Xander slowly moved, clutching things the whole way.  The two steps between the foot of the bed and the dresser he had to pause before but he made one then he stumbled.  But he caught himself and managed to pull himself onto the bed, panting in pain.  "Uh-huh.  What part of broken bones didn't you get?" he demanded.

"I'm not letting anyone play with my asshole unless I'm having gay sex with them," Xander said, glaring at him.  "Even a nurse or you."  Chase blushed.

House burst out laughing.  "I'll see if we have a male nurse you can at least flirt with but you're to stay in the bed.  In the traction equipment.  Until we say so."

"My butt is numb, my legs both ache, that thing is making my hip hurt when it didn't used to and it's not broken from what I heard yesterday.  It's putting my stomach at an uncomfortable angle and I'm still not crapping in my bed!" he shot back.  "Nor am I wearing diapers.  As long as I can go to the bathroom I'll be a good boy and stay in bed."

"No deal."  He hooked back up the equipment and put his leg into it, only at less of an angle.  "Still hurt your hip?"  Xander nodded.

"Let's let it rest on a pillow for a while," Chase said, propping it up.  "As long as you do not move for an hour, we can let you down for a bit.  No moving at all."

"Let me get comfy then."  He shifted and groaned, grimacing.  "Can I sleep on my side?  Put a pillow between them?  That'd help my butt numbs too."

"For an hour," House decided, letting the boys help him shift and adding an extra pillow between his knees, getting a smile for that.  "Good?"

"Comfortable!  Finally!  Thank you.  I'd hug but you'll put me back in the torture device if I move."

"It's good you understand that," House assured him.  He glared at Foreman until he moved so he could sit down.  "We were going to do a comprehensive medical history today.  I'm sure you have some fascinating injuries.  We can go scar by scar or year by year.  Which would you rather do?"

"Um...  I don't remember how I got some of them."

"Hmm.  Then let's try scar by scar," Chase decided.  He pointed at one on his neck.  "Here on your throat?"

"Bite marks.  Anya bit me."

"There's no bridge marks."

"They got healed.  She was hungry and I was easy.  Bad dreams of something.  Probably a bunny chasing her.  She had a phobia."

Chase nodded, writing that down.  "Okay.  The same for the ones on the other side?"

"No, that was Angel.  He bit me and tried to kill me with it, but I like garlic."  Chase gave him an odd look.  He looked at House.  "Can he know?"

"Probably not.  He'll need to know to treat it later.  Don't divulge anything classified."

"I'll have to for some of it."

"We'll see what we can do since only the last one was classified," House told him.  "If they whine, yay us.  Not like they're going to put us in Gitmo for it."

Xander smirked.  "Don't tempt Riley.  He was one of the Initiative people."

"I heard he turned."

"Yeah, after we had to take a friend back that he helped capture and test on."

House growled. "He did?"

"Oh, yeah.  Then he helped us take them down.  We found out he had been tested on himself too.  We also found out later on that he was going to the vamps to let them feed so he got an adrenaline and sex rush."

House shook his head quickly.  "No wonder he's a Fed."

"He had been on a UN hunting squad."

"Most of the people at the UN seem to have some common sense," House assured him.  "That's probably what stopped them.  Who was Angel?"

"Buffy's first love.  At least until he lost his soul for a bit and went to hell.  Fortunately he kept it there since he got it back a few minutes before and he came back with it."

House moaned.  "I'm going to need tylenol for this."

"You?" Foreman asked.  "Vampires?" he asked the kid.  Xander nodded.  "Prove it."

"Go ask Brenda why she has O positive for lunch and works night shift."

He gaped.  Then he went to talk to her.  Chase followed.  She ended up having to prove it.  He waved.  "I don't give a damn as long as you don't try to eat me," he called.

"You'd taste funny and you have strange things in you blood, Xander."

"Thanks."  He looked at House and grinned.  "So."

"Uh-huh.  If it was her job didn't sleeping with the enemy bother her?"

"He had a soul and was chosen by the same people who choose which slayer is called.  Big conflict now and then he had a jealous streak.  That's bad for being over two hundred."

House shook his head.  "Your life was very strange."

"Yeah, well, it was Sunnydale."  He shrugged a bit and winced.  "Sorry, wrenched it when I fell.  Which one next?"

"Arm?  Broken when?"

"Hmm, graduation.  Huge battle with the mayor and his minions.  He turned into a huge snake demon.  We ended up blowing him up in the school."

"I heard about a school graduation with a gas explosion."

"That would've been mine and my battle plan and my bomb," Xander admitted.

House shook his head quickly, walking off shaking it.  "Chase, finish the history.  I'm going to track down Cameron and make her do her own work since I assigned her to do that."  And Wilson because he needed to bang his head against a wall and Wilson did nicely at that.

Chase walked in.  "All right, so vampires are real."  Xander grinned and nodded.  "Are most of your injuries from that?"

"Half.  Drunk parents before that."

"How long did you hunt or whatever?"

"Patrol?  We joined up with Buffy in tenth grade.  Just before I turned sixteen."

Chase shuddered. "I can't even imagine."

"It's given us plenty of nightmares over the years.  Including when one thing we had to call to help us take down Captain Finn's people showed up in them to kill us all for calling her."

Chase moaned a bit.  "I don't think I could do it."

"I didn't have a choice.  More people died if we didn't patrol," he said quietly.  "We brought it down to a twelve percent death rate.  From up over thirty.  We had the most kids in fifty years graduating in my year because of us."

"Then you did good work and I respect you for that.  Because I don't think I could," Chase said, pulling the chair over.

"Which doc are you anyway?"

"I'm Doctor Chase.  The older one who went to whine to another doctor was Doctor House.  Most people don't see him because he's a bit surly."

"Wait until I'm bored stupid," Xander said dryly.  Chase frowned at him.  It was such a Willow look that he caved.  "I'll try.  I don't do good when I'm cooped up."

"We'll see what we can do about trips to the atrium if you're a good boy," he said with a  grin.

"You sound so much like my friend Willow," he said quietly.

Chase patted him on the hand.  "If you need to talk about her I'll listen as long as I'm not needed other places."  Xander nodded at that.  "Now, let's start the history before House yells at me again or makes Foreman come do it.  Or worse, you get subjected to Cameron asking nosy questions.  Head injuries?"

"Seven concussions in the last seven years, all mostly over five years ago.  One before then."

"Any other broken bones beyond your arm?"

"Two possibly broken or badly bruised ribs.  Doctor House said a few of the concussions had been fractures.  Um...  Not that I know of otherwise.  Oh, wait, I broke a toe as a kid trying to get food."

"Your mother wasn't feeding you?"

"I think I wanted a snack but I don't remember."  He grimaced.  "I don't have a whole lot of younger memories."

"That's fine then."  He wrote that down as well.  Then he looked at him.  "Any other neck injuries?  Muscular or skeletal?"

"Now and then it pops."

"Okay."  He wrote that down.  "Shoulders?"

"Few scars from debris the explosion sent at me.  A few scratches.  A tentacle whip mark on my back, somewhere on my right shoulderblade."  Chase got up to look and wrote that down then came back.  "Going lower, you guys' surgical scar, a few more minor nicks and cuts, my appendix got taken out.  That's on my side I'm laying on.  A few cuts down on my legs from scrapes and things."

"Any other serious injuries?  We'll get into the syphilis and all that later."

"I never caught anything else off Anya.  I'm a condom boy even though I came from a broken condom."

"Good.  That's always wise," he said with a smile.

"Just think, if I was being born now my mother would've had more choices and I might not be here to vex the nurses."

Chase laughed.  "The world would miss you, Xander."

"No, the people who would miss me are mostly gone," he said, plucking at the blankets.

"Moments like that are normal after you've lost someone."

"Are you a shrink?"

"No.  But now and then you need to hear the right things."  Xander nodded.  "No other serious injuries that required the hospital?"

"I let Willow fix those.  She played nurse from the textbooks.  She did a really good job most of the time.  When I broke my ankle she used plaster of paris.  Oops, I forgot that."

"It's all right."  He added it.  "No others?"  Xander shook his head.  "Okay.  Then let's start at major events that caused harm."

"Including possessions?"

"Sure, why not."  Xander nodded and let him hear the Sunnydale story, the abbreviated version because the full version would take weeks to go over.  He was very comfortable to talk to and very nice.  The nurses even seemed to like him. When it was time for him to go he set back up the traction gear and put Xander back into it.  "Must I?" he whined.

"Yes.  For another day."

"I can behave."

"You shift too much and the bones could still be moved inside the casts.  Then you'll never get better and have to stay here for the rest of your life."

"No, that's a fate worse than being vamped and turned into Dru's kitten."

Chase smiled.  "I'm sure it is.  We'll see how long you have to have it.  We might be able to release you from it as long as you can stay still."  He patted him on the other leg.  "Have them call if you develop stranger than average symptoms."  Xander nodded so he left.  He handed the report and tape to House, who went to listen to it.

Foreman looked at the clock then at him.  "That many injuries?"

"He needed to talk about the friends he just lost."  House came out to stare at him.  "What?"

"Nothing."  He went back to the office.  "Call someone about his traction."

"Yes, House."  He went to do that in person instead.  It always got better results.

Foreman shook his head.  "That kid scares me," he told House when he came back.

"He should.  He's a combat veteran who was fighting a dirty little war no one wanted to know about.  He's used to acting on his own and with a small strike team.  The readjustment period is fairly difficult for some people.  Though, you and he could probably swap stories about how to do bad things to people's cars."  He went back to reading and listening.  The kid had a good bit of skill getting his point across.  Chase came back.  "Well?"

"They looked at his file and said two more weeks.  Xander pointed out the problems so they adjusted it down again.  It's now basically resting on top of a pillow but still being held up slightly.  They told him not to remove it again.  As soon as he walked off Xander got out of it and tried to go back to the bathroom so I ended up helping him and back.  He even managed to rehitch himself this time."

"We'll have to watch his diet," House decided.  "Add some cheese."

"I suggested that.  They're doing so."  He smirked.  "He's a dynamic young man.  Reminds me of what you were probably like as a boy our age."

"I was meaner back then.  I've mellowed."

Foreman snorted.  "I doubt that."

"Ask Wilson.  I used to make him cry."  He smirked.  "He loved it too."  They groaned and went to find a new patient to give House something else to do.  House finished up the tape and put it safely away with the other information.  Someone had needed to step into the boy's life in a good way.  And he clearly needed to date better girls.


Xander looked over as Riley came in.  "New pajamas?"

"Computer."   He handed it over and a bag.  "Willow's."

Xander stroked the top.  "Why?"

"We need the files off it.  She put all the research notes on it.  Plus, it's yours.  The judge opened her will since she had a pet that Dawn's taking care of."

"She can."

"Angel's allergic."


"Well, yeah.  Wesley caught him at it."  He smirked.  "Dawn went after him with a short sword."

"That's my girl," Xander said quietly, still stroking the top.  He opened it and looked then booted the computer up, making him happy enough.  He found the research folder and took the blank DVD, sliding it in.  It didn't work.  A small icon flashed and he ran the mouse over it with his fingertip.  Hmm, virus.  Good.  He got into the bag and found a clear one, using it instead.  He handed it over.  "I'll reformat that one later," he said, sliding it into the stack.  He noticed he was connected to the internet.  "We have wi-fi."

"Good.  Then you can check your email soon.  Dawn said she's sending you one today."  Xander logged in and wrote one to her, ignoring him.  "Anything else you need?"

"Soda.  Twinkies.  Out of here."

"They said you can't and no.  You need to be here so you can have Dawn."

Xander looked at him.  "When is Angel's next apocalypse?"

"Spring, same as always.  He's already watching for it.  You should be out by then."  Xander nodded, going back to his email.  "Anything else you need?"

"Credits on the hospital account so I can get stuff when I want it?  Like shampoo?" he suggested with a grin.  "Like from my bank account?"

"We'll have that transferred locally for you.  We're in the process.  Speaking of, Agent Cross wants to see you tomorrow.   Are you up to it?"

"I can snark at him if he gets too mean," Xander promised.

"Please don't," he complained.  Xander gave him a look.  Riley grimaced. "Unless you have to."  Xander smirked.  "Good enough.  Anything else?"

"No, I think I'm doing okay.  Anything else I should hear from out that way?"

"Not yet.  I'll be back if a judge decides anything."  Xander nodded.  "Oh, Giles has an estate?"

"In England.  Willow said he has horses too.  It's somewhere near the Devon coven."

"Good to know."  He made a note of that.  "We're working on it and he'll have stuff so the lawyer can argue on your behalf.  He's went over the research with us.  He's one of a few who decided you guys brought this on by bringing back Buffy."

"They'd rather they'd all have died when the hellmouth opened that Halloween?"

"No.  But they don't think it would."  Xander got into the research file and found something, showing him.  "I hate fall apocalypses."  He pointed at the DVD, getting a nod. "Thanks, Harris."  He walked off.  Cross was not going to be happy that the virus didn't work.  For whatever reason.  He went back to the office and opened up that file to show him.  "They were building up to that.  That's why they brought Buffy back.  Things were going to hell and Faith couldn't die in prison so no new girl was going to be called."

"What happened in the past when these things happened?"

"Plagues that had no cause," Riley said dryly.  He shuddered at that.  They had found a historical mention of that in one of the books at the Magic Box.  "Speaking of which, Xander is starting to think about things.  So I'd quit screwing around on the probate."

"He barely graduated high school."

"He planned the hellmouth battles and was the reason Buffy survived as long as she did.  He's not stupid, Cross.  He's a hands-on person and he's very shrewd.  He made my team before anyone else did.  He had been in town for a day and a half.  He wasn't sure why but he knew we were there to cause his team problems.  Xander is the backbone of the team.  You won't get it past him."

"I have legal documents...."  His filing cabinet lit on fire.  "What the fuck!" he shouted, reaching for the extinguisher.

Riley looked then nodded, looking up.  "Hey, Willow, he won't try it again.  Really.  If he does, strike him dead."  Cross growled at him and moved toward him but the arc that came out of the socket stopped that problem.  Riley finished putting out the fire then looked around.  "Agent Cross is down!" he yelled.  People came running.  "Somehow a fire started in his filing cabinet while he was there.  He used the extinguisher near the socket and it zapped him."  He got out of the way, letting the paramedics pronounce him dead.  Willow had vowed that she'd watch over Xander, even in death, the one time he had asked her about their relationship.  Looks like she was serious about that.  The overall director had him called down later and showed him the nice tape.   Riley pulled up one of his own.  "Things like that happen around Xander.  We always thought it was latent chaos magic, sir.  Which apparently has broken open."

The director shook his head.  "What does he want?"

"To be left alone most likely.  He's grieving for everyone he's ever loved but one."  That got a nod.  "It'll be almost a year before he's out of the hospital.  Nine months before he can start physical therapy for his legs.  Cross was going to try to get him to sign documents stating the incident was their own fault.  He knew better.  They had to call her back or everyone would've died."

"I looked at that file.  Where was the other girl, Faith?"

"Prison.  LA County Women's Detention Center at the time."

He slumped.  "So they had no choice."

"No, sir.  We were considering offering our services to go in and clean out the town again."

"Hellfire," he muttered.  "All right.  Anything else I should know?"

"Xander's a bit... sarcastic.  Sometimes mean, sometimes not.  Pissing him off brings it out.  Often.  If he gets to swearing, duck and run."

"I'll remember that.  Anything else I should know?"

"They were like his family, sir.  He will retaliate.  He might be in a hospital in traction with two broken legs, but I have never doubted Xander's ability to piss off people and make them sorry to have screwed with him or the slayer team."

"He has artillery."

"He was her gear person.  Giles may've been a watcher but he hated weapons more modern than the crossbow and hated the modern adaptation of those.  He liked the old, bulky, wooden models.  Xander had to.  The same as he had to get something for Buffy to fire off in a mall once.  That's what got our notice and why my former unit was created."

The director shook his head. "I remember."  He rubbed his eyes.  "Fine.  This lawyer?"

"No clue.  One of the legal team in that office, sir."

"I'll check.  Have the papers redrawn so they're legal and logical.  What are we doing for him?"

"Probates.  His parents, uncle, all his friends but Dawn.  She's only fifteen so we're working on both their behalfs."

"Fine.  Thank you, Captain."  He got saluted and Riley left.  Unlike his underling he knew *exactly* what Xander had done for his country and he deserved a bit of slack.  As long as he retired from hunting.  Hopefully the injuries would make sure of it.  He called the legal department in that office.  "It's Director Finegold.  I want to know who is handling the probates for Mr. Harris.  I need to have some papers drawn up for him to sign."  He listened.  "Somehow he set his filing cabinet on fire earlier," he told him.  "Including those papers.  Draw up a new set.  Make them fair to Mr. Harris.  It's not right that he risked his life to save us all and we screw him for it.  Am I clear?"  He nodded.  "If not, pass it onto someone with more ethics."  He hung up and went to take something for his headache.  The boy seemed to provoke them.


Xander looked up the next morning at the intrusion of the doctors.  "Hey," he said, waving one hand, the other trying to use the mouse.  "I can't find her external mouse."  Chase looked then found it in the bag that had fallen onto the floor out of reach.  "You're a god," he said, giving him a hug.

"That's probably better than you first thought of me," he teased back.

"Sorry, the whole Glory thing."  He grimaced, plugging in the mouse.  He had to restart the computer but that was fine since Cameron was pulling his wrist over to take his pulse anyway.  He looked at her.  "Are you having fun groping me?  The machine tells you what it is."

"There's things you can tell by doing it manually."

"The machine tells you my BP too."  He pulled his wrist back.  "Besides, I hear you're evil enough to want to date me.  I don't need that right now."  She gaped.  He gave her a dry look then grinned.  "My last one was the vengeance demon over women scorned."  She shuddered.  "Exactly.  Only the evil ones like me."

"I'm getting right with god tonight," she said, getting away from him.

House tried not to laugh, but oh well.  "I see you're feeling better?"

"Still bored.  The games on here suck.  If I had my actual account I could fix that."  He looked at him.  "Are you bored?"

"No, I have you to torment me," House assured him.  "And them."  Foreman gave him a dirty look.  "If worse comes to worse of boredom, I have Wilson."  Chase snickered.  "I do."

"Is Wilson the boyfriendy sort?"

"No, not even," House assured him.  He checked him over and looked at his last day's worth of notes.  "I see you nagged the nurses."

"Needed to.  They were being pouty.  Trying to pet me too."

"Uh-huh.  I see you got out of bed twice?"

"Potty breaks only.  I was good.  I even put back up the torture device."

House looked at him.  "You're supposed to stay still."

"I'm hyperactive.  Be thankful I'm not doing morning PT."

House rolled his eyes but he did appreciate someone who could answer back any witty remarks he made.  "I see you refused to eat dinner."

"Did you see what dinner was?"  House looked at it then nodded once.  "Exactly.  If I had money I'd have ordered pizza."

"You'd have to share if you did," Chase told him.  "Just like in school with gum."

Xander looked at him.  "I offered the piece I was chewing once and Cordelia went on an 'eww' rant that lasted for six weeks.  It's why I had a loser rep in high school."

"You were in what grade?" Cameron demanded.


"Didn't you date her?" Chase asked.  Xander nodded.  "You need better taste."

"Only the evil ones like me."  He blew a kiss and restarted the game.  "Much easier with a real mouse.  Thank you."

"You're welcome."

"You could be studying for a new career," Foreman said.

Xander spit at him.  "I hated school.  I can't learn in school.  Suckiness is school.  No."

"That's childish," Chase told him.

Xander looked at him.  "I had to beg to graduate.  I'm much better at the vo-tech style of learning.  That's why I went into construction."

"Maybe some online classes?" House suggested dryly.  "They do make them and they're not lecture based.  You could learn more computer things."

"I'd need a bigger hard drive.  Willow filled this one with lesbian smut and hacking software."  They all stared.  "What?  She was like that."

"Lesbian?" House asked.

"I miss Tara," he sighed, shaking his head.  "It's been two years and I miss Tara."

"She sounds nice."  Xander nodded.  "Let's finish up.  Have the nurses given you grief over the computer?"

"Who do you think put the bag under the bed."


"I couldn't sleep."

"We have pills for that," Foreman reminded him.

"And if I take one, I'd better be headed for surgery," Xander said in the same tone of voice.   He frowned.  "Drugs are a crutch. I don't need crutches.  Yet."  He frowned.  "Not a good analogy."

"It'll be a better one when you're off crutches," House assured him.  "Any new pains?  From the traction or not?"

"Same as yesterday."

"Good!  Any other new pains?"


"Headache, nothing like that?"

"Nope.  Why?"

"Finn screwed with your head."

"I saw the virus he wanted to put onto the computer."  House stared at him.  Xander smirked back.  "Tell the nurses to not get in the way when Cross comes in.  They might need a mop but I'll help."

"Fat chance you're getting out of the bed, kid," House told him.  He made notes.  "Anything you think needs changed besides the food?"

"Just the baby food they wanted to feed me."  He saw someone coming up the hall.  "It's a suit.  Is it your suit or my sort of suit?"

"That's not Agent Cross," House told him quietly.  "I threatened him."

Xander beamed and hugged him.  "I like you.  You're like a prototype of me.  Only you're smarter."  He looked at the agent coming in.  "Hi.  You are?"

"The new regional director, Mr. Harris.   These are....?"

"My medical team.  This is Doctor House.  The evil one there is Doctor Cameron from what the nurses said.  The cute one is Doctor Chase; he listens very well when I need to talk about my friends.  The other one is Doctor Foreman, who thinks I need to be a multi- pill addict.  Do you have a name?"

"Sorry, Reginald Scott."  He shook his hand.  "I promise I will not upset his medical condition," he told Doctor House, who was clearly in charge of the younger ones.  Especially by the background he had found done for him.  "May I have him for a few minutes?"

"We'll be outside.  We have to go over his next stage of recovery."  The agent nodded so they left.  "Chase, stay," he ordered when his pager went off.  Chase nodded, staying at the desk to look over Xander's full bloodwork results.

Xander looked at the agent.  "So, why the change?  I was told to expect the guy who tried to virus Willow's system."

"You do know that many people believe you brought this on yourself?"

"You do realize that all those people would be in hell, just like you would be, if we hadn't?" Xander shot back.  "Because the hellmouth was opening and there was no slayer available thanks to Faith being in prison."  The man gaped.  "And for all I give a damn, they can join the First Evil in hell.  Obviously someone got a wire crossed somewhere. I don't give a damn what anyone thinks.  About anything.  Or anyone else.  The last one I gave a damn about the opinion of died recently.  The one before her died a few months back."

"Just letting you know what I had heard, sir."  He mentally stepped back.  Finn's advice had been right.  This boy was going to destroy him.  "I have legal paperwork so we can handle the probates for you."

"By the same genius that wanted to virus Willow's system?  By the way, if you're touching the stuff at the Magic Box, I will gut you," he warned.  "Or any of the other artifacts.  There's enough politicians who bow and suck demon cock.  We don't need more with this apocalypse and the hellmouth moving to Cleveland."  The agent whimpered.  "Am I clear?"  He nodded.  "Because I know what the will says about the Magic Box, it goes to whichever of the group is left.  And he hasn't remade it since long before Glory showed up with Dawn."

"I see.  No, we're not going to try to use anything.  Simply boxing it up and Captain Finn is doing an inventory."


"He has the books."

"We couldn't find the books on some of them.  And tell him the inventory is under the register."

"I'll do that."  He pulled out the papers, looking through them.  One he put back.  "Sorry, son's permission slip."  Xander snatched it to read then burst out laughing, glaring at him.  "It was not my choice, young man.  I put that one away."

"Uh-huh."  He looked out there.  "Hey, Doctor Chase, do you know legalese?"

"I don't but Cuddy does.  Let me see if she's busy, Xander."  He called her.  "There's an agent here that wants to bother Mr. Harris.  Presenting paperwork.  I do think someone should and he did ask for someone who spoke legal jargon.  Thank you, Cuddy."  He hung up.  "Give her ten to put back on her shoes, Xander."  He nodded, staring the agent down.  Cuddy came off the elevator five minutes later so he smiled.  "I'm watching to make sure they don't fight for real or that we don't get new patients."

"That's fine.  Whatever House wants.  Remind him he has clinic hours today, not Cameron."  She walked in there.  "Legal paperwork, Mr. Harris?"  She smiled as he handed them over.  "I've heard you haven't been too much trouble.  Thank you for that."

"Not a problem but I'm still going to go to the bathroom by myself and not in the bed."

"I can understand why.  I don't like bedpans myself," she admitted, sitting in the visitor's chair to read them.

The agent cleared his throat.  "Ma'am, you are?"

She smiled. "The administrator of this hospital.  I need to make sure none of this affects the deal Agent Cross made to cover his medical bills."  He moaned at that.  She went back to reading and ripped one up.  "Absolutely unacceptable.  He is not handing over anything that his friends owned to the government unless they're dangerous."

"Ma'am, he owns artillery," he told her.

She looked at him.  "You're not the ATF."

He slumped.  "There are some dangerous artifacts."

"Which I'm sure he knows the proper storage of.  That's his former job."

"Well, not exactly."

"I did plenty of work in the store too," Xander said dryly.  "Giles yelled at me many times not to touch the sock eating demon he had on his bookshelves.  I can name about every thing in that store, Agent Scott."  He slumped further.  "Nor am I handing over anything of any of my friends to you."

"Miss Rosenburg was a hacker."

"Yay her.  She quit when she found magic."

"You have artillery."

"Don't make me use it," Xander said, staring him down.  He whimpered.  "Pissing me off makes me want to.  Remember that.  I'm here and in a lot of pain from two broken legs."

"You didn't have to be there."

"Sure, next time I'll let the fifteen young girls, ten of who were under the age of eighteen, go into battle on their own without me making the plans for them and not being there to try to help protect them."  The agent whimpered.  "You know what?  I want to meet this lawyer."  Cuddy tore up another paper.  "That bad?"

"Yes.  Same clause.  Repeatedly."  She went over the next one and laughed.  The agent stomped out.  "They really don't like you."

"They're scared of me," Xander told her. "I know things that they've done that are illegal.  Including his department.  We had to stop them.  I'm the last living witness to what they did and the last witness to what happened in Sunnydale.  They want it under the rug."

"One of them had a clause saying you would not hunt demons, would leave the paranormal behind, and would not practice anything in a way that might endanger lives."

"I might not be able to go back to hunting," he admitted.  "That doesn't mean I won't need to practice since apparently I have magic.  As for knowing, once you know you can't go back.  I might end up being a research source but I can't ignore it."

She nodded. "It's like that once you have knowledge.  You can never put it back."  She stood up.  "I would hire your own lawyer."

"They were going to work for free."

"I'd still hire one.  Just in case.  If they're trying to do that to you...."  She let it trail off.  Xander nodded.  "Do you need some names?"

"I'll call Angel since it's in California.  He should know someone.  Thank you for the help."

"Not a problem.  I didn't want them to agree to pay for your care and then back out of it with a carelessly worded form."  He grinned.  "Behave, Mr. Harris."  She walked off, smirking at Chase.  "They're trying very hard."

"Agent Scott just ran into an ambulance in the parking lot while talking into his phone."

"In his car?"

"No.  The ambulance backed over him.  They said they didn't see him."

"He didn't do anything I could tell."

"I can't do that," Xander called.  "Sneeze maybe but not that."

"Good to know," she called back.  "You heard?"

"I can kinda read some lips.  Now and then.  When you enunciate very clearly."  Chase smiled at that.  "Hey, it's a skill I needed to pass notes in class."  He went back to his laptop, writing Wesley a letter.  They should know a good probate lawyer and know what was going on as well.  He got back one from Fred, who was a lady he liked a lot.  He found Willow's cellphone and called.  "Hey, Fred.  Do we have ..."  The nurse stormed in.  "It's shielded so it won't hurt anything.  Willow did it.  It's hers."  She huffed.  "Give me ten.  I'm not running up a huge phone bill until my bank accounts are out here."  He went back to it.  "Hey, Fred."  He smiled at her renewed greeting.  "The probate stuff.  Do we have any idea?"  He beamed.  "Really?  Think Wes would let me use him too?  Because the NSA just gave me forms saying it was our own fault."  He smirked.  "Exactly.  Also, in Willow's dorm room, under her bed, is my insurance forms.  Her insurance forms, all that.  For everyone but Giles.  Sure, thanks, Fred.  Tell him to email me. I sent him one.  Riley gave me Willow's so I could get her research files off.  Thanks, Fred.  Miss you guys."  He hung up and put it away.  "See, good me and it didn't hurt a single meter or machine."

"Next time, warn us."

"Yes, Nurse Janice."  She walked off shaking her head.  Xander found Riley's email in Willow's contact book and sent him one too saying he'd like to use Wesley's choice of lawyer for the probate and could he please hurry up with his bank account so he could do things like buy phone cards to call Dawn with.   Then he yawned and had to take a nap.  He was still pretty exhausted.


Riley heard his computer beep and looked at the new email, smirking as he looked at the man that had stormed into his office.  "Sir, Mr. Harris has said he wants to use whatever lawyer Mr. Wyndham-Pryce is using for the probates so there's no longer any issues.  He also wants to know where his bank accounts are since I'm supposed to be moving them for him."

"Do it quickly."

"I need forms."

"Call him from the bank."

"I can do that.  I think.  We can fax tag or email tag if we have to."  That got a nod.  "The other?  Agent Scott's not answering his phone, sir.  I called to see if he needed help translating Southern California recent teen into Bureaucrat."


"I don't know."  He tried it again and got an answer so put her on speaker. "This is Agent Riley Finn.  I'm trying to get hold of Special Agent Scott, whose phone this is.  Where might he be please?"

"He's probably in the ER since that's where I am, sir.  We need to talk to someone about his health.  Do you know his family's number?  It's not in his phone."

"I can have someone fax that to you," Riley promised.  "Give me your fax number please?"  He wrote it down as she repeated it.  "I've got it.  Give me ten minutes."

"It's not that big of a hurry, sir."  She hung up.

Riley hung up and looked at the director.  "Went to piss him off too?"

He moaned, walking out shaking his head.

Riley found the man's home number and faxed it to the hospital.  He wondered what happened but not that much.  Xander would do it to him too.  He had pissed off the man too many times.


Xander pouted at House when he came in late that night.  "Bad day?"

"Bad case," he admitted.  "You okay for the night?"

"I'm fine."

"Why aren't you in traction?"

"I threw it earlier."

"Why?" he asked impatiently.

"Because it hurt and I felt a bone shift while it was suspended.  I hadn't moved in a good while and a bone shifted.  So I threw it out the door.  I didn't hit anybody.  The nurses were on the other side of the unit."

House shook his head.  "You need it."

"The pillows work better and they don't hurt.  If I don't hurt as much I can't be the addict Doctor Foreman wants me to be."

"Pain killers are good sometimes."

"I'm all for them when I need them.  The bone shifting means I need them for longer."

"Shifted how far and where?"  Xander leaned up with a groan to point.  "Why the abdominal pain?"

"I was doing situps about a half hour ago.  They're easier out of traction too."  House just shook his head.  "It shifted around here," he told him.  "Shifted toward the right or outside."

House nodded.  "Let's get you another x-ray, kid."

"Okay.  Can I have a candy bar at least?"

"We'll see."  He smirked.  "Any other problems?"

"Only with agents."

House closed the door and came back to look at him.  "Brenda said you've been having nightmares, vivid, swearing, screaming, keeping the whole unit and the upstairs neighbors up nightmares."

"They'll go away in a few weeks.  They're already calming down."

"Do you want to try to sleep sedated?"

"Then I can't escape and I'm trapped in them," he said, sounding a bit hysterical to himself so he took a calming breath.  "No thanks."

"How about a therapist?  It could help and you've been unburdening to Chase."

"Did he mind?  Because I'll quit if he minded."

"No, he hasn't said he minded," he assured him, seeing the bit of low self esteem coming through.  The boy had been acting tough for days to hide how upset he was.  "Listen, kid, grieving is normal.  So is crying sometimes."

"No it's not."

"No matter who told you that, it is.  It always has been and always will be.  Grieving is normal and healthy in these circumstances.  Holding it in and pretending to be tough so no one knows is freaking others out."  Xander slumped again.  "So let me get one of the therapists down here."

"They'll want to put me on more drugs if I talk about demons."

"Possibly but we can veto that."  He leaned down.  "They won't do you any good, Xander.  Why would I make you take them?"  Xander grinned a bit.  "Better.  And let them give you your toothbrush too."

"Riley never brought it."

House rolled his eyes.  "Stupid idiots."

"The Initiative?  Yeah, kinda the definition," he said.  House smirked at that.  "I'll survive and I gargle really well whenever I go in there."

"We'll make sure you get one.  Need sensitive formula?"

"No, I'm good with the cheap stuff.  That's what I usually get."

"Good."  He looked at him.  "Let me see if I can prep a therapist who won't put you on drugs.  All right?"  Xander nodded.  "Good.  Stay in bed.  Keep that propped up.  I'll have them take you down for x-rays tonight if possible.  If not, tomorrow.  Then we'll see what the ortho people say.  I usually get fast answers so I go away sooner."

Xander smiled.  "I got that sometimes."

"You could study, find something you want to do with your life once you get out of here."

"School sucks.  I hated school."

"So don't go to school.  Some of the online classes are very practical."

"I'll think about it."

"Good."  He gave him a pat on the arm, seeing the flinch.  "What?  Fell again?"

"No.  The library girl tried to grab me."  He showed him the bruise.  "I'm fine.  It'll be gone by tomorrow."

"Why did she try to grab you?"

"I have no clue but I nearly bit her since she ran into my leg on purpose."

"I'll talk with the nurses."  He went to do that.  "The Candy Striper hates him?"

"She's one of those good Catholic girls who hates anyone who might do things she doesn't approve of.  He was reading some of the lesbian smut on the computer."  Brenda looked at him.  "We reported her."

"Good.  Let's send him to x-ray both legs.  He said there was a bone shifting in his right one.  We need to check healing in the other side."

"I can do that."  She called down there.  "This is Brenda up on three.  Is tonight or tomorrow morning a better time to send one of my inmates down to get x-rayed.   Not a literal one, Jacob.  I've got a guy up here with one shattered and one broken.  He thinks a bone shifted."   She wrote that down.   "Harris.  Doctor is House.  That'll work.  I'll get orderlies."  She smiled.  "You're magical."

"No that's him.  Try to help him find some more practical education sites?"

"I have.  He thinks he's dumb and he's wrong."

"Some people don't learn from lectures," House countered.  He walked off.  "Let me know what Ortho said in the morning."

"Yes, sir."  She got orderlies to come get her boy.  "That one is going down to radiology for x-rays."  She wrote the order and handed it over.  "I told you to stay in traction," she reminded him.

"I was when it shifted."  He helped them move him and it was okay.  He waved as the wheelchair got pushed off.  They had even given him a blanket to cover his lap.  That had been nice.  They brought him down, handed him over to a nurse down there, then left again.  "Long wait?" he asked.

"Shouldn't be."  He went to check then came to get him.  It was nearly one in the morning and a tuesday.  No traumas from the drunks so far tonight.  They took the nice pictures and he called for a pickup, going to his next patient.  He came back to check on the boy, who was half asleep in the wheelchair, thirty minutes later.  He called again.  Still no orderlies when he checked back after his next patient, another ten had gone by.  He sighed and called up to the floor. "Orderlies are not being nice tonight.  Your boy's been done for a while now."  He smiled.  "Sure, I can do that."  He hung up and moved closer.  "Xander, Brenda's on her way down to get you.  Just a few more minutes, okay?"  The boy nodded, shifting closer to being on his side.  "That's a good boy."  The kid barked and he smiled.  "Sure, you do that."  He kept an eye on him while he filed paperwork. It needed to be done and he was clear anyway.  Orderlies finally came.  "Brenda's on her way down for him since you guys never showed up."

"I can take him back up there.  It was lunch for me.  Sorry.  Three, right?"  He nodded.  "Tell her I've got him."  He rolled the boy off, taking him to the elevator.  He got on and pushed a button.  When the door opened on two he pushed a different button and went down to the basement.  He rolled the boy off and put him into a dark corner then walked off snickering.  Let's see this one bother his bosses again.

Xander woke up a little bit later with the feel of a wet nose on his toes.  He looked down then kicked at the rat.  It changed into a person, making him blink.  "Either I had really good drugs or you're a magic user or a demon of some sort."

"Wish demon."  She leaned down to look at him.  "For those in serious trouble."

Xander grinned.  "Where were you when I was five?"

"That would've been Hallie's job, Xander."  He smirked at that.  "You should not be down here."

"I have no idea where 'here' is.  Last I knew I was getting x-rays."

"Oh, dear.  Who did you piss off?"

"Some agents are trying to make me sign papers saying it was our own fault."

"Darn it.  Well, no help for it.  We're having a short convention down here tonight."

"Mourning Anya since she died in the battle?"

"She did?"  Xander nodded.  "I thought I saw her yesterday."

"D'Hoffryn brought her back?" he asked, looking excited.  "Really?"

"I can check.  She might not be allowed to see you since you gave her a conscience before."

"If not, I can understand that.  Have her go give Riley a report on what happened?  So I don't have to?" he begged.

"I can do that, Xander.  Now, let's get you out of here."

He worked the controls on the chair, releasing the brake and getting turned around slowly with her help.  "Elevator?"  She got him pointed in the right direction.  "Thank you, Tana."

"Welcome, Xander."  She smiled as she watched him wheel himself off.  He was such a nice boy.  She could see why Anya had fallen for him.  She turned and found the boss standing there.  "I thought I had seen her."

"You did.  She made a wish right before she died.  I let her have a job but now she's taking Hallie's since she knows why."  He watched the boy move onto the elevator, wincing when the doors tried to close on him a few times.  He finally made it though and made it onto the main level.  He looked at her again.  "I'll have her go bother the nice agents."

"Why are they bothering him?"

"He's the last living witness."

"Oh dear."

"Exactly.  That was an agent."  He smirked.  "Now, we're having a meeting?"

"There's been a wish granted earlier and we have no idea who," she said.  "I talked to Rod and Skip and all of us.  No one granted that wish earlier."

"When Anya sent him away, she ended up supercharging him with the energy floating around at the time," D'Hoffryn said.  She moaned.  He nodded.  "He did it unconsciously.  They upset him greatly.  It's not the first time.  He'll learn control once he realizes it's him."  He smirked.  "Any other concerns?"

"The artifacts?"

"Are all his from what I understand."

"Oh, dear.  You do know Giles had a lot of us trapped?"

"Of course.  He'll probably put them in a closet somewhere.  Serves them right for getting caught."  He disappeared.

 She went to tell the others what had happened.


Xander rolled off the elevator and to the other one.  The freight one didn't go to three.  It only came to the lobby.  So he got on another one, still getting hit with the door a few times but he was still learning how to use the wheelchair.  He finally made it and waved at the nurse watching him.  "Someone put me in the basement.  I'm not happy with them."  He leaned over to push the button, having to try twice to get it.  Then he went up.  He rolled off.  "I hate orderlies," he called as he rolled himself past the nurses station.  It wasn't his unit but that was fine.  The nurse gave him an odd look.  "Someone put me in the basement," he said with a pout.  "First they didn't come and I was asleep down by x-rays, and then I woke up in the dank, dark basement with rats."  She shuddered, coming over to check his room number and put him in there.  "Thank you."

"You're welcome, Mr. Harris."  She helped him back into bed and onto his pillows for his leg casts.  "There you go.  I'll talk with the nurse over here in a minute for you."  She rolled the wheelchair off.  "Brenda."  She came out of the other hallway.  "I just rescued one of yours from the elevator."

"Harris?"  She nodded.  "Jacob said the orderlies finally came for him.  I've had one vomiting blood."

"They put him in the basement.  He got woken up by a rat."

"Someone's going to pay then," she said dryly.  "That's Doctor House's patient."  The other nurse shuddered.  "Exactly.  How did he get up here?"

"By himself.  I got him off the elevator when he told me why he was wandering.  I put him back in bed."

"Thank you, dear."  The other nurse smiled and left.  She went to check on him. "Basement?"

"Yeah, with Tana, the vengeance demon over dire straits.  She was a rat for a while.  I'm sure there are others."

She nodded.  "Usually one or two near the garbage."  She came in to tuck him in and look him over.  "Are you all right?"

"I don't know.  Am I?"

"You should be fine, Xander."  She smoothed down his hair.  "No playing on the computer tonight.  If you can't sleep, we have a mild, over the counter strength sleeping pill or we can give you an allergy pill to help you sleep.  All right?"  He nodded.  "Good boy."  He barked.  She smirked.  "I heard you did that to Jacob."  She left him alone, going to make a note on his chart.  Thankfully he hadn't been bitten by a real rat.


House walked in the next morning and found Cuddy laying in wait to pounce.  "What happened?"

"We had three federal agents brought in last night from a car accident in our lot, House."

"The speed bump get them?" he asked sarcastically.

"No.  One had just left your patient in the basement after getting him from radiology.  I checked the tapes."

"Charming.  I'll see if he did anything."

"He couldn't!  He was asleep in the chair!"

House shrugged.  "Who knows then.  Want me to tell him?"

"Please.  It does not look good that we've had three regular and one regional director of the same agency hurt in our parking lot."

"Fine.  Any word from radiology since you've been here for a while apparently?"  He yawned.

"One bone did shift.  They're talking about sending him to Ortho for more surgery."  She walked off.

House shook his head, going up there.  He walked into Xander's room.  "Is it possible that magic stuff is making you hurt the agents without knowing it?  Cuddy got a bit peeved that four agents have now nearly died in our parking lot after pissing you off."

"They did?"

"Scott and three agents last night after one left you in the basement."

"All I know is that I woke up down there when a furry, wet nose touched my good foot."  He changed the channel on the tv.  "Stupid cable," he muttered.

House reached up and turned off the tv.  "Xander, focus.  Is it possible?"

"Magic works on emotional energy sometimes.  If I'm frustrated, yeah.  I was with Scott but not last night.  I didn't realize it until a nightmare woke me up at two by the clock in the lobby when I finally made it back up there."

House shook his head.  "All right.  Can you figure out if it is and how to stop it?"

"I'm doing the control exercises every day."

"Try them when you're frustrated and before bed.  Think what happens if this is your magic and you're having nightmares."  The boy shuddered.  "Exactly."

"I'll try, Doctor House."  He shifted.  "Was I right?"

"From what Cuddy heard, yes.  I'm going to drop stuff and come back to look it over with your Ortho."  Xander nodded so he went to do that.  By the time he came back the orthopedist was scowling at the boy for being out of traction.  "It shifted while he was in it.  The nurses said he had been in it for three hours at that point."

"You're still treating him?"

"He still has defunct, deadly diseases in his bloodstream that he's not responding to in a proper way.  Beyond that, Chase likes him and it's my Christmas bonus to him."

"It's May," Xander reminded him.

"It's the one he wanted a few years back," House said dryly.  "It's my foray into the life of a normal doctor instead of my usual existence as an exceptional one."

The orthopedist looked at him.  "Egos are bad, House.  Especially yours.  They're taking bets on when you have a stroke.  You know that, right?"

Xander growled.  "Don't pick on him!  He's been very nice to me."

"Xander," House warned.  "He's allowed his pitiful picking on me.  It's because he feels so superior for driving a Jaguar when I ride a motorcycle."

"I'm sure you have more fun with it," Xander said, glaring at the orthopedist.  "He's been good to me when he didn't have to.  He could've dumped me on someone."

"That's true.  Though you are a medical anomaly."

"All the girls say that," he quipped with a smirk.

"Are you two related?"

"No," House said.  "He said I'm the prototype for what he'll become some year when he finishes growing up."

"And *who* hast he gameboy in his office?"

"Wilson right now.  He's trying to beat my tetris score."  He looked at Xander then at him. "Pins?"

"Still too small and too weak."

"Can they do what they did on animal planet and attach the thing with he cement in the tube between them to hold them in proper position?" Xander asked.

"Huh?" House asked.  Xander turned back to that channel to show him. It took a minute but they did a followup to 'Barney's leg operation to straighten the bone.

"That would require pinning and the section there is too weak," the ortho told him.  Xander nodded at that.  "We might try a tying bar.  That's basically a small metal bar across them screwed in.  With your bones though, it's not going to be a perfect fit."

Xander grimaced.  "I'll really beep at the airport, huh?"

"Yes you will," both doctors agreed.  House stuck his tongue out at him, cracking Xander up.

"I want to monitor it for a few days, Xander.  Can we do that?  Is it making you too uncomfortable?"

"I haven't felt my toes in weeks," he told him.

"That's a bad sign."

"They're numb.  I get pins and needles whenever I go to the bathroom."

"Like when you're peeing?" the ortho asked, looking confused.

"Like he refuses to use a bed pan in case he misses so he has the nurses help him into the bathroom," House told him.

"Oh.  You need to keep them still.  Too much movement and they'll heal wrong."

"I'm still not crapping in the bed," Xander told him.  "It's bad enough I'm on a catheter that leaks now and then."

"I'll check that in a minute."  Xander blushed.  "I won't even make a sleazy come-on.  I'll save that for Cameron."

"Okay," he squeaked.

"Not like I haven't seen one before, kid," he said dryly.

"Does that mean you and the Wilson guy are super special secret boyfriends?"

House burst out laughing.  "No.  But I'll suggest it to him, just to see the look on his face."

The other doctor looked at him.  "You're not?"   House shook his head with a smirk. "Huh.  Rumors had you two together last year when you let him move in."

"His new ex kicked him out.  He had the couch, Paul."

"Fine, if you say so.  He's always so happy so we thought you were taking his mind off the newest divorce."  He shrugged, looking at their shared patient.  "I'm going to have them do a CT on your legs.  Let's check your feet too.  We might have to recast them."  Xander nodded, pouting a bit.  "It won't hurt."

"Unless I end up in the basement like last night."

"You won't.  I'll have Foreman take you down if I have to."

"Must you?  He's kinda uptight.  Like dynamite up the butt wouldn't loosen him any.  I know he doesn't date.  Is his preference nope?"

"No, he likes mouthy things," House told him.

"But Chase has taste."

"Female mouthy things with butts," House corrected.

"Chase still has taste."

"Chase is a boy," House told him.

"I know that."  House shook his head but he was smirking.  He could appreciate this kid.  "Cameron's not going to come watch, right?  I'm getting seriously evil vibes off her and evil chicks want to kill me or sleep with me and then kill me."

"Then you're doing something wrong."

"No I'm not.  I wore out Anya and she wanted seven or eight orgasms a night," he complained.  "I managed it.  Even with working all day."

"You're better than I am," the ortho said.  "Let me schedule that and I'll tell you when, Xander."  He went to do that, closing the door behind him.

"Okay, what're you wearing today?" House asked, finding gloves in a drawer to put on.

"Boxers and a t-shirt, like a good boy.  So I'm not naked.  I might flash someone and get another evil woman."

House smirked.  "Probably not here unless you draw Cuddy."  He came over to check the catheter, wincing at the redness.  "That doesn't hurt?"

Xander looked down then at him.  "Anya did worse than that one night when she got drunk and wanted to celebrate turning eleven-hundred-and-twenty-two."

House shook his head quickly.  "Does it hurt?"

"Twinges a bit when it leaks."

"That's because it's a bad thing."  He checked the tube.  It had a slit in the line.  His penis was swollen.  "Okay, we're going to have to remove this."

"But I don't want to be a girl.  I won't work right as a girl."

"Not that.  The catheter.  Which means you get to pee into something about the size of a coffee mug for on the road."  He looked up.  "It'll hurt."  He went to get a needle to pull out the air in the bubble keeping it in place.  When he came back Xander was holding onto himself.  "It'll be fine, Xander."  He withdrew the air and made sure it was all out.  Then he pulled it out quickly.  Most people yelped.  Xander moaned.  Even though there was some blood he only moaned.  "Crap."  He got some gauze to try to stop the bleeding.  "Janice, I need urology now!" he called.  Dicks were not his forte.  "I had to pull his line for an infection.  He's bleeding."  She called and someone came to look.  "The line was split, he had redness and swollen tissue.  I pulled it fast to keep him from being hurt after I reduced the bubble down.  He moaned."

The urologist took the gauze once he had on gloves.  "That looks painful, kiddo.  You in a lot of pain?"

"Anya did worse on her birthday.  Though a warm bath would feel great."

"Not with casts on," House told him.  "Warm compress maybe."

The urologist looked closer then nodded.  "It looks like you've got one hell of a bladder infection, young man." He looked at him.  Then at House.  "Yours?"

"This is Mr. Harris."

"I've heard about your case."  He smiled.  "Have you had one?"

"I had him on antibiotics before he woke up for the same reason.  Are you sure this is only an infection?  He's still bleeding."

"I can insert a pinhole camera and look.  The swelling would make that very painful."

"Want some ice?" House asked.

"Please," Xander said.  "Or a warm compress?"

"Ice then heat," House told him, leaning out the door.  "He needs an ice pack."  She went to get him one, handing it over.  "Let's restart that antibiotic as well."

"I noticed some inflamation and made a note for Doctor Foreman but he never wrote a new prescription," she said.

"That'll change."  He took a picture of it.  He smirked.  "Foreman was supposed to write you an antibiotic."

"That's strange considering he tries to make me take every other pill in existence," Xander said grimly.  He put the ice pack down underneath his balls.  The doctor would think it was in the way otherwise.  He finally pulled back.  "It won't fall off, right?"

"No, it won't fall off.   The bleeding stopped so we should be fine.  Try to gently pee instead of all out peeing.  I'll make sure you're not on a diuretic."  He went to do that and made notes in the chart.

House shook his head, moving the ice pack for him.  "You're lucky."

"It didn't hurt that much.  It does now."

"We'll look at it again later."  The boy blushed so House covered him back up.  "There you go.   Let's see when you have the CT."  He walked out there.  "CT?"

"Tomorrow.  He okay?"

"Swollen, red, line had a rupture so it probably rubbed him wrong causing him to bleed a bit."


"Very.  Let me know so we can make plans."  He headed off, going to hand Foreman the picture.  "You were left a note about that?"

"I was?" he asked, grimacing at the picture and handing back the phone.  "Why?"

"To write Harris a new UTI antibiotic."  Foreman moaned.  "He was bleeding this morning.  Swollen nearly shut."  Foreman slumped.  "Good!  We did it, urology and me.  Next time, check again."  He walked into is office, going to sit down and have a headache.  The ducklings did it to him all too often these days.


Chase popped in to see the boy, finding him pouting.  "What's wrong?"

"Wi-fi's been down for a few hours.  I'm bored."

"You could read."

"I don't want smut.  It hurts."

Chase smiled.  "Still?"

"Yup."  He looked at him.  "Am I due for more medicines?"

"Not that I know of.  Why?"

"They did the CT yesterday on my legs.  Haven't heard if they were going back in to do more surgery to straighten out the bit that moved."

"I didn't hear about that.  I can check."  Xander nodded.  "Try to sleep.  It makes the time go faster."

"I would but the new nurse is annoying the crap out of me every time I try.  She claims if I sleep now I won't later."

"Still having nightmares?"

"Less bad ones.  Normal ones.  I'm down to how I usually sleep."  He shrugged.  "I'll be fine."  The new nurse came in with an IV.  "What's this for?"

"Medicine for the smallpox you carry."

"We ordered that?" Chase asked.  She sneered at him.  He took the bag and looked at the medicine tag on it.  "No.  This is not what you give for an infectious disease."  He walked it off and her when she tried to protest.  All the way to the consult room.  He held up the bag for House's reading displeasure, getting a grunt.  "She said it's for the smallpox?"

"I didn't order anything," House said, taking the bag to look at.  "That's not for smallpox either.  That's for lupus."  He looked at her, watching her stomp off.  "Who is she?"

"New nurse on the floor.  Xander said he can't nap because she keeps stopping him, saying he won't sleep at night if he naps."

House shook his head, going to hand the bag to Cuddy.  "One of the nurses decided to give that to Harris for his smallpox."

"Crap," she muttered.  "What's it for?  I don't recognize it."


She walked off, going over the orders with her.  She couldn't find that order.  "Who wrote the order for this?" she asked finally.

"She said it was called in," Janice told her.  "Mr. Harris took the practical approach and locked us out of his room for a bit.  Speaking of, he's bored.  The wi-fi's down."

"I'll have it looked into.  There's no telling what he'll do if he gets really bored," she muttered.  She looked at the nurse as she walked back.  "Can I see your ID?"

"Who're you?" she demanded.

Cuddy held up her ID that named her the administrator.  "ID, now."  The nurse stomped off.  "Get security to stop her and check her credentials?"  Janice did that.  She looked in the room, getting a wave from Xander.  She called in there.  "We have it fixed."  She smiled.  "That's fine, as soon as you can get out of bed again, Mr. Harris."  She hung up.  "He's in a bit of pain.  He'll unlock the door soon."  She left, going to check with security.  They had her in custody and had called officers to come pick her up for pretending to be a nurse.  "We get a few every year," she decided.  "Fortunately someone caught her."  She walked off, leaving it with them. That was their job.  She called maintenance.  "The wi-fi on three is out?"  She nodded.  Just that one unit.  "Please.  Let's get it fixed.  We have a few long-term patients up there."  She smirked.  "Yes, him."  She hung up shaking her head.  "That boy," she muttered.


Xander looked out at the maintenance guy.  "Why is it broken?"

"The router blew," he said.  "It'll take about a week to get a new one put in, sir."

"That's okay.  Is there a public terminal I can use?"  The nurses gave him an odd look.  "I have to email Dawn now and then to tell her how I'm doing."

"Give me her email address and I'll write her one from home," Brenda promised.  Xander did that for her.  "I'll do that tonight."  She patted him on the head.  "Be a good boy?"

"You're the one who rolled me out here."  He grinned.  "Thank you."

"I knew you needed out of the bed, Xander.  You've been good for the last few days."  She looked at the maintenance guy.  "While you're up here, we have three blown lightbulbs that haven't been changed in two days since we put in the order."

"Sure."  He went to get those and change them, plus put in the request for a new router.  He came back to find a stiff looking patient and a threatening looking man.  He glanced at the them then the nurses, getting a head shake.

Xander looked around Riley at him.  "I won't hurt him.  Today."  He looked at him again.  "How's things?"

"The same as usual.  Dawn's fine."  Xander nodded.  "She's cheered up a lot since you started to write to her."

"Good.  I like her being happy.  She deserves it after the crappy hand she got dealt so far."

"She does," he agreed.  "Wesley said they're doing the probate next month."

"He said so.  He said if they need to they can call here."  That got a nod.  "What else is going on?"

"I came to check on you.  We haven't had an agent run over in a few days."

"I haven't seen an agent in a few days," Xander said dryly, giving him a look.

"That explains why."  He coughed.  "The lawyer said someone's got an automatic payment set up from one of Willow's trust accounts?  Do you know anything about that?"

"For her cellphone maybe?  Because I have that here."

"That could be," he said.  "I'll let him know and that you have it."  Xander nodded.

"He can't use it in the hospital," Janice said.

"We have his room phone number if we need to get hold of him," Riley promised.  He looked at Xander again.  "I've talked to the bank for you.  They need stuff to hand over your accounts so I can have it switched over."  He pulled out paperwork and Xander read it over, signing the declaration Riley was allowed to handle this transaction - moving his bank account from Sunnydale to Plainsboro, New Jersey - since he was in the hospital.  He handed it back.  "Thanks.  I'm heading out again in two days.  I'll check on Dawn too."

"If something happens, I'll figure out how to get an apartment out here and set her up in it," Xander said quietly.  "Get a housekeeper in to watch over her."  That got a nod.  "Any other cheery news?"

"Agent Cross filed for temporary disability for you before he died.  You still had the insurance and we found that for you.  It should start soon."  Xander grinned.  "That way you can have phone cards and shampoo."

"And I can bribe a nurse to get me chocolate," he said with an impish grin.

"I doubt they want you to bounce, Xander," he said patiently.

"I miss chocolate."

"We'll see," Janice said.  "We were wondering why he hadn't been removed to a physical rehab hospital."

"We want him here.  It's safer for him," Riley said.  "There's not one that's rated for people with security clearances in the state."  She nodded once at that.  "Since he's already here...  Plus there's people worried about who might get his blood."

"I can see that."

"We tried to get someone to put in a suicide patch but Doctor House refused while he was unconscious."

"I'm going to refuse now," Xander told him.

Riley looked at him.  "We can make a new sample of it," he said quietly.

"Figured you could, but that device scares the crap out of me and no one outside the nurses and docs here know."

"We know.  You're on a list at the CDC as having been exposed once."

Xander nodded.  "Figures but I'm not going to go for it.  I can stab someone if they come for me."

"There's a move by one federal director to get you into more protective custody."  Xander pointed at his legs.  "That's not that big of an obstacle and she wouldn't care if you died in custody, Xander."

"I can stab her."

"Good.  Just a head's up from my boss to you."  Xander smiled and nodded a little bit.  "Even better.  Need anything else?"

"The wi-fi router to be working?" he asked.  Riley smirked at that.  "Kinda bored and Willow doesn't have anything but lesbian smut on her computer to read.  Since the last library girl with the cart tried to hurt me on purpose because she caught me reading lesbian smut they won't let them come back."

"I'll see what we can do.  Hopefully you'll have your bank account back in a few days so you can order something."

"That could be nice.  I'm missing some of my comics."  Riley rolled his eyes.  "I like reading my comics.  They're a good distraction."

"Fine.  Whatever."  He looked at him.  "Anything else you need?"

"No, I'm okay."


"Thank you for visiting."

"You're welcome."  He left, going to tell his boss what he had said.  Since Xander hadn't seen the agent trying to watch over him it was good she was still undamaged.

Xander rolled himself up the hall to look at the router.  "If we plug it in, will it help?" he asked the maintenance guy.

"Tried that, sir.  Didn't light up."

"Oh."  Xander rolled off, going to stare outside from the atrium up the hall.  It was as far as he was allowed to go and he knew that.  A half hour later the nurses came to get him and put him back into bed.  He got propped up and was comfy, turning on the tv.  Still nothing on.  The cable here really sucked.  House came strolling in around dinner time.  Xander looked up from his whipped potatoes.  "If I beg can I escape for three hours and go find a cheeseburger?"

"No.  Sorry.  No money anyway, kid."

"I know," he sighed.  He put down his fork.  "Maybe in two more days.  Riley had to get permission slips from me."

"That's probably a good idea so the bank doesn't think he's stealing it."

"He does and I get to beat his ass because he doesn't look a thing like Anya."

House smirked.  "Wilson has exes like that."  He stared at him.  "What's wrong?"

"I'm bored.  The router's out."

"Read the porn."

"Not like I can have happies in here," he said dryly.

"Good point."  He shrugged. "You'll figure it out.  Channel ten has something decent in about an hour."  Xander grinned at that.  "Any new complaints?"

"Just the boredom."

"We'll see what we can do to combat that later.  Tonight, try to sleep."

"I'm down to my usual level of nightmares."

House stared at him.  "Therapist?  We've suggested this many times."

"I talked to the one you wanted me to talk to.  He walked out laughing, said I needed drugs."

"He's wrong.  I'll talk with him again.  Bat him upside the head with a cane."  He sighed, looking at him.  "The other pain?"

"It's better.  Still not great but better.  No more redness, no more bleeding or hurting."

"Excellent.  Then you can probably stop the antibiotics by this weekend.  Any new concerns?"

"Riley said that there's a federal director who wants more of my blood."

"She can leap.  We have first dibs on your blood and soul, kid," he said dryly.

Xander frowned.  "Cuddy's a demon?"

House burst out laughing.  "Not like you're thinking, no.  We'll handle it."

"I can stab her."

"No making more work for the ER."

"Fine.  I'll just make her sorry."

"That'll work. I do it every day."  He winked and walked off, heading home.  With a stop at Cuddy.  "He was warned there's more Feds coming for his blood."

"I didn't know the government employed vampires," she said, giving him a dry look.

He smirked.  "I said we owned his blood and soul first.  He asked if you were a demon."

"Only when *you* piss me off."

He walked off laughing.  "Not hardly.  I've seen worse kittens."

She stared at the door for a minute then shook her head.  "I'll get him one of these days."


Xander looked up as a redheaded woman walked into his room.  "Hmm.  You don't dress like a doctor.  The heels would be killing your feet if you had to do rounds.  You're dressed nicer than a lawyer.  So who the are you and why are you in my room?"

"I'm the director of...."

Xander held up a hand.  "I don't give a damn.  What do you want?"

"You're carrying a particularly lethal strain of a virus in your blood system, Mr. Harris."

"Two.  The strain of syphilis I got exposed to at the same time was just as deadly.  So?"

"We want to move you to a more secure location."


"You don't have a choice."  Xander pulled up his mini crossbow and shot her with it, making her shriek even though it didn't pierce the skin.  "Who are you?" she sneered, getting away from the nurse.

"From Sunnydale.  On their protection patrols.  That was a warning shot and if I see you or your goons with needles again I'm going to kill them.  I won't be poked and killed by you people.  You want it, go find the remains like I got hit with.  Have them boil it down if you can get the Native Americans to agree.  I don't want *my* government to do things like that.  The CDC has enough of a sample.  If they want another one for research purposes they'll come to me openly.  Not like you are."  He waved.  "Shoo.  You're interrupting my thinking time."

She glared.  "I can charge you with that.  That will put you in a cell so fast you'll never know what hit you."

"Hmm, and within seconds of you opening your phone I can be on the way to surgery to put in a suicide patch.  Doesn't much matter to me anyway.  Not like there's more than one person I give a damn about left in this world."  She stepped back.  "You want it so bad, I can infect you."  She backed up another step.  "Get her out of my room.  Before I remember that I used to hunt evil things."  They hustled her out.  A nurse had to come back for her briefcase but oh well.  Xander reloaded his crossbow with another pencil and smiled when Cuddy leaned in.  "What?"


"I got into the junk closet.  The nurses said they didn't mind."  He showed it to her.  "See, and I hit her with a pen.  She wasn't hurt.  The rubber tube doesn't have enough strength for real tension.  I need something stiffer for real tension to put it through someone."

She walked off shaking her head.  "No more, Mr. Harris."

"Then make her go away and stay away," he called back.  He used Willow's cell to call out to LA.  "Gunn, Xander.  How hard is it to for me to file an injunction in court to keep Feds out of my blood?"  He listened.  "Can you?  Please, God, have someone?  A federal director.  Yeah, one of those.  No, I shot her.  Not fatally.  I cobbled together a mini- crossbow from the junk closet and I hit her with a pen."  He grinned.  "Thanks, man.  Still on my butt.  Still down."  The nurse glared at him.  "Gotta go, I'm getting glared at for being on Willow's cellphone.  Thank you."  He hung up.  "Getting an injunction so she can't be back."

"Use the room phone."

"It won't let me call to LA without a calling card and I can't get one until Riley gets stuffed switched around for me."

"Fine."  She went to make note of that.


House walked in a few hours later.  "You know, it's nice that they've decided I'm your responsible adult."

Xander snickered.  "Did I sign that paperwork too?" he asked with a goofy grin.

House looked at him.  "What's wrong with you?"

"Goofy drugs from the shrink."

"No."  He went to look and canceled that order.  "No psychiatric drugs are needed."

"It's nice to see him happy but he stabbed his dinner," Brenda told him.  "Repeatedly and giggled while he did it.  He's now more violent.  Can you take the crossbow from him?"

"Yeah."  He walked back in there.  "Crossbow?"

Xander pulled it out from under his pillow.  "See?  I got into the junk closet and I cobbled it together. I  had to borrow the maintenance guy's soldering iron for a few hours but I managed it.  I can't get very much tension because of the rubber hose for drawing blood but if I had a thin steel line I could.  Then I'd really be able to get them when they came for me.  Because we know they will," he babbled.

House looked at him.  The shook his head.  "I'm worried, I understand babbling.  I really need a vacation."

Xander pouted.  "Not love me?"

"I like you plenty, Xander."  He patted him on the head.  "Pretty soon you'll be down off the goofy drugs and it'll be better.  No shooting the nurses with it."

"The new one tried to get me to use the bedpan.  I was justified."

"I don't care.  No shooting the nurses.  They don't get paid enough to get ambushed by anyone less than a doctor."  He took it to look over.  He recognized the brace everything was connected to.  It had come from the handgrip of a set of wooden crutches.  There appeared to be thin wires from spokes on a wheelchair.  The bow was a bent IV pole's top connected to the rubber hose.  It even had a trigger and a tension knob from something.  He nodded.  "Good job.  How do you load it?"  Xander showed him.  He aimed at the desk and fired it for range.  Didn't quite make the hundred feet.  The nurses scowled.  He grinned.  "Testing the range."  He put it onto the dresser. "When you're down off the drugs you can have it back."

"Yes, Doctor House."

"Thank you.  Now, how are you feeling outside the goofy drugs?"

"They're gone and I'm miserable.  I ache, I'm pissed, I'm depressed, I'm having violent urges each time I can't move like I should be able to, and I want to join them."  He sulked, slumping his shoulders, giving him a pitiful look.  "Why didn't they live and me go?  They're supposed to live."  He sniffled. "It's not right.  The Powers got it backward."  House gave him a awkward pat so he pulled him closer to cry on him.

"It'll be all right, kid.  We'll figure it out together."  He waved off the concerned looks.  The boy needed to let this go but he was never letting him be put on these drugs again.  They made him honest.  "How much pain are you in?"

"Lots and lots.  Even worse than when I got beaten up the last time," he sniffled.  He looked up at him. "You're kinda nice."

"Only to those who don't annoy me."

"I annoy everyone.  Even the nice nurses and I don't mean to."

"I know."  He patted him gently.  "Can I be let go of?  I'm not a teddy bear."  Xander let him go, wiping his cheeks.  "It's normal, Xander.  Now, this pain.  Is the painkiller helping any?"  Xander shook his head.  "Have they been?"

"Very little."

"You're still in pain after taking them?"  Xander nodded.  "Why didn't you say anything?"

"What could you do about it?"

"Give you something stronger?" he suggested impatiently.

"I'm on dilauted.  Or whatever it's called."

"There's stronger."

"Oh."  He shrugged then grinned again.  "I've lived with pain.  I'll live with this.  It'll end sometime soon.  Or I hope so anyway."

"We'll get you something stronger."  He looked at his casts.  "What happened to your right leg's cast?"

"I fell."

"When?" he asked impatiently.

"Last night.  I was going to the bathroom."  He grimaced.  "I'm fine."

"It's cracked, Xander.  It needs to not be cracked so it heals right."

"What did the whirry machine say?"

"It said the bones did shift.  We're doing another one next week to check on any more shifting."  Xander nodded and grinned.  Those drugs were really good.  "How often are you getting medicine?"

"One antibiotic once a day.  Two other red pills for vitamins at dinner too.  Pain killer needles suck but they come three times a day into my butt.  Not like a cock would or anything like gay sex or anything but into the muscles when they come."

"Huh.  We'll look at that.  Any other problems?"

"The scar itches."  He scratched at it.  "There's also a problem in my belly.  It still hurts whenever I crap."

"It should.  We had to remove some, remember?"

"It's been three months."

"Good point."  He nodded.  "We'll schedule an ultrasound too."  Xander beamed at that.  "Keep it up and you'll have been in each and every single machine in this hospital soon."

"Then you don't have to."

"Yes I do.  We want you to get well.  That means we have to."

"The meany won't put me in the basement this time, right?"

"No, the orderlies won't put you in the basement this time."  He patted him on the good foot, then frowned and checked.  "Your feet are cold."

"How would I know?  I don't have any feeling in them.  They're asleep."

House checked for a pulse and frowned.  "It's a bit weaker than it should be."  He checked the other side.  It was stronger.  So was his wrist.  "Let's get someone down to redo this cast.  I need to check that leg."  He went to make the call himself.  "If that therapist comes back, bat him for me.  If not I'll do it myself later."  The ortho on call tonight came in.  "He cracked one last night when he fell."  Brenda moaned.  "Potty break," he told her, heading back in there.  "He's got a marked difference in his extremities."

"He does."  He checked the crack.  "We can take it off and use an inflatable one for now.  That way we can do another CT on his legs.  How long has he been in here?"

"Three months.  The first unconscious."

"All right."  He looked at Xander.  "It'll look a bit gross, but it's just dead skin."

"Is my leg dead?" he asked.  He saw the worried look.  Probably because he was grinning.  "The therapist said I'm strange and wrong so he gave me goofy drugs.  Am I going to get to see my insides again?"

"No, just some dead skin."  He got what he needed to cut open the cast.

Xander frowned at the saw.  "Mine had more power."

"This is low powered so we can't cut the skin," he said patiently.  He opened it and Xander giggled.  "What?"

"I look like Clem!  He was all floppy and wrinkly skin too."

The orthopedist frowned. "Is he being treated here?"

"I don't know if he survived or not," he admitted, starting to sniffle again.  Brenda came in to help by holding him, letting him cry on her.

"He was in that town that fell in," House said quietly, getting a nod.  "This is the drugs."  They looked and found the clot.  "Is he on anything that would be anti-clotting?"

"No.  Why?" Brenda asked, laying him back down.

"Because he has one," the Ortho told her.  He pressed gently around it, nearly getting beaned by the other cast for it.  "Sorry, sir.  Let's work on breaking that up."  He wrote down a medicine and House nodded.  "Good.  Let's start him on it tonight.  I'll put on the inflatable trauma cast tonight.  That should help him."  That got a nod and she went to order the medicine for him.  "Let's check the other one.  Shouldn't he be in traction for this one?"

"He should be, but it was causing more pain," House said.  "That and he refuses to use a bedpan so he's been getting up to go to the bathroom but no other times."

"Good.  They're helping him?"

"Most of the time.  Sometimes he sneaks," Brenda said as she came back with the new medicine.  "Here we go."  House administered it and she soothed Xander back into a nap.  "I ordered an inflatable cast too."

"Thank you," the Ortho said with a smile.  "How bad is this leg?"

"He's due a CT next week to look at the shifting bones he had from the traction," House said, finding the last x-rays to bring them in.  "This was last week?"  Brenda nodded.

"Oooh.  He's got to be in pain."

"He never complains," Brenda told them.

"He's in a lot of pain and even earlier on it wasn't helping.  He's being stoic," House told her.  She slumped, shaking her head.  "From what we know, he and his friend pretty well raised each other."

"Then we'll start asking more frequently.  Are we switching him up?"

"Yup."  She went to get the chart for him while the Ortho counted bone pieces.  "The clots' here," House said.  "Right next to that break."

"The swelling he's had probably pressed on the vein and made it form.  He's not in bad shape."

"He used to work construction."

"Then he'll have an easier time in rehab."

"Will I need it for the goofy drugs?" Xander asked.

"No, Xander," House told him.  He held up the x-ray for the shattered leg.  "This is your bad one.  This is why we want you to stay in bed."

"Yes, House," Xander said, giving it a pitiful look.  "What about the better one?"  That one was held up.  He winced.  "That has to hurt."  The ortho looked at him.  "I can't feel it.  It's asleep."

"We'll work on that, Xander."

"Then it'll hurt more."

"Only for a few minutes."  He looked at them again.  "Let's get him through the CT again tonight.  It might be psychedelic for him for I want to check," the ortho said quietly.

"We can do that.  Brenda, radiology for him."

"Already checked.  They're booked.  They had a massive car crash by the college," she called.

"Crap," he muttered.  "CT too?"  She nodded.  "MRI?"

"Only one in line for that one."

"Then let's do the MRI.  I'd want to check the muscles anyway,"  the ortho agreed.  "Schedule him for the next available CT.  Tonight if possible.  Tomorrow if not."  She nodded, calling down there.  He looked at House.  "Why are you still over his case?"

"He's a carrier of two infectious diseases.  He got exposed thanks to some Native ruins he fell into during work one day.  He never manifested more than a few hours of symptoms."

"Oh, so this is Mr. Harris."  Someone walked in.  "You are?"

"I'm from Wolfram and Hart," he said.  Xander hissed and batted at him.  "Mr. Gunn had me come, Mr. Harris.  To file an injunction against certain Federal agents?"

"Yes please."

"Is he competent?" he asked the doctors.

"The therapist decided he needed drugged.  They're making him very honest and open," House told him.

"Then that's fine.  I'm sure no one will protest."  He brought over papers.  "Here we go.  Mr. Gunn had them drawn up out there and faxed to us.  He said to assure you we have not changed a word, Mr. Harris."

Xander looked at him.  "No soul clause?"

"No.  No soul clause.  You know of the LA branch?"

Xander nodded.  "Used to date Cordy and I'm from Sunnydale.  Buffy's Xander."  The man stiffened at that.  Xander looked at him.  "Are you mean enough to make the redheaded wench go away and leave me alone before she kills me for parts?"

"I'm more than mean enough for that," he promised.  "I've scared the Bruehella before," he said proudly.

Xander grinned.  "Good job."  He read it over then signed it.  The other one he frowned at.  "What's this?"

"Probate matters."  He pointed at a clause.  "This is to let the judge leave you here and call you.  This clause is to say that you'll be taking guardianship of one Dawn Isabelle Summers when you're out of here. Or you can name a guardian if something happens to Mr Wyndham-Pryce before then.  This clause says that you accept responsibility for any taxes that might be incurred or asked for by the state of California.  The last clause said that our lawyer has permission to work in the British system on your behalf as well."  He straightened up. "Mr. Giles' will has to be probated over there since he was in on a Visa."

"Oh, okay," he said.  He reread it then signed it.  "There you go.  Anything else?"

"Not yet, sir.  If I may ask, who do you have moving your funds and material assets?"

"Captain Riley Finn, now of Homeland.  He used to be Initiative and Buffy's boyfriend.  Wes and Angel are glaring at him."

"That's fine then.  I'll come back once I have the injunction since you'll have to sign something."

"Okay," he agreed.  "Thank you.  Want a hug?"

"No, I'm fine without a hug, sir.  I know you tend to draw evil things to like you but my wife would be very upset."

"Okay.  Anya would've been too."

"I understand."  He closed his briefcase with the papers inside.  "Do feel better, Mr. Harris."

"Yes, sir."  The lawyer smiled and left.  "He scared the demon courts.  He's even scarier than me or Buffy after an all night patrol without food."

"I'm sure he'll scare off the agents," House assured him.  He looked at the other doctor, who was nearly whimpering.  "Heard of him?"

"Um...  I used to be Initiative."

"Poo, my crossbow's over there," Xander said.  "Shoot, I'm channeling Anya again."  He looked at him.  "Are you still evil?"

"No, I got conscripted and didn't get given a choice, Mr. Harris.  Thank you for making them go away."

Xander beamed.  "It wasn't just me."

"No but you helped.  I'm very happy you helped."  Xander beamed and nodded.  Orderlies came in.  "Let's go visit radiology."

"The whirry machines?"

"Two whirry machines," House said.  "One longer than the other."

"Can I go potty first then?"  The orderlies helped him into there then back out to the bed to take down there.  "Bye," he called, waving.  "Please don't leave me in the basement this time?" he asked them.

"Not going to, sir," one assured him.  He heard a cane tapping and looked back.  "Accompanying him, Doctor?"

"Yes I am."  They got onto the elevator together and he felt someone patting him down.  He looked down.  "No groping.  I'm not like that with my patients."

"Wilson would get mad if I did.  I was hoping for lifesavers."  House gave him one from the roll in his pocket.  "Fank you."  He sucked on it and they got him into the machine's room.  He even helped when they moved him.  He laid there and watched the machine growl at him while it whirred, spun, and all that.  It was kinda psychedelic like the ortho had said.  Then they switched him to the other one quickly and he got put back into his room with House following.  He had the tapes for the Ortho to look over.  It was not good news from their unhappy faces.  "You're scowly.  Am I in trouble?"

"No, Xander."  The orthopedist looked over.  "You're not in trouble.  The bones don't look like they're healing very fast."  Xander nodded.  "Is he on calcium?"

"Two daily multivitamins," House told him.  "At dinner every night."

"Hell."  He went back to looking.  "This is a muscular issue.  He's got that one starting to atrophy from the injury and lack of usage.  Daily PT?"

"He does."

"That's not looking good."


"We can't pin the other leg.  The density's still too weak."  He frowned at it.  "Let me bring this to my department head.  We'll come see you in a few days."  That got a nod and he left.  House could put on the inflatable cast.

House looked at Xander.  He was sitting wrong.  That proved something was still bothering him and he was nearly curled around his stomach.  "What's wrong with your intestine?"

"It hurts here," Xander said with a rub of the sore area.  "Anytime I have to poop.  Then the pain goes up so I don't like it.  But I only bleed now and then."

"You didn't report the blood," he said impatiently.

Xander pouted.  "I had surgery there.  Aren't I supposed to bleed?  I did when I had my 'ppendix out.  For a week."

"From the stitches?"

"From the butt and the stitches."

"No, you're not supposed to be bleeding."  He went to get the portable ultrasound from OB.  They had a spare.  He'd give it back in a few minutes.  The surgeon he drug down by the ear a few minutes later didn't like it but oh well.  He let him see what was going on.

"Crap," he muttered.  "Sir, looks like you get to be on a liquid diet again."


"Because it looks like a small ulcer," House told him.  He pointed at something.  "That looks familiar."

He looked then sighed.  "That does."  He focused on it.  "Can he consent to surgery?"

"We're going in soon for his legs."

"We can fix this one tonight.  When was the last time he ate?"

"Brenda, did he eat any of his dinner?"

"Only stabbed it and giggled, Doctor House.  He's had milk for an afternoon snack at two."

The surgeon checked is watch.  "That's not been too long.  I'm off in about an hour so let me get the overnight guy."  He went to do that, bringing him back.  That being House he wasn't too upset by being drug off by his ear from the ER.  He was lucky it wasn't his balls.  They looked at the ultrasound, making Xander giggle at the heartbeat.

"Goofy drugs thanks to the therapist," House said at their odd looks.  "And?"

"Food at two," the first surgeon said.

"Milk and cookies," Xander said with a nod.

The second checked his watch.  "Let me schedule him around midnight."  He went to do that, coming back.  "He'll go in at one."  They nodded and he let House sign the forms for the patient.  He turned off the ultrasound and took it back to OB since House was scowling.  "He get you?" he asked the first one in the elevator.

"Dragged me by my ear."

"I heard he batted someone with his cane last week.  Poor Foreman."

"He should know not to piss him off by now.  It's been a few years."  They parted ways and he made a note on his timesheet.  Then he went home to celebrate House not beating him with his cane.  His wife was happy to celebrate him having a good day.


to part 2