Xander was meditating when he got the message to check the weather. It interrupted his daily prayers so much he looked up. "Okay," he murmured. He checked the online weather projections then huffed. It wasn't pretty. One was about three days away but it was fading but there was another one coming up quickly. They were expecting another one within a week of that. Then he felt the magical currents around his house. He dropped into a better meditative state to search. Someone had put a target on the house and they had a huge storm coming. He shot back at the person who did it, making her scream.
Out in LA, people looked over as someone started to scream and grab her head. "Vision?" someone quipped dryly. "Or seizure?" Someone else was more practical and calling building security to make her stop.
Back in Miami, Xander checked around the house, the farm, the neighborhoods, and the station. He had to remove another one on the lab. That was a bad thing. The backlash for whoever had done that was terrible. He came back up and worked on the protections for the house while paging Wade.
Wade finally got there and paused at the doorway to the office. "You're doing magic stuff and looking pissed off. Do I get to shoot someone?"
Xander looked at him. "The same one who brought you back decided to aid and abet the storm coming up so it'd take out some houses here, the lab, a few other things."
"Huh. You can do that?"
"No, I can't. I can grow plants." He grinned. "But there's a really crappy projection of a hurricane taking out half of Miami coming up."
"Okay," Wade said, considering it. "We have to move the weapons."
"We have to move all of it, Wade. Including the presents warehouses. The horses, all that."
"The horses don't have a shelter?"
"Yeah, they do, under the barn. It's probably still got some weapons from the last bad hurricane."
"I can plan for those too," Wade decided. "Let me warn others." He went to the living room to start planning that. They had to move them without angering anyone in law enforcement. They weren't going to be as nice as Horatio was. He also tapped out a message to him. He had to know. "Xander, are we going to your emergency plan place?"
"No. Not the one where I got the Impala." He came to the doorway looking tired. "I have one I've been fixing up to flip. We can use it." He went to the kitchen, getting something to eat and drink. He looked up. "Thank you," he whispered. He went back to his protections. His love of trees could cause a real problem in a hurricane.
Wade kept figuring things out. "We can hit Georgia during the hurricanes."
"I'm going to borrow that big portal from Clay," he said.
"If it gets hurt, even a small hole, everything is gone," Xander reminded him.
"That's fine. Do you want to go on a subtle trip to New York? Or LA? Atlanta's got some worries for the society. They've had a lot of problems with the police there harassing them."
"I heard. I'd rather not go to Atlanta. If we go to New York, the guys will be called back almost immediately for post-hurricane clean up." He sipped his juice. "I warded this house and the farm again. I removed her marks on a lot of spots that I could search." He finished his juice and got more. "Need juice?"
"No, thank you, Xander." His phone rang so he answered it. "It's Wade." He listened. "Thanks for letting me know. No, we're working on hurricane precautions. Thanks." He hung up and looked toward the kitchen. "You're sure it was the same person who brought me back?"
"Felt like the same signature."
"That answers that question then," he decided, getting back to planning things. He had moved weapons all over the world for Max. He could handle Xander's stuff pretty easily.
Horatio looked at the text message he got while on the stand. He put it back into his pocket. "Just an announcement I needed to see," he said quietly. "The question was?"
The defense attorney repeated it and tried to trip him up but Horatio was a pro at this part of the job.
Xander was worried but that was the guy he was. "What if," he started.
Wade looked at him. "Xander, if I could move a shitload of things across every ocean on this planet, I can move one portal around the US for a hurricane. Okay?"
Xander nodded. "I know you can but there's others outside of us who want to stop it."
"Of course they do."
"People who would overrule Gibbs too."
"I know. Really." He smirked. Xander nodded. "Go make sure the horses are going to be okay?" Xander nodded, driving over there instead of pacing to annoy Wade. Wade shook his head. "Worrywart." He went back to it. Including letting Steve know it was going to happen. That way he was prepared to handle things from safety in Cascade. Steve said he'd hire someone to pack up his condo for a few weeks. "That's more practical than worrying," Wade decided, going back to his plan making.
Clay woke up with a groan, finding his phone beeping impatiently at him that he had a waiting text message. "What the fuck?" he muttered.
Aisha leaned over to look over his shoulder. "How would Xander know about how bad a hurricane is going to be?" she asked, still half asleep.
"No clue," Clay said, calling Xander's phone. "How do you know?" He heard, nodding. "Okay. When?" He nodded a few more times. "Okay, we can be ready in case. Sure, Wade can do that. We'll make sure the wrong people don't hear. Let me warn the others that you think one's going to rip the city." He hung up and called Jensen. "Put out on the local site that Xander has a feeling, put in quotes, that the upcoming hurricane in two weeks is going to rip the city. Yeah, he got a head's up. There's a storm before then but he said something about it being targeted." He hung up.
"How?" she asked, yawning afterward.
"Head's up from a higher source."
"We believe in those things?" she asked dryly.
Clay looked up. "You wanna do it to her too?"
Ares appeared, staring at her then at him. "She's too skinny and not good enough in bed for me," he said with a smirk. "Mine are more feisty and have curves." He disappeared again. "Thanks anyway, Clay."
Clay yawned, then looked at her. "That was Ares, who Xander prays to. That's what the tattoos mean."
She blinked a few times. "I'm not that skinny!" she complained.
"Ares, God of War, just appeared and you're worried about his crack on your weight? And you have lost weight again."
She slapped him on the shoulder. "Asshole." She got up and walked off.
He watched her stomp off. "Still pretty enough," he said.
She glared back at him. "You're still in the shitpile."
"Uh-huh. Sure I am." He got up and went to shower off her sweat. By the time he got out, Jensen was up there with his laptop. "What?" he complained.
"How did Xander know?"
"He got it while praying."
"I can't tell them that." He got back onto the list and answered that question in a more subtle way. They knew Xander had demonic contacts. They decided it was one of them. They warned their friends that one of the upcoming ones this year was going to be bad. Jensen looked up. "They're spreading that."
"Good. Do we have hurricane plans?"
"Not yet," Jensen said, sending that text to Pooch. "He'll make plans and I'll make sure we can keep track of the others in town." He sent an email to Xander's account asking if he had plans for things or did they need to help. Wade sent back he was handling it, Xander had a place he was flipping for living in if they had to, and it would be fine.
"We have it," Clay said, getting a message from Pooch. "We can handle moving us."
"Sure," Jensen agreed. "I hope it won't hit my sister. She'll never forgive me." He sent that to Xander, who said he had protected the house. It was supposed to graze the city and she was interior instead of by the ocean. He warned his sister anyway that they'd have one of them being bad but he'd make sure she was safe. Plus that Xander had protected the house. She agreed that was good and that she'd check her insurance for hurricane coverage. He assured her it was covered, he had made sure, then hung up and looked at Clay. "We may have it."
"Good. Make sure you can track them." Jensen nodded, going to visit and talk to them to make sure everyone could move safely and easily enough. One was all but locked in the house all the time. They'd have to arrange how he could move himself.
Clay looked over the complaining going on about Xander's 'feeling'. He typed in that he hadn't been wrong yet and it was nice they were warned, right? They all agreed with that. One of them put in that Jensen was there so he had to leave. Clay looked over as Cougar came in. "Hurricane season?"
"Was almost enough to make me vote for Paris or New York," Cougar quipped back.
"At least it's only going to be bad for a little bit."
"We hope. They're saying five this year," Pooch said as he walked in.
Clay nodded. "Xander said one'll hit us, but the rest outside of this group will hit east or west."
Pooch nodded. "Is Wade handling the family's stuff?"
"Yeah," Clay said.
"Good. I didn't want to risk moving all those weapons." He looked at the list, typing at them to make sure they all had transportation plans. They promised they had to do this at least once a year before so they knew the drill. Pooch sent back that was good, to let them know where they were planning on heading so they could make sure they weren't snatched during it. Then he signed off. "What do we need to move?"
"Outside of Jensen, we don't have that much stuff," Clay pointed out.
"His will fit in a bag," Pooch said. That got a nod and Clay arranged with Wade to get one of them for each of them. That would pack handily in the back of their SUV. They could handle this first hurricane season. They knew how to handle emergencies.
Xander walked into Fu's, which was closed, and back to the office. "Someone egged on the closest storm and then one in about two weeks is going to rip Miami."
"I'll make plans for that," he decided. "Are you withdrawing all your bags?"
"I probably should. In case we need anything." Fu smirked at him. "Not today... because the first one's targeted to hit gay targets. Including my house but I've fixed that."
"Fine." He smiled. "I'll warn the others. Your presents?"
"Wade. Thankfully. I'd be freaking out."
"He is good at that sort of thing." Xander nodded. "Shoo, go." Xander walked off. Fu sent notes to everyone he knew about the storms.
The day of the first storm Xander was at home, secluded while working on the protections around his house and the farm. They were holding well. The farm was getting some damage to the roof so he strengthened it. They could fix that. He calmed down once the storm had passed but he was shaky, sweaty, and not really able to stand up on his own. He calmed himself, taking a few deep breaths.
"Hey," Sam said quietly, handing him some lemonade. "That'll help your stomach calm down." Xander nodded, sipping it with a shaking hand. Sam blew out the candles, sitting next to him until he was ready to move. Sam grinned when Xander looked at him. "Bad?"
"The barn's going to need a new roof." He finished the lemonade and handed the glass back. "Thanks, Sam."
"Welcome, Xander." He put the glass aside and stood up, helping Xander up. "C'mon, let's get you into a tub." He walked him off, taking him to the tub Dean had started. "It ready?"
"Yup," Dean said, helping by holding Xander up while Sam got him stripped. "There you go, Xander." They helped him into the tub. "We'll get you some apple juice." They left, Sam getting the plate of snacks and apple juice he had been working on to bring in. Then they left him to recover while checking over the grounds here. A few limbs were ripped off. One tree was leaning a lot against the ones around it. The hot tub was ripped and flipped over. The garage was all right. The sitting area was wrecked and among the trees. Dean checked the garage/workshop. It was fine. Sam checked on Xander but he was napping after eating his whole snack.
Horatio was helping guard the protest, but he wasn't happy about it. "It's because God was mad at gay people!" the woman shouted. "That's why the ones that got hit the worst were hit!" The crowd partially cheered.
Horatio smirked, walking forward. "If that were true, then the house that got hit in one of the communities would've been a different house instead of the house of a widowed mother and her child." The woman sneered at him. "Your supposed storm reason didn't hit any of the GLBT oriented community projects outside of one community center they had done a mural at. Not the gay teen shelter, not the counseling center, not the houses of most of the gay people in town were hit."
"How dare you!"
Some woman pushed her way through. "I'm gonna sue your ass for libel, bitch!" she shouted. "I'm sure as hell not gay and it hit my house." The crowd hissed. She glared around. "Before you say it's because I'm a single mother, her father died in a car crash six years ago." They backed off. She stared at her. "Expect to hear from my lawyer for libel if you don't shut your hole and leave!" The other one stomped off. She looked at Horatio. "Did Xander come through all right?"
"I've heard he had a few trees down and the hot tub got flipped. Are you all right? I know Xander has some storage area if you need it."
"No, I'm fine," she assured him. "The guards warned us that the one that just passed and the next one in about two weeks were going to be bad." She walked off. "Let me find my lawyer. Be damned if I want that to keep going." The crowd parted and the protest slowly broke up.
Horatio smiled. That had been peaceful at least. He hated the bigots in his city. He looked over at Frank and Speed, who had been on the other side of the crowd, getting a shrug back. Who knows who had told her so she could come protest and sue her.
When the second one hit, Xander was in Atlanta being bothered by the local officers. Wade was in Texas with the important things. Xander was simply hiding in Atlanta with his boys, his ferrets, and very little of everything else. Xander blinked at the officers going through his bags. "What are you looking for?" he asked calmly.
"Your weapons, sir."
"I'm wearing the gun I have a permit for. I'm wearing three knives. My two boyfriends are both detectives with Miami-Dade's PD," he said dryly, making them stare. "Why do you think I have weapons?"
"Someone told us you did," one sneered.
"Hmm. No." They stabbed a hole in a sheet-looking thing. Xander stared at him. "Do you feel better? Really?"
"We can arrest you," the other said snidely.
"Yes, but you'd have to have a reason. Since I've got a permit for mine, and a known threat to my life, I'm allowed to have my gun in my hotel room. But I'll never come back to Atlanta ever again, even during the next hurricane. That way you're not bothered by me ever again." The detectives tried to act threatening.
"Boys, I'm calling a friend in the FBI," Don said, holding up his badge. "Today."
"The local office wouldn't want someone like him either," the lead one said coldly.
"No, guys, we have friends in DC." They stomped off. He looked at Xander, who shrugged. "Who has the lizard?"
"Wade and Anya. Hubert wanted to hang with him." He shrugged. "Wade thinks he's neat." He handed Don his extra sheet. Don smirked at him. They'd handle this. Xander got them dinner ordered in and they hung out until they heard they could go back. The police didn't like GHS but they didn't really care. Of course, someone tried to break into the hotel but the FBI were in the hotel watching them. They got the nice guys from Iran.
The agent looked at Don. "Which one of you is GHS?" he asked quietly. Xander waved his hand, petting his ferrets with the other. "Why are you in Atlanta? I thought all you guys decided to boycott."
"Hurricane," Don said with a small shrug. "So we'll be gone in a day or so. We've already been harassed."
"We heard," the other agent said, looking at Xander. "Sir, which one are you?" Xander waved his hair, earning a moan. "I was hoping you weren't him, Mr. Harris." Xander smirked. "Are you all right?"
"I'm just fine. That one.... I'm going to castrate."
"Understood, sir." They led him out and let them get back to their quiet night in. The manager was giving them an odd look. "He tried to steal the one with the hair," that agent explained. "Wanted to make him his wife."
"GHS?" the manager mouthed. The agents both nodded. "Why?"
"Oh!" He nodded. "That's fine then. I'll alert our security. It figures the locals were so harsh. They're ignorant of gay people." He went to find his head of security to warn him.
The agents took the idiot back to the office to charge him.
Xander looked at his house. It was in pretty decent shape. It just had ten broken windows, the back porch area was ripped up, and the kitchen was flooded thanks to the broken sewer pipes. Xander huffed. "The farm?"
"The roof that needed fixed has a second hole but the horses are liking the field," Don said quietly. "The unicorn foal amazed a lot of them. Are we already on with the guys you were using for wherever and did the garage?"
"Yup. They knew I'd need it." He sighed. "We can go to the place I was flipping." They nodded, going to the SUV.
"Where is it?" Danny asked.
"South Miami, the Pinecrest area." That got a nod from Don. "I know it's out of call-in."
"It's fine," Don assured him. "Do we have enough beds for others?"
"That's cool. Was your bed all right?" Xander jogged back in to check. He came out happier. "Good." They got into the SUV and Xander gave them directions. It was a pretty house. Gated but no community guards. Spanish/Mediterranean construction. Three car garage off the entry, which had a huge driveway area. The entry led into a nice living room that was sparsely decorated. They had an actual dining room, which they didn't have at home, and ten bathrooms. The kitchen wasn't as good as theirs but it was nice woods and stainless steel. Granite countertops so fashionable enough to sell easily. The bedrooms had generic beds.
"Rental?" Danny asked.
"Yeah, rental furniture for the showings. It only got finished last month. Been on the market for a week but I told the realtor to hold it back unless someone really wanted this one specifically because of the damage to ours. She agreed it was fine. We hadn't gotten a bid yet because of the hurricanes." He sat down. "I'm not cooking."
"I know," Don promised. "We'll figure that out." He looked out back. "We have a covered patio area and a pool?"
"Yup, we have a pool," Xander agreed. He pulled out his phone to call around. "Fu, Xander. We're back, at the house I'm flipping. Please. No, the house had a pipe burst and some windows break. Yeah, they know. Thanks." He hung up and called Horatio. "We're back. Pinecrest's flipping house. Yup. Thanks. Danny, he needs you and Don back."
"We can go now," Don promised, kissing Xander. "Give us thirty, Horatio. At the station?" Xander nodded. "Cool." He took another kiss. "Check on the team." He left with Danny following after a kiss of his own.
Xander smiled. "We have extra rooms if we need it, Horatio. Thank you." He hung up and called Jensen's phone. "We're back. Pincecrest. Yeah, the house I've been remodeling to sell. We have extra rooms that aren't claimed yet. Horatio said his and Speed's house was all right." He listened.
"Sure. Yeah, that's where I am. Pick up dinner for me? No, it's fixed but I'm exhausted. He's my next call. Thanks." He hung up. "Hi, Ahn. We're back. Pinecrest. Broken windows, backed up pipe. Yeah. Thanks." He hung up, relaxing on the rental couch. His ferrets were in their traveling cage and happy in there. Wade would bring Hubert. So Xander could relax all his protections and make himself less tired. That was better.
Clay looked at Jensen when he hung up. "Xander?"
"He's back. He's at the house he's fixing up to sell. He has extra rooms if we need them."
"Ours are all right outside of the broken window in Cougar's," Pooch said. "Is that one nice?"
"Very pretty," Jensen said, finding the pictures he had taken for the realtor. "That's that place."
"Very pretty, and a pool," Pooch decided. "Cougs, you wanna stay there?" Cougar shrugged. "You sure?" He nodded. "Okay. They need anything?"
"Dinner. Xander sounded really tired."
"We can do that," Clay decided. "I heard Wade's name?"
"He's calling him after he got off with me."
"That's fine." He headed that way, letting Jensen call ahead for food. They could pick it up on the way. They got out and went inside. "Hey."
Xander looked at him. "Hi." He hugged Jensen and paid him back. "Thank you."
"Oooh." Xander texted that to Don, who sent back that it was going to be a late night. They had homicides. "Well, I guess it's just for us if you guys are staying." Wade walked in. "And you. Hi, Ahn."
"Xander." She kissed him on the head. "What did you do?"
"Protections on the house, the farm, the station, and the team's building. You guys were pretty well protected."
"Thank you." She helped him dish out food and hand over plates. They all sat down and ate, getting calmer. "How was Atlanta?" she asked.
"They pounced us just about as we got there looking for weapons," Xander said dryly. "Cut holes in anything that looked like it might be a sheet."
Wade moaned, shaking his head. "I don't know but they're safe." Xander grinned. "You okay?"
"I'm fine. Just tired from the protections."
"Good." He dug in, nodding. "Thanks, Jensen."
"Welcome. Xander, the spas are all closed for the next week."
"That's cool. We can handle it. Am I putting anyone up?" Cougar raised his hand. "Cool. We have seven bedrooms."
"Go rest," Anya ordered, taking his plate. "I can check on Dean and Sam." He nodded, wandering that way. "He's not that powerful so it drained him horribly," she explained. "He needs to rest, eat, and then he'll be fine." They all nodded at that. "Miami really could use a stronger coven. I'll have to join to see if they need my strength too." Wade looked at her. "That's how I got my job way back when. My first husband had pissed me off with bunnies so I was doing some vengeance work." She smiled. "D'Hoffryn was very pleased with me."
"I'm sure he was," Clay said dryly. "What did you used to do?"
"Vengeance for women scorned." She smiled. "I only had one who called me on you but I couldn't find you to curse you at that time."
"Thank you for that warning. I know I've dated some volatile women." She smirked and nodded.
"Better than the one who tried to blow you up," Pooch complained. "Or shot you."
"She wanted him turned into a female prostitute who only did anal sex," Anya said happily. "Since he had wanted her to."
"Oh, Gladys," Clay said, nodding. "I remember her." Everyone stared at him. "Back in basic, guys." They all groaned, shaking their heads.
Anya smiled at Wade. "Are we handing back that nifty portal?"
"Yup. As soon as we make sure the warehouse is fine and sturdy." He looked around. "Didn't Hubert come with us?" He lifted his head from the kitchen counter. "Get down. He'll complain." The dragon got down with a grumble but came over to beg for food. "Did we forget you?" he teased, handing him Xander's plate. The dragon shrugged and nibbled until someone knocked.
Clay got up to answer it, hand on his gun. "Yes?"
"Are you the owner?" she asked with a smile.
"No, he's resting. Is there a problem?"
"Is that his gas hogging SUV?" she asked with a smile.
"He's from Cali, lady. He's got emission controls, gas saving tech, and made it better than most sedans." She gaped. "He's aware that it might've been bad but it's now much better."
"Oh. I see. Are you moving in with him, sir?"
"He's staying here while his actual house is fixed. He's been fixing up this one for someone else."
"That's good then. Are you his boyfriend?"
"Bodyguard." She gaped then nodded quickly and left. Clay made sure the gate closed before closing the door again. He shook his head all the way back to his seat, having to take his plate away from the dragon. "Make Anya feed you so she wants kids, Hubert." Hubert went to suck up to her. "Yuppies," he muttered, shaking his head.
Pooch snickered. "We had one of those nearly move into that one apartment in the building but having us four sweaty, tough guys made them decide they wanted to be somewhere more like their country club. Jolene snickered behind their back for hours since she had been letting Junior crawl around the hallway again."
"Good. I like most of the neighbors but a yuppie like that would drive me nuts." He saw Xander walk out holding his head. Then someone female screamed.
"Xander, don't hurt her too much," Anya called. "Let Wade do it. He enjoys it and he's been bored."
Xander leaned in. "He can come toss her over the fence since I can't lift her," he said dryly. "Or he can call some nice officers to come arrest her for trying to spray paint my SUV about being gay." She screamed again once he quit leaning in.
Wade called. "Hi, this is Wade for Mr. Harris. We're on Pinecrest and someone just tried to tag his SUV with anti-gay slogans." He read off the address. "Thank you. No, this is the temporary one while we're fixing the actual one. Thanks." He hung up. "Nosy."
Pooch snickered. Jensen grinned. "They have us all on speed dial I think."
"Probably," Clay agreed. He heard the ding from the security panel. "I think that's the gate opening."
"Get her the hell away from my house, my cars, me, and everything I fucking own!" Xander shouted. "I don't need this right now! I'm tired, cranky, the house needs fixed, and I'm not a happy camper with her bigotted ass!"
Wade got up and walked out. "Calm down, Xander. You can go back to your nap. Guys, he just got back from being harassed in Atlanta during the storm."
"We heard, sir. They called down here to see if he was actually a weapons dealer." He smiled. "Can I have her, Mr. Harris?" He handed her over. "Let's let Wade handle the report while you finish your nap?"
"I'm not a baby," he pouted.
"No, but you're still half-asleep, kid," Wade said. "Hit the bunk and I'll handle this."
Xander hugged him. "I like you handling things for me." He trudged back to bed. "Hubert, I can't sleep alone." The dragon bounded in to cuddle with him. "Thank you, baby dragon."
Wade shook his head. "Clay?" He came to the doorway. "Same yuppie brat that showed up a few minutes ago?"
"That one was younger but looked just like her. She wanted to know if that was Xander's SUV, so I told her about all the fuel saving tech on it. Then she tried to ask if he was gay. She tried to see if I was his boyfriend but I said bodyguard."
The officer nodded, looking at her. "He's got a detective wrapped around his finger," he said with a smug look. "It's why they often get lunches sent or cooked for them." She struggled but pouted. "Miami is an eighth gay people and the rest are immigrants. Get over it, lady. Is he pressing charges?" he asked Wade.
"How long should we expect you to be here?"
"House needs some minor work, so probably within two months," Wade said. That got a nod and the officer led her off. "Have a better day, guys. I heard the clean up duties suck."
"Sucks wide," the officer agreed. "We had one woman who was out walking in it with her kids. We're still missing one."
"Picture?" Clay asked. He handed over his copy. Everyone knew Harris had contacts. "Let us call around." He took a picture of it and texted it to others. Wade did the same. Clay smirked. "Fu said hi, Wade."
"Cool." He smirked. "Bingo. She's in the Gables. She's at one of the spook bars because the guy caught her out and lost." He looked up at the officer. "He's at Moe's. They'll let anyone in the family come get her because they know us."
"Thank you, sir." He got in and called that in on the way back. That relieved a lot of people. Wade and Clay both sent out 'found' messages so they could quit worrying.
Don walked into the bar in the Gables, smiling as he took off his sunglasses. "Hey, guys. I'm glad to be back."
Fiona waved. "She's sleeping over here, Don." He walked over, smiling at her. "Was her mother terminally stupid?"
"Trying to ride it out, apartment's windows broke so she was trying to get the kids somewhere safer in a church."
"She fucking needs shot," another former spy complained, sounding half drunk.
"You don't get argument from us about that. At all. She's got a social worker on her ass because of it right now and they're deciding about charges." They all smirked at that. "Can I, guys?"
"She's fine physically," Fiona said. "She was a bit hungry so we fed her. Got her something to put on that was dry."
"Thanks." He gave her a shoulder squeeze and bent down to pick up the little girl. She squeaked and gave him a scared look. "Shh. I'm a detective and I'm taking you to the station, sweetheart. There's people missing you." She relaxed. He grinned. "Good girl. C'mon, let's go back to the station. Can you tell them thank you and bye?"
"Fank you. Bye!" she called, smiling and waving. "You're really nice!" They grinned at her and Don walked her out. She looked at Don. "That's pretty."
"Thank you. I really like this car because it's so pretty." She grinned. He put her into the booster seat he had borrowed and belted her in. "There we go. Let's go to the station so we can tell your mommy and others that you're all right." She nodded. Fiona came out and tossed over a plastic bag. "Thanks, Fiona."
"We like kids too, Don. Not all of us are that cold yet." She went back into the bar.
Don got in to drive, putting the bag beside him. He checked, she was staring out the windows. That was fine. He called in that he had her and took her to the right station. Two huge looking detectives were outside in suit pants and dress shirts when he got there. Don parked and got out. "Hey, guys."
"That her?" one asked.
"Yeah. Some retired spooks found her." He walked around to help her out, grabbing the bag before shutting the door. "Her mom or social worker?" he asked.
"Captain's office." Don nodded, walking her in there. She grinned at them. "That's good to see," he said quietly. His buddy nodded. They followed.
"Yo, Captain?" Flack called when he got to the squad room. He had no idea where the office was. A door opened. "Hey, Flack, Homicide. You were looking for this one?"
"We are. Her mother's in here." He smiled. "Are you all right?" Flack walked her in there and handed over the bag. "Where was she?"
"Some retired spooks found her. They said she was only tired and hungry, fixed that and the damp clothes." He looked at the mother. "I'm not sure how I feel about that. Yeah, I get why you left, and I like the reason, but it kinda sucks."
"I know," she said, pulling her daughter closer. "Are you all right?" She nodded, hugging her. "That's my girl."
"They gave me sausage and eggies," she said, eyes wide. "Whole lots."
"Then they were very nice to you, sweetheart." She looked at the Captain. "Can I take her home?"
"Social workers still want to talk to you. They'll be here in a few." He looked at Flack. "Thanks."
"Welcome. I'm glad some of the family's contacts could help."
"You know that Harris guy," the captain said.
Don grinned. "Yeah, you could say that." The captain smirked. "We've got some rebuilding to do too. We're on Pinecrest if we need help."
"Got it. Thanks." Flack shook his hand and left. He looked at the mother. The other two kids looked pissed off and were glaring at the baby. The captain decided he'd pay special attention to this one, just in case.
Don got back to the precinct and checked in. "They took good care of her," he told Horatio.
"I expected no less from most of them." He smiled. "Is Xander back in bed?"
"Probably. He looked exhausted earlier."
"The officer that answered the call to arrest the person trying to tag the SUV for you three being together said he was complaining when Wade sent him back to bed."
"Xander had protections on the house and other spots."
"So he's going to be fine after a long nap."
"Yup." He smiled. "Where to now, boss?"
"We have to go back to that one station to track down the three that escaped when the hurricane nicely knocked in part of their temporary cell."
"Sure, we can track." They walked off together, getting a ride over there. The officers guarding them had gotten most everyone back but in the melee to get free, a few had escaped. None of them were truly evil shits, none of them were murderers or rapists. All three had been in for variations on robberies. Don called Fu to warn him because he knew one had friends in the poker circuit. Xander had been talking about his arrest at one of the games.
Dean pulled the Impala into the driveway of the house a few days later, looking at the workmen. "Hmm. Looks like it was bad." They got out and walked over. "Hey, Patrick," he said, shaking hands with the head of the crew. They did some day work now and then for extra money when they were in Miami. "How bad?"
"His bed's fine, which made him happy. Backed up sewer line flooded the kitchen. That special doorway is leaning." Sam winced. "There's a note hanging in the nothingness that he'll put it all back when we're done," he said dryly.
"That's good to know," Sam agreed. "Anything we should tell Xander?"
"Yeah. The kitchen's going to need a complete gut and redo. The rest of the carpet in the living room he had to replace needs to replaced again and the couch got wet too." They both winced. "He's really lucky the bedroom didn't get hit." That got a nod from Dean. "Also, if he's planning on selling it, he might think about a dining room sometime."
"He can enclose a side of the living room for that," Sam pointed out. "Where the ferret cages are. It's deep enough for a dining room. Put on a few partial walls with pretty arches or something to match the stairs." That got a smile and a nod. "Then again we all eat on the couch or at the breakfast bar."
Patrick smiled. "I figured you guys did."
"Is he on Hacienda or Pinecrest?" Dean asked.
"Pincecrest. He held up the sale for it." That got a nod. "We could use a few hands in the next few days if you guys want to."
"We could," Sam agreed with a grin. "Thanks, Patrick. Anything else we need to bring to him?"
"Not yet, boys. We'll let you know." They nodded and got back into their Impala to drive off. "That'll be handy," he decided, going to talk to them. "Xander will make decisions tonight, guys." They all smiled at him for that. Everything in the kitchen was stock so it wouldn't take too long to get it. While they waited on the materials to come in, they could finish up that other place Xander was flipping. They did a really good job and got a percentage of the profit Xander got.
Wade looked outside, opening up the door when the Impala parked. "He's napping again."
Sam walked in to look at him. "Get me some rosemary oil? He's still got a protection up." Anya came bouncing in with some. She helped cut him off from it. The police scanner reported that something had cracked and the lab was being evacuated a minute later. "Damn," he muttered.
Xander blinked at him. "Hmm?" He yawned. "What happened/"
Sam leaned down. "You forgot to let go of one protection."
"Yeah, they're evacuating the station. You held it a really long time." Xander grinned. "Everyone's safe, I promise." Xander nodded. "I don't know why they didn't when they saw the damage, that would've made more sense." He gave him a hug. "Patrick said you need new carpets in the living room, a new couch system, and a whole new kitchen." Xander grimaced. "The mirror house is gone but the demon left a note saying he'd bring it back for you."
"Thank you, Sam." He gave him a hug and a yawn. "I'm still exhausted."
"Let go of the one on the farm," Wade called. "They said it was really hard to fix the roof."
"Oops." Xander concentrated and let all his go. Then he had to grab one again. "Wade, that daycare by the house? The one that was used as a shelter, I've got a protection on it when I didn't mean to and it's going to fall in."
Wade called Horatio, who was probably overly busy. "Sorry, I heard on the scanner, but Xander has a tie in to protect that daycare," he said quietly. "He had to grab it again. It's going to fall in too. Thank you." He hung up. "He'll send someone to handle it, Xander." Xander nodded and yawned again, going back to sleep. He looked at Dean. "Bad?"
"New couch, carpet in the living room, kitchen."
"I'm not going to touch anything about his kitchen," Wade said dryly. "He'd shoot me." Dean smirked and nodded. "All right. We can go looking later."
"Patrick said we could have a crew spot for a few days."
"That's fine. Xander's going to be busy." His phone rang. "It's Wade." He listened. "I don't know, Patrice. He's asleep right now. I can ask him when he wakes up. I don't think he'd care to let them finish it. I know Patrick's at Xander's house working on his repairs. Yeah, we're at Pinecrest. It might be a few hours. He's got a few protections on something and they need to evacuate. Thanks." He hung up. "Hey, Xander?" he called loudly. Xander hummed and blinked at him. "Patrice found someone who wants to buy Hacienda as is."
"Don't know. She'll be out later to present the offer after she checks with her twin about what needs to be done." Xander grinned. "Rest and we'll go kitchen looking later." Xander nodded, putting his head back down and falling back asleep. He looked at Anya. "Where, on his scale, are you?"
"A tiny bit more powerful. A lot more spell knowledge though."
"Huh." He nodded. "I wouldn't care if you joined the local coven as long as you don't turn into Rosenburg."
"Hell no I'd never do that. I have sense and I'm not a junkie." She strolled off. "Let me make some coffee."
"Already am, Anya, thanks," Dean called. "Got the snacks out of the fridge too." He grinned. "You spoil us rotten too."
She kissed him on the cheek. "I'm fattening you up so some big breasted woman can capture you. That way you're happier." She strolled off again.
"I like busty women," Dean agreed happily. Sam gave him a dirty look so he handed over some of the snacks, making Sam walk outside shaking his head.
"Hey, we have a pool," Sam called.
"Almost all the bedrooms lead out to it," Wade called. He went back to guarding Xander. Clay and his team were checking on the other GHS in town. Most of them were back and one wasn't happy about something. They needed to see if it was a problem that was following them back.
Xander walked into the furniture store he had used last time, smiling. The saleswoman smiled back. "I bought this system here last time and it got really wet when a sewer pipe broke during the hurricane."
She took the pictures to look at. "Nice sectional and ottomans." She led them to something like that. "I don't think that model is available anymore. What sort of covering did it have, sir?"
"Microfiber. Soft, scrubable with a washcloth for messy paws. Dark blue."
"Hmm." She looked, finding them something similar. "This has fewer pieces."
"No, we need more not less pieces," Wade said. "With everyone there, we're short about two seats."
"The whole family hasn't had dinner in a while," Xander admitted. He looked. "I liked the square look. Our stairs have a half-shell design on them." She nodded, leading them to another set. He looked. "We don't really need the chaise but some need to be recliners and some need to be regular." She led them to another one. He looked back then at this new set. "If we could cross these two sets, it'd be great."
"Different heights unfortunately," she said. "You could do conversational groupings."
"That's why it seats twelve," Xander said with a small grin. "Plus the ottomans." He looked at the available ones, heading to one in the back of the section.
"That one's not been great quality," she admitted. "Everyone seems to find it too soft."
Xander sat down, shrugging. "Feels like our old one." Wade sat down and wiggled some, nodding. "The seat's a bit narrow. Doesn't come out as far." He spotted something and jogged over. Wade wisely stayed seated. Xander would drag him all over later looking for things. He sat down and wiggled, then nodded, looking at Wade, who came over to test it out. He nodded he liked it. "Can we get this one in a fabric like we had?"
"Let me get the swatch book, sir." She went to get it, coming back to find him talking about the pieces. "There's only the two pieces."
"I need another straight section in the back," he said. "Without an arm."
"Did the tables dry out all right?" Wade asked.
"Yeah, I weatherproofed them with the varnish. Patrick said they're nicely dried out in my shop." She had both sets books so he looked. "Can we add in that one set's pieces?" he asked, taking her back there to look at them. "Add in this piece and those three to that one set?" He looked at her.
"We may." She compared them. "They do have similar styling. The only problem I see is the arm issue."
"But if we have those two as end pieces and these four added in," he said, sitting down and grimacing. "These are like wood. No padding."
"That can be added to the order, sir."
Xander looked at her. Then at Wade, who shook his head. Then back at her. "That won't really help though, will it?"
"Most people seem to like something a bit more firm."
"My boys are detectives."
"Oh. So they need to sink down into something comforting at the end of a long day. My boyfriend's in patrol."
Xander grinned. "One of mine's in the lab." She grinned at that and led him to something her boyfriend wanted them to get. Xander experimented, then sighed. "If it was a sectional....."
"There is that option." She went to get that book and brought it back for him to look over. "They do offer a sectional option."
"It's a bit more... fancy than I thought," Xander said. "The wood touches are nice though."
Wade looked over his shoulder. "You'll have to change the woods in the living room from maple."
"That can come finished in maple," she said, pointing at that option. Xander pointed at another one. "All right. This comes in multiple pieces like you wanted. It has recliner sections as well."
Xander looked. "Let's lay it out this way," he said, taking some scratch paper she had and a pencil to draw out boxes and plan it. "Three, table, corner piece, table since they don't look like they fit flush. Then these three, two of the recliners between them, then repeat?"
She counted seats. "That gives you sixteen probable seats."
"Probably fourteen so we don't have to scrunch together," Xander said. He looked at the dimensions. "The back line's actually a little bit more narrow than my last set it looks like so I can add in that two piece between the recliners." She nodded and made that addition for him. He grinned. "That'll work. Can it be covered in that same sort of fabric?"
"It can be. It comes in a few very nice microfiber ones that can be easily cleaned." She got the book, letting him feel them. "A lot of people like this one," she offered with a point.
Xander felt it. "It's a bit slick. I prefer soft things." He found one he liked. "That's not in dark blue though. That's in black and a medium blue."
"Which will fit in your color scheme but get the ottomans in the darker blue instead," Wade pointed out. "Just flip that around." Xander nodded, making that adjustment. One of the medium blues he liked was in that sample. She wrote out their order and Xander paid from the poker stash. She also put a rush on it so they'd have it when the house was redone in six weeks. They went where Xander had found the ottomans to get them, and then to the carpet store. The salesman gave him a horrified look. "Pipe burst during the hurricane."
"So you have to replace that one again, Mr. Harris?"
"And half the living room," he admitted. "The couch and ottomans are going to be flipped in color combos so we can probably use the same stuff but I kept thinking it was too dark last time."
"We do have a new sample in that's a lighter gray." He showed him. "But it's not industrial carpet."
Xander felt it. "It's very soft. Will we be able to get pet fur out of it easily?"
"Oh, yes, and it's stainmaster as well." He smiled.
"Done. Patrick's working on the house." He nodded, taking out the old folder to get the measurements so they could order it. Xander paid and they went to the kitchen place. He looked at the guy in there with a sigh. "Storm damage."
"We've seen a lot of it, sir. What sort of kitchen do you have or are you upgrading?" Xander found those pictures, letting him see. "That's a beauty. Lots of workspace and everything."
"I hated the stainless steel appliances. They always needed polished from fingerprints and scratches."
The salesman smiled. "A lot of people say that, yes. Do we have to replace all the cabinets?" Xander nodded. "So counters as well?" Xander nodded again. "That was a lot of damage."
"Sewer pipe and a window break in the kitchen."
"Ow." He walked him over to look at what he already had. "Are any special order?"
"No, I went all stock." He nodded at that. "We only have to replace the bottom set and one upper set next to that window." He ran a hand over the countertop then called Patrick to come down there. That way he could see since they didn't have the exact same things anymore. Patrick showed up while they were looking. "They don't carry the same brand."
"I heard they went out of business but the stock sizes should still pretty well be the same."
"Not all," the salesman offered. "Half of the companies carry different dimensions for stock sizes. Some deeper, some a bit wider."
Xander shrugged, looking at his contractor. Who huffed. Xander grinned. "What?"
"You want to put in a dining room?"
"Maybe some year I'll have you build a better media room and put it in there. I don't know."
"Your media room is a bit small," Patrick agreed.
"It's very cozy," Wade said.
"It only seats ten."
"Good point. It'd look awkward if I built onto the back or the front. There's no room on either side so we'd have to go up. Though Sam offered the option of partially enclosing where the ferret cages are for a dining room."
"That might work," Wade agreed. "Put another few half-walls from the stairs to separate the living room off maybe."
"I think Sam was talking more the decorative side walls that're pretty arches, to create a slight doorway feeling but leaving the rest open."
"That may work," Xander admitted. "But I like the ferret cages there and we never use a dining room. We didn't when we had one."
"Also true," Patrick agreed with a smile. "By the time you're thinking about leaving Miami it'll be time to remodel anyway."
"I know." He looked at things. Then pointed. "What about switching to something like that? Though the top shelves mean I'll still need a stepladder to find things in the back."
"We do have one system for those who are less tall," the salesman said, walking them that way. "These ones lift down." He showed them.
"He stores his backing pans on one," Wade said. "And that tilted. I can see the mess."
Xander nodded. "A lot of mess. If it was automatic.... Or rotated up like a ferris wheel." Patrick gave him an odd look. "It was in a kitchen mag I saw in the bookstore last week."
"We get most of them," the salesman said, walking them to the display. Xander found it and showed them. "That does look handy but for smaller things."
"For baking pans that would be killer," Patrick agreed with Xander. "You could separate out by size and they're not that heavy."
"Yeah. I guess it could even be used on a deeper under-counter one."
"Probably, yeah." He looked. "Doesn't look that hard to install. Small motor and switch."
The salesman looked. "We have one of those that just came in the other day." He showed them that kitchen set up. "This one is for all the techie gadgets."
Xander looked at everything and found some he really liked. "Patrick, how hard would this one be?" he asked, pointing at the automated two tier lazy susan for an upper cabinet.
"You couldn't store anything like oils on it," he said. "It's not tall enough."
"Huh." He pointed at something else. "Pot spout?"
"Pot spouts are cool," he agreed. "Easy enough to do."
Xander looked at him. "I want wall ovens. I keep killing my back with the heavy stuff."
"I remember you blowing a disk taking out a ham." He smiled. "It's not hard to do but we'll have to specially insulate that wall or change the kitchen around some."
"I wanted to add a better door to the patio grill area," Xander said.
Patrick took some paper from the salesman and handed it over. Xander drew out what he wanted and what was absolutely necessary, which would mean pushing the back of the house out seven feet, but if they did twelve they could have that dining room again. Put pretty windows on it to look out at the garden and trees. "That'll look a bit odd from the garage and take a quarter of your practice space."
"I've been thinking about weeding out that quarter acre of trees I have back there," Xander admitted. "The hot tub's going to be better protected this time." Patrick and Wade both snickered.
"The people behind you are moving," Wade said.
"I know. I'm having grandiose plans of putting in a salle instead of the practice area, turning that into the media room, and having a dedicated practice area. I'm seriously constructing my own little paranoid camp. The community guards liked the idea too."
"Next round," Wade said quietly.
Xander nodded. "I know. We'd have to talk about it." That got a nod. "But it would mean no one else could catch me practicing the dance in the back yard."
"That might be handy since one of the younger guards did and had to be snapped out of it," Wade said dryly. "You have enough space now to put one up but you have a lot of trees that would have to get moved." Xander nodded he knew that. "If you did it right, you'd even have space between that and the fence."
"Yeah, about thirty feet of trees," Xander agreed. He drew out that idea, getting a moan from Patrick. "Think?"
"I know that's a great idea," he sighed. "Easy to do too. Same windows you have now upstairs. Shit, Xander."
"I know and you guys don't have something else lined up, do you?"
"Yeah, actually we do after this one." He shrugged with a sigh at the end. "But that's really easy." He looked at the waiting salesman. "He has some really nice ideas and that won't reduce his backyard living area any."
"He must have a very nice yard," the salesman said with a smile.
"With a lot of trees. I have a forest." That got a smile. "So, what do we think about that one heavier looking kitchen?"
"You're the kitchen master," Patrick reminded him. "I only follow along behind whenever you have to update things, Xander."
"Point." He called Speed. "Busy?" He grinned. Speed had sprained his ankle last night so he was off today. "Picking out a new kitchen since mine's trashed. Yup, there." He hung up. "Speed will help. We have a lot of cooks in the family." He walked them back to look at things while Patrick made notes about what Xander had seen that he liked in that tech kitchen. "Do we need a grill inside if we have the one outside?" he asked.
"No, probably not," Wade said. "You might consider a griddle plate though for pancakes and panini making."
"I have a press for those," Xander admitted. "And I usually do bacon in the oven, but pancakes I have that special plate I put over two burners." He considered it. "I could use more burners." They both nodded at that. The salesman was just happy he was picking out things. Speed limped in. "Hey."
"Hey." He looked then around, pointing. "Stove?" Xander walked them over to look. "I know you've been wanting wall ovens again."
"Yeah and I need a good industrial sized wall oven too," Xander admitted. "For cooking for everyone."
"We can get you an extra-large one," Patrick promised, making note of that. It was on the plan to have two regular and one extra large one. That was a whole wall of ovens. Or maybe he'd break it up and put the broiler oven on the counter.... Speed and Xander discovered all sorts of things they liked. Xander got most of them into the kitchen of his dreams and then they had to pick out cabinets.
"So, that pizza oven idea?" Speed asked.
Xander looked. "If we put it here on the island it'll free up space and the boys can cook pizzas or snacks. That one has independent top and bottom controls so it can be used as a broiler or for snack making." He grinned. "It's an expensive toy but handy."
"Very. Patrick, are you sure you can find him the sort of oven he wants?"
"Yeah. One single one and then one of the more professional grade ones with the double doors if possible so he can bake a whole lot for the station," Patrick said. "There's a Viking showroom down here and I'll go there for that. They also can do your grill area, Xander." Xander beamed at him. "Good boy. Are you sure about those cabinets? They're kinda dark for your kitchen."
Xander looked then pointed at a lighter wood. "That would go though, right?"
Patrick smiled. "That would go, yes. That'll look really nice." He patted him on the back. "You have good taste. I'll get to work on that rearrange for the ovens tomorrow. Let me hit that showroom," he said, checking his watch. "They should still be open. Did you get the other stuff bought?"
Wade handed it over. "Carpet, couches, ottomans."
"Cool." He winked at Xander. "See you guys tomorrow. Limp less, Speed." He left.
Speed grinned at Xander. "Your ovens will cost more than your last kitchen."
"I know but I need it. It takes forever with just the one oven to cook for everyone." They signed papers, paid for it, and then left. Speed followed him back home because they had no idea where they were staying. It was nice, Speed really liked this house, but he loved Horatio's more so he kept stomping on the bit of house envy he had.
Patrick smiled as he walked into the showroom. "I have a home cook who has to redo his kitchen due to the storm damage, but he needs outdoor grill space done as well as a professional grade oven."
"Why does he need that? Just wants one?"
"No, he does a lot of cooking for presents and spoils his boyfriend's department rotten with lunches and things." He showed him. "He did buy the pizza oven already at the showroom for the cabinets. We haven't decided on fridge, range, dishwasher, none of that."
The salesman looked at him. "Does he really cook that much?"
"Yes. About a year ago he made home-made hot pockets for his boyfriend's whole station." The man moaned. "So yeah, he doesn't always do it but often enough that a single oven is a pain. We're going with a built in one if possible. He likes the double door style. He was thinking one regular, one bigger one."
"Huh. If he wanted them as a professional range, all together, we have one that might work," he said, leading him off.
"He keeps blowing a disk whenever he has to pull something out of the oven."
"That kinda sucks," the salesman agreed. "His designer?"
"No, I'm his contractor. Xander's already done the redesign." He showed him the plans. "We're putting french doors there. That'll give better access between the grill area and the kitchen."
He nodded, looking it over. "Is he usually baking?"
"Usually. Sometimes it's casseroles, sometimes it's baking, sometimes it's meat. He's actually an excellent cook." Patrick smiled. "He spoils everyone so much."
"Some men are like that," the salesman agreed. "My wife is too but she hates to clean up."
"Me too." They shared a smirk and looked at things. Xander wouldn't get his double door oven but he would get one that was professional sized and safe for home use.
Anya gave the phone a worried look when the caller ID came up with a familiar number. "This is going to be very bad," she sighed. She went to tell Xander they had called a second time. Clearly, it was apocalypse season again.
He grimaced but went to call them back. "What's going on this time?" He listened to Willow's report. Not that he wanted to.... But he'd kick his own ass if the world ended and he wasn't there to fight it. Even if it meant going back to Sunnydale.
Xander turned to look at the silent man following him through the Sunnydale airport, staring at him. "Why did you come?"
"Porque una apocalipsis toma a un ejército (Because an apocalypse takes an army)."
"You aren't my army." Cougar shrugged. "Fine. Just.... if you freak out, don't scream. They'll taunt you about that."
"No, the girls." He sighed. "C'mon, I got a car." Cougar nodded, grabbing his bag when they came out. Xander got his two and they walked out together. Cougar noticed one was an unlimited bag and decided that probably had the weapons. Xander found the shop again and walked in, Cougar behind him. "What did we need?" he asked. Buffy gaped. "Battle plans? Weapons?"
"Yup," she said. "Who's your friend?"
"Cougar. He's my student. He's a sniper." She gaped. He smirked. "He's a very nice guy." He looked at Willow then back at her. "The problem being...."
"Really bad shit."
"Of course. You wouldn't have called me from Miami if it was easy, Buffy."
She sighed but handed over the notes they had. Xander got into his bag to find more books, looking them over. "You still have those?"
"Yeah, Sam and Dean use them all the time."
"Huh." She nodded. "Can he fight fight? Like in a battle fight? Because it'll probably do that."
Cougar nodded. "He estado en muchas batallas (I've been in many battles)."
Xander grinned. "He's what Riley dreamed of being, Buffy. Him and his whole team."
"Oh." She nodded at that. "He's cute."
"He's taken," Xander admitted. Cougar looked at him so he switched to Spanish, which Buffy did not know. "Jensen?" he asked quietly. Cougar snickered, shaking his head. "You sure? Everyone in the circuit thinks so." Cougar nodded. "Okay, if you're sure. Want me to change my answer?" Cougar shook his head. "Cool." He looked at her and shrugged. "He's the guy that can go into the bar and make the girls all drool. I can't even do that." He pointed at something in the book. "Do we have that yet?"
She looked then shook her head. "We have no idea what that weapon is, Xander."
Xander found his dictionary of supposedly mythical weapons, looking it up. "Hmm. It's a pike. Which you wouldn't be able to use anyway. But it said it was melted down.... Huh. So we need another any demon killing weapon. There's so few of those," he said dryly.
"Colt," Cougar said. "Longer distance."
"Nah, that's not going to work. She hates guns."
Buffy nodded. "We don't like guns in Sunnydale. They don't work on anything."
"Actually, I have three types of ammo that work on vamps, Buffy," Xander said dryly. "Including the new low flare rounds." She gaped. He stared at her. "Sometimes you gotta stake but it's always easier if you're fifty or more feet away." He considered it, looking in his bag. "Yeah, I did bring those. And the rifle. Cougar?" He nodded, taking that from him. "There's another six boxes if you need them. Do your thing. Watch your neck. Sunset until an hour after sunrise is really dangerous." He nodded, walking out with them. "He'll watch for us."
She stared at him. "He's a bit strange."
"Most snipers aren't really talkative. They have to be able to sit in one spot for a very long time and watch a single spot." He stared at her. "What do we have in the killing any demon class? So I know if I need to find something."
"It's another case of 'can't be killed by any weapon made by man'."
"Hmm." He looked at his katana. "Well, you were made by Ares. I wonder if that counts." He put it on his back and shrugged, handing her another one. "Made by woman so it might help?" She smiled. "If not, I can find more artillery."
"Thank you, Xander. I knew you'd help." He shrugged and left before she could hug him. "Patrol?" she called after him.
"Hotel then patrol. I'll meet you out or do my own."
"But... You're still not a slayer," she complained.
He stopped to stare at her. "Did you honestly just say that to me?" he asked dryly. "Me, who trained at a temple of Ares, God of War?" She went pale. "Who knows battle styles that almost no one can defeat?" He stared at her. Then he walked off. He knew he was dropping back into warrior Xander mode. Sunnydale was too dangerous not to.
He spotted Cougar and pointed at the hotel, getting a nod back. He was protected. Xander drove to the motel, getting them a suite of rooms. He picked up some food on the way so they wouldn't have to go out after hours, then grabbed a quick shower before patrol. He calmed himself as he came out, pulling on his old clothes. They still fit, were actually a bit loose, but he had more muscle mass now.
Yeah, it'd go as it had to.
Two days later, Wade found Anya at Xander's place, again, and twitchy. He stared at her. "What's wrong?"
"Xander's...." She sighed. "Buffy and Willow called."
"I thought he was off picking up little things for the house."
"No, he's back in Sunnydale by now. He took a good kit's worth with him."
"Why didn't he tell me?"
She stared at him. "Because this is how Xander in a crisis operates, Wade. He always has. I doubt he told his boyfriends."
Wade huffed. "Fine. Anyone else know?"
"Cougar might. He's not here either."
"Shit." He called. "Clay, Wade. Is Cougar in Sunnydale with Xander or not?" He heard the swearing. "Tell Harriet I said hi," he said dryly. It was good she was still 'taking lessons' from them. "Yeah, he's not here. Anya's not sure." He heard Clay bellowing for Pooch and Jensen as it sounded like he got dressed. "Let me know. I'm on my way out now." He hung up and kissed her. "Wait on me."
"Of course I will. Unless you get vamped." She smiled. "I don't think I could be like Buffy and sleep with a vampire long term. It doesn't seem as fun when you're room temperature."
Wade walked out shaking his head. He went home to pack weapons, change clothes, and find a flight to LA. That took longer than packing. "Hey, Sunnydale has an airport," he said dryly. He changed his destination and it was another hour but saved three hours of driving. That was fine. He rented a fairly practical car on that end and headed for the airport.
Clay stumbled as he pulled on his pants. "Pooch, mother fucker get in here!" he bellowed again.
Pooch came jogging in. "What happened? Did someone get taken again?"
"Xander's back in Sunnydale."
"Oh, shit," he said, staring in horror. "Jensen, get in touch with Xander!" he bellowed. "I'll arrange a flight out."
"He won't answer his phone. His voicemail said it's an apocalypse and to please not bother him for a few days, he'll contact everyone afterward, and for his boys to stay here." Jensen leaned in. "Hi, Harriet," he said with a smile and a wave. He looked at Clay. "Wade's headed out. I can't get anyone out there, including Cougs."
"He is there?"
"Yeah, he followed Xander. His voicemail said that he followed Xander. So Xander's probably pretty huffy."
"Get the weapons ready," he told Pooch. Who nodded and headed out. "Jensen, get us flights."
"On it already. It'll be early tomorrow unless we go private." Clay shook his head, they couldn't take the retrieval plane for this. "Then it'll be 0800." He went back to checking his own weapons and gear. This was going to suck.
Wade made it to Sunnydale just after dark. He had gotten a full list of 'be careful of's' from Anya. He knew which hotel the kid would be parked at and got himself a room. Then he went to find the kid after arming up. It sucked that airlines wouldn't let you carry a gun onboard these days. It had meant he had to put up with the screaming kids and the person having a panic attack behind him for four hours. He found Xander in a cemetery, fighting against something large. He shot it. "Guns, Xander."
Xander smiled. "Silver would work but his heart's in his thigh." He pointed then stabbed it, killing it. He shook his head. "Why are you here, Wade?"
Wade smacked him on the head. "Where else would I be?" Xander gaped. "Though I didn't hire a team. Should I?"
"No, they'd probably be freaked out."
"Uh-huh. Yeah, I can see why." He hit the thing trying to feel him up off him then killed it. Xander staked it before handing over his spare stake. "Thank you. Airport security was really strange about stakes. More so than guns and knives."
Xander nodded. "Yeah, I just picked up some out here." He shrugged. "I'm on patrol."
He pointed. "That way?"
"Two rising. She's having them make more minions." They went to find the other two rising vamps and get them. Then they moved on. "I know where her base is."
"We scouted it?"
"We've spotted it. Cougar is watching it and making notes. He insisted."
"Snipers can do that, yeah." He stared at the kid. Xander was totally serious. Him being here had apparently thrown his composure but he was regaining it quickly. They kept going. "It's a pretty little town if you like fighting things every night. Maybe I should've retired here."
Xander cackled. "That's so evil, Wade. Thank you."
"Welcome, kid." They kept going. It was a pretty little town, very quiet. They ran into the enemies of sanity, Buffy and Willow, at the Bronze. Which was a weak club by Miami's standards but probably the only one in town.
"Who's he?" Buffy demanded.
"I'm his assistant," Wade said.
"Why does Xander need a miniony sort?" Buffy asked, looking at Xander.
"No, we only joke about him being a minion, Buffy, and that's a personal joke. Wade helps me a lot around Miami. Including helping me with the weapons inventories."
"Does Miami like you having weapons?"
"Yup," Wade said. "It means less trouble in Miami and the local PD can bum whenever they want."
She gaped. "Excuse me? Are they dirty?"
"Watch me rip your head off," Xander growled. She backed down at that. "I hold Miami's apocalypse closet, Buffy. They all know that. They know when they can borrow from it and all that." She nodded, swallowing. "We got the seven coming up tonight and another grabby demon plus another vamp who tried to take Anya's toys."
"Anya's in Miami?" Willow asked. "Why?"
"I'm dating her," Wade said.
"Doesn't that make things weird?" Buffy asked.
"No. She and Xander take belly dancing lessons together and all sorts of things."
"It's great for footwork," Xander agreed happily. "Plus stamina building." He looked around. "It's a buffet tonight?" She groaned, going to find the vampires again, Willow giving him an odd look before following. Xander sighed, looking at Wade. "Let's go scout."
"Agreed. The music isn't the quality I'm used to." They walked out together, heading for the evil shit's warehouse of choice. "Why a warehouse?" Wade asked quietly.
"We always wondered that but it seems to be a big choice, at least out here," Xander said dryly. "Half of them do." He glanced up, getting a head shake from Cougar. Xander checked. She was in there. Wade watched subtly as well. Now they knew what she looked like. She changed forms to talk to herself but that was fine. They could handle that. They snuck off again, going back to the hotel to make plans.
"It would be easier if we could just burn her down," Wade said once they were safely back with Cougar.
"Not possible," Xander sighed. "And the locals are still dirty as well and ignoring everything."
"Figures," Wade sighed. He went over everything they had so far. It wasn't pretty. "Special weapon?"
"Destroyed back during the Crusades on another demon. The parts were melted down and lost to history. So we have the choice of a weapon not made by man." He pointed at his katana. "Or just doing like we did with the Judge and blowing it to blobs."
Cougar nodded. "Safety is better." Someone knocked and he went to check. "Police."
Xander snorted. "This time of night?" He got up to answer it, standing in the doorway. "Yes, Officer Phelps?"
He gaped. "Harris?"
Xander nodded. "Yeah. I came back for a visit," he said dryly. "What's up?"
"Um.... Are we having an issue?" Xander nodded. "That's probably why the boss wanted me to make things difficult for you."
Xander got into the bag and pulled out something handing it over with a smile. "You can get credit for confiscating the really big gun if you want."
"I like that," he decided. "How soon?"
"Two weeks at the most."
"Got it. I'll warn them. Nice to see you back."
Xander shook his head. "I'm going home after this."
"Still New York?"
"Miami. My boys are both part of the Miami department."
"Huh." He nodded and left. His boss was less than thrilled to hear it was another battle situation. But it did mean no overtime and no night shifts for a while. The whole department hated being anywhere near those things. He did get a 'good job' and a good payment for the weapon Harris had handed over. He didn't say that but his boss thought confiscating it was a good thing and paid him handsomely for it.
Xander shut the door with a grin. "PD won't come out of the station for anything for the next three weeks. We're a bit safer now." Cougar nodded slowly, looking confused.
"Anya said they have a built-in version of 'I don't want to know'," Wade told him. "They won't come near anything like this unless it'll benefit their wallets." Xander nodded, sitting down again. "Will we need anything?"
"Not unless we need more ammo. I only brought enough for a small battle because I know Buffy hates guns. She refuses to be around them."
"I can get us more," Wade said, calling someone. "It's Wade. I'm with Harris... Yeah, we are. Please. Ammo. Do we need something bigger, Xander?" Xander shook his head. "No, he said we have some. Thanks." He hung up and went to look in the bag to see what he brought. "When did we get these?"
"The last time I was in the Bazaar. I've hidden them. They're for real apocalypses, which Miami doesn't have thankfully." He went back over the map of the town to figure out where to have this battle. They had to call her to somewhere.
Wade sat back down. He could plan small group combat pretty well. He wouldn't tell the kid that Clay and his team was coming too. The kid was already back into the version of cold, overly used to battles, warrior Xander.
Pooch stopped Jensen before they got out. "Xander's dropped into warrior Xander mode according to Cougar," he said quietly. "He's back into the same state you get into during missions." Jensen nodded, grinning some. "That means he's probably not going to be too happy to see us."
"I get it. I heard about that from Don." He slid out and they locked the Jeep before walking into the shop. He found Xander and moved closer. "Hey," he said.
Xander gave him a confused look. "Why are you here? We don't need computer stuff."
Jensen gave him a dirty look. "I can do more than computers. I am a fully trained Special Forces soldier, Xander."
"Jensen, I didn't think...."
"I know." He gave him a hug. "It's all good. We all drop into bastard mode during fights." Xander relaxed and nodded. "Now, what can I do to help?" Xander pointed at things. They nodded and Clay stomped over after giving Buffy his 'don't worry, we're better trained than your ex ever dreamed of being' speech.
"Xander, why do you know so many miniony military guys?" Willow asked.
Xander glared at her. "These ones are friends, though I'm teaching Jensen blade work as well." She shrank back some. "They're living in Miami and help the station sometimes. I didn't ask them to come, they volunteered."
"We can probably handle it without them."
"Not like we aren't trained to take over a small country with only a team," Wade said dryly. She gaped. "I heard Finn was a Ranger." She nodded at that. "We're all Delta Fore trained, even though I did mine in Canada." She whimpered. "We're the ones the military calls when their nuts are in the fire, Buffy. So, let us do some planning. We're even better at it than Xander is."
"Sure, I guess that's what he leans on you guys for," she said slowly and carefully.
Xander glared at her. "No it's not. They're friends. Not minions." He got back to explaining things to Clay, who corrected the area of the battle. "That one's more secure."
"It's more open."
"PD won't be coming out for weeks," Wade said. "Xander had one who came to talk to him."
"Xander!" Buffy complained.
"Officer Phelps came to intimidate me, Buffy," Xander said dryly. "I told him and he agreed they could hide for the next two weeks."
"Oh," she said weakly. "What am I doing?"
"Standing there to counter her fashionable nature," Wade said dryly. She glared at him. "If you want to spar with one of us to make sure we can handle it, we'd be more than happy to." Someone else walked in. "Why are *you* here?"
"They're still my teammates."
Xander looked over. "Roque, spar with Buffy so she understands how badass you guys are?" He nodded, letting her pick the area. She growled and attacked him so he smacked her around a bit. He looked at Clay, shrugging a bit. "I didn't tell any of you."
Clay smacked him on the head hard. "Don said you're owed another hundred of those for that fact."
"Ow." He rubbed his head. "I don't want them hurt."
"Yay," Clay said dryly. They got back to work. Willow was gaping in horror again, which was nice. She couldn't cast that way. He saw Jensen and Cougar stiffen and look around casually. Xander was glaring. "Him?" Clay asked quietly. Xander nodded once and pointed at an area. "That might work but farther away."
"She's wandered there at least a few times," Wade said, handing over Cougar's notes.
"Huh." He nodded, glancing back at Roque and Buffy. For some reason he had a bad feeling about them getting together that way. Though he would have to...remind Roque again that they weren't family or a team any longer because he had turned on them.
Xander looked at him. "He knows he was stupid," he said quietly. "He actually talked to me about it."
"Doesn't make it better."
"He said that."
"Is that why he's in Miami?" Wade asked quietly. Xander nodded. "Huh." He shrugged. That was Clay's team's problem, not his. His was Xander. Who was going to be paddled when he got home for running off that way. "Are we expecting anyone else, like Wolfe?"
"Too much work after the last hurricane's homicides," Pooch said. "He was grumbling he'd be here otherwise. Sent Xander his other sword?"
Xander nodded. "That might help." He shrugged and they got back to it. Xander and Jensen were standing pretty close going over things he could do to make sure they weren't going to be interrupted. Cougar knew his job so all they had to do was pick him a spot to help from. He looked around then at Clay. "Aisha?"
"Middle East with a contact," he sighed. "Harriet's back in Miami moping with Anya."
Xander nodded. "Hopefully by the time we're back the house will be fixed." He went back to it. "By the way, I put you guys in a little pizza oven thingy like they have in Subway for warming up things. Little drawer with a handle."
Jensen hugged him. "Thanks, Xander."
Xander smiled. "Not a problem. You know that." He got back to the plans. When the duo came closer he kicked Buffy's knee, making her cartwheel out of the way. Roque followed. "Don't stab her, Roque. We might need her." He nodded, going back to it. He was barely breaking a sweat. She was getting sweatier and her shirt was starting to get opaque.
Jensen looked over then shrugged, getting back to it. Xander slipped him a note and he nodded, tucking it into his pocket. He could handle that issue. Willow did not need to be able to hack him again. It was a worry with the way she had done it to his bank account before.
"Guys, I can't concentrate, take it to the alley!" Clay finally snapped. Roque picked her up and walked her off. He stared, shaking his head quickly. "Okay then. Pre-battle stress relief I guess." He got back to work while Jensen and Pooch cackled.
Xander looked at the opposing forces and knew some of them would take a blade. He looked at his students. They weren't great... But... He sighed mentally. He pulled off Ryan's sword, handing it to Jensen, getting a confused look. "All those blue ones need beheaded." He handed Cougar his sword, getting an odd look. "Treat them well." He pulled out something else. It glowed in the dark. "Holy sword. Really heavy." They nodded, moving to take the demons on. Buffy had backup with Clay and Pooch. Wade was guarding Xander's back, as he was supposed to. Roque was helping Buffy, being ignored by Clay.
Jensen took his first head and nodded. "That's a hard cut to make, even with a good sword." Cougar grunted but they went back-to-back when the demons surrounded them. He was nervous but he had seen worse odds. He kept Xander's orders in mind. Use what you knew. "Okay, mother fuckers, you're ours now. There's no going back to whichever hell you came from." He moved and got that one. Cougar got another one. They kept going and soon there was a mess around them and not that many demons. He looked. Xander was growling but not fully down.
Cougar looked. "Xander, switch with me," he called. Xander looked up so Cougar tossed it. Xander caught it by his forearms, letting the blood flow down it. The other sword got picked up by Buffy, who used it to good effect. She was glowing too. Xander was now a bit deadlier. That one sword was too heavy for him, because it was meant for a woman warrior. Cougar went back to shooting the demons attacking the others. Jensen had his back guarded.
"Mother fuckers," Xander growled.
"Must you really swear so much?" Buffy complained.
"Yes, they must," Roque assured her. "It's a good time for it."
Xander ducked one blow and blew that one away with the low flare round, then the one battling Wade. Then he turned and shot the others hindering them.
Buffy looked. "Wow. Someone did something mean to Xander."
Xander looked at her. "Really?" He shot at the one coming for her then looked at Jensen. "Hi."
"Hi." He stared at her. The higher demon was glaring.
Xander looked at his blade, saying a prayer to Ares, then Strife, Discord, Athena, and then Cupid because he wasn't really in lover mode right now. He handed it back to Cougar and pulled out the thing he had hidden. He leaned on the tube, getting a horrified look from the higher demon. "Have we had enough?" She tried to flee but Clay took the artillery to blow her away. He looked around. "Buffy, your senses?"
"Yeah, there's more watching." She rubbed her lower stomach with a grimace. "This so sucks."
Xander nodded. "The vamps here can be beheaded. Almost all the species of them can," he told his students quietly. "Pooch, stakes?"
"Got some," he promised, handing them out.
"It's wood," Roque complained. A vampire growled and lunged. Clay staked it and he stared. "Okay, wood may work then." The others waiting attacked and the left flank of Xander, Cougar, Jensen, and Wade were already creating piles of dust. The others were used to stabbing so staking... only a bit different.
Buffy gaped in awe as Roque got one trying for her. "Thank you."
He smirked. "You'll get messed up."
"Yeah, being out here and doing this every night is really hard on my clothes, nails, and hair." They kept staking until there weren't any more vampires. Xander got the few demons rushing their way. "Xander, one of those was peaceful."
"No he wasn't. His clan member tried to kill me last month for not giving in to him and his sad desires." He looked around.
"Save us! Angelus is here!" a voice shouted.
"Huh," Xander said. "If he is, we're over here," Xander called. "If it's just Angel, she's over here too." More demons ran their way and he took them out with his gun. Wade staked one.
"Maybe I'll come back for vacations," Wade quipped. "It's been a while since I had to kill anything."
Clay looked at him. "I knew you were fucked up, but really. Some of them still have gentle minds."
Wade shrugged. "Anya likes me this way," he said smugly.
"Yeah, she loved Xander's warped mind too," Buffy complained.
Jensen kindly took Xander's gun from his hand. "No, let me," he said, shooting her in the foot. She shrieked but oh well. The vampire stomping their way was tall, dark, and pale. "Hi, how are you today?"
Xander looked him over. "No leather pants so he's probably still Angel." He shrugged. "You missed the battle."
He looked around at the mess. "I can tell. What are you doing here?"
Xander snorted. "What do you think I'm doing here?" He stared him down. Angel backed off. "So, soul or no soul? Wanna take a position since they think you don't have it?"
"No, I'm still souled. That was a stupid rumor started by Wolfram and Hart."
"Yeah, we're trying to get them out of Miami." Xander put his sword against his shoulder. He looked around. "Anyone need medical? Beyond Buffy?"
Clay looked. "Mostly some clawing and slight cuts," he reported.
"My med kit's in the room, guys." They nodded and walked off.
"How dare he!" Buffy shouted.
Jensen smirked. "Real friends would." He stared at her until she quieted down. He followed the group. "Xander, is there any special cleaning orders for Ryan's sword from Ares?"
"No, we spilled plenty of blood tonight," he said with a smile. "Thank you," he said quietly.
"We're buddies." Xander relaxed and smiled, shoulder-nudging him. "You have to tell my sister I was totally safe."
"I will." They made it to the hotel room. "Okay, let's see 'em, boys."
Willow, who had followed, blushed as she stomped off. She found Buffy being bandaged by Roque. "He had them strip, Buffy!"
"Most of them would only let him clean injuries," Roque said dryly. "I doubt he'd get inside anyone but Jensen's panties." He went back to stitching her up. She was pouty but had done pretty good in the battle. She did remind him a lot of Anya, only she talked about sex less. She was huffy, tense, and needed to calm down. So did he. He stared at her, she looked so clueless. "Stress relief?"
She laughed, looking nervous. "It's been a while since I got that offer," she said quietly. "Since Riley."
"I'm better than any Ranger ever would be. They're wooses," he said smugly. She giggled and swatted him. He let her take him back to her dorm room, where he made her squeal loud enough that the whole dorm wondered who had broken her down. She clearly was used to being the ice princess but making those beg was a speciality of his. Clearly, the Ranger had been the worst sort of woose since she wasn't used to how big he was either.
Wade walked into the house, looking around. "Anya?" She came bouncing out in her jammies and pounced him, kissing him hard. "Bad time while I was gone?" he teased with a smirk.
"Yup, I had to do it all on my own and my wrist is sore. You've spoiled me for anything less than you, Wade." He growled. He needed to destress too. Fortunately her jammies slid off when she wiggled and the top was tossed across the room before he slammed her against a wall and had her in a way that dented the wall. And her. But she liked it that way.
He growled in her ear, earning a coo. "You're a much better way to unwind from the battle. I should've packed you."
She kissed him. "I wouldn't have minded but I would've tried to kill Buffy and Willow. Did you have fun killing demons?" He nodded, thrusting up harder. She moaned, clamping down on him. "You're a wonderful man." She took another kiss and wiggled, getting free and strolling to the couch, leaning against the back. "Let's save your back for later."
He finished stripping and walked over to push back in and ride her until she was begging for mercy.
Clay walked into his apartment and looked around. It was spotless, so one of the women was here. "Ladies?" he called. They came out of the bedroom together. He smirked and dropped his bag. "I need to unwind." He walked in there taking off his shirt. They were both very nice to him.
Downstairs, Jolene was checking every inch of her husband's body. That way she could baby each and every cut.
Cougar and Jensen shared a look then shrugged. "That one club?" Jensen suggested.
"Yup," Cougar agreed. They put up their things and went to find some willing fun. The club was good for that. Lots and lots of coeds who thought they were exotic for being military.
Xander walked into their house, looking around. It was silent. It was all done. The mirror house was still gone but a branch with a piece of black fruit was hanging out. He took it and the doorway came back. "Thank you." He stripped off, eating it on his way to the shower. He got a long, hot shower before he got done. He got out, toweled off, and climbed into bed, sniffing the scent left from his boys. That was calming and he was happy. He got comfortable and fell asleep. A bit of quiet was good for him right now.
Don got the call from the security company. "He's home." He and Danny shared a look. They packed up everything quickly. Anything they left they could get the next day when they came back to turn the house back over to the realtor and had the carpets cleaned. They got home and found Xander asleep. He didn't take up near enough of the bed by himself. The ferrets went into their cage. Hubert snuggled in too. They stripped down and climbed in, cuddling with their boy. Xander snuffled them, nuzzling happily when he realized it was them. Don grinned over Xander's head at Danny, who smirked back. Yeah, it was great to be home.
They could calm Xander down in the morning.
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