Someone Mistook Xander For A Nice Guy.
Xander walked up to Rick where he was researching in Tara's library. "Are there actual agents with these names?"
He looked at the list, marking out a few. "I know these
ones." He wrote that at the top and faxed it to his contact.
He paid the quarter fee on his way past the desk. He got an email
a few minutes later with some suggestions. Xander grinned and
took two of them, sending back a thank you. "Why?" Rick asked
casually. "For the new series Paula was taunting me about?"
"No. Something for Olivia and any other kids that might appear in
the family some year." He looked around then at him. "Peter
gave me the idea." He walked off shaking his head, handing Tara
Olivia's stack of books. Then he went home to fix things.
She was teasing people at daycare today. Peter was in DC for a few
days. So Xander was alone with his muses and the cats
again. Which was probably a bad idea but it happened sometimes.
Paula walked into the house a few hours later, after talking to
Rick. She got Xander's laptop from the office. He was
napping on the patio. She found books she hadn't seen before,
though they were all small files. She copied them down.
Including the file that said 'for olivia'. She walked off shaking
her head. Xander clearly needed to sleep more often since he
didn't so much as move. Since he was snoring she was sure he was
still all right.
She went back to her office, settling in to look over the new
things. A few were starts of new novels; she discarded
those. She hadn't deleted anything on his hard drive so he still
had copies. The others were kid books. She didn't know
her prize author was writing children's books. They weren't bad
children's books. She knew someone who dealt in children's
books. They were looking for new things and these weren't standard
books. They had things that were different themes. Clearly
to help Olivia figure things out that she thought were weird.
She called her contact. "One of my authors has been writing his
niece stories," she said in greeting. "Seven so far. Though
it looks like he was working on one. It was edited today."
She smiled. "Sure, I could like that." She hung up and got
them arranged. Two weren't really practical things for normal
children who didn't have to worry about why Mommy and Daddy were putting
Xander looked up from his editing when Paula sat down next to him that night after dinner. He stared at her. "What?"
"Um... Yeah, for Olivia."
"I know someone who loved them." He looked confused. "You
didn't wake up when I snuck in to find them. Rick told me."
She stared at him. "She thought they were absolutely
adorable. Especially since they had kid-necessary lessons like
'don't touch Mommy's gun' and things." Xander grinned. "She
wants to know what you were thinking about for likenesses and
things." He got into that folder and showed her.
"Awww." She patted him on the head. "Good author. You
used multi-cultural examples."
"Yeah. One of Olivia's friends has a mom that works for the
Chinese embassy but the only thing Olivia knows about the Chinese is the
"Which is a good thing." She smiled. "Nice job."
"Thank you. I'm kinda worried that I'm going to turn her into a
Spy Kid. We were watching the movie and she was cackling at it,
but Peter assured me that's not a real program. Back in England in
the day they used some genius teenagers but no one that young."
"It doesn't matter. She'll be just like you and her aunt when she
grows up. Only more book oriented like Tara is." She got up
and walked off, liking that idea. "Email me that file, Xander."
"Yes, Paula," he sighed once she was on the elevator. "I didn't
mean to make more work for her." He did email Peter that because
it was good news. Plus kind of cute.
Tara looked at the new book order list and sighed. It had
been a few months since she had found out Xander was writing Olivia
books. "I didn't know he was going to publish those." Her
boss looked at her so she pointed. "Xander wrote those for Olivia
to explain some things in baby language. They're adorable," she
admitted. "But a bit strange. The last one went over why
sometimes Daddy and Mommy had to do things like play dress up for work."
Her boss snickered. "I'd like to proofread those." She
nodded, sending that to Xander's phone. He emailed her a copy and
the newest one. She let her boss read them, watching her giggle
her way through them. "Those are adorable and probably good for
any young children of agents or officers." She ordered a set and
got a few others. Tara unchecked one with some white out and
pointed behind her. "One of his promo copies?" Tara nodded,
rolling her eyes. "Is it good?"
"It's good but a bit... well, Rick decided to taunt him that he couldn't write things that made people hot."
"Oh!" She picked up that book to read in her office. Just to make sure it wasn't too risque for the library.
Tara finished up the order and put it into her boss's inbox then got
what she needed to dust. She still had some things she wanted and
needed to think about. She needed to make a decision about her
baby envy issue. Maybe she'd talk to her aunt? Though she'd
ignore all the 'you're still warping the calling' discussion they'd be
sure to have.
Tara flopped down next to Alexis, giving her a short hug. She looked at Martha. "How do you fight baby envy?"
"It's not something I ever really had," Martha admitted. "Because
each time I thought they were adorable, I remembered how much of a pain
my own was."
Tara smiled. "You did good with him."
Alexis hugged her. "Still got it?" Tara nodded. "How's it looking?"
"The doctor's sure I can if I want to. I talked to my aunt, who
kept nagging me about not being with someone. When I pointed out
why she shut up but now she's sure it'd be something she'd have to help
end because I admitted I had a nightmare about it coming out a demon
"All babies are when they get colic," Martha told her. "That's why
they're so adorable." Tara grinned and relaxed. "Are you
planning on it?"
"I'm... I've talked to my doctor about it and if it's doable, with all
the problems that Sunnydale could have given me I needed to know if it
was even an option." The other ladies nodded. "I've been
thinking about it a lot actually. Olivia's old enough to have a
cousin she'll get to play with. Xander would spoil the baby
"There's other things to think about," Alexis said. "Like can we afford one?"
Tara nodded. "I own the apartment and I do have some savings."
"Babies cost about two hundred thousand before college expenses," Martha
told her. "It goes up all the time though." Tara
winced. "Not all up front of course, but over the course of their
"Which I'd need to plan for," she agreed.
"Plus you'd have to give up that nasty habit you have of helping during
apocalypses," Martha reminded her. "Right now, you're mostly
watching Olivia for Xander during them but if one happens who's going to
watch the baby?"
"That's a good point as well. One my aunt tried to force me to see too because she hates that I'm a protector."
"Your aunt is being uptight again because you're not into her version of
the Goddess," Alexis snorted. "The Goddess was a warrior as well
as a lover of nature."
"True. She's very fierce, just look at hurricanes." They
smiled at her. "I don't know. I want, but I'm not sure that I
want that badly."
"It's a big decision to make," Martha assured her, patting her on the wrist. "Now, why are we meeting today?"
"Olivia's upcoming third birthday," she said with a smile. Martha
moaned. "Xander doesn't want us to do anything too fancy or
showy. Her cousin wants her to have a party, again not fancy or
showy. I was thinking for the daycare kids but I don't know how to
plan that. We also have to plan Xander's birthday since he never
celebrates it." Martha laughed but nodded. "Which is in
three weeks. He didn't even want me to make him a cake. I
told Peter and he thought Xander should since he's twenty-five.
And then I have to make him shop because of the red carpet thing coming
up with the new DCIS movie, Peter's book is being made into a movie, and
the banned book event is coming up as well. Peter's not sure if
he's going as his author self or as Xander's boyfriend."
"Is Xander on the list again?" Martha asked.
Alexis nodded. "There were a few that questioned some of his in
our school library," her granddaughter said with a grin. "They
were not happy their children were reading fantasy novels of all
"He's got the books he wrote for Olivia coming out soon." They
both smiled at her. "I think they're adorable and all but I'm not
sure how they'll work with normal kids. Because I know Olivia's
not exactly a normal child."
Martha smiled. "Some of them were very adorable and seemed to
nudge the children very easily." They ordered when the waiter came
over then got down to plotting. It's what women did best
Peter looked at Xander. "What do you want for your birthday?"
"What birthday? I was hatched from an egg," he said dryly, still typing.
Peter took the laptop and looked at him. "Your hatching day then. What do you want?"
He shrugged. "I honestly don't celebrate it, Peter. We can go out to dinner if you want."
"We should." He smiled. "Nothing bad will happen if we do celebrate it."
Xander sighed. "It's still not something I do."
"That is because those girls were not good." He took a kiss. "What do you want beyond dinner?"
"Would force many of my successors out of a job," he said dryly, staring at his boyfriend. "Anything you wish for?"
"I don't use that word. I know what happens when you use the
w-word. Wish demons show up to say 'wish granted' and then things
"You are avoiding topic."
Xander huffed but nodded. "I don't really celebrate it. I haven't since I was five."
"We will celebrate this year," he ordered gently, taking a kiss
afterward. "With gooey cake even." Xander moaned because
Peter had introduced him to a fantastic cake maker that made the best
gooey, chocolate cake he'd ever had. "We will get one for us, and
one for baby and Tara." He grinned. "Then baby can go stay
with Tara that night?"
"Sure. That'd be good." A cat hopped up behind them and
walked past, flicking them with her tail. "Thanks, Homer,
really. Great way to make me feel smutty." Peter took
another kiss and handed back the laptop. "What was I writing?"
Peter looked then at him. "Another thing with smutty thoughts to taunt Rick with or make Beckett moan about CSI elves."
"Oh, yeah." He went back to it. This agent got a lot more
than he ever had. From nicer people as well. He'd ignore the whole
nasty topic of his birthday until he got to spread some of that cake on
Peter found Tara in the library, handing her a small takeout box. "His chosen cake."
She smiled. "Not something decorated?"
He winked. "He adores that." He went to find a book to read. Xander was writing again today and he was bored.
She looked at him. "He'd go do things if you wanted to," she reminded him.
"He must write. Paula said so. Tomorrow we go do
things." She pointed and he went to a section he had missed
before. Xander had introduced him to some very good fantasy
authors he had avoided most of his life. One had a new book out in
a series he had come to like so he'd try that one. There was also
a new one on Russian history which gave him the opportunity to snort at
the inaccurate details they put forth. He checked them out and
went home. Xander was spread out on the couch with a cold
washcloth over his eyes. "Bad vision?" he asked, moving it
aside. "Or did someone gas you?" The skin was lightly burned
and looked like it hurt.
"I took out the trash and one of the idiots who owns the factories
across the street pepper sprayed me for some damn reason," he
sighed. "They're also arrested."
"You should buy them out and banish them."
"I should, yeah, but I can't do that. They're not for sale.
Unfortunately I'm not as rich as some people so I can't make them an
offer they can't refuse either." He moved his feet, letting Peter
sit down. "There's two of them and I don't know why they hate me
but I don't really care."
"If they show up, I will protect you." Xander stared at him,
looking happy but confused. Peter stroked his leg. "Go back
to resting." Xander nodded. Peter called Paula. "Is
us. Xander has been pepper sprayed by his neighbor." He
listened. "Hmm, interview might be a hard thing today, especially
on the air." Xander winced, shaking his head. "I'm sure he
can but he does have burns, Paula. I can do that. We can
both go." Olivia pounced him. "Why are you not in daycare?"
"They had a water line break. I had them send her to me in a cab since I can't see well enough to drive."
"Ah." He hugged her. "We can do that, yes. Thank you,
Paula." He hung up. "She'll see if they still want to do it,
even with the burns. Have you put on aloe gel?"
"I did and it helped some. So did some tylenol." He let Olivia climb on him to cuddle. "That's my girl."
"She suggested we could both go together but that means I have to get into character."
"Olivia could help, that way she quits worrying about that not being you."
"She could, yes. Olivia, let us go color my hair." He got up
and took her with him. She got him a towel when he asked for one
and they did that together. She looked very confused but when he
dried it, she realized the 'not Puppy' was actually him. She ran
off to call John and babble that at him. He smiled. "That
solved that worry of hers," he decided, cleaning up any drips and then
picking out his clothes. He had a whole rack of interview
clothes. "If he was feeling better I would wear suit that would
make him drool," he decided. "Instead, I will be....
Hmm." He had too many choices.
"Paula said to wear something really nice," Xander said as he walked
past the doorway. "Olivia, get off the phone. You're not a
teenage girl yet, quit calling people. Even Grandpa." He
hung up when she blew kisses into it. He took her to help him pick
out what he was wearing. "Pick me out something pretty for
an interview, 'Liv. Uncle Xander can't see real well today."
She looked in his closet then tugged on something, letting him pull it
out since she couldn't reach the bar. She stared at the purple
shirt then got him a gray pair of pants. She had a dress in those
colors that everyone said she looked very pretty in it. So her
uncle could look pretty too. She ran into Peter's room and did the
same thing, earning a smile and him choosing that. They got her
dressed afterward and went to the interview.
The makeup person stared at Xander. "Oh, dear. What happened?"
"There's two factory owners across the street from me and they hate me
for some reason," Xander said dryly. "I was taking out the trash
and one ran up to pepper spray me. Of course, a few months back I
had him arrested for trying to pounce me to beat my ass thanks to his
crack habit, which fell out of his pocket." He grinned. Then
rubbed his cheek.
She got something from the refrigerator and smoothed it on, making him
sigh in pleasure. "I can't do much to cover that but we'll see
what we can do." She looked at Peter. "You need to brush the
color out after you apply it," she chided, putting a smock on him to do
that for him. That way nothing got on his clothes. "You're
both dressed fairly well."
"Olivia picked it out," Xander said with a grin. "Because my eyes are still watering."
"She did a good job." She finished them up and went to tell the
interviewing reporter about that. It sounded like a good story to
Peter helped Xander out to the stage. "Here, one author."
"Two of us," Xander said with a grin for him.
"True, I am an author as well." He was using a fake accent, very
British at the moment. The reporter stared at him. He
beamed. "Peter Yurchenko."
"Oh, my." She shook his hand with a smile. "Paula said I'd
get to meet you today since Alexian wasn't in the best shape.
Pepper spray?" He nodded, leaning on the table. "Let's get
you guys seats." Her production assistant brought out
stools. Peter helped Xander onto his. "So this
is....." She waved a hand. Xander smiled and nodded.
She looked at him. "Clearly not your natural color," she
muttered. He rolled his eyes. "I can work with that."
She winked. "I've heard rumors that you were underground for some
reason so I won't ask." She got her notes and the producer cued
the camera. They were both easy to interview and Xander's quip
about the neighborhood crackhead was not nice of him but hopefully it'd
Of course, someone tried to take a shot at them when they tried to
leave. Which pissed Peter off. Yeah, he was clearly Xander's
sort of dangerous guy.
Who knew Xander could swear in nine languages? Especially when he
caught the idiot with his boyfriend. The reporter had followed
along and it was a very good story.
Paula walked off the elevator and outside to look at them. "Should
I even mention that they caught you beating the crap out of whoever
shot at you?"
"No," Xander said.
Peter shook his head. "I would have shot them back if they were not on top of building."
"Ditto," Xander agreed.
She huffed and swatted Xander on the head. "That brings bad publicity."
"She followed us, we didn't invite her," Xander quipped, blinking at her. "Anything on my neighbors?"
"They've decided he's an idiot," she assured him. "The reporter
dug up all the other times you've had him arrested. She was very
amused I'm told." She smiled at Peter. "Nice job
today." He grinned. Olivia was trying to be sneaky but she
caught her and tickled her, making her run off squealing. "Are you
going to be all right, Xander?" He nodded. "Should I even
ask if you have that chapter done?"
He stared at her. Then pointed at his laptop. "You seem able
to grab things off it." She got into it and looked over the
current stories he was working on. He looked at Peter. "Am I
"Or I could," Peter offered.
"Food!" Olivia squealed, running and pouncing Peter. "Food, Puppy!" She beamed.
"Are you hungry?" he teased, smiling at her.
"Probably. I know she got into the fridge for lunch," Xander
admitted. "I'm pretty sure she got fruit because I stepped on a
few squishy, cold things." Peter shuddered, looking around.
"What sort of food should we have, 'Liv?"
"Food!" she said firmly, nodding.
"Do you want Chinese food? Hamburgers? Orc food?" She pouted and huffed, looking at Peter.
"I do not know what Orc food is so cannot order it," he assured her.
She kissed him on the cheek. "Food."
He pulled out his phone and grabbed the phone book to look.
"Pizza?" She shook her head. "Hamburgers?" She shook
her head again. "Chinese?" She shook her head more
quickly. "Then what do you want to eat?"
"Apparently we should've named you Seymour," Xander complained.
"'Liv, pick a food or I will. Peter can always feed me real pizza
and make me happy." She stared at him then at Peter, looking
pitiful. "What do you want to eat then?"
"Girl food!" She beamed.
"Girls eat pizza. I do a lot," Paula assured her. Olivia
scowled at her, making her grin. "You're nearly as fierce as Rick
is, dear." She went back to proofreading. "Xander, why is he
diddling an agent?"
"To prove he's the better one. Pretty soon the agent's going to
break, beg, and then be discovered. He's not really a likeable
"No, he's not," Peter admitted. "What is girl food?"
"Salad," Xander said dryly. "With the occasional donut and chocolate tossed in."
"Order her a salad from the pizza place," Paula suggested. "That should soothe her."
"We have salad things," Peter admitted. He got up to make her one
and called in an order for pizza. He could go pick it up.
She hugged him and settled down on the coffee table to eat her girl
food. He had let her pick her dressing and she liked the caesar so
that was fine with him. Not like she was getting fat.
Xander used his phone to take a picture of her eating and titled it then
sent it to Tara, who sent back a giggle and a smiley face. Olivia
stared at him, head tipped to the side. "Showing Auntie Tara that
you like her girl food too." She beamed and dug in, eating with
her fingers but she wasn't three yet. They wouldn't say much to
her about it.
Peter left to get the pizza and came back to a holy mess. He
stared at the mess. "Xander?" he called, putting down the
pizza. He pulled his gun and walked around, checking the various
rooms. Most you could see into. He found Olivia in a cabinet
sucking her thumb. "Stay," he ordered quietly, shutting her back
in. He went outside. He heard the fight and walked up there,
shooting the person who was trying to attack Xander. Xander
panted, looking at him. "Did he cause the mess?"
"No, the three demons he summoned did. They ran from me
though. Them escaping caused the mess." He straightened
up. "Olivia?" he called, heading back downstairs. Peter
showed him and he cuddled her. "Such a good girl to hide," he
whispered, holding her tightly. "I'm going to kill that fucker if
he didn't. He shouldn't have scared you that way. We'll get
John to reward the house." She cuddled back, clinging to him.
"When did this happen?" Peter asked calmly.
"About two minutes after Paula left, which was right after you."
He looked at him. "Can you call someone?" He nodded, moving
to do that while Xander got Olivia calmed down. It almost made
Xander sniffle when she wanted to check Peter over too, cooing and
fussing over him. Xander left long enough to let the officers up,
coming back to find Olivia waiting. He picked her back up and sat
down to cuddle her. His mega witch girly-girl niece was just great
to fuss over them right now.
"Sir, this pizza, was that their ruse?" one of the officers asked.
"No, Peter went to pick it up," Xander said. "They got in within
two minutes of my publisher leaving so I'm guessing the door caught
slightly or something." They nodded, going to check on him.
He was injured, which got them scowled at. Xander looked at
"You didn't tell us he was injured, sir."
"I would've killed him," Xander admitted.
"I would have but it was a bad angle and might have hit you as well,"
Peter told them. They all stared at him. "Some of us are
"With what he used to date, I'm hoping you're on the lighter end of the
spectrum." Olivia scowled and moved to hug him. "Never mind,
she apparently loves you already, sir." They let the ambulance
crew up and got the mess cleaned up. Then they left after the tiny
bit of paperwork.
Xander's phone rang. "Paula, Beckett, or Beckett's minions?" he guessed.
Peter found it and looked. "Minions." He answered it.
"We are all fine. Olivia was in cabinet hiding. I shot the
one that Xander was struggling with after the three demons
disappeared." He hung up. He got the pizza and they sat down
to eat it together. Olivia kept sneaking pieces of cheese and
toppings but that was what girls did as far as Xander knew. Peter
would work on her manners later on.
Beckett strolled into the cell block hospital, staring at the idiot in
the bed. "So what was the bright idea?" The man
sneered. "Because I'm sure the judge will want to know as well."
"I have the right to remain silent," he sneered.
"Yes you do." She smirked. "Of course, since Xander reported
the demons you summoned to try to take him and his niece out...."
He smirked. She sneered. "You won't win. Even if he
can't get you, Tara will. She's not hindered by things like being
across the city." He went pale. "Plus there's a whole lot of
people who like the kid who'd be more than happy to help.
Including most of the demon underground in this city." She stared
at him. "So, what was the bright idea again?"
"He shouldn't be there. If he wasn't there, then we could get rid
of all that foulness in the warehouse," he spat. He tried to move
but he was strapped down. "It doesn't belong there."
"It's been there since the early eighteen hundreds," she told him.
"I looked." He growled. "Beyond that, if something happens
to Xander, the warehouse goes to someone stronger, a demon hunter who's
been doing it his whole life. I'm sure Sam would be more than
handy at keeping it safe."
"Oh hell no!" a demon shouted as he appeared. "That will not happen in my lifetime!"
She looked at him. "Lower your voice," she sneered. He
flinched back. "Xander's said that if something happens to him,
the house goes to Tara and Olivia while the warehouse goes to Sam
Winchester." She smirked. "He thinks that Tara would
probably let him live up there too. She might."
"No," the demon moaned. "I can't let that happen. Too many
bad things want the warehouse!" He stared at her. "Please?"
"You can have him switch it to Dean," she offered.
"At least most of the higher ups don't want Dean as their
consort." He looked toward the warehouse and house. "We like
the house being up there. It gives it extra protection. We
cannot let Samuel hold it though. It would bring greater danger."
"If you try to make him immortal, he will kill every single demon on
this plane and all the others," Beckett warned. "He's finally
found a decent boyfriend, who Olivia loves, and doesn't need that sort
He looked at her. "I know he'd kill all of us, leaving me for last
to watch as he destroyed everyone. Beyond that, the Highest of
All Planes have gotten together to make a list of people they never want
to gift, grant wishes to, or go near. He and all three
Winchesters are on it."
"I'm sure they'd be proud," she smarted back.
The demon looked at him. "You will be sentenced in our courts."
"He's due to be arraigned in ours tomorrow. Have your prosecutor
get with ours," she ordered. He groaned but nodded, disappearing
again. She smirked at the unlucky bastard. "Feel
better? You nearly got Harris made immortal." He
shuddered. Two demons in guard uniforms showed up. "Until
they take official custody from our court system, with a judge's
agreement, he's under NYPD authority," she said.
They nodded. "We are making sure our future prisoner is not able
to escape, Great Beckett. We respect all NYPD officers and our own
courts wish to be much like yours."
She smiled. "Tell the warden." One went to tell him that
while she went home. That was so sweet of them to screw up that
Xander walked out of the house a few days after the attack to take out
the trash and found a lurker. "Yes, Miss Wester?" he asked,
looking at her.
"You take out your own trash?"
"Yes, because Olivia isn't old enough to have more chores than putting
her clothes in her basket yet," he said dryly. "Is there a
"Is he good to you?" Xander nodded, staring at her. "He makes you happy, all that?"
"Yes, and I hope I do the same for him," he said quietly. "Why?"
"Someone started to wonder." She held up the paper.
"Huh, I was wondering why we didn't get it today." He took it to
look at the pictures. "Shank?" he called. He came out of the
elevator a minute later, taking the paper to groan at. "This is
Miss Wester. She's with Channel 3 but she's also in the kitten
"They're really good information sources," she agreed, smiling at the
boyfriend. "So... some do realize I'm sure." He stared at
her. "That would mean you could get rid of the silly hair
color. Since I'm pretty sure that's why Xander here started to
write children's books about what spy mommies and daddies do." He
shrugged. Xander walked the trash off. "I'm not going to
blab. Frankly, you're not on my caseload. I handle the
apocalypse battles we get and things like that, not former spies turned
"That picture is actually my nephew," he said smugly.
"I've seen your nephew if you're talking about Mickey. I was
covering a few different stories where his boss was working on
something." She stared at him. "The only reason I'm here is
to warn Xander, which kills a poker debt I owe." Xander snickered
at that, shaking his head. "And to tell you that the demon courts
petitioned to get the idiot who broke in. They decided him trying
to make you turn the warehouse over to Sam Winchester was evil.
They're going to charge him with endangering all of humanity and
demonkind." She looked at Shank again. "It's going to be
"I will deny," he assured her.
"That's your thing but remember, movies of books means red carpets, more
interviews, and the banned book event since Xander's on the list
again." She strolled off.
"Where am I this time?" Xander called.
"Same place you were last year."
"Thanks. Though I don't have tickets yet." He looked at
Peter. "I leave that totally up to you because it's your former
bosses who'd throw fits or try to kill you." He took a kiss and
smiled. "I think you look hot either way, Peter. And in any
version of you that you choose to play with that day."
Peter smirked. "Is too windy for golf."
"Olivia's going to daycare in about an hour." He smirked. "Gym?"
"Gym," he agreed. They went upstairs and Shank wrote a few people
to warn them someone was speculating. "Interesting that an agent
from the CIA outed me," he decided.
Xander looked over his arm. "Even Rick couldn't find something
nice to say about his book." He sat up again, listening
upstairs. Olivia was playing at being asleep. "I guess I'll
have to eat Olivia's food myself," he called. She ran down the
stairs to save her breakfast and sat down to eat, getting quiet orders
from Peter about manners. Xander looked at him. "I didn't
even learn that."
"Girls should have better manners than boys," he said with a smile. "Is how they learn to train later boyfriends."
"Huh. Okay." He settled in to read until she was done.
"Bath time," he said when she burped. She pouted. He stared
at her. "We're going to the gym and you know you can't come with
us, Olivia." She went up to start her bath. He followed to
help her. "You like daycare."
"Bad people," she told him, staring at him.
"No, the bad people won't come back. The bigger demons got mad at
them and took them to the demon courts." He tweaked her
nose. "They'll never come back again. Even if they did, I'd
beat them up. Uncle Peter would too." She nodded, letting
him give her a bath. He even did her hair pretty like she
liked. He gave her a choice of outfit, which made her scowl and
grab something else. He got her dressed in the tunic and leggings
outfit, letting her pick out a belt.
"Red and purple?" he asked, looking at it. "Wear the black
one. It matches." She beamed and put that on, then skipped
down the stairs to chase the cats for a bit. Xander grinned, going
down to take her to daycare. She ran in to find the books.
He paused the room worker that was part of Tara's coven. "We had a
break in," he said quietly. "I've reassured her but if she gets
antsy have her call. We'll be at the gym." She nodded, going
to peel Olivia off the fish tank again. He went back home,
getting changed so they could go work out together. It was nice
having someone there. He even got an email off to John Sheppard
and one to Sam.
John Sheppard read his email, staring at the screen. Xander's
subject line of 'I finally found a good one' was interesting. He
got into it and blinked at the information it contained, which was
almost nothing beyond his name and that he had a hot accent, plus played
golf. He called in Radek Zelenka, one of their scientists who was
Czech. Maybe he had heard of him.
Radek read over his arm, nodding. "I have heard of him but do not know
anything. Might ask Great Loud One. He did spend time
working in Russia." He paged him and shrugged. "Is this good
or bad news?"
"Probably good. Xander has had some disastrous evil things trying
to date him. Worse than the wraith in a few cases and I hadn't
known that was possible." Rodney walked in already huffy.
"Do you know this guy?" he asked. He let him read the email.
Rodney grimaced. "I do actually. He protected me once when
the lab was almost overthrown by the Russian Mafia. Got me back to
some US agents." He considered it. "He's definitely a step
up for Xander's usual dates." John grinned at him. "Though
he's not *bad*, I'm hoping he's retired."
"Read further. He's a writer now too."
"I guess everyone wants to be an author," he quipped. He read that
part and winced. "That poor man. Interviews suck." He
sent back a message to their friend and left it there. He walked
off shaking his head. "Radek, we still have to fix that other
"Coming." He followed, not even trying to hide his smile. It was cute to see Rodney flustered.
John sent his own email back congratulating him for having found someone
worthy of him and who liked his writing too. Then he went to tell
Ronon that Xander was now taken. Which was a pity. Xander
had calmed Ronon down after their night of trysting. He had been
calm for nearly two whole weeks. Even when the team was taken
Xander looked at the computer. "I didn't know that Rodney was the
sort to give the shovel talk," he murmured. Peter looked at
him. "Rodney, who went on that signing trip with me, said hi."
"McKay?" He let him see the email.
"Hmm, the ego that eats like a horse," he muttered. "Is nice to know where he is."
"He's working with John Sheppard."
Peter smiled. "Is good for him then I suppose." He handed
the laptop back. "You didn't think he was that sort of friend?"
"He never wanted to hang out with me. Even after LA's battle, he kind of avoided me most of the time."
"It could be that he was worried about calming down."
"I guess. He taught me a few things while we were
traveling." He wrote one back, but didn't let on that he was
wondering why Rodney had given the shovel talk. "How did you two
"He was working in Russia in a lab. Mafia wanted their results and
scientists to make weapons. Was asked to rescue them as a favor
to an agent over here."
"That's reasonable I guess." They both looked at the porch when a
thump happened. "I could've sworn the fire escape was up."
They got up. Xander got into his research cabinet.
Peter looked, nodding in appreciation. "Is a nice collection to
pet for inspiration." Xander beamed and grabbed an assault rifle,
heading out to see who it was. Peter had his usual guns already in
hand. "Cash!" Peter complained.
Xander put the rifle on his shoulder, staring at him. "You couldn't ring the bell?"
"Testing it," he said, staring at them. Xander's gun got a long look. "Where did you get that?"
"There's been a lot of questions about the current weapons pipeline that stays down here."
"You could not call?" Peter guessed.
"No, I couldn't call. Micah got chewed on by someone who demanded we come ask."
Xander nodded. "I sent you one of the goats."
"I was wondering about that," he admitted. He stared at him,
smiling slightly. "Max found one of the lumps and we had a vet cut
it out. It freaked her out a little bit. She's... by the
book most of the time."
Xander nodded. "I know people like that." He walked
off. "We haven't thought about lunch yet and Olivia's coming back
in a few hours."
"Sure," he decided, looking at Shank. "How did he find the office's address?" he mouthed.
"Poker circuit." He smirked as he walked off. "If I played
poker better, I'd ask to be taken to kitten games," he said, kissing
Xander on the temple before going to look in his 'research
cabinet'. "Very interesting collection for research." Xander
grinned. "Bullets?" Xander pointed. He found the rest
of the hidden weapons he hadn't looked at before. Xander was
ready in case anything might happen.
Peter found his special axe and stared at it. "She is
beautiful." Xander beamed. "May I?" Xander nodded so
he pulled it out to look it over. It was hefty but balanced nicely
in his hand. The grip was textured to help you keep your
grip. He put it back and closed the cabinets, smiling at
him. "Is a nice collection." Xander beamed and took a
kiss. "Are the circuit watching them?"
"One of them thinks his partner Max is hot. And there's one that has a Mortal Kombat fetish and thinks he's him."
Lorne shook his head quickly. "I think I've met him." He sat
down to ask Xander questions about the poker circuit's various
connections and those that weren't involved, from the more mafia and
evil contingent. It was a long, good talk. Peter got to pick
up Olivia and she came in to scowl at him. He smiled at her and
waved. "I'm not mean, Olivia. I'm asking your uncle about
the poker circuit." She huffed but got something to nibble on and
came out to sit beside her uncle to make sure he'd be all right.
When Peter sat on her other side it was nice. He'd protect the
uncle too. Until she was sure this one would appreciate how pretty
and good she was, she'd be cautious about him. You never knew
when a bad guy would try to make her and her uncle not pretty.
Xander walked into the convention with a grin and a huge bag. "Research panel?" he asked when he signed in.
"There, Mr. Harris." The sign-in clerk pointed.
"Thank you." He walked to that room. "Research?" They
nodded. He grinned and walked up to the stage. The other one
up there beamed at him and shook his hand. "What did we need help
with?" He smiled at the crowd. "Hi, guys. I'm Alexian
Harris, her research helper today." A few moaned and one
whimpered. He grinned.
"I asked Alexian to bring in some reference samples."
"Most of you apparently write fantasy stuff so you should know what
you're writing. You can't really write a sword if you've never
handled one." He opened the bag and pulled out the first
one. "I brought in a few samples." He pulled out another
one. "This is a long sword, usually a two-handed one. This
other one is a short sword. They're actual, ancient, were-used
swords." A few moaned.
"These are typical and about average of what the usual person would have
used. Though, mostly swords were used by the richer people.
Swords are expensive to make so the farmer folk got to use weapons they
were more used to, or if they were conscripted into the military they
were given things that were cheaper, like pikes and truncheons. I
couldn't bring those in but I have the head of one so you can imagine
that on top of a long pole."
He waved them up. "Come up and touch, guys. These are sharp
but I won't let you cut anything off." The crowd came up to handle
them. "See the weight?" He helped a girl change her
grip. "Like that," he said quietly. "Feel the weight?"
She nodded, looking at him. "Imagine that on your back for ease
of traveling. On your hip was nice but it'd change how you walk
and that was when you were going to be in a battle."
"So you'd carry this on your back mostly, and ride?" the girl asked.
"If you were rich enough to have a horse. Horses, like swords, are
expensive. Back then, the main salary was maybe a half-dollar
equivalent a day. Horses cost at least two hundred, for the most
placid farm beasts, to over a thousand for the best riding things.
Most of the ones that were mounted were lesser nobles that bought their
way into the military or into training. The basic people, the
farmer folk, generally walked or maybe if they were lucky there was a
farm horse's offspring that wasn't really meant for working so they got
that. Which then led to training."
"Wow," the other author said with a smile. "I heard him speak
about ancient things at the big convention in LA a few years back.
He pointed out that the regular people didn't have china, used about
two sets of pots at the most usually, that they all had limited
clothes. A lot of their things they had to make themselves."
"If you couldn't make it yourself you had to trade to get it
usually. Cash was a lot more scarce than trade goods." They
nodded and moved back. "This is a pike head," he said, pulling
that out. "This would be jammed on top of a long pole. The
shortest was usually about three and a half feet, but the longer pikes
could be up to about six feet."
"Did the weight pull it down?" another of the wanna be authors asked.
Xander nodded. "You got used to the heavier end. The
militaries did train their people in how to use it. Their version
of basic training was getting everyone used to their weapon as they
traveled. Which was on your feet usually. The Great One,
Lackey, got a lot of historical stuff right." He grinned. "I
heard she did the historical faires as well."
They sat down again, letting him put up his samples.
"How long can you actually use a sword in a battle?" one girl asked.
"That depends on your training, your stamina, and how sweaty you're
getting." Xander looked across the group. "Me, personally, I
can use my axe for about an hour before I need a slight rest. Of
course, if it's necessary I'll go until it drops because I can't hold it
any more. The shorter sword weighs less than my axe. The
longer was about the same weight. Then again, I have a few years
of experience with swords and I used to work construction." They
nodded. "The average, trained warrior, with more than a year of
training, could probably do about the same thing. A new warrior,
just picking it up? He'd probably be more likely to stab off his
aim or even hurt himself the first few times. It takes you a few
days at the least to realize there's *two* cutting edges. Even the
slayer I worked with rested the blade against her leg and cut herself
accidentally." A few giggled. He pointed at someone.
"How did you learn?"
"Necessity in Sunnydale." He grinned. "It comes in real
handy sometimes." A few others laughed. He pointed at
"What about bows?"
"Bows are nice," he admitted. "They're good, multipurpose
weapons. Because if you have to, you can unstring it and use the
string to make small animal traps. Long bows you put on like a
messenger bag, with the wooden handle behind you. You put the
quiver underneath it, because otherwise you have to struggle to get it
off." He grinned. "Crossbows, most of them have a ring you
can hang from your belt or saddle. Their arrows are smaller so the
quiver can be smaller and some actually had covers that tied
down. They were weather-seasoned with oiled canvas or leather tops
overtop to keep the arrows dry. I would've carried my quiver on
my horse for quick drawing but that's just me." He pointed at
"Mostly oiled canvas in case of rain or snow. Heavy wool was also
common. That'd be rough spun, heavy, warm, sometimes oiled to keep
out rain as well if you could only have one." That got a
nod. "Cloaks could be fancy if you liked to embroider them or had a
sister or mother that could. They could be as plain as basically a
blanket that got tied around your throat." He grinned.
"Hood over your head, tie under your chin to keep it in place. Pin
to hold it closed below that if you wanted it. That could be as
fancy as you wanted or needed. Back then, jewelry was like ready
cash. People didn't really want to carry gold but if you were
wearing jewelry, you could trade that for goods, services, or necessary
"So, back then the gold standard was coins," the girl said. Xander
nodded with a grin. "But coins were mostly for the nobles?"
"Mostly. Even your taxes you paid as a part of your harvest or so
many calves if you had cows. Baby goats sometimes." They all
nodded. "The average person didn't really get to see too many
"How often did people interbreed?" one asked.
Xander smirked. "Well, most people didn't move too far from their
birthplace. Maybe to the same town, or maybe a few miles
away. It wasn't really until the age of exploration that people
really *left home* for somewhere else. So yeah, there were only so
many families in a town there was probably some intermarrying.
I'm pretty sure there was someone who was keeping track of that.
Back then it was family bibles or oral histories from the
grandparents." That got a nod.
"You did get some people that up and left because they didn't want to
farm of all things, or they wanted to be healers so they went to
apprentice with one. That's also one reason why trading faires
were important. You got to meet people from other towns that came
to trade. You got to meet people that might've come from other
places. It was also a good reason to let one of your sons be taken
into the military.
"Not only was that a constant paycheck, which a lot of got sent back to
the family, but it was also a way for one of the sons to marry outside
the family's hometown. Back then, farms required a lot of kids to
keep running and expand. The kids did the chores, helped plant and
harvest, the girls helped spin or weave. The boys helped carve
wooden utensils or helped form clay ones if they used them."
"So girls didn't really get a choice," one of them said.
"In later colonial times, girls sometimes got to be teachers, but those
were mostly not farm girls. It wasn't until the US that we really
started to educate women by the community. Girls needed to know
enough to read recipes if there were some, to figure up their totals for
trading, to keep track of household expenses, and to label
things. Boys got about the same sort though."
"So farm kids got practical learning, rich kids got book learning," the boy said.
"With a few exceptions. During the winter months, when nothing was
going on beyond animal maintenance, a lot of farm kids took lessons at
the local church with the priests. Some that could afford it, they
sent their kids to real schools during those times. Some when
there were thin times on the farm. Mostly still the boys but some
girls did take more lessons. They learned to read from the bible,
either from the priest or their mother usually. The training from
the priests also let them learn new ideas in farming or spinning from
other areas. Because priests got news from others in other areas
or had traveled themselves." The boy grinned. "By today's
standards they'd probably be in the second-grade level of reading for
the farm kids with some practical lessons in biology, chemistry, and
building or geometry."
The girl raised her hand. "What about doctors?"
"They were *real* rare and only for strange problems, really bad
problems, or surgeries. They were expensive, spread pretty far
apart. A lot were only in cities. So for things like
childbirth there was someone experienced, maybe with some training maybe
just had a bunch of kids. For things like birth defects, the
parents made due unless it was something that they thought could be
corrected easily. Because no antibiotics meant that surgery was
"For my story, what do you think someone from, say, the late eighteen hundreds would think about today's life?" she asked.
"They'd probably think we were pretty strange with all the hand washing
and pretty spoiled about not having to be in the field all day
long." He grinned. "Because they didn't use paper towels to
open the outhouse door. They didn't do more than toss some lye
down the outhouse hole every few months. You got a weekly bath
during the summer, or a monthly one during the winter because you were
scared of pneumonia. Some religious orders did make them take
baths weekly, that whole 'cleanliness is next to godliness'
thing." She nodded.
"They also wore the same clothes repeatedly before washing because
washing was such a pain in the ass. It took all day to scrub them
on ribbed boards or bang them on rocks to agitate the dirt out.
Then a while to dry." She nodded at that, taking notes. "If
they weren't more wealthy, from at least a merchant sort of family, then
they'd probably be really confused about a lot of things they didn't
even think was possible."
"What are outhouses like?" one asked.
"Ever been in a campground one?" He shook his head.
"Port-a-potty?" He nodded. "That without being pumped.
Sending down the lye every once in a while kept the stink down but it
was still nasty. And trust me, if you had the runs, having to run a
few feet outside the house each time you had to go got real tiring."
"I've seen some ancient farmhouses that had them next to the barn so the
stink didn't invade the house," the other author said. "That's a
good two hundred foot run or so." One moaned, shaking his
head. "I'm pretty sure that's why they're nicknamed 'the runs'."
"Especially if you're wearing something like butt-flap long johns or a
shift," Xander agreed. "Plus, think about how many layers women
had to wear and pull out of the way." The girl in there
shuddered. He grinned. "At least we gave up corsets for the most
"Thankfully," she agreed. "I'd die."
He nodded. "And you'd be married by now with at least a few kids."
"No thanks." The guys laughed. "Forks?"
"Sometime in the middle ages. Before then a belt knife and
spoon. You carried them with you on your waist. Finger bowls
at more fancy places."
"How did they get water for dishes and washing if there was no plumbing?" one guy asked.
"The huge pump in the yard," the other author told him. "I know
from one my aunt has that still works that it takes two or three to
prime it and then another three to four to fill a bucket."
"A usual sized bucket of water weighs about as much as two gallons of
milk," Xander said. "That was usually the kid's chore, usually the
girls. Then you warmed it on the hearth or boiled it.
Though dishes sometimes got sanded then washed."
"Eww," one of the boys muttered, shaking his head.
Xander grinned. "You can't wash cast iron in soapy water or you
lose the seasoning. You can't wash fired clay dishes either.
Not the same way we do today."
"My grandmother said she boiled the water, poured it over the soap she
scraped into the sink, then washed the dishes. The cast iron got
scraped clean and reoiled for storage," the other author told
them. "If you wash it with soap, it kills the coating that made it
"Also, real cast iron, the old stuff, was heavy," Xander said.
"Even to me it's heavy. The more modern ones are thinner, maybe
half as thin. The old ones lasted for generations unless you had
to kill someone with it. And then it still probably just got
cleaned up, reseasoned, and then put back into use. The dutch
ovens were hefty, the pot was usually just as heavy, and usually you had
a roasting sort of pan. Frying pans came later when you started
to cook on stoves instead of over the hearth fire."
"Wow," one of the guys said.
"The whole contents of the house, minus things like the bed frames or
any furniture, could fit in the back of a farm cart," Xander said.
"With room to ride on top of it for the kids."
"Beds?" one of the guys asked.
"Semi-deep box on short legs that you filled with a canvas bag you
stuffed with hay," the other author said with a smile. "Depending
on when and which culture you're talking about it could hold all the
family, all the boys or girls, or just the parents. You slept
width-wise so you fit more into it. Some classical literature
mentions things like that and were written in that time period."
Someone opened the door. "Oh, you're not done yet?"
"Not quite," Xander said with a smile. "Which one's coming in here?"
"Demons versus aliens." She paused to stare at him. "Are you on that panel?"
"No, I was only asked to come to the research panel." He
grinned. She beamed and left. "So, it looks like our time is
nearly up," he said, cracking a few up. "Last question,
guys?" No one said anything. "Then have a nice day with the
rest of the seminars and the geek things." They filed out.
He smiled at the other author. "I'm the only one with swords?"
"As far as I know the rest have fan blade sorts."
He shrugged and grinned. "My boyfriend loves my research cabinet."
She laughed. "Good for you, Alexian." She helped him pick up
things and then they turned the room over. He went to lunch and
got asked to sign a few books while in there. She went to her next
panel. Alexian really was a decent teacher at times. Even
if he was a bit bouncy.
Olivia snuck into her grandpa's room, bopping him with the foam staff he had gotten her then ran off.
John blinked. "What did you hit me with?" he called.
"The staff," Xander said as he walked past the doorway. "You slept late today."
"I only got in at three."
John rolled his eyes but got up and took a shower before going down to
get something to eat and help Olivia calm down. "Why did you bop
me?" She beamed and used the nerf dart crossbow to shoot
him. He sighed, staring at her. "You're so spoiled."
"It's improving her aim," Peter joked.
"It is," John said, rolling his eyes. He got breakfast and sat
down. Olivia was sneaking closer with the plastic sword so he
snatched her and put her in his lap to share his breakfast with
him. "No daycare today?"
"Water main, again," Xander sighed. "They're doing water line repairs in that area for the rest of the week."
John nodded. "That happens I guess." She took his spoon from
his bowl of oatmeal and fed herself a bite. John grinned.
"Good job, Olivia. Very nicely done." She checked her shirt
then ate another bite. Xander gave him a second bowl of oatmeal so
that was nice. They finished breakfast/her midmorning snack
together. Then she went to bound around on the porch. He
locked the gate up to the pool, even though it was drained.
"She took her soccer ball and golf clubs up to play in it yesterday," Peter called.
John nodded. "It's a deep hole to play in I guess." She
fussed over a wilting plant, running in to get a bottle of water from
the fridge for it. She poured some in and fussed at it some more,
breathing on it. She blew like Auntie Tara did and it got
better. She beamed and moved on. John leaned into the
office. "She just breathed a plant to health," he said quietly.
"Auntie Tara does it too," he assured him. He looked up from his
writing. "It's fine. She knows not to do it anywhere
He nodded, going to help her with the plants. Her aunt's herbalism
skills were being passed down. "Not that one," he said
gently. "It needs to nap for the winter time so it can bloom again
this summer. It'll get chilly and catch a plant cold." She
nodded, just giving it a bit of water then moving on. One was
still frustrating her. No matter what she did it was dying.
He smiled when she added too much water. "Olivia, that sort you
have to plant every year. It's already gone through it's pretty
cycle and next year we'll plant another one." She pouted at him
"Here, we'll pull that one so we can bury it." She sulked but
helped him. He took her to a nursery to look at the plants
there. There had to be some winter plants. She found one
that desperately needed water and ran to get some then brought it
back. She glanced around, he caught her doing it, then breathed on
it like her auntie did. He cleared his throat and she came
running back. He smiled and got that one for her. Plus a few
other winter plants and some seeds for the spring garden
planting. She adored that and they cabbed home to work on
that. Even if John did make her put on her jacket.
Peter smiled. "She is very girlish yet very tough," he told Xander since he had come out to write on the couch with him.
Xander grinned at him. "She's very adorable. John, what is that one?"
"She found it dying and breathed on it, after checking to make sure no one caught her."
"I've seen Tara do that on some roses at Home Depot." Peter
snickered. "Then she took them home to plant on the balcony."
"That's why you have the ivy plant," John agreed. They got
finished and he settled in to tell Olivia about planting vegetables in
the spring. She adored that idea. She loved her veggies and
girl food. The fact that she could nurture them like she did the
other plants just made her so happy she went into twirly fits of
dancing. John smiled at her silliness. Xander had caught the
whole talk on his phone and was taking video of her dancing too.
When she ran back to kiss John on the cheek, Xander sent it to Tara and
his friend's list. They could probably use some cheering up since
Beckett had a nasty case and was fighting with Rick again.
Peter grinned. "We'd need a bigger garden for her to grow everything she wants."
"I bought a three acre piece of land outside the city," Xander
admitted. "So she and her auntie can plant a real garden.
It's on Long Island. It's next to some woods. There's a few
houses there and we introduced ourselves so they know it's going to be a
Tara and 'Liv garden area instead of a new house."
John grinned. "She'll adore that." Xander beamed back. "Does Tara know?"
"She's went out there to do the fall fertilizing with compost.
It's all ready for the spring and they put a pretty fence around it that
day too. She promised the neighbors could join theirs to ours if
they wanted. Tara was talking about tomatoes and their varieties
plus a few other veggies she knows Olivia likes."
"Corn," Olivia said with a smile and a nod.
"Corn's good for you too," John agreed, patting her on the head.
"Go get me a book?" She ran off and came back with one, letting
him read to her. While he read he wondered about it but then he
saw it was written by Xander so it was probably to explain Peter's job
to her. That was probably a huge help.
"She used to think me in my brilliant disguise was not me," Peter said, glancing back at him then going back to his typing.
"Made me feel a bit dirty too," Xander said quietly with a grin for him. "Speaking of, when is your next interview?"
"Next week." He made sure and Paula sent back both their
schedules. "It appears you have two next week. Banned books
is also on Friday."
"This Friday?" Xander asked.
Xander grinned. "That means I have enough time to send the tux to the cleaners."
"Why are you giving speech?" Peter asked him.
"Because my 'not every hero is the pretty one' book is in the top five
locally. I have that one and another one nationally that gets
challenged a lot."
"Why? Is not like Hunters novels that are violent at times."
"No, but apparently the idea that the guy with the bad eye, the limp,
and the cold sore being the hero freaks some parents out." Peter
shook his head. "It freaked me out yet amused me to no end when I
heard that one was one of the most challenged locally." His email
pinged with his interview schedule and he smiled. "Olivia, we're
going to read to your future kindergarten. That's pretty cool she
arranged that for me." Olivia stared at him. "Three more
years and you start school, young lady."
"I hope her first day goes better than Dean's was," John said.
"One of Dean's classmates set the room on fire. Nearly got Dean
but Dean pounced him and shouted that he was setting fires since the
teacher was watching some of the girls have a fight. Which Dean
had gotten a black eye and a torn t-shirt from."
"Mine wasn't that exciting but Willow was nearly sobbing in the corner
because she was scared to tell the teacher she had broken her yellow
crayon," Xander said with a grin for him and the daughter of
Willow. "Then she made me play house with her. She totally
turned into her mother."
"Schooling is different in Russia," Peter told them. "We had daily recess but nothing like kindergarten."
"It's almost scary what they want the kids to be able to do to get out
of kindergarten these days," Xander told them. "She'll have to know
single-digit multiplication. She'll have spelling tests."
John whimpered and shuddered. "There's not as much emphasis in
playing and learning that way in many of them. Her future school
isn't uptight by any means but that's all students have to know now."
"Sammy's teacher thought he was brilliant because he could add without his fingers," John said.
Xander shook his head. "First grade in her school is doing simple
division." Peter shuddered. "Plus light amounts of anatomy,
biology, and creatures. Before she goes in she has to be able to
write her name and address, she has to have a verbal vocabulary of at
least eighty words, she has to be able to read at least small things
like her name and numbers. She has to be able to count to a
hundred. She's got to know a lot of stuff that before you got
taught in kindergarten."
"She's got the vocabulary and part of the reading down," John said. "Can you count?"
Xander shook his head quickly but she was already babbling about her
number friends. "Day care song," he muttered. "Ow.
Olivia ran over to give him a hug and then went back to sing it for
John. Twice. The third starting of it John tossed her into
the air, making her cackle when he caught her. Then they went back
to the plants.
Peter shook his head. "I cannot stop hearing that."
"She sang it for two weeks when they taught it to her," Xander shot back
but gave him a kiss to help change his mind's direction.
Xander and Tara walked into the daycare together since they had been
summoned. "What happened?" Xander asked. "Did she pounce
someone too hard?"
The new head of the daycare brought them into the office. "Olivia was found kissing someone earlier."
Tara laughed. "She's very loving but she does the same thing to my dog."
"Apparently she kissed nearly everyone in her room."
Xander nodded. "Okay. Kids do shit like that from what I
understand. Is some parent huffy that Olivia decided to be smoochy
today?" Tara elbowed him. "What? Jesse nearly
frenched the librarian that got him a book once. Her cheek but
still. He was four." He shrugged.
"It's not exactly considered appropriate behavior," the head of the daycare said.
Xander stared at her for a moment. "Because she kissed both sexes
or because she kissed them at all." The woman blushed.
"Olivia's mother and Tara used to be together. I'm with a very
nice guy myself right now. She's not going to be homophobic by any
"Really, she shouldn't be kissing anyone. That's considered bad contact."
"Or it means she was kissing booboos again," Xander said with another
small shrug. "She's always done it to mine since I did it to
Tara nodded. "She does, but we'll tell her she's not allowed to
kiss people in daycare or school." The head of the daycare
smiled. "Though I think it's silly. I remember getting
kissed by a boy back then and nearly cried because it was a boy but not
because it upset me."
"Yes but times have changed. Now, some states can actually arrest children for that."
Xander snorted. "I'd so destroy that system." He shook his
head. "We'll talk to her about kissing being not good for
daycare. Any other traumas she gave anyone today?"
"No, she's mostly been pouty when we told her she couldn't. She's
been in the corner all day." Xander stared at her. "We
didn't think it was a good idea to let her have privileges."
"She's almost three," he pointed out. "She never has more than a
ten minute time out because at her age that's insane." The woman
backed down. "That was an overreacting and over-punishing and I do
not like that."
"She's a very bright girl," she said. "Perhaps preschool?"
"She's not three for another month and a few days," Tara reminded
her. "She's much too young. For that matter, this daycare
has never been this poorly behaved in the past." The woman did
flinch this time. "That *I* do not like."
Xander nodded. "Definitely. Especially since they put Olivia
in the room with the kid that she can't even talk to but the kid bit
"She's got special needs," the daycare head said firmly.
"And while I get that," Xander said. "Because, hey, nearly ended
up in special ed myself, that doesn't mean Olivia needed to be moved
rooms to hers. You had all the special needs kids together with an
extra room monitor in case they needed help. Olivia was in one of
the normal rooms until last week."
"We feel that Olivia's....difference is a problem," she said stiffly.
Xander stared at her. "That's a change." The woman sat
down. "By the way, lady. You're already in deep since I own
the mortgage on this building." She gaped. He stared at
her. Tara cleared her throat. "It was a good investment and
they pay on time. Since Olivia likes it so much and the bank was
starting the bad processes that would've left it open to being bought by
the mall company up the street that's buying everything, I decided the
small mortgage was a good investment. My investment guy
agreed." He shrugged and grinned at Tara. "And then suddenly
we have a new daycare manager after over a year. We have room
workers that got fired for no reason. It's like they want to go
out of business. If they want to go out of business that badly,
I'll gladly foreclose."
The woman shuddered. "It wasn't my decision."
Xander snickered. "Bull shit." He stared at her.
"Tara, go get Olivia." She walked off. He stared at
her. "I don't give a fuck that your higher up is trying to have
you shut down because you're not making the profits they expected.
I can buy them too. Hell, I can buy half this fucking
island." The woman gave him a dirty look. "You can tell your
higher ups about the mortgage thing. You can also tell them that
if things don't go back to the way they were, when you were making a
profit and it was a good thing for the kids, I'll take them over
too." She sent that email. He grinned. "And by the
way, demon." She flinched, backing away from him.
"What did we say about demons threatening Olivia?" She started to
cry. "Because I consider this a hostile action against my
niece. I haven't told Tara yet. She'll find out later I'm
sure. Olivia does have an innate sense of demon versus
human. She always has. Her daddy had it too." He
walked off. "Hey, 'Liv," he said, picking her up to cuddle.
"C'mon, let's go get ice cream." She sniffled, shaking her
head. "No, you don't need punished. They're stupid
heads." Olivia stared at him. "I promise, they are.
That's why Uncle Xander is going to destroy every single demon in this
place for upsetting you." Most of them fled. He smirked and
waved. "Have a better day, people."
Tara went to find her coven member, who came out sniffling. "She was getting fired."
"I fucking own the mortgage," Xander told her. The witch
gasped. "I'm also at my point of 'I'll be damned'." He
smirked. "So can Olivia come back to her room?"
"Can you please tell her the good times to kiss people so she knows?"
She took Olivia to sit down and talk to her about that. Olivia
liked and trusted her so she'd listen to her about rules. That's
how they set down any rules in the daycare because it was a consistent
approach which they all liked. Olivia cheered up and hugged
her. "I'll see you tomorrow."
"She's expelled for four days," the manager said. "And you were fired."
"And now I just foreclosed on your building," Xander said. She
shrugged and walked off happier. "Okay. Missy, you're in
charge tomorrow." She gaped. Xander stared at her.
"Seriously." He walked off, calling his investment guy.
"I've had enough of all the demons at the daycare Olivia goes to."
He listened. "Today. Thank you." Within an hour his
investment guy had the paperwork to foreclose on the building, which
shut it down. He posted a large note saying that the daycare would
be reopening under new management in two days time.
Then the investment guy and Missy sat down to talk about what was
needed. Tara helped because he knew that Xander trusted her.
The other staff was fired or put back where they should be. It
was suddenly a lot nicer. They even renamed it. He told the
licensing people about what had happened and they agreed they could do
the inspection for their license in two days when it reopened. So
that was fine.
Xander sat Olivia on the couch next to Peter, letting him hug her.
"The rules at daycare about kissing the other kids do not apply to
uncles, aunts, or kitty cats, or your aunt's Miss Puppy."
She stared at him. "Kissy good?"
"Kissy not bad," he said. "Kiss family and booboos. At
daycare, follow the rules Missy set down." She nodded, kissing
Peter on the cheek. He grinned at her. "You feel better?"
She hugged him and kissed him then looked around. "No Grandpa?"
"Napping," Peter said. She gave him a wicked smirk and grabbed her
nerf crossbow to go ambush him then run away squealing when he woke
up. Peter shook his head. "That's strange."
"He wanted her to use them. It's only right he teaches her to aim better."
Peter looked at him. "Why are you upset?" he asked quietly.
"They had Olivia in the corner all day because she kissed the people in
her room at daycare." Peter growled. "So I foreclosed,
reopened it under someone else, and the demons who were attempting to
destroy it are now shot to hell. Maybe literally." He
started to walk to the kitchen but Peter kissed him. Xander
grinned. "Thank you," he whispered.
"Is not a problem to help you calm down." He grinned at Olivia
since she was sneaking up on them. "Do not shoot us or we will not
make vegetables for dinner. You'll have to eat boy food."
"Wings?" she asked, beaming at him. "Really?"
"Sure," Xander decided, calling in that order. He went to pick
them up while Olivia stalked John around the house. He also called
in two favors owed while waiting in traffic. That would stop the
stupid law firm for hell for a bit. Because he was tired of them.
Beckett heard her name mentioned in the screaming rant happening in the
captain's office, going to butt in to see what she had done to warrant
being screamed about. "I did what?" she demanded.
"Your pet author's friendly psychotic author got the city's law firm shut down!" he shouted.
Beckett blinked. At least someone had told her what this was
about. "Why was the city using the law firm that demons created to
help their world takeover bids?" The commissioner gaped.
"Wolfram and Hart came after Olivia at her daycare." The captain
winced and shook his head. "Oh, yeah. He fixed it, it's all
better, but he did make a move against them since they keep trying so
many world takeover bids. They're behind a few of the apocalypses
in LA. Personally, all of us in the know want them *gone* from
this city." She stared at her ultimate boss.
"For that matter, if I knew we were going through the evil law firm for
Hell's Denizens I'd have started a protest myself. I'm hoping that
they leave this city alone for good, sir. If you like them that
much, a lot of us are going to wonder why. Especially since I'm
told they like soul clauses in their contracts. Because I'm not
giving mine up to them." She walked off calling Xander. "The
city was contracting with Wolfram and Hart." She winced at the
swearing he erupted in.
"Is there someone who can look them over for bad clauses and maybe get
them out of there?" She took down a name and long distance phone
number. "And he's with...." She wrote that down too.
"I'm assuming a more light oriented one of theirs?" He told her
about what Anya had told him, nodding some. "That's better.
Thank you, Xander." He hung up and she called them. "This is
Detective Kate Beckett, NYPD.... Yes, I do know Mr. Harris.
No, not about him. We just found out Wolfram and Hart is doing
NYPD law work. That's what I'd like. How much will it cost
to have someone look?"
She beamed. "That would be excellent." She snapped her
fingers at the commissioner. "Please. Yes, I can have him
gather them by then. Thank you, sir." He hung up. "One
of their senior partners, and they were started by expelled angelic
beings, is up in Maine on vacation. He's due to pause in the city
in two days time." The commissioner sighed. "Have all the
contracts available so he can look at them. Before we have someone
shot on the street and their soul is taken."
He nodded. "I can do that. I had no idea about them, Detective."
She nodded. "I know. You've never been that big of a
politician, sir." He relaxed and went to pull all those
files. She looked at her boss, who sighed but nodded.
"That's going to cause a hell of a stink when people hear about it."
"The head of our ministry is going to throw fits," he agreed. "He
hates all demons. Especially the ones that he found are half and
are good officers."
"I heard one told him off." She smirked. "He was not happy
with that." She sat down. "I wonder how long that's been
"At least six months. I know they were taking bids on some contract writing then." He went back to his office.
She took something for her stomach and got back to work.
Xander walked into the NYPD ministry office, staring at the head priest. "Father, sit," he said.
"Are there more coming for us?" he demanded.
"Sit." He sat and stared at him. "Wolfram and Hart."
"Our law firm," he said.
"Hell's law firm. Have multiple apocalypse battles under their
belt. Do sacrificial rites for power raising and have killed
officers and judges to have cases turn out their way." The priest
started to shake. "This is why I'm telling you. Beckett
found out earlier and called one I know that's legal, light side, and
can fight in the demon courts if they have to. But if there's been
anyone who's died on the streets recently, pray really hard for
them. If there's one that dies before it gets canceled, bless them
as soon as humanly possible. The soul leaves after a half-hour or
so. The longest I've heard of was two hours."
He nodded, swallowing. "I can do that. What of those that aren't christian?"
"Do you think they'd really mind not going to hell?"
"No, probably not. We have three in terminal cancer beds," he said quietly.
Xander nodded. "Make sure they want to hang on as long as you
humanly can and do all the blessing you can before they die then right
after they die. Tara's library has two good books on different
blessings in the restricted section. Father Morgan's got a copy of
one; I got it for him for Solstice last year. If someone
complains tell them that Wolfram and Hart uses soul capturing clauses
and they're trying to free the whole NYPD but for right now...."
He waved his hand.
"I can do that. Thank you for making me sit."
Xander grinned. "When I realized the implication I flopped down
myself, Father. Just be careful. Pray for no street deaths."
"I can do that." He shook Xander's hand and the boy left. He
called all his people together to talk to them about it. The NYPD
had a small ministry that helped the officers who needed it. This
information would spread throughout everyone and they'd all be aware to
be extra careful. He also got that book from Father Morgan.
He knew of him and he did God's work with the problems Satan created to
challenge him. Father Morgan came over to go over the best ones
to use in various situations. It was a long talk but it was
helpful. Though Father Morgan would have to do some penance for
swearing when he heard why they needed to know.
Father Morgan walked into the confession booth, crossing himself after
he knelt. The priest in the other booth opened the window.
"Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been three days
since my last confession." He took a breath. "I have sworn
six times in the last two days. Some at Mr. Harris for realizing
that the demon's law firm was working for the NYPD, some at that law
firm themselves, and I've had violent thoughts against the law firm for
hell as well," he said quietly. "I blasphemed the Lord's name once
when swearing at the demon lawyer, making him flinch, and admit that it
made me happy at the moment."
The priest on the other side chuckled. "Father, that is something I
can understand and would probably do myself. Though you do know
that priests must have better control of their emotions so for that do
your rosaries an extra time tonight. I'm sure God would understand
your frustration with the lawyers for his arch-nemesis working with
those who must protect us all. He might even be found doing a bit
of swearing at their lawyers himself."
"Thank you, Father." He got up and went to say his rosaries for strength and calming down.
The other father walked past him a few minutes later with a pat to his
shoulder. "Even the Pope would hate that situation, Father
Morgan. I know he loathes the Council with what he's said about
them. He doesn't much like any of the demon hunters, even if they
are working on the side of the Light to protect people." He
grinned at the other priest. "I'm fairly certain he'd want Harris
to calm down as well."
"His new boyfriend is former KGB but a decent man who now writes as well."
"Then he may hate that but if he makes him happy and content, I'd rather
have our protectors that way than bouncy or angsty as he had been
before." He went to make them some tea. He had to hear their
church's nuns' confessions. They had been giggling over an
incubus that had been coming in to tempt them. At least until
Father Morgan had banished it.
A non-hell spawn demon ran in sobbing. "Save me! The slayer
Kinella is mad because I mistakenly pinched her on the behind. I
thought she was my stepdaughter!"
Father Morgan growled. "This is the wrong church."
"We're not that sort of demon," he complained. "We immigrated."
John Winchester strolled in and grabbed it by his head fin. "She
accepts your apology but this church holds nuns that would beat you to
death for being funny looking," he said as he walked him out. "If
you want to become Catholic, go to St. Philip's." The demon smiled
and nodded. "Kinella?" The other slayer stared at
him. John cleared his throat.
"I am sorry, Slayer. I thought you were my stepdaughter. I pinch her often to make her giggle."
She patted him on the head. "Don't do it again."
"Yes, ma'am." He ran off.
She looked at John. "This is where the White Order is?"
"One of the priests of it," John said, walking her inside. "Father
Morgan." He looked up. "This is Kinella, the other slayer
He shook her hand. "It is a pleasure to meet you. Are you in town for something big?"
"Faith wanted some backup with Wolfram and Hart," John admitted.
"Before Xander finished calling down the blood debt because they came
"They were trying to take over her daycare," John said with a
grin. "Xander foreclosed on their building and let the old staff
of it reopen there with much nicer terms."
"Ah." He nodded, starting another rosary round. "I must do
penance for the swearing I did when I heard they were trying to take
over the NYPD."
John growled. "They were what?" Father Morgan told him. "Oh hell no!" He walked off.
Kinella smiled. "It was a pleasure meeting you. I should
follow him before I don't have anything to beat up today." She
jogged after John. It wasn't seemly or proper but he wouldn't
leave her anything if she didn't keep up with him.
Father Morgan sighed and started that one over for the uncharitable
thoughts he had that the demons had brought it on themselves.
The other priest got some more tea and sipped it, going back to hear
more confessions. He wasn't touching that problem with any sort of
pole of any size, shape, or wood.
to next story
back to writer index