Xander stuck his wallet back in his pocket. "Colonel Mitchell still here?" he asked.
"Calling from outside, Knight."
"Thank you." Xander shook his hand and walked John out. "Okay, whisk us away please, Colonel?"
"Sure." He stared at him. "The general was not amused."
"I'm not military and I'm not amused that he smells like he was in a playground earlier being real sweaty."
"He has twins. It wasn't something more sinister."
"That's good. I like that." He grinned. "I've always
protected kids." Cam got them back there. Someone in the
hotel gasped and started to babble. "John is here for the
conference," he called. "Leave him be." He walked them into
the room. "General, this is John Winchester. Buffy, I can
smell you. He's the other sort of hunter Wes told you about that
time in high school."
"Pleasure to meet you," she said from behind them, shaking his hand. "How did you know it was me?"
"Perfume. Blind people have better senses to compensate." He
sat down. "Ma'am, can I still bask in your prettiness?"
She swatted him. "Go ahead, Xander. Mr. Winchester, I'm
Colonel Sam Carter, PhD. These are Colonel Mitchell, Colonel
Sheppard, and General Westfallen. The vampire there is Spike, he's
part of the Sunnydale team."
"I've heard of their team." He sat down in a free seat away from Spike. "What sort of problems are going on?"
"Part of it is the demon community is trying to rise up and be noticed
for the peaceful parts," Xander said. "Which I personally don't
have a problem with. The peaceful ones have never had a problem
"There's peaceful ones?"
"The ones we deal with, not the possessing kind," Xander said. "They're almost always problems."
John nodded. "They are. I saw the invasion and if I had been
closer I'd have stepped in." He looked at Buffy. "So that
sort have a peaceful side?" She smiled and nodded. "How big
"Seventy percent of all the other realm and ancient demon offspurts are
peaceful. The rest are vamps and not real peaceful ones."
"Though, two percent of those are actually warrior class demons which
are presently negotiating a peace treaty under penalty of someone giving
me to them to kill them all," Xander said. "Someone told me they
had offered me as a peacekeeping method. I pointed out I'd destroy
the damn realm first. They laughed but they agreed it was another
good reason to have peace."
"So they wanted to date you too?" Buffy asked.
"Then why would they use you as a threat? You're not exactly He-Man, Xander."
"No but I do have my skills and I put them to good use destroying people." He grinned. "I always have."
Spike nodded. "Too true. Many groups started in Sunnydale
until whelp there stepped in to nag and pick on one side. Then
suddenly they're fighting, they break up, and they try to move to other
groups. It was like a disease in some ways." He lit a
cigarette and leaned back. "Whiny princess girl said he did that a
few times to the law firm." Xander grinned at him. "How
many want you more than their bosses?"
"Two that're still living. It couldn't help Angel but it sure kept
them off me sometimes and helped me when they told me there was another
move against me. One was genuinely interested in me. We
dated for four months before her bosses found out. Then they
changed her mind. The other I was never sure if her hitting on me
was her idea or not."
John looked at him. "Who're you?"
"Xander Harris. Formerly of the Sunnydale team. Now I'm in Hawaii."
"I heard about the hunter out there," he admitted quietly. Xander
smirked. "You're on good terms with the peaceful community?"
"Yes, I am. They're very amused when every now and then I threaten
to destroy everyone if the lawyers for hell don't leave me alone."
"I would be too," Buffy said, scowling at him.
He was clearly ignoring her. Xander looked at the woman next to him. "What sort of doctor are you?"
"So you deal with how to get to other realms and things?"
"I do. I've been looking at how they're accessed."
"There's a group of demons that do travel agency stuff," Buffy told her. "None near here but there's one in LA I know."
"The next closest to here is Vegas," Xander agreed. "There is a
group of them advertising a special trip to the Hellmouth for some sort
of remembrance, Buffy."
"I hadn't heard."
"I got a brochure in case I wanted to go back. I'm not sure what they're remembering."
"Okay," she decided. "I'll have someone ask."
"Fifteen years since the mayor went down," Spike told them. He
grinned. "They're holding a vigil for those who died and stoning
an image of Wilkins."
"I may just go to that," Xander decided.
"No you're not coming back to Sunnydale. It's still too dangerous for you, Xander."
Xander turned his head in her direction. "Said who?"
"Said me and I'm the slayer."
He snorted. "Actually, Faith is *the* slayer as the line moves
through her dying, Buffy. You're *a* slayer." She
gasped. "The *the* part only comes if you die and another gets
called. So said one of the Council weenies I heard on a beach last
year." She swallowed. "They hate Faith more than you but
they'd rather remove you both and then move on from there. So
whoever Willow activated, I'd warn them about that plot too?"
"Yeah, I did," she admitted. "There's another three she activated to help out with the clean up and handle the uprisings."
Xander shook his head. "You need to get the communities and
councils together to teach them to have a peaceful civil rights
movement. The more stress they cause, the more of them that'll be
killed. Especially right now with everyone panicking."
"I get that. I'm sure they do."
"I think most of them aren't thinking that way," Spike told her.
"But he's right. I've pointed that out to a few who wanted vampire
rights." Xander snorted, shaking his head. "They were
thinking those who use volunteers and the sort that go to blood banks."
"That I might see. The ones who attack in the clubs, they'll never
have it." Xander shifted again, crossing his feet. "If
you're going to whisper from the air ducts, just show up for the talk,"
he ordered. The demon sighed but came out and pulled a chair in
beside Spike. "Thank you. It's partially your future as
John stared at it. "Is it peaceful?"
"Yes," Buffy, Xander, and Spike said.
"A lot are seers," Spike told him.
"There's one near me that runs a fantastic pawn shop and special grocery
store. I get my housekeeper all sorts of treats from them."
"He said you're very nice to him," the demon said. "That you're
mostly very reasonable and even when she's done something to piss you
off on purpose you're still never that angry with her."
"Gretchen's become like family to me," Xander told him. "Even if
she does occasionally trip over the puppies or messes up my closets on
purpose because she's mad at me for dating."
"She's a what?" Buffy asked the demon.
"Huh," she said, looking at Xander. "She cooks good clearly."
"I made steaks last night but yes she does." He grinned.
"How do you cook?" she asked.
"I chop up things by feel and using my fingers as a guideline. I
cook the normal way you do for the most part but my meat thermometer
tells me when things are done."
"Oh. So they make stuff for blind people to cook for real?" He nodded. "I didn't know that."
"Yeah. And I went with an all matching wardrobe I could probably
even do my own laundry. I hate doing laundry so I'm really glad
she does it for me," he offered with a grin. "I do a lot of things
"Willow said that you probably had to help doing the simple things like taking a bath."
"No. I've always showered by myself. Took me a week to learn
how to shave with an electric razor but I do all that myself. Now
and then Gretchen gets to pop a back zit."
"I guess that's good for you then," she decided. "It sounds like
Hawaii is good for you so we don't have to worry about you coming back."
He stared at her. "Don't push your luck." She sighed but nodded. He rolled his eyes.
The demon looked down at her. "You do know that he has defeated
about twelve attacks on his life since one of my kind that moved out
"No, I didn't."
"Shooting at the breathing sounds very handy," Xander said.
The demon shuddered. "Yes, very handy." Xander grinned at him. "In Miami they were panicking and are sorry."
"That's cool. I told the local community that I wasn't going to
harm anything as long as the Council and those lawyers and everyone else
that wants to kill me leaves me alone. Then I'd just dust the
"We would all appreciate that," Buffy said. She looked at John. "Have you heard about Bottles of Ancients?"
"I have eight," Xander said. "Three got destroyed and one got broken years ago but no blood inserted."
"Good to know. What are you doing with them?"
"The Watchers Council and Wolfram and Hart want to kill me. If
they keep trying I'm going to open one and bleed into it in their
buildings and then kill the demons after they've made a mess."
"Sure," John said, nodding slightly. Xander grinned. "Can you...."
"He dates people who like weapons," Buffy complained. "Someone
cute-ish took a bunch of them to help us during the invasion."
"Commander McGarrett," the general said.
"He's a detective now. He's in charge of a task force for Hawaii
State Police," Xander said with a grin. "The guy that had been
helping me with them introduced us because he was being retired.
That one's also the one that introduced me to Jim Ellison and his friend
"I met them there as well," the general said. "Blair said to say
hello." Xander grinned. "You do make some very diverse contacts."
"Mostly due to dating them," Buffy said dryly.
"I haven't dated in a while. They never want more than sex these
days. I'd like someone permanent again, like what I had with Anya
only more healthy."
"I talked to her the other day. She said she knows you're doing
good and she's happy about that. Chewed on Willow for saying you
"Willow needs her ass kicked," he said bluntly. "Especially since
she tried to help my parents get custody of me for the law firm.
She's damn lucky I had to get home to protect Gretchen from another
"Then you'd probably be the lizard known as Xander," Buffy shot
back. Xander stood up and moved his pants waistline to show off
the marks there. She moaned.
John looked. "Most of the protections I know about against bad magic and chaos magic. I'd want two more, Harris."
"They're on my lower back and right butt cheek." He sat back down. "It suited it more with what they want me for."
"That figures," he decided. "So, General, we have what sort of plans?"
"Right now, we're gathering intel on how everyone does things so we
won't be interrupting anything *decent* going on while still keeping the
peace. I know we arrested a few demons for dealing arms
"One was going to off-world things," Spike said. "They needed it."
"They took it back," the demon told him. "Along with the rest of
the weapons they found stored there. It's helping against that
higher demon who wants to take over."
"Is that the guy with eight arms?" Xander asked.
"Yes. They keep trying to attack his private areas."
"He leaves that in his wife or girlfriend, whatever you call her.
That's why they take on something that's basically like a guide."
"Interesting. I will let them know." He made notes. "She is protected?"
"Usually. I would if it was me," Xander told him.
"Still, not that hard to take out a building if we must."
"Make sure she's not pregnant, he can reincarnate through any of his
offspring," Buffy said. "Giles was worried he'd show up in town."
"Earth air would kill him, especially the smog in LA," Spike told her.
"Too impure, too rich?" Sam Carter asked. "Is that a normal problem?"
"Realm by realm," the demon told her. "Theirs is more nitrogen
rich but very clean. They have gill-like breathing structures that
have clogging filters."
"If it'll help, I'll find a way to create a canister of smog to send at him."
He smiled. "I'll keep that in mind. Some others need more
pure atmospheres. The ones the Knight holds might have to choke
and gasp for a bit too at all the pollution you've put into the
air. Especially if he releases them on the Council in their
"Willow said parts of England are smog central," Buffy agreed. "She went to visit Giles' estate and his horses."
"We heard," Xander and the demon both said.
"I got sixteen panicked calls telling me 'the witch is going insane' and
to take her out if she came near me," Xander finished. "Two weeks
before I had to leave Hawaii for my safety I started to get them
again. I got a few very disappointed ones that I didn't take her
out at the courthouse. Then my phone started to mysteriously not
work." The demon pointed at the door. "I figured it was
since it's clearly a magical virus."
"Did you see him point?" John asked.
"No, the tiny bracelet he's wearing jingles when his arm moves and his
aftershave is on his wrist so the smell changes too whenever it comes
into the open."
"You're using the damn hyena's senses," Buffy accused. Xander
grinned at her. "At least you're not attacking more pretty young
"That was a 'join my pack or be shoved out' move, Buffy."
"So I beat her?" she asked dryly.
"To truly beat her, you would've had to kill us both."
"Fine. As long as she doesn't like me anymore."
"No, she doesn't. She might respect you."
"Hyena?" the general asked.
"I got possessed by one in tenth grade." He grinned. "She's
real handy and she's helped me hunt for years when I needed to.
Adding her senses into mine has helped me a lot and helped with my whole
situational awareness thing too."
"She keeps you from tripping?" Buffy snorted.
"No, that was an ear thing that should've been fixed when I was five and
never was. That got fixed by some minor surgery about nine and a
half months after I got to Hawaii. My eye doctor referred me on
the dojo master's suggestion."
"You went to a dojo?" she asked.
"That's something I would've done so I wasn't so vulnerable too," John
Winchester told her. "He had to find whole new ways to tell an
enemy and learn to protect himself."
"But we wanted him to be protected," she told him.
"I'm not the thumb sucking sort, Buffy," Xander told her. "Beyond
that, not real safe if they're breaking in to kill me. The dojo
master realized I was influenced by her skills and helped me learn to
recognize where I was leaning on her and what else I could learn from
her. Though she did not like the ex that took me skydiving."
"Any hope with the new medical stuff on getting it back?" He shook
his head. "Shoot. I'd guess you probably want it back."
"I got asked if I really wanted it bad enough," Xander told her.
"They offered to change me into a half-demon that had aura sense and
sight. There's been plenty of times I would've liked that because
'sounds pretty' doesn't always count and then the next day I hear 'you
dated *that*' from someone I know."
"Some people are shallow," Sam agreed.
"Shallow was Miami. I couldn't get flirted with in a strip club
even with a hundred dollar bill in my hand because I can't see how
jiggly her fake parts were."
"That's sad," John said. "No one to watch your back?" Xander
shook his head. "If you go back that way, I'll see if Dean
will give me the name of the club he liked a lot for easy women."
Xander grinned at him. "You're usually in Hawaii?"
"I have a house in Boston, near Father Philip. Some of Jim and
Mack's friends introduced me to some of their contacts who dealt with
demons and they introduced me to Father Philip."
"Irish guy?" John asked. He looked a bit confused. "Language expert?"
"Yeah. Demons hate him more than me."
"I did not know that."
"He's retired," Xander said with a smile. "Something about another
ancient group, as old as the Council. Deal with demons like your
type of hunter does?"
"Legacy," he growled.
"I got introduced to some in San Fran. Philip retired."
"I'll go to him for holy water then," John decided. "Would he mind?"
"He knows that other hunters might hear because I talked to him for
years about my anger issues. He's a great guy, I adore Philip like
a brother. The last time we talked about demon things one had
just tried to take him over and he was swearing at it. I drove it
off and he did an exorcism of the thing that it was hiding in. The
whole church shook."
"He's an anointed one," John said.
"No clue. He's retired."
"Does he guard a special artifact or book?"
"No. He's the guy that the ones needing the real exorcists
called. He told me this absolutely bitching story about a guy who
had a Hand of Glory in a school he was working in."
"I know his type. I know another of the Carnation Order."
Xander grinned. "He does like white carnations but then he told me he retired shortly afterward."
"Good. Then I'd definitely like to get to know him. Even
just as a source of holy water and maybe some translations that need
"He's got three spirits up there that he's been fussing at for months,"
Xander said. "They won't stay gone when he sends them off."
"I can be in Boston in a few days after I get my truck." Xander grinned. "Thanks."
"Not a problem. Philip could use more *friends*."
"Got it." He patted the table.
"There's a group beyond the Council?" the general sighed.
"That one's been around forever but it handles the bigger, possessing
demons that are almost always problems," Xander said. "They're
about as old. They don't have specific warriors. They have
normal people doing the job, some with gifts like Sight and things."
"Most of the hunters that know about the demon community and those
sort," the demon told him, "consider it to be two worlds. A higher
and a lower. The higher, the possessing sort, are the ones that
try world take over bids and possess people to enact bad ideas.
They're minions of Hell. Us lesser ones are considered a slight
problem for the ones that cause problems," he said with a point at
Spike. "But most of us are pretty well hidden so humans can ignore
"Humans ignore anything strange," Xander told the general. "'Look
at that guy's skin condition, he's smurf blue' sort of ignoring
it. Sunnydale has a large case of that."
"Yes it does," Buffy agreed. "It's what lets the vampy vamps eat so many of them."
"Did Riley ever tell you that he broke into my house to talk to me?" Xander asked her.
"Is that why he got arrested?"
"Yeah. Jim and Blair got him for me." He grinned. "He
had gassed Gretchen. I nearly killed his ass for that but Jim
busted in and put him down for being a Ranger-wannabe and disgracing the
uniform he used to wear."
"Is he single?" Buffy asked.
"Not real sure," he admitted. "Try to date a normal
officer." She nodded she could do that. "Did Sunnydale ever
rehire the department?"
"No. We have two officers now, who still do nothing. Cousins
of former officers so they're locals. One tried to tell me the
other day I looked like a pro. He was going to arrest me on it and
then rape me horrible from what he told Willow when she had him about
ten feet in the air and was going to drop him onto the ground really
"Well, maybe someone will come along and sacrifice them too," Xander said.
Spike snorted. "Don't tempt 'em. One's recently been turned."
The general whimpered. "Is it always like that there?" The Sunnydale team nodded. "Are other places that bad?"
"Angel's team handles anything breaking the quiet in LA," Buffy said
with a shrug. "I've only been those two places. Kendra was
raised in Jamaica. She snuck onto a plane to get to
Sunnydale. She might've known. Unfortunately Dru killed her
back in our high school times. She was Council raised and hated
"Duh," Xander quipped.
"Hey, I was right. You didn't listen."
Xander sniffed then turned his head toward Spike, who snorted and lit another cigarette.
"Local rules say no smoking inside any building," Carter said, snatching
it and putting it out. "It's bad for the rest of us who have to
Xander snickered. "When he first joined the team, Willow nagged
him about his smoking. Giles tied him up in his tub and I taped
him in my recliner when I had custody of him."
"Still owe you one, nummy," Spike shot back with an evil smirk.
"Come to Hawaii and tell me that, Spike."
"Too bloody sunny for my tastes. Maybe next time you're in Boston."
"Sure, I'll buy you a beer." Spike shook his head with a sigh.
Buffy moaned. "Please don't date Spike."
"I'd never date Spike, Buffy. I like mine *warm*."
"I'm going to tell Willow on you," she shot back.
"I asked Blair's mother Naomi to talk to her about the earth
mother." He grinned. "Naomi's in town, she was heading to
Cascade and stopped over to talk to a friend at the yoga center in
"Sandburg?" the general asked. Xander grinned and nodded.
The general shuddered. "She treated me like a naughty toddler more
than once when she was protesting near my base."
"Her son works with Jim Ellison."
The general shuddered again, walking out to call someone. He
didn't much like Rosenburg or Ms. Sandburg. So maybe they were a
mutual cure to the other. He found the number for the yoga center
Xander looked at John. "The hunters network, how many?
Relatively so we can see if they're spread about and if LA needs some
clean up help."
"There's a few who went to help there," John said. "A lot of us are in the midwest but a lot of us travel all over."
"Killer. I know there's only been one in Hawaii since I moved in. Does Perry still whine in his sleep?"
"Yup. He fell asleep on a table and had puppy dreams," John said
with a smirk for the kid. "Any areas you've heard we need
"Here. Because whatever project is here draws things that are
waiting for a chance," the demon told him. The soldiers all stared
at him. "Truth, people. However you opened up that Ancient
device draws them. They think it's their signal from the Old Ones
to move up. You have a good twenty bad ones in town, even with a
week of Buffy hunting."
Buffy nodded. "Huge group of vamps I've been weeding down with
Spike's help. One group is hiding by the academy and I can't get
on there to kill them." She looked at Carter. "One of the
demons said that you were some sort of super brain and had something
that could zap them?"
"A zat would," Xander agreed. "I tried it on one I captured trying
to break into a daycare to eat the kids. I had heard and was
lurking. The local PD there was not amused when they caught me but
they caught sight of the vamp and I shot it. Two zaps and they're
Buffy nodded. "Can I bum one?" she asked Carter.
"We're Air Force ourselves," John said. "We can escort you onto
the academy grounds and help you. Cam and I are both Special
Forces trained and Carter was on a tactical team at one point."
Buffy beamed. "Thank you."
"We'd want to stop that," Sam agreed. "Any idea what is it is specifically that summons that sort?"
"If the Old Ones who bark show up, the demons know they'll take over humanity and the demons can beat them," he said.
"We defeated them for the most part," Sam said with a smile. "They're not the current threat."
"No, the Oral Roberts-like ones I've been told about are bad," Xander
said. "The demons are very certain they can overrun them because
there's a few who can eat ascended, whatever they are. One was
drunkenly making plans in Miami about who to call and when if they got
down here. Again, a let them weaken humanity for us since they'd
take out all the smart ones that could stop them first, and then they'd
take over from them."
"We can work on a plan against that," Cam said. "Any idea when?"
"If they get down here, you're going to se it start," Buffy said.
"I heard one making the same sort of plans at our demon bar."
Spike nodded. "Anything big, the demons would let take out humanity and then take over."
"The wraith they can't," John said.
"The wraith probably won't eat demons," Sam told him. "They don't eat animals or anything that's too non-human."
"Which would save most demons outside vampires," Buffy said.
"Three species," Spike told her. "Yeah, wraith are known
about. Bloody wankers are dumb as minions at times. A lot of
demons would gladly help you take them out but there'd be human
casualties at the same time. Mostly the smart ones that help
protect humanity." He looked at John and sniffed. "If you
bring her back here, you're going to have problems."
"Good to know. We'll take that into account for our future disaster plans."
Buffy smiled. "As long as I don't have to help. I have
enough with the bad demons trying things. Especially in the
"This spring I'm going to ask someone to teach me to surf and scuba,"
Xander quipped with a grin. "To handle the mermaids that are off
Hawaii who think I'm a cousin."
"Are they eating people?" Buffy asked. "I'll take a vacation to your beaches to hunt them."
"They get about a surfer a year," he admitted. "They migrate from
Hawaii to some other, more protected island to the south. They
have a mystical chamber they visit every year under Oahu in an
underwater cave. They fast on the way in and take a surfer on the
way out. Hawaiian tradition states that no one fishes or surfs
that week. The locals who aren't native don't understand why but
it's pretty widely adopted by everyone but tourists."
"Huh," Buffy said. "I guess that makes sense. I'm guessing
slayers who were in Africa and Asia have a lot of the same when demons
come near the natives that you see on National Geographic." Xander
"Mermen exist?" John asked.
"They look like _Swamp Thing_," Xander said. "I got some mermaid
taint issued to me when I went undercover on the swim team to find out
why they were disappearing and turning up as black, slimy monsters."
"Your whole town needs sank," John Sheppard complained. "Is that
normal?" Buffy nodded, so did Xander. "Sam, can we blow up
"Yup. Not that hard to do. The general wanted plans on how to do that."
"Give us enough time to tell the demon bar so the harmless ones can
leave," Buffy said. "Angel will moan about being overloaded but
he'll handle it."
"Where's the other hellmouths?" Xander asked her.
"I don't know. There's got to be at least one more," she agreed,
pulling out her phone to call Giles. "It's me. Xander just
asked how many other hellmouths there are. No, he's good. He
can even cook for himself, Giles. No, he still can't see.
We all apparently underestimated how much blind people could do.
Including shoot Council people. By the way, he said they're going
to make a potion to kill all the activated slayers within six
months." He complained but gave her information she needed.
"He heard they need that root thingy, Xander."
"They got it last week," the demon told her. "They're moving in on
the potion maker in South Africa to get him free of the prison."
She repeated that and got another note to pass on. "There's other
hunters, like the ones Wesley told us about way back when. They
handle the possessing sort of demons instead of like I do. Is
there anything I should pass on to them?" She made a note and
handed it to John. "Thanks, Giles." She hung up. "He
said he hopes you're all right."
"I'm usually fine."
John nodded, sending that message to someone. "I'm telling someone who knows which hunter would be out that way, Buffy."
"Thank you." She smiled. "Are there any cute, young hunters?"
"I have two sons but one wanted a normal life," he admitted, looking at her. "I can introduce you to the other one."
"I wanted to be normal more than once," she sighed. "Then I got
pulled back in by moving to Sunnydale or having the cheerleading squad
attacked. Once it was an old boyfriend who wanted to be turned so
he used me as a prize."
"Beer," Xander quipped.
"Shut up, Xander. I can still kick your butt."
"I can shoot you before you move," he assured her. "You can have a
few weeks of limping and going 'ow, he was really mean to me'."
"No thanks. That's why I don't like guns. They might get used on me." He smirked.
John shook his head. "My sort of hunter finds them very handy. What sort of weapons do you use?"
"Crossbows, swords, Xander had an axe he used to use."
"It's still well used," the demon complained, glaring at Xander.
"I told him not to fuck with me or I'd make him bait chunks. He was on my back lawn taunting me."
"Jesus, you're all insane," John Sheppard said, shaking his head quickly. "Swords?"
"Yup, very handy to behead," Buffy said with a smile. "Lots of things take beheading."
"We use higher powered shotguns to blow them off," John told him. "We have a variety of bullets we use."
"I mostly stake," Buffy told them. "A lot because a lot of what I
handle are a specific breed of vampy vamp and they take staking or
beheading. It's easier to hide a stake in a cute top and skirt
"I'd never let a daughter that was hunting wear a skirt," John said.
"We have patrols," Xander said with a grin. "Every single night most of the year."
"I'd still never let a daughter who was hunting wear a skirt," John
said, looking at her. "Don't you worry about it being easier to be
ripped off you? Or even flashing someone?"
"There's an appreciation society," Spike said smugly. She reached over to hit him on the arm.
"They started back when she started to wear fashionable clothes on
patrol," Xander said dryly. "They used to stalk her around to see
if they could catch a flash of thong. They used to have a whole
bulletin board of pictures but Angelus made them burn it and tried to
kill most of them. Andrew probably has copies though since some
Buffy blushed. "I never knew that."
"Yup. Angel used to growl to scare them off a lot."
"Oh," she said in a tiny voice. "That's good to know."
"Those backless shirts you used to wear? *Real* popular with them too."
"They were taking a survey on which type of heels they liked you in
best," Spike said. "They decided the wedge ones because they were
higher and you could do the fancy kicks in them."
"Yeah, I think I need to change my look then," she decided.
"Might not help," the demon assured her. "The day you went out in
the bodysuit and jeans nearly became a pinup look on the bulletin boards
online. They really liked the nice bra that barely peeked out and
showed you off very well."
"It's nice to know that they don't think I'm tragically old," she
said. She shook her head quickly. "I'm definitely too old
for those backless shirts. Xander, did your wardrobe mature
"Not really. Gretchen helps me make sure I have two groups that match within that group."
"Aww, did she put little animals on the hangers?"
"Blue and red braille markers. Though I do still look just as hot in a speedo." He smirked.
"You're still very fit but I don't know too many men that wear them," John Winchester said, shaking his head.
"It's one way to get them to look past the cane and the glasses.
Or else they see that and want to pity me and maybe pity sleep with
me. One asked me if I was a virgin because I was blind."
"Did you lie?" Buffy asked.
"She was eighteen and it gave her status points." He
grinned. "I told her I had gotten to oral sex before but no
Sam Carter shook her head. "Most guys would."
"Yup," Cam and John said.
"We're all insane," Sheppard decided.
"It's where we're still young enough to party, old enough to realize how
bad it is for us, and unwise enough to not care," Xander told
him. "The club I used to go to loved my dog when I brought her
in. The bouncers were a bit freaked out at first but all the girls
cooed at her. It drew in a lot more girls because they told them a
cute blind guy with a dog was in to listen to the music and smell the
sweat. A few even bought her bottles of water and treats from the
"I've heard of guys using dogs to pick up women in a park but not in a
bar," Sam Carter said. Someone knocked then walked in.
"Rodney. Xander Harris, Buffy Summers, John Winchester, Spike, and
I didn't catch your name," she offered to the demon.
"It's not pronounceable by your kind anyway," he said with a
smile. "Welcome, Loud One Who Makes Ancient Things Not Break As
Fast." John burst out cackling at that title.
"That's better than mine," Xander said.
"Or mine," Buffy agreed. "Does John have one?" She pointed at John Winchester since there were two.
"We just consider him scary," the demon assured her.
"Good," John agreed. "Dean or Sam have one?"
The demon cleared his throat. "Perhaps it would be good if you
sent your younger son to Hawaii for guarding duties? That way the
demon that haunts you will not end up haunting him? Because the
Great Plan is worse than the one Harris has for humanity if he loses his
temper on those who want him again."
"I sent him what I got from the demon that tried to possess me a few years back," Xander told him.
"Why?" Buffy complained.
"He wanted to see if I was useful for his purposes since I wasn't under
the cloud of Sunnydale energy that kept his kind off me. Then
Blair taught me how to shield with his spirit guide."
"We believe in such things?" Rodney demanded.
"I met his. Wolf was really nice about some things. Blair's a shaman."
"Dirt," Buffy complained quietly. Xander grinned at her. "So anyway, their plan?"
"Final apocalypse," the demon said.
"Having Sam be the host body of a higher demon to open a hellgate," Xander said. "Final apocalypse when?"
"That would send his brother to hell somehow, and once there they'd use him to break seals," the demon told him.
"No bloody way," Spike growled.
Xander shrugged. "If he's nice and not of the pitying the Xander
sort we can hang out if he's cool. I don't mind new friends."
"He's at Stanford," John said quietly.
"Hawaii has a number of great schools," Xander said with a grin.
"Very good ones that have later degrees and beaches plus pretty things
to stare at."
John pulled out his phone to call someone. "Son, me. Go get
your brother from Stanford no matter what. The demon wants him
too." He listened. "I don't care, Dean. This is more
Xander sighed, looking at the demon's place. "Can you kidnap him?"
"He's around a protected being. We think the demon after that
family is protecting her to make sure she's around for his plans."
"Buffy, have Willow steal him."
She called her. "It's me. We just found out a hunter's son
is being stalked by a higher, possessing sort of demon to use him to
start an apocalypse and destroy his family. Stanford.
Please? Thanks. I'm sure whoever that is would understand."
"If that's Naomi, yes she will. She knows about demons. She's very much the vegan hippie chick I once called her."
"Who protests a lot," John Winchester muttered. Xander grinned and nodded.
Buffy hung up. "Naomi agreed it was a good reason and then they'd
go back to talking." She stared at Xander. "That was mean."
"She showed up in Miami twice to tell me I was helpless. I was going to ask her to talk to both of you."
"Oooh," she said with a wince and a hiss. "Ow. A Mom talk."
"And then some. She quit protesting nuclear power plants that
could leak and cause birth defects to talk to Willow." Willow
appeared with the young guy then stomped off to go correct that *woman*
about how she wasn't evil.
"Son," John said, standing up to look at him.
"You had me taken from right before a test? I thought you hated witches, Dad."
"I do. The demon is after *you*," he said quietly, staring at him.
"One possessed me a few years ago," Xander said. "I passed on the
information that it was going to do a replay, then wear you down until
you were his host so he could open a hellgate."
Sam looked at him. "Okay. Who're you?"
"Xander Harris. Formerly of the Sunnydale team."
"I'm Buffy, the slayer Buffy," she said with a smile and wave.
"That was Willow that stole you. She's my witch for the patrol
stuff and apocalypses."
John looked at him. "We'll get you a makeup but if he's coming for you...."
"He is," the tiny demon said. "Then it'd come down to that one
using you to send your brother to hell so he could break seals.
Hence a *final* apocalypse."
Sam shuddered. "Okay." He stared at his father. "I know you hate me having a normal life."
"This isn't about that. We can argue about that later, son.
The demon knows about your girlfriend. He's protecting her until
"When was that going to be?" Sam asked quietly.
"He can only open the gate in the cemetery every so often," Xander said. "I'm thinking it's within a few years maybe?"
"Damn it," he muttered. "I love Jess."
"As Naomi says, detach with love and make it long distance," Xander
offered. "I live in Hawaii and we're pretty protected. The
whole islands have protections against most of the possessing sorts
thanks to a sacrifice back about three hundred years ago or so."
"It's a good school," Sam agreed. "I was thinking law school
though. Stanford would get me in faster. Plus I'm full
"I'm proud," John said quietly. Sam nodded, slumping some while he
thought. "We have a choice here and we can head it off. If
he's gotten this time then Jess is safe. So are you. Then
you can go have your normal life and all that. If not, he's
gunning for you."
"Any idea why he wants your family?" Xander asked. They both
stared at him. "If he's doing a redo of what he did before,
why? Why you guys specifically? Is there something in your
bloodline? Is there a gift in the family? Something that
could help him?"
"I've been trying to figure that out," John admitted. "I have no idea." He looked at the demon. "Any idea?"
"Well, I can tell you that the young one there smells like he got
infected or tainted," Spike said. "Same as whelp here does from
Sunnydale's mermaids, the possessions, and other things."
"So whatever he did before he burned my wife tainted you somehow," John said, looking at his son.
"Why your family?" Xander asked. "That's a hell of a lot of work
to possess someone, have them sneak in, kill your wife in a ritual
manner without a ritual, and infect your son."
"I have no idea," John said firmly.
"Okay." He looked at the demon and Spike's spots.
"You might ask a vengeance one," Spike offered.
"Anya!" Xander yelled. She appeared with a squeal and hugged
him. He grinned and hugged her back. "Dinner later?"
"I'll be in Russia." She looked and blanched. "Oh, shit, it's you."
"We're trying to figure out why him," Xander told her.
"There's a lot of 'into every generation one is born' things beyond the
slayer one," she said, staring at the son. "Including ones with
gifts from bloodlines past, like sight, and maybe some healing or
something?" Sam growled. She grinned. "Also," she
said, looking at John. "You were returned." John
stiffened. "Vengeance demons can always tell when someone's
returned from the dead." She kissed Xander. "I'll pop around
when I can." She disappeared. She had to report that Xander
had stepped into the Winchester apocalypse plans.
"Being dead isn't fun," Buffy said. "I've been there and Xander brought me back with CPR."
"I've never needed CPR," John said. "She was who?"
"Anyanka," Xander and Buffy said together.
"My ex," Xander admitted. "She was humaned for a while."
"Seer," Sam said. "That would be a good reason to come after
me." John nodded at that, looking down. "If it's that far
back, how would it come active in me?"
"Demon blood can do that," Spike said. "It did to Dru's when Angelus turned her. It's what drove her batty."
Buffy nodded. "Giles said that some species of demons can give you
their essence. I went telepathic after some got some blood on
"So essence of the demon to awaken gifts."
"Why would he want a seer to lead a demon army?" Xander demanded of Spike. "That makes no damn sense."
"He only needs a minion to open a hell gate, whelp. Not a
body. Even if he's the possessing sort, opening it gives him the
power and then he'd probably take over a stronger warrior to
lead. Not a problem for him to kill a body by moving on."
"Actually, both of my boys know how to hunt," John admitted, looking at
his son. "I tried to send Dean but he's on a critical hunt.
The demon was going after kids," he said quietly.
"That's fine," he said, pulling out his phone to call his teacher.
"It's Sam Winchester, sir. I just got summoned by my father, who
I'm at odds with, about my future. No, I'm not in California right
now. He had me snatched. Where are we?"
"Denver," John said.
"Colorado Springs," Cam corrected. He took the phone to talk to
him. "Sir, Colonel Cameron Mitchell, US Air Force. I'm here
with your student. His father did have him snatched because he
heard someone was going to attack him. No, not for money.
His father heard something from the invasion wanted him to kill as a
sacrifice. That's what I'm doing actually. His father
brought him to where I am to protect him. He'll be back in a few
days, once we can get that threat. Yes, sir. He knew he had a
test. He complained about that first thing. Thank you,
sir." He hung up. "You can have a makeup as long as you get
there within a week, Sam."
"Thank you." He looked confused. "Why are we meeting?"
"We're figuring out how to integrate the soldiers that got told to hunt
the bad demons trying things into the hunters and the others that do the
work," Xander quipped. "I'm a former hunter. Buffy and
Spike are from the Sunnydale team. The little guy there is being
helpful and putting in input for the peaceful community. These
nice others were at the invasion."
Sam nodded. "Okay. I left all that for a normal life."
"I tried that," Buffy sighed. "Didn't work at all. I'm the slayer," she said at his odd look.
"Oh. I've read about you." She smiled. "Thank you."
"Not a problem. I used to rely on Xander for moral support and
jokes, plus sometimes ideas that worked even if I thought they were
"And artillery," Xander quipped. "Or bombs."
"And them," she agreed with a smile for Sam.
"I still want to sink your town," Sam Carter told her.
"Cool! Let me pack first?"
Sam shook his head. "That's insane."
"There's a hellmouth under the old high school," Xander told him.
"New high school too," Buffy quipped, waving a hand in the air.
"They put it right back on top of it." Sam and John both
shuddered. "We've kept the death rate down under twenty
percent. I'm considering that mostly a win."
"I'm sending Dean to help you, Buffy. That needs a few extra
hunters to help thin the pack of vampires causing problems." He
glanced at Spike. "He'll tell all his friends in the hunting
community about what the town needs and that you're open for dating a
"Thank you." She got up and hugged him. "Can he send someone nice toward Xander?"
"I'm not sure if he knows anyone in Hawaii or not." Sam pulled a
chair from the stack in the corner over to the table so he could sit by
"Okay, what do we most need to help integrate the people being told to handle things?" Cam asked.
"Training," Xander and Buffy said.
"Staking's not like stabbing," Xander said. "Very small target, hard to hit, vamps are stronger and faster."
"Giles hates this idea but he has a lot of books full of research and
prophecies that you guys probably need to bum for at least a copying
time," Buffy agreed.
"Also, hunters *hunt*," John put in. "We research what's going on
in a given situation, what's doing it, and then act reasonably.
For spirits causing problems that's digging up a grave to salt and burn
it. For possessed people that's an exorcism, which can kill the
host if you're not careful. For others it's defeating a beast."
"For us once it was a hell goddess," Buffy said. "Thanks for those weapons, Xander."
"So higher and lower weapons. Research skills. Self-defense
or hand-to-hand training," John Sheppard said. They nodded.
"A real good tolerance for the weird, insane, and things that make you
want to drink," Xander said. "The two Marines Buffy and Willow
handed me to for protection when I was newly blind got *real* drunk when
they looked up my background. Their whole Special Forces group of
friends all got real drunk with them when they heard." He
shifted. "I had to guide Jim Ellison on a hunt when something was
attacking officers in Cascade. He said it was a lot like what he
was taught as a Ranger for team stalking a target to take it out.
"We have that," Cam agreed. "We're all real used to strange things
too." Sam Carter nodded at that. "Are small teams
reasonable or should it be a bigger group?"
"Sometimes you need one, sometimes you need an army," John said.
Buffy nodded quickly. "I'm told their team has about four or five
people all told."
"Me, my watcher, Spike, and a few part-timers like Willow," Buffy
agreed. "Xander was one of my backups. Guys like John and
his sons go out singly usually or maybe a couple if they're
married?" John nodded.
"So a small team would be reasonable, but they'd need to be able to act independently of the team," John Sheppard said.
"That would be for the best," Xander agreed. "Some of it's real
boring. Patrols are still patrols. You get the vamps as they
come up if you're lucky and maybe a few more while you're out.
Those are more exciting than the guys coming up that you stake as soon
as they make it out of the dirt."
"Club hunting is good but dangerous," Buffy said. "Usually then
you're a small group and there's a lot more of them than you. I
usually get about five or six vamps a night when I hunt in the club in
Sunnydale or when I'm in LA doing one for Angel. It can also
lighten my mood when I get my tease on."
"Hunting isn't life affirming by any means," Xander agreed. "The
morning after the apocalypse when you're watching the sun comes up can
be. That's usually the moment I realize 'I did okay, I survived'
and then I get up and snoopy dance."
"You can snoopy dance?" Sam asked with a grin.
"I can and I'm excellent at it," he said with a grin back.
"After the bad hunts it's usually a few beers and watching the sun come
up when I'm that tired and want to retire," John Winchester
agreed. "I take a few days and then something comes to my
attention that needs to be handled."
"You're all insane," Sam Carter assured them. But she was smiling. "Does it help if you have backup?"
"There's times a single person can do it when a team can't," Xander
pointed out. "There's times when all the Marines might be nice but
a single person has to do it. Those moments you start your mental
'oh shit, why did I start doing this' mantra and do it anyway.
Even if it means you die." The other hunters nodded. So did
"I've had a few of those happen in my career," John Sheppard admitted
quietly. "Then I usually wanted beer or liquor that wasn't
"Anytime you do those things, we *all* want liquor," Rodney assured him. He sat down beside Carter. "The General?"
"Isn't used to the scooby meeting style so he went to talk to someone,"
Buffy said. "We were squabbling like family because Xander's still
real disappointed with us." Xander nodded. "And he probably
hates us enough to have us eaten."
"There's days," Xander admitted. "Others I'd stick with the hell
beaten out of you both option. Because it would've been real nice
to have *support* when I was having to learn how to do everything
"I guess," she sighed. "I still say it's too dangerous." Xander pointed at the demon.
"Don't bring me into this argument please. I can see both sides
but the Knight has a disturbing habit of shooting people who attack
"He'd need wooden bullets in Sunnydale."
"I know three people who make them and wooden ball bearing filled shotgun shells," John Winchester told her.
"I don't like guns," she told him. "They can be taken from you and used on you a lot easier than a sword is."
"She's never liked guns," Xander told them.
"I can see that point, but sometimes it's safer if you're farther away when you kill things," Sam told her.
She nodded. "It might be nice but then things can go whoosh on
vamps. Xander used to pickpocket them while he staked. Spike
Spike nodded. "It's come in handy. Gets me money for smokes and blood too."
"It used to be our pizza fund for research times," Xander agreed.
"Chinese was too expensive so Giles popped for some of that."
"You're all crazy," Rodney assured them.
"Yeah but you don't go into hunting for the mental health
benefits. You go in because you need to fix something that
happened or get something back for screwing you up," Sam Winchester
said. "You get into hunting because there's a little voice inside
your head that says 'it won't happen again' and you listen to it."
His father patted him on the back. "I know yours was never as strong as mine or Dean's."
Sam looked at him. "I don't even remember Mom," he said
quietly. "For you it's a crusade that's more important that we
were, Dad. I never got that. I need to do what makes me
happy and makes sense to my little mental voices. Including
helping people as a lawyer."
"I get that now. It took me a while. Dean may still not understand."
"Dean's always been your mini me."
John smiled. "You both make me proud in your own ways." Sam
grinned and relaxed again. "You still can't really go back until
we're sure the demon can't get her this semester."
"I can transfer for a year, study abroad or something."
"Do not go to Europe," Xander warned. "The Council is heavier over
there and they think all you guys are playing in their field.
They'd consider you an easy target because you were alone."
Buffy nodded. "They've taken out a few different people who stepped into the supernatural community for some reason."
"They think it's their playground and their ordained jobs," Xander told
her. "They never got taught to share and play well with
others. The Council needs to go. Even if one of the other
more ancient groups takes over all the slayers."
"They have their good points."
"Tell that to how Kendra was raised," he said. "Or you with what
they did to you on your eighteenth, and how they're behind the tumor
your mother had." She stiffened. "Yeah, it was on the
underground. I sent you a letter?" She shook her head.
"Huh. Them or someone else?" he asked Spike.
"Red. She didn't want to worry her about anything else. She
decided you were whining about being in paradise in San Diego."
"I was in Hawaii for over a year by then," he said.
"We both thought you were still in San Diego until a few years ago," Buffy said dryly.
"That's your fault."
"Yes it was. I'm mature enough to admit to that mistake."
Xander got up and threw a knife at the door, making something
scream. "How in the hells, Xander? I barely got that on my
slayer spidey senses."
"It stinks. It stinks more now but it's dead." He sat down
and let John Winchester handle it. "I found out if I aim for the
breathing I hear I usually hit about chest height. With a gun I
usually aim about knee or hip height."
Sam Carter stared at him. "You trained yourself to handle things very well." Xander beamed at her.
Sam Winchester looked at him, noticing the cane and dark glasses indoors. "How long have you been blind?"
"Just over ten and a half years thanks to a demon with acidic sweat."
"I still hear you screaming when I'm having nightmares," Buffy said quietly.
Xander looked in her direction. "So do I."
She relaxed again. "Well, that's a harmful demon. A demon
assassin. So not good news. I wonder who it was after."
"It has papers and a picture of..." John said, opening it.
"Him." He pointed at Rodney. John Sheppard took them to look
at. "He's on your project?"
"Yeah, he's my head geek." He handed them down to Rodney.
"Looks like they're worried that you'll keep things going."
"Of course I am. I'd hate for our base to sink." He read it
over, grimacing. "Fairly low price. The Russians had double
that on my head." He folded them up and put them in front of him.
"If it'll make you feel better, I'll give you a hug," Xander said.
"That way you don't have to out-macho the wobbly feelings."
Rodney stared at him. "I'll consider that offer later. I
never hug in public. Others might want one of their own."
Xander grinned. "Sure. I'm here." His phone
beeped. "Whoo-hoo! Someone ended the curse on my
phone!" He opened it to listen to the audio message. "Or
not." He sighed and looked at Buffy. "Write this
number." He repeated it. "A text saying that my financial
guy is possessed or something? And to please ask Kono to ask her
scary girlfriend, she'll know which one, to fix that for me?" She
nodded, doing that. "Thanks."
"Welcome." She got back an answer. "They said they are."
"They're not." He pushed his phone to where she was sitting.
She listened. "Oh, that fuckhead," she muttered. "Excuse my
Greek. I don't usually swear in English anymore. Giles got
upset with the last one." She wrote them another message and then
another one. "Xander, do you want to fix the tragedy of the hotel
trying to have you arrested?"
"Why are they trying to arrest me?"
"No clue. You just got a message saying that the hotel was calling
the cops on you." She looked up. "No clue why." She
got up and went to find the general. "We've pretty well worked out
what the hunters in the soldiers will need," she said, showing him the
"No idea," he admitted. He went to interrupt them.
Xander came out to go to the business room and came back with a fax once
he had signed one. He heard the huffy person and held it
up. "Read that to me please?" The paper was snatched and the
man gasped, babbling at him. Xander stared at him. "Thank
you. That's what I thought it said." He took it back and
walked off. "Willow, the people I know are *really* unimpressed
with you hacking me again," he said when he walked past a room that
smelled like Naomi Sandburg to him.
"Excuse me?" Naomi said. She came out. Xander hissed in her
ear. "Heck no." She went in there to have a better talk with
the young lady. And to paddle her like her mother should
have. She didn't believe in violence but this one could screw up
everyone. She might even destroy all the Mother's works.
Xander shut the meeting room door on the wailing. He
sniffed. "Sorry, we must be next door." He walked out and
went over there. "Buffy, Council's next door," he said as he shut
the door. He locked it. "It smelled like cigarettes and not
the expensive ones. Plus beer, not cognac."
"Crap, a bag and tag team," she complained. She checked her
stakes. Spike checked for his metal ones. Xander and the
Winchesters checked their weapons. She looked. "Sam, they
won't want to kill you yet. Get behind one of the soldiery
sorts?" He nodded, handing over his knife. She
grinned. "Thanks, I couldn't hide one in my cleavage today."
The door got kicked in and she threw the knife at the person who came
in holding a gun. Xander and John Winchester aimed to wound.
The other soldiers and Rodney dealt with the rest.
The general came jogging back. "Who're they?"
"Council," Xander said. "John?"
"Yup?" Sheppard asked.
"Other one. Would you like it if Sam was in charge of the
Council? That way it'd make sense and he could do the research
stuff? He can finish his law degree in England or wherever?"
Buffy tipped her head to look around John Winchester at him. "Is that a mean idea or a serious one?"
"Both. I'm pretty sure Sam knows what hunters need. I'm
pretty sure he'd never hurt the girls. I'm also pretty sure he'd
love all the research stuff. The watchers would be remade and
actually *work*. I could probably even ask some friends to see if
another group could help them reform." One of the Council people
moaned at that. He looked around. "Winchester, is your phone
warded? I've still got that curse against phones."
"No need," D'Hoffryn said as he appeared.
Buffy stopped John Winchester from firing. "He's the head vengeance demon. We've seen him before."
"They're wish granters," Sam Winchester said.
"I am and that's a very good idea, Harris. That's actually a
wonderful idea. It would stop them from summoning the First Evil
to take out Summers." Buffy moaned and kicked the nearest
body. "It would also allow them to reform under the Light, plus
stop the Winchester apocalypse plans."
"They named it?" John demanded.
"Quite." He smirked. "It's not even demons who want the final apocalypse."
"Philip said angels had to possess people too unless they were fallen," Xander said.
"Yes, they do. Father Philip is one we like to leave alone.
We have a non-bothering contract with him. We don't go near him
and he doesn't holy us to death. He's the only one I've seen kill a
higher level, fallen angel level demon by exorcizing it too hard."
"He told me about that," Xander said with a grin. "But that would work?"
"It would stop bad things on both sides." He looked at
Winchester. "You can give up your bright future as a lawyer for
people who may or may not be guilty and a life of alcoholism when you're
older because one was guilty and you helped get a mass murderer off so
he could do it again."
Sam considered it then nodded. "If I must to protect people, I can
do it there and finish my law degree to help the slayers and
hunters. I planned on helping them anyway."
"Good!" He clapped his hands and an older man appeared, one hand
going to his gun. "Easy," he ordered. "I come bearing a plan
to help stop the light from a huge mistake and stop at least six dark
plans, Precept Rayne."
"Which one are you?" he demanded too calmly. His accent was pretty strong because he was pissed off.
"I'm D'Hoffryn, Lord of the Vengeance demons. The Council of
Watchers has caused their last apocalypse attempt. It is so
mandated." Derek nodded once at that. "A plan was issued to
stop the light and dark's plans for final apocalypses using a certain
family by naming one of them over the Council."
"I'm Sam Winchester," he said with a slight wave.
"I know of your family," Derek said. "The one that attacked you
has done so to others in hopes of finding a good host body for his
"That's one thing we were discussing," Xander said. "I talked to
Nick and Alex a few years back. I'm Xander, this is the slayer
Derek nodded at her. "It is goot to meet you, Miss Summers.
I've heard of your work on the hellmouth." He looked at
Xander. "Nick said your last letter cracked him up, Mr.
Harris." Xander grinned. "Is that all of the plan?"
The demon poked him on the arm and showed him the notes he had been
making. "The peaceful community might like that. Even though
his father is the sort to take out all demonic beings, lower and
higher, his son is thoughtful, good at research, and has ethics that we
would all enjoy the Council suddenly having."
Derek read them, nodding. "That is a goot plan." He handed
it back. "Let me call someone?" D'Hoffryn nodded.
Derek walked over the bodies to go in the hallway to call. "Nick,
calm down. I'm fine. A plot to start a final apocalypse was
ended and they're gathering support to reform things. Put me on
with London's precept please." He did that. Derek spoke in
his native language so no one outside the demons understood him.
He got permission and they agreed they liked it. Derek hung up and
walked back in there. "The London House would be on call to help
him if he needed," he said.
D'Hoffryn smiled. "Thank you." He looked at Sam, who nodded
but had his lips pressed tightly together. "Wish granted.
The Council shall sleep until you can go wake them up. They will
follow you." He cast the wish out. It broke protections on
the Council that were so old no one knew who first cast them. But
it was making sure that they didn't become what they fought. He
looked at the Legacy. "Some houses may use the same treatment some
year soon," he warned. "Vengeance is for my kind and his father's
kind of hunter, not yours." He disappeared.
"I will pass on that warning." He looked at the others. "Are
we meeting to discuss the military involvement with the
invasion?" Sam Carter nodded. Derek smiled. "Then I
should be here as well. I belong to a group that is nearly as old
as the Council and we do things like the roaming hunters do."
"We've heard good and bad things about your group," John Winchester admitted.
"Some of the old line are seriously in trouble," Xander told him.
"One in Paris summoned a higher demon to handle his divorce without a
"That's absolutely charming," John Sheppard sneered.
"We handle those in-house and he was punished very fast," Derek assured
them. He looked at the blond man next to the demon. "You
"Spike." He smirked as he held out a hand. "You're in the Legacy then?"
"I am, Scourge of Europe."
"I miss those days. Bloody chip won't let me hunt usually. Get my kicks in helping the white hats kick butt now."
"Wonderful." He sat down, looking at the young man. "How are things, Mr. Harris?"
"They're mostly okay. I think my financial manager's possessed or
he's hidden an agenda for a very long time. I'm hearing hints that
Gretchen, my housekeeper, may be the same sort of thing but I don't
want to listen to them right now. I know others have put pressure
on her to have me calm down in the past."
"Hmm. Nick is actually in Hawaii right now to check on those bottles."
"They're in my bag. With a mystical alarm on them."
"Goot." He smiled as he called Nick. "I am looking at Mr.
Harris. Please do check on his financial manager and his
housekeeper? Who would do such a thing?" He grimaced.
"Thank you. Please do." He hung up. "Someone attempted
to poison your dogs but they are all doing well with the
veterinarian." Xander nodded tersely. "He believes it was
your neighbors. Or they were the ones arrested for it."
"I'm having the conservative asshole eaten when I get home. Why would he poison puppies?"
"He thinks you're evil for some reason."
"I don't party, throw parties, drink, do drugs, or anything else. So am I evil because I can't see?"
"Perhaps. They did not give me reasons."
"Buffy, can you text that number and see if they'll tell me why I have to destroy them?"
"Sure, Xander. Anyone who would poison seeing eye puppies is evil
in my book." She did and got one back. "You're evil because
you're unmarried, don't have kids, and you're pathetic because you're
blind. Clearly their god made a mistake making you."
"They're being eaten when I get home." She sent that back and got a message back. "No?"
"No, they said they're in jail and the judge told them they were
pathetic, not you. Whoever this is said they're part of some
cult that's trying to move onto the island."
"I'll storm their compound myself," Xander quipped. "Then we'll
see who's pathetic and which God or Goddess wins." She sent that
back. She burst out cackling at the answer. "What?" he
"Whoever this is said that Steve said he'd back you up since they think
all single men should have children by the time they're twenty-five or
they should be sacrificed after being raped for being wrong. He
also said it's too late, he already did it."
"Good!" He shifted in his chair.
"Are you looking at one of the puppies to replace yours?" John Sheppard asked him.
Xander nodded. "I am. When they heard a death threat against
me shot my first one they don't want to get me another one, even if I
pay the full going rate for one." Melusia appeared and whined,
putting his head on Xander's knee. "I love you too, Melusia.
You're a good step puppy. The puppies will be just fine or I'll
go destroy people." The dog patted his leg with a paw then sat in
convenient petting range.
Sam Carter and Rodney both looked at the dog. "What breed is that?" she asked.
"Hellhound," John Winchester said.
Xander grinned. "He knocked up my dog. He adopted me after I helped him when he was hit by a car."
"Aww," Sam said. "He's clearly more friendly than most of
them." Xander grinned and nodded. "Is he a good seeing eye
"Yup. If he senses a threat he tends to bite them before I can."
"That's good," Buffy said. "But a bit wiggy, Xander." He
shrugged. "I know, it's a good seeing eye dog for you."
"He doesn't have all the commands down but he's doing a good job most of
the time. He's helped me train some of the puppies too." He
petted his step dog. He loved Melusia a lot. He was a good
pet. They got down to what each group did and didn't handle, where
it handled it, and how to get necessary information to hunters when
something needed to be handled because it was too huge to wait.
Sam had some ideas on that and how it could be accomplished. He
and Derek went over his ideas for the Council as well. Buffy put
in her ideas.
Xander had a few of his own, including a technology center to help with
some of the other problems. Maybe a webpage with known troubles or
something. They were settling things when a sniffling Willow
wandered in and hugged Buffy. Xander looked up at the scents
changing. Naomi came in and fussed at his hair but gave him a hug,
petting the dog, and then left them alone, dragging Willow out by her
arm. Xander grinned at Buffy. "That's Blair's mom. I
thought Willow might like an understanding, earth-centered older woman
to mentor her."
"It's clearly helped," she agreed. She even sounded cheerful about
it before he found her a mother figure to nag her about stuff.
John smiled at her. She grinned back. "She could use a good
"I'm sure Naomi knows a few." Xander winked at her. She whimpered.
The general came in and the military people saluted him. He waved
them down. "Have we got a working plan? Who're you?" he
"Derek Rayne. I head a house of people who do much the same thing."
"Oh, good!" He smiled. "It's great that most of the time you
guys can handle it on your own. How many bigger things are we
"There's a whole library of prophecies in England," Xander said.
"Sam's going to help with that." He pointed at him. "Every
spring there's something going on. We're working on the plans for
that right now."
"Even better. We like it when we only have to back people up and perhaps handle the really big things, like Sunnydale."
"Sink. It," John Winchester said. Buffy swatted him. "It'd save lives."
"I'd have to move. I can't stand being in LA with Angel all the time. I'd be an angsty, whiny Buffy again."
"Why?" Sam Winchester asked.
"Because I used to date Angel and I made him happy enough that he lost his soul. Not one word, Xander."
"Fine. Even though I was right," he sighed, waving a hand then going back to petting his step-dog.
"It could've been worse," Buffy complained.
"Yeah, you could've been dating Spike *and* Angel."
Spike shook his head. "No. I'd never share a bint with the
poofter again. Thanks anyway." Everyone stared at him.
"He's a greedy hog, won't let you get a single taste of the blood or
"I don't want to know," John Winchester decided.
"Vampires are easy sluts," Xander told him. "If it's got a hole
it's great. If it doesn't, they might chew one for the fun."
"I definitely don't want to know," John said.
"Ah, the good ol' days of being a scourge," Spike sighed with a scary
grin on his face. He noticed the whelp whispering to his dog and
decided he was probably going to be pounced. Nope, it got the
thing following the general. It settled in to have a snack from
it. Spike looked then at Xander. "How do you sense them?"
"The hyena's senses say that they stink. Each breed stinks
differently but they still stink. Even your demon stinks to her."
"Her?" Sam Carter asked. "Hyenas are matriarchal, right?"
Xander nodded. "Were you...." He grinned and nodded.
"Is that weird? I know nothing at all about possessions."
"Not really. Sometimes she wants cubs but she knows I can't do
that. She's never pushed her desire for a mate on me. I've
been bi as long as I remember. No matter what Willow
"Why did she hate that when she's a lesbian?" Buffy asked, her nose wrinkling.
"There's any number of people who believe men being gay is wrong while
women doing the same thing is acceptable," Rodney told her. "No
one's sure why they're taught that beyond their fathers liking lesbian
pornography but they are."
Xander nodded. "Her parents don't like her being a lesbian.
The last I heard, her mom was on tv defending Willow by saying it was
just a phase. Right now she was more asexual while exploring her
ideology. Since it was a call-in show I called in and pointed out I
knew her daughter, she had nearly married Tara, and had in fact killed
the people who had killed her girlfriend. Also that her best male
friend was bi, had been bi for all his life, and she was the reason that
Willow had went bigot on him a few times even though her own girlfriend
had been the best woman in the world for anyone to have as their
own. She demanded they hang up on me and go to station
break." He grinned.
"We haven't seen her since she tried to burn her daughter at a stake,
but wow, what a cow. My mother would've kicked her hiney all over
"She's doing a call-in shrink show in Miami. Screwing up all the
shallow people better really. The one before that call she had
told it was perfectly all right if the girl worried about her weight
even if the doctor said she was underweight because things like that
mattered in a young woman's life. Her mother snatched the phone
and berated Willow's mom for telling her anorexic daughter who weighed
less than a hundred pounds that."
"Yeah, my mother would've been all over the hiney kicking." She
shook her head. "I wonder if we can do a seance and have Mom go
talk to her."
"You're damn lucky I haven't called your mom back to talk to you."
"I know. Thank you for not doing that. It definitely wouldn't have made it any more happy."
"Uh-huh. Remember that lesson?"
"Gladly. You're not as helpless as I thought and don't need as
much protecting. You seem to be doing all right at the
moment." She looked at the staring dog. "I'm not alpo, even
if slayers are tasty. Sniff Spike instead. He likes hell
mutts. One likes to watch soaps with him."
Derek looked over the table. "He's a finely conformed hell
mutt. Halfbreed?" The dog growled. "I meant no
offense. You don't have the ruff." The dog put it up. "I did
not know you could hide it." The dog barked and settled back down
to be a loving step-mutt. Xander grinned at him.
The general shook his head. "You're all insane."
Xander nodded. "We have a very flexible way of looking at things
because half the time we deal with things that other consider nightmares
or too strange to acknowledge. If we aren't mentally flexible
then we'd break and start crying and have to sit in a pretty white,
padded room without mirrors or windows. The latched down bed."
Buffy shuddered. "Eww. No, please no."
"If you get that bad, we'll send you on a suicide mission," Xander offered.
She smiled. "I could like that. Thank you."
"Welcome." He petted his dog and turned his head in the general's
direction. "So, how many units are they moving to population
"Three at the moment. There's three approaches they want to try."
"We've heard," the demon said. "Two are going to be suicide
because they'll end up attacking any of the community that do things
like protest that we are sentient beings." The general stared at
him. "I was invited."
"He kept whispering suggestions from the air vent," Xander said when the
general looked at him. "It's his people and others of his kind
that are having the issues. If people were smart, they would've
asked some of the civil rights people to the table too."
"Yes, they would have." He cleared his throat. "The one we like best seems to be General Merdeckers."
The demon shuddered. "He's going to start pushing to put us on
reservations. While some of us were here first, we're not that
sort of native." The general spluttered. "To quote the
Knight in Miami: quit spitting, real men swallow."
"Xander!" Buffy complained.
"It was some IAB asshole who decided I was evil for having officers try
to shoot my cute ass. Beyond that, he smelled like a puss
sucker." He looked at the general again. "What are each of
the methods? You have the biggest heads of the groups that deal
with all sorts of demons. You have a few representatives of
them. We can tell you where each plan is going to fail, and how
bad that failure is going to end up in loss of life on both sides
"It's not really open for debate."
"Then I'd move your assholes out of LA," Xander said with a grin.
The demon moaned. "Because I heard earlier that they opened fire
on a peaceful protest stating demons were more sentient than
dogs." The hellhound barked. "He brought me a note."
The general swallowed. "Who?"
"The military guys there. I have no idea which unit it was but it
was someone military in charge." He looked down. "Go snatch
"No, let me call," Buffy said. She called his phone. It said
it was out of service. She stared at her phone and dialed another
number. "Or not."
"Go fetch," Xander ordered. The dog bayed and disappeared.
He came back with Connor, Gunn, and Wesley. "The others?"
"No clue," Gunn sighed. He pulled a chair over and sat down.
"Thanks for the saving, white boy. They had us in *interrogation*
about how bad the demon menace was and how deep their corruption went
into the city. How many people we had to eliminate to make sure
that their taint was gone."
Xander rubbed his forehead. "Ya know, I respect most of the
military," he told them. "Especially you guys' project. I'm
not going to let the government start another extermination
campaign. Fuck it. I have the Initiative files." Buffy
whimpered, shaking her head. "Yeah, all of them. Mack got
them for me." He looked at the general. "Are you going to
stand up for mass extinction of species that are peaceful and in a lot
of ways helpful?"
"No. But I'm not over that unit."
"I can lend you my gun," Xander offered. The hellhound barked and
left, coming back with a damaged looking Angel. "Crap, even I can
smell the blood."
Buffy and Spike got up, taking Angel out to a bathroom to help him. She let him suck on her wrist for a few seconds too.
"That leaves Fred," Gunn said. He looked at the dog. "Can you find Fred?" The dog growled.
Xander stood up. "Take me to Fred."
"No," John Sheppard ordered. "Take me to Fred. I probably
outrank most of them and I'm damn sure not picky when I don't have to
be." He patted Xander on the arm. "Sit. This is real
soldier's work." Xander sat. He and Cam left via the
Sam Carter touched her earpiece a minute later. "Sheppard just
called for medical backup. They had humans there being tortured,"
she told the General, glaring at him. "Put it all under O'Neill.
Even if he does hate the paperwork."
"I've heard rumors about him," Buffy said as she walked back.
"Xander, we're breaking into your room to get him clothes." He
held up his card key. "Same room?"
"Okay." She went to get him something to wear.
"Spike, does he need another donation?"
"No. We're good," he called back. He leaned into the
room. "They didn't realize he was a vampire until they started to
torture him." He looked at Gunn. "She's gonna need some
help." Xander growled. "Angel thinks so, yeah." He
"I'll fuck them up," Gunn promised. Wesley patted him on the
arm. "Sure, you can back me up. You and Connor can borrow
some of Cordy's former pompoms from storage and use 'em."
Xander grinned. "Need a weapon?"
"No, we found the ones you sent us," Gunn said dryly, batting him on the arm. "Thanks."
"Welcome. Damned if I want the world to end unless I cause
it." Sam Winchester cackled. "I told the law firm if they
pissed me off I was going to open those Bottles of Ancients in their
offices and then kill the demons once they were all dead. They
thought I was joking too."
"Have you?" Sam Carter asked.
"No. I did unleash a lesser one I found though." He
grinned. "They had rented a house in Hawaii while planning on how
to snatch and kill me. The demon made a mess of the house, which I
paid to repair, but they never doubted I'd take them all out
again." She gaped. "I can't risk a weakness there, Colonel
Carter. The same as you can't because you're female and they'd see
you as weaker."
"I understand that," she decided. Wesley wrote something and held
it up. "I can definitely understand that but some horned demon
named D'Hoffil or something appointed him as head of the Council."
She pointed at Sam Winchester.
"That's my son Sammy, Wes," John said. Wesley looked at him and
smiled, nodding his head. He pointed at his throat. "How?"
"Wesley was trying to get me away from my father due to a prophecy so my
father ripped out his throat," Connor said. "Though I still don't
like Angel all that much, even after growing up on a demon plane."
The general blinked at him. "You did?" Connor nodded. "How many various planes are there?"
"Holt never told me that. He took me to a pretty bad one when I
was a baby and I grew up there at an accelerated rate. I grew up
destroying demons. That's why there's a prophecy that calls me a
Destroyer." Xander nodded. "Though Angel keeps comparing me
to him for some reason." He scowled at Xander, who grinned.
"Xander's very much a do what's necessary sort," the demon said.
"Though you don't wear ugly clothes or quip as you slay like your
near-stepmother, you are a lot alike in ways that count. Including
having loved Miss Chase."
"I do miss her," Xander agreed. "She was my first real girlfriend
and I've known her since kindergarten. We were friends until she
"She was kinda like my mom but there was that whole 'not her' thing and
the sleeping thing," Connor admitted. "It screws up my mind to
even think about it."
"I wonder if her gaspy noises still sound like barks when she's getting
happy," Xander said, looking up. Cordy appeared and swatted him.
He grinned. "So, Miss Higher Being Glowy Squid Girl, any wise
"She's a plant," she sighed. "I'm damn sorry, Xander. The
community wanted you under watch." He sighed but nodded. "As
for that shit going on? Yeah, O'Neill's going to get it.
Fred's not the sort of girl to sob about it. She'll beat
someone to death and then quietly sob later on."
"I've got a guest room if she needs it," he reminded her.
"I'll tell her." She looked at Connor. "I miss you too,
dickhead." Connor grinned at her. "For now, protect each
other. The law firm has one last shot."
"No they don't," Xander said. He summoned the bag, looking at the
little bottles. "Awww, they took one." He found the device
in the bag and matched the dots to the bottles, then pushed one.
She gaped at him, starting to whimper. He grinned. "I've had
"Yeah," she said weakly. "Clearly. How are you going to kill them all the way out here?"
"Did you ever meet Anya? Not the one I took to the prom but the
one from about three years ago? She said she talked to you about
She shivered. "Oh, damn." He grinned. "Okay, let me go
start quarantine procedures." She zipped off to warn
others. "Harris released a bottle but it has a specific disease to
kill demons," she shouted into the group outside the current law firm
offices. A few looked at her and the news spread. They fled
the scene before they could get sick.
A higher demon walked out picking his teeth with someone's arm
bone. "That won't matter to me." He smiled at her.
"You look... sweet."
"Not really, Queen C was never really sweet," Faith said and shot him
with something Xander had sent her last week in case this
happened. The demon screamed and flailed, knocking the building
down. It died though which was the important thing. She
looked at Cordelia, who was giving her a funny look. "X sent it
last week in case one got free."
"That so figures." She shook all over. "Okay.
Well..... Gotta go hide before more higher ups hate Xander."
She faded out.
Faith walked off, finding cop cars screaming up. "Someone they had
a contract on took them out. You might want to watch out, he
infected the demons he released with a huge demon flu so they couldn't
spread too far." She walked off shaking her head.
"Ma'am, who are you?" one of the officers called.
She grinned back at him. "The slayer Faith." She whistled as
she strolled off, strutting just a bit. She did have it to
flaunt. She deserved some nice staring at her ass. She ran
into a guy in a old charger, staring at him. "What? Too hot
for you to handle?" she quipped.
"Ma'am, I'm a hunter."
She grinned. "I'm a slayer. I'm told some of yours are now at the conference in Colorado with Buffy."
He smiled. "That's good! What happened?" She walked
him off telling him about Xander and what had happened. She was
going to make sure that the hunters respected Xander more than his
former friends ever did. She owed it to him.
John Winchester got a text from a friend and gaped at the boy. "The flu?"
"A demon version they weren't immune to because it occurred after they
had been trapped." He smiled. "Did Faith get the other
one?" John nodded slowly. "Wonderful." He
grinned. "And boom, no more law firm threat." He waved a
hand. The dog pounced it so he petted him. "I'm sorry, did I
quit petting, Melusia?" he teased, smiling at the dog. He barked
and got cuddly. He even crawled up into his human's lap.
Xander let him and pet him.
The general was slowly shaking his head. "What did you do?"
"I took out the rest of that law firm. I warned them multiple
times. I'm a man of my word. Beyond that, I made sure that
they quit prompting bad ideas that would kill everyone for their
The demon nodded. "They were pushing some of the demons to step up
for their rights and some of the soldiers to do horrific things."
"Is my financial guy possessed or one of them?"
"One of them."
"Huh," Xander said. "Is Buffy's phone here?" John took it
and sild it toward him. "If I touch it, whatever Willow's funky
curse is will kill it. Can someone text that last number she
texted and tell them about that?" Sam Carter took it to do
that. Then she handed Xander her phone. Which quit
working. He turned his head in her direction. "How new is
it? A few of the new android phones can get calls and texts in but
"Huh," she said, taking it to pull apart and test. She and Rodney
went over it. It should work. It wasn't but it should.
"I'm pretty sure it's a curse," Xander admitted. "I have no idea who did it if it wasn't her."
"It probably was," Buffy said as she walked in. "Did you whammy my phone?"
"No." She got it and sat back down. "He fine?"
"Angel's resting in my room. I won't even jump him later. Is
Fred all right?" Sam Carter called to get a situation report and
nodded. "Good. I'd hate to have to destroy the military for
"Amen, sister," Xander quipped.
She stared at him. "What did you do?"
"I had the bottles booby-trapped," he said with a smile. "A tiny
vial of blood mixed with a flu sample." She whimpered. "And I
sent Faith something to kill anything that made it past the flu."
Cordelia appeared, staring at him. "I can feel you. Am I
still cute enough for you?"
"Sometimes evil enough for me," she said dryly. "You missed the senior partners. They weren't eaten."
"Do they get flu shots?"
She paused. "I don't know," she admitted. "The Powers are in comas from the backlash of power changing hands."
"Sorry, not a real deity, no matter what some people claim in bed."
She smiled. "Good point."
"My house and puppies?"
"They're good. You might want to talk to her."
"I might want to make sure my accounts are all there too," he said dryly.
"I think someone's doing that for you. Clearly you get mean when
they start thinking you're an easy target and helpless." Xander
grinned and nodded. "Shit, this is going to be bad," she muttered
as she disappeared. She went to D'Hoffryn. "They screwed
"I had to tell him about Gretchen."
"He's livid. He's at the smiling kindly stage of livid, D'Hoffryn."
"I know." He took a swig from a Pepto bottle. "I can feel
it. I've had my people go reclaim what's his. I've had them
add punitive damages. I had one of the other law firms' best
people help him. He will sell those other bottles if this is all
"He said he'd dust them."
"He sells half to the Council. Winchester can afford it at the
rate they had before." She nodded, going to put that into writing
in front of Sam. Plus that there were people helping Xander's
things. Then she faded back out.
Sam looked at it then at the weird guy. "The glowy one gave me a
note saying that the Council's buying half of the remaining bottles for
the rate the first three were bought for and they've got someone working
to get all your stuff back."
"Cool," he said with a slight grin. "Thank you, Sam. I'll appreciate the new twelve billion."
"Excuse me?" John asked.
Derek nodded. "That's fair. I know the demon community had
them relatively cheaply because no one wanted to risk owning one."
"I got all of the ones I had for nine thousand," Xander said with a
happy grin. "Though now I have to hire a new housekeeper and a new
"Nick knows some very nice people. He'll see if there's some that
are very protective." Xander beamed at him and nodded.
Another general walked in. "General, the President wants to talk to you. He's at Cheyenne."
Xander tipped his head back. "Is Fred all right?"
"She's under very competent medical care, Mr. Harris. She's being
fussed over and poor babied until she wants to scream and my people are
highly offended on her behalf. The ones that the colonels left are
"Thank you. Fred's a really great woman," Xander said. "I'd hate to kill anyone else who hurt her."
"So would we." He patted him on the head. "Cute dog."
It stared at him. "I saw one of those in the mess the other day."
"He's a hellhound. His name is Melusia. Melusia, this is a
general that we're told is decent." The dog sniffed him and let
him pet his ears. "Good boy." He petted the dog. "The
"The president is very upset. He's back to swearing." That
general walked out moaning. "As for right now, the hotel is really
upset that this meeting is turning out so weird."
"I know," Xander admitted. His phone beeped. "Hey!
Someone removed the curse!" He took it out to listen to the voice
reading the text message. "Awww. Thanks, Danny." He
texted back to him. "I need one with a keyboard but I broke my
last one beating the crap out of someone who broke in."
Buffy took it to text better for him. "There." She handed it back. "There's an app that reads text messages?"
"Yeah, someone at one of the schools for the blind made one. It's
generally available for free through most of them." He put his
phone back. "Thank you."
"Welcome." She sat down too. "So, General....."
"Landry, Hank Landry. I'm over all three Colonels and Doctor McKay's project, ma'am."
"Buffy Summers." She smiled at him. "The senior slayer since I'm the longest called."
"Pleasure to meet you, miss." He nodded at her. Another man walked in. "Jack, problems?" he asked quietly.
"I got nominated because I went off on some people who deserved
it. Since I could tell Sheppard to quit stomping someone's head
into the grated floor and got Mitchell to quit beating the crap out of
another one, it's my duty."
Sam Carter smiled. "Nice to work with you again, sir. Here's
what we've figured out so far." He read it, nodding
slightly. "We need to set rules for the soldiers doing the actual
guarding and handling of any peaceful protests."
"Agreed. There's no reason to make anything peaceful mad enough to
change that. It didn't work in the sixties, it doesn't work
now." He sat down in the other general's seat. "Thanks,
"Welcome, Jack." He left this headache in his hands.
John and Cam got beamed back. "Sir, finished beating idiots until they learned something," Cam said, saluting with a grin.
"Thank you, guys. I'm glad we could stop that. Sit."
They sat down. "What, exactly, happened just now in LA?"
Xander told him. "Okay," he decided. "You can have
*one*." Xander stared at him. "My original group, which
includes both colonels, both doctors, and a bunch of weird stuff, will
guard the two that Winchester and the Council isn't buying. If we
have to use them, we'll release them on bad things that are attacking
from the outside, like the wraith if you've heard of them."
"I have actually."
"I got the notes on how any takeover would go," Jack said. "We'll
handle it that way." Xander grinned and slid two down to
him. "Thank you. The self destruct?"
"Even better. Hand Sam his three please?" Xander did
that. "Thank you. We want you able to protect yourself but
being less paranoid, especially around those in this room. I doubt
anyone in here is going to hurt you."
"She's the redhead up the hall," Buffy mouthed. She was watching Willow storm their way.
"How dare you do that!" Willow shouted as she stomped in and slammed open the doors. "They're soldiers, Xander!"
"Who just raped Fred," Xander told her. "Tortured Angel. Had
Wes, Gunn, and Connor to torture." She growled. The dog
bayed a happy bark at her. Willow tried to magic him but Xander
protected him. Xander sneered at her. "You're so dark," he
said. "I don't think you ever could find your way back to the
"I'm not dark!" she shouted.
"Bullshit. If you weren't, you'd care that your friends got attacked."
"Who said they're my friends?" she demanded. Wesley cleared his
throat. "Even you! You're more worthless than he was."
He punched her, making her fall down.
"Oh, crap," Buffy said, jumping on Willow when she got up. Her hair was starting to change colors.
Xander took the easy route and pulled something out, weighing it in his
hand before reloading his gun. "Move, Buffy." She whimpered,
not moving. "Now. It's clear her magic addiction is
speaking and the bribes from the bad people are still working."
She sneered and shot a spell at him. He shot her. She went
down and started to cry. "I don't usually shoot people in a fatal
manner, Willow. It leads to lacking later questioning." He
stared at her. "You've been endangering me for years. You've
cost seven people their lives because you told them where you had set
me up. Even after I left they still attacked that apartment a few
times. Killed seven people." She tried to back away from
"You burn bad witches, Harris, not shoot them," John Winchester said firmly. "We can do that."
"Actually in her case, the bullets are special." He popped the
clip out and let him have it. "That's a hollow glass tube with a
potion that leaches powers back and taint back where it should be.
Two more of those and she'll be powerless forever."
John took the gun to reload. "That's not a bad idea by my way of
thinking." He got up and walked Willow off, taking her outside so
he could handle her. Then they'd talk about her dark tendencies
and how she had gotten powers. She clearly wasn't a bloodlined
"I don't disagree with binding her or whatever," Buffy said. "I
don't want him to kill her, Xander. I can't lose any more."
"He won't," Sam said. "There's nowhere to start a bonfire
now. You take her home later and keep her there." Buffy
nodded. "Are you guys going back to Sunnydale?"
"I am. Faith might stay in LA for a while."
"Let me know when I take charge." She smiled and nodded.
"I'll make sure you girls are backed up. There's no reason for
trained people to be sitting on their butts in a library when there's a
crisis going on."
"Thanks, Sam." She sat down again. "Xander, why did you bring those bullets?"
"Because there's been a few witches that've been trying me
recently. Things like the phone curse and one trying to poison me
in Miami for being me."
"She does it to all hunters," the demon said.
"Good to know."
"The other two you've used them on have both warranted a good burning,"
the demon assured him. "That one... I'm not sure what her problem
is or if it's her problem or someone else's problem."
"If there's a someone else I'd guess that's a combination," Sam
said. "She's been said to have a magic addiction? She nearly
ended the world?" Buffy shuddered but nodded. "No. We
want people on the light, or reformed and back on the light's side, to
help the slayers." He looked at Spike.
"Most fun I've had in decades," he quipped with an evil smirk.
"The minute that chip breaks, you're a fun toy," Connor assured him.
"I like you, boy," Spike decided with an evil smirk for him.
"Should turn you into my next princess. It'd make sense since
Angelus made my last one too."
"Um, eww," Xander said. "I don't want to imagine Angel getting
down and funky with anyone, whoever his mother was included."
"Darla," Buffy said.
"Even more gross. She was the blonde one, right?" Buffy nodded. "Yes, no?"
"Yup," Spike said.
"Then eww. She's hopefully dead?"
"Went to dust when I was born," Connor sighed. "Which is so fucked up."
Buffy stared at him. "Language."
"At least I didn't have labor pains with you," she decided, cracking him
up. "Gunn, are your people coming to Sunnydale for a few days?"
"We might," he admitted. "It's probably safer if they're still scared of all this."
"Yeah, I called Willie and he said most of the demons are still hiding
and shaking under blankies," Buffy told him. "Lots of vamps though
if you need to train some new people."
"Sure," he said with a smile for her.
"Whoa," Jack O'Neill said. "Train them?"
"He runs a street gang that helps the homeless be protected from the
vamps," Buffy said with a smile. "They're real handy to have at my
back too. Faith got some flirting with them. They
appreciate that one of the ones Willow activated was from Harlem and
another one from Senegal."
"They're sweet girls," Gunn agreed. "My guys could do worse than flirt with the slayers."
"We'd like the military to handle most everything," O'Neill said. They all shook their heads. "No why?"
"Because too many things have been going on for ages," Derek said.
"My group does a lot of artifact work. The roaming hunters take
care of smaller, regional problems or spirits causing a group
problems. The military cannot be everywhere."
"We'd like to have you handle the bigger things," Buffy said.
"Usually we have a good handle on what's going on. A few times a
year I handle something a bit bigger and then an apocalypse attempt in
the spring. LA gets about the same thing."
"Until you can sit a demon hunting-trained soldier at least in every
county, you'll never be able to handle all of it," Xander said.
"Guys like John will still probably be hunting in this generation and
whatever of the next has started. For them, it's a clear case of
'it won't happen again' and 'I'll get that bastard'. I've got some
of that myself."
Gunn nodded. "Me too. They took my sister."
"I get that," Jack agreed. "But anything too huge, I want the soldiers to handle."
Xander felt along the notes he had tapped out with a pencil. "The
midwest is mostly covered. LA is covered. San Fran and a few
other cities in the world are covered. How likely is it that
another city is going to be targeted?" he asked, turning his head in
"The next is due in London actually," the demon sighed. "New York
will probably not go up outside some localized gangs and some localized
protests. The same for most east coast cities and Chicago.
Denver has a planned protest next week sometime." The general
nodded, making notes. The demon pulled out his phone to get into
something. He tapped out a message and got one back. "The
demons would be very honored for the most part if the soldiers would
make sure that any peaceful protests stay peaceful. The locals are often
trying to make anything peaceful less than peaceful. Including
trying to kill us."
"I can see that being part of the job," Jack agreed. "Anything huge like a battle is our job though."
The demon smiled. "That is not a problem for the peaceful
communities. I will bring you to the local council later so they
can call a talk about upcoming things and any problems we hear.
That way we can tell you where things are planned and any rumors we hear
of the bad things."
"Get him onto the D'A'Kar website," Xander said.
"That does have most of it," the demon agreed with a smile. "Not all of the attacks though."
"There's a lot of rumors and the ones that aren't I'm pretty sure he's got a guy who can learn to play kitten poker."
"That is not a bad idea," Spike agreed. "That'd help a lot. That's how we got ours."
"Outside flipping through the prophecy books," Buffy agreed.
Sam cleared his throat. "When the library's mine I'll gladly let their people browse and get what they need."
Sam Carter smiled at him. "That would be appreciated, Sam."
He grinned back. "How long do you think it'll take?"
"He said they'd sleep until I opened the door. Wesley, can you
come with me?" Wesley smiled and nodded. "Thank you."
"Wes, I'm sorry about your dad," Xander said quietly. Wesley
patted him on the arm. Buffy was making a whining noise. "He
attacked my apartment in Miami."
"Maybe Sunnydale was safer," she muttered. He smirked at
her. "Okay, so the prophecy things can be passed on, Sam?"
He nodded. "That'll help. I know Giles doesn't have a full
set of books."
"I don't think anyone can," Xander said. "Their library's said to
be at least the size of UC Hellmouth's biggest building, including an
underground layer full of possessed books." Spike nodded, making a
slightly moan-like tiny noise. "What? Your relatives
were? Wow, I thought Angelus only saved you from a life as a
"You were?" Buffy asked.
"My uncle was," he corrected. "They wanted me to join and I ran
from them. Boring, stupid shite really." He was flipping his
lighter over and over in his fingers.
Xander finally reached over and snatched it, tossing it in a corner behind him. "Quit. I get echos from that."
"What's wrong? Too sensitive?" Spike sneered.
"No, if I was I'd ask Blair for help," he said dryly. "That tapping echos."
"Fine, whatever," Spike growled.
"Keep it up, watch me set you up with someone."
Spike shook his head quickly, turning into a shudder. "No, you have bad taste."
"Is that why Dru liked me so much?" he quipped back with an evil smirk.
"Proved she was evil," Buffy quipped. "But she was a vampire, Xander."
"She's still a vampire."
"Bull, we killed her," Gunn said.
"Bullshit," Xander shot back. "I got a letter from her last week in Miami. She was in Mexico City."
Spike nodded. "I've gotten a few of those too. Not as
flowing as they usually were so I can't be sure it's not her in a more
"It sounded like her when I had my native guide read it to me. I
felt her blush too. She was real blunt about what she thought
kittens were good for." He patted himself down. "Did I bring
down my brown bag?" Sam Carter handed it to him.
"Thanks." He found it and slid it across the table.
Spike read it and nodded. "That's Dru's handwriting." Gunn
took it and blushed. "She always did agree that you were the best
hope for a childe between us." He shook his head again.
"She's still batty though. You're not furry and don't have the ears."
Xander grinned. "You didn't read the part where she was going to
change me by magic, then turn me as a kitten and change me back?"
Spike stood up and snatched the letter to finish it. He wanted to
look, you could tell by the look on his face, but he was also wanting to
scream. Xander nodded. "Yeah."
Buffy reached over to take it and read, blushing a lot. She was
bright red down into her cleavage. "Yeah," she decided,
putting it into her bag. "We'll tell her you're not interested,
"Sure. Have fun talking to her. The princess is clearly a bit short of the true dark."
Spike sat down with a sigh. "Any other shocks?"
Xander patted the bag and found something, tossing it at Spike's head. "Found it in a store in Miami."
Spike looked at it, grinning. "Blood flavored gum?" He read
the ingredients and the 'how we do it' section. "Thanks." He
pulled out a piece and popped it in his mouth, humming in
pleasure. "Tastes right."
Xander grinned. "Large goth population."
"Good for me, means I don't want a snack." He leaned back in his chair chewing his gum.
Buffy shook her head. "Eww."
"Some people like the taste of blood I guess," John Sheppard said.
Winchester nodded. "Yeah, some do. Still weird."
Xander pointed at Spike. "Point taken, kid. Can you maybe
Xander grinned. "I am relaxed. But tomorrow I go home to talk to my housekeeper and others."
"If I didn't have to go to England," Sam quipped.
"He has backup out there," Buffy said, waving her phone.
"I hope," Xander muttered. "So, General, any other plans we have to make?"
"Not yet. Are you going to be open for another conference say in
January? That way we can see if the bigger thing in the spring is
going to need us?" Everyone nodded. "Hold it here?"
"Cali would be nice. I'll probably be there," Buffy said. "Spike too."
"I'm local," the demon said. "I have an elder out that way who
would probably sit if we nagged him into it. He doesn't really
like humans but it's better than an all-out war."
"Hozar," Xander said.
"He would be a good choice as well. We can elect someone to speak
for us," he decided, looking at the general. "If we are still
"I'd never want to bother anything that was already peaceful. My
plate's full without it," Jack told him. "Elect someone."
That got a nod. "Winchester?"
"I can be over that way. I travel all over the country so I'll head that way around the holidays."
"Christmas and Yule is quiet," Buffy told him. The demon and Spike shook his head. "Not this year?"
"Two Old Ones are doing something in the midwest," Spike told her. "Ancient Gods who got demoted."
Xander nodded. "They're not real active though. And Samra's supposed to show up about then too."
"Samra?" Buffy asked, frowning some. "Do I know that one?"
The demon leaned over to look down at her. "No. Your watcher
should know the name though." Wesley nodded quickly, writing out a
note to hand to Buffy.
"Aw, Snorvil crap!" she muttered. Connor burst out laughing.
"Connor, I might need some backing up." She let him see it.
He nodded. "Yeah, I can help you destroy that." He handed it back. "Can we check on Fred?"
"I can take you to the base so you can," Jack agreed. He looked at
the others, who nodded. "Harris, are you going to be all right to
get to the airport tomorrow?"
"Probably. I can get a cab."
"If not, I'll be here tonight," Sam said quietly, staring at his father.
"I can get us a room," he agreed. Sam nodded and they stood up
when Xander did. Sam took his new bottles of threat with him and
Xander got his and his bags. The hellhound puppy followed
properly, like it normally would for a seeing eye dog. Which the
Winchesters thought was weird but Xander had proved he wasn't normal by
Xander walked out of the airport and sighed. He smelled the smog
from the cars. He heard a lot of chatter. Not all of it good
chatter. He heard someone who jingled like they had a lot of
keys. "Are the cabs here?" he asked.
"Two doors up, sir, to the left."
"Thank you." Xander and his dog walked that way, Xander pulling
the trolley of bags behind him. "Cabs, Melusia," he said
quietly. "Like cars for hire." The dog barked and led him to
one. Xander sniffed. "Foret."
"Knight. Going home?"
"I am." He let him take the cab and got into the car.
Melusia sat beside him. The car took off and drove out of the
congested airport. "Big storm coming?"
"Yes, in two days. There's no evacuations but a lot of people with
second homes here are heading home." The driver glanced back at
him. "What happened during the summit?"
"A lot. We stopped the people that had the LA team captive.
We worked things out with O'Neill about when to meet next, how to
integrate them into the hunters and other organizations. I got
some concessions from Buffy that I'm not actually helpless."
"We were told there was a wish made?"
"When I sent that bottle at Wolfram and Hart, things got
unraveled. D'Hoffryn decided Sam Winchester is the perfect person
to reform the Watchers Council onto the Light's side." He
smiled. "He seems pretty decent. Educated, was going for a
law degree. Son of a hunter and brother of another so he
understands the duty, not the bottom line."
"I have heard of his father and brother," the driver admitted. "I will tell the others."
"Don't touch Sam. His daddy's going to go bitch worse than I did
on the world if Sam's hurt. Especially since a lot were counting
on the demons taking them out."
"Hmm," he said with a grimace. "I've heard rumors." He changed roads.
"We're going along the coast?"
"The other has school busses. It'll take forever."
"That's fine. Just wondering."
The driver smiled at the mirror. "We know you're paranoid."
"After so many attacks in Miami? Yeah. Just a bit. How's my dogs?"
"They're good from what I have heard. Will they go into service?"
"Some. Some may train as police dogs. They have the right temperament."
"That's good. Do they know they're half hellhound?"
"The ones that help me with them do."
"I'll probably bring one into my own service so Melusia can go to
whoever he's been training himself for." He looked at the dog, who
lapped him. "Thanks, pupkins." The dog rested his head on
Xander's shoulder. "Any other news I should hear?"
"Not at the moment." He changed roads again but this time it was
back onto the main road where Xander's house was. Xander relaxed
again. "Are the slayers well?"
"Yes. And Sam Winchester allowed Willow to be bound and depowered
so she could go back to helping Buffy. Her magic addiction is
still out of control. Thankfully Naomi's helping her." He
smiled. "She needs an earth-centered mentor."
"The henna-haired one? The mother of the bouncy, smart, curly haired one?"
"Yup." He grinned.
"Then I believe we won't have to much worry about her again."
"I did shoot her with one of those potion bullets."
"Then John Winchester took her for a talk."
"Oooh," he said with a wince and a hiss. "At least Buffy will not
be missing her too much." He changed lanes to get off the main
road and onto the smaller road Xander lived on. It wasn't much
farther. He parked in the driveway and got out, taking the bags to
put by the door. Xander held out a bill. "That's a ten,
Knight." Xander got another one and the demon took a third,
patting him on the arm. He drove off, going back to his proper
escort duties. His elders had to know the Knight was back and not
Xander ran his swipe card and pushed in the code. He put his bags
inside by the door and then turned and locked it. He paused and
listened. Gretchen was in the kitchen. He walked that way to
lean in the doorway and listen to what she was doing. "So, how
much do they pay you?" he asked, making her flinch. She dropped a
glass. "And are you my housekeeper because of them or because you
want to be?" he asked quietly.
"You heard?" she asked, moving to grab the broom so she could clean up the mess.
"Yeah. Found out from Anya actually."
"The disease doc?"
"Um...." She straightened up to stare at him. "Anyanka told you?" He nodded. "I...."
"I've considered you like family for years, Gretchen," he said
quietly. "And this... This is fucking with my head worse
than Buffy and Willow did. So let's be honest."
"They wanted you watched." She finished cleaning up the mess.
"Did you stay because of that?"
She looked at him. "You are my client, Xander. I may be a half-demon but you're not. Possessions don't count."
"No, but you can make a family from those you're not related to. Which I have for many years."
"Well.... I'm not on that track."
"Then I'd suggest that you have a nice life. Preferably somewhere
else." She stomped off. He turned to lean his back against
the doorframe, sighing a bit. The dog barked and he petted
him. "Thanks, Melusia. You're a good friend to have
too. Who has the dogs?" he called.
Xander found the house phone. "Call Wolfe." Nothing
happened. He checked, it beeped so it was on. "What did you
"What?" she demanded. He waved the phone. "I didn't touch the phone, Xander."
"I know it's not the same curse that Willow put on mine the night of the
trial." She sneered. "I can feel that you know." She
stomped off. "Is that why the kitchen smells like rat poison too?"
"I was making my grandmother something."
"I thought you guys were allergic to arsenic too." He pushed in
the number, not getting any signal at all. "Fuck," he muttered,
going to the office. He found his spare cellphone in there and
used it. "Call Wolfe." It dialed, going right to customer
service. "What happened to my phone?" he asked calmly. She
told him. "No, I paid the bill already this month." She read
off what happened. "I'm going to kill that man. Please
do. No, it's not closed. If he did I'm going to ruin him and
then kill him. No, ma'am, he's my conservator because I'm blind,"
he said bluntly. She reran it but the payment wouldn't go
through. "Thank you." He walked off, going to get something
he had hidden in his bedroom, which wasn't there.
"The lawyers took it the last time they broke in," she called.
He sighed, walking outside. He looked up then around. "Fuck
this shit," he muttered, going to build a fire in the grill. He
used what little magic he had to do a 'please call me' sort of
summoning. It let someone know that you needed them. Then he
walked off muttering. Wolfe showed up a bit later with the dogs,
looking unamused. "Did you know that Gretchen was sent to keep
watch on me by the community?"
"Or that my conservator decided to cancel my accounts, and no one knows where they are?"
"No, I didn't." He got out of the car and walked over. "Are you okay?"
"No. If I drank I'd be shit roaring drunk and throwing things," he
said bluntly. "Thankfully I'm not." He rubbed his
forehead. "Can today just be a very bad dream?" he asked quietly.
"Sure, we can consider it that. Let's get the puppies inside
before Melusia goes through my car door to nuzzle them." He got
the dogs inside with the boy. Gretchen stomped off. Mack
followed her to the curb, making her turn around. "Is that the
"I'm not his family," she growled.
"Humans collect those around them that are like family," he said
firmly. "He considered you close enough for that, Gretchen.
Was it all an act to watch over him?" She got her arm free.
"It's none of your business, human."
"It is because I'll have that bar shut down," he told her.
She laughed, shaking her head. "We have people all around the government."
"Yes, but I can call the governor." She gaped. "So can the kid."
"Not now," she said smugly.
He smirked back. "Which means you're under arrest for aiding and
abetting felony theft and embezzlement." She shrieked but he did
it anyway. The cab company sped off when they saw that. He
called the local officers in Robbery to come get her and why. They
sent a demon officer. Wolfe stared at him. "Are you going
to do the same thing?"
"Hell no. Even if McGarrett did take all his artillery and
Winchester has three of the bottles, no!" Mack stared him
down. "The law's the law."
"Good. Then find it for him please?" He handed her
over. "She was *assigned* to watch over him." He walked off,
going to calm Xander down. He was in the backyard petting the
dogs while sitting on the ground. "Hey," he said, squatting beside
him. "It'll be okay."
"I'm fighting my urge to kill."
"I know you are."
"Both of them."
"I know. I called Robbery, they'll find it, Xander."
"I sensed the demon."
"He said he'd be following the law." Xander nodded once and went
back to petting the dogs. "McGarrett did an inventory."
"That's fine. I almost expected to come home to nothing. Did he get the shelves in there and the little cave?"
"No. I never showed him those." Xander let out a weak
smile. Mack petted him. "You're tired. Go to bed for
now. Get up in the morning and hopefully some things will be
"Willow was working with them too," he said quietly.
"I'm pretty sure someone's going to stop them." He helped Xander
up and inside. The puppies tripped over each other but followed to
nap with him. He looked at the hellhound. "You're good to
him," he said quietly. The dog barked and went in there to get his
own petting time in. Mack went to the kitchen to bottle up
whatever she had been cooking that stunk. He wanted to test
it. He tested everything else that was open in the kitchen, just
in case. Someone knocked. "Back here," he called, walking
toward the open front door. "Didn't I close that?" The
officer shook his head. "All right. What's wrong?"
"You're Mack Wolfe?"
"Detective, retired, but yes. Why?"
"Our Commander wants you."
"I'm watching over the resident. He's blind and his housekeeper
turned out to be stealing from him. I'd say he could call but she
and her accomplice had the phones turned off."
The officer winced. "He's going to scream."
"Tell him to come scream at me in person," he ordered. "And if he
doesn't like it, he didn't need me." The officer nodded and walked
off to call that in. He handed Mack his phone to talk to his
boss. "Wolfe." He listened. "Yay. Really."
He listened again. "I don't think that stealing over ten billion
dollars is legal, do you?" The commander spluttered. "That's
what this resident is worth. She was his housekeeper and acted in
collusion with his conservator. No, he's blind. He's very
"No, we're talking about Xander Harris. Look up the file," he said
dryly. The commander did and moaned. Wolfe had gotten
permission to add to it about the death threats, which were now
prominently mentioned, and about the attacks in Miami. "Do you
really think I want to leave him alone since she has been with him for
over ten years of lying to him?" he asked quietly. "I'm staying
here. Thank you." He hung up and tossed the phone
back. "Have a good shift, Sergeant."
"You have a better night too, sir." He got into his cruiser and drove off.
Mack went back to looking over the kitchen. He had no idea where
the kid's money was. His hacker friend couldn't find it
either. Maybe Blair knew a better one? His phone beeped with
an account number. He called Danny Williams to read it to
him. "What's that?" he asked. He looked it up.
"Banking is good. His conservator closed his accounts totally and
Gretchen was with him as an assignment. Bed. I had him nap,"
he said quietly, walking back outside. "Where is it?" He
nodded. "Can we get it back? Yeah, I talked to them
already. Thanks, man. Here. Gretchen was doing
something that smelled like rat poison." He hung up and went back
to cleaning up in there. Maybe Xander needed a real change.
He called Father Philip to warn him as well.
Sam Winchester made it through Customs in England, getting met by
someone holding a sign with his name on it. He nodded cautiously
at them. "Who sent you?"
"Precept Rayne said to give you his greetings, sir."
Sam grinned. "Thank you." He followed him out to the
car. Anyanka had shown up to tell him what D'Hoffryn had done for
his swearing in. So they had good plans until something happened.
Not all of the watchers had been stunned into accepting it. The
ones outside the building hadn't been. He was expecting a fight
from them. Cordelia faded in next to him. He smiled at
her. "Good evening, Messenger Chase."
She pinched him on the cheek. "You have very nice manners, Sam. Why are you with a watcher?"
"I was waiting for the trap to be sprung," he said happily. He
also pulled his gun. Anyanka had given him a way to hide it from
everything, even being felt during a pat down. One person had seen
it but he had seen his name and shuddered so apparently he had
heard. "How's everyone else?"
"Agents rushed in today to arrest Rosenburg. She had been being
paid on the side for years to be Wolfram and Hart's pet hacker."
He nodded once. She grinned. "Apparently she hacked into a
great many things and that hotty general said he'd had enough."
"They hit Harris again?"
"His own people did. So he's in a royally pissy mood too.
Between that and his housekeeper he's in the same sort of mood he was
when he was first blinded. If they hadn't gotten his accounts so
thoroughly they could send him to Boston and Father Philip to calm him
down. Since we can't and his phone's dead, we can't get him to
calm down. Not that I blame him. If I had the authority I'd
send him to Boston myself. Philip will hopefully be able to talk
him out of destroying a good chunk of people this time."
"Was he always that way?" he asked.
"No. Xander used to be the most giving, nice, goofy, loyal guy
there was. The girls decided he needed to be sent away for his own
good. Kept saying he had to be protected because he was
"I heard some of that."
"He avoids those two because that was light shooting back at them.
Back when it happened he nearly talked someone into taking him home so
he could talk to them." Sam shivered. "Yeah, we couldn't
allow that. He would've destroyed *everything* in town." She
patted him on the hand. "You know what you're to do?" He
nodded. "Good boy, Sam." She smiled at him. "You'll do
fine. That's why the Powers nominated you." She winked and
settled in for the ride. "At least it's a pretty country once you
get outside all the smog in London."
"It is. Like a lot of movies," he said. "Our midwest isn't
quite like this, it's more productive than just large fields of grass."
She smiled. "It probably was at one time." They made it to
the Council's main building and they got out. The driver was
grumbling but yay. She smiled at him. "I'm the Messenger for
the Powers That Be, buddy. Be more respectful of my magnificence
since you can't even *hope* to get something as good as I am."
Sam looked at the door and opened it. People inside started to
break free of the sleep spell. He walked past them to the special
room in the center of the underground library. They had gotten him
a map. He did get lost once but that was fine. He found a
sword. He bled on the stone obelisk in there, chanting the words
that showed up as he had been told to do. All around the building a
gong sounded. Those who were awake looked scared. Sam
strolled back, sword in hand. He let Cordelia lead him to the
office, smiling at his receptionist. "Hi, Sam Winchester."
"It'll be okay. Even the Powers like it," Cordelia assured
her. She opened the door and Sam strode in, pulling the former
head of the council out of his seat and putting him on the floor.
"He'll wake up last," she said smugly.
"Wonderful. They can arrest him for setting contracts on people's
lives for all I care." He sat down and the desk changed.
Everything he touched changed to suit his own tastes. He got up
and did the rest of the office. "I like this a lot more than
decorating." She cackled.
Someone stomped in. "Who're you, boy?"
Sam looked at him. "Sam Winchester. I was appointed head of the Council."
"You're not one of us."
"No, but my father's a hunter, so's my brother." The guy's sneer
got worse. Cordelia snapped a few times for attention. "She
"You're that Chase girl," one realized. She smirked and nodded. "What are *you* doing here?"
Whistler showed up in a loud clap of thunder. Not his usual style
but sometimes you had to be official. "Shut up." They
gasped. "Sam is our choice to head the Council since you've gotten
darker than Wolfram and Hart was." He stared around then at Sam,
who grinned and patted another bookshelf to change it. "Not bad
taste, kid. You ready for your first called job?"
"Is it having Travers arrested for setting contracts? Oh, and how do I buy those bottles from Xander?"
"I'll arrange that," his secretary said quietly. He smiled and put
them on the side of his desk. She stared then at him. "He
only has three left?"
"We're only buying three. The US military has two. He still
has one though and I'm told he's in an absolutely foul mood at the
moment." He grinned. "For right now, I want a sit rep from
everyone, every single research topic and all that. That way I can
see where we're already going against rules. You're Whistler,
right?" he asked the new demon, who nodded with a smirk. "What did
they need me to do?"
"Well, first, present the sword to the Queen," he said dryly. Sam
grinned. "And second, the Mathiason project has got to go."
"Yeah, not really a good idea to summon more demons to this plane," Cordelia said dryly.
The watchers standing around nodded. "I guess I'll get that with
the sit rep," Sam said with a smile. "If I don't get one from
everyone within a day, I'm firing whoever I haven't personally talked
"Fell off the railroad tracks," Cordelia told her. "Down into the ravines of the dark."
"That's nearly poetic," Whistler told her.
She grinned. "I'm not much of one but it fits. They can
climb out of them if they want." She stared at them. "The
Powers said it's sad when the vengeance demons have to help them
straighten out something that should be one of their strongest weapons
for the light." She faded out.
Whistler looked at Sam. "She'll be calling for an interview soon. Present her with the sword, Sam."
"Good boy and you don't bark like Harris does," he sighed, disappearing.
Sam clapped his hands together with a smile. "Also, you should all
know that I'm a fantastic shot myself. My father drilled guns
into me at a very young age. Being a hunter is like that." A
few moaned. "I believe I asked for a sit rep. Start with
that project. Within an hour." They stomped off. When a
few had shown up within that hour, mostly because they didn't want to
piss off the new head of the Council, he was really pleased. The
rest, Sam took the sword to talk to people and make new friends.
He was pretty good at making new friends.
to next part.