Tony took the day off to meet with an older friend-ish sort that was also in Crown and Court but from Canada instead. They had talked a lot over the years, Tony using some of his hidden skills to augment his friend's . "Hi."
"Anthony." He smiled and shook his hand. "What's wrong? You sounded confused and wanted help only *I* could give?"
"I, and Gregory House, have the more physical version of John Sheppard under our care." Rodney shuddered at that. "Almost the exact same attitude, the same mannerisms half the time, only he doesn't like to fly. He's a construction sort. He recently lost an eye, he is ATA positive but on the weak side," he said more quietly. He handed over the file he had on the kid. "You're the expert at dealing with John so Gregory and I think you'd have a great idea on how to encourage him toward something easier to handle. I'll add he does absolutely horrible in lecture learning since I know it's not in there. He got an inheritance about two weeks ago from his former fiancee."
"Is that because he has undiagnosed learning issues?" Rodney asked, sipping his water as he scanned the file.
"Yes. We're fairly certain that and his latent ADD came out a few times as well. Plus he was friends with the school genius, who basically raised him."
Rodney grimaced. "So it pushed him down even further. Was he in any gifted classes?"
"His school..." Tony pulled their file up from the California Board of Education site. Rodney took the laptop to look at, giving him a horrified look. "Exactly."
"Is it still in operation?"
"No, the whole town got sank recently."
"Well, I suppose that's useful of that point of problematic issues."
"There was a battle," he said quietly. "Which is why Xander lost the eye thanks to a minion and his former fiancee." He leaned on the table. "He is *so* much like John I want them to meet. I think if John's looking, he'd be an excellent consort for him," he said quietly. "He's not for someone powerful or who has to do public things but for someone who does *things* all day."
"I can see that allure," Rodney agreed. He considered it. Then he made notes on the laptop. "It's a varied set of skills but we could use someone whose only job was to fix things. Like hallways." He looked up. "It's a two year degree and some other skills he can pick up at a vo-tech center."
"He'd enjoy that and he's looking at other careers." Tony smiled. "He's a bit sweet, a bit salty, very practical, and very 'fuck this' when things happen. He went into the battle after losing his eye. We released him back for it." Rodney shuddered. "Also, did you get to the medical portion?" Rodney went back to the file, making squeaky noises as he read and waved it. "Which is why I'm bringing this to the expert of dealing with that sort of personality meeting the improbable situation."
"He is *so* Sheppard's happier clone!"
"Yup." Tony grinned. "They're going to offer for him."
"He would do fantastic with John, or they'd rub each other the wrong way constantly."
"I'm betting it'll be fantastic because I am." John Sheppard sat down. "How do you know Tony?" he asked with a grin.
Rodney stared at him. "You never asked, Sheppard."
"It's not like I could come out and simply ask if you were a member," he said dryly. "It's not that sort of group."
Rodney handed over the file. "A new admittance to the group."
John read it over, snickering. "Are we related?" he asked Tony.
"Not that we can find. Keep going, it gets better. The kid scarily reminds me of you, John."
"Yes, he does, only he doesn't like to fly."
"He's only been on three planes," Tony told him. "Here from Sunnydale and then back and back here."
"Then maybe being in something more intimate will help that." He kept going, sitting up suddenly. "How in the hell?"
Tony glanced then grinned. "High school swim coach. We're working on that."
"We have something that may help that," John muttered. "It helped mine." He looked at him. "Is he going to take it?"
"He's still thinking but he's seeing good things. Including that we helped him with Anya's stuff. His former fiancee Anyanka died in the battle." John whimpered, shaking his head. Rodney was cackling, shaking his own. Tony grinned. "He left her at the altar because he said her friends showed him how bad it was going to be."
"Yeah, he belongs with us," John decided.
"Which is why I called the master of dealing with you about a possible career solution."
Rodney finished making notes. "Welding, wiring for electric and minor plumbing if he doesn't have it. An Associates degree in engineering, focusing on structural work. Most engineering colleges offer the two year option for those who just need the degree for the job they're doing. I'm fairly certain he can probably skip some of those classes." He smiled. "It could also help him with his weapons habit that got noted."
"He cuddled his axe when it got sent."
"If our illustrious colonel there could, he'd cuddle our jumpers," Rodney said dryly. "What are you doing now?"
"Hours and hours with Gregory House and a virologist?" he smirked as he sipped his tea. "Just got through with my MBA thesis project."
"So you're in your in-school?" John asked. Tony smirked and nodded. "We might be able to slip you into the program since you could do both jobs." Rodney nodded. "How long?"
"I'm due to stay with House and them until February, early March. Then go back to NCIS. By then I'll have a lot of my actual necessary hours done because I'm doing more than my fair share at the moment." He grinned. "By the way, House said he still wants to give you a nice, slow, long spanking, John."
"He's kinky that way but it's not my thing," John quipped back with an easy grin. "Can we help the kid with anything?"
"He's got people who handled the probate for him in both courts. Plus the European portion. We did help him get their stored stuff away from California and his friends. Who have decidedly turned odd. One was trying to file all the insurance paperwork for him without telling him. The other got pouty but he's solved that. He's also been looking at apartments. Rodney, I'd like you to meet him. I know they'll want to do a personal interview by someone who isn't his sponsoring member, which leaves me and House out."
"I can do that, yes. Plus go over ideas. If he wants to stay in construction." Tony nodded. "Then that would be the best of all things, give him a well-rounded area plus a degree."
"With that could he hit somewhere and earn a bachelor's easily?" Tony asked. "I know Xander hates Princeton. Calls it stuck up. I think he asked about associate's degrees and they were snotty to him."
"Probably. Sometimes the name is everything and sometimes it's not," Rodney pointed out with a smirk. "I can talk to him, give him some ideas of what he'd need for specialized construction knowledge, especially if we can get him onto our project."
John nodded. "We could use someone to spare Rodney sending out his minions to fix things."
"Which is what I was thinking. There's a lot of work that needs to be done on the construction front that we just don't understand. I, and a few others, can design a building but not build one."
"Which he seems to do good at," Tony told him. "And I think if someone actually took the time to sit down and teach him personally how to do computers and things he could probably do that. He doesn't get lectures at all. Plus I think Willow stymied him there a bit since she's a lower level hacker."
"Probably," John agreed. "I had a friend like that but I competed."
"She raised him, basically."
"Huh. Then yes, he probably didn't want to compete but protect." Tony nodded. "We can talk to him, no problem."
"I wanted you two to meet for other reasons," Tony assured him dryly.
"He does sound interesting." He smiled. "We'll see if he takes admission." Tony nodded he would. "His new place?"
"He's thinking about two in town by where I am. I'm about twenty-five from the hospital."
"There's a few colleges in the area," Rodney said, starting an online search. "There's five within easy driving distance. Plus a vo-tech or three. College of New Jersey is within twenty-five probably. Drexel within an hour. I'd accept either of those. Hmm, New Jersey Institute of Technology is about an hour away from Princeton itself. It has one in construction technology." Tony smiled. "I would accept any of those three. Have him get the vo-tech stuff out of the way first. I'm sure with his experience he'll only need a few hours of tutoring." Tony nodded. "Then they could accept that and other things into the other program. Sometimes a name is great but for something technical I want proven skills."
"Those are all good choices." His phone beeped so he looked. "It's House." He answered. "Hey, House. I'm having lunch with Sheppard and McKay talking about Xander's education." He winced. "They did what? No, she can't. His lawyer said she wasn't mentioned in Anya's will. Why is she bothering you about that? Well, yeah, I'd agree that's a good idea." Rodney snatched the phone and leaned back.
"Gregory," he said smoothly. "Please do." He got put on speaker. "Miss Rosenburg, Doctor Rodney McKay, a friend of both DiNozzo and House. DiNozzo was just getting my opinion on his future education goals." He listened to her. "That would be delightful but I'm told you weren't mentioned in the will. Listen, little girl. For someone who couldn't even finish *a* degree, let me lay it very low for you from someone who has *multiple* degrees, most of them a doctorate.
"You are nothing. You will continue to be nothing even if you can and did try to destroy the earth. People in *my* job, which you could only dream of doing, tend to hunt people like you down. Now, consider your plebeian little mentality issue you're having. Yes, you are quite the little person, young lady. You have nothing to offer anyone on this planet beyond stress, strife, and confusion. You've consistently proven yourself unable to control your own desires and recognize that not everything you *want* is good for others."
He listened to her whine for a second and laughed. "He owes you exactly nothing. From what his file says you abandoned him years ago, back before graduation. Why would he owe you anything? Or his dead fiancee, who you didn't really appreciate from what I'm told. No, those are things that are best left far, far away from you forever more," he said smoothly.
"Before you create another issue that would require someone to heroically save everyone from you. Like the last time, which I'm told is why he's now got another heart problem." She started to cry. "Tears change nothing, young lady. Your actions are deplorable. Clearly your parents weren't listened to whenever they were around, and I do blame most of your problems on them since they weren't often around.
"So therefore, go do something good for humanity and make sure your behavior does not reach the point where he has to sacrifice his life to save everyone from you. Because I know *many* people who would simply *adore* doing it for him because they have more training and more methods to use. Including a few sniper rated people and other charming engineers with weapons experience. Why yes, I do work in a classified lab," he said dryly.
"And we all hate what you've already done. We've been briefed and you're not worthy to even breathe the same air I am on this planet while I'm down here. So quit pissing people off, making people correct you, or making them deal with your screw-ups and go find self control, self healing, talent, and an education that would mean you have a career beyond causing strife. Before we nominate you to take over that position in the universe." She walked off crying.
"So, Gregory, I've been asked to talk to him about educational things?" He listened to his report. "That's what Tony said, yes. That'd be most charming. Can you set it up for tomorrow? Thank you. No, unfortunately we have Senate hearings for the next few days. It is definitely not the vacation I needed. See you then." He hung up and handed the phone back. "Thank you, I was missing my yelling at the minions time," he said dryly, sipping his water. John was snickering. "Why can't I have those books? It's not fair she kept them away from me," he mimicked.
"No, I think it's a great idea," John said dryly. He smiled at Tony and they ordered when the waiter came back. It was good for them to calm down. Especially since Rodney needed a vacation.
Xander looked at the guy there to meet him. "Willow is still a very close friend," he said calmly. "I don't like that you attacked her."
"I don't like that she tried to end the world. Is she like your pet stuffed rabbit?"
Xander smirked. "Maybe, yeah. I have kinda grown away from the girls over the years. So, Tony said you have an educational idea?"
"I have many educational ideas. He did approach me about yours however because I know someone quite like you who happens to be a colonel I work with all too often." He smirked. "Tony told us about your interest in construction and there's a few things you may not have thought about combining. May we?"
"Yes." He let Rodney into his place. He saw the look around. "Rental. I'm not sure if I'm staying here for a long time or not."
"That's always reasonable and faster than buying a designer piece from a store."
"Even if I did have millions of dollars to waste, I wouldn't be that sort. Name brand anything gives me hives. I'm not like my ex Cordelia."
"Some people are happy with non-named things. There's a few places where names are easier," he offered. "In the medical field, going to Princeton is better than going to Iowa State for example. You get more job offers."
"Which I never understood. They're all rich kids who went into medicine because daddy or mommy liked it. The kids at Iowa State in medicine *want* to be there."
"Good thinking," he agreed. "But the higher ups are all those monied sorts." He smiled. "Which is why they prefer one of the bigger names."
"See, I thought some of that was on merit."
"Not always. A lot of it is politics and ass kissing."
"Shows I don't want to go into medicine." He sat down. "I have some diet soda and things if you want. The girls kept yelling at me about regular soda ruining their figures so I switched to diet."
"I'm fine." He smiled, pulling out information he had looked up. "Are you sure you want to stay construction?"
"There's a few good speciality firms for specialized construction needs."
"I've heard rumors about our space fleet," he said dryly.
"Them and others," Rodney agreed. "You can still do the work but you need some specific skill sets and at least an associate's degree." He let him see it. "If you can manage this program at the local vo-tech, it would give you the updated plumbing and welding qualifications. Point out you were on a construction crew and they'll probably give you credit for those hours."
"Actually, I was crew lead for eight months before we sank the town," Xander said quietly, looking up at him. "I spent nine months as a grunt."
"That shows greater promise and that would be liked. Can your former boss vouch for you?"
"I have work reports from him and a recommendation. I emailed him for one after the town sank because I said I'd be here with the medical stuff for a bit."
"That's excellent. Talk to this instructor," he said with a point at the name. "I talked to him earlier and he agreed that with your circumstances a more specialized program would be easier. Keep you in the field and all that. Now, those classes will then transfer into credit hours for an associate's or a bachelor's. I'm not sure which college would suit you more. They're each within about an hour from here. One's twenty minutes." He let him see those. "This one has a construction emphasis, the other two are civil engineering." Xander nodded, looking those over. Rodney smiled. "With those, we can see if the specialized companies would take you in."
"What about future apocalypses?"
Rodney grimaced. "Are we sure there are some?"
"One's in about four months in LA."
"Huh. I had not heard that."
"I hear a lot of that sort of thing from the demon underground."
"That's excellent and probably quite helpful. You'll still be in training for that one. You can probably take a few days off if you must; hopefully it'd happen over spring break. Or you could start during the summer since Tony told me you were talking with Doctor House about issues related to your blood."
"Um, I'm told that's now classified."
Rodney smiled. "Unlike Anthony, I have your *full* federal file, Alexander."
"Xander, please. I hate my full name. Why do you have it?"
"Because to work at any of those places you'd have to pass a background check. Or if my program needs one you'd have to pass an even stricter one, which right now you cannot because the NID has you flagged as evilly resisting them."
"I'd like to blow them up most of the time," Xander admitted, giving him an odd look. Rodney smirked. "They bother you guys too? Did they set up a torturing special project around you guys?"
"No, they've tried to get some of us for them though. Nearly shut down a whole town to get one."
"Huh, the ET treatment I heard Colorado Springs had a few years back?" Rodney gaped. Xander smiled. "The demon underground is *very* worried about their project."
"I don't think they should have to."
"Yes, but one of the bastards from Area 51 is now running it. They liked the last two guys though."
"Ah, I see. What's said about me?"
Xander shrugged. "I haven't asked? I can call and ask if you want."
"Please. Let's see how deep their information network goes. I might have to hook into that more firmly if it's that good." Xander shrugged and texted someone. "Little 'c'," he said with a smirk. Xander corrected that and sent it. Rodney got to laugh at the 'oh holy shit' he got back immediately and then the other three texts were closer. "Actually, I have three doctorates. And yes, I am the King of Geek Gods. I tend to treat the others like minions."
Xander stared at him. "You need someone to fix things, don't you?"
"Yes, we desperately do." He smirked. "Though those companies could use competent people more often as well."
Xander considered it. "I might like that job. It's said to be pretty. You guys wouldn't blink at strange things like me playing kitten poker."
"Probably not as long as the animals weren't harmed."
"Well, most of them eat them instead of other smaller things, like people."
"There's a few PETA members on base," he admitted. "I don't particularly like them but they do exist to vex me." He stared. "We'd also understand about apocalypses after the fact. Though the general might look at you oddly when you call off work for one."
"Yeah, I can see that happening." He shifted, getting comfortable. "How long should that take me?"
"Yes. That way you get through everything. If you can, it'd be very good for you and a wise investment in your future."
"What happens if I get more injured in a battle? This eye thing was my worst yet but before then I'd only had a broken arm."
"Then, as long as you're alive, you can tailor things. Though if you're in a wheelchair I'd suggest going into design instead of physical work. It would be more practical." The boy relaxed again. "You have a decent enough mind, Xander, even if it doesn't turn toward lecture classes. Some people do handle hands-on learning easier, the same way some people learn better through reading than lectures. It's not a handicap unless you make it one."
"I get that but I hate class work."
Rodney smirked. "Two years of sacrifice for a lifetime of good paying job," he offered. "As opposed to mine, which was ten years of classwork for a lifetime of frustration dealing with lesser minded people."
"No, if I ever become the giant geek brain you are, I'd probably end up being killed." Rodney laughed, nodding some. "The other geeks would get mad."
"Quite possibly. It depends on what you do with it. I have one of the best jobs for geeks ever. Even if I can't brag."
"If you could, they'd build a cult to you. Andrew certainly would. He'd even be your high priest."
"Don't give me ideas of swelling my ego any larger than it already is. My associates would have to complain."
Xander smirked. "Would you care?"
"No, not likely." He smirked back. He did like this boy. He was a lot like John Sheppard and he could see why Tony thought they'd get along. "How do you like flying?"
"I've been on four planes, because one had a switch, and I hated flying. It's creepy and hurts my head and made me airsick. Maybe if I had wings...."
"I know a few people who'd love for me to figure that out. What about in a smaller plane?" Xander turned decidedly green. "It's a much smoother ride."
"It's still very way up high and they crash a lot more than the bigger ones."
"Possibly. What if it's a very smooth ride and you don't know how high up you are?"
"You can't see the ground. It's like little toys for ants when you look out the window."
"Are you afraid of heights?"
"I didn't used to be. Or small places."
"I know someone with a private plane. We may be able to try out that hypothesis sometime." Xander shook his head quickly. "What if you dated someone like a pilot?"
"That's why each person in the relationship will have their own things they enjoy. We can brag, tempt with sexual favors, and whine them into joining us but we shouldn't expect them to like everything we do."
"That is a very healthy way of looking at things, yes."
"That's the second time someone's mentioned flying?"
"Tony and I both are acquainted with someone who we think you would hit it off with."
"He's a pilot, yes."
"He's also Special Forces."
"That's nicer. Gun cleaning as foreplay sort? Or would he maybe like swords and battle axes?"
"I'm not sure. I'll ask him that later."
"Him?" Xander said, ducking his head to hide the blush.
Rodney smiled. "Yes, a male. You two are scarily alike in a lot of ways. Does that bother you?"
"No. I never really considered it until Tony mentioned something... You're one of them?"
"That is how I met him, yes. Though we stay in contact for other reasons." He smiled. "Does that bother you?"
"No, I guess not. I'm still being wobbly on that subject."
"So he said. Do you have questions you'd like to ask?"
"What happens if I don't like anyone in there? Or I start to date someone outside the group? I can't guarantee my next date will be human and peaceful considering I drew bad girls for a very long time, and Anya was kinda in her own class of bad girl really since she was a vengeance demon and used to tell me all about how she tortured men for fun. Then expected sex."
Rodney laughed at the babble. "That has happened in the past. If you're taken you're taken and you'd probably end up being support staff for the group. If you find someone within the group you adore then so be it. If they're another that's a consort it happens." Xander relaxed and nodded. "There are some female members but not that many and there's some very nice people in the group itself. They'd never hurt you and if they did, you tell another member and we'll deal with them. There's procedures in place to kick someone out and then ruin them completely. If you leave the group is one thing. If you're kicked out, there's always some nasty form of vengeance for whatever you did beyond that humiliation and it will make you want to jump off somewhere very high by the time we're done with you."
"Huh. How hard is it to do? Because I have, like, no manners or anything like that. Willow tried a few times but she didn't really succeed and Anya didn't really care. The last time she was human, Vikings were sacking England."
"There's people you can ask to tutor you if you want to appear more refined, Xander. There's also people who won't care. Now, there are people who are scarily tempted to higher power and positions. For their lives, you'd need it. For the one Tony and I want to introduce you to, you wouldn't except for special dinners out. Then he himself could help you with that. He grew up wealthy but decided he wanted to fly instead and went military."
"Not bad military?"
"No, not like the ones that invaded your town to cause problems. He's Air Force."
"Yes, John." He smiled. "You two are a lot alike in the ways that count."
"Did he get told about me?"
"Tony and I were talking about your educational options when he showed up for lunch. So he has read your background file. It does have a recent picture in it. He asked if you two were related." Xander blushed again. "Now, how are you handling grieving?"
Xander grimaced but shrugged. "She'd hate it if I moped. I kinda want to mope. We were together for a while and maybe working our way back from awkward friends to something new. But then the First Evil happened."
"Yes, bad things do get in the way of the important, happy things in life," Rodney said quietly. "You more than most understand that on a level few ever will because you've seen how easy it is for a life to end for no reason other than running out for some milk."
Xander nodded. "In Sunnydale a lot of times it was ordering dinner."
"That would figure." He stared at him for a moment, making the boy uncomfortable. "How comfortable with yourself are you? If you had to be naked in a room could you?"
"Do I have to?"
"No but there's some that would want to work on that with you. Confidence is the most sexy thing ever."
Xander considered it. "Did my file have my aborted road trip?"
"Yes, quite." He smirked. "Did you strip?"
"A few times but I was embarrassed and I sucked so badly at it."
"Hmm. Well, we can work on that. They'll probably ask you to be naked a few times. During initiation of course but otherwise maybe that night. It would let others see you and make you blush that pretty little blush of yours." Xander blushed brighter and ducked his head again, smiling a bit. Rodney smirked. "Keep that up and I'll give you a lesson in how to be naked in front of others. It would be very pleasing to see."
"I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet."
"It is important that you do be ready when you agree to the initiation."
"Basically.... Have you done any research on any past secret societies?"
"Beyond the Watchers Council? Not really."
"Well, most of the groups are actually pagan based."
Xander shrugged. "Willow was a mixed-Wicca sort and Tara was a pure Wicca sort."
"Excellent. Like a few prior clubs, our patron saints are Dionysus and Aphrodite, with a few others thrown in now and then. Things like our guardians, who guard some artifacts." Xander nodded at that. "Basically, you're marked with a quill pen in their marks, one on your forehead, over your heart, and on your perineum. When it's time and you're ready, you're put onto the altar and the statue of Dionysus gives us a holy tool to slide into you, to bless you as one of ours. That's a few strokes there, a few strokes of our Highest, and then you're free to find a good mate." Xander nodded once.
"You go on your back; you go on your knees on the altar when you're mated to someone. And that is a personal choice between you and whoever. It is never forced. Sometimes it is helped along by politics for someone that wants to go to a very high office. They get an 'assistant' that helps their trophy wife and things, but they still get a choice. I do not see you doing that so therefore it would be whoever dated and wooed you," Rodney finished.
"They'd date me?"
"Yes. Dating is part of the wooing process and being mated to someone as a consort is a marriage within the society. It's easily dissolved but should be taken on the same level. You don't go into it quickly and easily."
"What if it doesn't work out?" he asked quietly.
"Then you file a letter to break it with any club. There's clubs all over the US and a few in Canada, where I'm from, some in Australia, England, there's one in Rio de Janeiro. One in Paris but it's terribly old and musty smelling. Mostly it contains art that's been donated."
"Huh. I didn't know that. I don't really fit in with that sort."
"Neither do I. I have plenty of wealth that I let mold in a bank vault somewhere while I'm off doing fantastic things that warp even my great mind." Xander relaxed again. "None of us are the idle money sort, Xander. Some of us want power, some of us don't, but we're not the sort to sit on our vaults and jack off into the gold. They're in New York. I believe Tony went to school with one of them."
"I'm not even sure how much I have." Rodney stared at him. "They explained it but that is not my forte. Anya knew investments and money stuff. She took to it as important as sex. I just usually care if I have enough to pay the bills. I like working. All this sitting around right now is driving me nuts."
"I can understand that fully. When will Gregory release you to work?"
"When they finish some of the mermaid taint and they've figured out if that extra heart chamber and extra gall bladder-like thing is dangerous."
"How on earth?"
"How did it get into you?"
"Hmm," he said with a grimace. "Why did it go hyperactive?"
"Something on patrol freed it. I'm kinda glad I don't have gills. I'm not black and slimy, I'm not eating people. Tony promised to put me down if I got that bad."
"Good, that's something I'd want as well. My project may have something to help Gregory. If so, I'll try to slip it to him." Xander grinned. "Not that way. Gregory is too much like myself. Two great minds do not do well in a relationship. We need someone to fawn over us and agree with us, not counter us and argue with us. Though he does have quite a mouth. I was there the day he was admitted. He was quite tasty." Xander squeaked, giving him a look. Rodney smirked. "You can tell him I said so too if you wish. He knows I've said it before." He got comfortable. "Are you planning on any large purchases?"
"I'm buying a racing bike."
"Did Gregory influence that decision?"
"A little bit. The PT I've been working with too. He thinks it'd be easier for me to learn how to balance better on one. With it being my left eye, the important mirror's on that side so I'd have to spend more time looking away from the road. On a bike I can feel more than I have to watch the mirrors."
"That is a reasonable way of looking at it. Or you could get a driver."
"That's rich guy stuff."
"I know." He smiled. "What about clothes?"
"I bought some new jeans and t-shirts. I don't really need anything more fancy at the moment. Anya packed my good suit when we were packing everything else. All my stuff in storage is up the street. I was going to leave that there and pick out anything else like my Star Trek tapes. Anya hated Star Trek."
"Some people do. I used to yell and complain about illogical things."
Xander nodded. "Sometimes you have to think that it's a 'yet' thing though. Like when the first Star Trek came out, computers didn't talk back and now they do."
"Yes, quite true." He was learning to appreciate this fragile mind. "But I doubt we'll get to replicators anytime in the near future."
"That would be pretty neat and it would ease the food cost issue for a lot of people. Even if they did it like in the _Pegasus_ books."
"The what?" Rodney asked, looking confused.
"It was the pre-series to the _Rowan_ series." He went to find his copy, bringing it back. "This is a later one but the earlier ones had public food courts and what you paid was based on your job and income. So was housing. They turned some cities into mega cities to house everyone." He sat down again and curled up.
Rodney glanced through it, noting the other names. "I know some avid readers. I might gift them with it so they can babble about those ideas." He handed it back with a smile. "I tend to complain about ideas that give me headaches too much so I let others read fantasy novels and give me ideas."
"What if they aren't illogical? Like the Valedemar series? There's some later magic users but not a whole lot and it's mostly got a good handle on how things do happen, including that it takes personal power and you give up stuff for the scary, high levels."
"I'll look at those."
"Some are a bit...sad. It's one of those 'heros who do great things get stories told about them because they did something heroically stupid and usually ended up dead' sort of sad though."
"Yes, I've seen more than a few of those," he admitted. "Nearly became one of them a few times as well." Xander leaned over and gave him a hug. He smiled and patted the boy. "You'll do just fine, Xander." Xander let him go. He smiled at the boy. "Learn what you need to learn. Take the time to grieve and be ready. Great things are waiting if you want them to be." He stood up. "Rest. You look tired."
"I had battle nightmares all night."
"They happen to the best of us. There's always something that we wish we had done differently. Though not even I dare mess with time. There's no telling what might happen. I could end up pregnant or something. Or a girl."
"Don't let Willow think you might like that. She will."
"Don't tell me that, I'll zat her," he muttered. Xander cackled. "I will."
"I'm pretty sure a single one would stop a spell. I needed that before."
"They are rather handy, yes." He winked and left the boy alone to think. He could support him and Sheppard. They would suit each other well. They had a lot in common underneath their upbringings. They were each too quick to jump into things. They were fiercely protective of what was theirs. He could also see Xander teasing John into growling and pouncing, which he had been tamping down due to the pressures of being on Atlantis. Though he would have to talk to Anthony about his *other* skills they could be prompting. Not computers, but he did have a large information network started and other skills that would help with some of the information people within the society.
Xander walked into House's office. "Do you have three minutes to advise me on something important?"
"Sure, is this a dating issue? Because I'd change that shirt if you're going anywhere else. Please. Before it blinds someone other than me."
"No." He looked at his shirt then at House. "It's comfortable."
"Clearly. What topic are you wondering about?"
"Motorcycles." House gave him a funny look. "Victor and I talked about the driving stuff and how it might be easier with a racing bike sort of motorcycle instead of a car."
"Balance definitely, he said you still have good balance. It'd leave you able to focus easier on your surroundings because it's more narrow. But a bit more dangerous."
"I'm twenty-two, House."
"Good point. You can't carry weapons."
"You carry your cane. I can find a way to put on something for a sword." He grinned and put down the brochures. "One's the tougher version but I don't know why. It's only the back suspension and a few tiny things that're different."
House read them over, nodding. "A Brit bike?"
"Motorcycles.com said it was a great bike. They liked it the best." He sat down. "Is that really a huge difference I'll notice? They had an earlier year's of the non-special one for sale too. It's in black and I'd probably like the gray more but I can stand black as long as it's not their orange one."
House read it over, shaking his head. "No, it's not something you'll really notice on rides. It's more a performance twitch issue. For those guys who have to know every spec and plan on racing."
"Well, I plan on taking some wild rides on some roads to clear my head," Xander offered.
"No, it won't matter." He handed them back. "Are you sure?"
"Yeah. He didn't want me to drive a real car. Said if my missing eye was on my right I'd be able to do it easier but with the important mirror on that side and having to park stuff, a bike would be easier."
"Definitely. You know you have to get a different license, right?"
"Yup, he showed me on a friend's bike to see if I could handle it."
"Was it okay?"
"I was a bit shaky but otherwise it went okay after the first few minutes." He grinned. "And it'd mean I could run out for groceries without having to wait forever on buses or cabs. Or act like a rich kid and have a driver."
"I can fully understand that," he agreed with a nod. "Try the used one. After you get your license. They won't let you take a test ride until then. They actually have motorcycle schools close-by so you can go to one of them." Xander beamed. "Why not a cruising bike? Or a more sturdy racing bike?"
"Cruising bikes were like mini cars and I wouldn't have that much feel for it. Or I don't think I would and I hated the other overly padded looking racing bikes. They had panels and flanges and all that stuff. Not my idea of fun. A lot of them also had a horribly floating seat over the back tire and I'd worry about breaking it."
"True," House agreed. "How much was the used one?"
"Not a bad price since the full one is just about ten." He considered it. "Get your license and all that then go try it." Xander beamed and nodded. "They might even have a riding course, I'm not real sure. Contact the dealer." He stared at him. "The whole eye thing is probably going to earn you a few fits."
"I know but my PT said it's a better idea." He grinned.
"Good point. Go for it. Want the bad news?" he sighed.
Xander winced. "I talked to Doctor Will a few minutes ago about how frustrating the mermaid taint is."
"That we've weeded back down to about a quarter of what it was when you came in but your antigen count went *way* up again. Are you feeling sick? Have the sniffles?"
"No. I was caught in the rain the other day but I haven't really felt sick. My allergies are going but it's spring so they do that."
House shook his head. "Shouldn't matter. Did he draw things for a toxicology panel?"
"Tony did. He's up there. Oh!" He wrote down his address. "My apartment." He grinned. "It only has rental furniture but it's decent."
"Nice, quietish place too," he agreed. He tucked that into the file. "We'll see what happens with that but be aware that DiNozzo's hiding because his Mossad teammate is in town."
"I heard. He was muttering about her and I recognized the name. Everyone in the Underground thinks she'll try to date me because I only draw the dangerous and deadly sorts." He shrugged. "I'm not sure if I'm ready to date or not yet."
"That's something only you can tell. Would she want you to move on?"
"She'd tell me that being without orgasms is bad for me and my mental state. I start to go funny and get bad ideas."
"Would she like the motorcycle idea?" House asked dryly.
"Yeah, it'd be like a huge vibrator for her and she would think we could have sex on it so she'd agree." House shook his head quickly. Xander grinned. "Her will did say she wanted me to go gay so I couldn't compare any other woman to her."
"I know a few people who'd adore it if you would."
"I'm... mostly leaning toward yes but I'm not sure I'm ready to move on from her yet. It's still kinda... I still get that ache some nights when I realize she's not there cuddling," he said more quietly.
"I can understand that." Xander relaxed and smiled. "You can work on that."
"I know. Well, if his teammate did want one I could use it as a test date as long as she wasn't trying to bleed me I guess." He shrugged. "I could use the sexual relief." He hopped up. "Thanks, House." He left, going to find a way to that town. It was about a half-hour away and cabs probably wouldn't go there. He decided to call them first and talk to a rep there about that bike and other issues, like school so he could get his license. They had some good ideas and that was closer. So maybe he could handle that.
House shook his head again. "Did I warp that kid?" he asked himself. "Or was it DiNozzo?"
"It was me," Tony said, leaning in. "He was talking about a motorcycle?"
"He asked me the differences between them. His PT Victor said it'd be easier."
"Huh. Interesting. Found out what did it. He got fries from Captain D's the other night. I didn't even think about the fish being in the same fryer."
"So it was fish proteins?"
"Yup. But it didn't increase the other taint. Just his antigen count."
"Let's monitor his diet again?"
"Gladly since he's only had diet soda and I think a few twinkies recently. He's not eating I know that. That's why I got him the fries." He left again, going to take Ziva to lunch since she had found him.
House called the boy's phone, leaving a voicemail. "DiNozzo thinks it's diet related because you're not eating. I want a report on everything that passes by your lips for the next four days." He hung up and sighed, leaning back to rub his eyes.
Xander smiled at the motorcycle dealer a few days later. "Hi, Xander Harris."
He shook his hand. "I talked to you on the phone and the school that I sent you to. They said you had a good handle on most of the necessary things." Xander nodded. He stared at the patch. "Why a motorcycle?"
"On a bike, I can feel those things easier and it's a lot easier to park. Plus I want to have a few wild, mind clearing rides now and then. My PT suggested a car was too wide and too much to pay attention to on that side, where a bike it's all in front of me and I have to have situational awareness, which I have, but not the same way I'd need it in a car. If that makes sense."
"It does in a lot of ways." He considered it. "Are you sure you want a racing bike?"
"The more in contact I am, the easier it is for me. He tested me on a touring bike and I felt like I was on a scooter that went faster." The dealer nodded with a smile for him. "It wasn't bad but I don't need the radio distracting me right now. I need to be in contact and able to *feel* the bike and the road, not be insulated."
"That's a good point and a very good reason." He led him to the used one. "She is a very sweet motorcycle. How did you decide on this model?"
"Motorcycles.com's rating. The other racing bikes had too many fenders and things." He pointed at one. "I can only imagine I'd end up hurting myself on one sometime."
"That can be for protection but it could interfere, add extra vibrations," he agreed. "For a stripped down model she's a great one. There are the more motorcross looking models," he offered, pointing at them.
"I can agree with that. All right, sit astride it, Mr. Harris." Xander did that and shifted, getting a nod. "Feel too narrow, too wide?"
"I don't mind the width. I figure no matter which way it went I'd get used to it." He smiled. "Before I had a pretty plain sedan. Four door, that tan/gold/fades into everything else color."
"It does take a bit of getting used to, yes." He let him start the bike to feel how it worked. Xander shifted a bit, leaning forward, nodding. "Feels good?"
"Feels great. I'm so tired of cabs and I don't want to hire a car. I'm not that sort of guy. I'm a construction sort of guy."
"I can fully understand that." He let him settle in then turn it off. "So you think it suits you?"
"I think it felt like freedom," he said with a smile. "Can I buy it today even though I can't take my license for another week?"
"We can do the loan paperwork today."
"I have insurance money in the bank," Xander said, pointing at his eye. "It'll be good to have it waiting and so I can use it for class."
"That would be helpful, yes. Get you used to the peculiarities that this bike might have during it." He walked him into the office to do the paperwork. His boss gave him an odd look but he smiled and waved him off. When the payment had went through, he promised he'd have the bike brought to the school for him. Xander beamed and bounced out happier. He took the forms in there. "He's switching to a racing bike because it's easier for him to compensate. His PT suggested it."
"It's not a horrible idea. Will they license him?"
"Yes. He's going through Gary."
"Even better. Arrange for it to go to Gary's school for the kid." He went to do that. Gary could come pick it up, he was only about ten minutes away at the garage with his own bike.
Xander zipped up to the hospital and smiled. "Hi, Doctor Wilson and Doctor Foreman."
"Did House tempt you?" Foreman asked dryly.
"No, it's good for me. It's nice not to have to use a cab except for groceries." He got off and made sure things were set then walked over. "I have to go talk to the guy upstairs."
"Not House today?" Wilson asked with a smile.
"No, not yet. Though I was going to see if he wanted to stare in awe at my bike so he could compare." He grinned.
"He might like that. The new patient is driving him nuts," Foreman admitted. The boy beamed and bounded off again. "Someone's really happy."
"If you were told you wouldn't be able to drive and finally were allowed, you would be too," Wilson assured him. "Especially at that age."
"I guess." They went back inside. It was their time to calm House down. Their lunch of rest and respite was done with.
Xander bounced into virology and looked around. "Doctor Will?" he called. "You wanted to see me today?" No answer. Xander backed out slowly and carefully, calling House's office. "Doctor Will wanted to see me and no one's up here. No, I was at the doorway and backed out. No, I don't see Tony either and I called so he should've answered. Sure, I'm waiting right here." He hung up and waited.
Tony came off the elevator. "I was at lunch," he said with a grin.
"Doctor Will isn't here today? He wanted me to come in."
"No, he should be in here. He had me pick him up lunch." He called him. No answer. No answer to his page. Tony went in to look around and then hit the alarm. "Stay," he told Xander, looking serious. Xander nodded. Security showed up first. "Guys, Doctor Will had him come up and he's missing. So's mine and his blood samples." They went to look and called the local cops. Tony called the local FBI office, just in case. Then he called Gibbs. "Ask Ziva if her people were here?" He hung up.
Xander was dialing someone, shaking his head. "It wasn't the Mossad people. It was the ones that the information got sold to. The blood they have saved for transfusions?" Tony called the blood bank, getting no answer. He hurried down there with a security guard to check. Xander slid down the wall. "Tony told me to stay put," he told the guard giving him an odd look. "Mine's one of the samples missing."
"What did you have?" he asked quietly.
"More than one and it's classified like his is now. They even removed us from the CDC files." The guard winced. "Mine's actually a bit worse than his in one of them I carry."
"Shit," he muttered, going to tell his boss that. An agent showed up before the officers. "Sir?" he asked.
"The locals were told that this is ours because this is a threat to the US. Who's he?"
"Mine's the other sample. Xander Harris. Tony's in the blood bank checking on the stuff they had saved in case I needed a transfusion." Tony came off the elevator stomping. "Still there?"
"Most of it. The latest bag not at all." He looked at the agent. "Greg."
"Tony." He shook his hand. "What does he have? I know what you have." Tony whispered in his ear. "Oh, crap!" he said, tensing his ass cheeks. "That's bad."
"And his antigen count is more than high enough to make a new one," Tony said quietly. "Easily with that single bag."
"Okay. Is he in protective custody?"
Xander smirked, holding up his old ID. "Look up the name and town, dude. I'm very protective."
He did that and gave him a horrified look. "How on earth...."
"Well, Sunnydale's no longer on earth, it's in the earth," he said dryly. "I can protect myself if someone shows up."
"Okay. I can understand that. You and DiNozzo check on each other?"
"Often. Tony's helping me with that and a few other things."
"Good!" He looked over that file and whimpered. "Why does someone want you brought in for testing?"
"Because they're torturing sickos and if they touch me I'll bomb them," Xander said bluntly. He stared at him. "I'm not the nice people person. I love weapons." He grinned.
"So it says." He blinked a few times. "Is that graduation explosion still open?"
"No idea so no comment."
"Good idea, kid." He looked at Tony, showing him that.
"Necessary," he admitted. "I've seen tape of it." The other agent just nodded. "We have broken storage equipment. I'll need to have them checked and moved." The agent followed to make notes on what was missing and what they contained. "Xander, go down to House's office," Tony ordered.
"Sure." He went down there, finding Cameron bitching. "Guys, someone broke into virology," he said. "And took my last blood transfusion bag," he told House, sitting down. "Tony said to wait down here."
"Yes, you are," House ordered. "Foreman said you got your bike today." Xander looked and pointed with a grin. House looked out the window. "She's pretty, Xander." Xander beamed. "You passed your license and all that?"
"Yup, she was at the riding school until then."
"The other agent said the NID wanted to test me too."
"No, they can't have you." House sent that to someone, who said they'd talk to them. "It'll be handled, kid."
Xander beamed. "I didn't want to have to bomb them."
"No, they might not like that." He patted him on the head. "Calm down."
"I am calm. I'm just happy."
House stared at him. "Did you have anything beyond the diet soda to soak up that caffeine?"
"I wasn't really hungry?"
House went to get him a granola bar and tossed it at his head. "Eat."
"And no more Captain D's for you or DiNozzo."
"Does he have fish taint too?" he asked as he unwrapped it and ate a bite.
"I hope not." Xander showed him that text message, getting a nod back. That also got told to someone else. Then House went back over the patient.
Xander raised a hand. "Isn't that lead poisoning? They said I had that as a kid and had to take that drug for it." He ate another bite.
"That is one use of that drug," he admitted, looking at the board. "Not the reason this time probably unless she OD'd on lead pills for anemia. Though it may be why she's anemic." He made that note and the other ones on the board got a few good ideas going to test against. House smirked at the kid, who grinned back. "Eat. You have to eat."
"You sound like Willow's grandmother." He finished the granola bar while House cackled. "I eat when I'm hungry."
"You've lost weight. Those jeans are baggier than they were."
"I'm fine, House. Don't nag. I can't stand nagging women."
House snorted. "I'm not a woman, kid. You need basic biology lessons?"
"For all I know you're hiding a set of small tits under that baggy t-shirt and the pants are too baggy to tell otherwise." He grinned. "Since I'm probably not going to strip you naked and make you squeal, I can't definitively tell." House walked off cackling, going to his office.
Cuddy walked in. "Mr. Harris, why were you in virology?"
"Doctor Will said he wanted to see me right after lunch about my antigen count. It's up again for some reason we're not sure of."
"I walked in and no one was there. I called his name, no one answered, so I called House."
"Tony said that a few things were taken."
"It's not just your two samples." She walked into the other room to talk to House, who gave her an idea of what they could do and what they needed to keep them safe and useable.
Xander listened. "They do make coolers that have those," he called. "They're not marked with medical stickers but how hard is it to get biohazard stickers for like transplant organs?"
"That's a good point," she sighed. "You're sure?" House looked and showed her a picture. "It even comes in red like them," she said dryly, going to talk to the agent.
Xander looked in there. "I'm sorry there's been so much stress since I got here as a patient."
"It's not your fault. I'd hate to see what you'd be doing in Cleveland alone with those girls."
"I'd probably have went traveling to find the missing ones so I'd have some alone time. So maybe Africa or Asia."
House moaned, shaking his head. "That's even worse."
"More weapons possibilities though."
"Good point. How many weapons do you know?"
"Shitloads thanks to that little Halloween thing?" he offered hesitantly. "I can figure out most any weapon I need to. I've always been good with weapons. Not engines, but weapons. Should I learn how to fix my own bike?"
"Most of us know at least the basics. You can learn those as you ride, kid." He noted that to someone, who said that they needed a new guardian and yes they could train him for that. If he agreed. "Where are you thinking?"
"I'm definitely on the yes side but I'm not sure I'm ready to move on still."
House nodded, sending that. They agreed that was a good thing. And to bring him that night. "We're going out tonight." He sent that at Tony and Chase. "That'll get you somewhere protected and no one's going to touch the house." Xander beamed at him. "Dress very nicely and show up at my place at nine."
"And I do mean no jeans, Xander."
"Good boy." Xander barked. House smirked but shook his head. He liked the kid a lot. If he wasn't too much like him he'd be taking the kid out later for other reasons.
Tony got let into Xander's apartment, looking around. "Those are rental couches." He shook his head. "Comfy?"
"Very comfy. I napped on one last night." He led him into the bedroom. "I don't have much that's not jeans and t-shirts."
Tony looked at the closet. The shirts were blinding. He sighed, looking over things. "Here, a plain shirt," he said, looking at it. It had Mickey Mouse on it. "Never mind." He took Xander once he had on something and went clothes shopping. Something soft, nicely cotton so comfortable. A nice simple pair of dress pants. A simple button up shirt. Socks since Xander had worn his sneakers without them. Tony decided to leave the sneakers for right now. Xander was fidgeting but Tony got that fixed by undoing the top button on the shirt. That looked nicer and more comfortable. Tony drove him to the club, texting House that he had him. House had Chase. They walked them in together.
The head of the house smiled. "Boys. Gregory, Anthony." He kissed them both and shook both initiate's hands. "Let's talk." He took them into the office to talk to them. James had given character references on Chase. Xander's interview by McKay was widely liked. He went over the history of the group, which Xander asked some questions about. The boy clearly had a good mind if it was focused. Chase was quiet but seemed happy with what he heard. Xander asked a polite question about what happened if he screwed up, because 'he wasn't used to all this stuff like Chase was'.
He went over those procedures as well and Chase nodded he agreed and liked that. It put the boy to an easier level of acceptance. He did talk with Xander about where he was in his grief process. It was a confusing time for him and he was aware that grief moved at its own pace. Chase was led out to talk to another few members who wanted to get to know him. Xander and he talked for a few more hours about the upcoming problems and his friends, plus the old problems he had seen and helped with.
He didn't like that they had known something about the old mayor but he hadn't been one of them so that didn't phase him overly much. He assured the boy they would have stopped him if they had known he wanted to take over the world as a giant demon snake. That made the boy much happier. That and that they didn't have any ties to the groups that had bothered him so much in Sunnydale.
By the time it was too late to do anything, and Xander was yawning, they had settled many of his questions and he had a good grasp of the boy's function and place within the group. He would make an excellent consort and guardian for them. He and Chase went home to think some more. Well, Xander fell asleep in Tony's car so Tony took him home with him that night. That helped him be more comfortable and Tony could make sure the kid ate. Or figure out why he wasn't hungry.
Tony walked a can into House's office and put it in front of him. He pointed at the tag on it from the lab. "That's why he's not hungry. It has both appetite suppressants, which would've made him too weak to fight back, and an immune blocker to raise his count." He smirked. "The agent in charge of the investigation is losing his mind."
"Does Xander know?"
"I called him as soon as I found out. He's staying at my place today because the first thing he said this morning beyond a grunt was 'hey, this brand has no aftertaste, huh'."
"Was it the same people?"
"No. This one was NID. And they sold extra off to some friendly groups just like them."
"They're trying so very hard. Gibbs has had to growl at a lot of them."
"Wonderful," House sneered. "Did you tell anyone?"
"Yup. That was my second call." He grinned. "I prescribed Xander one of the MJ pills they give to cancer patients who can't eat to solve it. He's taken it and is having cheetos right now. My kitchen is fully stocked with every imaginable food group if he needs them and he knows not to order out. We have a list of them with security, we have a list of them with the FBI. We have told Rodney since he's still down here, and he's told his bosses, who have went to blow them up. Again."
House smirked. "That's a very mean thing you've done, apprentice. Very good work turning to the dark side."
Tony smirked. "Oh, I went a bit more dark side." He winked. "My *other* skills? They're very handy. All those files are now with Gibbs and Vance. Both. And Abby." House cackled. "Especially the really classified/they tortured things ones as Xander put it. Abby threw a *FIT* about the Initiative files. An absolute hopping up and down, screaming at the top of her lungs in her office, brought security and agents from all over DC to see what terrorist happened, fit. ATF is having a fit. The FBI is having a fit.
"Even the CIA is having a fit on the NSA for helping sponsor them. The President got told by the Secret Service when they started to evacuate him because of her fit. And then they went looking for the reason, finding them in the UN. They're now in jail. So are some of the NID weenies. When those files got exposed as the reason for the rest of the fit, they all went to find their asses."
"So there's a con cooing over his new torturing roommie?" House asked with an evil smirk.
"Oh, yes. Gibbs had to hand Abby to the ATF for some lab cleaning out time so she wouldn't go on the raids. Vance's only order was to stay up here."
House cackled. "Excellent job, apprentice. You nearly moved past my own evil level today. Good job."
Tony grinned. "Which is wonderful since I'm already way ahead on my hours. I only need to the end of this year because I'm doing so many right now."
"Even better," he said dryly. "Then what?"
"Year of residency?"
"Probably," he agreed dryly. "Locally?"
"Maybe. Not real sure yet." He smirked and walked off. He called Xander to make sure he was all right. Xander was giggling at cartoons so he was fine. They had finally found Doctor Will in a lab earlier so he was coming back. Tony went to make sure the office was ready for him. Cuddy interrupted. "They found him late last night."
"Wonderful. Did you break the tape?"
"No, I walked under it after signing my initials to it. That's proper protocol."
"The CDC wants to go over the lab, DiNozzo."
"They can. I'm just checking the samples to make sure they're all properly contained again."
"Good." She let those ones into the lab. "This is NCIS agent DiNozzo, who is also a medical in-school intern."
"Pleasure, guys. I'm one of the ones with a sample that got taken."
"We heard, DiNozzo. What're you doing?" Tony showed him. "That's reasonable and your lab reports up here are well within the good range we like." He smiled. "Let us fuss."
"Fine. I'm going to do clinic hours," he decided. "The more I do now the faster I get done and get the pretty paperwork."
"That means you need to be doing your tests," Cuddy noted. "All of them, DiNozzo."
"I'm already on for this weekend."
"All of them?"
"I'll be taking the others in the spring. I arranged that last week when I started counting hours."
"Good. That means you won't have a lag. Are you doing your residency up here?"
"No clue yet," he admitted. She gave him an evil smirk. "I can do them at Bethesda without an issue. I was going to weigh my options this week since the due date for applications is next week."
"True." She left him alone. "Take Chase. He's thinking to ice cream in the caf."
"Yup." He went to get Chase for clinic rotation. It'd help him think and Chase could ask him all the questions he wanted between patients.
A few days after the CDC had cleared the lab to start working again, Vance and Gibbs showed up to check on Tony. They found him in House's meeting area going over a chart with Chase. Security had warned him so he was out of his white coat, an obvious tip off that he wasn't there doing 'administrative things' like he was supposed to be.
Vance stared at him for a minute. "I'm lucky I didn't open up my bag this morning and find Abby had packed herself," he said.
"Abby's coming up in a few weeks on one of my scheduled days off if someone doesn't change it on purpose this time," Tony said, looking into House's desk area. House cackled. "If I bend over and let you screw me into the table, can I have this weekend off too, House?"
"If you're good at it, I'll consider it," House quipped back. "Teach Chase that skill too. He'll never get anywhere in any hospital without that skill. I'm sure Cameron already has it and Foreman's doomed to a lesser position for life because he's scared of dicks." He went back to playing his gameboy, ignoring Gibbs' scowl.
Tony grinned. "Hey, this weekend too," he told Chase, who swatted him but got up and left him alone. Cameron and Foreman both stomped off. He grinned. "House is like a more fun, more sarcastic, less scowling and coffee-addicted version of Gibbs, Director."
"People like that seem to get higher up in a lot of places so the lesser ones don't have to deal with them." He sat down. Gibbs was still scowling but sat down. "How is the testing going?"
"They got back all but one sample and it wasn't mine, thankfully. It was a CDC sample sent up to compare against. So far they've figured out the fastest way to distill it. The treatment options are looking promising for a faster treatment and I've been helping some with Xander's since he has multiple ones."
"I heard something about him," Vance admitted. "He's not an agent. How did he do that?"
"Fell into some burial chamber remains."
"I suppose that happens now and then."
"His are going a bit more slowly but he also had a health crisis in there at first. Non-related to the blood bourne diseases."
"Only if we stick someone with it to find out what they can do," Gibbs said, handing over a folder. "What was that?"
Tony looked at it. "Huh. The mermaid taint." Gibbs snorted. Tony looked up that file, showing him. "Look familiar?" Gibbs nodded slowly. "It's a slightly humanoid fish that was found in the Pacific a few years back. There's some that have congregated near where Xander used to live, a lot of odd things did, boss. He had a coach that wanted the advantages and exposed him and others. Most of them got so warped they joined them."
"That one can too," Vance told him. "They ended up having to take him down when he went for someone's throat."
"They do eat people, yeah," Tony said. "They ate the coach."
"That's disgusting." He shook his head. "Abby wanted to meet him."
"They'd probably get along pretty well," Tony said with a grin. "Xander's a really nice guy until he has to be otherwise." They both nodded at that. "So, why the visit?"
"How's your internship here going?" Vance countered.
"Very good. I've helped a few different departments with paperwork and stuff." He grinned. "By the time I'm ready to come back they'll want to keep me."
"Yes we do," House agreed. He came out to get that folder. "Did you put in that paperwork just in case?"
"Thank you." He read the file, grimacing. "Not the extra liver function or the extra heart function but that's where the vein thickening came from. Huh." He called Xander to come in.
"That's classified," Vance said. That should be obvious since it's stamped 'classified' in big, bright, red letters across the front.
"I'm going to compare it against the only other known victim of that taint, Director Vance. That way we know what's related to that and what isn't. He has two other anomalies."
"Hyenas have four chamber hearts I think," Tony said. "And that other gall bladder thing has to be related."
"Not according to the autopsy," House said, reading it over. "Huh." Xander walked in, taking off his sunglasses. House stared at him. "Long night?" he teased.
"On the phone making battle plans," he admitted dryly. "It's nearly time and I was out playing kitten poker for a new weapon. What's up?" He took the folder, grimacing. "Figures the sicko bastard posse would do that," he said dryly. "No extra gall bladder or heart?"
"No. But I believe some fish might have those," Tony said, considering it. "We can ask someone in biology, Xander."
"I might do that."
"No, it'd go better if I did that," House assured him, going back to his desk to do that. "Heel, kid."
"Yup," he yipped with a grin for Tony, heading after House. "How was my antigen count?"
"Down a lot, thankfully. Eat," he ordered, handing over something.
"I had breakfast, House. I'm protein and calcium loading for the battle," he said quietly. "Carbs the day of, the rest building up to it." He shrugged. "It's how I figured it'd work best," he said at the odd look.
"Cheese? It helps in other things too," he said dryly. "Especially when you first see the overwhelming force."
"Yes, it probably does." He called up to Princeton to ask that question, saying one of his patients was petting one and he needed to know how to disinfect them. They gave him a few good suggestions. "Thank you," he said, hanging up. "We sure it was that type of fish?"
"There was probably some in his system?" Xander guessed. "I doubt he starved it before he killed it?"
"Perhaps, killed it just as soon as he caught it." He stared at him. "They're still troubling."
"They're not bothering me and I've been going over battle sequences at home," he said quietly. "I'm not short of breath or anything, House."
"If you so much as get a *dent* I want you back here immediately. I'll tell the yappy shits you know that as well."
"It's in LA," he muttered.
"Fine, if I can."
"Yes, Doctor House. Are you going to kiss it and make it all better?" he quipped.
House stared at him for a minute. "No, those you have to ask nicely to receive." Xander blew a kiss and left.
"That file is still classified," Vance called.
"Yup, but I'm getting the research we have on them to compare it to," Xander called. "It's not getting out of my hands unless someone bike jacks me. I'll bring it back in an hour."
House walked out. "He has most of those at home."
"Maybe he is growing his own evil twin one organ at a time," Tony quipped.
"You never know with boys like Xander," House agreed. Tony's phone beeped so House snatched it to look at. "I'll see what Chase needs." He left, going to talk to him.
Vance looked at Tony. "It sounds like you made a good resting spot here."
"They're pretty decent to me," Tony agreed with a smile. "I've learned a lot."
Gibbs looked at him. "Does this mean you want to go to medical school now, DiNozzo?"
"You never know, boss."
"Uh-huh." He grimaced. "March?"
"Yes, March. And in February I'm going to Mardi Gras. I might take Xander with me. He could use some fun." He grinned. Gibbs glared. Tony smirked back. "I deserve it."
"You do," Vance said dryly. "You've done a lot more than we expected up here."
"I've been earning my place," Tony assured him with a subtle smirk. "So why else are we having the conference? You could've called."
"Gibbs said there's a new threat up here. Something about sniper rifles and bombs?"
"That may be Xander. Some people he sometimes gets information from are seeing a huge problem coming soon so they're going to deal with it out of sight of most people."
"They're terrorists?" Gibbs demanded.
"No, they're very protective of everyone. Especially here in the US. They were originally a British group that got taken down by a threat and moved to the off-shoot group out in Sunnydale. Right before they had that battle out there that destroyed the town."
"I did not believe that sinkhole story," Vance said dryly.
"The sinking in came as a result of the final moments of the battle but they knew the problem was coming so they managed to get most everyone out. But they do things that agents can't so we don't know and can't stop them."
"Figures," Vance said dryly. "Council?"
"Huh. What's going on there?"
"LA this time."
"Damn it, that's a city," he moaned, shaking his head.
"Yeah and if we have a team out there, tell them to evacuate in about three weeks? Go on vacation to Disney, whatever."
"I can do that. Other agents?"
"Will probably be stepping in while it's going on," Tony admitted. "This time it might be too big to cover up quietly enough. I like G though so he can go on vacation."
"I'll keep that in mind," he said, tapping out a message to his secretary. "Do we know what specific day?"
"No, they have it down a week's range. They're all going to go hang out that way to hopefully stop it before it gets started."
"Well, crap," Vance sighed. He added that and sent it. "She'll warn the LA office to be on alert and be protective." Tony nodded. "The local bases?"
"We're thinking it's going to be downtown. Which would leave an hour gap."
"So the local agents will bounce in to help if necessary, yell a whole lot," Gibbs said dryly.
"That's the best they can do, Gibbs. No one would believe them if they told them," Tony agreed. "Abby might not believe them if they told her."
"That doesn't surprise me with that group," Vance said dryly. "But that does explain a lot of blacked out gaps in Mr. Harris' files."
"Yup," Tony said with a grin. "And that one closed project too."
"We loathe them so much they got hunted down by everyone," Vance assured him.
"Xander would be happy to hear that, sir. They thought he was just tagging along."
"Yeah, right," Vance said dryly. "When is your walk for your MBA?"
"Hmm....." Tony looked at his phone. "May. I need that weekend for all the graduation stuff." He let him see it. Vance nodded, making a note on his own phone.
"Is anyone going to watch you walk?" Gibbs asked calmly.
"I was going to pass out invites a few weeks before, Gibbs."
"Good." He stared at him. "You are coming back?"
"Yeah, as soon as I can." He grinned. "I almost miss picking on McGeek. The ones up here are less interesting and usually remind me of programmed robots. Though Xander said a geek he knows made one once that was better than any anime one."
"I don't want to know," Gibbs assured him. "Tell McGee."
"I will." He grinned. "So why else did you come up?"
"We found there's a new twist to your files," Vance said, letting him see that.
Tony stared at it then nodded. "I was seeing him a long time ago, back in college." He handed it back. "Technically it's not illegal. I'm not in one now and haven't been since before I became NCIS, Director. For that matter I haven't really had a relationship since I became NCIS. Or Baltimore PD. My last long-term thing broke up with me in Philly."
"Interesting. That's still skirting the rules."
"No, that's more about your *current* dates, Director, not your past ones. For that matter, even if they tried that, they can't push me out because of it. They also probably can't prove it."
"Good point," Vance said. "But it is going around."
"Yeah, it probably is to discredit someone and I'll beat them to death later on, out of view of everyone else." Tony smiled. "They'll be very miserable for spreading around any personal information on me."
"Ziva said she had never even heard a rumor of it in your background," Gibbs said. "You were?"
"Yeah, I dated him back in college." He shrugged. "Even if they try to DADT me, which I'm hoping the next president takes down, they won't find any evidence and it doesn't apply to past things before you joined NCIS or the military."
"Good point," Vance said. "If that should happen?"
"I'll sue like hell," he said dryly. "And then stay up here." He smiled sweetly. "I love being vindictive. I learned so much that way."
"So I'm told." He stared at him. "It is not my call."
"I know and I know a few senators who would love that information because they hate me. I have a few people I'm going to tell about that information going around and then I'm going to ruin someone else for it. That is how politics is played, right?" Vance swallowed but nodded. Tony grinned. "Aren't you glad Gibbs liked me using physical means of retribution?"
"Very. I never saw you as scary before," Vance told him.
Tony smirked. "I can be very scary when I have to be. The point is knowing when I have to be."
"Good." Vance smirked. "Have fun with them."
"I will." He smirked at Gibbs. "So, any other news I should hear before Abby pounces in a few weeks?"
"Not really. Are you happy up here, DiNozzo?"
"It's not bad. I do get a lot done. I've helped a lot in some places. Last night I got to save the clinic from a druggie looking for morphine."
"I heard," Gibbs admitted. Tony smirked. "Fine. Whatever. You have testimony coming up."
"They emailed me that they'd do it via phone again."
"Even better. March?"
"March," he agreed happily. "Be lucky I'm not planning on bringing Xander to spring break with me, Gibbs."
"Fine." He shook his head. "We'll let you get back to your paperwork."
"Make Abby put away the calendar," Tony said quietly with a smile. "It'll only depress her."
"It has been." They left him alone. Tony went to see what Chase had needed him for, finding a patient in distress. He jumped in to help and it helped him plan what to do about that idiot. He'd have to get it approved of course. That way he didn't duplicate with anyone.
Tony walked into the DC clubhosue that weekend, nodding at his former mate. "Highest," he said formally. "I have grave charges to bring about someone fucking with me unlawfully for their own gain."
"Oh, dirt," he muttered. "How did you hear about him, Tony?"
"Vance." He grinned. "He and Gibbs showed up."
"And since I'm NCIS, which is associated with the Navy and Marines...."
"Yes, that's a problem. We're putting him on house trial in a few days."
"I'm going to ruin him," Tony said bluntly. "Even if you tell me no."
"Good!" He smiled. "We'll let you handle that. He had such a promising career too." He walked off. "Come tell me what you've heard so I can give you the rest. That way you know what you're destroying him for."
"Thanks." He followed, taking the information file. "Huh, Vance hadn't heard a few things." Tony outlined his plans, getting agreement. "The day of the trial?"
"As soon as we declare him guilty, and I'm fairly certain we will," he admitted. "We may need Vance's testimony."
"Tell him that, blindfold him, voice changer."
"Good. Now what is Harris doing?"
"There's apparently a huge problem coming up in LA in just under three weeks."
"Ow," he sighed, shaking his head. "Three weeks?"
"They're thinking Thursday the last I heard. Xander's going to lurk that way on Sunday."
"Excellent choice. Weapons?"
"He's been playing kitten poker like mad for some. And a storage system that we can't find."
"Even better!" He stared at him. "Can we get them help?"
"Sure, there's agents all over LA who now have a hint. Vance asked." He smirked.
"Great. That'll help."
"We hope," Tony agreed.
"I do hope. I'd hate to see LA have to be razed to the ground because of them."
"Probably not that bad unless they can't stop the portal." He let him have that email he had gotten from Xander's account earlier. He called the LA clubhouse and told them to evacuate everything and everyone they could. And spread around that the 'usual spring problems' were coming in about three weeks. "I suggested the ones I like should go to Disney," Tony said with a grin.
"You need a vacation," he said dryly, cracking Tony up. "Go play, DiNozzo." He smirked and went to tease others.
Director Vance got home and found himself kidnaped. He found himself on a chair in a room that was muffled. He was blindfolded. No outside sounds. A few clearly altered voices. "What do you want with me?" he demanded calmly.
"You are here to testify about the rumors someone is spreading," a male, kind of, voice said. "Because of who we are, you may not know us."
"You're some of those pushy, nosy sorts that encourage DiNozzo?" Vance asked. "Is DiNozzo one of you?"
"I am. Most of us are actually. He is not a member of this board but he is well known to us. This is a trial against the man accused of spreading those rumors to harm others within this group, Director Vance. You will not be harmed. All we want is the truth you know."
"That's fine. You could've asked. I would've come."
"We did inform your wife. That way she doesn't worry. She said she'll have dinner waiting on you when we bring you back," another altered male voice said.
"Wonderful. I love my wife." The trial started and he answered the questions. They were skillful in their interrogation. Clearly some had been lawyers in the past. Now, he could only imagine.
Xander walked up to Buffy and Giles, Angel was joining them from the other direction. "We have a good storage area for when you have to move," he said with a grin.
She smirked. "Have you been playing poker again?"
"Yup, quite a lot," he chirped. "I'm about an hour from Philly at the moment." He smirked harder. "And about the same from New York City."
"Wonderful. Any help?"
"We have anti-help, and I'm glad of it."
"So no others joining in to help," she said. "That could be handy."
"Tony, the nice doctor guy, is also an agent and he warned some that they might be ready to help the normal sorts this week sometime."
"So we may have some help clearing areas," Angel said with a nod. "That's very helpful."
Xander nodded. "Or even bigger help because they'd have people who could handle the law firm."
"True," she said, smiling at him. "How are you feeling?"
"Pretty good. We found the extra heart chamber wasn't from *that* taint but from the one that activated it, it turned on some growth hormones that are now shut down. So I'm no longer growing my own evil twin."
She nodded once. "That's just weird."
"Sunnydale," he countered.
"Good point." They walked off, going to dinner. It looked more normal if anyone was watching. "Do we have plans for this week?"
"We have tons of plans for this week," he said with a grin. "Including that I'm going to Disney if I don't have to hurry back to New Jersey. I got ordered that even a papercut should send me back there immediately. But Tony's watching my pretty motorcycle for me."
"Motorcycle!" Buffy demanded, stopping to stare at him. "Why?"
"It's a lot easier than driving," he told her. "Especially with the eye thing? I'm a lot better with it."
"Huh. Still freaky for you."
"Well, yeah," he admitted with a grin. "But I look hot. I nearly got picked up by two hitchhiking agents the other day."
He shrugged. "I'm nearly ready to start dating again." She patted him on the arm and they continued walking. He showed her a picture of it. "Racing bike. It's even by a Brit company."
Giles looked at him. "You bought a British motorbike?" Xander showed him. "I didn't know Triumph did motorbikes. Interesting." He handed it back. "It looks very fast."
"It is very fast," Xander said with a grin. "And the State Trooper guy nearly freaked out at the eyepatch until I showed that it was on my new license. I was out to clear my head and I wasn't paying attention to the little dial. Was at ninety something when they stopped me at three in the morning."
Buffy snickered. "Only you, Xander."
"Yup. They were sure of it too." He held open the door of the restaurant. He also walked in before Angel. "Beauty before age, Deadboy."
"I got my name for a reason, Harris," he shot back.
Xander smirked. "Because Darla was desperate?" Buffy smacked him on the arm. "Well, she wasn't smart!"
"Good point but stop it."
"Fine." They got their seats and settled in to eat and make plans with their glasses and salt shakers. That worked and Buffy got the idea by the time the main dish was served. They had a good dinner catching up and then headed back to the Hyperion. "Willow?" Xander asked finally.
"Coming in tomorrow with some of the coven," Giles told him. "She did say to tell you she was sorry she had tried to get anything of Anya's."
Xander nodded. "I would've beaten her to death," he said honestly.
Buffy nodded. "You probably would have." She patted him on the arm. "How's the dating pool where you are?"
"I live about fifteen minutes from Princeton, which is full of snobby bitches with degrees."
"Eww. Like on that tv show?"
"That's lower New Jersey. I'm in the middle of the state and there's no beach."
"Oh, okay." She nodded. She could kind of understand that. They told the others the plans and it was set. Xander went back to his hotel room. It was near the action but not in direct line so he could probably slip away fairly easily afterward. Buffy and the others settled in to talk about Xander. He seemed much more calm and partially pretty scary. Clearly he was still in a bad mood from the last battle in Sunnydale. They'd have to watch him.
Tony saw it starting on tv and winced, calling someone. "Xander, I'm giving an agent I know and trust your storage area out there." He smiled. "You're welcome." He hung up and called a number he had looked up. "Where are you two? No, don't head there. There's a storage area that someone has been stockpiling weapons in for this emergency. Yes, that's what I mean." He read off the address. "Go there first. It should only take you an extra twenty and you'll need it from what the tv crews are showing." He hung up and let them handle it. Sure enough, twenty minutes didn't make too much of a dent. House was staring over his shoulder. G Callen and his partner got there with the artillery and a few other agents, working on the bigger mass of demons trying to get past the hunters and slayers. And there were a lot of slayers. Tony winced when it showed Xander got gored on the leg but he beheaded that one and moved on.
Victor stomped in, staring at the tv. "That is Xander, isn't it?"
House looked back and nodded. "That's what he used to do. It was one of those issues that cost him the eye."
"No wonder he had such good arm muscles." He scowled as he stomped off. Xander should have told him, he'd have helped him build them up better.
"He's still retiring," House called after him. "I hope," he said more quietly.
Cameron stomped in. "Have you seen that publicity stunt out in LA?" she demanded.
Tony pointed. "That's Xander's friend Buffy. That's Xander next to her," he said, staring at her. "That's not a stunt, Cameron. That's how Xander lost his eye a year ago." She huffed. "That's a battle." He got back to watching it. "The tv people must be going nuts."
"They are," House agreed. "They're shallow and worried about their pathetic hair too." Tony nodded. Chase rushed in and sighed. "Where?"
Cameron snorted. "That can't be real."
"You can go out there and find out," House offered. "They'll probably need some extra ER staff." She huffed off. Foreman was watching at the nurse's station and didn't respond to her jabbing him with a nail so she went to bother Wilson instead.
Chase sat down, watching it go on. "He's bleeding already?"
"Claw to the leg," Tony said. The battle kept going, getting worse and worse. Finally someone brought the building down and the portal snapped. No more new demons. Just mopping up the old ones. That took another hour and the military was stepping in to help by then. "Thank God," Tony muttered. He checked his watch. "Four hours." He saw most of the slayers fade into the alleys and side streets, away from the press. He saw Xander fade better than the girls did. "We need to finish training him for urban combat."
"We need to get him back here before some ER dweeb out there gets hold of his blood," House noted. He texted Xander but didn't get anything back.
"He probably has it off so it won't distract him," Tony reminded him. "Right now I'd say he's heading for his motel room to clean up, House. That's what I'd do. That's what John would do."
"All right," he decided. "The minute he gets back, I see him, even if I'm fucking a patient or Cuddy."
"Why do I need more nightmares?" Chase complained with a grimace. House snickered, walking off to find what he'd need for Xander. Hopefully in the next few hours.
Tony stretched and sat down. "Well, we know he's alive. They didn't get him killed." Chase nodded and went to think while doing something productive. Tony's phone rang. "DiNozzo," he answered, putting it on speaker when the growl made his ear vibrate.
"If that was your idea of a tiny problem, we need to talk about your definition, DiNozzo," Gibbs snarled.
"We told you no one would believe them if we warned in advance, boss." He shrugged at the phone. "What did you want us to do? Go out demons when they've been hidden all this time?"
"No," he snorted. "No one would've believed you. Are they all finished with?"
"There's plenty of native, non-harmful species, Gibbs. Xander plays poker with them." He put his feet up in another chair. "Sunnydale was full of the peaceful ones hiding and the rest trying to eat people."
"That figures with their numbers." He sighed. "When are you coming back?"
"Abby wants to meet him."
"I'll ask if he wants to meet Abby. All his friends are female so she should fit in really well with them."
"Uh-huh. What are we going to do about this new knowledge?"
"Well, it's not new for some, Gibbs," he said dryly. "As for the government, I'd say a great overreaction until someone with some sense points out there were some battling the newcomers and protecting people. Then some will step out of the closet in the military and other places. So then we'll end up with a lot of uncomfortable pauses, religious leaders throwing hissy fits, and international problems until it comes out that a group in England had quietly handled this problem when it became one since before writing was invented. That's where those girls came from. From that point, I'm hoping for a few level heads but some of them are too religious for that."
Gibbs moaned. "Probably," he decided. "Are you there?"
"I'm in New Jersey, Gibbs. What good would I do during a demonic invasion?"
"Good point. Where did Callen get that artillery?"
"Xander played poker for it. He's been stockpiling now for months."
"Huh," he said, sounding disgusted. "What sort of poker do they play?"
"Kitten poker." He hung up on the choking. He called his normal club back in DC to find out the party line and where he could help and get Xander to help. Xander wouldn't want a national panic either.
"Didn't I say to come directly back here if you were injured?" House complained loudly when Xander walked into his office area.
"You're not my wife, House, and if you keep nagging me I'm going to go play with my pretty battle axe at home instead of letting you fuss." He stared at him. "I'm still not bending you over a table so therefore you don't have nagging rights at this time." House burst out cackling, shaking his head. "I get enough of that from Buffy and them."
"You probably did," Chase agreed as he came in. "Stitches? Those look nice." Xander was wearing jeans shorts so you could see the stitches on his leg.
"Thank you. I learned very well." He let them see them. "I even cleaned up all the blood in my hotel room."
"Thank you," House said. They got him checked over and pulled new blood work then let him go calm down however he wanted. Probably a long ride followed by some ice cream while cuddling his battle axe.
Tony stopped Xander in the hall and hugged him. "Good job," he said quietly. "You did a good job, you minimized a lot of problems. You planned ahead for your needs very well. You made sure most everyone survived." Xander nodded, cuddling him back. "You deserve a treat."
"I'm going to have chocolate fudge and my axe to Oprah."
Tony smiled. "You watch Oprah?"
"Buffy made me."
"Fine." He let him go. "Good job." Xander grinned. "Nice stitching work that I can see too." Xander beamed and left to go do that. Tony went to the office finding Cuddy up the hall giving him a strange look. "He was in LA."
"You were cuddling him."
"He needed a hug. Not like his friends did."
"Good point I suppose."
"Hugs are very therapeutic when you're overly stressed out. Which he was."
"Fine. I won't say a word." She left, walking off shaking her head.
Tony went into House's office. "I gave him a hug and got him calmed down better."
"Long ride and ice cream?" House guessed.
"Fudge, Oprah, and his axe. Buffy made him watch it."
"Ah," House said. "He needs manliness lessons. Give some to Chase so he can give them to Xander?"
"The boy handled artillery, House, I don't believe he needs any," Chase said from his seat. "You and I can't do that."
"I realize I don't know enough about it," Tony decided. "I should ask Gibbs for lessons." He walked off happier.
House and Chase shook their heads. "Go do something else," House ordered. Chase fled with that blessing to go goof off. House relaxed, going over the official party line they had.
Xander looked up when someone walked up to where he was parking. "Alexander Harris?" He nodded. "You're being summoned, sir."
"I'm not eligible to join the military, dude."
"No, sir, we want you to testify before Congress."
"Do I look British to you?" The man slowly shook his head. "Do I look like I live in Cleveland?"
"All those girls are part of a group that was formerly British, until they got blown up by the same thing that killed my eye, and then after Sunnydale sank they moved to Cleveland."
"You're the only one we could identify, sir."
"We all have federal files. They're just under classified things like the military unit that came out to Sunnydale. I'm pretty sure if Agent DiNozzo could find them...."
"I can ask him. Would they know more than you would?"
"Yes. Especially the head guy. Who told me I shouldn't have let myself get hurt."
"Interesting. Thank you, sir." Xander nodded, going into the grocery store. He went to tell his bosses that. They knew about DiNozzo and where he was. If he knew, Gibbs probably did, or at least Abby would. He got appointed to talk to DiNozzo. "Agent DiNozzo, Agent Fillers, Secret Service," he said, walking up to him in the halls of the hospital. He had no idea why he had on a doctor's jacket.
"Their files are under MM-A files. They were from a shut down project that was screwing things up," Tony said bluntly, writing down a file number. "They gathered the other files into that one." He handed it over. "That is Miss Buffy Summers' file."
"Thank you, sir. Is she the British person Mr. Harris told us about?"
Tony smiled. "Remember seeing that really calm blonde girl in charge?" He nodded. "That's her."
"Oh! Thank you. Any other tidbits? Why Cleveland?"
"The same thing that made Sunnydale so strange is there."
"Oh, dear. Thank you." He left, going to tell his bosses that. That was not going to make anyone happy. Maybe he'd suggest that they close Cleveland permanently? Make it a park to those lost or something?
Xander looked up from washing his bike when someone drove up next to him. "Hey, Hanna."
"Xander," he said, getting out. He was a large, muscular white guy with no hair, a goatee, and really bad breath most of the time. "Did I see you on tv?"
Xander looked at him. "Maybe. What were you watching?"
"The invasion. Yeah, I was there." He shrugged. "It's the duty. The peaceful demons I know and worked with out there were helping fight them too."
Blair Hanna stared at him. "So you do know there's peaceful ones?" Xander pulled out his wallet and held up a picture. "Oh, that's the slayer."
"And that's me, that's Willow..... Yeah, I'm that Xander who used to help her." He shrugged as he put it back. "Like I said, it's a duty and I work and play with the peaceful community. I played a lot of kitten poker for the weapons."
The big guy stared at him. "Seriously?" Xander nodded. "Why not ask someone?"
"Because if I asked someone like you or Richie or even Kola-dude, whatever his name is, about it, the ATF would've heard."
"I guess that's a good point." He stared at him. "Is it all gone?"
"Before I could get anyone to bring it, DiNozzo called his NCIS buddies out there to use it. We used all but about two pieces anyway." He went back to his wash job. "Those were smaller so I don't mind it too much."
"I suppose I can agree with that. How do you know weapons?"
Xander shrugged. "I have a gift for weapons I guess. I've always understood weapons." He looked up with a faint grin. "Even before that Halloween thing."
"I probably don't need to know," he decided. "Pretty bike."
"Thank you. It's a lot easier for me than driving and it's great to go for long rides on." He grinned. "Are the other guys in the local circles throwing fits?"
"They're summoning Giles to congress to talk. Tony thinks after all the religious shouting is done that they'll see we've been handling it for years and it'll be okay for the most part. Also, some have honorably stepped up to out themselves. Including a lot of combat vets."
He nodded. "I heard. I'm glad they did. Thanks."
"It's probably not real safe right now."
"We know. There's always a backlash," he sighed. "They still had better not try to attack me."
"What would you do?" he snorted. Xander pointed at something next to him, drawing his attention to it. "Holy god," he muttered. Xander smirked. "How did you get that?"
"Not everything I won at kitten poker is practical for an invasion, Hanna."
"Good point," he said, sounding confused. "You should probably hide that."
"The landlord already jumped on me because I was there." He nodded and got into his car, leaving Xander to finish his bike bath. Then he went inside with his nice, heavy weapon. Xander looked at things and decided maybe he did want to buy somewhere instead. It would be nicer. It'd be easier too. Plus less nosy people and he might be able to get a garage. He went to answer the door.
"Get out of my building!" she shouted, handing him a paper. "All that sort are evil and anyone that ever helped any of them are evil!"
"Quite a few of them are peaceful and harmless, they just exist. Like squirrels." She slapped him. "You do that again and you can spend the night in jail." She stomped off. "I'll see you in court since that's not a legal reason for eviction," he called. Then he shut the door and went to pack. The realtor who had helped him had found a few nicer condos. He had her looking out for a more permanent place when he found out how bad the invasion was supposed to be. There was always a backlash. He sighed and realized he could pack everything within minutes. The rental furniture could go back. If he had to he could probably go sleep on Tony's couch. He checked the date on the eviction order and made himself a note. He had two weeks.
Xander looked at the judge. "It is not my fault she is that judgmental, Your Honor. She never said anything about having friends in an underground community being against the lease." He handed over his copy.
"I see it's not in there." He looked at him. "What do you think of this?"
"I know there's always a backlash whenever there's an apocalypse. I'll move if I have to. I'm not paying her this month's rent. I'm not paying the breaking the lease fee, I'm also going to get my security deposit back since I actually improved the place by replacing the showerhead to something that worked and is low flow."
"You're not qualified to do that," she sneered.
"I am qualified to do that. That's why I was crew lead on my construction site for eight months." She huffed but went back to glaring. "I have pictures of the rooms so you can see nothing is damaged." He handed them over as well.
"I do see nothing wrong. Did you paint or anything?"
"No, sir, and I did wax the floors to get any scratches my furniture and other furniture may have put there." He shifted. "Like I said, I'll gladly move if I need to. I don't want to stay where I'm not welcome. Since she's so frantic about all demons being bad, that's not my problem. I know a lot of great, happy demons who've had clans here on this planet for generations," he said over her shouting and humming to block him out.
He glared at her annoyance tactic. "Many peaceful ones and otherwise. Also, I want her charged with assault. She hit me when she delivered that. The last picture is of the bruise that showed up that night." She shrieked and tried to hit him again. He held her off. "Bailiff, I'm going to smack the shit out of her if you don't stop her." He came over to get her back to her table and stood between them. "Thank you. I don't want to have to defend myself while in court. I'm told it's a bad thing."
"It probably would be seen that way, yes," the judge sighed. "You're willing to go?" Xander nodded. "Within those provisions I don't see why you should have to pay this month's rent or the lease breaking fee, Mr. Harris."
"He does or I'm suing him for them!" she shouted.
Xander looked at her. "Do you have some sort of outburst problem? You only shout. Most people speak in a normal tone of voice."
"Quit," the judge warned. "Though I agree. You're giving me a headache so stop it," he told her. Xander took the keys off his keyring and handed them to him. "I will have someone go make sure the property is not damaged and get the deposit back for you, Mr. Harris. Where will you be?"
"I just bought a very nice little place with a garage for my bike. All my stuff's already there except maybe something I left in the fridge."
"He can check for those as well while she stays here." The bailiff took the keys and left, sending in another guard to watch them. "Mr. Harris, on the subject of peaceful ones. How many are there locally?"
"I mostly play poker with ones in Newark, New York, and Philly right now, Your Honor. I know there's a very nice club for them closer to one of the college bars. I know it's not highly populated but I'm not going to put their address in any public record because people like her would attack them and I don't want that to happen."
"You're probably one of them," she sneered.
"No. Thanks to an incident I got infected with a chromosome problem but I'm not a demon, lady. That was not my doing, it was a plan by someone else. For that matter, all it did was give me an extra gall bladder."
The judge coughed. "How?" Xander handed over the report he had on that from House in case it became pertinent. "Interesting. That's why you're local?"
"That doctor was weeding it out."
"That's what he said. So you're fully born a human?" Xander nodded. "Not a mutant or anything?"
"No, not that I've ever been told. Though I do know someone who accidentally sucked up some telepathy from a demon's blood getting on her. She said it's the suckiest power ever because everyone's real loud." The judge laughed, nodding he understood that. "She never asked me a thing about demon hunting when I signed the lease. There were no overt anti-demon marks, protections, nothing. By the way, that new cross in the office won't stop anything but vampires, who can't get into anywhere a soul is living without an invitation," he told her. The bailiff came back ten minutes later with an officer. "Did I leave something bigger?"
"I found this in the trash," the bailiff said, showing it to him and then the judge. "It's a marijuana derivative."
"I was prescribed that because someone wanting my blood put something in my food that made it so I couldn't eat for days. I took it, went to a friend's house, and ate all his snack cakes. He's the same doc that prescribed it to get my antigen count back down."
"I do see the prescription label," the judge said, looking at him. "Why would they?"
"Someone in the government wanted to test that stuff. He freaked out and they ended up putting him down after they gave it to him."
"Oh, I see. So they were making you weaker..." Xander nodded. "That's fine. That's not drug use," he said. The officer looked at Xander. "It's not him, Officer."
"I know he's human, sir. I'm also aware of why he's up there and who he sees."
"A virologist?" Xander quipped. "That's not against the law either. Oh, you must be that wannabe cop who decided a doc was bad for needing pain pills. He told me about you and your woosey attitude problem because you were told you had an STD but proclaimed you were faithful." The cop growled and tried to hit him. Xander tripped him and got out of the way. "You don't get to hit me either."
"I can arrest you for that."
"For what?" Xander asked with a shrug. "You're the one who tripped over my chair when I moved out of your grasping range."
"See, nothing but trouble," she sneered.
Xander growled, making her shrink back and whimper, trying to get away from him. "Shut up, bitch. I've had enough of you. So had enough of you today. I was having a happier morning before this." She fled. "I still want my money back!" He looked at the officer, who was looking scared. "Don't try with me. I know things that would eat you for fun." He ran out too. He looked at the judge. "I'm sorry I had to show my ass, Your Honor. I usually end up being more subtle or just kicking them around. I should not have lost my temper that way and I apologize."
"I can understand that. Don't come back here, Mr. Harris."
"No, sir, I bought my place so I wouldn't have to deal with anything like this ever again." The judge smiled and handed over the order. "How long on the security deposit? So I know when to sue her because it didn't show up."
"Thank you." He left, stepping around the cop. "I heard House was going to sue you for making allegations you can't back up," he quipped as he walked around him. "Have fun finding a lawyer." He took a cab back to his place, settling in on the new couch. He had decided he wanted a real one but found one at Big Lots, so much cheaper than most places. Including the rental place. And it was big enough to stretch out on. Or have visitors over.
"Harris!" House called as he got off his bike.
One of Xander's neighbors peeked out. "He's at his new place, sir. The landlord made him move because she's paranoid." She handed over the change of address form. "He said to give that to the post office guy tomorrow for him." She smiled and pulled back in.
House looked at it then drove over there on his bike. Xander bounced down to let him in. "Stairs?" he complained.
"Four whole stairs in each direction," Xander said. "I have my own stairs now, so I can race up and down them." House snorted, following him up and into the kitchen. "Want something?"
"Nope, I'm good. You told that twit cop I was going to sue him?"
"I was mostly taunting him. I told him earlier I knew someone who could eat him." He handed him a bottle of water. "Just bought, cold."
"Thanks, kid." He looked around. Fairly open, blank area with a large 'L'-shaped sectional couch in tan microfiber. A tv on a stand and a table. One table lamp on a table. One floor lamp on the other side of the couch. The kitchen was basic with light oak cabinets and silver knobs. House could see into the very basic bedroom with a plain bed without a headboard and plain blue sheets. "You need decorating help."
"It's nothing that I want to deal with," Xander said. He sat down again. "Are you mad I baited him? He showed up to try me so I had to push him back. I growled too."
House stared at him, nodding slightly. "I guess I can understand and tolerate that." Xander grimaced, looking down. "Just growl next time."
"Are you suing him? I didn't even guess."
"I am." He sat down and put his feet up. "Don't say anything else about it."
"I won't unless he shows up and then I'll just growl."
"That would work." He shifted. "A bit soft but comfortable." Xander grinned. "It's still bland."
"It can be bland. I'm not supposed to be super decorator man."
"True. So I heard a rumor?"
"You and a date?"
"It was so awkward," Xander complained, slumping down to put his feet up. "I need something to play with here."
"You need someone to play with. You don't want to tie yourself to a pet."
"I know." He looked at him. "It was very awkward. I had no idea what to talk to her about. She thought I was really odd and goofy and shy, which just happens to be a trifecta for never getting a date."
"There's plenty of people who would date you."
Xander nodded, sighing. "I agree, I want to join, but I have no idea about the sex stuff. That's a talk I never had and when I looked up stuff it looked really weird."
"It can." He motioned Xander closer, letting him move over to kiss him. "No, this part is just like normal, Xander." He kissed him and it was better. Xander was still nervous, he understood that. He pulled Xander onto his lap and took his mind from this being different or strange. Xander did let himself sink into it and House realized it was easier if Xander wasn't making all the first moves. He'd have to pass that on. He took Xander's mind off everything but his mouth. Xander was clearly reacting and liking what he was doing. House pulled back, looking at him. "Does that help?" he asked with a smirk.
Xander leaned closer. "I taught Anya about oral sex and I might miss that."
"I know," he said, patting him on the thigh. "But you'll do just fine with giving it to a guy. Do you still have a gag reflex?" Xander shook his head. "Good. That will help." He smirked. "You'll do fine. I'll make sure they know you need to be distracted at first." He took another kiss then patted him again. "Sit."
Xander slid next to him. "Tease."
"That's not for me to take right now," he said with a smirk. "There's a few nice books." Xander grimaced. "You can ask Tony."
"I think he and Chase are discussing that."
"Probably." He let the boy cuddle and put an arm around him. "Watched any good porn?"
"It was all really cheesy."
"It'll be fine, Xander. We'll make sure you're going to be fine." He patted him. "You'll make a good wife." Xander poked him hard on the stomach. "You will."
Xander looked up at him. "Consort and wife are different."
"And whoever had better like oral sex a whole lot. Because Anya hated giving me a blowjob."
"I'll make sure they know that you're going to be demanding in bed." Xander smirked and nodded. "Anything you want known kink wise?"
"I'm not really. I can't really handle bondage after being taken a few times. Anya and I had sex in public more than once. So that wasn't something that I'll care too much about. Though I'm guessing that would be harder to do with a guy." House nodded. "I don't like pain, don't like watching others in pain."
"So pretty much standard but not too vanilla," House decided. "That's going to be helpful. It won't polarize everyone." He petted him, letting the boy cuddle. It felt nice but Xander was still too active for his life. He'd want to do things and go out to do wild things. House worked too much for an active boy like Xander needed.
Tony hung up his cellphone and put it into his jacket pocket before putting his head down on the table to shake it.
"Problems in DC?" Cameron asked, looking amused.
"My father wants to visit and cause me hell here too," he muttered into the table. He sat up. "He'll be here this weekend so anyone want to switch for next weekend since I have it off?"
"I can," Foreman offered. Tony grinned. "Is he going to want to talk to House?"
"I have no idea why he wants to talk to me since he disowned me when I was twelve." They all grimaced. "No clue, really. The last time he showed up in DC it was a problem. This time is probably one too," he sighed, going to get some chocolate and come back. House was making them wait on him. By the time he got back, House was looking pissed off. "I'm switching weekends off with Foreman because my father wants to show up."
House snorted. "Are you a girl who needs chocolate?"
Tony ate a bite then nodded. "Apparently. How is *your* PMS today since you've been on the rag for a few days, House?" House gaped. Tony stared at him. "Wilson, did you give him midol with his vicodin?"
"I've tried a few times, Tony." He was trying hard not to snicker.
House stared at Tony. "Just for that, go do a medical history on the new patient." Chase handed one over. "Bloodwork started?" Cameron handed that over and Tony handed over the usual orders for testing. "Huh. You guys are getting too smart for your own good."
Tony grinned. "Isn't that why we come to learn at your knee, House? Or was that to learn how to be a smartass as well as smart?"
"Brainy smurf you ain't," House quipped, heading to his office. "Tell me when we get things back."
"We will. Have fun talking Wilson into a heating pad for the cramps," Tony taunted. "Kate always said it worked on hers."
House glared. "Your former teammate wasn't that tough, DiNozzo."
"Oh, I don't know, the Secret Service means you're pretty damn tough overall." He finished his candybar.
"Yes, but she died NCIS," House sneered.
"Yeah, from an Israeli sniper. No one usually survives a head shot," he said, glaring at him. That was a low blow and House was going to pay for it. "Of course, we hunted him down and he's dead now too." House shuddered. "But if you want, I can ask Abby for her Ragging Cocoa recipe."
"No, thank you anyway. I have my own." He slammed his office door.
Tony smirked at him through it. "You're still going to pay for that crack on Kate," he called. House flipped him off and sat down so he didn't have to watch them.
Chase looked at Tony. "She died?"
"On the job." Chase shuddered. "It's not a pretty job but someone had to do it, Chase."
"I realized that but I didn't consider it that dangerous." He patted him on the wrist. "I don't think Midol is enough for his PMS. Maybe pudding?" Chase and Tony shared a smirk and texted Xander, who could pick up what every girl needed for PMS. They were sure he knew with only having female friends.
Xander showed up a half-hour later, handing Tony a sundae, Chase a sundae, and then House a huge sundae. Plus a bag from the pharmacy up the street. He hugged House. "It's good your girlish times are finally coming out, House. Don't worry, everyone gets PMS sometimes. Willow even told a nurse I get it sometimes. She convinced a health teacher of that too." He winked and walked off. "I'm told manual relief helps the cramps too. Or so Buffy said during a girl movie they made me watch with them.
House stared at Xander's back. Then glared at DiNozzo and Chase, who were eating their sundaes as they walked off. "You two are so getting it."
"Ooh, spanking games," Tony taunted with a smirk. "Whatever shall we do, Chase?"
"I don't know that I like spanking games. All my dates have been rather vanilla in that area," he said, stuffing ice cream in his mouth. "These are very good sundaes. How did he carry them on the bike?"
"I don't know." He shrugged. "Not too melted either so they're freshly made." They got onto the elevator.
House stomped back to his office to eat his sundae. He'd have to beat them to death later. Though that manual relief solution might help his mood too. Even James had called him cranky earlier.
James walked in and plucked the cherry off the sundae and gave him a hershey bar for it. "There, more chocolate." He grinned as he walked off. He was going to cackle in private in his office.
House looked in the bag and groaned, putting it in his desk drawer. The lube and condoms might help but he'd keep the midol to hand to Cameron and Foreman the next time they needed it. House put his feet up, eating his sundae. The kid had gotten him a pretty good one. He was still paddling DiNozzo later. Fun game or not, he was getting it.
Rupert Giles was walked into the hearing room and sat down, putting a few things in front of him. He looked at the people in front of him. He was being served up to fix things. He was told it was his duty to the Council, his job as the head. Which he loathed.
"Rupert Giles," one of the senators said, looking up from the file he was reading. "Quite an interesting past you've had. British museum work to school librarian?"
"My work with the museum was what I wanted to do, and could do until I was called to my duty with my slayer."
"Who called you to that?"
"Quentin Travers. He was the head of the Council before me."
"You are the head now?" he asked.
"Because the main Council building was blown up by the First Evil, which was behind the town of Sunnydale falling in." He handed over a scroll. "This is the founding of the Council as handed down through oral histories until Linear B was invented. Though that is the English translation of that." They accepted it to read. He waited patiently.
"So your duty is to these girls?" the lead senator asked.
"Yes. Our slayers are our primary job, though there are those that research various species of demons and do test new weapons and other things. Before the explosion they had recently started a genetics unit."
"Magic?" another senator asked.
Giles considered it then looked at the lamp next to the man, lighting it from where he was sitting. "Some are gifted with the talent, but not all those who use it are bad or good. I've strode on both sides of that field myself due to some teenage rebellion. Then I reformed myself. We have a coven we work with routinely to help magically able young people who may have problems, like an addiction to the power they could hold."
"It's said that one of your charges had that problem?" the lead senator asked.
"She has fought that successfully and was on her way to health again but then she lost her girlfriend, who had been standing right next to her. It was a stressor that anyone with any sort of addiction would find hard to fight. She lost but we did manage to stop her before serious consequences happened."
"By the files that were gathered by various people within the government, she had killed at least 2 people," the lead senator said.
"She was so struck with her grief, she intended to make everyone feel that grief. She was stopped before that could happen and sent to the coven to heal and grieve."
"So you're saying she nearly became an apocalypse?"
"It's not that hard to do," Giles told him. "We had one that was nearly caused by opening a charmed necklace. That was thankfully stopped as well."
"How many apocalypses did you stop in Sunnydale?" another senator asked.
Giles considered that. "At least one a year since I got to Sunnydale. There were a few more minor ones that would end up growing into a major one."
The lead senator gave him a horrified look. "You act like this is normal?"
"We had a vampire master, a very ancient one, that had been trapped for over half a century, manage to break free. My slayer died then but was brought back, which was more helpful than we realized at the time. We had a vampire master who had been equipped with a soul lose it and start to kill again, forcing my girl to send her former helper to hell, with it since it was restuck a moment before he went.
"We had a mayor that many knew was over a hundred years old decide to change into a demonic super entity that could only be stopped by something extremely large. The last incident of that was stopped when Mount Vesuvius just happened to explode right next to him. This time it took blowing him up in the high school." The senator dropped the pen he was holding. The others were giving him horrified looks. "We had one started by the Army when their ideas of figuring out what the Council has known for years via torture and other less scientific means also created a creature that was an amalgamation of human and demon parts as some sort of super soldier.
"He was going to rend humanity apart. We've had human-created very bad things that would have run into an apocalypse if we had let them go. We had the First Evil that sank the town. We went into the hellmouth at that time to fight it. It was after the Council got blown up. We lost our first people during that battle," he said more quietly. "Then the other day that could not be hidden as it had been before. Those were our major ones, not the more minor that could have turned into an apocalypse if left alone."
"So things were in the shitter," the lead senator said bluntly.
"We did what we could to stop everything as soon as we could. With as little notice as we could, Senator. What did you want us to do? No one else would have."
"I understand that," he agreed. "Why are you in Cleveland now?" Giles handed over that information. He read it and passed it on. "How much is this infecting Cleveland?"
"As of this point, it's not drastically affecting the city. With most of the slayers there, it's fairly quiet and we're slowly farming the slayers back to their original areas to handle anything that should show up there."
"How long before it does drastically affect the city?" another senator asked.
"Based on Sunnydale's history, without someone prompting it more open, I'd say within a century and a half. It took a century for Sunnydale to get to the point of problematic and noticeable but it had someone prompting it. There were multiple times of demons and humans prompting the hellmouth open out in Sunnydale."
"All right," the lead senator said. "What may need to be done to help Cleveland endure longer with fewer problems?"
"So far it's not a problem. I've recently had this talk with the city council there. They had seen a one percent increase in vampire deaths, so another four in that year, and after the invasion they were quite worried. Which we do understand."
"Are there other places that have similar holes?" one of the senators on the end asked.
"Yes, quite." He handed over that document. "As noted magically, though as far as I know they only flashed when Sunnydale got sucked into itself. That left Cleveland being the most open. The others still have thicker barriers."
The senators looked that over. "Explain what a hellmouth is?" the lead senator demanded. Giles went into the explanation. They talked quietly off microphone for a moment then came back. "Is it possible to shore up that barrier?"
"That is not a field of study I have ever been interested in. My gift is languages, not science." His phone beeped so he looked. "Buffy said that the demon network knows about a secret science-based project that may have an answer but we do not know any of them." He put it away. It of course beeped again so he looked at it. "Ah, Xander has heard of one but he'd have to send him an email to divulge his name." He looked up.
"Ask him if they would be an international hidden project?" the lead senator asked. The president walked in. "Sir."
"Mr. Giles, ask him if he means...." Giles handed him the phone. "Not a technophile?" he asked dryly as he tapped out a message.
"No, I consider computers to be a malfunction of human society most of the time. No matter how much some of the other researchers and the slayers like them."
The president nodded when he got back an answer. "I do know of who he suggested," he announced. "It is my eyes only," he told the senators. "I will ask if they can figure that out." The information was handed over and Giles wrote him a letter for his own staff. "I'll get that out today. Thank you, Mr. Giles." He handed back the phone and left.
"That's good to know," the lead senator said. "How would your coworker know them, Mr. Giles?"
"Xander has many strange contacts thanks to not being against anyone unless they attack him or other innocents. Plus his deplorable kitten poker habit for information."
"Kitten poker?" the senator on the left end asked.
"Yes, it's a popular poker system among the harmless demons."
"What do they use the kittens for?" another asked.
"Mostly for food I'm told. They'd mostly eat small animals though I do know of some vampires who partake that way instead of hunting humans." He adjusted his glasses. "That was something the children did for information and some helpful things like weapons over the years."
The lead senator winced. "Weapons? Like the ones used in that battle?"
"Yes, Xander made a great many contacts on this coast through kitten poker while he was...ill in New Jersey, who got him those. We used all that he won but two things, which the agents that retrieved them confiscated."
"That's good. How are demons doing that?" he asked.
"I'm not sure even Xander is sure."
"Would terrorists have access?"
"I believe most of them are religious based and most of those sort seem to be screaming about sharing the earth with them, sir. Quite loudly in the Southern US and Iran especially."
"You should have heard the unedited, untranslated version from Saudi Arabia," one of the ones on the end said dryly.
"Would that be Harrison?" Giles smiled. "He's known for years. He was Council before he went to find a deeper faith."
The lead senator smirked. "How many people do you have stashed around, Mr. Giles?"
"Quite a few are siblings or more distant relations. We are mostly family oriented."
"That's good to know," the lead senator said. "Carried on through the proper families?"
"Yes, quite, and families of slayers or those affected at times."
"The slayers, what are their duties?" another senator demanded. Giles handed that over. He read it, grimacing at them. "This habit of theirs...."
"Is now banished. We do train them but they are more than free to stay with their families as long as possible and then go back to their own homes after training. Or wherever they wish to be posted. The sins of the past Council are not this current one. When we hear about such things we do act to make sure it cannot happen again."
"I can agree that's a good idea."
"We do what we must do but the duty must not interfere with the children having what they can of life. I learned that from own girl when she was the first to stay with her mother, have friends, and date. She even tried out for a cheerleading spot."
"I'm sure that ruffled a few feathers."
"Quite, including mine. The children taught me that what the girls need is support and help, not a blind man researching in a library and handing her a weapon."
"That sounds reasonable." The others nodded when he looked at them. "We're going to adjourn for the day and make notes, plus take questions from those that do not have the rank to be here. We will see you tomorrow at approximately this time." He banged the gavel and walked them off with the information.
Giles took a deep breath once he was outside the building and heading back to his hotel room. "I should really make one of the others take this test of nerves. I fear I have none left after Buffy's current date."
Xander was walked into the house by House, Chase and Tony behind them. "I like your bike, it's a bit more comfortable than mine," House said with a grin. Xander beamed back.
The head of the house looked at him. "He has a motorcycle?" he asked.
"It's easier," Xander said. "It's also very fast," he said with a grin.
"That's wonderful." He smiled. "Visiting to ask more questions?"
"Nervous as fuck," Xander admitted. The head smiled at him. Xander shrugged. "I think I'm ready to move on. At least to start being talked to and that level, maybe some letting someone talk me into playing."
"That's a good, useful step," he agreed. "Doctor Chase?"
"I would agree to my inclusion if you'll have me."
"Excellent." He smiled and walked them off. "There's many things to attend to tonight. Including helping you both relax. It's not that scary, really." Xander nodded. He smiled. "I have to ask as a formality. Has there been any entrances used?"
"No," Xander said. "Anya tried to tease once but no."
"I've had some teasing but nothing more than a finger," Chase said. "Tony has helped me get used to things."
"We love Tony for that." He smiled. "We'll be soothing you for now. A long, warm bath with a careful trimming of your hairs." They nodded. Xander ran a hand over his hair. "Not that one, Xander." Xander blushed but shrugged a bit. He smiled. "It looks like you got a recent trim. It looks nice." Xander grinned. He led them to the bathing room and two others came in. "These are daughters of some of us, they will not sexually molest you but are there to make things a bit easier. They have seen many bodies." He left them with their sponsors, going to tell the others. They were all looking forward to their inclusion. Though he had almost no one here tonight to finish their breaking in. He called the other local members. They needed a good showing for their new consorts. Tony was also calling some of the members he liked more.
Xander came out of the bath and was handed a white cotton robe. He slid into it and tied it loosely, helping Chase out. They had both been shaved: face, pubic mound, balls, and ass. Chase also got his chest shaved. They were led into the altar room. The highest had changed into his official robes. They were black and red, long sleeved, and velvet. Xander bowed. Chase bowed. "Boys," he said with a smile. "This is our altar and ritual room. This is the altar all our vows are taken on. Tonight is your inclusion vows. Some day we look forward to both of you kneeling on the altar as a true consort." He led them around. "This is our Goddess. She oversees our pleasures and our needs. We honor her by kissing her."
Chase placed a chaste kiss on the statue's lips. Xander kissed her lips, her breast, and her carved slit.
The higher smiled. Yes, he was a Guardian. They all felt that knowledge. "This is our God, Dionysus. He also overseas our pleasures but also the pleasures of the food, of the other things we partake of. It is in his cup that the best information is found, both within ourselves and from others."
Chase kissed him and stepped back. Xander kissed him and then the head of his cock.
He smiled. "A guardian," he told Chase. "Is one who guards our treasures and our secrets. They feel the call of the Gods more than most. They are highly protective, very sensual, and very much someone we can count on."
"I know that's not me," he agreed.
"We know he is and you are a normal consort. While his eventual mate will have to share his attention, yours will only have you to fuss over." Xander blushed. "Kiss the altar, boys, give it your pleasure." They did. He helped Chase up and out of the robe. Chase shivered as the cold, smooth basalt stone touched his back. "Tonight, we come to this room to initiate our two newest consorts," he said, looking up. "We welcome them into the society. We welcome them into our arms and our hearts. We welcome them into our group as one of us."
He took the dick off the statue of Dionysus. He kissed it and dipped it into the oil. "We welcome Robert Chase into our service." He slowly inserted the stone phallus into Chase's body, giving it a few slow, sharp strokes. Chase shivered and went limp. He pulled it out and put it aside, baring his own genitals to slip inside him gently and slowly. He gave him the traditional five strokes then pulled out. He placed in one of the ritual plugs, twisting it a bit with a smile for him.
"If I was not in my position I would continue," he whispered. "You are a beautiful man and I look forward to you finding someone worthy of your body." He helped him up and exchanged the white initiate robe with a dark green silk one. Chase shivered at the cold silk but it was good. He smiled at him. "You are one of us, Robert Chase. May you find your succor, your pleasure, and your life with us."
"It would please me to do so," Chase said quietly.
He smiled and kissed him. Then he turned to Xander. Xander was helped out of his robe and helped up onto the altar. "Move down some, Xander. To the edge." He helped him get into the right position and picked up the phallus. He dipped it into the oil and then into Xander's body. He had to keep reminding himself to only use five strokes. He wanted to plumb the depths of Xander's body and make him beg. He carefully put it aside and entered Xander himself. He was still feeling that urge and desire to make Xander his. He pulled back and kissed him. "You will be a wonderful guardian of ours, Xander." He helped him down and into a robe. "You are one of us, Alexander Harris. May you find your succor, your pleasure, and your life with us."
"It would please me to do so," he said.
The Highest put the phallus back and did his own robe back up, leading them out to the common room. There were a few extra people there. "Guardian," he said, staring at him.
"Higher." He nodded, looking at Xander. "Our future guardian." Xander shivered, moving closer. "Come see." He led him into a side room, showing him the local relics. Xander whimpered, touching one. "We will help you train to be the best guardian you can be." Xander looked at him. "Including teaching you better sword work," he said with a smile. Xander hugged him. "Come. It's your first night with us and a lot of us are looking forward to how you do." He led him back out there.
James Wilson looked at Chase and held out a hand. "Chase, would you like to attend to me tonight?" he asked with a smile.
"It is up to you, Chase," the Higher said. He handed him over. "Sometimes a well-known friend is the best your first night." He smiled at Xander when he and the guardian came back.
John Sheppard stood up, staring at him. "You're adorable when you blush," he said quietly.
"I'm still getting used to the guy stuff," he said.
John held out a hand. "Would you attend me tonight, Xander?"
"That urge to go to your knees is common in a guardian meeting another," the guardian assured him, handing his hand to John. "We'll be training him to be one of us, John."
"That's wonderful." He pulled Xander closer to kiss him. Xander moaned but kissed him. "We're sitting here."
"Down here?" Xander asked quietly.
"It's traditional." He settled into his chair and put his feet up. Xander slid into his lap, nibbling on his throat. "That's very nice." He stroked underneath the robe, smiling at the soft skin. The bathers had done a great job with him. Chase moaned and whimpered, making them look. Wilson was stroking his cock and making him sit still while he did it. Chase came and Wilson smiled, licking it off his hand. John smiled at Xander. "I want to see you do that too."
"I can't come on command, I need help."
"Of course you're getting help. Someday I'll want to see you do it yourself but not tonight." He stroked a hand up Xander's leg and teased the hardening cock. He teased it, stripping the robe off him. He was a pretty young man. Even with the eyepatch. Xander was very responsive to his touch so that was good. He also was a pretty decent kisser.
"He likes others to take some charge," House called. Xander whimpered.
John smiled. "I know you're new to it, Xander. So was I when I went to the altar."
"Are you a consort too?"
"No, I'm not." He kissed him. "But I am the one Rodney wanted you to meet." Xander ducked his head a bit, making John smile before kissing him again. He teased him, making Xander shiver and attack his mouth for a deeper kiss. "Straddle me, Xander. Ride me." Xander straddled his lap, giving John all the opportunity he wanted. John teased the open hole. No plug. John shifted Xander closer. He had sensitive spots on his neck when he tried them. That was pleasant too. "Clearly no one has appreciated you properly."
He ran a hand down his back, teasing his hole. "This is mine for tonight, Xander. Do you want that too?" Xander shifted, kissing him again. "Good boy. Turn around." Xander whined. "Turn around," he ordered. Xander got up and turned around. John positioned himself and let Xander sink himself down. Xander yelped when the head pressed in. "That's good, just like that," he soothed, helping him come down slowly and carefully. Xander shivered and shook but John kept good hold of him. He finally settled back in his lap. "See, very good."
"Very big," he moaned.
John nibbled on Xander's throat. "Not huge but a bit above average," he teased in his ear. He watched Chase being teased to death by James, who was going to make Chase beg for it. "Watch him, Xander. Watch Robert be taken like you are."
James smirked and had Chase suck him. That left his ass open and in the air. A few others touched him but Chase only twitched away. James reached down over Chase's back to remove the plug. "That's very good, Robert." He pulled him up and settled him on the couch on his back. "Relax." He slid in and Chase whimpered, clawing up his arms. "Relax," James soothed, pushing in further. Chase moaned and arched up against him. "Good boy, Robert."
John smiled at Xander. "Doesn't he look pretty?" Xander nodded quickly. "I'd love to hear you moan that way. Would you like that?" Xander nodded again. "Good. That's my plan for the night too." He pushed up and Xander followed. "Ride me, Xander."
"Only ride a bike," he panted.
"No, this is more like riding a horse." He helped him. Xander was liking it a bit too much so he made him sit up and lean forward to change the angle of penetration. Xander was whimpering into his knees. It gave John more leverage and a lot more fun. Xander was extremely tight and it was great fun. He got them up and put Xander in the chair on his knees, braced on the back of it. He rode him hard, fast, making it good. Xander's moans were louder than Chase's and he was rocking the chair. Xander swore and came, going limp.
"Lick that," John said in his ear. "I want to see you clean it up. Then I'm going to shoot my cum up your ass and make you mine for tonight." Xander whimpered, using a finger to clean it up so he could lick it clean. "That's so pretty, Xander." He shot off, moaning loudly. "It's like your body sucked it out of me." He sat down again, settling Xander in his lap. Xander reached for the robe. "No. I want to see you." Xander looked at him. "There is nothing sexier than self-confidence, Xander. With how good you were, you should have a lot of confidence."
"He's growing it," House said. Xander looked at him. "Though if I had known those baggy clothes hid that, I would've had him over my desk."
John smirked. "He is so tight and his body is so warm, so sucking at you." He stroked a hand down Xander's back. "How is your education going?"
"I start the vo-tech in a few weeks. We talked about what I already knew and it was good, I'm getting credit for a lot of it. I have a few goals I still have to meet beyond what Rodney worked out," he said quietly, looking at him.
John took a kiss. "Good." He smiled. "He was very happy he could help you find something good." Xander relaxed. John petted him until his boy was nearly asleep in his lap. "Tony, how's the medical degree?"
"I'm doing a lot more hours than I should be," Tony said smugly. "I've got a lot of tests I have to pass this year. Then this spring I can walk both." They all smiled at him. "For some reason I don't find House all that intimidating."
"That's because your old boss is a bastard," House snorted. He patted his lap. "For some reason I'm missing things." Tony smirked and came over to tease House. "That's very good, Tony. You're definitely going over the desk this week." Tony slid into his lap and pleased him greatly. House was bellowing by the end, even waking up Xander.
John smirked at him. "How loud can you get, Xander?"
"I don't know. I didn't get very loud with Anya."
"I'd like to find that out." He got up and helped Xander up to one of the private rooms. He put him onto the bed, staring at the trim, tight body. "The training as a guardian will be toning what you don't have already toned." He ran a hand over the strong arms. "I think construction did you good." He leaned down to kiss him. "Help me get undressed."
Xander sat up to help undress John, getting his turn to touch and explore. He had needed that before but now John would indulge him because he knew it was all new to him. John could appreciate this young thing's attitudes. Though he was funny when he concentrated so hard while cleaning him up. It was cute how he stuck his tongue out a tiny bit while he did it. Once he was clean he guided Xander's mouth to it. "You look like you want to taste me. I think we'd both like that."
Xander looked up at him. "I've never done that."
"That's fine. I'll teach you, Xander." He smiled. "I'll teach you a whole lot tonight." Xander nodded and licked across the head, earning a hiss. "I don't think you need much education," he moaned, bracing himself so he wouldn't fall.
"Shouldn't you be laying down?" John laughed but lay down next to him, letting Xander explore and tease him. He was good at what he was doing and Xander didn't avoid teasing his cock. He was learning it.
"Don't play with yours?"
"Not really. Before Anya somewhat but I never seemed to have the energy to do that. When I was with Anya, she wanted it more than I did. She was borderline nympho kinda."
"I've had a few girlfriends like that. Wanted it morning, noon, and night?"
"Morning, pre- and post-patrol," Xander agreed.
"We had cemetery and hunting patrol." He looked at him. "No one told you about Sunnydale," he sighed. "I knew that was going to ruin something."
"No, I heard. I didn't know you guys had patrol." Xander nodded. "Weapons?"
Xander grinned. "I love weapons but we used stakes and crossbows, sometimes a special occasion axe or sword. Once a bomb, once artillery. And then the other day."
John stared at him. "I'd hate going out with something as clunky as a crossbow. I really would. I'd need a faster reload speed and a lot of other things to make myself feel safer."
"Buffy hated guns."
"No. I couldn't find a practical bullet to prove her wrong though. So I only have two. Both won in poker games."
"Are you a card shark?" he teased.
"No but most demons don't bluff very well. And most of the ones out there know if I'm looking for weapons, I have a reason."
"I bet." He petted his hair. "Flack jacket or vest?"
"No. Not that lucky. And body armor is too bulky to move in when you're dodging grabs."
"It can be, yeah," he admitted, considering it. "We'll figure it out if you're going to keep hunting."
Xander shrugged. "Right now not much use. I'm being adjunct personnel, only on for the bad things."
"So once a year?" John asked, sounding a bit hopeful.
"Three-four times a year at most."
John moaned. "That's bad."
"It happens. Sometimes it's a human issue, sometimes not." He went back to teasing John. He could learn to be an evil tease. Tony said it was the most fun he got most of the time so he'd try that to see if it worked for him.
John sucked in a breath. "Xander, please," he moaned. Xander grinned. "Tease."
"I'm in training with Tony as an evil tease."
"Yes you are." Xander smirked and kissed the head of his cock, with tongue. John went limp and let Xander do whatever he wanted to do. He could learn to like this one a lot.
Around four, Xander's phone went off. He picked it up to stare at. "It's four in the goddamn morning," he said, waking John up. He felt him twitch. "It had better be a national level of fucking emergency since I'm naked and cuddling." He listened, then sighed. "Yeah, that's an emergency. Give me twenty to find my clothes and then let someone steal me, Buffy." He hung up and looked around. His clothes had been snuck onto the dresser.
He turned to kiss John deeply, taking five of those twenty minutes, then got dressed and texted once he had on his boots. "I feel like Cinderella only it's later." He disappeared in a flash of light, leaning down to tie them. He stood up and looked at the demons staring at him. "I finally date, really start to date, and I get called from naked cuddling?" They backed off. Willow summoned something and handed it to him. He looked at his axe then at her. "Buffy?"
"The girls were safely removed. They're toxic to females, Xander."
"Then why are you here, Willow?" She flashed out. He growled and let his temper out to play. The hyena was making him cackle in pleasure. Most of them weren't fighters so he could handle this. With possibly some other guy help but mostly he could handle this. A few ran and he chased them but they were killed too. He killed the last one and looked around the park.
"Anyone else?" A vampire rushed and Xander ducked his grab, spun to follow his movement, and beheaded him from behind. "Thank you! Anyone? Bueller?" No more vamps. No more anything. Xander pulled it all back in and sighed. "Now I'm messy and I'll mess up my bike," he complained. He pouted but looked at the people watching. "Hi, I'm Xander. Adjunct Council member."
"Why aren't you usually with them?"
"I'm in New Jersey. Something medical."
"Oh. Pity." The officer pulled out his cuffs.
Xander stared at him. "You do and you're going to be *so* sorry." They smirked. Xander looked up. "You owe me," he called. The huge demon came down and the officers nearly pissed themselves. "Do you own anyone on the local city council yet?"
"Yes, we do own three of them." He smiled. "I will tell them to leave you alone, Xander." He patted him on the head. "You smell of foreign things."
"I was getting cuddles."
"Awww." He patted him again and glared at the officers, taking them with him.
Xander looked around. "Hey, Willow?" Nothing. He sighed, going to the house to clean up. He walked in shaking his head.
"You can't just walk in here!" a female voice shouted, rushing at him.
Xander smacked her on the head. "Shut up, bitch. Or else I won't fix anything else for you." She gasped, backing up. "Kennedy? Buffy? Willow?" he called. They came rushing down the stairs. "I take it you didn't tell them who I am?"
"No," Buffy sighed. "Willow was supposed to get you home."
"Oops," Willow sighed.
Xander shook his head. "I also had Bert go talk to the city council people he owns because two cops wanted to arrest me."
"Cool. It's good that Bert owns some new people," Buffy decided. "Diedre, that's Xander."
"So! He didn't knock!"
Xander stared at her. "I picked out this house. My name's actually one of the ones on the deed until Giles gets it transferred over." She squeaked and shrunk down. "Not everything is an attack, Diedre. There are other people who fight beside you, friends and others. There's even roaming hunters from what Wesley said. Most of them are probably guys too." She stomped off in a huff. He looked at Buffy, who shrugged.
"She's eighteen. Remember how certain things should be one way when we were that age?"
"Yes, but I was mostly right." Willow snorted. He looked at her. "Want me to start listing things?"
"No." She sent him off. "There." She stomped off.
Xander sighed as he landed, looking around the hospital. "Well, this is a bit far off from where I need to be," he decided. He caught a cab home then to the club to get his bike. Which had House looking it over. "Girl issues."
"Figures." House looked at him. "You all right?"
"Bitchy girl issues."
House snorted. "There's many of those, kid. Did you have fun?"
"I did. John's really nice." He smiled when someone opened the door. "Sorry, they were toxic to females so they couldn't slay them," Xander said hesitantly.
John smirked. "That's fine. Duty's called me from bed many times, Xander. Be safe today and I'll see you soon." He went back inside.
Xander grinned at House, letting him drive them off. House took Xander home and took a cab to the hospital. Xander got a bubble bath and a long book he had been meaning to read. It was one of his books for his classes. He figured if he came in knowing something it'd help.
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