Demon Criminal Investigative Services: New Roles to Play.
Tony looked at the sheet on Danny's desk then nodded. "Let me start searching for that."
"I have a few in mind," he admitted. "Including some of the people from my base. Janet would do really good here."
"She'd freak out at the demons," Tony said dryly.
"She didn't at the aliens."
"Uh-huh." He walked off, going to do the search anyway, just in case Danny couldn't steal her since she was still military personnel.
Danny smiled, shaking his head. His second-in-command fussed too much. He really did. His third-in-command too since he could hear him fussing at the girls outside. He rolled his chair back to the window to listen then nodded. The girls had been hitting on the agents again. He was chewing them a new one. That was nice of him. Some of those girls did freak the agents out.
Daniel walked into the office/meeting area and cleared his throat. "Is the head doctor here? His manager said I could talk to him for a few minutes."
"He's in the office area," the female resident said with a point. "New case?"
"Not exactly." He walked that way, seeing the unhappy looks he was getting. "Doctor House?"
"Of course I am. You already knew that though." He looked him over. "Not military?"
"Civilian contractor and now in another agency."
"Case?" he asked. "Shut the door."
Danny shut the door and came over. "I need to see if you know someone who can help me or if you might be able to help me yourself."
Danny handed over three charts. "My people have had those sort of cases and injuries recently." He sat down, watching him read them. "My agency's head doctor is retiring to private practice since she's pregnant."
"I'm the head of DCIS, Doctor House." He smiled. "Daniel Jackson." House sat up, staring at him. "Heard about my papers?"
"A bit. Did you find them?"
He laughed. "Typical. Your agency handles those things that happened in LA."
"And lesser issues. We're the ones keeping those creatures from being harmed by humans or from harming humans. We go on the legal code, we're not a hunting team, but we do have a fully stocked medical unit thanks to things like strange poisons, slime that eats skin, regular injuries from fights, and the usual health needs of my people. I figured if you couldn't then you'd know who to ask."
He nodded. "Not a bad supposition. I'm not exactly happy here but it's home."
Danny smiled. "Including the detective that's been harassing you?"
"You know about that?"
"I do. I also know that we can talk to the judge and you doing six months with us and helping us find the next head of our medical team would be good enough for him." He smiled. "Without having to ask for favors. The judge saw something wrong with the whole situation when it was explained by a coworker of yours. He has to act within the law but he sees that you're not exactly totally at fault."
"And you know this how?"
"One of my people's cousins golfs with the judge over your hearing. He asked for information when I narrowed my list down to you or someone you'd suggest."
"That's a bold move," he said sarcastically.
"It is, but it's mutually beneficial."
"I have trainees."
Danny nodded. "So do we. All those girls are on base too."
"They like to squeal, pounce, and hit on my agents. Most of them are teenagers." He smiled. "I won't lie. DCIS is like a family. A very large, disorganized, freaked out family most of the time. My recruitment people made sure of it. Or as the girls say, Xander and Tony hired for eye candy." House tried not to laugh at that. "They're teenage girls. We have a full base to ourselves. The medical pod is in a safe area. It's not usually hard work. Those three cases happened within the last month. We usually see normal small combat injuries, a broken bone here and there, a head injury from someone, and every once in a while we get a worse injury."
House went back to reading. He waved the middle one. "Can I copy this?" He nodded. "Foreman!" He came walking in. "Compare this against the poisoning case we had last week." He took it to do that. "We treated it with what we could but we had no idea what was poisoning her."
"That one, if I remember right, was a saliva infection."
"Now and then, yeah." That got a head shake. "We need someone of your caliber or someone with your qualifications. On the back of the last chart are the qualifications my present one drew up. She's leaving in a month. I need someone by then."
He looked at them. "I've had a few trainees who could do the work." He looked at him. "But you don't want me to suggest."
"No, I don't," Danny said honestly. "I think it's a pity that a man with your skills, training, and knowledge is being screwed with by the system for having an issue."
"Will my...issue be a problem?"
"As long as you have your own dosage under control and you can get one of your minions there to prescribe, I don't care," he said honestly. "You're clearly not a junkie. If you were, you'd have other issues and would've been fired by now."
He nodded. "I'm not. Just now and then the pain gets worse."
"Of course it does. The regrowth process and the inability to regrow those destroyed muscles in your leg would cause pain. Not to mention overstressing it on duty and things like that."
House stared at him. "That was a thorough background."
"I spent yesterday lurking around to watch you. That and my third-in-command got the full records by sleeping with the judge's assistant. She's demonic by the way." House moaned. "They all seem to be drawn to Xander," he said dryly.
"Then he's probably in the right place." He stared at him. "Six months?"
"Six months, or we can do one for a year or eighteen months if you prefer. You can even bring your students but they'll be really bored. So will you now and then."
"I am here when strange cases don't show up."
"My staff feels the same."
Danny shrugged. "We're in North Dakota. As far as I know they haven't outlawed racing bikes." That got a smirk. "I will give you the standard new person warning: the girls squeal and pounce, and a few pinch." House laughed at that. Foreman came back in. "Was it?" Danny asked politely.
"It was. What was that?"
"Demon spit," House told him, taking it back. "How do you treat it?"
"We're working on the manual. We have a few books with some remedies in them, not all are good. My former head of the department was working on that with my head of R&D, Abby Scuito."
House frowned. "I know that name from somewhere."
"She's the forensic goddess out of NCIS in DC," Danny told him. "Goth girl, pigtails?"
"Oh, yeah, met at a convention a few years back I think." He shrugged. "Why me?"
"You have the skills, the time in, the mind that we need. If you don't want to stay, you can help me find someone who can do the work and won't have a nervous breakdown. Most of the time medical personnel sit in the base to wait. Now and then, if we have another situation like the one in LA, you'd be expected to head out to help. We also get consults in from across the country and the UK when demonic related cases show up there." He pulled out a thumbnail drive and tossed it over. "We've gotten that far in how you treat various slimes, poisons, and the like. Some is herbal, some isn't. A few things you have to have chanted over then something used. I'd rather have solid, medical science to base things off of than ten thousand year old herbalism if one of my people's lives are in jeopardy but now and then that's the only way."
House played with the drive. "Six months?"
"I can get that approved."
House nodded. "Then let me think tonight."
"Sure. I'm at the Hilton." He stood up with a smile for the smirk he got. "Not much better around here and my last posting was military. By the way, if you need it, I'm a linguist. Some of the books are in some of the strangest languages. We're working on that." He smiled and shook his hand, walking out with the folders.
"So, how's the salary?" Foreman asked.
"Six months being on the cutting edge of medical science." He put the thumbnail drive into the USB port and looked at the files they had. It had the official contract and offer on there as well. "Cheeky." He read it. "Salary's ten grand more a year than I make here. A full staff to terrorize, a whole base of people to terrorize." He got into the 'how you treat it' manual and found the saliva from the poisoning case. "We only missed one step." He printed it out and handed it over. "Their version of the cure. Compare it to ours." He went to do that while House read. A few hours later his team went home when nothing new came in. Wilson came in to check on him when he headed for home. "Did you talk to them?"
"Doctor Jackson at DCIS?"
"He said someone talked to the judge, gave him the whole story."
"That I did do." He smiled. "I don't want to see you locked up for being in pain, House. Just helped for where you're starting to get out of control."
"I got offered a job."
"I heard someone came to recruit. Cameron was pouting." House waved him over, letting him see what he was reading. "Wasn't that thing one of those things attacking LA a few months back?"
"It was. Their head doc is retiring to be a mother and do regular work." He looked at him. "North Dakota."
"Pretty country." He got into the webserver and pulled something up. "Their site has pictures. I was drifting around it to see if they had anything that might eat tumors the other day." He patted him on the back. "Better than rehab and you'll get to terrorize people. Maybe they'll have something better than vicodin."
Someone tapped then walked in and put down a vial. "All natural, non-addictive, can be used up to six times a day if necessary, four is the usual dosage and we've had people with broken ribs who could handle it on two." He handed over a folder. "The one that just came in and we have no idea since it's a normal issue."
They both stared at the young man. "New intern?" Wilson asked.
The boy grinned. "Xander Harris, second-in-command in the International Slayers Council and third-in-command at DCIS. Half the usual recruitment squad. Danny got called back to base. Homeland had an issue with someone stealing personnel records." House stared, mouth slightly open. "I got so high under practical experience, guys. I've been doing this now for over eight years." They shuddered. "Exactly. Can you tell our docs if that's a you treat with gold or you treat with radiation? They're arguing and sent that via Dawn."
He looked at it then nodded. "You use irradiated gold beads to shrink it then remove it." He handed it to Wilson.
"No, just found in one of the guards. They need to know if they have to send him off or if we can do it on base." Wilson stared at him. "We have a full medical pod set up under the main building. Everything we would need up to and possibly including brain surgery. Except things like the tiny surgical robots and I'm seeing if I can build some of those. Our last person said we didn't need them. We hope."
House shuddered. "How bad is the worst injury you've seen."
He considered it. "My former team's leader got nibbled on by a fifty-foot demonic snake during an ascension in Seattle. He had bite marks with poison and sealing spit around his torso and a head injury. That's the worst I personally know of. I'm more the cuts/bruises/head injuries/small combat injuries sort. My team pulls the seriously hard or dangerous cases that have to do with weapons most of the time. Or witches."
House shuddered. "That's not a bad injury."
"The saliva sealed in the poison and an ascension is a rare enough thing that we had no idea how to treat the poison. The saliva took ten hours to get rid of." House nodded at that. "We fixed him, got him back in time for the LA invasion, and he retired after being clawed on the gut during that. He's the FBI liaison now."
Wilson shuddered. "That's gross."
"Very." He looked at him. "Should we send him out?"
"Does North Dakota have a good cancer center?"
"One pretty highly rated one three hours away," Xander admitted. "He doesn't want to travel. That's half the issue."
Wilson handed it back. "I'd get with the doctors at that center, let them tell you how to treat it there. They might be able to send things to your clinic instead of having him there but he'd probably have to go in for MRI's and CT's."
"We have both," Xander assured him. "Though the CT sounds like it's grinding now and then. We've got the service people coming out tomorrow afternoon." He looked at House. "I put the standard offer and contract onto his thumbnail for you."
"I saw. It's generous."
"The apartments are nice and you'd have the last single person's one if we go soon. The building's kinda full. They're talking about moving some of us over to the married quarters to get new ones open. I will promise you won't have to deal with my girls very often. Handing them their pills and yearly exams mostly. Some shots for school maybe."
House nodded. "It's not a bad offer. What's the bad side?"
Xander grinned. "We'll drive you insane. I'll be honest about that. Abby might too but she's been testing things to see how we tell one species' slime from another. She's rewriting forensics and our docs are rewriting medical science where it relates to demons. Plus a few things that they found were pretty wrong of the medical community to be doing. We do have one guard who is pregnant. Her OB is in town. We might be called in to handle a town person's injuries if they're too severe since the nearest medical center is about an hour away. We can lifeflight for them. We have a good working relationship with the town. There's a small mall. Oh, ignore the girls if they try to make you go shopping with them. We had to ground six of them for tying up their defense and demonology teachers to make them go bra shopping with them. Though, their father was amused and said it was good payback for letting the girls fuss over him."
House burst out laughing. "You guys are insane."
"Yes. But oh well. Sometimes you have to be to save the world. Been this way now for eight years since I was surrounded by girls." He smirked. "I can promise you a light case load. I can promise you can do whatever research you want as long as you don't hurt anyone doing it. We don't care what you wear but if you make the girls drool that's your own fault."
"If you want. Whatever Danny said in relation to that. I'm just the enticement." He grinned.
"Not into your sort, kid," House said sarcastically but he was smirking back.
"That's good. The girls might get too happy if I went gay. They think I date evil things and don't want to have to battle my next girlfriend."
House burst out cackling at that. "That's bad."
"It is, but they'll learn. They're young."
"How young is the youngest? The coverage of the invasion showed teenagers," Wilson said.
"The spell that activated them all to stop the First Evil coming out of Sunnydale called everyone under the age of twenty-three. Our youngest is about to turn eight." He smiled. "She's with a great foster family. We have two girls still under the age of ten on base. The rest are older. We're working on their training and no one can go on patrol until they're fully trained and at least sixteen. Seventeen officially but they can volunteer at sixteen. We have fifty-eight fully called slayers. Twenty-three are field rated at the moment." That got a nod. "We think they'll age out at twenty-three. We're making sure of it next year when one girl switches over."
"It's a good offer," House said.
Xander looked at him. "Our caf has excellent food and the girls will take over now and then. They will fuss you to death if you let them. We're a large family and we could use someone who knew how to stitch beyond me. I learned how to be a field medic because it was necessary. You'll have three nurses and another doc under your care. If you feel that's not enough, you tell us and we'll bring someone else out for you to train."
House considered it. "I'd have to get it approved."
Xander nodded. "We can do that whenever. I know she's retiring in a month, she wanted at least a week to get you up to speed on the things she's found. She's taking the next four months off so she has time to enjoy being pregnant without all the slayers asking her how it is, patting her on the tummy, trying to make her nap, all that stuff."
"The girls really do fuss," Wilson said.
Xander nodded. "They do. A lot. We're keeping them as normal as we can. They're starting normal school this fall. That's why some need shots and a few need boosters anyway." He looked at House again. "We could use you. A whole lot. Plus, hey, sarcasm is an artform we enjoy after having Tim in my head, and my snarky comebacks, and Buffy's witty quips as she slays. We don't care who you are, just be good and yourself."
House nodded. "If I can get it approved."
"Thank you." He pointed at the vial. "You can test that all you want. We have it by the case since it works so well. It even works on the slayers." He smiled and left. "I'm at the Hilton next to Danny's room."
"Sure, kid." He watched him go then looked at the vial. "Think he's right?"
"I think he's been under it a few times," Wilson said dryly.
"Probably." He stood up and grabbed his cane and the vial. "Let's get it tested then we'll see."
"Want me to start dinner?"
"Please. I'll be home soon." That got a nod and he left. House took the vial down to the lab. "This is an herbal painkiller that was recommended to someone. Tell me what's in it, how strong it is, whatever you can find out by tomorrow afternoon." He filled out the proper sheet and left it there, going back to his office. He found one of his ducklings there reading the manual. This was amusing and a bit shocking. This was not the one he'd have expected to come back tonight. "Not the standard thing you'd usually see."
"No, but I've seen a few of these before." He looked at him. "There's a demon commune about thirty miles from where I trained. They saw one now and then." He stood up to let him have his chair back. "Are you going?"
"It's a great offer."
Chase nodded. "Will you need help?"
"Probably. I have three nurses and another doc under me if I take it." He looked at Chase. "Applying?" He nodded. "Why?"
"I should know it in case I run into it. The poisoning clearly wasn't a normal substance."
"So Foreman said. It'd also be nice to get out of clinic hours for a few more weeks."
"I'm going for probably six months, Chase."
"So? It'd keep me out of the crossfire from Cameron and Foreman." House smirked at that. "It would. It's a skill I could use. I can even live off base."
"You might have to. They're running out of apartments. Do you have enough time?"
"I can take some unpaid sabbatical time. The same as you will be."
"True." He stared at his duckling. "Are you sure?" He nodded. "The guy over recruitment's at the Hilton." He stared at him for a minute. "You'd be one I'd send in a few years."
Chase smiled. "Thank you. Foreman?"
"Will pout but yay."
"Cameron will pout, House. She'll also throw fits if we leave without telling her."
"So tell her. I'm not looking forward to the fit. You tried to suggest it wasn't a normal substance that would be found in usual households during that case and she sneered at it because it's outside her world view."
Chase nodded. "Which they don't need, but I could use the training and the research is interesting." He left, going to talk to the guy. He wouldn't mind signing on.
House smirked. "That was easy," he told himself. He might've brought his ducklings but Cameron would throw a fit and scoff until something ate her. Foreman would be wary and make himself forget as soon as he could. Chase had an open mind, most of the time. He'd do good there. He cleaned up and headed home, smiling at the administrator lurking by his bike. "Coming to see me off for the night?"
"Who was that earlier? I heard recruitment rumors."
"That was the head of a federal agency who needed a new head doc," he said happily. "He needs me to look over their qualifications and suggest someone." He straddled his bike, putting his cane in its holder. "They've got high expectations and need brilliance."
"I saw you and Wilson talking to the other one."
"That was his third-in-command. He's usually on the recruitment detail but the director came personally." He started his bike and put on his helmet. Turning around he zipped off, leaving her there to fume in private. She had started the problem and listened to the bigoted little bastard detective. Some retribution wasn't so bad. Fortunately he had taken the thumbnail when he left. He walked in. "Should I try to bring Foreman?"
Wilson gave him an odd look. Then he laughed. "I want popcorn when you talk to him or Cameron. Think I can sublet off you while you're gone since I'm on your couch?"
"I don't care."
"That's smart of him. You guys are more likely to run into anything than I am." He smirked. "I'll watch over your ducklings too."
"Thank you. I wasn't going to suggest Cameron. Foreman I wasn't sure about."
"He's still trying to make a name for himself. Since he won't be able to publish case writeups, it won't benefit him. He's also more likely to go back to being an ER doc than Chase is." He handed over a plate. "Food?"
"Please. I'm starved." He settled in to eat and watch tv. "I'll suggest it, just to see his face in the morning."
"Sure. Let me make popcorn and be in the corner. I could use some happy fits." He sat down to eat beside him. "Why are you watching American Idol?"
"Because it's so horrible. I need to top off my sarcasm meter before I go."
Wilson patted his best friend on the back. "No you don't. You have plenty even for dealing with a lot of teenage girls." He stuffed his mouth at the dirty look House gave him. That poor base.
Xander walked the two new recruits onto the base, letting them look around. "The two towers are housing. The left is single, the right is married. We're building another unit so we'll figure that out if we run out of room." He pointed. "The guard shack, the main building. The lab's on the second floor, medical pod is underneath it. Abby's taken over one of the buildings behind the main one to do bigger testing in. The jail is fully underground and warded so don't worry about them." He walked them into the main building to security. "Yo, Boris? Two new docs. House and Chase."
"Doctor Jackson said you were coming," he said. He shook their hands once he stood up. "Let's get your pictures taken so we can give you ID badges. You did warn them about your girls, right, Harris?"
"Danny did," he said with a grin. "I noticed it was quiet."
"Dean told them all to take a nap since they were acting like toddlers at lunch by fighting over things."
Xander rolled his eyes. "I'll straighten it out later."
"Thank you. The massive girl pout-a-thon we've had since last night was getting on our nerves." He took their pictures and printed out the ID's a minute later. "Okay, here you go. Do watch out for George if you block his sunlight. He's been cranky recently."
"No female shrub demons," Xander told him. "Want housing first or the medical wing?"
"Let's look there first," House said. "That way we can see if we need to order anything." That got a nod and Xander led them to the elevator a few feet up the hall. House looked around. "It doesn't look too industrial."
Xander grinned. "I tried when we got here. I even let the girls paint now and then." Chase shuddered. "They do that now for punishment." He beamed. "It stops a lot of problems and pinching." He walked them off onto their new floor. "This is a residential wing. Formerly for the ones we had in a strange coma for a year." He walked them past the glassed windows to the main doors. "Here we are." He walked in. "I bring you new coworkers," he called. Everyone came out of the office. "No one hurt today?"
"Watching the news," one of the nurses said. "Tony had to make a statement on his last case." Xander shuddered. "It helped." She smiled at them. "You're...."
"Doctors Gregory House and Robert Chase," Xander introduced, pointing at them. "Doctor House is here for six months to take over, and Doctor Chase is his trainee and duckling." They all looked confused.
The head doc waddled out. "Followed him around too much?" she teased Chase, who nodded. "Residents do tend to do that. I did when I was one. Doctor House, I've heard of you." She shook his hand then Chase's hand. "Welcome to my dungeon of delights and frustration. Xander, we'll need more of that black slime you found to test." He gave her a shrug and a confused look. "Abby said you locked it under your login in the safe?" she suggested.
"Oh!" He nodded. "I'll get some tonight." She smiled and patted him on the cheek. "The girls?"
"You weren't here for them to approve school clothes with."
He sighed and groaned a bit. "I'm sorry. I'll go do that tonight too. Show them around then take them to Cloris?"
"I can do that but she wanted to see you too."
"Heading there after my desk." He went to do that. They were in good hands for a few minutes. He walked into the single's tower and found the manager waiting on him. "Am I being moved?"
"To the married building," she agreed. "That way the girls that come to stay on your couch have a better one to sleep on." He grinned. "You're next door to Dean and Sam too. Tony has the other one on your floor." She led him over there, showing him into his apartment. He nearly squealed. It wasn't decorated at all! "I know. I kept the girls from decorating on you. They went to help Sammy." She patted him on the cheek. "How many did you bring back?"
"Two docs and a slayer who'll be here tonight." She walked off laughing. "Thanks, Cloris. Do I need to get groceries?"
"Yes, all yours were rotten, Xander."
"Yes, ma'am." He went to check, making sure everything made it. He did have to go ask her where his underwear had gone to since it was missing. Then he had to retrieve it from the girls. He came out to find House and Chase wandering his way. "This way, guys. Cloris!" he called as they walked in. "Two new docs."
She came out and smiled. "You're in luck. We just moved some of them to the bigger tower so we have some open apartments and slayers on punishment doing some cleaning with the maintenance staff." Xander cackled. "Why are you carrying your underwear, Xander?"
"Because the girls stole them." He looked. "I think a few are Dean's too." He shrugged. "I'm in the next tower, up on three. Dinner's in two hours and you walked past it I'm sure. We'll do the full tour after dinner?" They both nodded. "Killer. Thanks, guys." He jogged back to his building and upstairs, finding Sammy coming out of his place. "I had to steal my underwear back from the girls and found what's probably some of yours and Dean's." Sammy moaned, going to find Dean so they could sort it out. They admired Xander's new apartment.
"For some reason we have tapestries and unicorns," Dean complained, glaring at his brother for letting the slayers invade their new space.
"They said you're magical because you got Buffy to train," he shot back, cracking Xander up. "Also so you couldn't put the pornos next to them because they're pure and would be insulted according to Annabelle."
Xander shook his head. "I love the girls."
"Annabelle's a great girl," Dean agreed. "She has some strange notions but she's a good girl. By the way, she wants you to date Messer or Flack."
"I'm pretty sure if they're going to date, it'll be each other."
"That's what I pointed out," Dean said, holding up a pair. "Not mine."
Sam looked at the size. "Looks to be about Danny's size." They put it aside. He picked up one. "Isn't this Dad's?" Dean shuddered but nodded. "Where?"
"In a general bin on their floor," Xander told him. "I didn't go ask for ones they had in their rooms."
Dean plucked out his other missing pair. Sammy got handed his. Xander took his. The rest were put back into the box and brought to dinner. Dean coughed and waved a hand. "Guys? Xander had to confiscate things from the girls' floor. We know those aren't ours so find your own and take them back. Then we'll be doing a drawer inspection." He put the box down on the table, making a few of the guys blush.
"I wondered what happened to my purple boxers," Don said, glaring at the empty girls' table. They found their own and went back to dinner once they were in pockets and things.
John walked the girls in, watching them squeal and pounce Xander since he was back. Dean waited until they were all eating to hand his father his. "Think those are yours, sir." His father gave him the most horrified look. Even the time he had brought home a succubus hadn't gotten that bad of a horrified look. "Xander had to go confiscate his and found those in the same spot on the girls' floor."
John looked at his underwear then glared at the girls. "I think it's time we had a good inspection." Most of the older girls blushed but Dawn cackled. "You?"
"Hell no. You're not my type. You're too much a dad, John." He smiled at that compliment.
"Just think, some year you'll make some nice boy a dad," Xander taunted. Buffy choked.
"Not for many years," she assured him. "Because I would scream and rant and blow things up. Prue said so." She beamed then ate a bite. "Hey, Faith," she called when she walked in. "Xander found the panty box some of you girls were keeping." Faith actually blushed at that.
"We're doing a room inspection tonight for more contraband," John announced. The girls groaned. "I'm sure the guys want their clothes back, ladies, and that's what bad girls do. Not slayers."
"Bet me, X's boxers are great to sleep in," Faith told him. "Besides, I stole mine fairly after I slept with him." She got her own plate and sat down to eat. Buffy gave her a horrified look. "I did!"
Buffy checked her forehead. "No fever. PMS?"
Faith swatted her. "I'm perfectly fine, B. His fit me great."
"Buy. Your. Own," John said simply. Two new guys walked in. "New agents?"
"Guys, these two are our new docs, House and Chase. Chase is the young one. Girls, do not pester them."
"Yes, Xander," they sighed, staring at the new guys.
One of the older ones leaned over to Faith. "Xander hires better eye candy than even Tony does," she hissed, cracking Faith and Buffy up since she had heard.
House looked over with a smirk. "I'm more than a pretty ass, ladies. Mind off it, you're all too young for me." They pouted but stared at Chase instead, making him blush. "Ignore them. They'll get used to you."
"I hope so," he said.
One girl nearly swooned. "A foreign hotty," she sighed, hugging Xander. "Thank you."
"I got them for all the times I get banged up, not for you girls," he complained. "Eat. You've all got inspection tonight." They pouted but went back to it. He looked at Chase. "Sorry."
"Not a problem. They're not the first. I tend to ignore it when possible." He sat down to eat, back to the girls so he wouldn't have to see them staring. He caught a very pale young woman with pigtails staring instead. "Doctor Robert Chase," he said, holding out a hand.
She beamed. "Abby Scuito, head of R&D and the lab." She shook it and smiled at House. "I guess that'd make you the cranky, surly bastard that even Gibbs said was sarcastic?" He laughed but nodded. "Cool. Come up to the lab next week and we'll see what we've found out about the various stuff we run into that you might have to treat. Did you get the manual?"
"We did," House agreed.
"Very cool then." She smiled then leaned closer. "They're usually very good girls. I kinda play mom now and then. So if they give you fits, let me know?" They both nodded. "Okay then. Dig in, guys. The girls cooked earlier so there's dessert." They dug back into their dinners, letting the others introduce themselves as needed.
One of the guys leaned out to look at them. "Docs, do you two need to qualify or get a locker in the armory?" he asked.
"No," Chase said. "It's been years since I had to use one."
House looked at him. "Ditto. I can use a rifle but it's been years."
That got a nod. "If you want or need, I'm at the blue door from outside or the second right from the front door. The gym is the third and it's up the hall if you get lost." That got a nod. "Good. Xander, you have to requalify soon," he called.
"Yes, Benny Ray. This weekend good?"
"Sure. Fine with me."
"Thanks." He finished up and got seconds then handed the bowl to Annabelle. "You haven't eaten hardly anything. Are you okay?"
"Just tired, Xander."
He tested her forehead with his wrist. "A bit warm. See one of the nurses before inspection." She nodded, leaning against his side. "It's all right, it's probably just the flu," he soothed, giving her a cuddle. She fell asleep against his side. "Anyone else?" he asked Faith.
"No, not yet. We'll be watching." He nodded, picking her up to carry her down there. She swatted the girl reaching for Xander's plate. "There's plenty, don't eat his." She got some more for herself and took Annabelle's plate too. Xander came back alone. "She good?"
"She's fine. They think it's the flu so they're looking her over. If not, we'll hear in about an hour. They'll bring her back to her room."
"I doubt she needs to clean or have contraband confiscated," John said dryly. "She's one of the cleanest of you girls." They nodded at that. It was strange how clean she was.
"Ryan said she's not OCD," Xander assured him. "I asked."
"Good!" He went back to eating and looked at the girls. "Finish up." They brought out dessert, letting him have some before they put it onto the tables. The girls inhaled theirs, like usual, and the agents got their own before handing over the rest to the girls. They inhaled that too and then trudged back to clean up their rooms and pile their contraband on their beds so John wouldn't have to dig through their drawers. He'd do it anyway but he only had to confiscate sex toys from some of the older girls.
Dawn frowned at him. "I bought that with my own allowance, John, and I am old enough to own one." She took it back. "You'd rather have me jumping some boy?"
"I don't think you need it."
"It's the toy or an actual boy, John." Buffy leaned in. "He found my sex toy." Buffy blushed and walked off shaking her head. "That or I sneak boys onto the base, Buffy. Which do you want?"
"That! Please use that!"
She beamed at John. "See?"
"Whatever," he muttered, walking off. He let the other girls over the age of consent take their own back. The rest were still confiscated. He walked the box of clothes over to the singles' building, putting them down in the rec room. "From the girls' rooms." They got up to find their own things. A few t-shirts. A few more pairs of boxers. One pair of bikini underwear with the flap so he knew it was a guy's. He walked off shaking his head.
"Um, John, some of this isn't ours," Ryan said, holding up the slimline vibrator.
"Give it to Abby. I took them from the girls under the age of consent after Buffy said the older ones could have theirs back." He went to take something for his headache, though Dawn was nice enough to give him a hug when she caught him outside. "You girls are so bad."
"Girls are harder to raise than boys," she soothed. He nodded, giving her a look. "It'll be okay, John. I promise. Remember, we're starting school so we'll have to set down dating rules soon."
He shuddered. "I should drink for that lecture Dean'll have to give."
"Sammy said you were."
"Sammy's getting his ass beat next week in practice." He walked off to go hide in his room. Another girl brought him in some cocoa so he smiled. "Thank you, Brenda."
"You're welcome. I'm sorry some of them are so horrible."
"Have a talk with the girls about the dating stuff?"
She looked confused. "I've never been on one, John. My watcher wouldn't allow it. Hell, I wasn't allowed to talk to boys even in class. He forbid me from working with them on class projects and everything." He shook his head. "We'll figure it out." She patted him and left him alone to talk to his wife's picture about how hard raising them were. She found Dawn and swatted her. "Did you have to give him a headache?"
"I gave a logical, reasonable, unhuffy reason why I had sex toys and how I was old enough to use them," she complained, rubbing her new sore spot. "Not my fault some of the girls were stealing panties and things." Brenda blushed. "Xander's?"
"One pair I found in the laundry room that I forgot to give back. Faith's right, they're very comfy to sleep in." She leaned closer. "What do you do on a date?"
"That depends on if you date like Faith and have sex or if you date like Buffy and don't," she admitted. "I'm not totally sure. I was having group dates before Mom died, and a few sleepovers with friends, but no real dates."
"I guess we can ask Abby."
"We should," she agreed, walking Brenda over there to ask Abby the important questions. "Hey, Abby, do you have a few minutes?"
"Let me get the docs set up with what we've found so far," she said cheerfully. "What's wrong? More girl questions?"
"What do you do on a date?" Brenda asked. "My watcher wouldn't even let me work with boys on class projects or talk to them in class for discussions."
"I was only old enough for sleepovers and group dates," Dawn said. "I said it depended on if she dated like Faith and had the sex or like Buffy and didn't."
Abby scowled. "We'll work on that."
Chase looked at them. "You've never dated?"
"No. The watchers weren't big on that," she admitted. "It'd take my focus off my training and make me think about things they didn't want their girls to think about. He only sent me to school when he had to."
"Fortunately, they mostly died," Dawn said cheerfully. "The rest killed each other off looking for power." She sat down. "We *totally* traumatized John. He had that 'have a headache, gonna drink now' look when I gave him a hug."
"I brought him cocoa but you were the one who argued about getting to keep the sex toys," Brenda told her.
She shrugged. "My hand isn't good enough and not like I can sneak a boy onto base with Xander and Buffy watching. I'll never get to date with those two hovering." Chase saw the bruise and pulled her arm over to look. "It's fine. Brenda swatted me." He scowled at Brenda and she sighed in pleasure. "It's fine. I get bruised in self defense class too." She pulled her arm back gently, earning a smile. "We're fun and mostly nice. You'll get used to us. Even if we do have the one who went bad." She looked at Abby, pointing at something. "Doc wanted more of that stuff."
"I made Xander get her some." She beamed. "I should start you on lab classes."
Dawn shrugged. "I'm up for watchery training, Abby. Whatever Xander and Giles decide that is."
She hugged her. "I'll get onto them so you can learn." She got back to her talk about what each one was, what it did, what properties they knew it had. They listened and asked questions about the properties and what needed to be treated immediately and what you had the time to look something up for. Then Abby pulled the girls aside to talk about dating. Because she wanted them to date like good girls, not like Faith used to. The doctors went back to their apartments for the night after checking over the lab. It was good they knew how to research and what it was.
House found Xander at his desk the next day. "I've been looking through our medical records." Xander put down his pen to look at him. "None of the girls have shot records?"
"The former way was one watcher, one girl, anywhere in the world that might be a troubled area. If they had any, I'm sure it's in the building that blew up in England but I know a good half of them grew up outside this country, Doctor House."
"We can do an antigen test for some of them. Do you think they got any?"
"No clue." He called the library. "Sammy, ask Giles if he thinks the other bastards kept up with their inoculations please?" He smiled. "Doctor House wanted to know." He listened then nodded. "Can I get that list? Thanks, Sammy." He hung up. "Giles used to be a watcher and he said it's unlikely they got all the ones the US system makes us take, but they were given a safe travel set?" House nodded he knew what that meant. "So they probably had those but I doubt they had hepatitis, chicken pox, the second measles, those ones."
"I can test for the others and some of those wear out after a few years. How likely is it they'll need them?"
"Slayers who're field rated should be able to leave at a moment's notice if there's a serious problem, no matter where in the world we have to send them to. Usually in teams now. Oh, small point I thought of, the former watchers were mostly British so they probably went on their list instead of ours if there's a difference."
"I'll keep that in mind. What about the HPV vaccine?"
"I'm all for protecting them from anything that could hurt them. I can get Giles to pay for all the shots."
"Whatever the boss wants, kid." He stared at him. "Did you get yours?"
Xander shrugged. "No clue. I went to public school but in Sunnydale that's not a highly thought about thing." Giles walked in with a list. "That's the list?"
"As I last knew it," he agreed, handing it to the doctor. "You must be the new one. Rupert Giles, head of the Slayer's Council."
"Gregory House," he said, snaking his hand. He looked at the list. "This is skimpy."
"The old bastards who used to do the job treated the girls like they were expendable resources," Giles told him.
"Giles, there's a new vaccine out that can protect against HPV, the herpes virus, but it can also lessen the chances of cervical cancer," Xander said.
"I hadn't heard about that yet. Is it safe?" he asked House, who nodded. "Expensive?"
"A bit. Three doses for each girl and it's about a hundred-thirty for the series where I was working before here."
Giles did the math and winced. "I would like to be able to save some of it, Xander."
"Take it out of the shopping budget," Xander offered. "They shouldn't need to go again until after christmas. It could help save them later and it might make it harder for them to catch herpes from some slimy guy some of the girls will be attracted to."
Giles grimaced. "I'd rather not think about that."
"They deserve a life, Giles," Xander countered. "They need to be normal girls as often as possible. That includes dating, sex, and changing their hairstyles weekly." Giles rolled his eyes. "They're teenage girls, like Buffy was. Only we have less combat around here and more training."
"There's some states where that vaccine is now mandatory and this state is trying to make it so," House told him, interrupting what was clearly an older fight about to be replayed. Giles nodded at that. "I'm not sure what the boss here has set up for that."
"We can ask. Danny!" he yelled. He came out of his office and up the hall. "Slayer vaccines?"
"If they're not that expensive, I wouldn't care if we stocked them. We might need them for some of the other agents. If not, that's up to the council." Giles nodded at that sensibility. "How many are we looking at administering?" House handed him the list. He winced. "That's at least ten years out of date for traveling," he complained, handing it back.
Giles sighed. "I know it's a reasonable thing to have to do...."
"To get them into school, they have to have a good, solid shot record and it has to be fully filled out," House told him. "To get them into college as well and there's another one that most campuses demand these days." Giles winced at that. "A one-time expense."
Xander nodded. "I can ask Wes's opinion if you want, Giles."
"No. I see that we do need it. Can we see if they've had any of the others?"
"There's an antigen test. We'd need to pull some blood from each girl and find a test kit."
"Abby has one," Danny told him. "Which one are we worried about?"
"HPV," Xander said.
"It's supposed to reduce the risk of cervical cancer by up to eighty percent and possibly others," Danny told Giles. "Girls can get it as young as nine."
"Then we'll arrange for it," he decided. "They will not be happy."
"We all have to get shots now and then," Xander said dryly. He coughed, getting and odd look from Danny. "Stuffy nose last night. I took medicine."
"Uh-huh. Is it whatever Annabelle's catching?"
"I don't know. She's still down there. Doc?"
"It's not the flu. We're looking at her blood to see what it is. It's not serious we don't think. Nothing contagious. Just wearing her down."
"Could this have to do with the demon who was sending you and Sam prophetic dreams?" Danny asked Xander. Who nodded. "Wasn't she one of the ones you marked?"
"She was. So that might be a good reason. It'd get her off campus if she's too sick."
"Fortunately you have me now," House said dryly, walking off, his cane tapping along quietly. "I'll order the vaccines after we pull some blood to make sure no one got others. Thank you, boys." He waved before exiting the squad room. He ran into one of the young agents outside in the hallway. "Do you have all your vaccines?" he asked dryly.
"I damn well hope so. I hate needles," Don said with a grin. "The girls?"
"Missing a lot of them."
"Well, the guys were bastards. According to Buffy they fired Giles for being too much a parent and too little watchering. Apparently he gave too much of a damn. Then again, they tried to bomb and kill the rest of the girls after the situation in Sunnydale so they'd only have *one* again."
House shuddered. "In jail?"
"Killed in the lead up to the Sunnydale thing and then dead when they came after the girls. Xander found the ones trying to burn the younger girls he had come out of town to protect."
"No, he said he's a sucker who jumped in to help Buffy. They tried to kill him a few times according to him. Supposedly it was one watcher/one girl until death do them part. Friends weren't allowed."
"Do they give the watchers a pretty dress too?" he asked dryly.
"Don't know if they had some sort of ceremony marrying them together or not," Don said with a smirk. "Building blew up so we'll never know now. Only a few left anyway. Wes, Giles, and Xander. Xander ran things while Giles was in a coma for over a year. Some funky magical thing."
House nodded once then shook his head quickly. "That would've driven us nuts."
"Did drive Doctor Patty nuts," he promised. "Danny, Messer not Jackson, said she complained about the weekly tests she was running for the first month to find a cure."
"I would've too." He looked around then at him. "Anything you guys need that's not being met?"
"Nah, we're all too young for prostate stuff," he said dryly. "Just watch out for the girls now and then."
"They're not that bad," Giles said as he walked out to join them.
"We had to retrieve our underwear after Xander and John confiscated them, Giles; yes they are."
"Oh, Dear Lord," he muttered, walking off cleaning his glasses. "I'll talk with them."
"Abby has," Don called after him. He shook his head. "He doesn't really get kids," he said once Giles was out of earshot.
"I can tell. The sex talks?"
"Abby. Or Xander. Maybe Faith."
"As long as they're getting good information."
"Hey, run a weekend class," Don said with an evil grin. "Make the student doc do it."
House cackled. "He'd try to kill me if I did."
Xander strolled out. "I did. Straight from the health department pamphlets. Abby followed to answer questions about girl stuff and all that." House smirked at him. "Hell yes I wanted them warned. They're teenagers; they're all horny and ready to jump anyone who offers. I don't want to be a godfather this year."
House nodded. "They're on something?"
"Slayer blood attracts things. They're *all* on something as soon as the first one appears." He gave him a manic grin. "Because I'm not dealing with slayers with PMS. Dean either. I'm not that mean to my worst enemy."
House patted him on the arm. "We can fix that too. That's why there's Midol." He walked off happier. Someone had some sense about those girls. Even if he was nearly their age. He walked into the medical department and looked around. "We need to run antigen tests," he told Chase. He handed him the list. "The most likely versions of what they've been given. They need up to and including travel ones if they're over sixteen. They decided the HPV was a good idea too."
"We can order it cheaply with how many we have. Is Abby young enough to get it?" House shrugged. He called her. "Abigail, Robert. We're ordering vaccines and the HPV one came up." He smiled. "That's good then. That's what we wanted to know." He wrote down something. "We'll keep that in mind. Thank you, dear." He hung up. "The one with the foster family has a good family doctor to see her so she's covered on that."
"Even better. Are they all old enough?"
"The two youngest are ten this year," one of the nurses said. "The vaccine information you see in the magazines says it can be given as early as nine." She pointed at a cabinet. "The pills they're on. Only a few are on a different form because the first one didn't work."
"Why not the depo shot?"
"The girls whine," she said bluntly. House laughed. "Besides, we thought it might screw something up later. None of us are OB's, Doctor House."
"Just House is fine," he said. She smiled at that. He looked at Chase. "Did Wilson call?"
"Foreman did. He's pouting. Cameron is still throwing a fit that we didn't invite her to come out. Wilson told her why. She stomped off to talk to Cuddy."
"Poor woman. Though I'm not sure which is worse." He shrugged. "Let's get them down here for that bloodwork later. We'll run the standard as well. Helen, Danny Jackson said something about a demon giving prophetic dreams and she was one of the ones Xander marked?"
"There's a demon who wants some form of special children he's marked. Sammy's one, Annabelle's one?" House shrugged. "I'll look into that. Thank you. He might be causing it, so Dawn could help." She went to talk to the agent over the case. "Flack?" He looked up and smiled. "That case with the demon. Could it be sending whatever's making Annabelle feel like crap?"
"It could. It's a pretty high one." He leaned back, considering it. "Xander was thinking it was?"
"House said Doctor Jackson said it might be."
"That's not a bad idea. Check with Dawn and let me know?" She nodded. "I'll look at the research to see if it's capable."
"Thank you. The poor dear still feels like crap." She headed off to find Dawn and get her to help. The new doctors watched her look the girl over then lay protections around her. And Annabelle was back to her usual bouncy, mouthy, hyper self within an hour. She went back to lunch and then classes. She smiled at them. "Dawn's in training."
"That's a neat trick," Chase said.
"Very. It's very helpful. It's also an extra layer of alarms on the base." She went back to the office. "We're doing our usual soap marathon if you need anything, boys. Let us know when the girls get here."
"Sure," House agreed. He looked at Chase. "Joining in?"
"I don't watch soaps," he snorted. "That's Cameron. She suckered me into it once or twice. That was enough. Where are we starting on the research?" House got the notes they had made from Abby and went over them. He took one category and House took another to start looking at the uses of the byproducts and any adverse effects, plus how to cure them best. Traditional medicine didn't always work on demon slime injuries.
House stopped Xander later the next night. "It's worse than we thought."
"It usually is when dealing with the old council. How bad?"
"Ten have had none that we can find." Xander winced. "The local school system wants them to have all of them by the first day."
"That's in ten weeks?"
"Twelve. We can do some every week."
"I have no idea if there's spacing or not, Doctor House. That's your job. You tell me what you need and I'll get Giles to okay it."
"There can be side effects, including nausea and those things."
"After dinner, after breakfast, or otherwise?"
"All weekend except for mandatory self defense Saturday afternoon. All three classes together. Most agents come to that one too."
House considered it. "How about Monday morning? It's a Monday so therefore sucky already."
"Most of them have classes Monday morning. ESL or English classes, their history and geography. If you want to get up early, they do a daily run at five then breakfast at six so they have time for showers and changing before classes start at eight."
"That might work. You'd excuse them?"
"Then let's do that," he decided. "I'm not a morning person but it's only for a bit and I can take a nap."
Xander smirked. "Neither are the girls, House. Oh, if no one told you, yes, they all eat their weight at every meal. They burn a lot of calories."
"A few are still underweight."
"Fashionably so or otherwise?"
"Don't know yet."
"We'll figure it out if it is a fashionable thing instead of them not eating enough. Let me know. I'll handle it."
"What does Giles do with them?"
"Research. Money stuff. I'm support and training. Wes handles those on assignment. Speaking of, I'll have to rotate schedules so you can have the girls on the hellmouth and in LA."
"Will they be coming back here to school?"
"Crissy's starting at UCLA this fall. Morgan at Cal Sci. Cordette's got her own doc so I'm assuming if they needed one, Don took them to her doctor. The girls in Cleveland rotate in and out."
"Then we'll catch them up as they rotate back. How many are there?"
"Five presently because one's training under Wes to be a field watcher. Caridad's from somewhere in the Caribbean if I remember right."
"Get me their blood so I can test it for the stuff we can do an antigen test for. Then we'll see if we need him to get a doctor out there to administer any."
"That'll work," he agreed, smiling some. "Wes and I did it together while Giles was asleep."
"From what I've seen he might as well be sleeping in the library," he shot back.
Xander nodded. "He's originally a research guy. They pulled him out of the British Museum to handle Buffy. Wes was a research guy too. That's why Faith handles his patrol schedule." House moaned. "The Bringers, the minions of the First Evil, went after all the watchers and slayers in training they could get. We're lucky we have as many as we do."
"I can see how that's tough," he told him. "Hiring?"
"Working on it. Right now we're working on field watchers for going out to handle issues outside the US. Finding the ones who aren't here. All that."
"Any I should be warned about if they show up?"
"The one from Sudan and the one from Iraq will be here in another month. She's older and has children so she's going to be bringing them. She's going to be living away from the other girls as well. She'll be aging out, if we're right and that'll happen, in about six months."
"But bringing her anyway got her out of harm's way," House said. Xander nodded. "Are her kids or her getting treatment?"
"They were in a refugee camp so I'm assuming they've had some. We've gotten them all the forms they need so it'll be fine. Once they get here, we'll let you look them all over. I know the one from Iraq is only fourteen and she was gotten out of a hospital after her house was damaged due to a car bomb. I heard she's on crutches."
"I'll want their records if they have any."
"I'll let the guys doing it know. I figure at least she'll have one if not the older girl. Then we'll see." That got a nod. He stepped closer. "Thank you for not freaking out about Dawn helping Annabelle," he said quietly.
"Why would I? If that's the treatment she needed then it's not my place to say anything unless it's dangerous."
"Only if Dawn linked herself in again. So if she's tired or anything like that, I need to know. I have custody of her."
"I can do that." He looked the young man over. "Go eat something."
"I did an hour ago. I'm just tired, Doc. A few of the girls had a slayer dream about a situation one of the other agents has on his desk. I had to help soothe tempers, get them written down, all that stuff, at four this morning." That got a shudder. "Someone has to."
"You need to hire more people."
"Well, yeah, but hey, Danny finally got maintenance guys so I don't have to change lightbulbs too."
House walked off moaning. "I'm doing your physical this weekend."
"Sure. I'll be on the range all day Sunday so Saturday morning? I can skip cartoons for an hour."
"That'll work." He went back to work, mentally shaking his head. After dinner he went back to his apartment to call home. "Jimmy." He smiled, leaning back in his desk chair. "No, we're good. It's the easiest, most frustrating assignment I've ever been on. Right now? Updating vaccinations for all the slayers. The old system didn't give very many." He smiled at his assurance normal doctors did that too. "On the research side, we've found a few things that work well. Including a drug that does nothing for any other issue but is still on the market anyway. No, no bad cases presently. We hope it won't be for a while. Yeah, he's good too. Up the hall in his own apartment. Not like I was going to let him sleep in mine. No, we're both fine. He said Foreman was pouting and Cuddy got Cameron'd to death?" He listened with an evil smirk. "You can tell them to quit whining if you want. No, we're pretty decent." Someone knocked. "Who is it?" he asked, pulling his phone away from his head.
He got up and walked over there, looking down at her. "It's a bit late for you, isn't it?"
"Not totally." She held up something. "The blood from the girls in Cleveland. Also a question Wes needed to have answered and a sample of a slime he's never seen before. Two of the girls got rotated back for injuries. Your hotty little student is tending them and doing stitching, bracing, and hearing them whine about how the two-foot-high demon with claws got them out of patrol."
"I'll head over in a minute." He took the small case. "Freshly drawn?"
"Drawn earlier and frozen."
"That'll work. Thank you, Dawn."
She smiled. "Bring more hotties. The girls will like that." She walked off with a grin. He was kinda cute, even if he was gruff. For some reason she liked them sarcastic. Xander, Dean, Tim, this new one.
House shut the door and grabbed the phone once the vials were in the fridge. "Still there?" He smiled. "Dawn. Her big sister is one of the girls here and Xander has custody of her. She's a smartass but she's pretty decent. She doesn't obviously drool like some girls." He looked out his window, then shut his blinds. "No, one of them had a telescope pointed over here. They're teenagers with rampaging hormones. They had to do a panty hand back after Xander found his over there. Sure, come visit. It's not a bad thing to be out here. Yeah, piss off Cameron for me and make her do real people things for a change?" He smiled. "Thanks, Wilson." He hung up and grabbed the vials, taking them back to the infirmary. "Fair warning, one of the girls has a telescope pointed at the residence hall." Chase moaned, shaking his head. "Did anyone tell the two watchers here?"
"Not yet." He looked in the box. "Blood from?"
"The girls in Cleveland."
"I'll start the antigen tests after I've finished her stitches if you'll do the last cast."
"I can do that." He pushed a rolling stool over with his foot, looking at the badly bruised and swelling ankle. "How long ago did you break it?"
"Three hours. We have faster healing. I'll be fine in a few days."
He stared at her. "If the x-rays say you are," he told her. She pouted. "That look only works on toddlers and kittens. Neither of which I like to deal with." She stopped pouting and gave him an odd look instead. He smirked. "Better. Confusion means you know you have something you need to learn." He pulled over an air cast, probing the area gently. "Did we take x-rays?"
"Wes had them done. They're hanging up. She's got a compound fracture in her heel area and two metatarsal bones broken."
"I'm going to start taking Faith's advice and wear combat boots," she pouted. House checked the x-rays then came back to cast her foot for her. "Thank you."
"Welcome. Should I call the caf?"
"No, Wes fed us already," the other one said with a small pout. "We'll heal, really."
Chase scowled at her, making her wilt. "Until you are, you're not fit for duty. I doubt anyone will let you go back until you're fully healed." She whimpered. "Tough."
"There's others who can and will take over for you," House reminded her. "They want chances to get killed too."
"Yes, sir." Xander walked in with Giles behind him. "Two foot tall and really mean, Xander!" she pouted.
He gave them both hugs. "They happen. You two okay?"
"A few broken places, a few cuts," Chase told him.
Xander grimaced. "Then I'll rotate someone else out to help Wes. Did you two eat?" They nodded. "Then let's hop back to your rooms so you can rest for the next few days, ladies. I'm not usually that mean but I don't have a golf cart or anything. You guys can even help George trim his new buds if you want."
"Yes, sir," they sighed, hopping back with him following. Giles followed along behind them, and Buffy and Faith joined them at their rooms to help them settle in comfortably and hear what happened.
House and Chase shared a look then Chase shook his head. "I know it's not Xander's doing," he said quietly. "Xander's always making sure the girls are doing normal girl things from what I've heard."
"It could be the calling, or it might be the old bastards who I hear had them before."
A portal opened and a girl limped through. "Oh, hey, new guys. Hey. I'm Morgan."
"Call Xander back," House said, helping her onto a bed to look her over. "What happened?"
"Stupid bastards having a clan meeting and poker game that got out of hand." She blinked at him. "Who're you?"
"Doctor House. That's Chase."
"Oh, hey," she said with a weak wave. He smiled back. "The girls are going to coo." Xander rushed in. "I'm okay."
"Bull. What happened?"
"Clan meeting and poker game. We were watching it and it went rabid so we stepped in to calm it down. Crissy's in very bad shape. That's why I called Dawn for a pickup."
"Sure, we'll get her. There?" She nodded. "Janice?" She came out to help him gather Crissy. Then he came back to get a weapon and go handle the problem himself. No one touched the girls and hurt them without getting the special Harris Foot Up The Ass of Destiny treatment. Damn it, they did not need this! He glared at one demon he left uninjured. "Next time, don't hurt our girls or create problems for the slayers." The one whimpered. "If you have a problem, that's what DCIS is for. If you don't, then don't drag slayers into it. No one likes it when I have to act as a watcher instead of an agent." He walked back through behind Janice and Chase rolling Crissy back. He called Don from the phone in the office.
"Make sure Cordette's okay?" He smiled at the news he was staring at her. "Good. We have Crissy and Morgan back on base. That poker and clan meeting turned brutal and they stepped in. Both hurt. Who do you want?" He smiled. "I can do that. Thanks, Don. Be safe." He hung up and called another number. "Faith, you, Buffy, and Brenda are to hit LA. Morgan and Crissy just came back via Dawnie portal after a clan meeting went spastic. No, they're probably staying in the infirmary." Chase nodded at that, still working on Morgan's injuries. "They need you tonight if possible. So check with Dawn. Oh, warn her I stepped in as a watcher instead of an agent. Got a bit pissed." He hung up and came over to help, getting moved out of the way. "Fine, I won't do bandages." He went to help with Crissy, getting a small look. "I had to do it at home, I can do it here."
"Good to know. How well do you know your training?" House asked.
"Just past paramedics." That got a nod and he held one injury down while House taped the butterflies on it.
"How fast is this faster healing?"
"Morgan should be fine in about six days probably. As long as nothing had a poison. Nothing I saw there had a natural one so unless they used something on a knife they should be fine."
"Interesting." He frowned as he worked. "This bubbling purple stuff?"
Xander looked. "Snot. Someone sneezed during the fight." She made a grossed out face. "Uh-huh." Buffy jogged in. "They'll be fine. Mostly beaten up."
"What happened?" she demanded.
"I finished it," Xander told her, getting scoffed at. "They're all injured. They know to come to us if there's an issue instead of having a brawl that draws slayers. I made sure they knew I was acting on the Council's behalf instead of here. But there's about twenty of the Gwalfark clan that I got for them."
She gaped. "Why so many?"
"Clan meeting and poker game," Crissy told her. "I'm fine. You're nice but can you quit fussing now?"
"No." He stared her down. "Shut up." She wilted. "Before I tell the younger girls." She whimpered and moaned. "Let me finish up."
"Yes, sir." She looked at Xander. "I can go back, right?"
"Yes, Xander." She looked at Buffy. "We thought there might be problems, that's why we were watching the area. The brawl spilled out of the area so we went in to stop it."
She shook her head. "We'll handle it." She looked at Xander. "Why Brenda?"
"John's been doing a lot of work on her skills. Plus Cordette likes her and will let her know if anything happens. She's been out there twice so far so she knows the various patrol routes most likely." That got a nod and Buffy walked out, going to tell Faith. Xander looked at her. "Sorry."
"Not an issue. They'll stop because it's Buffy and Faith, even when they wouldn't because of us." She patted him on the hand. "Can I nap?"
"Go ahead, we'll finish up while you sleep." She nodded, shifting her position a bit so she could fall asleep. Xander looked at the staring doctor. He clearly had some questions. "She's lasted longer than the average. In the old days the girls used to last eight, nine months on average. Then we find out jumping in helped keep Buffy alive this long. She'll be fine and she's got a very strong family at her back if she needs to talk about it."
"Does she get to rotate back as often as the others?"
"She and the others know they only have to ask," Xander said honestly. "These two don't." He visually checked both his girls then looked at him again. "They're both under the impression that they have to live up to Buffy's standards. It's a high peak to reach. I pointed out they'd have great things said about them, and already do in LA, but they want to live up to her rep."
"That's a high peak for the younger girls and Buffy," Chase pointed out.
"Yeah but Buffy lives to make her own rep," Faith said as she walked in. "What was it?"
"Gwalfark. I injured a lot and reminded them people did come when you hurt slayers. I'm expecting a reprimand in the morning from Danny."
"They'd listen to you because you worked with and saved Buffy," Morgan told him.
Xander looked at her, then smiled, shaking his head. "Most of the time they see me as a tagalong who ruins plans by bumbling into things. Their words, not mine. They watch to make sure I don't go hyena on someone but they don't listen to anyone but Buffy."
"I learned something the hard way, X. It took prison, going bad, coming back from it, and all that. I'm not Buffy. I can't be Buffy. I'm Faith and that's not a Buffy state. I'll never be her. I shouldn't try to be her. I can be the biggest baddass Bostonian slayer ever. Hell, there's a fairytale with me in it now in the demon world. I still can't be B. She's so far up there she's mythical. Mostly because she keeps coming back to life somehow," she finished dryly. "You're a major part of her mythology. What other slayer had you push your way in and drag Red with you? Hell, if I knew then what I know now, I'd have walked off with you into the sunset the night you came to try to help me instead of trying to kill you. It took me a long time to see I'll never be B. Even if I could quip while I slay. Even if I could fit into her little hankie shirts and heels. For that matter, don't really want to be B most of the time. Angel kinda...broods...a lot." Xander smiled at that. "Plus I'd never have ignored you and Red by any means. Witchy poo wouldn't have gotten away with stealing books with me. You would've been taught a lot sooner." She gave him a hug. "They'll learn like I did the same way I did. Watching her in action. She's a mythical creature and we're normal slayers."
"The demons said we weren't you two, we weren't worthy of stopping for," Morgan said quietly.
"I'd smack you but you're already hurt," Faith said with a look at her. "I don't want you to be me or B, Morgan. I want you to be Morgan. Morgan the Vampire Slayer has to make her own name in the underworld. Which you have. Even Broods A Lot said so." That got a smile. "They also said it's nice how you mother Connor so he's not such a stick in the mud without a clue." She gave her a gentle hug. "Demons are dumb sometimes. Even the smart ones. If they can't see you're so much better at doing LA than either of us could be, then they're really stupid." Morgan smiled and Crissy shifted on her bed. "With that said, how many?"
"I injured about ten to twenty," Xander said. "Gave one a message. I'm still expecting a complaint to be made even though I said I was there on Slayers Council business."
Faith smacked him on the cheek. "Shut up," she said with a small smile. "Or else I'm getting John to lecture all of you, including you, about self esteem." She walked off. "Brenda, get hugs, we're heading!" she bellowed as she walked in. She pulled Buffy away from Dawn. "Give me a sec." She looked at her sister slayer. "They're treating the girls like they're lesser because they're not you. Morgan got taunted that they would've stopped for us."
Buffy moaned. "They can't be me!"
"I know that. Took me a while to see it but my watcher gave it to me, you guys gave it to me, G gave it to me. The only one who didn't was X and Angel." She nodded at that. "Also, heard that Connor's Morgan's boy?"
"I have," she said with a smile. "Angel's very confused."
Faith shrugged. "I had to straighten them out but maybe we can let him come visit?"
"I think she'd like that." She smiled at Dawn. "Can you?"
"Sure." She looked at Brenda, who was coming down with John and two bags. "All packed?"
"John made sure," she said happily.
Faith stared at her. "You know you don't have to live up to B's standards, right? Because you're not an undead yo-yo?" Buffy snickered at that. "That she's mythical and no matter what anyone says, we're never gonna be that way?"
"I have figured that out. I'll be the best Brenda the Vampire Slayer I can be while making you senior girls proud."
"Good," John agreed. "Who did that?"
"The demons this time," Faith told him. John moaned. "Morgan got it. Had to talk to her and Xander since he went Rambo on them to get the girls out of there." She looked at Dawn. "Can we?"
"We so can." She opened a portal, surprising Connor. "Oh, sweetie." He dropped his spoon, holding onto the table. "Not dead, injured," she promised. "Here. Buffy and Faith are coming with Brenda."
"Sure." They walked through and he came back, looking at her. "Not that bad?"
"Few cuts, a few bruises, a few broken bones," Faith said. "The girls in Cleveland too, Connor. Thanks." The portal shut. She smiled at Gunn. "Howdy. Gwalfark?"
"Ooh," Gunn said, wincing. "They good?"
"Beaten up pretty badly. Told they would've stopped if it was me and B so let's make sure of it."
"We can do that. Hey, Brenda."
"Hey, Gunn." She gave him a hug. "I think it's so cute Connor's in puppy love. So, what do you do on dates? Morgan was trying to tell me but she was giggling."
"We'll talk about it later," Faith assured her, walking out with her and Buffy. Gunn followed once he had his truck keys. They'd see if those demons really wanted Faith and Buffy there to stop them.
Connor walked into the medical wing and looked, then sighed. "You get injured too often, Morgan." She started awake and he stared at her, getting smiled back at. "What happened? You know you should've asked."
"It was only a clan meeting and poker game."
"Yeah but their sort start fights at their poker games. Didn't Angel tell you that?" She nodded. "Uh-huh. I should complain to him so he sulks at you." She smiled. "And Alan too." He came over to give her a hug and a kiss. "Are you going to be okay?"
"I'll be fine." She pulled his arm until he curled up beside her on the bed. "Welcome to DCIS."
"That's pretty cool. I ran into Xander in the hallway." He cuddled, which was a strange activity to him - it made him feel uncomfortable to be that close to anyone without a weapon - but she liked it and it kept her calm. He looked at Crissy. "She looks bad."
"They had to retrieve her."
"Hmm. I should get Angel to sulk and brood at you two for not calling for backup." He gave her a squeeze, making her moan. "Sorry."
"No, felt good." She snuggled into his chest, letting herself be held. She loved Connor. Even if he didn't understand most human things, he was a great boyfriend who understood her duty and what she wanted to do when she aged out of her powers. She fell back asleep like that.
Chase came out and smiled at the young man. "She'll be fine."
"Good. How's Crissy? Cordette will want to know."
"Xander said he went to call her."
"Even better. She pouts at me when I tell her bad things." He shifted and Morgan pinned him, earning a smile. "Fine, I won't move." She snuggled in better. Chase put up the half railing, earning a nod of thanks since Connor couldn't fall off the bed now. "Buffy and Faith will handle it while Brenda claps. They're like that."
"I'm sure they are. If you need anything, the night duty nurse just came on. She's in the office." He pointed. "I'm going back to my apartment. She'll call if she needs orders or anything too important." That got a nod. "Then I'll see you before breakfast." He covered them both up. It was clear this was as healing for the young girl as anything medical science could pull up. He ran into House in the hall. "Morgan's boyfriend just showed up," he said quietly.
"Interesting. Sitting beside her complaining?"
"Letting her snuggle on his chest. She's fully back asleep. Better than the painkillers did." House nodded at that. "I know it's a breach."
House held up a hand. "Sometimes human contact is a healer on its own. Even if modern medical science doesn't see that, Chase. Not that most of our patients need their families in their bed, but it's good for her and he'll sit in the chair tomorrow." He looked around then at him. "You've been talking to people more than I have. Shrink?" he asked quietly. "For combat stress?"
"There is one here at the base for everyone and he's seen the girls after the two battles."
"Good. Then someone has sense." He walked off with him. "They in?"
"They are. Night duty nurse is in as well." That got a nod. "What were you coming back for? You don't usually hover over the patients."
"I had to get something from Benny Ray," he said, looking a bit smug. "You might want to check your drawers. I found a few things missing." Chase moaned. He smirked at him. "I think they'll be stopping and handing things back however."
"If you're sure," he said, giving him an odd look. He didn't get to see the playful side of House very often but he had learned to be wary of it. It usually boded ill for someone when the pranks started.
Daniel walked into breakfast the next morning, finding three bright purple slayers, one redfaced Giles, and a sulking Xander. He pulled Xander up and into the hall, looking at him. "Why are they purple?"
"House put a dye pack in his drawer to get them when they went on a new panty raid again."
Danny moaned. "Oooh."
"It worked. They're not doing it again."
"Good. Giles' problem?"
"They got caught and were breaking into places. He decided it's my fault for not having a strong enough leash. John looked at them and said it served them right and good luck scrubbing that off." He nodded at Don Flack as he walked past them. "Um, are we going have the bad administrative talk later?" he asked quietly.
Danny frowned. "Why would we have one, Xander? Is your contract coming due?"
"Well, yeah. That and I had to go and kinda injure a lot of demons last night to get Crissy free. I said I was Slayer's Council," he said quickly, looking at him. "Reminded them they can come here to put in complaints against other clans and all that."
Danny held up a hand. "Did you willfully kill them for no reason?" Xander shook his head. "Just injured to get her free?"
"I probably could've stopped at the first one."
Danny nodded. "We've all been in those. What would've happened if you had only gotten one?"
"The rest could've tried me."
"Uh-huh. Were they threatening her?"
"One was near her and had something in his hand. They're both pretty badly beaten up."
"Then injuring them and lecturing isn't as bad as it could be. If they complain, I'll put you on a few days suspension. Okay?" Xander nodded, looking down again. He tipped his face back up. "Quit beating yourself up, Xander. You're not superhuman either." Xander nodded. "It won't give us a bad rep. You helping your girls is one of the things the underworld understands. You've been doing it long enough for them to." That got a nod and a still too solemn look. "Sometimes you have to use violence, even when you don't want to. Even if it'll cause later problems. We can figure it out. It won't hurt the agency."
"It could," he nearly whispered.
"It won't. The guys who shot the demons for not being valuable didn't."
"They're not Buffy's Helper."
"True, but with your past rep, as I've heard it, I'm sure they're damn glad you didn't just kill them all, Xander." Xander moaned, turning to rest his head against the wall, shaking it. "Even if they weren't going to hurt her, it probably needed to be done to handle the situation. I want a report on what happened. All of it." Xander nodded, looking at him. "Good. On my desk after breakfast."
"Good boy, Xander." He smiled. "I don't expect the same sort of ways of dealing with things as people like Ryan and Flack use. They're cops, you're not. You handle things like Dean and Sam do, you killed and moved on. I'm very proud that you've adapted to investigating and all that." He gave him a pat on the back. "Give me a report so I can have some warning in case something happens. Including an aftermath if we know it."
"Buffy, Faith, and Brenda went. Morgan's boyfriend is here."
"Again, perfectly fine. Did someone say something about them not being mythical?" Xander grimaced but nodded. "Did we straighten that out?" Xander nodded again. "Good." He went in to eat breakfast. "Rupert, would you please move the telescope on top of your girls' building?" he asked politely. "Its glinting was bothering mine when I was studying the stars last night." Giles spluttered. "They were apparently trying to spy lesser bright spots in the night sky somewhere around the third floor."
"I'll have it removed to the back lot," he said calmly.
"Thank you. I wouldn't mind if we set up a real place to sit and use one. It's a calming activity." That got a smile. "Any problems with the group that went last night?"
"No, not yet. Who went? Xander?" He walked back in with Dean. "Who went where?"
"Morgan and Crissy got the hell beaten out of them by some Gwalfark last night having a clan meeting and poker game." Giles moaned. "They're in the infirmary. Brenda, Buffy, and Faith went since the demons sneered and said they wouldn't stop for lesser slayers, but would've for Buffy and Faith. Brenda knows the patrol routes so they went last night and Connor's with Morgan."
"Why?" Giles asked.
"Um, because they're dating?" Xander suggested. Giles sighed but nodded. "I like Connor in spite of who gave birth to him and who fathered him, Giles. He's good for Morgan. He understands her job and how she'll be feeling when she ages out. He's been good to her and it helps him get used to human things some more. They were cuddling earlier."
"I'll have to make sure his intentions are honorable."
"Alan pretty well gave him the shovel talk with pointing out Don used to play baseball so he had bats. Charlie could be mean if he wanted to, and he'd sic Cordette on him too if he hurt Morgan. Well, that he wouldn't be able to hold her back from trying to kill him if he hurt her really. He knows not to mistreat her."
"Very well then. I'll talk with him later, hear the latest news from Los Angeles."
"Sure. Or you could hear the weekly briefings the girls send in," Sam offered. Giles gave him a look. "They do reports too."
Xander nodded. "Anytime they deal with a case of ours they have to do full case reports and otherwise they have to keep a journal and do weekly check-ins so we can track movement. Oh, prophecy coming up?"
"Not that I've seen."
"Interesting. We've gone a whole six months without one."
Giles looked startled. "We have?" Xander nodded. "I'll make sure later."
"Thanks, Giles." He looked at the purple girls. "Serves you right. I would've used something that made you stink too." They slunk down in their seats. He went to his usual seat and sat down to eat. Sam kicked him under the table. "What?"
"Cheer up. The girls will goof off today."
Xander smiled. "I can't."
"Smile? I noticed. What's wrong?" he asked quietly. Xander shook his head, taking a bite of breakfast. "I'll listen if you want to talk, Xander."
"I'm good, Sam. Thanks."
"Welcome. You can talk to me or Dad." He nodded. "Dad's doing another inspection this morning while they're here."
"Poor girls. But they shouldn't be going on panty raids."
Sam smiled. "Very true. Especially when they steal his." John stomped in and he did not look happy. He pulled a few of the girls and one of the purple ones out into the hall. They could all hear the yelling about their bad girl tendencies.
Dawn shuddered. "Oooh. Pity them." She finished her breakfast. "Xander, want me to run geography?"
"Sure. I have something I have to type up anyway." She nodded, heading to handle that for him. "She's going to make one hell of a watcher in a few years."
"She will," Giles agreed. He went to talk to the girls himself. "Liquor?"
"Clothing. Again. Only one's had liquor and I made her drink it then taped the drunken behavior. Then we watched it together the next morning while she had a hangover." Giles winced at that. "She learned her lesson, Rupert." That got a nod of thanks. "They're mostly good girls. Is there some sort of hormonal surge that happens around this age? Faith was saying she had the same thing."
"In some girls the urges to hunt do come out this way. Most of the time their watchers make them hunt all the more often to wear it out."
"Couldn't have them having boyfriends?" John suggested.
"Indeed. In these ones' cases I fear we'll have to figure out something novel."
"They start school in eleven weeks. Maybe they'll find nice boys to date," John told him.
Giles considered it. "I would rather they not lose focus on their training."
Xander came out to look at him. "They're still teenage girls, Giles. Even if they are slayers. They're going to get down and funky with the boys or girls. Because a few do like girls. They're going to wear trashy clothes like Buffy did. A few might even want to join the band or something. None of the girls doing this are on field rotation. They're not old enough. When they are, it'll even out." That got a nod. "You let Buffy date."
"Yes and look what she dated."
"Not my fault you didn't try to break her and Angel up," he said dryly. "I tried because Angel was an asshole. She has bad taste. These might not have such bad taste. It's just that these are the only guys they have access to right now. It'll stop when they hit school." He stared at the girls. "Though I would suggest it stop sooner." They all nodded, looking down. "As of right now you're all in deep shit. The other purple ones too. Every last one of you has an extra sparring time with me this week, after dinner. You're also on for maintenance chores for the next three weeks. Am I clear?" They whined. He glared. They settled down and one nodded. "Any others we find after this point doing the same thing will have it just as bad, if not worse. We're all tired of this. If the new guys are already stopping you, you're in deep. Now, hand back the stuff you stole today, apologize, then put your names on the roster. I will be checking." They trudged back into breakfast. He looked at John. "Good?" he asked quietly.
"A good punishment. Very handy and they could all use the training anyway. So could you." Giles spluttered. "He's done good for teaching himself, Rupert. He's been learning the Winchester way since we got here. It's helped him a lot too. Made him smoother and better able to handle a real fight if one comes up." He clapped Xander on the back. "You're not a bad kid." He smiled and went into the dining hall to eat.
Giles looked at him. "You've been training with them?"
"Yeah. I kept up with Buffy, I've got to keep up with them and be able to handle it if and when my team gets into trouble the next time. No matter what it is." He walked back into there, sitting down to eat. He looked at his empty plate, then scowled at Dean. "You eat like a slayer. Are you really a girl in disguise?" Sam choked and laughed, letting Annabelle pat him to help him clear his throat. Dean pouted at him. "My food."
"You could have."
"The girls wouldn't let me have any. I had to snatch if I wanted to eat." He handed some down when it got handed to him. "Here, eat more. You hardly ever take time to eat."
"Thanks." He dug in, finishing his breakfast so he could go type up that report for Danny.
House walked into the infirmary, watching the young man jump. "Good reflexes."
"Doctor House. Head of this infirmary." He looked at Morgan. Then he went to get what he needed to check her vitals. Connor growled so he popped him on the top of the head. "I'm making sure she's fine. Down boy. I don't like them this young. Or that nice."
Connor scowled. "I didn't think you were going to hit on her. Hurt her maybe but not hit on her."
House looked at him. "Not everything has to do with violence."
"How would I know? I was raised on a demon realm. All this human stuff is strange."
House stared at him for a moment. "Considered therapy yet?"
"Who would understand having two vampires as parents?" he snorted. "Or being kidnaped and taken to a demon realm to be raised as a weapon against my father?"
"You might have a point there, Junior. So I'll offer some advice. Anger leads to the dark side."
Connor frowned. "You're quoting Yoda at me?"
"You know Yoda?"
"Xander made me sit down and watch it once, and well, I kinda, um, went back to see it again. I wouldn't mind being a jedi. It's a lot cooler than being a Champion or whatever I am."
House shook his head. "You could retire."
"I can't. I have skills that others need. Not that I care about what others really want since most of the demons I know who aren't bastards want me to date Dawn for some reason. I don't know why. She's girly and all that stuff. She'd never get dirty or hunt with me."
"I think you've got a pretty good one there. Keep what you have and what makes you happy, even if others don't agree. After all, they die."
"Usually with silver or wood," Connor agreed, looking totally serious. "Sometimes with a club but that's just for fun times."
House patted him on the head. "Don't tell me those details." Connor nodded, watching what he was doing. "I'm going to be listening to her heartbeat. Don't beat me for it. I'm not groping." He did that and then nodded. "She doesn't sound so bad." He put the stethoscope back around his neck. "Anything happen last night I should know about?"
"Crissy moaned a few times. I'm not sure if they're having slayer dreams or not."
"I'll check on her next."
"Their morning pills?"
House looked at him. "Oh, birth control. Right. I heard all the girls were on it."
"Slayer blood attracts bad things. Even more than are lined up to date Xander." House snickered, walking over to check the files and get her the pill of the day. "She's on the third row."
"It's easier to settle patrol things if we're together. Plus it means they can't sneak off and neither can I. For some reason Gunn goes to look at naked women now and then."
"Most young men do at least a few times in their lives." He brought back a pill pack. "Look like hers?" He nodded. "Good." He handed him one. "Make her take that." Connor nudged her, getting growled at. "Pill. Take it." She dry swallowed it and went back to sleep against his chest. "That'll work." He moved to look at Crissy, frowning. She didn't look so good. Her heartrate was down. Way down. "Nurse!" he bellowed. She came running out. "We didn't do a vital's check in the last how long?"
"Um.... They have special healing abilities?" she said weakly.
He glared at her, making her shrink down. "Yay. Her heartbeat is very low. She's been moaning in pain." He went back to looking her over. Xander walked in. "Out."
"No. She's under my care. I'm her legal guardian." He came over to look down at her. "Not out of her body."
"Can you do that?"
"Did the last time I had a head injury," Xander admitted. "The Powers called. We went to swear at them later." Connor gaped at him. He waved. "Yeah, me and Dawn. She started it and I finished it. That's how she got teachers." He smirked. "Speaking of, I think one of them wanted to meet you. She needs someone else to fuss over and tutor." He put a hand on her wrist when it moved. "Just us, Crissy. Relax. That's the doc and I'm here." She went limp again. "Is it pain or something else?" She nodded, keeping her eyes closed. "Were we meditating?" She nodded again. "Okay, where does it hurt?"
"Chest," she whined. "Leg. Left."
House checked her ribs and winced. "They weren't broken last night." He looked at her leg too. Broken as well. "How in the hell?"
Connor slid off the bed and came over. "Anyone coming in would've woken me, sir," he said. He looked at Xander. "She's been having a problem with something taunting her in her sleep."
"Another one?" Xander asked. Connor shrugged. "The same 'special child' dreams a few of us have gotten?"
"No. This is a dream demon of some sort."
Xander nodded, smacking her on the head to wake her up. She gasped. "No sleeping until we can ward you, Crissy. What happened?"
"It wanted to fight," she whined. "He said I'm falling down on my duties." He stared down at her. "I asked when Dawn told me about the special children dreams. He laughed and said it wasn't him. This one is one of D'Hoffryn's things. Not a vengeance demon."
"Fuck," Xander growled. Connor backed off, giving him a scared look. "We'll handle it, Crissy. For now, stay awake if you can, all right?" She nodded, swallowing. "Connor, get her some water please?" He went to do that while House pulled over the portable x-ray machine. "You two fought? Was it a battle or just a regular throwing things fight?"
"We fought. He made it look like a cemetery. Said I was falling down on the job. That I was weak."
"You're only nineteen. You're not weak. None of you girls are weak if you can crush beer cans while they're full," he said patiently. She smiled at that. "What else happened?"
"I don't know."
"That's fine. We'll figure it out. For now, I'll have John come down to do a simple warding around your bed and we'll search for marks. I'm sure you won't mind too much?"
"She's pretty stretched magically. I can have Sammy do it."
"The girls will be jealous," she teased.
"Yeah, well, a few are now purple because Doctor House here put a dye pack in his underwear drawer." She cackled but held her ribs.
"Lay still," House ordered. He took film then moved to do her leg. He moved the machine out of the way, letting Connor shove it a bit further away. "So it happened in her dream?"
"Some demons travel that way," Xander agreed. "It's like they pulled her out of her body and when she came back, so did the injuries. Don't ask me specifics. I have no idea. That's a question to ask Giles. He gave us all talismans when one came for Faith." He called out there. "Faith, me. Crissy's been having a dream demon issue. Broken ribs and a leg. Last night. Thanks, dear." He hung up. "She'll watch out for them since they seem to be drawn to her. We'll get Giles to make you a talisman as well. That should keep it away." She nodded. "Good girl." He kissed her on the head. "I'll be back after lunch?" She smiled and nodded. "Good." He looked at House. "You do whatever you have to do. If you have to do something extreme, my desk is 131. I'm usually there all morning."
"I can remember that."
"I'll get onto John and Giles." He gave her one last pet, then Morgan one. "You get better too. Cordette was not happy. She wanted to beat the demons up for hurting you two." She smiled at that. "Dream demon?"
"He's scared of Connor."
"Maybe you two should share him," he quipped.
"That's a bad girl thought worthy of Faith," Morgan teased back. "She'd be proud."
"Probably." He walked off, going to find John in classes. He leaned in. "John, need you for ten." He came out to the hall. "Crissy's being attacked by some sort of dream demon. Can you ward her bed in the infirmary until Giles can do a talisman?"
"Not sure it'd work. He gave us this funny feather talisman when they came for Faith. They apparently had a fight and she came back more injured. Broken ribs and leg."
"That's gotta hurt. I can do that. Give me twenty to find some chalk and the right book in the library."
"Thanks." He went to find Giles, finding him in the library with Sam. "Your dad needs a book on wards for the infirmary." Sam went to pull them down. He looked at Giles. "Remember the dream demon who was coming after Faith?" He nodded slowly. "One got Crissy last night. Broken ribs and leg."
"Let me see if we have the book with the talisman, Xander. Is she all right?"
"Sore. John's going to ward her bed until you can make her one. I've got mine under my bed if you need to look at it."
"I might. Do we have a local source for materials?"
"Six or seven in the next county. About three hours away."
"I'll get onto that right away. Will she be fine?"
"Yup. None of them are compound or slipped fractures. She's just really sore. Oh." He moved closer. "They're trying to demoralize. The demons last night told them they aren't as good as Buffy or Faith. The dream one called her weak."
"Well, no, they're not as strong as Buffy or Faith are, but they've each got their own strengths."
Xander nodded. "Being compared to Buffy helped send Faith over the edge, Giles." He moaned. "The same as being compared to John annoys you."
"I understand. I shan't mention it, Xander."
"Thanks. I've had to point out that they're not Buffy and Faith. Even Faith pointed that out."
"Have you talked to Wesley?"
"He said one person did try that with the girls, a chaos sorcerer. Not Ethan. She shot back that she was better because she wore real clothes on patrol." Giles smiled a little bit at that. "So please?"
"I'll do what I can." Xander nodded and left. Giles went to find that book. Dream demons were tricky things.
Xander went to his desk and sat down to call a number in California. "Hey, Phoebe. Is Piper there?" He smiled. "Xander. Yup, that Xander. No, I wanted to ask a question. Yeah, about her. Thanks." He leaned back, nodding at Daniel, holding up a finger. "Hey. It's come up again that Dawn's wards and things feel 'tired' to some who can tell. Is there a way to see if she's linked herself in too tightly? Like she tied it to her physical energy maybe? No, it's been mentioned a few times and George, our shrub demon, has been extra attentive to her because he thinks she's sick I think. Please. No, our wards here, one on Annabelle the other day. Yeah, exactly. That's what I'm wondering. Sure, come up for the weekend to work with her. You can have my couch or whatever. I'll sleep on the couch so you and Leo can have the bed with the kids if you want. The girls would coo over the kids. You know that." He smiled. "Thanks, Piper." He hung up and turned to look at Danny. "Something that keeps bugging me."
"I can see why." He sat down to look at him. "I read the report." Xander sighed but nodded. "You're still not in trouble, Xander." Xander perked up a bit at that. "I've even talked to a member of that clan. I had Don Epps find me one to call. They said they expected you to wipe them out because that's your reputation when they've touched one of the girls."
"I had to," he said quietly.
"I know. I'm not mad. They're not pressing a complaint. You're in the clear. From now on I want to hear about these things first thing. Even if you have to wake me up. Got it?" Xander nodded. "I do like that you confessed to me. That shows a lot of maturity and acceptance of your skills." He gave him a small smile. "Now, I need your help. Jack's showing up in a few days."
"Do you want him to stay?"
"Not a clue," he admitted. "I think he'd have more fun here than there. Sam too if I could talk her out of the program and into our R&D lab. She'd drive Abby nuts though. Worse than McKay did."
"Abby said it was nice to have another big brain that she could argue multiple topics with."
"Huh. Didn't know that." He patted him on the hand. "You're in the clear. Calm down."
"There's a dream demon coming after Crissy. Giles is working on a talisman while John wards her."
"Why not Dawn?"
"Because another person asked me if Dawn was tired after seeing spells she's done recently."
"Ah. So we're thinking she's tied herself in tightly somehow?" Xander nodded. "We have a guest room, they can stay in it. Now, we have to deal with the housing issue soon and I wanted your input."
"Are we moving the girls?"
"Nope. Too much stress. Besides, we might find more stolen underwear," he said dryly, cracking Xander up. "Do you have a case open?"
"Two." He let him see. "I'm getting a report from this one since Dean took one of the girls out to handle the poltergeist. I'm expecting it today. I gave the department a head's up that they were showing up and they handled it. I heard back and they're back so I'm sure it's okay. Dean knows to write reports. The other I'm stumped on. I'm not so sure it's not a human doing it. It's all fake mystical crap though. Not any language or mystical symbols Sam or I could find."
Danny considered it but Tony spoke up. "We have a profiler on call, Xander." He waved a file. "I was about to call him on mine. I've got the same fake mystical symbols and stuff. There's about six or seven cases open on the floor with the same sounding things."
"Can we compare?" Xander suggested.
"I'm all for it. I think if we can't find anything mystical it should go to the FBI and Spenser will have fun with it. I'm sure making your own language up is a classical sign of something."
"Probably that no one can ever understand you," Danny offered. "Where's everyone else?"
"Snack," Tony said. "If we put up a new building, do I have to move again?"
"We'll see." He smiled. "Let's compare and if it's not anything we're supposed to deal with we can brief him if he's open to it." He patted Xander on the back. "Good work so far." He stood up. "By the way, your contract runs out in another month. Are you going to demand a raise or anything?"
"You're still paying me?"
"Yes, Xander," he said patiently, walking off to check his mailbox. He brought back the last few paychecks and put them in front of him. "This time, don't find the demonic strip club." He patted him on the head and walked off again. Tony could cackle all he wanted. He was like that.
Xander put the envelopes into his back pocket and gathered up that case, coming over to compare it to Tony's. When the others came back from their morning snack, they settled around Tony's desk to compare too.
Agent Hotchner looked up as his phone rang, frowning some. "Hotchner," he answered, listening to the familiar voice. "We're coming back from one. What's up, DiNozzo?" Spenser Reid's head popped up. "You sure it's nothing mystical?" He listened then nodded. "I can do that. We're not that far away. Let me divert us. What's the closest to the base?" He wrote that down. "We can be there in a few hours. No, we have the SUVs with us. That'll work. Thanks." He hung up and went to talk to the pilot, who radioed in the change. He walked back to his seat. "DCIS has a serial case that they think we need to handle. Made up language of supposedly mystical symbols, lots of black mass overtones, but nothing real. DiNozzo said they have seven open cases total with the new one that came in last night."
"Anything we do know?" Reid asked.
"Not yet. We'll see what they have. I know they get cold cases and other cases faxed in all the time these days."
"Yeah, Tony sent one to me last week to profile the person causing the sacrifices so they could figure out who it was. Forensics wasn't getting an ID for them that time." The fax machine on the plane started to spit something out so he reached over to grab it, looking it over. "I've seen this."
Hotchner looked over his shoulder. "About three towns ago. On one of the officer's desks." Derek Morgan woke up from his nap. "We're diverting to DCIS. New case."
"Supposedly but not. They've looked, it's not a language anyone knows and it's not mystical in nature. Seven open cases."
"That'll work." He shifted over to look too, nudging Prentiss so she would wake up and look it over too. "Did we see those already?"
"I saw that case on one officer's desk a few towns back," Hotch said dryly. "The one in Orlando if I remember right."
Morgan nodded. "Are they all there?"
"No. The last page has notes of where they are," Reid said, handing it over. The rest got handed over too. "Personal languages often mean that you're feeling not human or that no human will ever understand, even if they try, because your language is different from us. You get a lot of 'bug syndrome'."
"Bug syndrome?" Prentiss asked.
"You think all the humans around you are bugs," Morgan said, handing that stuff on. "It's a strange mix of superiority and inferiority complex at the same time." He looked at Reid. "Where's the base?"
"North Dakota. I've only been the once for that one case we took over for them. It's a pretty base, but if you see the ugly little shrub in the middle of the walkway, don't block his sun. George has poison darts he can shoot if you annoy him." They all stared so he smiled. "It's a harmless shrub demon who adopted some of the younger slayers. He's very protective of them and their self-defense teacher."
"I don't think I could live that life," Hotchner admitted. "That's too strange for me."
"Slayers?" Prentiss asked.
"Did you see the coverage of the LA invasion?" Morgan asked her. She nodded slowly. "All those girls are called to an ancient and scared duty to wipe out the bad demons. They've been taken in by DCIS after their original town fell in and then some of them were hurt by a power play. Most of them are underage, they're all taught to go after the hunters, and the guy in charge is fierce about that from what I've heard said about him. Though it's said if you hurt one of the girls, he goes spastic on you and you end up talking to St. Peter yourself."
"Xander learned how to hunt by jumping in," Reid told him. "He's actually a very fascinating young man. If he didn't have this, I'd be afraid of him being on our caseload. He's *very* protective of those girls. He's nearly died to protect them a number of times. He's also adapted himself from hunting to investigating. His team handles the worst of the worst. Including that case we nearly got from Seattle. That turned out to be someone changing into a high level demon so it could eat people and gain power. He used artillery but his whole team came back and they rescued the last victim. When some of his team went bad and hunted down demons just because they were demons, he turned them in. He's a nice, good guy with a crappy destiny so far. He handles it well but he's perpetually stressed out because he's doing about seven jobs the last time I heard. He was even doing maintenance on the base for a while because no one thought to hire someone to change lightbulbs or fix squeaky doors."
"He sounds pleasant," Prentiss said grimly.
"He's a nice guy," Reid assured her. "He's only dangerous when you attack him or whatever he's protecting."
"No worse than some of the military guys," Derek said. Spenser nodded. "Then that's reasonable with his field of choice. How long did he hunt?"
"Sixteen. Tenth grade." They all winced at that. "He's adapted to investigating. He does it pretty well according to Tony. Tony and he recruited a lot of people for DCIS. Oh, and Xander helped take down the demon who wanted to assassinate the new president during his swearing in. That was Xander."
"He looked awfully young," Hotch said.
"He is. It's only been eight years since he started to hunt. Now he's fallen back to training and helping the girls and DCIS. There for a while he and one other guy were handling all the issues with the girls. Then someone else woke up from a strange, magically induced coma and took over again. Which means he's doing research according to Tony. He asked if there was a way we could pull Giles' head out of his ass, his words. Xander's still doing most of the work."
"Is it his case?" Morgan asked.
"No clue. Doesn't say."
"Then we'll see." They felt the altitude shift. "We must be getting ready to land." They nodded. "It's about a two-hour drive according to DiNozzo just now."
"There's well-marked signs," Reid promised with a smile. "They're on a refurbished base." That got a nod of understanding. "Oh, fair warning as I was given. The girls will squeal, pounce, and sometimes pinch. They're horny teenage girls who claim Tony and Xander hired eye candy for them to fantasize about."
Hotchner smiled and nodded. "Some girls are like that." They landed a few minutes later and got off, loading into the SUVs that flew with them on cases, heading for the base. It was a nice drive. Very pretty country. He could appreciate this as a retirement place but he'd hate to leave the city with all the entertainments they have available when you're bored. They found the base a little under two hours later and he pulled up to the gate, pulling out his ID. "BAU. There's another SUV of us."
"Case or personal, Agent Hotchner?"
"Go ahead and park in the pink square lot and then head to the main building." He pointed. "Case floor is the third one and most everyone's up there. Ignore the girls if they stare since they're outside doing PT right now." That got a nod and he parked. He looked at the ID's on the second vehicle. "Agent Reid. Nice to have you back, sir. Go ahead and park in the visitor's lot if you would please? They should be inside and the girls are doing PT in the yard."
"Thank you." He smiled and they parked, letting him lead the way over there. He stopped to pet the watching shrub demon. "Hi, George. How are you today?" He got out of his sun when the demon rattled his branches, pulling Derek out of his sun too. "We won't block you out." He walked them inside and to security, getting passes onto the elevators. The case floor was pretty quiet compared to some they've been on. Almost no one was there. "Are we late?" he asked Tony.
"Only to see Giles go off on Xander and Xander stomp off before he slugged him. Giles is down being checked for possession and the Winchesters have Xander to make sure he doesn't stroke out. Hey, guys." He waved. "The empty desk beside you guys has all the files and the coffee pot is first come-first served. We even have a caf if you need lunch." He smiled. "We've checked, and there's a few we weren't sure if they were the same guy or not so they're the smaller pile."
"That'll work," Hotchner said, sitting down to go over them with Reid taking them from him to hand off once he had read. "Do we have a map?" Tony pointed so he went to look, finding pushpins on the open cases. "Purple for open?"
"Purple for open, blue for team cases with a team out. Red for recently solved or the slayers took it over," Tony said, looking up. Xander stomped back. "You good?"
"Can't I put him back to sleep?"
"That might be a bad thing," Tony said patiently. "Though I think Danny was going to suggest it. He got tired of Giles not understanding human beings are nice too." Xander cracked a smile at that. "You remember Spenser Reid right?"
"I do. Hey." He shook his hand. "I looked everywhere in what we had. It's not a language we have on record, human or demon. It's not any mystical symbol that we've found. A few are close but not really. We have uber brains doing research stuff and they couldn't find it either. Does that mean that he doesn't think people would understand him?"
"It can or he's trying to code his inner feelings so no one can read them," Derek told him. "It's also a fair indicator of bug syndrome."
"I've had that a few times. Mostly while drunk," Xander admitted, cracking him up. "If we can help, let us know. I'm only waiting on a report from Dean about something he had to handle." He went back to his desk, looking at the coffee pot. "Damn it."
"You can have some," Tony reminded him. "You buy the coffee most of the time, Xander."
"No I can't. Doctor Chase said he wants my blood pressure to go back down before I have more caffeine." He pouted. "He thinks I'm halfway to a heart attack at the moment."
Tony looked at him. "That's why we keep hiring people to do all the jobs you do for us. Someone may have to do it but that doesn't mean it's you."
Xander shrugged. "Until you hire someone to do it, I'll have to."
"Good point. Any idea if Giles is possessed?"
"No, he's still dealing with special girl syndrome." He called Faith's cellphone. "It's me. You know how you were thinking Giles is going to snap soon on one of us for pointing out the junior slayers are still teenage girls? You're psychic apparently beyond slayer dreams." He smiled. "I'm good. We just had a discussion at the top of my lungs. He's being checked for possession. Sure, we're here. Oh, do you have the talisman for the dream demon? Or does Buffy? Crissy could use one made. She's got one on her ass. Broken ribs and a leg. Thanks, Faith." He hung up. "She's having someone there make her one for Crissy." Dean walked in. "Report?"
"She's nearly done." He patted him on the head. "You good?"
"He's not possessed."
"He's done it before, Dean. We deal and then we move on, because I'm too stubborn to let him hurt those girls."
"He was talking about moving them all to Cleveland."
"Then the city council out there said they'd be arrested and put into Juvie until I could come get them. They made it a binding law to not have a few dozen slayers in their city at once unless it was an emergency." Dean smirked at that, nodding some. "They know it'll draw something bigger. So we'll figure it out I guess. He'll start to see reality again once he comes out of the library."
"Dad told him that, very bluntly ranted at him about how he did nothing with those girls. Then Dad called Wes and put him on speaker. I didn't know Wes knew that sort of language."
"At one point in time the Watchers fired him and he got a harley while trying to be a rogue demon hunter like you guys."
"He was probably decent at it. I can't imagine soft-spoken Wes on a harley though." He shook his head quickly, making Tony laugh. "Can you?"
"Not really. Did the girls down there hear?"
"Oh, yeah. Connor told him he didn't want him anywhere near Morgan and Crissy. That Giles was reminding him of Angel when he lost his soul for a bit." Xander shuddered. He looked at his buddy again. "The girls were talking about a no confidence vote and if it'd do any good."
"Giles is over research and I'm over training and support," Xander pointed out. "If we had more watchers it might help but then I'd probably get the cold shoulder because I wasn't raised in the system like they were."
"You'll figure it out," Dean promised. Amber brought in her report. "Done?" She nodded and hugged Xander before handing it to him. "We'll figure it out."
"No, we already have. Mr. Giles is great to Buffy and sometimes to Faith, but I've only seen the man at meals. If we have problems we can't go to him. If we have slayer dreams he doesn't talk to us about them, just takes the accounts to look up. He assumed Xander had done his job and he was right. Then he pouts because Xander does his job. So either he gets off his ass or he's a ghost to us. Even Annabelle agreed and she's too happy to hate anyone, Dean. He's a research watcher because the books mean more to him than we do. Let him stay in the library for all we care. Xander's our boss." She gave Xander another hug. "Calm down. We're behind you, even when you are grumpy and make us do extra PT for doing stupid things." She smiled. "Glad I didn't get caught doing what they did though." She walked off, heading back to classes with Sammy and Danny. Danny gave her a look. "Had to hand in my report on that poltergeist."
"That's fine, Amber. Thank you for getting that done today." She smiled. "Are you all right?"
"As far as most of us are concerned, Mr. Giles is a ghost from the library." He nodded at that wisdom. "Annabelle wanted to make him one but she's seen sense."
"Good. Thank you. We're going over troll today."
"Eww." He smiled but handed her the pop quiz so she sat down to do it.
In Washington, D.C., the president was looking at a letter his secretary brought him. "What's this?"
"From the girls at DCIS, sir." She smiled and left him alone with the new things for him to read over.
He picked it up to read it. It was a very nice thank you letter for hiring them eye candy, who hired more eye candy for them to stare at, but also for taking them in and giving them competent people who could help them with their predestined duties - ones who made things much easier on them. He burst out laughing at the closing that again thanked him for hiring eye candy for them. He'd heard Daniel had a few problems with them stealing clothes but they seemed pretty nice to him. He wrote back a simple 'you're welcome' letter and mentioned that the eye candy they all liked were all because of DiNozzo and Harris. Then he faxed them both to Jackson's office. He would giggle too he was sure.
Tony heard the fax machine and went to look at it, frowning at the letter coming out. "Huh?" He took it to reread it then the second sheet that came out. That made him smile. "Hey, Xander? Get Danny to read this please? You too." Danny came in a few minutes later with Xander following. He handed over the thank you letter first, making Danny smile. Xander looked confused so he handed over the first letter. Danny burst out laughing and Xander moaned, shaking his head. "Apparently we do good things for the girls' manners and mind. It's a nice thank you note."
"It is," Danny agreed, posting it on the wall. He copied the letter and posted the original on his wall beside the first letter. Then he went to hand it to the girls who had signed it. Dean and John were talking with one of them so he handed it to her. "The president liked your letter a lot, Gail." He walked off smiling.
She blushed at the dual unhappy looks. "A few of us wrote a thank you letter for him letting DCIS take us in and keep us," she said weakly. She read it and smiled, going to tell the others. Dawn cackled. "Hey!"
"We knew Xander should be gay," she shot back with an evil grin.
"He had the most confused look too," Danny called. "Break's over with, ladies." They went back to classes. Dean went to look at the letter but it was hidden from him. Danny nodded at his office window, getting a nod back. Dean went up there to look, and his cackle was clearly heard through the open squad room windows.
John looked up. "That's a bad sound." Dean came out with a copy of the letter and the response. "The originals?"
"Hanging up on Danny's wall. They did thank him for taking them in and keeping them." John read then had to smile. It was so like his girls. He handed them back, walking off shaking his head but smiling. Dean went to hand it to Sammy, who giggled at them. "Dad grinned."
"They did hire a good bit of pretty men," Sammy said, handing it back. Don Flack looked over from his table of research. "The girls wrote a very polite, nice thank you note to the president for letting you guys take them in and keep them."
"And thanking him for hiring them eye candy." Don moaned and his head hit the table. Dean let him read, making him smile too. That was so like the girls. "Dawn cackled when she read it."
"I'm sure she did. There's a chaos god somewhere getting a buzz from this."
"I'm not sure if Strife is real, but if he is, maybe he's over slayers," Sam said dryly. Dean cackled at that and went back to his own teaching duties. Don smirked at him. "They can be."
"Yeah, but I think House stopped most of the problems with the underwear."
"Hopefully. I hate going commando around the base. The girls all try to pinch." He got back to his own research while Don giggled at his table. Giles stomped back in. "I pulled down the book on those talismans and told Faith what you'd need. She'll send it with a messenger demon in a few hours. So far the wards are holding and she's okay." He looked over. "Dawn's teachers are showing up this weekend to work with her some more too. So you'll get to meet at least one of them. If it's the oldest sister, she might be bringing her kids for the girls to coo over. It might be all three of them, not sure yet."
"Is she in trouble?"
"Xander thinks she's putting too much of herself into spells so they're going to work on that issue. Plus she hasn't been out for a few weeks because of classes."
"Then perhaps I'll talk to them about doing some wards around here."
"They put up a lot of them when they found Dawn was having troubles, Giles," Sam said honestly. "They're pretty passive but they've got alarms and warnings on them. We might ask them if it's possible to keep out dream demons as well. It might help the one who wants me and a few of the girls."
Giles nodded. "Any idea on what that is?"
"That's mine and Danny's case," Don told him. "Yes we do but we're worried about where he's starting this people's armies. Anything new, Sammy?"
"Not yet," he admitted. "Not in a few weeks. Unless Xander's having more."
"Not in weeks," Xander said as he walked in, holding up something. "Summerian?" Sam looked at it then shook his head. "I was thinking Norse."
"No, Mediterranean but not Summerian. Looks like Linear B actually. I'm not fluent but Daniel is." Xander nodded and went to check with him. Sam went back to his research. "I wonder where he found that."
"Probably in the museum case that came in about an hour ago." Don looked up. "Mummies up and walking around." Sam moaned. "A few other artifacts that were mysteriously moving as well. A burial chamber remake."
"Wonderful. Interior decorating mummies. What next?"
"I'm not sure I wanna know," Don admitted, going back to his reading. "I might have to take a vacation to see the family if it gets any worse than that." Sam laughed. "Honestly. Dad would freak out and I'd be happier since it wasn't stuck in my head."
"Tony can swat you again like he did Dean," Sam offered.
"No thanks. Don't know where he learned it but it only works really well on Danny." He smirked. "Think the raven symbols I've been seeing in mine are rebirth or vengeance?"
"Depends." He came over to look. "Vengeance. Not a vengeance demon but a request for vengeance. Like on that movie and show _The Crow_ I think."
"They're not crows."
"They're easily confused," Giles said quietly. He came over to look. "That's not mystical."
"No but if he's calling for vengeance and ends up dead, they send it to us," Don admitted. "Anything remotely strange. Xander had one that had a chipmunk chewing on stuff in a police evidence locker and they thought it was a ghost."
Sam nodded. "I saw that one. He suggested a trap." He went back to his own research. Dean walked in and handed him something. "Awake slayer dream?" he asked, frowning as he read it.
"Annabelle was out on her feet again. She had it in the middle of English." He walked out, leaving it with them. They could research that stuff to tell them how to deal with it.
Sam picked it up to read it, then frowned. "The one who sees. Which seer is that?" He called Dawn. "Didn't you have something about one who sees?" She babbled at him. "Good to know." He hung up. "Xander's got a stalker," he announced.
"Damn, I heard he dated bad things," Don quipped.
"I don't think he dated this one. I think this one wishes." He went to find him and tell him. "Xander, remember the stuff where they called you a seer?" He grimaced but nodded. "Annabelle had a slayer dream in English."
"I told her to go to bed last night." He took it to read over, then moaned, shaking his head. "Not my type."
"We'll guard you, you know that," Tony said, coming over to read it. Then he giggled. "Only you have slayers warning you about dating, Xander." He patted him and went back to his open cases, ignoring the snickering from the BAU unit.
Sam smiled. "Now we're warned."
"Yay me." He handed it back and turned to get back to work. "Thanks for the head's up, Sam."
"Welcome." He went back to the library to log it in and make notes that he had warned Xander. Giles gave him an odd look. "DCIS wants to know too. Especially if it impacts any of their people." He finished up and saved it on the server then got back to his own research. He had class in a half hour but he needed to get this done. "I'm so going to assign research papers," he muttered. Giles gave him a horrified look. "They'll have to do them in school." He went back to reading until his watch beeped then he took the book with him. He handed it to Dawn. "I need that topic researched," he told her.
"Yes, Sam." She went to do that, ignoring Giles totally. Giles could sit at his table and seethe for all she cared. Though she did text Buffy to warn her. She had ways of making Giles see sense when he was being an ass.
Faith looked at Buffy's phone then at the shower she was in. "B, Dawn patrol texted."
"Who got hurt this time?" she called back.
"Tweedy went off on Xander about him doing too much with us again." Buffy moaned. "He's not possessed."
Buffy came out in a towel to get the message. "I'm going to have to referee, won't I?"
"Nah. Step off. The girls sent a text earlier to mine saying that they didn't like G at all. He was like a ghost in the library."
They shared a look. "I'll talk with him when I get back. I don't know what his issue is. Xander's done so much for us that I'm impressed."
"Which is a hard thing for you to be," Faith quipped dryly, giving her a look.
Buffy shrugged. "He's still normal. He's happier at DCIS doing all that stuff."
"Maybe. Maybe not. He'd still give up his life for those girls and us."
"I know. Which I'm trying to avoid. I don't want him dead. I want him where I can find him warping others." She went back to finish her shower. She called Dawn once she was done. "What happened?" She listened then moaned, resting her head against the mirror. "Why? Ten whole dollars to buy shampoo? I'm sure he paid it back by now. Beyond that, don't we pay him a salary?" She grimaced. "We pay Wes. We pay Connor. We pay the girls on patrol rotation. Why don't we pay Xander?"
"Because Xander wasn't getting paid by DCIS at first either," Faith called.
Buffy frowned. "You know what? Bring me back tonight after patrol, please?" She smiled. "That'll work. Thanks, Dawnie." She hung up and got dressed, coming out to work on her hair. "We'll talk to Giles tonight. He's now fussing because Xander took ten dollars to buy shampoo and soap way back when."
"I'm sure no one's going to complain about ten bucks since he wasn't taking a salary," Faith said dryly.
"I don't care. Wes apparently didn't. Giles is being a butt. He hasn't come out of the library in months. Not since we woke up. Maybe he should take Cleveland for a while and let Wes have a few weeks off."
"That could help."
"I'm going on the next rotation out there. That'll help more." That got a nod and Faith patted her on the back. "Thanks. Any word on Morgan and Crissy?"
"Connor is hyper protective of his girlfriend. Nearly bit the doc this morning."
"The hotty one?"
Faith smiled. "The older hotty one." She leaned closer. "Did you know the girls wrote a letter to the Prez saying thank you for taking us all in and giving them competent eye candy to stare at and help us with our duties?" Buffy giggled, shaking her head. "They did. Man, Tony and Xander hired for eye candy."
"Oh, yeah," she moaned, leaning back. "I haven't seen that much prettiness together since a deb ball when I was younger." Faith gave her head a shove for that. "Pretty, young, rich guys."
"They probably had plastic surgery. All ours are natural."
"Hmm. I can see why some of them go on panty raids."
"A few were purple this morning. The older new doc used a dye pack in his drawer." Buffy cackled at that. "X gave them all maintenance and PT punishments."
"Good to know." She got back to work detangling her hair. "Call Wes to suggest that? I don't have his number yet."
"Sure." She called him. "Oh, Watcher Mine." She grinned. "I'm good. Covering LA. Morgan and Crissy got the hell beaten out of them by some Gwalfark. X took them down for them when he came to get Crissy evac'd. No, was thinking. Giles is like a library ghost according to the girls. Yeah, that stuff. Who called?" She listened to the list of girls who had called to get his advice. "Huh. Didn't know the girls had called to get advice on that." She smiled. "That's a good thing. Means they trust you, Wes. No, me and B were thinking. She's coming out to do senior duties on rotation next time. You haven't been back on base except for emergencies. Tweedy needs out of the library. That work for you?" She nodded. "No, the girls won't go near him. One called Buffy to let him know they're considering him a library ghost. Thanks, Wes." She hung up. "It's good with him. He'll arrange it with X since he's over training and Wes is over patrols."
"How did they handle it on their own?" She shifted to look at her. "Giles said he was missing the old accounting department."
"X kept it pretty loose. If the girls needed to shop, he hit the bank. The rest of things stayed in the bank except for the food payments to DCIS for our grazing." Buffy smiled at that. "We do drive up the food bills. He pays Cordette's parents too. Speaking of, you met them yet?"
"No, I've talked to her."
"We'll do that today then. Epps is the local DCIS guy." That got a nod and Buffy went to braid her hair since it was still wet. Faith called Charlie. "Bringing someone by to introduce her to you and the little one. We'll talk then." She hung up on his complaint. "Um, B, real clothes?" Faith suggested. "One's FBI. Kinda uptight people." She sighed but went to change into something cute, but with more fabric. Faith looked up and shook her head. "They call me the slutty one," she muttered. They walked out together, heading for the college. "One of the girls is going here this fall. Cordette's big brother works in the math department here."
"So he's Willow sorta brains?"
"Bigger than Red's. Way bigger. Went to college at fourteen sorta brains."
"Oooh. Wow. So Cordette is doing really good in school?"
"He's making sure she handles whatever she's taking without doing it for her." She smiled at a familiar man walking and mumbling. "You keep doin' that and something will think you love it," she teased. Larry jumped and looked around, smiling when he saw her. "Hey, Larry." She gave him a careful hug. "This is B. We're in on elimination detail since some of the things locally jumped our girls last night."
"Are they all right?"
"Mostly. Banged up. Few broken bones. We heal though. They'll be back in a few weeks."
"That's good." He shook Buffy's hand. "The girls have said you're nearly mythical, Miss Summers."
She blushed. "I hate that but I guess I kinda am. One of them called me an undead yo- yo." He laughed. "Which one is coming here?"
"Morgan is. She's looking in the humanities." He walked off with them. "Coming to visit Charles, girls?" Faith nodded. "Well, I do believe he's got a class at the moment but he'll be done in a few moments. He had a test to give today." Faith shuddered. "I know, not everyone is suited for mathematics but it is an important field."
"I hated classes and school," Faith told him.
Larry smiled. "There's many ways of learning things. I'm sure you learned many important lessons outside the classroom." She nodded. "Good." He pointed. "That building, second floor, ladies. He'll be at his office soon. It's about halfway through the building on the left side as you're walking back toward the reflecting pond."
"Thank you," Buffy said, smiling at him. "I've got to think about college stuff too." She walked off with Faith. "This is a really pretty campus. No one's screaming, there's no commandos. I'm almost really happy here."
Faith gave her a nudge. "That was only Sunnydale, B. If any other campus anywhere in the world had commandos on it, they'd be arrested on sight." Buffy sighed. "Don't tell me you're missing it."
"Nope. Riley's married and I'm not missing him at all. He was bad and cheated on me with the vamps feeding on him. I don't miss that."
Faith patted her on the back. "Maybe you'll find a nice guy to date. A bit dangerous but still nice." They walked into the building, blending in with the students heading to their next class or lunch. They found the office and she tapped, then leaned in. "No new class to run off to, right?"
"No, not for an hour. What happened? Don got a call saying they were injured."
Faith and Buffy walked in. "There was a demon clan meeting and poker match that got out of hand," Buffy said. "Xander rescued them with Dawn's help and kicked butt. We came out to finish the problem so they quit picking on the girls. Hi, Buffy Summers."
Charlie smiled, shaking her hand. "Charlie Epps. Big brother to Cordette. We have new birthday pictures," he told them. They both smiled and sat down to look them over. Larry leaned in and tossed him something. "Thank you."
"You're welcome. You might call Xander. He was stressing over some language they didn't have a key to."
"I'll do that." Faith gave him an odd look. "I can mathematically figure out most languages and what they represent."
"Wow. Way smarter than I'll ever be," Buffy said in awe.
He smiled. "I've used it to figure out which of Don's suspects did things and other criminals too," Charlie said. "It's an interesting field."
"I did good when Willow helped."
He laughed. "Not everyone's meant to be in math. Some people do the humanities. Some don't." He patted her on the head. "Let me call. Should I get an update on the two girls?"
"Please," Faith agreed. "We had a dream demon going after Crissy. I'm having a talisman made to protect Cor."
"Thank you." He called. "Xander, Charlie Epps. You told Larry something about a strange language?" He listened. "Fax it to me. I have a nice algorithm to figure that sort of thing out. Sure, put me on with the profiler." He paused. "Hi, Charlie Epps. Yes, that one. That's what I was suggesting to him. I am on call for them if they need it. How many cases?" He frowned. "How many symbols? Then I can do that easily. Not a problem. Probably within a day to a day and a half, depending on how busy our server is. Of course. Fax it to me or email a scanned in copy for me. That's fine. The better the resolution the easier it is," he agreed. "I'm here. Xander should. Yes, that's me. Thank you. How are Morgan and Crissy?" He smiled. "I'll let them know. They're here in my office." He handed the phone to Buffy. "Dawn." He looked at Faith. "They're fine. A bit cranky. Connor's been hovering protectively until she swatted him and made him go get her food."
"That boy's learned real well," Faith said happily. "You can really figure out language stuff with math?"
"I can." He smiled at his big brother when he walked in. Buffy moaned. "Don, this is Faith and Buffy is on the phone with her little sister."
"Nice to meet you, ladies." Buffy hung up after a quiet word. "What happened?"
"The clan meeting and poker game got out of hand," Faith told him. "Both girls got trashed by the demons so they're in the infirmary. We even got new hotty, competent docs watching over them." Don smiled at that. "Connor's hovering over Morgan."
"Good. I like that about him. Even if he does have to ask normal guy questions now and then." Charlie smiled. "Are you two coming to see Cordette tonight?"
"After I pick up the protective talisman I'm having made for her," Faith agreed. "There's been a problem dream demon recently."
"We have no problem with protecting her." He smiled at Buffy. "I've heard your name mentioned a few times."
"It's nice to hear but it's making the younger girls stress out from what I hear."
"It can but they usually shoot back that they don't wear heels when they slay."
She blushed. "It seemed like a good idea at the time."
"B, you flashed *so* many demons," Faith said, patting her gently on the shoulder. Buffy swatted her for it. "You did. The old mayor heard a few vamps went after you to get flashed."
She rolled her eyes. "That's not true." Don laughed. "It's not."
"I'm sure it's not. So, what were we planning today?"
"We took care of the clan thing," Faith assured him. "I was introducing her to you two and Cordette later on."
"You can come for dinner," Charlie offered.
"Nah, we've got patrol tonight with Angel and Gunn. Smaller big bad who thinks he's so hot needs to be taken down and whipped until he begs."
Charlie blushed. "Literally?"
"I hope not. I left the whip with Wes." Don laughed at that, nodding a bit. "I did. Really."
"She did. She can use one. I can't," Buffy told her.
Faith shrugged. "I learned from X and Indian Jones, like he did." She stood up. "Let's let you two talk and worry. How's the sprout doing in school?"
"A slightly low grade in history but that class is boring her to sleep at times," Charlie admitted. "She's a bit ADD now and then. If it's not keeping her attention she drifts."
"I did the same thing," Faith admitted. "School sucked majorly."
"We've shown her some good things about history and she's feeling better about the subject," Don said. "Is it normal for her to be a bit...bloodthirsty?"
"Yup," Buffy agreed. "I only woke up in history class for Willow poking me or movie day."
Don shook his head. "We'll keep that in mind then. She's a good girl. Our dad dotes on her like you wouldn't believe. Her and Miss Kitty."
"I was wondering where Willow's cat went," Buffy admitted. "She adopted her?"
"On the plane ride to the first base according to Xander. She didn't like planes and neither did the cat."
"That's cool then. Tara and Willow wouldn't mind." She gave him a short hug. "We'll see you later." She followed Faith out. "They seem like really nice guys," she said once they met up in the halls.
"They are. Their dad's pretty nice too. A bit firm when needed. Cordette tried to help with the invasion so he ended up tying her to a chair." Buffy smiled. "I know it's instinctive. They're doing good to live up to Xander's rules. We don't die and we're normal girls most of the time."
"Good. That's good for her. Better than I could do now and then. Mom would be way proud of him and yell at Giles again."
"G needs it, B."
"I know. We'll handle it," she sighed. "Even if I do have to beat him again." That got a nod and they headed back outside to go looking for trouble brewing and to get that amulet for her bedroom.
Don smiled at Charlie. "They're not that scary."
"No, she's not. We've heard a lot about Buffy but she seemed pretty nice. Even if they are having problems on base. Including a human serial killer they got sent by mistake."
"Ow. They good?"
"Their fine. They called in their BAU profiler on call. I'm doing the language to see if I can find a meaning." Don nodded at that. "Anything you needed help with?"
"Two or three cases in the office could use your help. I came to see if you had anything this afternoon."
"Two things but I'm free after three."
"That'll work. Thanks, Chuck." He went back to his office, happy that the two senior girls seemed to think they were doing a good job. He even warned his dad that they'd be coming over later.
Later that night, Buffy walked into Giles' room. "C'mon, pack. We're going to be late."
"To what?" He looked up from his reading.
"I'm taking senior slayer duties in Cleveland for the next six months. My watcher had better be there." He started to say something but she held up a hand. "It's pretty clear you're having troubles adjusting. I need to take my tour of duty. Wes needs a break since he's been there since the explosion. Therefore, we're going to Cleveland."
"Xander has official custody of her and I asked. She says she's staying here. She's learning a lot about the supernatural from the Winchesters and the guys here. That'll make her a better watcher when it's her turn." She stared at him. "Well? Pack!" He groaned but got up to do that. She gave him a hug. "You do realize we nearly threw away the best thing that ever happened to us?" she asked when he looked down at her.
He sighed but nodded. "I did. I've been trying to unkink what he and Wesley screwed up."
"They didn't, Giles. It's simpler this way. After all, no departments to handle the stuff like the shopping accounts."
"I realize that. He still confiscated money."
"Ten whole dollars, Giles." She paid him. "There, now it's even." She stared at him and his shocked look. "You do realize you're still not paying Xander?" He slumped. "He's doing a lot of the work. Even Wes says he's taken on work so that he doesn't have to and can concentrate on the hellmouth. So yeah, Xander's got it, Giles. You do sucky with the girls because you don't know how to relate to them. Xander's been their shiny knight a lot of times. Keeping them from the bad urges, making sure they're safe and protected. Keeping them from molesting the agents. He's been their big brother. You haven't even tried to step in and help teach the classes. Even I'm in classes and Faith's in classes but you haven't stepped in to teach any of them. Though the girls might beat you if you took away their Sammy staring time in demonology." She grinned at his cough and blush. "So let's go. We'll get back to slayer and watcher, and let Xander do everything again. Because Danny hinted that you forgot to pay for all the food we slayers eat. That's got to cost them tons."
"There's some island nations who don't have as big of a budget as the one for the girls' food."
"Maybe that'll change but we're still eating fourths and fifths most nights, Giles. Most of them are growing girls too. Remember how you ate as a teenager." He nodded, letting out another small sigh. "Then get to it. Cut that check and let's go. Wes is waiting impatiently for a few days off with his slayer. By the way, LA's handled. Brenda's staying for a few days until the others get too stubborn and go back. Or possibly if she annoys Angel too much and he puts her on a bus. She was not happy with my former hunny."
"I dare say I wasn't either," he admitted.
"Then let's go. Cleveland's farther away than we are now. I'm feeling the old urges to hop him again because I'm boyfriendless at the moment. Faith said there's hotties in Cleveland too. It's in my best interests to date. Before I steal some of Dean's boxers too." He cracked a smile at that. "It was a near thing, Giles. I caught him doing laundry. I nearly pounced and then took a trophy or three with me." He gave her a shoulder pat. "Come on, pack."
"Yes, Buffy. Six months?"
"Yup. Wes has been there now for over a year and a half."
"Very well." He went to pack what few things he had in his room and left to help her finish her own packing. She had more clothes than most of the girls. "Been shopping?"
"Angel said he was having high school flashbacks so he did what he did to Cordy and handed me his credit card," she said with an evil grin. "It was very nice of him. I needed new shoes."
Giles shook his head, carrying one of her bags down to where Dawn was waiting with his own. He looked at her. "You can come with us."
"I'm starting school in a few weeks. Me moving back and forth won't help my grades any. Or help me make friends or find boyfriends."
"I get to meet them all, threaten them all, and have Xander do a background check," Buffy reminded her. "And no short skirts." Dawn looked at the one Buffy was wearing. "I'm older and experienced."
"I heard." She gave her a hug. "Xander will threaten them for you if you don't meet them first. You know he will."
"I know. I hope your crush on him didn't mean you picked up his bad dating habits."
"Annabelle had a slayer dream in English about a male demon who wants to woo Xander," she said with an evil smirk. Buffy cackled. "So maybe he shouldn't go gay."
"He should, just take an agent or someone here. Someone who understands."
"Morgan has Connor. Which is pretty nice since most of the underworld wants us to date and I don't want him."
"Good! I like Connor, he's a nice boy, but you'd run rings around him." She gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek. "Call me daily."
"Email too. Especially pictures of any new hotties who show up." She nodded. "Good. Are we taking anyone with us?"
"Amber's going with you. Amber?" She came out of the living/rec room with her two bags. "That's it?"
"Most of what I have. I left my stolen Sammy t-shirt on John's bed so he could give it back. I'll get a new one when I come back." She beamed while Buffy and Dawn laughed. "I will."
"I saw Dean doing laundry and I nearly pounced to steal some of my own," Buffy promised with a smile. Giles moaned. "C'mon, let's go. Wes has got to be doing the watchery version of the potty dance to get a break." Dawn opened the portal and they walked through. Buffy looked at the mess in the house. "Hey, Wes, did we miss the party? This looks a lot like a few frat houses I've been to in my short college time."
He came out of the kitchen with an ice pack. "We were attacked last night. We're doing fairly well but the living room needs to be replaced."
"We can thrift shop," Amber said happily. "That way we don't spend a lot on things that could be destroyed. Dawn's waiting."
"Give me a moment, Dawn."
"Sure, Wes." She closed the portal.
He smiled, going to get his bags from his room. He had packed everything he had, including a few new books he had found. He came down with the rest of the girls pouting. "I'm only going on vacation, ladies. Rupert will see to you. He did Buffy and Faith both you know." Giles nodded and smiled at them. He looked at his charges. "Caridad, please show him where things are? Rupert, I've been training her as a field watcher. Xander and I think she's got the makings of an excellent one." That got another nod. "Call me if you should have any problems. The landlord's name and number are on the bulletin board beside the patrol rotation schedule. Plus the whining about dinner list. Caridad, do behave while I'm gone."
"Yes, Wesley. Say hi to Faith for me."
"She's still in LA. She'll be back in a few with Brenda. Morgan and Crissy had a small issue with a Gwalfark clan meeting and poker game." They hissed. "Oh, Wes, dream demon is showing back up. Got Crissy."
"I heard. The talisman is working?"
"It is but Crissy said it stinks."
"They can do that for the first few days until they dry," Giles admitted. "Go, Wesley. I can handle it."
"That's fine. Any administrative things I need to handle?"
"Pay the food bill," Buffy told him. Giles rolled his eyes. "We do eat a lot."
Wesley nodded. "I've noticed that." He looked at his girls, who all grinned sweetly and innocently back at him. "Very well. Anyone switching out for Amber?" All but Caridad ran to get their things. "Ladies, someone must patrol."
"I can," Buffy snorted. "I did it nightly before. Caridad can go with me now and then if she wants and I've got Amber if I want a night off." Wesley nodded. "Besides, if we need more, all I have to do is call, right?"
"Correct. As we have in the past." The girls called Dawn and she reopened the portal, doing her nails now. "Thank you, Dawn. Come along, girls. Do have fun. It's a fairly boring job at the moment, Rupert. Not much going on. She has my journal," he said as he was drug through the portal by his girls. The portal shut behind them but she had to open to let one last girl through then shut it. "Dawn, thank you." He gave her a hug. "Go find your rooms, girls. We'll get you assigned to classes and PT tomorrow." They went up there. "Anything new?"
"Two new hotty docs."
"Beyond the eye candy," he teased dryly, smiling at her.
"A small fight between Giles and Xander earlier. I'm hoping Buffy cures him. He's become the library ghost. Annabelle had a slayer dream in English about some demon stud who wants Xander's panties for his own. The profilers are in to look over a few cases that got handed to the agents. Nothing much other than that."
"Let me write out the check for the food and then I'll go talk to Xander."
"He's in bed."
"Yeah, they checked. He's in bed. We have a telescope on the building. He got moved to the married tower." He smirked at that. "Well, yeah, the girls were using it to plan panty raids but that's them. I'm a good girl, Wes."
"Your mother would be proud, Dawn." He went to take over Giles' room and settled in once he had written out the check for the maintenance they paid DCIS for their housing and things. He saw a folded paper shoved under the door then whoever kept walking. He grabbed it to read, bursting out cackling at the thank you note and response. Those girls!
to part 7