Xander heard John had to come back for a bad event and was waiting on him at the gates when he came out. "Give you a ride to the airport?" he asked quietly.
"Please." He smiled. "This is Ronon."
"Hey, I'm Xander," he said, shaking his hand. He looked at John. "You can come over whenever you want."
"Xander," he complained.
"I'm not pressing for attention but I do have a spare room you can use to destress at," he said, staring at him. "You'll probably want a few hours of quiet and we aren't there all day."
"Yeah, I could," he agreed, rubbing over his face. "Can we?"
"Sure." He got in to drive them to the airport, keeping the radio quiet. "How's Rodney?"
"He's good. He couldn't come back this time." He looked at him. "You sure?"
"I even got around to buying a bed, later today, for the other room." John smiled weakly. Xander reached over to squeeze his wrist. "You guys all know my place is open to any and all of the friends and pack," he said quietly. "Even if I'm not there. Cougar and Jensen showed up recently."
"That's good. Did they ever find the leak?"
"Not that I've heard."
"But Jensen said one of them got killed. His team's going to the Middle East soon so they might see if they can gather any information on them." He glanced at him at a stop sign. "Also, he said to write him because the bad guy who had ruined their lives is here and is looking your way," he said quietly. "Which is why I showed up to remind you that you could show up whenever you want. You don't even have to warn us. Though you can't throw out my twinkies. Cougar almost did on me."
John snickered. "Were you bouncy?"
"Jensen got into them and was."
"Figures." He patted his hand. "How have things been?"
"School still sucks ass, I was right. Though now we're on the school anti-bully squad. A few we caught ran and turned themselves in instead of facing me or Sam. The one we both cornered started to cry. I have no idea what Jon told them."
"He's related to Jack, kind of."
"So he said. Should I... invite him over?"
"I can talk to him. He knows more about my project."
"Ah. Okay. That explains some things." He grinned at him then changed lanes to get around a dog that was in the road. "Damn it!"
John looked back. "It's back in the bushes. Slow down please?" Xander sighed but did that. "Thank you. How's the other issues going?"
"Badly. I hate visions. I really hate visions."
"One of our people volunteered when Cordelia showed up."
"I'm so sorry. Don't they know not to volunteer?"
"We needed to hear. It takes forever to get emails from you."
"Hmm. I know." He smirked. "You have three waiting by the way. One's Sam's whining about me being a guy sort again. Apparently he doesn't want me to date."
"Xander, you date evil things that want to kill you. Date Sam. We'd like that."
"Sam would hate that."
"He has the same problem."
"He nearly decked Dean for joking about that option."
"Pity. It might solve some problems." He reached over to ruffle his hair. "Are you skipping school?"
"Yup," he said proudly. He grinned and sped through a yellow light. Of course, a cop car was behind him but the lights weren't flashing. So maybe he was safe. He checked his speed and slowed down then pulled onto the road to the airport. "If you need to talk during this, you let me know." He gave John a pointed look. Then he parked in front of the terminal. "You be safe. Also, look out for unusual things. Please?"
John stared at him. "Vision?"
"Yeah," he muttered. "Fucking bug things."
John gave him a hug, getting one back. "Be safer, Xander. I'd hate for you to die from your taste in girlfriends." He got out and got their bags from Ronon. Xander drove off. He looked at Ronon. "It's a long story but he saved my life once."
"McKay told me about him. He does remind you of Lorne on too much sugar."
John snickered. "He does sometimes, yeah." They went inside and checked in. Ronon had a fake ID. They got onto the plane headed for the senior Sheppard's funeral.
Xander was not in a good mood during rifle practice that afternoon. Maybe he did mother hen his pack. Maybe it was being here instead of actually with his pack. It wasn't the same and his John, his real John, wouldn't have thought he was begging for attention. He took aim and fired, grimacing. "Damn it," he muttered.
"Harris, attention on the paper. Leave your emotions at the door," the captain said.
Xander rolled over to look at him. "Just let me be mad for a bit, okay?" He flipped back over and got back to target practice. He was showing his real skill and still seething. He hated this world. He really hated this world. He wasn't comfortable in his body. He was falling out of practice. His pack was not the same. It was going to drive him nuts. Which was probably the point. He shot one last one and sighed, pulling it back in to hand to the captain. Then he sent another one out.
"Do you really need practice, Harris?" the captain asked.
"Yes. It's calming me down, Jorge. Get off my ass." He walked off.
Sam looked over. "It occurs to me that you used to meditate more," he said quietly. "I haven't seen you do that in months."
"I haven't done that in years, Sam." Sam gave him a pointed look. "You know what, you may be right. Maybe a quest," he muttered. He reloaded and went back to it. "Permission to use the other stuff?"
"Sure, go to sniper shooting," Jorge said. "You too, Winchester."
"Not my skill," Sam quipped. "I'm more a stand up and fire sort. Sorry." He finished his practice. He was looking very good this time. He knew what was upsetting Xander. He could almost feel it. He was unsettled, not really attached here, and things were going bad because of it. So Sam was going to have to step up to his shaman in training role. Xander got comfortable and started firing on his other qualification set. They'd need to practice distance shots but they couldn't do that here. Sam really had to find them a gun range to join. Sam finished and handed over his practice sheet.
Jorge looked it over, nodding. "Not terrible." He looked at him. "Give me one more of your *real* skill, Winchester." He stared at him.
"That can get us in shitloads of problems," Sam said quietly.
"I know. Do it anyway." Sam sighed but turned and put out another target paper. He did the regulation shots and handed it in. Jorge nodded, looking it over. "There are tons of people who have had practice in their yards for years, Winchester. They expect the guys in the top levels to be really good."
"Yes and then they get recruited heavily," Xander quipped from where he was. "Which would come with problems for us when they find out why we're so good, Jorge."
He looked at him. "Show off for me. Please?"
Xander looked over at him. "Do we have a rivalry?"
"Yes, two, and the nationals with you two not holding back."
Xander shrugged. "You heard about why I'm so damn good?"
"The threat? Yeah. The guard slipped that info to me."
Xander smirked. "This isn't the first time." Jorge shuddered. "Which will bring attention. We'll do as best as we safely can, and we want to win. Hey, we can always pull some miraculous shots out of our butts."
"I could like that."
"I need long range practice."
"I know. I'm trying to find somewhere." They nodded and Xander finished with his second set. Jorge stared then at him. "Damn."
Xander nodded. "I'm pretty decent at hand-to-hand too," he quipped. "When the martial arts club starts meeting I need to join."
"That's fine. It won't conflict. I'm in there myself." He looked at Sam, walking off with him to the cleaning table. "Whatever's pissing him off, can you fix it? He's a bit...chilly."
Sam nodded. "I'm trying, Jorge. He's feeling a bit unsettled about some things."
"That's fine. Do what you can." He clapped him on the arm and walked off. "Guys, we have a meet next week on Saturday. Harris, your grades are important."
"I was taking a friend to the airport. Test is next class. She knows I'm an idiot in math so she's going to curve us."
"Thank you. At least a C, that's jock mandatory." They all nodded. "Huberts, you too. I know you're in physics with the bastard, but try. Please?"
Huberts looked at him. "I dropped it because there was no way."
Sam frowned. "Really? I haven't had a problem with him."
"That's because you're a genius. Us lesser mortals don't get that sort of grace," Huberts said dryly. "I need the distance practice too, Jorge. It's been all summer."
"Can we set up to go do some in the forest?" Xander asked. "Get it cleared to do it in a clearing?"
"No. They won't let us." Jorge shrugged. "I'll see if we can maybe use the base's range. Fort Carson's arms master has let us before." He clapped. "Clean 'em when you're done."
Xander looked at their lone female member. "Try it in the sniper position. It'll keep the breasts from getting in the way," he said quietly. She gave him a dirty look. "I've been surrounded by girls forever. They had the same problem, including with sword work." He coached her in how to do it his way and she had to shift a bit but it was easier and she was more on target. He grinned. "Also, let's get you a slightly heavier gun. It might help that recoil problem." He switched out with hers.
She checked it over, like she knew she should, then loaded and tried it. "That is easier." She stood up and went back to the standing level, focusing and firing. Xander got up and came to help her, moving her shoulders and head. She looked back at him. He nodded. She let him help her and it was easier. "Okay, I can practice that. I can change out with my mother's gun."
"The one you have is good for range work, for long distance range work," Xander said. "Up close you need something better for targets. Something more accurate, so more rifling. Something a bit better balanced too. That's a great running at someone shooting them gun or hunting rifle. It's a good general choice. But for accuracy, no sniper would use that."
She looked at him. "Know some?"
"Yeah." She smirked. "Let me see what I have in the cabinet at home. I might have something that'll work. I think it got borrowed by Sam's brother for a hunting trip." He took his back and cleaned it then repacked it.
"How many do you have?" Jorge asked.
"For this? Maybe two," Xander said quietly. "Both heavier than she could probably use." He shrugged. "I'll see if that one is back." He and Sam left. He even got to drive until he found the spot he wanted and handed Sam the keys. "I'll be in school tomorrow. I hope." He got out and hit the club. He needed to destress before anything else would work.
He was in some strange cuddly and needy yet paranoid and battle ready state and it wasn't good for him. He had to break one or the other. Preferably the cuddly and needy one. He hadn't been like this the last time he was this age. He shouldn't be this time. He should be mad. He wasn't though and it was creeping him out that he was turning emo.
Sam went herb and candle shopping, brining it back for whenever Xander got back. He had things set out. All he would have to do is fast, sweat, and meditate. He even put some bottles of water in there in a cooler with some ice. Though he was sure Xander would show up tomorrow suddenly.
Xander walked into school the next day feeling more comfortable. The principal came out to glare at him. He stared back. "I was with triplets," he said. "Do you want me to lie?"
The principal stared, mouth slightly open. "Excuse me?"
"Triplets," Xander said simply. "And before that were two singles." He sighed. "Sorry, I didn't set my watch. I didn't miss the math test, right?"
"No, not yet." He stared at him. "Why?"
"I needed to break the stress level before I snapped on one of the bullies and make them cry for a reason." He walked off. "What period is it?"
"Second. You have math next, Mr. Harris, and detention tonight."
"Yup, that's fine." He waved. "It was worth it." He got his stuff and went to wait for math class. His mind was actually working right now. He had a large soda on the way in. So maybe he'd do really good. The math teacher glared at him when he came in. He stared back. "What?" he mouthed.
"You missed your first two classes?"
"Yeah, I forgot to set my watch alarm. Sorry."
"Where were you?"
"Do you want me to lie or do you want me to share about them?" She blushed, shaking her head. "I forgot to set my watch alarm. But I did get a soda on the way in."
"Good!" The others piled in and she handed out tests. "Do your best, try to make me proud. Or at least not laugh." She stared at Xander again. "Try."
"I always try." He took the test to look at, then he frowned at her. "What's this? We didn't go over this."
She looked. "No, that's the Algebra one." She took them back and got theirs, handing them out. Xander pouted, staring at it. He got to work but it was hesitant. She handed out scratch paper. That helped some. He was still making standard mistakes. She sighed. She knew that problem. She handed out little calculators. That made it a lot easier for everyone. "You won't have them during the standardized tests. Don't get used to them."
Xander frowned. "I'm not sure I can do it with the calculator." He tried.
She came to look over his shoulder, taking the test. She frowned at what he was doing. "What's that in?"
"Um, isn't that like building stuff? I worked construction," he said quietly.
She stared at him then took his pencil to note what the problems would be counted as part of. That helped, he had a frame of reference now. He got through it a lot faster and corrected most of his prior work. She nodded and he finished the last two. The others got the last few minutes too. "Drop them and run." They did that and he did it last. "I'll remember that. Any other areas you worked in so you can do it without thought?"
"Trajectory? Ballistics? Explosives? Battle plans?" He shrugged and left.
"I had no idea role playing games taught you that." She looked at Sam when he walked in. "Role playing games teach you battle planning and ballistics?"
"We're on the rifle team."
"It can, if you're playing the right sort though." He saw Xander's test then sighed. "I'll help him realize it."
"No, that's my job, Winchester. You're not a teacher." He smiled and sat down. She needed to talk to Xander about that, making sure Sam wasn't getting pushy about that stuff. He was a good boy but he and Xander had different styles of learning. Maybe she would talk vo tech up to the boy. Sam might like that.
He looked up at her. "I'm thinking pre-law," he mouthed. She nodded that might suit him. He got back to his test. He was done first. "I feel like Hermione," he muttered as he handed it in. "Can I hit the lounge?" he whispered. She nodded so he grabbed his stuff and headed out. He sat down to consider Xander. He had looked more uptight but in a better way. Like Dean was. Which, really was a fair comparison. Xander and Dean were a lot alike. Jon sighed as he sat down across from him. "English?"
"Hell yes," he muttered, laying down with an arm over his head. "I ache like shit for some reason."
Sam looked in his bag. "I have some of Xander's herbal headache powder or I have some aleeve," he offered.
"Aleeve? I don't do herby things."
"We don't usually but it's excellent on bad headaches." He tossed over the bottle, letting Jon take some.
The nurse huffed over. "You are not qualified to hand out medicine, Mr. Winchester. You have detention tonight."
"Ma'am, to be respectful, I can do field stitches, set a broken bone, and pull out various things that could be stuck under someone's skin," he said dryly, making her gasp. "My father's a former Marine and I was a soldier *very* young. Xander and I are both more than excellent with injuries. You'll probably find us field treating until you can get there if we're there first." He smiled. "He has a headache. The cure for that is aleeve. Which I gave him. Not like I'm handing out narcotics."
"What is that then?" she asked, pointing at the packet.
"Herbal headache medicine for Xander's sudden migraines. It's the only thing that helps him."
"Was it prescribed?"
"With what got him the death threat, we don't go to doctors." She huffed. "I've been walking off broken bones since I was six. I stitched my brother's gashed leg when I was ten. Xander's been doing the same thing. That stuff works when the prescription stuff doesn't. Drugs don't work right on Xander. I've seen him giggle his way through morphine for a serious wound that the hospital nearly killed him with."
"That should still be in my office."
"That's great but the last two he's had have been after school," Jon said. "Which is after you're gone."
"Has he been scanned? That could be something serious."
"We know what causes them," Sam assured her. "It's not a tumor or anything. He used to live in a place that had a lot of energy spill off and it started it. He's since detoxed it," he said at her horrified look. "It's the remains of that. Some doctors have asked if he was suddenly going to mutate...." She huffed. He shrugged. "They have."
"Fine. That should still be in the office for during the daylight hours."
"We're trying to find a new source. It's not narcotic and he usually has to have it within minutes of having an incident or he'll start puking."
She rolled her eyes. "That's not unusual with migraines."
"They're not standard migraines," Xander said as he joined them. "My tingly brain senses said you were talking about me?"
"This headache powder?" she demanded.
"All herbal, non addicting, non narcotic? I'm still finding a new source."
"You're supposed to hand all medicines to me to hand out."
Xander stared at her. "If I'm having a moment like that, I'd never make it to your office before I started to throw up. Half the time, I throw up blood if I don't take it. Sometimes I have seizures if I don't take it. So no, it's staying with us." He shrugged. "Beyond that, you can't hand out herbal supplements. Only prescription meds."
"There's a number of new ones."
"I've been on all but one of them, which is expensive, and I'm not going to pay hundreds of bucks for pointless tests, medicines I won't take because it'll make me sicker, and to talk to a confused person. That works better."
"Fine. Where do you find it?"
"Last time I found it in Egypt. The time before then I found it in Mexico. The time before that it was Montana or lower Canada, not real sure. It's herbal. If I knew everything that was in it, I'd grow it at home."
"Nothing that could get you arrested?" Jon asked.
"No. A few are herbs medicine men and shaman use during vision quests and purification rituals." He looked at the nurse again. "I'm looking for a new source. That's one of the last ten packets."
"How often do you need it?"
"It's not like they're timed. It's like a finger touches my brain now and then to set off a spasm through it. I get a sudden headache, see some lights, some fuzzy memories or something, and then I have a migraine."
"Oh." She grimaced. "I can refer you to someone."
"I'm not going to pay for it. My medical coverage only covers ER visits, dear." He looked at Sam. "We have got to pull the ones in my back."
"It was due two days ago and we forgot. It's not a big thing. I can do them later."
"Stitches?" the nurse asked. "Really?"
Xander took off his shirt to turn around and show her. "Sam did most of them. Dean did a few on the more shallow section."
She looked at them, ignoring the knife. "Those are very neat. I've seen some doctors who do it worse."
Xander put back on his shirt. Sam tugged it over his holster. "Thanks." He looked at the nurse again. "I've been doing my own since I was nine. My friend Willow taught me out of her mom's textbooks. That was her version of playing doctor." She gaped. He nodded. "I've done plenty of stitches for me and my friends over the years. Including when I was in Africa for a while."
"Oh," she said weakly. "You sound like you were part of some underground movement."
"Well, my best friend and I nearly did start to overthrow a library once for not having comic books but we were only five." She gaped and whimpered. He smirked. "Yeah, I did a lot of my own raising. What I didn't do, Willow did."
"Where were your parents?"
"My father's a soldier in a quiet war that's not real commonly known," Sam said quietly. "He handles problems as we traveled around the country. Not humans but other problems."
"Your dad is kinda like the Equalizer," Xander agreed.
Jon moaned, shaking his head. "It figures." The boys grinned at him.
"Though I can do my own version that's pretty sweet if I do say so myself," Xander quipped. The nurse walked off rubbing her forehead. "Thank you for caring," he offered with a smile.
Sam looked at him. "What happened last night?"
"Two middle aged women who really wanted a dick badly and then triplet co-eds." He smiled. "I feel slightly better."
"I set up stuff for a meditation."
Xander nodded. "Later." He smirked. "Lunch with the boys?"
"Lunch with the boys," Jon agreed. Sam stood up and they headed off. "Don't you have class, Xander?"
"No, he told me to go away. Apparently I disgusted the chemistry teacher because I knew what I was doing and quipped how I could add a few things and dye people pretty colors. I think he decided I gave people bad ideas again."
"You did," the principal said, catching up to them. "You do your own stitches?" All three boys nodded. They looked at Jon.
"Long story I can't tell you. It's classified," he said smugly.
"I know that feeling," Xander muttered. "A whole lot." Sam nodded he did too. He looked at the principal. "Yeah, I did a hell of a lot of mine."
"Who the hell are you?" he hissed.
"Batman," he said with a smirk.
"You're not rich and I'm not Alfred," Sam quipped back. "Why do you want to know, sir?"
"You're not normal."
"No," they agreed.
"Not in the least," Xander added. "Where are you from? You look so familiar for some reason. Do you have any...British relatives?" He stiffened. "You mean the Council kept going?"
"I'm the son of John Winchester," Sam said dryly.
"I did it in my own home of Sunnydale," Xander said in Latin. The principal gaped. "This is the Powers' version of 'let's let the girls do it'."
"They're not here..." he said quietly in Latin.
"Neither was I."
"Oh, dear." Xander nodded. "You're..."
"Same thing, backing them up. Started at sixteen that time around. Got hit with a charmed semi when I was thirty-one. Then they sent me here as a present for this plane's Powers."
"Yup, and if they show up...."
"No, never," he said. "I want to know."
Xander shook his head. "It won't matter. They're not here."
"I know but still, we should document it."
"Yeah but then I'd have to kill them when they came for me."
"Point. Some would." Xander nodded. "May we talk?"
"If you can pass my english test for me."
The principal shook his head. "After school?"
"I'm sending him on a meditative quest," Sam told him.
"You speak that?" Jon asked.
"Yeah. I learned Latin before I finished learning English. It came in handy." The principal looked at him. "We do research."
"Some of you do."
"No, I do."
"Fine. Can we talk later, Xander?"
"Yes. Sure. Can't take too long but sure." He nodded and left them alone. They went to get a snack from the cafeteria's ala carte line. Then they went to their next classes. At lunch, Xander sat down with his unhealthy stuff because the gross, healthy stuff had come back again.
"That's going to ruin your health," a teacher said.
Xander looked at her. "Bite me. I've eaten bugs and scorpions and they didn't. Soda isn't either."
"You could switch to diet. It's a lot of empty calories."
"So are the twinkies I live on. I live better and I'm happier than those people who make themselves eat tasteless, nasty shit that's supposedly good for you. Mine has *flavor* and makes me *want* to eat it."
"You get used to it."
"You shouldn't have to get used to your native cuisine. If you have to make yourself eat it, you're eating the wrong things. Beyond that, I work off at least three hundred more calories than I eat a day since I'm losing weight again." She huffed off. He looked at Jon. "Are all women like that? Because they're *seriously* wanting to make me try gay sex instead." That teacher sobbed as she walked off.
"Not, not all of them." He ate a bite of the healthy stuff. "It's not bad."
"If you add real cheese and some butter," Sam shot back. He dropped his fork with a belch. "You ate scorpion?"
"It was moving, able to be killed easily, and it was a drought so you ate what you could. Three days later I was eating snake."
"Eww," Jon complained.
"Sorry." He shrugged. "I eat what I want to eat because I'm going to be happy with my diet. If others don't like it, I don't care."
Sam gave him a shoulder nudge. "I make the vegetables taste good at least."
"You do, and half the time you hide them very well." They shared a grin. "John back from the funeral?"
"Yeah, got in late last night. He promised to cook dinner tonight."
"Cool. I guess we'll be there after detention." Sam nodded. "Any other traumas?"
"Not really. That guy Ronon wanted to know why we had so many strange, dusty old books."
"You tell him it's because we're nerds?"
"Yeah." He tucked back into the better tasting part. "Remind me not to eat this again."
"I will," Xander agreed. "Don't you have class instead of lunch with us?"
"Yeah. I'm avoiding the cheerleaders." He stuffed his mouth.
Jon snickered. "Me too." He dug into his healthy crap that no one really liked outside the vegans. "So, am I coming for dinner?"
"You can," Sam agreed, looking at Xander, who shrugged. "You said you knew John."
"I think I do." He smiled.
"Cool." They finished up and went to find something sugary in the car to help with the new heartburn. Xander found the rice krispies stash. "These work well on heartburn." They nibbled them on the way to their next classes. The principal looked at them. Sam waved his treat. "Helps with heartburn from the nastiness that was the lunch. Can't things have taste or at least cheese?"
"It's not that bad. It's good for you."
Xander turned to look back at him while he walked. "I've lost ten pounds. I don't need to eat that healthy. I need calories I want to taste. Can we have a day of food with flavor once a week? Please?"
"I'll see." He shook his head. "They always complain," he sighed.
"He likes fried zucchini when I do it," Sam called back. "Try mexican food too."
"We have that twice a month."
Sam smiled back at him. "My last one was in Montana. We had deer sometimes."
"Disgusting." The principal shook his head all the way back to the office. How those two stayed healthy he wasn't sure. Two hours later, Xander was relaxed in a chair in front of his desk with a soda. "Detention?"
"This is my detention," he said with a wry smile. "You wanted to see me, you gave me detention.... I figured it fit."
"It does. Triplets?"
"I needed it a lot."
"In my real life, I nearly married Anyanka."
The man slumped. "How?"
Xander smiled. "I grew up in Sunnydale in my realm, a hellmouth."
"Oh," he said flatly. "We've had others cross over and heard."
"Yeah. I was sixteen when the called slayer showed up in town. That night, my best friend, the one who kept me going, got taken by vampires. I demanded she take me. And I kept going, no matter how many times she thought I was normal, not able to help, disfigured from the eye I was missing before. I kept going through apocalypses, fighting with my bitchy girls, all that." He sipped his soda. "I was just barely thirty-one when I died over there. I was a present to the local powers." He smirked. "They weren't happy."
"Well, the first was Buffy. Then she got drowned by the Master and I did CPR, so that called Kendra. She and Buffy learned to get along once they figured it out. Kendra got killed by Druscilla after Angel lost his soul. That called Faith. Who I worried about but I was told she got saved. Faith and Buffy were the only ones until the First Evil showed up."
"That would take a resurrection."
"Which was Buffy after we fought the hell goddess Glory. Things were getting bad and Willow did it. She was and probably will remain the strongest witch of our world. She called all the slayers to fight the First. I lost an eye right before the battle and suddenly got visions." He waved his free hand. "Then, after that was done, Sunnydale got sucked into the hellmouth, and they all moved to the new open one in Cleveland; I went to Africa to grieve and heal.
"Spent nine months there the first time and went back a number of times to get away from the bitchy girls I used to know." He took another drink. "I was their roving problem solver. Right before I died, hours before I died, I took down a portal creating cult of higher demons. By myself. The girls were getting manicures because one was getting married the next day. No one had their phones. Then someone moved against me and had a possessed semi hit me." He took another drink. "Sam's father is a hunter."
"I recognized his name. Who was Buffy's watcher?"
"He's around but he's not one I'd expect to be sent into the field."
"He's probably the one Whistler, the guy the Powers send to tell you about your crappy destiny choices, told. He said he told someone."
"I can check." He looked at him. "I know this means you're tougher than you should be."
"Basically, yeah. Though they made me give up my apocalypse closet."
"Anything I should know? The blood diseases?"
"Native burial chamber. I've been possessed. The shaman I worked with helped a lot."
"Cleared?" Xander shook his head. "Primal?"
"Hyena. Matriarch. Sam's my pack," he said with a smile. "And he nags like my former friends do."
"He's trying to take care of you, Xander. You probably need to relax sometimes."
"Yeah but I'm feeling rather unprepared. I don't have an apocalypse closet. Everyone wants me to pretend to be normal, and I can't. Last night I was destressing beautifully and Sam's running a vision quest tonight."
"You do have visions still?"
"Yeah. That's why I have the herbal stuff. So does he."
"Good to know. I can cover for the sudden migraines." Xander nodded, finishing his soda and tossing it out. "Do you have to complain back at the teachers?"
"They nag like I'm sleeping with them. I don't take nagging without shooting back unless I'm screwing them or I gave birth to them."
"I can agree with that. We are under mandate to feed you students more healthy things."
Xander shrugged. "It can be healthy and have taste. Because that's just gross."
"It can be," he admitted. "They try. It's a pilot program. We're cutting out burgers totally in two months."
"I'll start bringing lunch."
"Fine." He stared at him. "How bad was your last school?"
"I wasn't a great student then either but it was bad. Very bad. It was a feeding pen. Sunnydale was full of vamps. Buffy and the team brought down the death rate to under twenty percent for the town and under thirteen for the high school." The older man whimpered. Xander smiled. "Yeah, basically. But we did suck badly. The Sam in my original world said that we were at least three years behind what other schools did."
The principal sighed. "No wonder you're struggling."
"I'm mostly struggling because I have no idea why I'm learning this and it's not really catching my interest. I can't translate it back to things I know."
"I can understand that." He called someone. "Rebecca, is Rupert in the library?"
"That's where he usually was," Xander quipped.
He smiled. "Rupert, Reggie MacNash here in Colorado. Did you get anything from a Whistler?" He listened. "Yes, I do know about that. Because I happen to have him as a student." He listened. "I haven't seen that, no."
"It wasn't a kind warning I take it?" Xander asked. The principal shook his head. Xander sighed. "Figures."
MacNash listened, making notes. "No, he doesn't. I'm quite sure. No, but the president has heard certain things because of that native burial matter." He made another note. "Ah, he didn't tell you everything."
"My pack there did a psychic imprint," Xander offered.
"He said his pack there did a psychic imprint." He heard what that entailed. "Please do. No, he's declining that. Because he doesn't want to have that sort of problem. He's having enough being sixteen again." Xander nodded quickly. "And that some of our teachers nag him about his soda intake." He listened, smiling. "He's doing it now and they're in a battle."
"That's why they made sure I died."
He listened as Giles started to swear. "Didn't like what you got told?" He smiled at Xander. "He apologized for not seeing how good you were." Xander shrugged a bit, seeming calm. Sam walked in and over to give him a hug. He smiled at the boys. "He's got his pack, Rupert. No, don't." Xander shook his head. "It'll only hurt him more. It can't be that way here. No, he's being safe. His apocalypse closet is mostly gone." Xander nodded. "Did you find that rifle for your teammate?"
"I gave it to Jorge the other day."
"Thank you. We would like our rifle team to finally win." They nodded. He listened. "No, Rupert. He's fine. Yes, you can yell at them."
"Cordelia might still be here," Xander offered, pointing at her.
Sam looked at her. "Big problem?"
"He's about to have a major vision. Sheppard's people down here are going to have an issue."
"They happen," Xander sighed. "Is Sam going to have one too?"
"No. You have like ten minutes."
"I can get us home," Sam said, looking at the principal.
He looked at Xander. "I understand," he said quietly. "Do your best. Quit complaining so much. You've done good otherwise." They nodded and left. Sam could get him home before it hit. He looked at her. "Miss Chase, I have Mr. Giles on the phone. He said hello. He hopes you're doing well."
"These ones have me borrowed so it's okay. They're ... He's not going to know." She faded out.
He went back to talking to his former colleague. What he knew about Xander would help him make sure the boy could start over and have a real life sometime soon. Even if he was having some adjustment problems. That was probably normal. He would tell the nurse to leave them alone as well.
Sam opened the door. "John, he's about to have a massive vision," he said. John helped him get Xander in on the couch and laying down. Sam started some tea with the herbal powder. It made it stronger. Sam went to get their book bags then came back and locked them in.
"What is this?" Ronon asked when Xander grabbed his head and moaned, trying hard not to scream.
"Relax into it," John whispered in his ear. "You can't fight this one. We're here, you're safe, and whatever you see I'll help handle." Xander shook his head quickly. "It's my job." Xander shook his head again, panting, biting his lip. John ran his finger over the caught lip, letting Xander chew on his finger instead. The boy was nearly crying. He saw the gag starting and sat him up, letting Sam come over with the tea.
Xander heaved but he was still caught. "Here, the tea," John murmured in his ear, helping him sip it. Xander choked but drank. "Come on, drink more. Before you start to bleed or something," he whispered. Xander finished it, starting to cry for real now. "Shh, we have you. You're safe, Xander." They got him calmed down and Xander was shaking in reaction.
"No wonder Cordelia warned us," Sam said. He tipped Xander's face up to look at his eyes. "That left one is bleeding again." He got him an ice pack to put over it.
"What did you see?" John asked. Xander leaned their foreheads together, hissing it at him. John shuddered. "You're right, I can't help with that. They'll know." Xander said one final thing. "I can warn him personally, Xander. He won't hesitate even with that source." He soothed a hand over his head. "Want a nap?"
"I need to do that dream quest thing." He managed to get up and wobble that way. "Sam, thank you. You too, John."
"Not a problem, Xander." He watched him go in there and light the candles then settle down on the bed with Sam's help. He called. "Cam, John Sheppard. I'm here with Harris, he just had a vision, and it showed that the Ori are already here. Cam, he's got a higher contact telling him. He is the early warning system. Exactly. They're here, there's some sort of disease going on?" He nodded at what they knew.
"But they're not the only ones. There's also a battle cruiser unit showing up." Ronon shuddered. "We have weeks. Exactly. No, he said don't let Carter do the same thing, ask McKay, something about their power cores and what he accidentally did. Yeah, that. The ones down here? They're in three spots." He read off the locations to him. Xander had given him GPS codes. Cam said he got them and they'd look into it. Plus what was going on with that disease. "Thank you. That one was worst and lasted longer than any I've ever seen him have," he said quietly.
"Or anyone else." He smiled at Ronon. "We are. I'm making dinner. Get Rodney back so he can do that. Xander was certain. It's too close and it'll only cause more problems. No, he's not against wiping them out but they're very near our solar system by the time we manage it, Cam. Exactly. Too close for comfort. That's safer and only does them. No, Cordelia showed up and told us we were going to have issues, which we did. Miko agreed to take them for us. She's had three now. I need to finish getting that headache powder remade. Thanks, man. Let me know." Someone knocked.
"That's probably Jon," Sam said, going to let him in. "Xander just had another of those headaches. He's meditating," he said quietly.
"Can I still eat real food?" Jon asked as he slipped inside. He nodded at the people he almost kinda knew. "Sheppard. Ronon."
"Jon O'Neill." He hung up. "I thought you guys would go to the same school."
"We're the anti-bully patrol," Jon said smugly. "Bad day?"
"Slightly," John agreed. "We're finding it out now."
"Cool. Do we need my help?"
"No, we need McKay's giant brain."
Ronon coughed. "Miko's aren't like that."
"No, they're not that strong," Sam agreed. They stared at him. "Cordelia told us. Today's was extremely strong, she came to warn us he was going to have it."
"You would've had a car accident," she called. "The original Powers, way pissed off that they just lost their realm." Everyone shuddered. "Because Willow lost her temper and defeated them the wrong way."
Xander came out to look up. "I'll beat her fucking ass. I warned her. I told her if she went back there it was my duty."
"Dean's this time," she said, appearing. She stared at him. "Finish doing shaman things, Xander. You are a shaman. You are the pack's alpha bitch. You have to be more centered."
"It's not my fault," he snarled.
"I know." She floated closer, staring at him. "This sucks majorly. You've adjusted a lot to shitloads of things. I was so proud that you went into that battle injured because you had to," she said more quietly. She touched that eye's lid and it healed. She looked in them. "You're a big dork." He snorted, crossing his arms. "It wasn't meant to be a gift, Xander, but you've turned worse in your favor.
"You never lost it like this." He nodded. She swallowed. "I remember afterward. I remember the lostness and all that. That's why I told your pack what happened," she said very quietly. "So you had the support you'd need to turn this into a gift. It's a sucky birthday gift." He nodded, hugging her. "Wow, I didn't think I was this solid."
"He can attach to you and make you more solid," Sam sighed. "It's a skill, like partially possessing him. And please don't." She glared at him. "He doesn't need it."
"I know." She hugged him back, saying something in his ear, getting a nod. She pulled back, staring at him. "Whistler was supposed to tell you to retire in Africa. Get you to stay with one of the slayers if you wanted. Be her watcher and shaman. That was supposed to happen before the invasion and before you handled that lion. Then you handled that possessed lion and the Powers suddenly got headaches. You've always been the rock in their shoe.
"The new ones have heard all the bad and not the good. I've shown them a lot of it though. But we're going to depend on you to be the backup for when the major things happen. I need you to train. This time, you're Faith. Dean's Buffy." Xander nodded once, stiffening slightly. "We need you to be stronger and to retrain all that. You need your shaman's centering to ground you. That's part of this. The rest... Your pack is safe. That's why they chose an imprint instead of the option of sending a letter by magic."
"Dawn?" he asked quietly.
"She's back in her elemental stage. You know she can't be destroyed."
"It still sucks. It'll happen here."
"We like your idea of her having an honor guard. As a backup plan, she's going to the huffy one." She smiled. "Because he can protect her and she is a key in multiple ways." She stared at him. "Train. Train hard. The invasion wasn't stopped yet. Neither was Glory. Learn some subtlety though? Did you really have to make the teacher cry?"
"Yes. She reminds me of Willow."
"Yeah, she is kinda lot like her and creepy since she likes teenage boys." She looked at him. "Dream quest."
"Test, have to take it," he sighed. "Minor one. I'll start a real one on Monday. We have a shooting match and they want us to win it for them."
She smirked. "Well, you are great." She pointed, he nodded and went back there. She stared at the staring teen. "The original Loki loves Xander. A lot. When he was helping Dean and Sam stop an apocalypse from on High, he nearly swooned over Xander. He adores him." She looked at John. "Get the huffy one as soon as possible. Xander is not allowed to join your project. That will tip the balance and you already have a lot of other Chaos Heirs there. Both the actual and the runners up. Including you and your runners up." She smirked at Jon O'Neill. "Yes, we're stranger than you ever thought." She disappeared.
"Is she ascended?" Jon asked John.
John nodded. "Kind of. Different sort. Sam, we might be having another guest." Sam went to close Xander in. He and Sam shared a look.
"Tell him for me," Xander called.
"Yes, dear," Sam said, rolling his eyes. "He has visions."
"Okay," Jon said. "Those headaches?" Sam nodded. "You too?" He nodded again. "Who else knows?"
"The Principal used to be a watcher. They're down to research now."
"A what?" Sam found the book on the shelves and handed it over. John flipped through until he found that name and read. "Ummm..... Carter?" he asked.
"No. Possessed or something."
"Or something," John agreed.
"Was she the leak?" Sam asked.
"Good! We caught her watching him the other day."
"Wondrous. I'll let them know." He stared at him. "Let me make dinner. It's waiting in the fridge." He got up to put it in the oven. "Sam, make a salad?"
"I can do that." He smiled at Jon, who was reading more.
"The ones here were all killed out about ten generations ago," Sam said. "That's left us with hunters, like my family. Like Xander."
"So you guys are actually combat trained."
"Somewhat. I'm trained to hunt, to kill, to stalk, to figure out what's causing things. I've always been better at the research side. Xander jumped in, without training, and got it all on the job or from a possession."
"I love the hyena," John said with a grin. "She's really great."
"Hyena?" Jon asked.
"His first possession. The other was a soldier," Sam said with a smile.
"Interesting." He kept reading. "This is ...really weird even on our scale."
"No, really weird was angels starting an apocalypse," Sam sighed. "Thankfully we may have stopped that one. When does martial arts start?"
"Next month," Jon said. He looked up. "So you've trained how long?"
"Formally? Since seven, eight. Didn't realize it until I was older."
"No wonder you two shoot so well."
"Xander's actually a marksman." He looked up. "Is that any military, Cordelia?"
"Yes. Neither of you. It'll leave you in the wrong spot at the worst time and they will use it to end you."
"Thank you." He looked at them. "So we have to find something to do. I like school. Xander likes manual stuff. Weapons and explosives too."
John nodded. "I was really happy when we used half of it because of the last vision he and Miko had. It solved a lot of problems." Someone knocked. "Who is it?" he called, heading that way. He let them in. "Cam."
Jon smirked and waved. "We go to school together. We've been having our minds blown open earlier."
Cordelia appeared again, looking at him then at Sam. "He's actually a mini general."
"Only younger, thank you," Jon complained. "That's classified."
"I'm a higher being. My version of classified is different than yours. Because you just got tapped to help them." She smiled. "Go you!" She disappeared again.
Jon sighed. "I wanted to go back to the program," he complained.
"No. You'll be captured and kept. Become like Jensen's team, only less official."
"Who?" Jon asked.
"Another pack member," Sam said. "I'm working on it."
Cam stared at them. "Is this normal?"
"Yes," John said.
"For apocalypses, definitely," Sam agreed. "John, this is smelling burnt?" John got up to check and turn down the oven then went back to his seat.
"What do we know for certain?" John wrote down what Xander had told him, handing it over. "Okay." He read it, nodding. "We've already sent word we need McKay and Radek ASAP. We've got the disease down here in the stopping stage and handling the cure with the docs. What's in his? Landry wanted to know."
"No comment outside the pack," Sam said. "They found enough to be a credible threat. Enough of one that the president agreed to let him carry a gun to classes."
Cam nodded. "Do we have a treatment in the works, Sheppard?"
"Yes. We actually have one and it's coming back on the next ship for the another pack member in DC."
"The agent one I advised him to talk to?"
"Good. That works for me." He swallowed. "What can I do to help? I'm feeling kind of trapped here."
"Apparently we're going to be like SG-1 of this world only not military," Jon said dryly. "We could use some work."
"I can help with that when I'm on free time," Cam agreed.
"And when I'm here," John agreed. "The other pack members too."
Sam grinned at him. "We love having the pack around. You know you can pop in when you're around here, right?"
"I know. I will." Sam stared at him. "I was stressed," he said quietly.
"I know. We're pack and we do occasionally fight." He snapped his fingers. "You said something about the alpha spot. Xander was more relaxed before that."
"It does seem kind of weird that one who's so young is in charge of the pack," John said calmly.
"Yeah but we all gathered because of Xander. He does mother hen us, even if I do get to do it to him." Something thumped on the bedroom door. "Sorry, Xander. Dinner's nearly done."
"Save me some. And tell the lady upstairs to quit crying. Please?"
Sam stared then went in to change the herbs he had lit. Xander relaxed, letting Sam help him lay down so he could do this properly. He was supposed to fast during it anyway. He could miss dinner. "I'll save you some," he whispered. Then he left him alone, closing the door. "I'm helping him recenter on his shaman gifts." He looked at Cam. "Staying? I can make more salad."
"Nah, I have a whole caf I can terrorize for fries."
"I need to get our school to make some. Even sweet potato ones would be okay."
"Still a vegetable but they'd never let them be fried. We're part of a pilot program to get us more healthy," Jon complained.
Sam stared at him. "I'm in fantastic shape. So are you. So is Xander. I say we learn how to cook if we have to." Jon shrugged. "Fine. I'll learn how to cook." John grinned at him. "Xander can't. I can kind of cook some. I'm not horrible at it." He pulled the food out. "It's still chilly but it's got black spots, John." He came over to work on things, showing him how to do that.
Cam left, shaking his head the whole way back to the base. Landry was waiting on him with McKay when he came off the elevator. "The power on high that sends Doctor Kusangi visions now sent one to Harris."
"Oh, hell," McKay muttered, staring at him. "What now?" Cam handed it over. He read, nodding. "They would be too close for her usual methods. We can do something with their drives." He walked off. "Find that disease."
"We are. He's there."
"That's fine. He can probably use the calming down time. Maybe they can settle that whole alpha thing they have going on. The Sheppard there was apparently less battle hard than ours." They shared a look then McKay got onto an elevator.
Cam looked at the general. "They have met and are working well with Jon O'Neill. He's in the same high school and they've become the anti-bully patrol. They seem to work well together and that same higher power said he's not to come here. That would leave him captured and kept. Unable to be retrieved," he told the man walking up the hallway.
"I had a long talk with someone else who knew about Mr. Harris," Jack O'Neill said. "It explained a lot to me. The kid is exactly like I was only less focused on a future that included possibly surviving. Because survival wasn't a guaranteed thing in his life. Same as it isn't for Winchester. Jon can help them. If he wants."
"She told him if he came here...."
"I heard what you said," Jack assured him with a grin. "That hasn't stopped me yet. They keep trying to keep me too." He shrugged. "I think he'll do the kids good, give them some stability. A little bit of normal, to them, until they can adjust to things." He smirked at Hank Landry. "It'll be fine. We'll stop this one. Then we'll go kick some ass, like usual. The blood thing?"
"Sheppard's geeks have something in case."
"Good! That worries the hell outta me."
"Considering Sheppard made him hand over his apocalypse closet...."
Jack smiled. "I wondered where he got the artillery. Good for him." He clapped Cam on the shoulder. "Be a mentor this time. They could use it. And tell Jon to join the damn rifle team if he wants."
"I can do that."
"Good." He walked off. "I'm off for cake. It's been a while since I had stale, military cake."
Cam laughed. "They don't have any at the Pentagon?"
"No, they make fresh cake for all the brass so they don't complain. It's insane, I nearly missed MRE's the other day," he said before he turned a corner.
Landry shook his head. "This place drives you nuts. I'm quickly heading to the same spot he is." He walked off.
"Yes, sir," Cam said, snapping off a salute. "Could be worse. You could be on a field team."
"Bite your tongue, Mitchell. That is an order."
Cam walked off. He needed dinner and some stale cake sounded pretty good. He liked O'Neill's leadership style a lot more than Landry's most of the time.
*** (sent to list to here)
Monday came and Xander was still down. Sam was dripping water down his throat whenever he could. It was clear by the way the muscles were bunching Xander was doing something strenuous in his vision. Tuesday too. Still going. Sam started to worry but he had heard of some that lasted a week. The captain of the rifle team was swearing at him about it.
Jon had explained it as a native rite thing that he had went through in Africa and was doing again. It was only supposed to have lasted a day. Sam had pulled up information for him. Wednesday started with Sam going in to check on him and finding him staring blindly at the ceiling. His formerly missing eye was bleeding again. He looked down in it. "Did you have another one?"
"Got socked in it," Xander said weakly.
Sam helped him up, staring at him. "Are you better?"
"Much," he said, staring at him. "Is it Saturday?"
"Wednesday. Jorge is pissed as hell but he knows it's not your doing." He tipped his face up. "The healing's going faster than usual."
"The mermaid taint does do that." He yawned. "I'm tired."
"I know. You have a chemistry test to make up."
"Yay," he said, flopping backwards.
"No, let's shower, get you to eat something and drink a lot, then you sleep." He hauled him up and took him to the kitchen to make him stuff he'd eat. There was some frozen lasagna that only took a few minutes. The headache tea was helpful too. Sam went to class once Xander had a plate full and was starting to eat. He told the principal the good news on his way to his locker.
Xander ate the whole lasagna and drank a two liter of soda on the way to the shower. He came out and guzzled a gallon of milk they had waiting on him. Then he went to sleep on the pillows in the living room to the first Police Academy movie. That was a good way to sleep.
Xander wobbled in that night, looking at Jorge. "I feel like crap."
"Clearly. You have dark circles and you look like crap." He handed him his rifle case. Xander shook his head, pulling out his special one from home. Jorge looked at it, moaning some. "That's... sweet."
"It's very sweet." Xander checked his scope twice then went to his spot. "Do we have a meet tomorrow?"
"Yes. Are you going to actually be at this one?"
"Pending a migraine from all this, yeah. I'll even make it to class to make up that chemistry test." He smiled. Jorge smirked back, waving a hand. Xander shot his true skills. It was better than most of his other practices.
"Can I?" the female member asked. He nodded, letting her look it over. She tried a target. "Your scope is strange."
"Different eyesight," Xander said.
"I know." She aimed and fired, smiling. "There's almost no recoil but it's very lightweight. How?"
"It's a professional's gun," Jorge said. "For professional snipers." Xander smirked and nodded. "Where did you get it?"
"Romania." He took it back and went back to practice, doing his prone runs too. Then the longer distance ones. He couldn't get too far back but he could do it from across the field at least.
Sam smiled. The old Xander was back!
John considered the pack. All the members of the pack. Most had at least called. Some couldn't get away to come visit. The alpha problem was still bothering him. He wasn't sure why. He and Xander weren't going to come to blows over things but Xander was the matriarch of the clan. Not the male alpha. The pack had always gathered around Xander because he kept them safe and protected them, but it wasn't the same thing. In some ways it was but Xander didn't have the leadership drive to truly lead in case of a problem. Which would mean he and Tony would probably argue and Xander would break it up.
McKay looked over at him. "Your brain smoke is annoying the hell out of me. Do you mind?"
"Yes. I'm trying to figure a pack problem out."
McKay huffed. "Radek has a book I borrowed last month. It was well enough written I suppose for a fantasy series. It wasn't exactly a *pack* but it is more like your native one." He stared at him. "Go find a copy."
John shifted over to look up that series on Amazon.com. "Huh," he said. "Definitely not your usual read."
"No, but I was bored. It was something I hadn't read. It didn't knock me out automatically or do anything too terribly stupid." He gave him a pointed look. "With the matriarchal head you have it seems more appropriate."
John went to see if the on-base library had any of them. It had a three-book compilation volume. He settled in to his on-base temporary bedroom to read. It explained a lot. Yeah, Xander did kind of sound like a queen rider in a lot of ways. He emailed Sam, who was a voracious reader. Sam had heard of it and said it did sound familiar. He said he'd talk to Xander. John went back to reading. It was helping a lot of ideas. If so, they might have to name a male head of the pack. Or something like that. Weyrs sounded a lot like the apartment too.
Sam looked over from his email distraction from a paper he had to write. "Have you ever read the Pern series?"
"Yeah, used to love it. Why?"
"John picked up one and said it sounded very familiar. Something about your hyena sounds a lot like a queen dragon."
Xander stiffened. "I didn't think about that. That's actually... You know, that might be right." He considered it. "Well, we can't fly to figure out who the weyr leader is going to be. And I hope I don't have to get possessed by a dragon to make it fit better. That might be uncomfortable for some people."
"Tony and John are the two that have taken the lead," Sam said, ignoring the possession remark. "Got a choice?"
"Neither one's here. Which would make you my top bronze rider."
Sam grinned. "Aww, thanks."
"Welcome. Would that make your dad one of the Old Timers that came forward?"
Sam considered it then nodded. "Possibly. He is a bit stuck in his ways." He sighed and got back to the paper. "English paper?"
"Done but craptastic."
"I'll proofread. That way I can have a break." Xander groaned but got it for him. He got the others too, that way Sam could have a good distraction. Plus it might help him keep his grades up. He needed to.
John called Tony, talking to him about that book. Tony had read it and agreed it sounded like their pack. A lot like their pack actually. Xander was weyr woman and queen rider all in one. He fussed at them. Sam was like his second at that. So.... that left who were the bronze riders. Speed was never there. Speed needed to be there, and they needed to kick his ass about it. Danny wasn't there usually. David wasn't there usually. Danny and David could be green or blue riders.
Danny probably a green since David never had sex, or so they had all decided that was the reason for his grumpiness. So that really left him and John as bronze riders. The new guy, Jon O'Neill, was probably a brown. A leader in many ways but not up to leading the pack. So how would that work? No mating flights possible. They weren't going to fight over it. He and John weren't around all that often with the rest of the pack. They really had to work on this problem. Xander and Sam could use some backup.
Jensen got an email from Tony and Sam both about that idea. "Yeah, that certainly fits, guys." He wrote back that he would take a brown spot, he didn't want to lead anything, and so could Cougar. Plus each of the 'bronze' guys had a wing team of their own at hand.
Pooch looked over his shoulder. "You're talking about dragons now?"
"Yeah, someone found a fantasy novel that describes our pack better than we were. They're arguing over who would really lead the pack. Xander does, because we all gather around Xander and let him fuss over us," he said as he typed. "On the other hand, Xander can't really do more than make battle plans. We'd listen to him about that but John and me and Cougs have more experience in real battles than he does.
"His have been different sorts and they didn't really use guns. He's more geared to small group combat. John does insane shit that drives me nuts each time I hear rumors because if it's true, the military is screwier than I thought and I should be there helping destroy the rest of the universe since it might hate us. So we're trying to figure out the pack hierarchy. When Xander was older it was easier to follow him into insane shit. We'd still do it anyway but now we'd have less demons to worry about and bigger problems. Like an invasion of LA in a few years if we can't get it stopped."
"Invasion?" Roque called. "Did I hear the word invasion used with an American city? Pooch, did you hear that?"
Jensen streamed the video to the bigger screens he had set up and let them watch it. "In his world. He was still in Africa and his bitchy friends didn't want him to come help. They were having 'he's normal' syndrome again."
Clay and Roque watched it. "Did it have to be swords?"
"Um. I think it was have to be killed. Some of the various ones needed to be burned or killed with specific things. I asked Sam when he mentioned that John was trying to stop it. They don't think he'll fully succeed since they're all higher ups, some of them ours."
"That's our sort of job," Clay noted. "Not a hunter's."
Jensen turned around to look at him. "Their friends are protecting them from a swift asskicking and then a justified homicide," Jensen said bluntly. "Including the law firm of Wolfram and Hart. They're international bad guys who like to help the even worse. They do neat things like killing juries, people sacrificing for power raising, trying to end the world, having a bio terrorism lab, and wanting Xander's blood." He smiled. "I was going to suggest it but when someone heard they tried to remove my clearance. I fixed that shit and made them so miserable they're holding their poor, weeping cocks as it drips blood. Then I got them fired for fucking cows." He grinned.
"Even the CIA can't ignore that," Clay said dryly. "Are there any other evil bastards out there that we should be aware of?"
"Well, that might depend on if Angel has slipped his soul again or will. That takes a moment of happiness instead of brooding. Later on, he'll have a hell god they'll need to fight and John's going to be the forward guard of the thing she wants. In Xander's old world, the name of the thing she wanted was Dawn. She was going to open a portal and pull her hell world onto ours for easy feeding.
"If we have a wrong resurrection we could have the same issue we had there with the First Evil; she came back to kill off all the slayers but the line here is dead. So she'd be going after Dean and other hunters. But it takes seven slayers to lock her back down so we'd be screwed anyway." Clay whimpered. "There were a few apocalypse cults they took down. Xander took down one right before he died there. There's been a few higher demons who want to create hell and mayhem. Those generally take a special weapon of some sort or another. Usually blessed and sacred or something."
"I have a headache," Clay said. "Are there any lesser threats?"
"Yes, plenty but that's Dean's job. The higher ones are more the team's job but not our team. If we want to save LA from going dark or the law firm for hell taking out a lot of people, we probably can. We can probably solve the Black Thorn issue. The former mayor of Sunnydale may not be doing his ascension bid here. That was that battle I showed you the tape of." They all groaned. "That was his graduation so in two years. They already stopped that special program but NID is doing basically the same thing. But they're government's bad arm."
Clay sighed, looking at Roque. Then at Cougar. "Think we can get assigned that detail?"
Jensen bounced in his seat, grinning at him. "It would be very helpful and get us near the pack more often. Sam's vowed to learn how to cook because his school makes gross, disgusting, healthy things that have no flavor, like tofu stir fry and brown rice every day." Pooch shuddered. "They yelled at Xander a few times because he brought a soda from home. He told the teacher loudly she wasn't fucking him, she had no right to nag."
Pooch laughed. "Sounds like something you'd say."
"Xander and I are a lot alike, only he can't hack."
Cougar shook his head. "You are more like a bouncy Sam."
"Yeah, in some ways. Sam does have the same sort of brains I do, only his go toward research work in esoteric sources. The kid learned how to read Latin before he was ten. Xander actually speaks something like ten languages pretty fluently. Six of those are demon languages. He can also read Summerian and a few other ancient ones."
"So the kid can read ancient languages, speak obscure ones, and he thinks he's stupid?" Roque said to make sure. Jensen and Cougar both nodded. "Why?"
"A blonde and a redhead," Jensen said dryly. "They said so repeatedly. That and he was too normal to be of any use and things. So of course he saved their asses." Jensen smirked at Clay.
"Sounds slightly familiar," Pooch admitted.
"Very," Roque agreed. "Should we hand him caffeine and keep him off sugar the way we do you?"
"Might help," Cougar agreed. "A lot."
Clay sighed. "I want a list of problem shits, a list of what they usually do, whatever you can get on them, and a ranking of how soon they'll be the biggest evil bitch so we can take them out in order of necessity. Even if we don't get permission."
"DiNozzo, a pack member, works at NCIS with Gibbs," Jensen teased.
"Would Gibbs really understand?" Pooch asked. "He's very humorless and uptight. Worse than Roque is."
"Hey!" Roque complained. "I'm not uptight."
"If Tony showed him," Jensen said, turning around to write him an email. They needed Gibbs to know, understand, and help them. Tony had someone send back one agreeing with that idea but they were in the middle of a bitch of a case. So he'd do it later, once he caught that cult. Jensen hacked into Tony's system to look it over and told him who it was based on what they were doing. "We ran into them last year. We thought we got them all," he said in a sing-song voice. "Mother fuckers."
Cougar looked then shuddered. "Cult."
"DC must be *so* cheerful right now," Clay said dryly.
"Tony's swearing more than I do," Jensen quipped. Someone noticed his hacking and he stopped them. Then he finished up the problems list from Tony's notes from Xander's debrief of them. He gave them to Clay and started to research the first one. Wolfram and Hart, then Richard Wilkins. Then Black Thorn once Clay and his cousin talked. "By the way, John's in DC, but Tony doesn't know yet." He passed that along to Tony. "And we're going to have a huge fit because John's exact remark to 'your cousin would like to see you and your boys' was 'fucking hell, make them stay away before they're in more danger or cause problems'." He smirked at Clay. "Apparently he thinks you're mean."
"I am mean." He walked off reading the repots on that laptop. That was really sad and he did not want that in his US. Or his world. Or even his universe. That was a job for the Losers.
"Mr. Harris, can we please have your attention as well?" the chemistry teacher demanded impatiently.
Xander quit thinking and looked at him. "I was thinking about chemistry, just not stuff you want me to think about. I don't really care about sulphur and making things that can lead to meth."
"What?" he demanded. Xander wrote out the formula and handed it over. "When did you discover this?"
"When I took it off one of the bullies earlier who was intimidating a geek into doing it for him."
"Does anyone else know?"
"Yeah, I handed the idiot to the principal. That just seemed off to me. Too close to something you said you never wanted to hear me talk about again."
He went back over that formula. "That isn't how you make methamphetamine. That's how you make a chemical explosive. Everyone, pull out your books. I need to look at something and talk to our principal." He looked in his stock cabinet, finding something missing, and took his inventory with him.
Xander shrugged. "It bothered me that it wasn't right." When the bell rang he wrote on the board 'behave, teacher in office and upset'. Then he went to lunch. He needed caffeine. He stopped at his locker, grabbing two cans from the case in there and his lunch, then locking it up so no fussy bitches could get into it. He walked to lunch, handing Jon one can as he sat down. "Here, I brought you lunch." He grinned.
"Thanks, Xander. I needed lunch." He opened it and took a sip. His sandwich wasn't like the one Sam made. His was pretty skimpy compared. Xander was nice enough to hand him the salami he didn't want. It didn't quite go with his PB&J but hey, what the hell. Free food and he was a teenage boy again. He ate them and got his soda then they went outside. "It's getting chilly early."
Xander looked up then at him. "I guess that means I have to learn how to drive on snow."
"You've never driven on snow?"
"I'm from southern California, Jon. We didn't have snow."
"Yeah, you need winter clothes then, Xander."
Jon laughed. "Funds running low?"
"No, not yet. Hopefully not at all." He sighed. "Leather jacket you think?"
"That would be cool but you're a bit too geeky for it to work for you. Get something you like that's comfortable. That's the important thing. Let Sam help."
"Sam keeps trying to hide all my shirts."
"That's because they're ugly," Jon said bluntly. He walked off. "There's Sam and the bell."
"Crap." He walked off.
"Harris, you're excused from this class," the principal called over the intercom.
Xander got another soda and went back to the office. He opened it as he walked in, looking at the thing on the desk. He pulled out his ankle dagger, leaning over to look at it. He slit a wire then took a sip. "There, better." He smiled. "Who did that?"
"How much experience do you need to do that?" the chemistry teacher asked.
"Internet searching." Agent Fielders walked in. "Hi, Uncle Bob," he said with a grin.
"Harris," he said dryly. He looked. "Disarmed very neatly, whoever did that for you." They pointed at Xander. He looked at him. "You know how many?"
"I know you've been to Africa," he said calmly. Xander nodded, glancing at the principal. "Oh, I know what he used to do too," he said dryly. Xander looked at him. "We do have hackers as well as McGee when we ask nicely. You worried Gibbs all to hell so he did a nice background check and demanded DiNozzo tell him about you. Then he had his two hackers check. He also found out your ties to Mr. Giles, thanks to the long trans atlantic phone call from here. So he talked to him. Who told him a lot. Where is your apocalypse closet?"
"It went to the pack member in the Air Force. He used most of it recently."
"Good! We like that answer." He patted him on the arm. "How many types of devices do you know?"
"Ten, fifteen. Mostly simple ones. A few I had to look up suddenly because it was there in front of me and people were freaking out."
"That's understandable. So this school thing...."
Xander snorted. "Please! So much better than my last one."
"Anything was better than your last one," the principal assured him. "Especially with that asshole in charge and the mayor having to be blown up inside it."
Xander nodded. "We didn't have an instant volcano we could use."
"I understand perfectly," Fielders said with a smile. "Who is the pack alpha?" Xander took a drink and waved his hand. "That doesn't cause problems?"
"Not until I got sent here," he said dryly. "Now we've decided we're a lot more Pernian than a pack at times. They're arguing over who the top bronze rider is. They each have their own fighting wing and all that. So that makes me the queen dragon with Sam as my second because we fuss."
"You do fuss," Sam agreed as he walked in with more agents. "Problems?" Xander held up the bomb, making the other agents tense and reach for their guns. "Hmm, easily found and figured out from a few CSI eps and Mythbusters for blowing up things." He took it to look over, carefully turning it. "Recent sale on the shoes. Still has the price sticker for the sale. I think that was last week by the ads I remember." He handed it over to the other agents. Xander put back his dagger. "Dean could build that at twelve."
"I didn't learn bombs until I had to for that battle," Xander said. He shrugged and finished his soda. "It wasn't us, guys. It wasn't O'Neill."
"No, but you three will probably be on the front lines of seeing it," the principal said.
Fielders nodded. "You guys do guard the geeks."
"I turned in one earlier," Xander said.
"He was already under arrest when this was planted," the chemistry teacher said. "Thank you for that note by the way."
"Made sense to do it," Xander admitted. "I like you a lot more than Mrs. French," he decided. He looked at the agent. "I'll warn Jon so we can ask around. We do have a lot of military kids here."
"I know. We'll figure it out," Fielders said. "Just watch out for us."
"I can do that," Sam promised with a smile. He walked Xander out. "Did you bring more than one?"
"Yeah, I have a case in my locker." He kicked the person trying to break his lock. "Did you need something?"
"Sir, we have reason to believe you're armed."
"I have presidential permission, junior. Go ask Agent Fielders. He's in the office." He pointed. "It's that way." The agent growled and reached for his gun. Xander sighed. "Fine, then escort me back to the office, junior agent of idiocy." He walked him off by pulling on his arm. He shoved him in first. "He was trying to break into my locker and said I'm armed."
"You'd better be armed," Fielders agreed firmly. He glared at his agent, who slunk off. "Thank you, Harris."
"Welcome. Hey, MacNash, can we make sure the huffy bitch who keeps nagging me about my diet doesn't get into my locker?"
"As far as I know she shouldn't have a reason." He pointed at the cameras. "Oh, that's fine. Come on." He walked him that way, stopping her and nagging her on the way to the office.
Xander got another can and closed it then added a second lock. He went to find Jon, who was enjoying PE. He walked in and whistled, pointing at the teacher and Jon. They both walked over.
"No soda in my gym, boy."
Xander stared at him. "I'm being a messenger and on my way to class." He looked at Jon. "Chemistry teacher found a pretty simplistic IED. It's disarmed, the Feds are in, we're to watch since we catch the bullies."
Jon nodded. "How simplistic?"
"Pipe bomb in a shoe box."
(Reached 50,000 words for Nano on November 4, 2010 at 1:48 am)
"Charming," Jon complained. "Any idea who?"
"The guy I caught earlier threatening a geek to make him meth, or so he was saying, was already under arrest. I got caught trying to figure out what the formula was actually for by the chemistry teacher, who went to talk to the principal after doing a quick look in his supply closet." Jon winced. "The agents have it. I'm on my way to class. Just a head's up."
Jon nodded. "Okay. Thanks for giving me heartburn, Xander."
Xander grinned. "Anything for the pack," he quipped then walked off.
"Is he always that strange?" the gym coach asked quietly.
"Now and then. His past life wasn't the rosy one and he was trained to hunt, fight, and defend."
"Were his parents in a militia?"
"No, they were drunk."
"Oh, that sort." He nodded. "Should we worry about him?"
"He's on the rifle team."
"He's a crack shot too," Jon said dryly. "I'd never worry about Xander unless I pissed him off so much he was ready to turn into a girl and cry. Then I'd better watch my ass and be very cautious." He went back to the game. "I'm open," he called once he got within bounds of the game. They passed the basketball to him. He got back into the game while he thought. Who would bring an IED to this school? They didn't have kids like that here.
Tony read the email from Xander, shaking his head. "Agent Fielders, out there, talked to you, boss?" he asked.
"Yes, he did." He stared at him. "Is he sane?"
"Able to function?"
"He was warned not to. It would leave him at the wrong spot at a critical time."
Gibbs nodded once. "I can see how that would happen. What happened this time?"
"A small cult in the school out there. They wanted to recreate a scene in _Heathers_ as a virgin sacrifice. O'Neill heard, got Xander and Sam for backup, and got the little brats before they could do anything. With agents in the school. Oh, and a teacher decided to cut his locker's locks to take his soda out of it. Which he stole back; he bought two cases and blatantly put them in there in front of her and the principal, then told the principal she had better be buying him a better lock this time. He put on one of his own. It's electronic and has a push code."
"Good! How long before we get the rest of those after him?"
"Jensen said three weeks probably." He smirked. "They took some offense at them wanting to hurt a teenage boy."
"Who's 'they'?" McGee asked.
"Jensen's Spec Ops team." He smirked at him. "They didn't think that was nice."
"The guy who hacked you the other day?"
"Yeah, that was him. He's the only one who's been able to break the protections on Xander's laptop too."
McGee shook his head. "He didn't seem right. Marines?"
"Army. It was for work purposes since they were compiling a list and I had half of it on my system."
"When they do, is the kid going to calm down?" Gibbs asked.
"No," Tony said with a smile. "He doesn't usually calm down. He's very hyper-protective."
"Maybe he should go military then?" Gibbs suggested. "Before he gets into trouble."
"Then what will we do when one of the huge bad things that most people like to ignore happens? We're projecting one within two years." Gibbs gaped. Tony smiled. "Not like the military wants to admit it."
"Good point I suppose." He stared at him. "I know there's some. I know there's different things that I would consider too weird for Abby."
"Join me for drinks tonight, boss?"
"Fine." They got finished and he noticed Tony pulled a small case out of his desk drawer. "What's that?"
"Field kit for things in case something happens." He tucked it into his pants pocket and left his jacket in his car when they got to the bar. They walked in together and a few stared at him. Tony smirked and waved. "This is my boss, Gibbs." He walked Gibbs up to the bar, smiling. "Beer us?"
"Sure, DiNozzo. How is he doing?"
"He's okay. He got the guy with an IED. Cheesy wanna be sacrificial group."
"I heard." He handed over beers, taking the four bucks. "So, this is your mythical boss." He looked him over. "Huh." Someone roared and came at him but Tony turned and kicked him back then punched him once. He fell down whimpering. "You know better than to attack the pack. Harris will come out here to whip our asses and bring the Winchester boys. Like he would've at home." That demon got up and trudged off grumbling. He smiled at Gibbs. "Forgive him. He's mightily drunk." He went to serve a glass of ick to someone. With a nice garnish of eyeballs.
Gibbs drank some of his beer before he got sick from that drink. He looked around then at Tony. "DiNozzo, how peaceful is this bar usually?"
"It's not. Usually if we have problems, someone here knows who did it so I can handle it quietly or talk to a hunter who handles it quietly." He sipped his beer. "Though most of the people in here are peaceful species. I could've taken you to the vamp bar."
"No," the bartender warned. "Angel's in town."
"Aww, did he get the news from Whistler or someone else?"
"So he got the bad news."
"No, he knows it all. Ripper here has been trying to kill him for years now."
"Xander might just out of spite. Especially if he's going to cause problems or become uncursed."
"She's not here."
"No but that doesn't mean anything. Others could make him happy."
"Good point." They shared a look. "I'll warn you if I hear he's moving out that way."
"Thanks." He put down a twenty as a tip, getting a smirk back. He looked at Gibbs. "They're also a very good source of information about certain types of things."
Gibbs finished his beer, looking at him. "Does all this make your head hurt?"
"Not really. Xander saved me from a vampire clan trying to take me out so I wouldn't solve something," he said dryly. "I learned the hard way, I spent hours talking to Xander about this stuff. Even when he didn't want to. I stalked him for days until he talked to me. Then he put me in touch with others. Who rotted my mind more.
"I adore Xander. He's a great guy. He's good to us. If we're in range he fusses over those of us in the pack. In our past, after dealing with something huge, the pack has even curled together on the floor to sleep it off." Gibbs shuddered. Tony smiled. "That was there though, not here." He finished his beer, looking at the tentacle moving around his hip then at the owner. "Hi, sweetie."
"Is he the one that rides you prettily, Tony?" she asked, sounding drunk.
"No, he doesn't do that sort of thing." He winked at her. "He just got introduced to Xander."
"Poor baby. Headache? I can make it better," she purred.
"I think I need to jog it off, ma'am," he said politely enough.
"Hmm, a tough guy. That's very hot." She moved around Tony.
"I'm also dating," he lied.
"Pity. Think of me when you're single." She strolled off to hit on one of the vampires.
Tony grinned. "She was even a redhead, boss." Gibbs smacked him on the head, making a few...beings around them snicker. Gibbs paid for his beers and they walked out. Tony was smirking back at the bartender.
"I think we can stand him helping if something was to happen," the bartender decided. A few at the bar agreed with him. "He certainly made Tony mind him." That got a few more laughs.
Xander looked at Sam after practice one Sunday, sighing. "Did they get born here?"
"Buffy and Willow?" Xander nodded. "Buffy didn't. Well, she did but she died young. Her father accidentally set their house on fire." He stared at him. "Willow's alive here. I found her looking through a lineage and genealogy place. She's in a mental hospital."
"Is that because of her gifts or because someone told her?"
"Neither. It was where her parents stuck her when they found out she was hacking. So she kindly had them arrested but it left her in there for her own safety. I've slipped her name to Jensen so he can check her skill set and see if someone might want to rescue her for the fee of keeping her under their thumb."
"Jesse?" Xander asked more quietly, not looking at him.
Sam pulled him over to hug him. "Jesse is still alive and he's happy." Xander looked at him. "The picture I saw of him showed him being happy. He won some RC car thing." Xander relaxed and nodded, getting free. They were in public. "They're okay for the most part."
"Giles is still a Watcher."
"I heard." He stared at him. "It's all right."
"It's really sucky," he corrected.
"It's not totally sucky. Jesse got to be happy. Willow will be saved due to her skills. Faith got saved because she had skills. Kendra is still with her family. A lot of the potentials will live that didn't get a chance there." Xander nodded. "So relax a bit, okay? That's not your problem to worry about."
"Before they were like extended pack."
"I know, and a few were tighter." He stroked his hand. "It'll be okay, Xander. I promise."
"It's a huge adjustment."
"I agree, it is. You're not used to having people who care back."
"I'm not used to having people be there all the time. Before I only saw you every few months or so. The others too. John was off playing intergalactic Van Hellsing games." He sipped his soda. "Apparently Speed, Danny, and David want to be unadopted."
"Danny sent an email earlier saying you nagged worse than his mother."
Xander shrugged. "I pointed out if they wanted unadopted they only had to tell me."
"I think it's just real life stuff getting to them. I know David's lab is never letting him have days off right now. I was going to suggest a weekend down there. Maybe?"
"I could like that but he'd kill us for interrupting his sleep."
"Probably," Sam agreed with a smile. "We can go to New York over break to check on them or Miami to check on Speed."
"I feel like I should be watching over Speed for some reason."
Sam pulled out his phone to text him. "No vision?"
"No. Just a worry like I need to be there."
"Jorge will kill you if you miss another match."
Xander grimaced but nodded. "I know. The accessory pack probably don't remember," he said quietly.
"We had other pack members, they might," Sam said, writing them a separate text message. He loved that text messages were starting to be capable again. Xander relaxed. "Any worries about Danny or Don?"
"Don for some reason." Sam texted that to Danny. "And tell David to tell Greg to be more aware. Or are we too early for that lab explosion they had?"
Sam thought back. "That was my freshman year I think." He shrugged and sent David a warning they were thinking about popping in to visit some weekend they didn't have a shooting match. They finished up and he made Xander go look at winter clothes some more. He seriously needed more than ten ugly shirts and five pairs of jeans that Sam had made him buy when they first got the apartment, and underwear because all theirs had holes in them.
In Miami a former pack member smiled. "I was hoping I could go home to the pack," he said quietly. He went to find the idiot pack member down there. He knew Speed remembered, he remembered him being at the imprint sending. He found him in the lab and leaned in. "Xander has a bad feeling," he said in greeting.
Speed looked at him. "I heard. He's nagging long distance." Ryan's phone rang with a text message. "Again?"
"Sam had a vision." He looked at him. "Clean your gun, dumbass?" He showed him the message. Speed shuddered. After that first sentence it was explained and yeah, he needed to. Ryan smiled. "Want help?"
"No. Thanks. I know and all but still."
Ryan stared. "You know he'll show up suddenly."
"I know," he muttered. "I'll do it tonight." Another text came in and Ryan let him see the details. "Fine, I'll do it now," he decided, going to ballistics to clean his gun. He hated carrying a gun, wasn't comfortable with it, but he had to do it. She gave him a dirty look. "That's why I'm doing it now." He saw Ryan walk off and sighed. He would really have to thump Xander soon over the long distance nagging. Then go teach Sam how to cook. He got done and she took it from him to redo. That way it was spotless. "Thank you," he said quietly.
She stared at him. "Why the sudden urge?"
"Got a funny feeling from a friend. He reminded me." He took it back. He walked off to find Horatio. He had been accessory pack and knew he remembered Xander. Speed had been on a scene when the imprinting had happened. Horatio had caught it and asked, which meant he remembered too. "H." Horatio looked at him instead of out at the parking lot. "Sam got a head's up from on high. The questioning at the jewelry store later is going to go bad."
"Sam saw me shot," he said quietly.
"Is your gun clean this time?"
"I just did it and Cal redid it on me." Horatio relaxed some. "Sam said he saw people in the back room."
"I'll remember that." He stared at him. "I saw an officer?"
"That was ... Hmm. His hair was longer and I only saw him from behind." He looked at him. "Are you going visiting soon?"
"Xander asked if I wanted to be unadopted since I never have the time to write."
"If you get hurt, go out. If not, go back on vacation and go out." He stared at him. "Your pack kept you sane for years, Speed," he said quietly. "Especially when we lost Eric." Speed nodded and walked off again. Horatio considered that implication. Why would he be questioning at a jewelry store in a kidnaping case? He went to check on why, and brought more backup than him and Speed. He'd be damned if he was going to lose Speed already. Alexx would beat both of them into a pulp if he got even a graze.
In New York, Danny got an email from Xander, who had a vision later, when they got home from shopping. So now Danny was getting the creepy warning emails. He stared at it, then he sighed. He went to talk to Mac. "Can we?" he asked quietly when he found him in a lab.
"Yes. And I need ta see Don too." Mac shrugged. Danny paged Don and once he got there, they went to the office. Danny closed the door. "Xander wrote," he told Don.
"Few things. One, it's time to talk about Sonny."
"Fuck," Don muttered.
"Second, soon after we have Sonny, we have your injury."
"I remember." Don looked at Mac. "You noticed a few months ago that we got a sudden personality shift, got a bit more serious and things?"
"I had and I wondered. Especially about the new friend you two seem to have in common, this Xander."
"That's a long story," Danny admitted. "But in a few months, we're gonna have ta talk about my past. Which neither of us is going to like, Mac."
"Why won't I like it?"
"Do you realize who his father was?" Don asked.
"Yes. People warned me about that when I submitted his name for hiring," Mac admitted. "I didn't think it would matter. Is this going to become relevant to a case?"
"Sonny runs Tanglewood," Don said. "Danny's dad's...affiliated."
"Sonny tried really damn hard ta get me," Danny said. "I nearly followed my brother into it. Me not doing that is partially what drove me out of the family."
Mac stared at him. "And this Sonny is going to come up on a case."
"How do we know?"
"Xander knows," Don said.
"That explains nothing," Mac complained.
Danny called someone. "Horatio, Danny." He put him on speaker. "Can you find an easy way to explain Xander to Mac?"
"Not really." He sighed. "Mac, I'm assuming you're there?"
"I am. I'm hearing about ties I should probably know about."
"Xander is ... it's complicated but he's a friend," Don said. "Was before too but things changed."
"Yes, we all did," Horatio agreed. "Somehow Xander got...displaced. You know that part of the tip of Manhattan that no one goes near?"
"Quite well. I had a homicide down there last month," Mac admitted.
"Xander's from somewhere like that," Horatio said. "Only not from here. And where he's from, it's a lot later. So some of us know that and some don't."
"You're talking like he's from another reality or something," Mac said.
"He is," Don agreed. "There he was thirty or so. Here he's sixteen."
Danny nodded. "We're kinda all pack members to him. He adopted us to nag and fuss over, to help with things when things go bad in that sort of area's thing."
"He warned Speed earlier that he might get shot today. He was correct but thankfully not that he died. I'm very glad he called in a warning," Horatio sighed.
"He good?" Danny asked.
"Minor graze on his ribs. I can't even imagine what might have happened."
"Xander reminded me today that my family's past is going to come up soon and Sonny's going to blow his wad too soon," Danny said, staring at Mac.
"He's going to implicate you as a gang member," Horatio agreed. "I remember that. I also remember it nearly led to *you* being shot because you're not really comfortable with your gun sometimes. Which you need to work on."
"I'm so going to drag you to the range this weekend," Don assured Danny, smirking at him.
"Please do. I need ta requalify anyway," he said dryly. "I'm about a week overdue." He stared at Mac. "Sonny's gonna drive a wedge."
"He's going to cause you problems," Mac said, sitting down. This was a sitting down discussion, and possibly a scotch one as well. Too bad he was at work.
"Yup, and then come back later and do it all again when a cig I had once that my brother bummed falls into a grave he was there for."
"Jesus," Mac sighed. "How does Xander know this?"
"He kinda helped him through that last one with me," Don told him. "We ran into Xander when he was here in the city handling something in that area that was going to cause major problems. And a law firm."
"We have got to stop that law firm," Danny agreed. "Horatio, are you getting nagged by the wonder twins?"
"Speed was," he said, sounding happy. "I told him to go visit since he's injured."
"Good!" Danny agreed. "I got offered the right to pull back from the pack since I never have time off."
Horatio coughed. "Danny, if you remember.... Lucy?"
Danny groaned. "No clue, Horatio. I have no idea."
"I know Lucy made you happy," Don sighed. "But still bad for you overall. You turned into a boy."
"I know." He looked at Mac again. "I'm being real honest coming to blow your mind open with Xander."
"Is he here in the city?" Mac asked.
"There's no pack out there," Horatio said. "Why?"
"He decided on it. It's near some of the pack and a safe place, plus weird things happen there. Has a good high school that he gets to struggle through again. He gets into fights with a few of the teachers who hate he has a caffeine habit. He adopted a new pack member who's just as weird as those two."
"I suppose that's fine. I would hope someone disarmed him," Horatio said dryly.
Mac looked at the phone then at them. "Disarmed?"
"Xander's role *there* was as a supernatural problem solver," Don said with a shrug. "He always had the weapon for the job. One of the other members of the pack took most of them. He wrote pouting about it."
"Thankfully John had common sense and whatever insane, classified thing he was doing probably needed it," Horatio said dryly.
Mac rubbed his head. "Did we all know about this but me?" he asked.
"No. Here, he flirted with Stella to see her blush. Said she was dangerous enough for his tastes but nicer than his usual bad girls. You never met Xander there. In Miami he only had Speed, Ryan, and whoever they told."
"Me and I believe Alexx," Horatio said. "Though I can't be certain."
"So we're giving me a head's up that things are going to start becoming a problem when Sonny tries things," Mac said to make sure. Danny nodded. "Is it true?"
"He was my older brother, Mac. I tried ta follow him and he ran me off."
"Did I know this before?"
"After the fact. Though you asked him real pointed questions and then decided he was right without checking when Sonny spouted off a few days later," Don said.
"Which drove me real close to moving to Miami," Danny said. "Just to get away from the shit that got started."
"With the way Ryan had problems, it might not be a bad idea to switch you two for a while," Horatio said. "That would keep him from talking to his ex," he sighed. "Keep you away from Sonny and your family's past. I could see doing that easily enough. Maybe bring Don down and give you Frank or Yelina for a while to help her problems with her former husband." He sighed again.
Mac looked at the phone. "Did we all become drama queens, Horatio?"
"No, it just kept getting in the way. Miami has plenty of drama without me adding to it," he said dryly. "The same as New York does. Others kept trying to add to it however."
"That might work. Take that year and switch," Don agreed. "I could use a tan."
"Yeah, me too," Danny sighed, looking at Don. "Aiden."
"Shit." He looked at Mac. "You want the truth?"
"She's going to lose it on a case?" Mac guessed.
"Rape case," Danny said. "She's gonna think *real* hard about tampering, but you're going to get her even though she didn't. She'll get 'im but we'll be pallbearers."
Mac shook his head. "There has to be a way around that."
"The first case is already here," Don realized. Danny nodded. "We know for certain who it was but there's no evidence."
"I'll talk to her," Mac said. "Thank you for the head's up and I will definitely see if we can switch things around, boys. That way it saves both cities some drama."
Don grinned weakly. "Hell, in a few years, I'm gonna lose my shit too, Mac." He left, going back to his desk.
"Danny?" Danny looked at him. "Who's Lucy?" Mac asked.
"The new girl you hire after Aiden gets canned, we end up accidentally together and she decided we're dating. I didn't fight it too much but Don said I turned into a woose for about two years. She got knocked up during our accidental night drunk." Mac winced. Danny snorted. "I loved my baby girl, Mac. I'd do anything for her."
"I would have if I had kids, Danny." He stared at him. "I'll leave that up to you."
Danny nodded. "I have no clue." He shrugged. "Thanks, Horatio."
"Welcome, Danny. That is a hard choice to make. I remember seeing you two at conventions and you did look like you had lost a lot of your fire but you turned into a good father."
"Maybe I'll adopt. I don't know." He shrugged and left the two bosses to talk.
Mac looked at the phone. "You arrange it on your end, I'll do it on mine."
"Ryan is not presently in the lab. I should be getting permission to hire him within a few months," Horatio admitted. "I say we switch the whole staff for six months, Mac."
"I'd be lost without Stella, Horatio."
"I would without Speed driving me insane. I said go to Colorado and I meant it. I do not want Xander down here feeling the need to jump into things that will make Alexx shriek at him again, Speed."
"I am. I'm handing in paperwork to do that, Horatio. On with a DA of stupidity?"
"Mac Taylor up in New York."
"Speed. How are you?"
"Mostly okay. Good pain killers for the graze."
Mac smiled. "That is always helpful. I'll talk to you in three days, Horatio. Let me bridge the idea to the higher ups. They might like it, it could get us praise in the press. We could use all we can get."
"Us as well," Horatio sighed. "I'll talk to you then, Mac." He hung up and walked Speed out to his bike. "Go let the pack fuss over you," he ordered, staring at him.
Speed smirked. "You and Alexx nag me nearly as much." He got on. "I'll call and go out." He put on his helmet, started his bike, and took off again.
Horatio went back inside to write Sam an email to tell him Speed was coming out. Plus to thank him for the head's up. Then he went to talk to the boss about getting that new CSI in and the possibility of a lab switch. Ryan was taking all the right classes. Plus it would help with that mole situation. He really did not want that grant with that string attached.
The lab switch would help because Danny, Adam, or Sheldon would never even look at her. They weren't led by their dicks like Eric was or making too many of the wrong sorts of friends like Ryan had. Then he went to talk to him about his gambling problem. He had to put his foot down now so it wouldn't cause him issues later. Miami did not need drama from their top rated crime lab.
to part 4
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