Summary: Xander makes a deal to save him from the damage that Willow caused on that cliff. That's going to change things, a lot. Especially since there'll have to be two so they survive.
Categories: Buffy Stories & Crossovers > Supernatural, Buffy Stories & Crossovers > Other TV Characters: None
Chapters: 3 Completed: Yes
Word count: 52604 Read: 49569
Published: 07/04/2015 Updated: 07/04/2015
1. Part 1 by Voracity2
2. Part 2 by Voracity2
3. Part 3 by Voracity2
Sorry, I meant to put this up on the 3rd for the early holidayers and forgot.
What Causes to Become.
Xander was in pain. A lot of pain. He had stopped Willow earlier while she was trying to stop him by throwing black magic at him. He had managed to stop her. She hadn't managed to do more than injure him. Giles wasn't answering his phone, probably drunk again. Buffy was no help of any sort at the moment; she was emotional, raging, and guilty about Willow and still down on him for being a guy doing the same things she did. The coven had dismissed him as soon as he had handed them Willow because apparently being male equaled trash to them. Or him being non-magical meant he was under their view of human.
Anya might be able to help, if she wasn't helping Giles and not answering her phone. Hell, he'd even take Spike's help right about now but he was hiding. Xander took another deep breath, trying to decide if this was reason enough to go to the deadly ER they had in town or not. It didn't feel like a heart attack so they probably couldn't do anything about it. Really, it felt more like his heart was trying to claw its way out of his chest the hard way. He bent over, holding his chest and side.
He was seriously thinking about calling an ambulance, that's how much he hurt. Of course, his phone rang. "What?" he answered in a groan. "I'm not in the bathroom, Buffy. I'm having chest pains. I don't know, maybe something to do with the black magic Willow threw at me earlier?" he guessed. She sneered so he hung up. "I don't need your help." A new surge of magic and he blacked out for a minute, coming to on the floor.
"Goddess, if you're real, make it stop?" he begged when he woke up. Still in pain, pain getting worse. He had felt a rib break a minute ago. "Anyone make it stop!" he begged when the next wave came.
A man appeared, checking his nails then looking at him. "I can help you."
Xander blinked at him. "I didn't know I could summon demons but right about now...." He winced as a new wave hit him. "What is this!"
"They're making her put it back so she's drawing your life energy from you." He stared at him. "You wanted help?"
"What price?" Xander panted, staring at him. "No bullshitting. I don't think I have time for that."
"I can't ask for your soul. It's tainted by that same witch and her version of ideas." He sneered for a minute. "We really do loathe her but we can't do much or else humanity may well die in a few months during the last battle."
Xander snorted. "They don't want me there now, much less then."
"They will then." He helped him up, easing the pain. "I can offer you a charming deal but to ease that I'll have to redo the splitting she undid wrongly." Xander stared at him. "You'll be twins. I can put you somewhere protected. Not here. You'll live a full life there and then come back here before that battle. But you cannot go to them unless they call."
"Will they notice?"
"They'll hear. I'll make sure they'll hear." He stared at him. "It does make you stronger, which works for chaos mages and the like, and in the future it'll make the battles fight somewhere else because we wouldn't be able to hold a true battle, like some want, with an anchor here."
Xander considered it for a second. "I can still protect them if they need me to?"
"Yes. Though you cannot go back to the slayer's side until then."
Xander stared at him. "Let me guess, you crushed when she was dead?"
"I can rescind it and go give it to that most charming child. She'd do equally well."
Xander snorted. "She'd kill you. Really, Dawn would." He stared at him. "Any other particulars?"
"No. Fully healed." He waved a hand, letting the pain come back. "Another life somewhere else. Coming back here before that battle so you and your twin can make a true life. What you choose to learn there will definitely help you here but I'm not sure what you'll have options for."
Xander panted, nodding. "Fine. I can handle that as long as I can hunt when necessary even if I'm not with Buffy."
The demon smiled. "It's a pleasure doing business with you." He touched him, using the energy infecting him to undo the binding spell Willow had done when Xander had been a twin for a few days. Then he took them to their new realm. They were young, barely ten in this body, but knew what they knew before. "It's really the best for everyone if the world doesn't fall to that sort. It's not exactly one I want to try to rule later on." He smirked at the nurse. "He was infected by a witch going critical with black magic. They're trying to weed it out. I solved some of the problems but I cannot solve them all."
She nodded. "That's a bad thing. I'll have to call our Ministry."
The demon shrugged. "As you wish. Just protect the young one. He had stopped her from doing a rite that would destroy humanity. That alone tripped an odd birthright gift in him." She nodded. The demon left. He'd see him when it was time to come home. They would do wonderfully blocking the battles that weren't in his plans.
The nurse came over to check him over, frowning at what she saw. "That's worse than the killing curse," she said, bustling off to call her people. "Those idiots in the UK never told us how they treated the boy," she tutted while the phone rang. "It's Mediwitch Himelda at the Salem Academy of Occult Engineering. I just had a high demon lord bring me a set of twins who stopped a young witch doing a rite to end humanity. He's full of black magic. He said he weeded out what he could but he's critical. Please." She hung up and got the things they'd probably need the most. Fortunately they weren't like that one group in the UK who had no sense of modern medicine.
Doctors appeared and ran over to check them. They didn't look pleased and started by weeding some of the power out of them. It would take nearly all night to get them to the point where they were safe. Thankfully the energy they siphoned off could be cleaned by the college's central altar and crystal statue.
Xander woke up, blinking at the fuzzy woman above him. "Where?" he asked. He realized he sounded younger and knew why. The demon had left him that information.
"You're at the Salem Academy of Occult Engineering, young man." She wiped his forehead with a cool cloth then dunked and twisted it to lay on his forehead again. "You and your twin were saved from the energy overload you had. What happened?"
He blinked a few more times. "I asked for help."
"Child, if you had not, you would have died," she said bluntly. "We're well aware of where you're from and the deal you made." She smiled. "It was rather startling but reasonable in this case. We found your native world as well to scry it."
"Have they missed me yet?"
"No. No one's been where most of your energy is." Xander nodded once then sighed, looking at his twin. "Let's start somewhere easier. How did that happen?" she asked with a point at his twin. They had noted the twin was magically created.
"Toth's hammer. Willow put us back together." He looked at her. "I got hit instead of our slayer Buffy."
She grimaced. "I thought I spotted one of them. Is Willow the redheaded witch they were leading off?" He nodded. "Is she the one that did this to you?" He nodded again. "Then we'll be having words with the witches who let you suffer that way." She checked his pulse. "How did you get mermaid taint? It's very rare here."
"Swim team's coach. I joined to find out why they were changing and eating people."
"That's a noble reason." She smiled. "Rest for now. What was she trying to do when she sent that magic at you?"
"She was trying to make everyone feel the grief she was feeling. I was trying to stop her."
"Hmm. That's a very good reason. You're a good friend."
He shook his head. "Not good enough."
She snorted. "Nonsense. They're idiots, young man."
"Xander." He looked at his twin then at her. "I need to find him a name."
"We will when he wakes." Xander nodded and drifted off again. She looked back at the listening official, who was grimacing. "I don't know if they didn't look or they didn't care, but do make them pay for me?"
"Of course. I can't let a cultured woman like you get her nails dirty rending them to pieces." He smirked slightly. "We'll figure out the rest when you let them both wake." He tipped his bowler hat and left after pulling out his pocket watch. He had the full file on the boy, minus how he had gotten to their realm for now. His watch had a key to open a special gate in the basement of the Academy. He used it to get to that other realm, walking into the coven's front room. "Ladies, and I use that term loosely," he sneered. "It seems that you have abridged your duties." That got a few gasps. "I'm Lord Official Morganwaith. Head of our Interdimensional Authority. You left a young man to die, which brought him to our world through the auspices of someone with sense." He tossed down the folder. "Did you not care that she had left that much power inside a fragile mortal shell? Or did you not care because he was male?"
"It shouldn't have affected him," one of the witches huffed.
"Yet he was dying because the draining was also pulling his life force," Morganwaith sneered back. "It's a wondrous thing that our doctors were good enough to save him."
"He's not worthy of our help anyway. If it wasn't for him..." one started.
Morganwaith pulled out the crystal ball of Xander's recent memories. He handed it to her. "She'd be dead," he said simply. "Which may have been for the best with what she's done." She read it and went pale, falling back into her seat. He took the ball back. "You have a nasty habit of not caring about anything other than the will of your precious Council. Yet that has nearly destroyed the earth multiple times. Including this one. After all, the one who brought him to us could have taught him how to drain that power off naturally." The witches shrank away from him.
"For now, the boy is with us. When it's time, he'll be brought back I'm told." He adjusted his cuffs and stared at them again, picking back up the folder. "Do not bother him again. Not that I doubt you would but do not try some mealy minded attempt at retribution. It is really not something *ladies* do." He sneered at the head of the coven. "By that one's actions, I'm sure they'll have a charming battle in about seven months or so. Do have fun with that as there's no way to stop it. I hope your precious Council has a clue what they're doing." He tipped his hat and left. He made his report on the way back up to the infirmary ward. Some decisions had to be made about the boys.
He had looked in their world, finding it something like their own, only stuck back in a horrible time before science or technology. Really, how could that wizarding world live without electricity? It was almost obscene. Nearly as bad as college girls were in Xander's home world. Someone would have to bring the boys into their home so they could be raised properly and taught all they needed to be able to help stop that battle. You couldn't trust seven brainwashed, tortured young women to save the world. That's why there was a military and other offices that did such things.
Though, first, they needed to find out if they had relations here. That may solve some problems.
Xander blinked awake, finding himself sitting up. He looked at himself then around. Why was he in a nightgown? Where was his twin? His twin was brought out of another room and put into the next bed, and he had on a nightgown too. "Why am I wearing a nightgown?"
"Why wouldn't you wear a night dress?" the same nurse asked.
"Girls do that."
"Ah. Well, here, men do as well." She checked his forehead. "The fever's finally gone. Your twin is just out of the bath," she soothed. He nodded. "He'll be waking up soon." She checked him again. "There's people who want to talk to you."
"Can I have guy clothes?" Xander asked. "Or my clothes?"
She snorted. "They're clean but you're not moving so you can stay in that night dress, young man." She went to call them. Lord Official Morganwaith showed up with a folder. "The second one isn't awake yet."
"That's fine. We can talk until he does." He pulled a chair over, looking at the young man. "Good morning, Mr. Harris."
"Morning," he said, sounding exhausted. "Where am I?"
"You're in the infirmary ward of the Salem Academy of Occult Engineering." He smiled. "We noticed there's some books in your realm about a wizarding world?"
"Dawnie reads those."
"We're that same sort of realm but we have more technology and sense. We'd never expect a child to be our hero." Xander nodded once. "The one who brought you here did a very wise thing. You were near death when you showed up."
"I felt like it too."
Lord Official Morganwaith smiled. "I have no doubt. Do you have any questions so far?"
Xander looked at his hands then at him. "How old am I?"
"By most accounts, you're twenty-two. Physically, you're ten." Xander grimaced. He smiled. "I called upon that being that brought you both here to talk about the rules he had built into that deal. It was most kind and I fear he has greater plans for later on. He's using this to make sure a bigger problem doesn't get in his way."
"We've seen others that were planning apocalypse battles take out something else with a plan."
"Exactly." He smiled. "So for now, you're ten. You're going to regrow here, learn a trade or whatever you want to, then you'll be going home once this life for you is over." Xander nodded once. "The magic she poured into you broke some barriers you had within you. Did you know you had some magic?"
"No. I never looked for it. She would've thought I was trying to get back into their good graces again. They thought I was *normal*."
Morganwaith shook his head. "Not hardly. Did they not know about your possessions?"
"Hmm. Blind. Truly blind." He clucked his tongue a few times. "Well, we don't think so here as you do have some particularly strong magic, which you will be training."
"Like in the books? Or like her? Because I don't want to be Willow."
"Like in the books, Xander. We'd never let you become her." Xander relaxed and nodded, swallowing. The nurse got him a glass of water. "We have a few things that you can be trained in. You'll be allowed to pick your subjects within reason but some things you'll have to learn so you can protect yourself and others. Things like how to shield your mind."
"You can do that?"
"Yes. It's not really all that hard."
"I need that." He pointed off to the right. "There's something there that keeps trying to talk to me."
The nurse looked then at him. "She's a former student who died of her injuries. I'll banish her for a bit." She went to do that.
Xander looked at her then at the official's outfit. "Steampunk?"
"Yes, in your world we've had a bit of crossing over." He smiled. "It meant that some of you regained manners and nice dressing." He grinned. "We'll work on your sense of style as you age."
"I need to get a job to pay for that."
"You will when you're older. The same being took all your things from your world and put them into storage for you. Including your bank account before your former girlfriend used it on you."
"I like Anya," Xander admitted.
"She's different and she needs you. It's a good thing for some men." He smiled. "For now, we're going to let you finish resting and healing. Then we'll be taking you to our version of that bank to see if they know of any relatives of yours. We'd expect the you here to have had some."
"Because I couldn't have come if I was alive here," Xander said.
"Exactly." He smiled. "Read it somewhere?" Xander nodded. "Excellent." He patted him on the wrist. "We'll handle things and you'll grow up fine. Then you'll decide what you want to be as an adult." He stood up. "Rest. We'll work on a separate identity for your twin." He stared at him. "May we copy your memories so we know what you've already studied?" Xander nodded. Lord Official Morganwaith pulled out his wand to do that. He let the nurse tuck him in. "I'll be back in two days with the official new life paperwork. By then your twin should be awake." The nurse nodded. "You two can figure out his name between yourselves." He tipped his hat and left. The people of the High Council were not amused at this but they understood why it was going on. Frankly, they'd rather not have to handle a witch like that one at all.
Xander and his twin Philip walked into the bank, looking around at all the arching spans that seemed to disappear into thin air. A lot of exposed metalwork, done on purpose so it was prettier than usual scaffolding or support beams. A huge clock with the gears showing and the numbers done in red crystals. Philip was staring in the other direction at the two airships docked out the huge bay window that faced a large body of water. Xander looked that way and smiled. "Atlantic ocean? We've never been on this coast."
Lord Official Moganwaith looked then smiled. "Boston Bay actually. The Atlantic starts a bit further out." He smiled at them then at the being they were there to talk to. "I had warned your supervisor I was bringing these two to test for families today. Is he available?"
The goblin nodded. "He is in his office. This way please." He led them off. The boys followed, looking at things.
Xander paused and grabbed the official's arm while pointing. "He's going to fall."
Morganwaith looked and froze the person. "I don't believe he should be cutting the glass that way. Should he?" he asked the staring goblins.
"No, not in the least," the one leading them said. "Very nice catch, human." The goblin bowed to him.
"I'm Xander, he's Philip," he said quietly, bowing back. "I'm glad I could help. I didn't want to have to see guts today."
The goblin smiled. "They can be messy, yes."
"Especially when they're demon guts," Philip said. He shook his head quickly, looking at Xander. Who shrugged.
"They are," he agreed. "Thankfully most of them around Sunnydale dusted up."
The supervising goblin came out of his office to stare at him. "You're from Sunnydale?"
"In our world, yes. We were helping the Slayer Buffy. We were born and raised there. Well, I was born and raised there. He's just now split off from me."
The goblin looked at the official, who held up the crystal. "They did, yes. A higher being saved them so they could later save humanity. It meant his own plans weren't interrupted."
"Ah," the goblin said, nodding. "A reasonable explanation. Come into my office. We'll see what we can do." He led them in there while the goblins cleaned up the problem person. He sat behind his desk, looking over the boys. "I can see the spells on you."
"Spells on your glasses or naturally?" Philip asked. "Not to be rude but Willow was trying to do things like that to some reading glasses for Buffy."
"On my glasses," he said with a slight smile. "It's a good question." He opened some books. "What is the original name you were born under?"
"Alexander Lavelle Harris. Son of Tony and Maria Harris."
The goblin looked it up. "Hmm. Your mother died while carrying you here. That explains how you're able to cross over." He flipped a page. "Your father... he was a hunter."
"Like demons?" Philip asked.
"No, like artifacts." The goblin looked up. "What did yours do?"
"Drink," Xander said. "Sometimes some rough trade work like working on the docks or at the coffin factory."
"Interesting." He traced things. "It looks like the family's obsession to find a certain artifact took over his life. Though it is considered mythical." He looked at the official. "The Mirror of Light."
"Spike broke it two years ago," Philip said. "It was with the Ring of whatever that let him go into the sunlight."
"Amara," Xander said. "The Gem of Amara. The stash was under the post office."
The goblin nodded, making note of that. "That town is really closed off to all visitors. It's considered a protected enclave."
"Do they have the hellmouth there?" Xander asked.
"No. Does yours?" Lord Official Morganwaith asked. Xander and Philip both nodded. "That's horrifying."
"No, horrifying was it was under the high school and the mayor was doing an ascension for our high school graduation," Philip said with a grimace.
"Thankfully the germophobe is now gone," Xander quipped.
They high-fived. "We survived it," they said in unison.
The goblin took the memory crystal to read then got up to get something, bringing it out. He sat Xander down and put the leads on his head so they could watch the memories flow past. The crystal hadn't gotten many memories, only ones that dealt with magic. This one saw everything and they could hear talking by others. They came out and read Philip's but it was the same. The goblin put it away and came back with two small boxes. "I need them to try both of those and for the sword we keep, just in case."
"They're dangerous and we've just healed them," Morganwaith complained. The goblin shrugged and handed the boxes to the boys. Who stared at it then switched off and put the rings inside on. Moganwaith looked at them then at the goblin. "Why?"
"They're the heirs of the hunters fraternity. Most these days do not hunt."
"Yes, because it's outlawed."
"Here. They'll be going home where it's not and may be needed," the goblin said.
"Good point." He frowned but let it clear up. "Anything else they need to know about?"
"Hmm. We have noted the visions and the other gifts?"
"Yes, including the healing ones in Philip."
"Good. We will try them with the sword and bow we hold for them. If they're true heirs of the line it will work. If not, we're still waiting on slayers to reappear here."
"They're not here?" Xander asked.
"No, they're not. The last one was blocked from passing her gifts on by the demon she was battling. Then we found out what was going on," Morganwaith said. "We consider it some of the most foul magic possible."
"We hate the Council," Philip said. "They suck to the girls."
"Hmm. Yes they would," Morganwaith agreed. "Thankfully we don't often have problems with demons here. Unless they're directly summoned." He steered the boys out of the office with a hand on their backs, following the goblin down to the small statue of hunters that held a sword, a bow, and a battle axe. Philip moaned, heading for the axe. It came off in his hand, glowing a bit.
Xander shook his head. "They're not speaking to me."
The goblin nodded. "That makes much sense. He's wearing the warrior's ring and you're wearing the researcher's ring, young man." Xander nodded at that. "There's a few things we can do. Including opening the fraternity's center for them to stay in." The official nodded that was fine. "They will need a guardian."
"I can assign Miss Vargath to watch over them. She's only a secretary and wanted a more challenging role. This way she can coordinate their education and training plus manage to get away from her nagging mother." He smiled at them. "She's nagging her to get married."
"That happens sometimes," Philip said. "We almost married Anya."
"I saw," the goblin said. "Very odd." They smiled. "I will make arrangements for their needs to be deposited from the fraternity's accounts." He looked at them. "Then you can replenish it when you're older."
"At what sort of interest?" Xander asked. "I've taken out a loan before for a car."
"We can go over that." The goblin brought them back up to the office to go over that contract. They decided it was a good idea and signed it. They could live on that and if they needed extensive training they could borrow more. Lord Official Morganwaith agreed it was fine and signed as their present guardian. He got them to the house they'd be borrowing and called his secretary in.
The boys looked up at the feeling of power, staring at the woman who walked in. She was a brunette, a bit thin and tired looking, and fashionably dressed in a heavy moss green Victorian dress. She stared down at them. She raised an eyebrow when they stayed silent.
"Not sure if you want us to use your correct name or not," Philip quipped with a grin.
She snorted. "I only have one."
"Yes, you do, Halfrek," Xander said. "How's Anya handling things?"
"She's told them that you're missing but they do not listen."
"Doesn't surprise us any," Xander sighed, then looked at her. "You're really mad?"
"No. We know why and it's a good thing in a few ways. It will mean that a later battle may happen."
"Or we can do to it what we do to prophecies," Philip quipped with a grin.
Halfrek stared at him. "I'm counting on it." They smiled. "Let's get you boys set up." She looked at their boxes of things then at them. "We can sell some of that."
"My Star Trek and comics," Xander complained.
"It would let you set up easier," she said.
"We set up an account since they're wearing heir rings. You're not normal?"
"I'm the vengeance demon over lost childhoods," she said primly then smiled, going to demon face. "I knew I needed to be here but not why. It figures it was these two." She clapped her hands. "The Hawaiian shirts will be going to sale." Xander pouted. "Tough. You don't need shirts you can get demon slime out of at the moment. You won't fit your other clothes for years and they'll be bad by then. You also won't fit in. Therefore we'll do that and then get you something you can properly wear."
"No more nightgowns?" Xander begged.
"Probably not. There are pajamas. We do wear clothes to bed here, boys." They shrugged. "Fine. I'll handle it." She smiled at her former boss. "Thank you for the promotion, sir, and please do check on your young cousin Marissa. She's sounding like she'll need my help some day."
"I'll do that as soon as I get home tonight. Thank you, Miss Vargath." She tipped her head and smiled, shaking his hand before he left. That explained why she made crap tea but knew how to handle pouty officials.
She looked at them. "Let's start by sorting." They sighed but nodded, getting into things. They knew not to argue with a woman, especially a vengeance demon. If nothing else, Anya had taught them that. She smiled at them. "Good choice, boys."
"We can get boxer briefs?" Philip asked.
"They wear tighty whiteys here, boys."
"Crap," Xander complained. "We get rashes from those."
"We'll figure it out." They nodded. She got everything unpacked and looked at it. The clothes got put aside to be dealt with. She found a few things that had demon blood in it and set them aside specially. Those would go for bigger money than selling things to the working people's stores.
"Not the tools," Xander ordered. She nodded, putting them aside with the various knives, stakes, and other weapons. Xander tossed something else onto that pile.
"You won't need those," she said.
"If he brought everything of mine, yes I will since that's the car keys," he said.
"I don't know if the car's here or not," she admitted. "We can find out." They got back to things. He had a few books he had been looking over. Plus a few other things from the store that had been in Anya's stuff apparently. Those got set into a separate pile. "I'll hand those back to Rupert later."
"Why? Anya bought them," Philip said dryly. "She was going to use them to trap D'Hoffryn so she could get her powers back again."
Halfrek sighed, shaking her head. "Not good."
Xander looked at her. "D'Hoffryn killed you. Anya said it was a punishment for her."
"Kind of, but I had ways around that," she said smugly.
"Great. Buffy needs that," Philip said dryly. They got back to sorting. All his books stayed. No matter what she wanted. It didn't leave much going away but it was a good start. He looked at Xander, who shrugged. "He forgot the trunk of stuff we looted from Dracula." She blinked at them. "What? Froofy vampy vamp wore clothes like these guys." He shrugged. "Spike and I did it. He sold most of his."
She leaned over to kiss him on the head. "I can find that."
Xander grinned. "If you can find that can you find other stuff that's hidden? Like the rest of the stash Spike didn't touch that used to hold the Gem of Amara?" She gaped. "Or the stupid crystal tomb? Which I'm sure Mrs. Robinson didn't really want in her grave."
"When?" she squeaked. They grabbed some paper to make notes on what they had spotted on patrol. "Yes, I can look at them and perhaps relieve some of the pressure on them, boys." They grinned. She went home to find their trunks first. Spike had those. Then the others got looked at. She could definitely loot.
Spike walked in on her looting one stash, clearing his throat. He tossed something at her. "I owe the little bastard that."
She tucked it into her pocket. "Thank you, Spike." She smiled. "They're safe."
"I heard. Told Anya so she'd quit fussing. The others don't seem to realize it even when told."
"It's not a spell."
"Never was," he agreed. He shifted his stance. "Angel gave him to us once."
She walked over to stare at him. "You can't claim him, Spike. Not this time." She patted him on the cheek. "Besides, now there's two."
Spike moaned - a deep, soul hurting moan. "The world's going to end."
"No it won't. That'd take a sister of theirs." He looked something up on Dawn's phone, which he had stolen for a few days. He showed her that prophecy. "Oh, well, I suppose it may but that's what's going to happen in a few months. They'll be back in this realm then." She smiled. "But they're not allowed to come help until Buffy comes looking for them to help. That was the price of the deal."
He nodded once. "Figures. This one coming up bad?" She nodded. "Got a clue to give?"
"It's related to the rebirth. You'll need multiple slayers."
"Great." He put the phone back into his pocket. "Red?"
"No idea. By what the few have seen she might need to help." Spike shook his head. "I'm looting to give the boys, who are ten, enough money for a real school and clothes."
"Take the pile on the right," he said with a point. "It's pretty useful across all realms. Nothing too magical."
She laughed. "They landed in a steampunk version of Harry Potter's world, Spike. Also, she opened their magic." He let out another moan, shaking his head. "Oh, yes. I'm their present guardian."
"Have to be better than their old ones," he quipped. She looked confused. "Go check. I don't know how the old mayor managed to block you." He looked smug and pulled out a smoke to light. "Want Anya to help?"
"Nope. She's just fine where she is right now." She checked on that family, growling. "I see." She finished gathering things because D'Hoffryn had noted she was alive. She wiggled her fingers and went home before the higher demon tried to strike her dead again. She looked at the boys, shaking her head. Everything else appeared when she snapped. The boys grinned, going through everything to find what they wanted. She sorted out the magical artifacts, taking them to that same goblin to sell for her. That helped a lot. She could definitely outfit the boys with that. They still expected Wal-Mart prices, not what real things cost.
The boys had no idea what they had just stepped into but neither did the world that had adopted the boys. There was no way they were ready for what chaos one Xander, much less two, could bring.
Xander looked at the shopping area, then at her. "Do we have to get wands like in the books or are we going to be doing it differently?"
"There's a way to find that out. It's not that pleasant." They shrugged. "Fine." She took them to a specialist shop. "I'm Miss Vargath. These are my charges, who were just healed and sent over from another realm."
"I heard. Your former employer wrote me to warn me I should see them," he said. He adjusted his glasses, looking them over. "I sense healing gifts." He pointed at a box. "Put them in singly." She let Philip go first. "Did you end the clause on that twin spell?"
"I did. It's not beneficial in the least." He nodded, taking the paper that got spit out of the side of the box. Philip came out itching but he was fine. Xander stepped in once the light on top was green again. Another paper spit out and he came out scratching his neck. She put some lotion on it to stop that. Philip took the lotion to do his arms, sighing in relief. The older man smiled at them. "It does help. I see healing gifts, I see warrior gifts, I see elemental gifts and I see medium gifts," he said, looking at Philip.
"Few past possessions," he said. "The goblins let me have a pretty battle axe from a statue they had."
"That's why you wear the Fraternity's mark," the old man said. He got them a book on that. "So you can learn of your heritage." He went over the other one. "They'll both need wands but specialist training will be necessary. Hunting and dueling. Healing for one, and it looks like crafting for the other." He looked at him.
"We used to work construction when it was just one of us. We liked it a lot. It felt right. Even after falling into a tomb."
Halfrek stared at them. "You did what?" He hissed in her ear. She blinked. "I'll have that checked." They shrugged. She shook her head. The old man smirked a tiny bit. "It read that?" He nodded, showing her. "Interesting. So they need the Academy?"
"Eventually they'll need there. This year they'll need remedial magic education. I'm sure you can handle that?" She nodded, looking smug. "Good." He pulled down two boxes and filled them. Even she had to wince at some of the things being loaded. "Lord Official Morganwaith left funds for their schooling needs. It will cover this and I'll share what sort of skills they have so they can be noted for future training. Though, I would encourage some normal education as well."
"We suck at book learning," Xander said. "Always have."
Halfrek ran a hand over his head. "We can get around that slight bit of dyslexia, Xander, and we can also fix the concussion damage. Even the original bit that caused that problem." He nodded. "Though, if I see your parents, they're dead."
He grinned. "They're already in a hell of their own making," Philip quipped. "Living better is the best revenge."
She nodded. "Possibly true but they're trying to have another child to get another check." Xander grimaced. So did the older man. "Totally unsuitable."
"It figures. Great powers often come from less great backgrounds."
"Willow's parents were lecturing, traveling shrinks," Philip said. "That explains a lot."
Halfrek looked at them. "She's not that powerful."
"She's the one that restuck Angel's soul curse, twice. The second time permanently," Xander said. She gaped. The twins both nodded. "She is, but she has no sense. She's still thinking like a teenage girl. It's her way or no way. There's..." he waved a hand. "It's a huge amount of shit with her most of the time and I don't know why I stayed outside of needing to be there to help because no one else would."
Halfrek nodded. "Quite. I'll look into her and get onto her new mentors."
"Who ignored we had been hit with black magic," Philip said. "Totally dismissed us once they appeared."
"They're snobs," she said. "Lord Official Morganwaith went to have a talk with them."
"The Council hates us," Xander warned. "They're part of them."
"True. That could be it," she agreed. "We'll go over all that later. We don't tend to air private disputes in public."
Philip pointed. "He's wearing the Council's crest." The man flinched. They stared at him. "Crossed over too?"
"Yes I did. They didn't appreciate men with magic in the coven and the Council itself didn't want us to use any gifts. That's why some of us went bad and some of us traveled."
"And Ethan and Giles broke up before Giles ran back," Xander said dryly.
"Rupert?" the man demanded.
"He's the watcher for our friend Buffy, who we helped," Philip said. "We've seen him and Ethan both."
The man licked his lips. "Hmm. The Council really does hate you two then." They nodded. "Oh, dear." He sighed, considering it for a second then tried to curse them. Xander blocked it instinctively and Philip got him back. He shrieked as he changed into a little chaos magic frog.
Xander looked over the counter at him, grinning and waving. "Magic goes weird around us. He meant to turn you into a mouse." He stood up again, letting Halfrek handle it. He and his twin shrugged. "I wonder how many more Council people there are hiding here."
Halfrek stared at them. "How long did you know?"
"When we walked in. He's Traver's near clone," Xander said dryly. "I'm guessing they're related."
"His younger brother," she said. She called that in. Lord Official Morganwaith showed up. "He's a registered traveler?"
"No, he was not." He looked at the frog then at the boys. "Nice work."
"I tried to make it a mouse but magic goes weird around us," Philip said.
He nodded. "We can figure that out, boys." He patted them on the back. "Go ahead with Miss Vargath to get the rest of your supplies and clothes while we clean up this mess."
"Sorry," Xander said. "The old Council wants us dead."
"They want his kind dead even worse," the official said smugly. "There's millions of dollars on their heads. There's barely a million on you two." Halfrek stared. He nodded. "We checked."
"How are we going to deal with stuff like training we might need at home?" Philip asked.
"We have things that are equivalent. Not cars, because I saw yours. It's in storage." They nodded. "You could probably sell it to a museum."
"We might like that," Xander said. "Though the loan's still slightly outstanding. We had two payments left."
"Use the money to pay it off," Halfrek said. "Sorry, sir."
"Better them than us doing it. Let us take memory readings for the trial." He did that and the boys were led off by Halfrek, who was muttering under her breath. "Well, that's happy making," he decided. Their version of aurors walked in and picked up the frog then searched the building for anything they should not have. There was a lot of cross-dimension contraband, including a tv.
"Why do we have to wear vests?" Philip asked. He was trying not to whine.
"Because it's fashionable here and men do that," Halfrek said simply. "Only the lowest of the low would wear jeans."
"So guys like we grew up as?" Xander quipped, staring at her.
"Yes, but you're not there now. You're here. Guys cleaning up fields of cow dung wear jeans. Boys and young men who are doing something beyond that are expected to wear better pants, a real shirt with buttons, and a vest or coat." She stared at them. "You're going to have to live up to my standards here, boys, because you looking sloppy looks horrible on me. You looking like you don't belong will get their version of CPS called." They nodded and sighed. "Thank you."
"Will we have to wear robes in school?" Philip complained.
"Long vest robes." They groaned but slumped and went to change into something less comfortable. "At least I let you two buy boxers," she called after them.
"If you hadn't, you'd be taking us to the doctor every few weeks for cream for the rash the other stuff causes," Philip quipped. "Not that boxers don't cause a few of their own."
"That's probably a bathing issue," she complained.
Xander came down. "It's actually a sweat issue. I get sweat rashes very badly and it's like a diaper rash only worse. I've had a few break open. The doctor had to order my mother to buy me boxerbriefs after the sixth time suggesting it in eight months and thirteen visits."
Halfrek stared at him. "Really?" He nodded. "Crap."
"Basically," Xander agreed.
She pulled out a pipe and lit it up but Philip took it from her to toss out. "Hey!"
"They're bad for us," Philip said firmly. "I don't need lung cancer." He walked off. "I'm making a sandwich. Xander?"
"Please." He followed.
She huffed, going to make them lunch. They were capable enough for minor things and she could teach them more. She'd straighten out their funny ideas later.
It took ten days to realize that unscrewing the boy's funny mental problems would take a whole personality transplant, removing the memory of Willow ever being around, and destroying the fundamental nature of what a Xander was. Then she realized she was sending them to boarding school in a few months. So they were really some other poor sap's problem for all but two months out of the year. She nearly cackled in delight.
Xander and Philip looked around the school their first day. It was boring. It was just as dirty as the one in the books Dawn liked so much. Though no talking or moving paintings. The first person they ran into stank like he hadn't had a bath in a few days, and that was a teacher. Another teacher they met smelled like rotting carrion but something in Philip twinged and said that one was sick. Maybe that was the reason for the smell. The headmistress was staring at them expectantly.
"Just taking stock of our surroundings," Philip said, looking at the one teacher. "I'm told I have slight healer gifts."
"You're probably feeling something from me," she agreed with a gentle smile. "It's not fixable but it does lend me this amazing...aroma."
"We noticed," Xander said, then he smiled. "We're just glad you don't stink like a vampire. We used to have to tie one up in our old apartment when Giles kicked him out."
The headmistress cleared her throat. "It's not nice to tell tales, boys," she said firmly.
Xander smirked at her. "Ma'am, it's not a tale. We were sent here and deaged. We might not be the best in bookwork because our school was pathetic, but we're generally honest about most things unless it's *that* important." She glared. He stared back.
"There was only one of us until we got sent here," Philip said dryly.
The teacher that desperately needed a bath nodded. "So said the officials that got you enrolled. We are one of the better schools there are."
Xander looked at him. "We don't really get books if that matters. We can read, we do read when we're interested, but we get nothing from book work."
"Some students don't. What did you do before?"
"Construction," Philip said with a smile. "Indoor crew lead when we were sent here."
"Why were you sent here?" the headmistress demanded.
"Because we had a witch that lost her lifemate just after she cleaned up an addiction to black magic," Xander said. "And I stopped her from making everyone on our planet feel what she did." She went pale, shaking her head. He grinned. "I take it you know Willow?"
"We grew up with her," Philip quipped. "Since we were five. She's been the most nagging mother sort ever at times but she was a good friend most of it."
The headmistress cleared her throat. "You must forget those lives."
"I'm told we'll be back there when we die here," Xander said.
"It doesn't work that way," she said coldly.
"It kinda does because we had to be saved from the poisoning her shooting magic at us caused," Philip said. "We were sent to the Salem Academy." He pointed behind him. "About six miles that way. We spent nearly a month in their charming, nice smelling infirmary." He smiled. "The nurse was excellent when she helped us, even if we did fight being put into nightdresses and bed baths."
The teacher that stunk nodded. "As we were told, boys. It would be easier on you if you could temporarily put that aside."
Xander leaned over to look at him better. "We were hunting vampires with a slayer then," he said bluntly. "Some things you don't forget. Like the ascension battle for our graduation." The man shuddered. "We'd love to take the lessons we can but we are honest. We suck at some things. Algebra, sometimes in English class, we don't really write good essays. We tend to see things a bit differently than most kids will because we grew up practical and tending to ourselves. While we don't have any experience in magic, we can do other things fairly well."
"We can test you," the sick teacher said, smiling at them.
"Must we retake algebra if we fail that part?" Philip asked. "We couldn't pass it with Willow cheating for us."
"Yes. Especially for later healing and crafting training we were told your gifts lay toward." She smiled. "I'll get the tests." She walked off and came back with a thick book of paper that was hand stitched but tied with ribbon. "Find different corners." They did and got handed pencils then booklets. "There's another four after that one." They nodded and started into them by untying the top ribbon so they could put sheets aside once they were done. "We really should get their records, Headmistress."
"Getting them from the high school in Sunnydale might be a bit difficult since we blew it up to prevent the ascension from happening," Philip said absently. "They didn't report to the state because the old mayor was evil and using us as feeding supplies."
"I'm still proud we got it under fifteen percent last year before she died," Xander added with a grimace. "Eww, math," he sighed but he dug into it. "Can they be translated into practical problems like measurements?"
"Do them as they are but if that helps you, make notes to the side. It'll only help your teachers when they go over things." They nodded and dug back in. She watched what they were doing, smiling some. They were skipping the higher maths but doing good at the lower ones. She spotted one. "Xander, that is in measurements."
He looked up. "It's in chemistry. We didn't take chemistry. By then we had no science teacher because the shape changing demon ate him and they didn't hire a new one." She sighed but nodded. "Is that the same as measuring to bake?" She nodded so he worked that out to the side and moved on. Philip was staring at the same problem and then moved it to that. That helped him too.
Hallie showed up that night to check on them. "How did you do?"
"The headmistress hates us," Xander quipped with a grin.
Philip nodded. "We were honest. She called us liars and we proved her wrong. We spent most of the day taking tests. So we're mostly out of regular classes, outside a few math and english things and a science class or seven." Hallie winced.
"Why are there such varied standards?" Philip asked. "The kids here in the dorm don't believe in bathing," he said very quietly, glancing around their private room.
She grimaced. "That's sad."
"Sad is a teacher's sick so she's got a BO problem," Xander said. "We can understand that. But otherwise...." He winced and pointed. "Teacher's here, Step Mom."
"I'm only your keeper, young man." She opened the door to stare at the teacher. "Good evening. I popped in to check on my charges."
"They're good boys. Bit of a smartass. Bit of a problem since half the teachers wonder what's wrong with them."
"We're just us," Xander said with a smile. "We always have been."
"No one else could ever be us," Philip agreed.
"Hmph. Charity cases."
"No, we sold some of our possessions to afford a decent education," Philip said. "That is how it's done, isn't it?" He stomped off. The boys looked at Hallie.
"That is," she agreed. "We'll discuss that since I believe they got the headmistress." She waved a hand in front of her face. "This is...so very sad. It's calling on my duty." The boys smiled. "I remember the first time we were like this and it wasn't this bad." She looked out there. Then at her charges. "I don't think they meant for you to go here."
Philip shrugged. "Not like we didn't grow up lower class, Hallie. We've seen plenty of poor people and poor kids."
"I know." She looked at the headmistress stomping her way. "I'm Miss Vargath, their keeper while they're here." She held out a hand. The woman sneered at her. "I showed up to check on my charges, make sure they were settling in all right since they didn't have boarding schools where they lived."
"They don't belong here. They belong with other troubled boys at the home," she sneered.
Hallie stared at her. "Really?" She changed into her demon form, staring at her. "I'm the vengeance demon over lost childhoods, madam." The woman stepped back, looking scared. "I do believe you are not appropriate for these children or any of them. I will be fixing that. If only so the children are encouraged to bathe properly." She ran off. Hallie went back to human face, hugging one of the teachers. "Why are you here?"
"With my illness I can't really get other work."
"That's tragic. I wanted the boys to learn underneath you. I'll see what I can do."
"We are the only home some children have, Halfrek."
"I realize that but it should still be a fit home. Not one that encourages young women to be pregnant instead of study or encourages such stink from the students." She looked at the teacher stomping in. "Go. Bathe," she said, adding power to the order. He ran off to do that. She looked at the teacher again. "Let me get someone to clean this house. I'll assume you can handle running it until they can find someone better?"
"Someone not like the orphanage lady on the Annie musical?" Philip suggested.
"Gladly," Hallie agreed, staring at him. "That is my job." She pulled out a phone and flicked it open, activating the tiny floo connection. "Lord Official Morganwaith, I have just run into a problem with the boys. The school *someone* picked is not fit for human habitation. I only sense two teachers here who are suitable, and one is a bit ill so she was forced from a better school."
He looked at her. "Why are you at the charity school?"
"This is where we were sent by your office."
"I'll straighten the new secretary out. She makes better tea than you but has less sense."
"She's probably looking to go on her knees," Hallie said dryly. "Women like her are only in it for the marriage."
"Point. Where are you?"
"Here." He nodded. "Please bring someone from the schools oversight? And tell him to stop up his nose. Only one person here should stink this much." She hung up.
Philip got up and frowned, looking around. He walked off, finding the problem he was being drawn to. "Hi," he said. "I've got healer gifts. I'm sensing a problem."
"I don't want saved," she said firmly, nearly shrieking.
"I don't want to save the baby, dear. I'd rather save you." She panted, staring at him. He stared back. "Let me?" She nodded, moving closer. He laid a hand on her stomach. His senses were telling him how to heal the child but he overrode it. He healed the mother and used the child's essence to do that. She moaned and held her stomach but nodded and went into a stall.
Halfrek came in to help her. "There's easier ways to do that, child," she said gently. "I'll teach you how so you can share it." She ended the pregnancy and healed her, letting Philip put the finishing touches on it. "Bed, Philip. One does not run around in night clothes." He nodded, going back there. Hallie stepped back and nodded. "You'll be fine, child." She stared at her. "Do you know who attacked you?"
"I... I'm a teacher's assistant."
"Hmm. Unless you're on an adult level, you had no ability to consent."
"It's the way it is."
Halfrek went to demon face, shaking her head. "I'll be damned." The girl's eyes went wide. She smiled. "I'm Halfrek."
"They have protections against you."
"The twins I watch over got sent here." The girl relaxed and nodded. Hallie went back to human looking. "Take normal monthly precautions and go to bed." She walked out, washing her hands. The officials were already there. She gave her former boss a look and he went to talk to that young woman. The twins were napping against each other. The officials were horrified when they looked. The one teacher was put in charge and they felt sympathy for her plight. Some of the teachers got a good scrubbing when they went to jail and the rest were ordered to so the investigative team could breathe around them the next day. Hallie stayed with the boys, making sure none of the children in the dorm were harmed. There were a few attempts but they were quickly stopped. Especially when one woke Philip up and he went after them with his specially gifted axe.
Philip and Xander looked around their new school then at Halfrek. "This is one of the best schools in the country, boys, and where I wanted you placed." They smiled. "They also bathe here fairly regularly."
"We heard about the other one," the teacher coming down to meet them said. "I feel great sorrow for Melinda having to handle it."
"She'll have to do a lot of hiring." Halfrek smiled. "This is Philip and Xander Harris." She touched each one on the head.
"Charmed, boys," she said, shaking their hands. They smiled at her. "Do we have anything on their prior schooling?"
"We took a lot of tests yesterday," Xander said. Halfrek handed them over.
"We don't always learn well from books," Philip said. "Math has been a problem more than once. We do well in practical things though."
The teacher nodded. "Some children do." She looked over the tests, smiling at the same answers. "You are twins."
"Now," Xander agreed.
"I heard." She smiled. "All that's important at this moment is now. Later you train for adult things and things at home." They relaxed and smiled. "Halfrek, I'll take it from here."
"Have fun with them. They do play pranks now and then."
"I'd hope so. They're children now." She walked them off to the headmaster's office. He was a young guy, with a beard, but dark hair and he looked a tiny bit evil. "The Harris twins, Headmaster."
He looked them over then nodded. "You'll do." They stared back. He smiled. "We've seen weirder than you two. Including students that were actively possessed."
"No, the hyena's quiet these days," Xander said.
"I just realized I don't have her," Philip said, looking at him. Xander shrugged. "Huh."
The headmaster laughed, nodding. "You'll definitely do." The teacher handed over the tests. "You were there. That's a good reason to find the faults so she could get in. By law, schools are not allowed to block out vengeance demons if they are there for a good cause, and they know they are to tell us if they're called here."
"I think she's going to be busy with some of the students there," Xander said.
"Especially since I had to help someone miscarry last night because she was a teacher's assistant," Philip added.
"Then they deserve to be punished at the highest extent of the law. If you find one here, do let us know," the headmaster said, staring at them. They nodded. "Good. Let's get you assigned your various things. You'll need a room, you'll need lessons, you'll need time in the gym." They nodded. "Do you have supplies?" They pulled out their rolling steamer trunks and they expanded. "Charming of her." He settled in to go over what they needed to do today and tomorrow then how to find their rooms. They were sharing a private room so they didn't get upset by actual children who were mostly happy.
35 years by one calendar, 7 months by another.
Xander and Philip landed in their original realm, looking around. Both had shoulder-length hair. Both had pale-ish skin thanks to the last few months. Both had on regular pants, which was closer to what they would've called dress pants before, but they were both wearing waist cinchers with weapons and a vest overtop of them. Xander's cincher was brown leather and had three buckles across the front. The vest was black and red brocade. Philip's waist cincher was a black strip of snaps that held it closed, wires that connected it to both sides of stretchy cords that held a number of knife and other holsters, plus two guns on the back. His vest overtop of it was a leather one that wasn't very fancy but it was very soft and supple.
Philip's glee looked a bit maniacal. Xander's looked a bit more like a smirk. They were both wearing jewelry that looked a bit odd. They both had leather wristbands that had a skeleton key embossed on the top of it. Xander's other wrist had a metal bracelet, bronze and silver, that had coils. You could feel it gathering electricity around it. Philip's 'watch' had a round case with two battling dragons on top of it, again bronze and silver, and a little pointer on the top of the case underneath the leaf motif done in silver wire. They both wore a broach to hold their collars closed, both having eyes on them. Xander's was a golden eye with flames around it and wings supporting it on top of another skeleton key. Philip's looked like a blue/silver eye in the center of a bunch of randomly wrapped wire rings.
Philip looked around then at his watch. "Do you have the other one?"
"Yup." He held up the small bracelet that had little balls, engraved to look like planets, between a repeating curve of bronze. It looked a little bit like a snake with worlds between the bends. The other thing he had was a necklace that had a small line of gears ending in a small green crystal. It was pretty, and useful in some things. "Are you sure we should unpack here?"
"No. Not here. We'll need to get an apartment."
"I think we rented one before we got switched back," Xander said. He looked at the folder of stuff Lord Official Morganwaith's successor had set up for them. "Yup, apartment near the college and that's four years ago." He shook his head with a sigh. The present Lord Official was a former schoolmate of theirs and a bit of a bastard but it happened. How he had figured out they could handle that little bit of time slipping they weren't sure. "But we can fix that."
Philip nodded, adjusting his watch. They went back four years to go to college on this realm. It was a tiny bit different than it was at their other home. Including that no one thought about how to make necessary things pretty. Xander did set up a shrine to Thor and put the pretty necklace Thor had given him on it to consecrate it. It was so nice of him to have not killed them for accidentally waking him up.
They could spend the four years going to graduate studies and teasing girls. It was good for them to tease girls. Halfrek would be pleased.
Xander looked up from his crafting a few days into their new lives, after they had spent that four years. It was time for them to graduate and figure out where they were going. Philip was walking into their apartment with envelopes. "Which one are you doing?"
"PPTH." He tossed it down on the breakfast bar and handed Xander his. "Why did you want to do law enforcement stuff?"
"It sounded nice," he admitted. "I can handle problems."
Philip stared at him. "Not really."
"We can help hide the demons."
"I like the lab stuff."
"I get that. You can try to hide the demon stuff." Xander nodded. "Answer yours so they know to hold a spot for you. Then you can decide on lab stuff." Xander grinned, hugging him before going back to what he was building. "Is that a temporal loop?"
"Why are you building another one?"
"Backup in case your watch breaks." He looked over. "We broke the last one."
"Good point. Though we didn't break it, the demon we were battling broke it." Xander nodded that was true and got back to work. Xander did a lot of magical crafting of items while Philip was a healer and the better fighter. He pulled down his epee to practice for a bit. It was very stress relieving. He could imagine the bimbo that wouldn't leave him alone on the other end.
Xander shook his head. "Just tell her no."
"I can't. She's my teacher."
"Tell another teacher?"
"Pity. I can distract her."
"Not even you're that needy," he said dryly. It was a good thing that Philip got most of the girls. Xander was more picky. Philip needed to get the energy out so multiple lovers was nice. Even if some of his used to greet him with a slap on the face for not calling all that often. Xander's got downright possessive and Philip had to send the demons they were needing to fight to rescue him so they could get on with it. Two of them, not very amused. The third Xander had killed because he was in the middle of making her scream like a woman being set on fire. Then she had cooed about it when Philip had shown up. She had liked twins. It was very kind of her. Even if they did have to pay a huge fine for being so noisy.
Xander grinned. "I doubt the teacher would like twins."
"She doesn't believe we're twins and likes to make fun of my vests."
"She's not worthy of it but fuck her and her opinion. She's not worthy of us." Xander pulled a tool off the back of his vest to finish the work he was doing. "There, pretty." He put it aside and got to work fixing something they had broken. The remote control for the stereo was really flimsy.
Philip grinned, going to make dinner. He wasn't as good as Xander but good enough.
Buffy looked at what was going on and looked at Giles. "We need more help."
"We heard Xander's around," he said quietly.
"He's...he hasn't been here."
"He had to be healed," he said more firmly. "Because none of us cared if he would've died that night. The only ones who noticed he was missing were Anya and Spike. He could have laid dead in his apartment for days before anyone found him." She slumped but nodded. "Now, do you wish to call him?"
"We might need him. At the very least he can handle a side as long as he's not too injured still." She pushed her hair back.
"You rang?" a familiar voice said as two men walked out of the shadows. "All you had to do was call."
She stared at them. "Did Toth hit you again?"
"It halved the magic so we weren't dying as fast," Philip said. Buffy slumped. Willow refused to look at him. "Thankfully, the world we ended up on was very good. The healers there took good care of us since we were ten when we got there. We learned a lot." He smiled at Giles. "Including why you keep rubbing at that former tattoo." Giles gaped. Xander shrugged, pulling out a knife. Philip turned and threw one at the demon coming up behind them. The demon screamed and died. "Hmm, pretty."
Xander looked then shrugged. "You used the wrong one, Philip. Silver only kills him, not banishes him." He pulled something out of a pocket and threw the tiny bottle on the demon. It went 'poof' explosively and was gone. Buffy had to wipe a few spots off her pants but oh well. Philip got his dagger again. He looked at Buffy. "How, when, where?"
"We have to go in to fight her."
"We have the seven slayers it'll take?" Philip asked.
"No," Buffy sighed. "It does?" They nodded. "You looked it up?"
"Yup," Xander said with a grin. "You need the scythe, which Giles should know about." They looked at him.
"I... yes, them," he said, nodding and leading her that way so they could talk to the holders of the scythe and the slayer spirit. "Willow, show them to the mansion."
"We know where it is," Philip said. "We've been told everything by a few contacts." He looked over at the squeal. "Anya," he said.
"Hey, Ahn," Xander said with a grin and a wave.
"Why do you have long hair and why are you twins?" she demanded. "Where have you been! I haven't had orgasms in months!"
"Well, we've been on the east coast and another realm," Xander said dryly. "We're twins because it saved us."
Philip nodded. "And we're twins because we're just too much for one body." He smirked. "As for orgasms, nope. Not before the battle you're not." She glared, tapping a foot. He stared at her. "It's a long held ritual."
"It's not," Willow said.
Xander stared at her. "We had thirty-five years over there, Willow. Yes it is." She backed down at that. He pulled something off his neck and put it on Anya's. "My protection as a warrior," he said quietly, staring into her eyes. She blinked, tearing up. "So you'll be as safe as you can be during the battle." He kissed her on the forehead.
"You're not coming back?" she asked.
"He's got to go do his residency," he said with a head-nod at Philip. "I'm doing mine soon too. We're on the east coast." He smiled.
"Because it's what we're doing this life," Philip said. "My healing gifts are good."
She swallowed. "You are?" He nodded. "That explains why you had so much stamina."
Philip snorted, smirking at her. "Survive and you can test it." He handed over a letter from his back pocket. "From Halfrek."
"But she died," she said.
"She went there." She ripped it open to read, swallowing hard. Xander stared at her, pushing her chin up. "Up to you." She nodded. He took his necklace back and sent her to her best friend. "She'll be safer there," he told Willow. "Otherwise she would've died during the battle."
"Same end result of her not being here but now we know she's happy with Hallie and having tea probably." Willow huffed. He shrugged. "It happens."
"You learned magic," she accused.
"We had to learn magic," Philip said, staring her down. "Because you opened it in us. We have a lot of magic. We used to horrify the schools of magic. That meant extra lessons in more than fencing and other fighting things. Or my healer training." Xander sighed but nodded. "Or his crafting training."
"I almost miss the old workshop but I needed to fix the water tower again," Xander said. "Maybe I'll build a new one and stock it."
"Some year," Philip promised with a grin. Someone screamed and came at them so Xander shot them. "Nice."
"Thank you." He put his gun back under his vest. "Not that hard." He looked at her. "Call tomorrow when Buffy's back. We're done for the semester outside of graduation." They disappeared.
Willow slumped, looking around. "This is so wrong," she complained. "So very wrong." Spike lit up a cigarette, showing he was there. "Did you know about that?"
"Heard rumors," he said. "Twins of chaos and hell born." He took a drag. "They did good work over there defending their people from stuff. Like an alien invasion." He walked off. "Might want a weapon since it's dark."
She huffed off after him back to the mansion. It wasn't right! Even if it had been her fault it wasn't right.
Xander showed up the next day wearing a t-shirt that had a ray gun with curved tubes and read 'elite duelists' on it. Buffy stared at him then grimaced. He looked down then at her. "We both won championships. We refused to duel each other but they understood that." He smiled. "We won three in the last ten years."
"With a movie ray gun?"
"Well, we do have a ray gun, but it's more practical than pretty. I need to finish working on the pretty parts." He smirked a tiny bit. "But no, we were dueling mages."
"Magic?" He nodded. "Why?"
"Because that's what we do, Buffy. We protected a lot of people that way." She nodded, still grimacing. "So, let's see what plans you have. Philip's dealing with his teacher that he doesn't want who wants to screw him into the blackboard in her office." He came over to look over things with her. He pointed out flaws in the battle plan, helping her straighten it out. She relaxed and he gave her the spell Willow would need.
"You're sure?" she asked.
"Yup." She nodded, taking it to Willow.
Giles walked in, staring at the t-shirt then at him. "You were where that man came from?"
"Yes. Lord Official Morganwaith was overseeing us since we were technically aliens. He made sure we got into decent schools, that we were doing our best. He nagged us about dating before Hallie could because they're pretty much Victorian over there. He helped me find an internship I wanted and Philip the healing program he wanted because the local one there was sucktastic. He made sure we had trainers so we learned what we needed to know as the heirs to the former demon hunting fraternal order they had." Giles sat down with a sigh. "Philip's hell on a battlefield."
"Doesn't that bother his healing skills?"
"No. Some it would but we don't have empathy like that." He waved a hand around. "All this stuff broke that before we started school."
"I see." He stared at him. "Now what?"
"Philip's got a residency in a few months. I've got an engineering one and then lab work I need to do one for." He smiled. "I'm a crafter."
"That's ...I actually expected that in some ways with the way you handled carpentry and the like." Xander nodded. "Spouses?"
"No. We didn't want to and didn't think it was prudent with the life we had to live."
"Probably not. I heard about the deal."
"It sure beats dying," he said dryly. Giles winced. "But his plan's not as stable as he thinks either and I'm not forbidden from stepping in there." He grinned. "We'll see what happens."
"That's the best we could hope for. I didn't want it to come down to you fighting the girls."
"It's not against the slayers." Giles stiffened. "That was a true demon, Giles, not one of ours."
"Like the ascension?"
Giles sucked in a breath then nodded. "Then no, that's not technically what the girls would handle but I dare say some of them would be there."
"Some of us will," he agreed. "This one cut into theirs."
"That figures." He looked at him. "Are you well?"
"I'm good. Bit sore from the alien invasion last month but okay." Giles nodded. "Hallie sent Anya a letter. Since my vision said she'd die, I kindly sent her there."
"It's reversible?" Xander shook his head. "Then that's the same outcome basically, and I'm sure she'd be happier there."
"Probably. I even left her some stuff to play with." He grinned. Philip appeared, shaking his head. "Escaping her husband?"
"She got caught chasing me around the room by the building's security guard. She tried to say it was a game I had started until I pointed out I was trying to get away from her and her evil talons of whoredom. The guard was not amused but called the Chair, who nicely had gotten the packet of pictures and tapes I had left for him." He sat down in another chair, watching the slayers watch them. "We're magnificent but not that way," he said finally. "You can ask us things."
"Who are you?" one asked.
"I'm Xander, that's my twin Philip," Xander said with a smile. "We helped Buffy until about seven months ago. She called in an SOS."
"My watcher said that slayers don't get help."
"He's full of shit," Philip said. "Because that's why Buffy's still alive. Even without the whole reviving thing. Slayers with backup last a lot longer than ones who go out on their own. Who watches your back on patrol?"
"That's up to us," another said.
Giles shook his head. "No. Buffy lasted for years before dying due to having people there to help her. With Willow and Xander, she was able to handle a number of higher level problems that she would've died doing alone."
"He's right," Buffy said, coming down the stairs. "The reason I lasted for years was Xander and Willow helping." She patted that one on the head. "When it's your turn, you'll find people who want to help you too." The girl smiled and nodded. She looked at Philip's dress pants and vest, then at Xander's jeans and t-shirt. "Wow, you're very dressed up."
"I just got out of my last class and avoided the teacher trying to molest me," he said dryly. "Certain things are expected in medical school."
"Like...being a doctor?" Buffy asked. Philip nodded. "Why?"
"Because it makes use of my skills and I like being a doctor, Buffy. The same as my wonderful twin loves being an engineer." Xander grinned at her. "Plus working on weapons for a future crime lab."
"You do?" she asked. Xander nodded. "Huh. Okay. Are you going with us?"
"We're going to be in New Jersey if you need us."
"I guess that's not that far away with planes and stuff." She went to talk to her slayers. It'd cheer her up. The guys shrugged at each other and went back to making sure the weapons were good and how to handle things.
Philip limped in his first day of his residency, nodding at his fellow residents. "Hola, my fellow slaves to the hospital." He sat down and rubbed his leg with a wince. He saw the looks. "Fight." They shrugged it off. The head of the residency program came in to talk to them. Philip raised his hand when he got to one confusing point. "Sir, some of us aren't general students." He pulled out his paperwork at the dirty look he got.
"You're supposed to be in the other room."
"They told me I needed to be in here."
"I'll straighten that out with her later. She does it every year." Philip nodded, putting that away. "Permanent injury?"
"Saving some female semi-friends from some assholes trying to beat them to death," he said. "Temporary but a few more days."
"Good." He got back to the lectures. The guy needed the same information. When they were done he walked him that way. "You managed to mis-direct one yet again," he sneered at her.
"I don't remember hiring any handicapped residents," she sneered back.
"Then it's good it's a temporary injury thanks to me saving a few women," Philip shot back coldly. She flinched. "Though I do believe that's discrimination." He stared at her and sat down. "I got the beginning lectures on where everything was, ma'am. Is there anything different we went over that you made me miss?"
"You're uppity," she sneered.
"No, only when you make me be."
"I bet you're some rich kid."
He laughed, a bitter, cold sound. "Really? You think that two parents on a check for being drunks are rich? That's odd. Though yes, I did pay for my own schooling." She backed down. "Now," he said more pleasantly. "Are you done trying to alpha dog me because I've got a penis?" A few of the girls in there laughed. "It's bad enough I had to turn in a teacher for trying to molest me by force and blackmail." He stared at her. "Did we have separate handouts in here?" She tossed them at him and stomped off. He wiggled his fingers. "Have a good trip! Bring back souvenirs." He checked them over and filled out the two he hadn't done in the other class. Another woman stomped in. "Ma'am, I'm sorry I had to show my baser instincts but she started it. No matter how childish that sounds." She stared at him. He smiled. "She misdirected me and kept going because apparently a temporary injury is an evil thing to her." He rewound his tape recorder and let her hear it.
She snorted. "She's got an attitude problem. Do you?"
"No, only when people start with me." He smiled. "I've met people who do that *so* much better than she does." A few of the other students laughed. "All I wanted to do was to start my first day like a normal person."
"Fine," she snorted, walking off. "Finish the paperwork. I'll have it input and send someone down to deal with you."
"Thank you, ma'am." He finished filling things out, shaking his head. "I hate it when those things happen," he muttered. Someone limped in and he handed over the packet. He got a dirty look. "I did the rest with the other class she sent me to, Doctor House."
"You know me?"
"I did six weeks following you and you pretended I didn't exist then too," he said dryly. "Thankfully I learn a lot by watching assholes in action." House burst out laughing. Philip sat down again.
"Temporary. Stopping a fight."
"Good. They might think I'm cloning you or something."
Philip smirked at him. "I doubt my twin would like that since he likes engineering things."
"You're a twin?" House demanded.
"Yes, I am." He smiled. "Xander's at home right now. He starts tomorrow with his internship."
"Damn. Usually they only hire female twins."
"I'm super special," he said with a drawl and a grin. "And I'm amazing." He pulled something out of his packet to toss over. "From one of the teachers up at Princeton."
House read it and then stared at him. "You finally got rid of her?"
"The guard caught her." He grinned.
"Good!" He nodded. "Let's go, plebes." They followed him up the hall to all the interesting places, and a few things they were supposed to be seeing as well. The last stop was in the morgue. He pulled out a drawer. "What killed him?"
They all looked then at him. One brave woman raised her hand. "We're not ME's and there's been no autopsy done. Wouldn't that be necessary to determine a cause of death?"
"The stuff in his eyes point to a poisoning of some sort," Philip said. "See the off-color? That's only with poisons. I've seen a few cases here and there." He shifted to smell above her mouth. "I smell incense. Ritual?"
House shrugged. "We have no idea. How do you?"
Philip smiled. "My life has been a bit odd here and there, Doctor House. I'm not telling otherwise but I'd have to say it was swallowed or absorbed somehow." He backed up. "No obvious signs of struggling like bruising or marks to indicate he was tied down."
"Good point. We think it was in an enema."
"Which points to a probable strange cult ritual sort of thing," another one said. "Interesting case. Ours to study, sir?"
"No, something we're all trying to figure out." He stared at them. "Either of you two have something you want to declare?"
"No, I'm perfectly nice about such things. I know a few who practice Wicca," Philip said at the continued stare.
"Huh. So weird women who really love nature," House said. Philip nodded. "Sisters?"
"One was close to me and the other was her girlfriend before she died. But if you see the redhead, run. You don't want to talk to her. It might encourage her to do things."
House shook his head as he walked off. He'd figure that one out soon enough. Though that one hadn't really lied, just glossed over the truth a bit. He sent the residents home and went to recover. The administrator walked into his office. "Real cute new group, Cuddy. And finally a male twin."
"There is? Both?"
"One. The other's an engineer."
"I did not know that. Is that the one in the vest?" House nodded. "There's something weird about him."
"I noticed that." He stared at her. "He guessed fairly well at that one death."
"Claimed he knew a few nature lovers."
"Weird rituals so I guess that's normal." She shrugged. "He didn't fill out the whole packet?"
"He was in the other group. She did it again."
"I'll straighten her out and keep them apart." He handed over that letter, making her huff a small laugh. "About time." She left to make her notes. Residents always had problems. This one may just have other problems as well.
Philip showed up the next day looking calm and professional, and without the cane but still limping. He nodded at his instructor as he signed in. "I was told nine. Wasn't that right?" he asked, checking his watch.
"It was but I doubt you want to wear that much jewelry, Harris."
He tucked the necklace inside his shirt. "I promised my twin I'd wear it for protection." He smiled. "He worries sometimes."
"I need it, don't I?"
"Fine. If it gets broken it's your fault."
"Of course and then I'd have my brother fix it. He built it." She shook her head as they walked off together. "Where am I hovering to stare in confused awe today, ma'am?"
"ER." She turned him over to his trainer. They shook hands and walked off together talking about the current case. She went to gather the others that were supposed to show up at nine. Philip had at least been prompt. Three others weren't. At least one came in by ambulance with the cause of the other two being late, doing CPR on the car crash victim. She followed to help.
House found Philip in the cafeteria reading a comic book. "Shouldn't that be a textbook or journal, Harris?" he said blandly.
Philip looked up. "If I only study then I get bored and I have to do things to cure it. At least this way I get a mental break from all the problems. You can sit with me if you want, Dr. House. I've only got another ten minutes." He went back to reading and eating.
House sat down, taking the comic book to put on the table. "You're not like the others."
"No I'm not."
"You're more polite."
"Hallie would've been appalled if I wasn't."
"Caretaker for a few years."
"Nanny? You?" he snorted.
"Not exactly." He smiled. "Longer story, don't share that one. Sorry," he quipped.
"Are you that into steampunk?"
He looked at himself then at House. "Not exactly but Hallie was so she got to buy the clothes. We didn't care as long as we were comfortable. She insisted."
"You need to look more normal."
"I don't care what others think of me, Dr. House. That's their mealy minded opinion on my clothes. I have more important things to worry about than if they like my shirt." He smiled. "I'm professionally dressed and clean, that's all that should matter."
"You look like you're uptight."
"I'm not uptight by most standards. Really I'm a bit wild. I just can't do that in the ER."
"No, not likely. Which field are you going into?"
"I was thinking GP but I'm considering something along the lines of plastic surgery." He shrugged. "I've got time to make that choice."
"You do." He stared at him for a moment. "Where are you from?"
"Sunnydale. The town just got sank the other day. It's been on the news." He grimaced. "At least that bit of hell is no more." He tucked his comic into his bag and got up. "I'm going to be late. If you want to ask some more questions I'll be on again the same time tomorrow." He walked off. He ran into two people fighting in the halls. "Don't make me pull a sword," he warned. That made them stop so he shoved them apart. "In my way, children." He sighed as he walked off.
"Hey!" one shouted. Philip turned to punch him and he went down. "Ow," he cried.
"Don't attack me. I don't like it." He looked at the other one, who shifted over slowly to take care of his friend. "Thanks. Much appreciated." He hummed on his way to the ER. "The 'she's mine' fight in the hallway was ended by punch to the nose," he told the shift nurse. "But I don't think I broke it." He took the things he needed and walked off to find his mentor to follow around again.
The nurse shook her head. "I don't know what's wrong with that boy," she sighed, telling the security guards strolling around so they could check on that.
Xander came in last and shook his head at his twin. "The other engineers think I'm crazy."
"So do the other docs. It happens. We're too magnificent for them." Xander grinned. "Get anything done today?"
"We were looking over a structural issue. I pointed out where the supports should have been and why they were ugly. I had to point out that any old bridge could be used but a pretty bridge people appreciated and took pictures of so they shared and others wanted the designer of the bridge to do their bridges." He grinned. "The guy in charge agreed that could happen and pretty wasn't mandatory but usually nice to the clients." He put his bag down and sat down beside his twin, getting a hug. "How was your day?"
"I punched a fighting guy in the nose. Two cases of STD's, and a baby being born without warning. A couple of car crashes, I got to stitch a forehead." He shrugged. "About normal." Xander nodded and they both settled in to watch tv. It was going to be a long year of dealing with this.
It took six months for the slight secret to get out. Dr. House found Philip healing someone. At least he wasn't using a potion. He was however glowing and touching her. He stepped back, watching her vitals drop. "I hate it when you do that," he muttered, pulling off his bracelet and twisting it a few times before shocking her with it. That worked and it set the healing spell. "There, better." She moaned and shifted some. "Easy, dear. It's been a long nap. Wake up slowly. Okay?" He turned to look at the doctor, shrugging. "Some of us do have gifts."
Philip shrugged again. "It is."
"You... what did you do?"
Philip walked closer and touched the senior doctor's cheek under his black eye, healing it. "That." He grinned. "Comes in handy but has to be used fairly rarely."
"You know she's probably going to be arrested?"
"Exactly. Someone needs some closure." He stared at him. "Sorry if it disturbs you." He walked off, going to get a drink. Healing always did dry him out. He was sitting outside having some water when Cuddy came up to him. "Ma'am, I'm only taking a ten minute break and I've already done the rounds Dr. Mort wanted."
"I heard." She stared at him. "We have security cameras."
"Which I nicely shut off to fix her problem."
"They noticed that. What did you do?" He stared at her, sipping his water. "Illegal medicine from somewhere else? Potions, lotions, herbs?"
"Something like that." He finished the bottle and tossed it out. "I did show Dr. House, ma'am." He stood up. "This way that whole sad saga is finished."
"Is she going to die?"
"No but this way they can take her to jail," he said dryly.
"You...." She stared at him. "You healed her somehow."
"I did. It's a very rare thing."
"Are you something like would be at that bar by the college?"
"I like that bar but not natively. We have friends who go there to play poker and we learned from them. Sometimes, it's in the blood." He shrugged then grinned. "It only works on certain people."
"Fine. Don't do it again."
"I want to know all the restrictions."
"I don't know all the restrictions and I'm actually trained in how to use it. Sometimes it won't work at all. Sometimes it works too well and overdoes it. Sometimes I can only do a little bit. It's not a cure-all or perfect."
"Because someone I know asked so she could face justice."
"You'd do that for them?"
"Yes. They helped raise me." She slumped. He shrugged. "She's a good caretaker. Taught us all sorts of stuff. Including how to swear in nineteen languages." He grinned. "Anything else, ma'am?"
"Never again without my express permission."
"Go." He went back to work. She went to check on House, who was glaring out the window. "Nice coverup job."
He looked at her. "It's not makeup."
"Not the black eye, House. We saw that the cameras got turned off and wondered why." She stared at him. "He said it doesn't always work." He snorted. "He's to never do it again without my permission."
"Fine. If he agreed."
"He did." She looked him over. "What else is odd about him?"
"There's some inconsistencies with his home town and his education."
"You think he lied?"
"I think somehow he has the training of a full doctor back in medical school. One of his teachers caught him doing stitches one night in a bar after a brawl. They hadn't taught him that."
"You think he learned at home somehow?"
"I don't know. I can't crack him."
"Well, see if you can. Let me know if there's something dangerous that would get his license yanked."
"No I've went over that with a tiny flea comb. Not even a tiny hitch there. There's days I wonder if he's from here though." He grumped off, thinking bad thoughts about some of the residents. A few others were stupid or dangerous. This one, he wasn't sure what he was. He went out that night, thinking some bar time and a loose girl would help his mind start to work again. It did until he caught that resident fighting something in an alley by the bar. He watched. The guy had style. And the thing he was fighting went to dust. "That's not right," he said.
The guy turned and grinned. "Sorry, had to happen. It tried to snack." He walked off.
"I don't know you do I?" he asked.
"Oh, you're the twin," he said dryly.
"Hmm, yes, I am Xander," he said with a grin. "So you must be one of Philip's coworkers. What did you need Dr...."
"He said you caught him earlier." He smiled. "What did you need?"
"What was that?"
House snorted. "No way in hell, kid."
"I'll take you to their bar if you want but you were clearly nibbled on." He pulled out his handkerchief and dabbed at the doctor's throat. "Most of the ones around here only feed a little bit at a time to not get attention. She was stupid for trying me." He showed him the white cloth. House touched his throat and looked at his fingers, taking the cloth back to put pressure on it. "They'll seal by the morning usually unless she did it wrong." He shrugged and put his hands into his pockets. "I really should go home. Philip's in a snit."
"You're not from California."
"I am but that's not all of where we're from," he said with a grin. "We're not exactly like others sometimes." He strolled off. "Have a happier night and don't go to the biker bar on the park. They'll eat you there." He disappeared around a corner then disappeared completely to apparate home. Philip looked up. "He ran into me staking my potential date."
"Charming. Memory spell?"
"Not likely. You know that's unethical. We can explain it and there's no ministry here."
"Good point." They grimaced and got back to their private projects. They had stuff to get done before the upcoming attempted apocalypse that had gotten them that temporary life over there. Philip was checking over his dueling vest, a red leather waist cincher with shiny buckles that went up higher than his usual ones, and they had matching wrist guards too. Xander had another device to finish first. A holding device. You could never have too many of those when you were dealing with certain types of demons.
House stopped Philip the next morning, staring at him. "So, let's talk," he said sarcastically. He had spent all night online trying to find out something about those two.
"If you're that bothered, I can do a memory undo," he offered with a grin. "Though since I haven't had coffee yet I might be a bit mean." House snorted. Philip grinned. "I'm going to be late, Dr. House, and I don't want to be punished today. We can chat later. You can come over for snacks if you wish." He walked inside and signed in, shaking his head at the odd looks from his mentor. "Dr. House is trying to find out about my former life. I should introduce him to a few of them but I'm trying not to be mean today since I haven't had coffee yet."
His mentor patted him on the back. "I doubt you can be a bigger bastard than House, Philip." He walked him off. "We have rounds."
"Delightful. More wound debreeding?"
"Charming! Then I'll have coffee." He mentally sighed but he knew he needed the practice again. It wasn't something he had to do too much of in his former life as a healer. Most injuries never got that bad before they came in.
Xander opened the door, staring at the doctor standing there. "It's only ten, it's my first day off in two damn weeks, and there's no coffee in the house. What do you want?" he demanded coolly.
"Your twin invited me over."
"I'll beat him later." He let him inside. House looked around. Xander smirked a tiny bit. "What?"
"You guys really do like steampunk stuff."
"We grew up with some." He went to get some juice. "We have water and juice," he offered. House stared at him. "What?" He sipped his juice. "You're the one who woke me up."
"What are you two?"
"Damned good at what we do." Something appeared and Xander summoned his wand before blasting it into nothingness. "Hmm. Imps." He took the letter it had been holding and banished the remains. "Oh, that's sweet. He wants us to stay out of things. Not likely." He walked off. "Call Buffy," he said.
"Calling," a mechanical voice said.
"Xander, it's early," a female voice said.
"In about six weeks there's going to be a massing of those special things that we like to stake a lot in a graveyard in South Dakota."
"I've heard rumors."
"I'm not forbidden from stepping into this one," he said dryly. "Even though he was the one who saved us. Or one of his people were."
"Hmm. Can we stop it?"
"Yes. Look in your email for a change. It's been in there for a week." He finished his juice. "End call." The sound of a dialtone went away after a second. He shrugged at House's furious look. "It happens when you deal with demons."
"That was... What?" he demanded.
Xander nodded. "That had been an imp. They're not generally harmful but they're like rats. Once you have them in your house they never go away." He yawned and put his wand on the table.
"You used a stick to kill it."
"Yeah, I can't do that spell wandlessly."
"You..spell?" he demanded. Xander picked up his wand and swished it with an evil smirk, making House squeal as he turned into a lop eared bunny rabbit.
"Why, yes, magic," he said dryly. He petted it on the head. "Let me finish my nap. I'll change you back when I'm less grumpy." He went to his room. The grumpy doctor bunny hopped after him to beat him until he changed him back. It took him an hour but he finally managed it. Xander changed him back mid bounce on his head and made him float in midair then turned over and went back to sleep.
"How did you do that?" he growled. He got snored at. House shifted carefully. Still floating but not over the bed now. The floor was only six feet down but that was going to hurt.
A redhead appeared, already scowling. She put him on the ground. "Who did that to you?" she asked. "We felt magic around Xander." House pointed at the guy on the bed. She snorted. "He doesn't have magic."
"He turned me into a bunny."
"Maybe you need drugs. Philip could probably find you some. He's a doctor and they do that."
"Not all of us," he sneered. "Who're you?"
"Who're you?" she demanded.
"I'm one of the Philip's overseeing doctors." He stared at her. "Your turn."
She snapped her fingers. "You don't need to know that." She banished him to the town park and huffed when Xander didn't react to her being there. She left in a bad mood and went to complain to Buffy.
Philip walked past House on his lunch break, drinking some coffee and eating a cookie. He muttered between bites and House flinched, finally regaining sense. "I warned you about redheads, right?" he asked dryly as he kept walking. "By the way, Xander's the eviler bitch of us two. It's a bad morning without coffee." He went back to work after the nice mind-clearing walk.
House shook off the last effects and followed him to deal with this. Unfortunately the kid got pulled into a surgery to watch how it was done. House watched him. The kid wasn't a newbie. He wasn't a real resident. He was a full doctor because nothing in there was grossing him out like the other residents. He followed him home, ignoring his pause at the grocery store for coffee. Philip even nicely left the door open for him. "You're not a resident."
"I am. I passed all the things I needed to," Philip said dryly as he put things up. He looked at him.
"You've been in practice for a while, which is impossible at your age. We'd have heard of any young phenoms."
Philip shrugged. "Who said it was here."
"Even overseas, we would've heard."
"Not if we weren't on this realm," Xander said from his workbench. He looked over. "We got saved and sent over to another realm. Had to regrow up there. Went for thirty-five years." House gaped. Xander grinned. "Hallie was very good to us."
"I should commit you both for funny mental problems."
"Do you really want to be a bunny again?" Xander asked.
"Xander," Philip sighed. "He's too important to risk."
"Fine. Even if he does remind me of someone's grumpy house elf at the moment."
"Why come here?" House demanded. "Why this hospital?"
"Because we're not allowed to help our former friends unless they ask," Xander said with a shrug. "This is nearly there but far enough away for safety reasons. Plus Hallie wanted us at Princeton." He went back to his tinkering. "It happens at times."
"You're not normal."
"Well, yes and no," Philip said. He started to work on dinner. "We're actually pretty normal. We grew up normal. Both times." Xander nodded. "We mostly did normal guy things outside of hunting." He shrugged, looking at him. "When you make a choice sometimes it follows you around like a puppy." Xander snorted. "And sometimes they're redheads that do memory spells."
"Who was she?"
"Rosenburg," Xander said. "She's like that."
"She's....like that," House said flatly. "What the hell are you two?"
"Wizards," Philip said with a smile.
"Like the books?" House demanded.
"Different realm but same concept," Xander said, turning around. "We got sent there to heal after stopping someone with magic being suicidal. We had to regrow up there, learn all new stuff. Since it opened our gifts, we learned to use them."
"It does help when we have to hunt demons," Philip agreed. "Then or now." Xander nodded. "Since we've been doing that for a few years...."
"Years?" House demanded.
"We were almost sixteen, the first time around, when we ran into someone who had the duty to hunt the bad things that eat people. We didn't think a tiny blonde girl should be the only one doing that. So we helped, even when she got bitchy," Xander said. "Then stuff happened and we got injured in a critical way. We got sent over there to heal by making a deal to stay out of the next battle until she called." He grinned. "That's already happened. That was why he was limping that first few days."
House stared at him. "So you hunt demons?"
Philip hummed and nodded. "Only the ones that are hurting people but yes. If they're going to eat someone then they need to be handled." Willow appeared. "Evening."
"What are you doing?" she demanded. "He doesn't need to know."
"If you screw with his memory, a lot of people could die," Xander said. "He's the sort of doctor that deals with strange things, like possible demon plagues." He stared at her. "Leave him alone." She huffed. "Why did you show up?"
"You have a lot of magical stuff around you," she said firmly. He floated her up and shrugged. "How are you doing this!"
Xander was giving her dirty looks but Philip knew the memories escaped her when she was in the throes of magic addiction. "Where we grew up had magic, and you blasting us with magic opened up ours," Philip said dryly, staring at her. "Thankfully we landed on a world with a fairly open wizarding culture so we did a lot of education. That included training my healer gifts, training his engineering gifts, and both of us doing a lot of fight training." She sneered. He pulled a book off the shelf to open it and floated her down to look at it. "Dueling champs. US dueling champs. Three years out of the last ten," he said smugly. "Single and doubles divisions." She glared at him. He stared back. "We learned a lot there, Willow. In thirty-five years you do that." He closed the book. "Now, why are you having PMS here?"
"I do not!" she shrieked.
"You sure as hell do," Xander said dryly. "Let me take her home. It's time for her to take a nap." He grabbed his wand and Willow's arm, apparating them off. He let her hit the floor and knocked her stupid for a bit. "Her bad mood just accused us of doing bad things because we have magic," he told Giles, who was staring at him. "It also went back to memory charms on a coworker of Philip's." He waved a hand. "I don't care what her problem is, but I'll be damned. I don't need this. Philip's doing his year of residency. He doesn't need this on top of the long hours." He looked back at Buffy. "You need a witch leash. Again."
"She's been stomping around all day about the magic around you guys."
"Well, yes, her blasting us with the black magic opened up ours," Xander said with a smile. "We learned a lot in a real school about it. Including how to duel. And how to kill even more demons. And an alien invasion once." He shrugged and smiled at her. Someone else could deal with her memory charmed problem. "You did read the vision?"
"Yup. How can we help?"
"Graveyard will have a mass of demons. I'd suggest that. Otherwise it's a few male hunters against half the higher demons who want to bring hell down."
"Yeah, that's a slayer thing. Hold on, hunters?" He smirked and nodded. "Like...you guys hunters?"
"Like had it affect their lives and went on to stop the evil," Xander said. "Yes, I was going that way before I got hit by her. Wesley trained with some when he left."
"Wow. I didn't know that." She considered it. "Do you know about our next big thing?"
"They're going to intersect again. You have one coming up in LA that's all hands on deck due to it being a vomiting demon realm coming here to take over." She went pale and grabbed onto the back of a chair. "In beautiful downtown LA." He smiled. "I sent that to Giles' email address. I figured Willow was doing it for him."
"She probably deleted it," Giles sighed. "I could use a copy. And of this new one if you could."
"That's in her email account since you didn't answer yours." He pulled out his phone to text Philip, who sent it to him. He let Giles read it. Giles went pale and his hand shook when he picked up his glass of scotch. "Around the same time. Maybe a few days between." Buffy took the phone to read it. She sat down on the carpet. "If we have to, we can help the hunters," he told her, taking the phone back. "We're not forbidden to jump in anymore so that should help you a lot."
She looked up. "We need to know how to handle that."
"Kill them," he said. "Beheading works on most everything and it'll be the easiest thing instead of changing weapons mid-battle." He helped her up, staring at her. "We'll handle it like we did graduation, Buffy."
She sighed but nodded. "Thank you."
"Not a problem. Just be safe and we'll meet you there." She nodded. "And leash her, please? She's already memory charmed the doctor that'd be handling a demon plague if one comes. He's Philip's coworker and caught him healing someone."
"We need to talk anyway. She's turned judgmental. I don't know why."
"Look at her girlfriend yet?" Xander quipped with a grin. "Half the underground loathes her girlfriend. Said she really traded down from Tara."
"Kennedy's a slayer."
"That doesn't make her good, Buffy. She's an evil queen in training." Buffy cracked a smile. "If even the kitten snuggling puffball demons don't like her, that says a lot."
"Yeah, it does. They like everyone, even vampires." She grimaced but cleared it up. "Okay, we'll chat in a few days. I'll handle Willow. You go do Xander things." He nodded and smirked a tiny bit before disappearing. "Can Willow do that form of magic?"
"No," Giles said quietly. "She cannot. That takes intense training and a lot of magical strength at times. She's strong but not that way." He cleared his throat. "I realize now where they were sent."
"Does that explain the vest thingy they have?"
"Yes, it does. They're a bit more uptight there, Buffy, but they do have excellent magical schools and universities. If I'm right, both boys are marked to their former Order of Hunters, who took over when the slayers there died off." She nodded. "Which means they are a very valuable ally."
"I get that but I still don't want them to get hurt."
"We don't want any of you hurt, and they can fight. They've learned a lot."
"I guess. We need to figure out who's going where."
"I'll work on that tonight." She nodded, carrying Willow off. Kennedy was eavesdropping. Buffy ignored it but Giles pulled her in to talk to her about her issues. He could not let Xander, or his twin, be hurt by that one. It would cause a problem that would most likely get at least Kennedy, if not others, dead. She wasn't the strongest or best slayer there was.
Xander reappeared, putting his wand into the holster on his back. "We had a chat and I showed them the vision thing."
"That's a good thing," Philip agreed. "Dr. House is presently taking a nap." He pointed at him. "He got a bit histrionic." Xander grinned. "Which one are we handling?"
"Both. We won't have enough people in LA for theirs. That's just a sad fact."
"It is," Philip sighed. "I ... We'll handle the portal?"
"Yes. And we can take an edge to make sure they don't get past us."
Philip nodded. "I'm tired of big battles. This is our third in eight years, counting going back for school."
"I know. Three in basically four linear years sucks. We'll handle it and we are partially retired." Philip nodded he agreed. "After your residency year, I say we go find a great beach and be naked bums for two weeks."
Philip smiled. "I could like being a naked bum." House blinked at them. "We'd invite you but you might try to take our flirting targets from us. Want dinner?"
"I..." He sat up. "You knocked me out."
"Works better than a bucket of ice water," Philip said dryly, staring at him.
"I had a practice, yes. For almost twenty years." He smiled. "I did a lot of GP work and battle injuries. That's why I'm thinking plastic surgery now."
"You'd hate all the shallow people wanting boob jobs," House said. He stood up and looked at them. "Why me?"
"Because if another demon plague gets released, like has happened twice on this world, you're the guy they're going to call," Xander quipped with a grin. "And really, you're the sort of doctor Philip grew up into." He got some water and went back to his tinkering.
Willow reappeared, red in the face and huffy. "How dare you...."
Philip banished her, shaking his head as he finished fixing dinner and put it into the oven. "Really rude. The ones we regrew up with would be appalled." House stifled a laugh. "They would."
"I figure they would." He stared at him. "Regular surgery."
"I hate regular surgery. I did plenty of it for battle injuries, and I'll keep doing plenty for battle injuries. I'm not a vascular person and that hinders me there. I'm realistic, House." He pulled out the photo album again, sitting down. He flipped it open. "This was my practice."
House looked at it. "Nice general office. Hospitals there?"
"Yes. Not as techie as ours is but very good hospitals. We could do almost anything we needed to do up to brain surgery. They were lagging in that area. Which is a bit gross."
"Very." He looked at things. "Serious Victorian clothes." He nodded. "What's with the leather?"
"Proper dueling gear," Xander said.
"Huh." He frowned. "You look a bit...girlish in that one."
"I do but it's handy when I don't want my full leather vest and I do look nice in it." Philip smiled. "I get underestimated a lot. True healers are usually high on empathy and I'm not." He flipped a page. "That's Hallie but I doubt you'll see her. She's kind of trapped there."
"You know, we should go home and see if anything is still hidden there," Xander said suddenly.
"If you want to pull a Tomb Raider at night between bouts of work, go for it," Philip quipped. "I'm not supposed to be that far away or that tired."
"You can have fun," House said. "It's highly encouraged so you don't burn out."
Philip smiled. "I have plenty of fun, but that's not fun. It's work. It's tiring, digging, backache causing work." He flipped the page. "That's the Salem Academy of Occult Engineering. Xander went there. I went to the one up the street that was the medical college." He pointed at that picture. "The building's as old as sand and about to fall in any day now but the teachers are great."
"That's good. What did you guys study there?" Philip got up to open that bookshelf to view. House got up to look. A lot of the textbooks were built similar to theirs, but didn't have the same amount of technology or the same drugs. Though there were a few on healing by magic. He pulled the introductory one down to flip through that one. It was interesting. "They really do warn you about fighting."
"Yup," Philip said with a smile at his twin, who shrugged without looking. "They kept thinking Xander was the one that was taking dueling lessons until a professor caught us in a doubles dueling match. Then he threw an unholy fit at us both for ruining me. I kindly threw holy water on him to make sure he wasn't possessed. I nearly got beaten to death for that." He put that book back and handed him a smaller one. "For students that have healing gifts." He checked on dinner then sat down again.
"So you went from a normal life here," House said.
"Doing construction," Philip said with a grin.
"As ten-year-olds," Xander added.
"Then back here at the same age?"
"The age we were when we left," Philip corrected. "See, Willow had a grief issue once."
"Which nearly ended up killing us," Xander said.
"Which meant we begged for anyone to help with it. Which we got."
"Which meant we went there. Because our apocalypse that was coming up was cutting into theirs." Xander grinned at him. "It's so nice when they start going 'no, it's my turn' about apocalypse battles." He went back to what he was doing.
"So this isn't the first one here?" House demanded. Xander picked up his laptop and got onto a site, handing him the machine. He looked over the information, staring at him, mouth open. Xander grinned. "There's only one of you mentioned."
"One of them split us. We're wonderful twins and were too much guy for one body anyway," he said with a grin.
"We're all doomed," House said with a moan at the end. "Cheerleaders are saving us."
"Not all of them are. Just the head one," Philip quipped.
House put down the computer and looked at him. "Not much better."
"It could be worse."
"They could be porn stars," Xander quipped.
"They're mercenary and could probably handle it," House shot back. He relaxed and thought about that. "When?"
"As far as we can tell, April but I've got scheduled time off around then," Philip said. "I'm doing extra hours after the holidays to make up for it."
"That'll work. Others have for worse reasons, like spring breaks or honeymoons," House said. He looked at Philip. "Won't that hurt your medical career?"
"If I get too injured, I'll go back to other things. We are not one trick ponies, Dr. House. Really." He grinned a tiny bit. "I'm much more complicated than that."
"Quit flirting," he ordered. Both twins laughed but they looked pleased. He considered it. "No more healing around the hospital."
"That was a special favor so justice could be served before the vengeance demon got them in the hospital and could've caused other problems."
"Fine. Unless I ask...."
Philip held up a hand. "It does not work on all people. Some people are very resistant."
"I'll ask and you can tell me." Philip nodded. "Cuddy saw."
"Cuddy's forgotten," Xander quipped. House stared at him. "I laid an 'ignore it' spell on her about that. It helped the two witches on staff too."
"That's fine as long as it's not tampering with her memories." They both shook their heads. "Are you adjusting to the more technological approach?"
"It's good. Over there I kept going 'I've seen ads for meds that do that' and now I know why." He smirked at the casserole he pulled out. "There, that's pretty." Xander got up to set the table. He carried out things and let House pick his own seat since he was a guest and they weren't having a formal dinner party. Hallie had taught them manners and how to host good parties.
Xander and Philip snuck up on the battle at the graveyard together. They had three slayers. Xander pointed at the girls then at the demons ringing the area. They nodded and took off to hunt. The twins moved to the other side to hunt over there.
"Just because I said you couldn't butt into theirs doesn't mean you have to butt into ours," a male voice said, him walking out of the shadows. "That's being a bit disrespectful, boys."
They smirked at him. "We're not going to let humanity fall. Especially with an invasion in a few days."
"But thank you for sending us to people to train us," Xander finished. "We're so much better now." The demon smirked evilly. "It is the Order's job to butt into demon emergencies."
"You are?" he demanded. Xander pulled up his t-shirt sleeve to show off the marking. The demon frowned. "I did not anticipate that."
"Hallie and the goblins helped." The demon huffed. "Laters. I doubt you want caught here since this isn't your plan either."
"No, it's not. Though it could prove useful to mine."
"Yay," Xander said. "Shoo. Go." He smirked. "Before we have to turn into huge bitches about stuff." The demon laughed but left. The twins shared a look. "Get the gate." Philip nodded, jogging that way. Xander pulled out something and started to blast demons.
"Wow, you look like the hunter's fairy godmother," a guy in the cemetery said.
Philip smiled. "It's got its uses, Dean Winchester. I'm also a seer and I'm stopping all this bullshit." He pulled his gun and shot at the gateway, making it explode. He put the gun back and looked at Sam, using his healing gifts on him. He shrieked but the taint flowed out of him and so did the spell. He restarted him and Sam gasped, sitting upright. "You're safe. There's no cause for the contract." He looked up at Dean, who had a gun in hand. "There's worse out there and if you fall, humanity could go with you." He helped Sam up, handing him over. "He's safer."
Xander strolled up to them, shaking his head. "Scared of me. What a pity. Ladies, you good?" he yelled.
"Two more and I can't see Beth," one of them yelled back.
Philip nodded and jogged off when Xander nodded back. Xander looked at them as he pulled out the copy of the vision, holding it up so Dean could read it. Dean snatched it. "We always have reasons for doing things like this." He smiled slightly. "My twin and I are good guys, and we work with the slayers on occasion."
"Slayers?" Sam asked. "They're myths."
"Who shop a lot and live in Cleveland," Xander quipped. "They're having their own apocalypse battle in LA in a few days. You're on the route there." He smiled.
"Wow," Dean said, looking at him. "What's with the leather?" Xander turned to let him see all the weapons on it. "No harness? It's not exactly manly."
"We grew up in another realm thanks to being saved by a demon who didn't want this apocalypse attempt to happen either. He saved us and we'll be stopping his attempt later on when he tries." Dean gaped. Xander smirked a tiny bit. "There's not enough people who are protectors of a certain kind," he said, pulling his wand and hitting a demon running toward them without looking. "He called them anchors. Where we partially grew up, they called them the Order of Hunters."
"I've heard that name," Sam said quietly. "They're like us only they're trained by older ones."
"It's like Jedi for hunters," Xander agreed. "When we came back here we left it in good hands with ten people trained to handle things." He cursed another demon then blasted it to parts. He put his wand back up after looking around. "Philip?" he called.
"Bit tired," he called back. "Beth's injured but I'm fixing it." Xander walked that way, pulling out his own ray gun to shoot the demons. They screamed as they went up.
"Damn it, I want one of those," Dean said in awe.
Xander smiled. "I might let you talk me into building you one. Never know." He shot the one coming toward Philip and the girls. "Here, suck on my energy," he said, holding out a hand.
Philip grabbed it and used it to keep Beth alive and going. She gasped, but he held her down. "Stay. I had to heal you, Beth," he said quietly. "He crushed in your chest. You still have broken ribs and I need you to hit an ER before a rib shifts to puncture your lung." She nodded slightly. "Girls, get Beth to an ER." He looked at them. "We'll handle the rest." They nodded, carefully moving her. Philip had taught them all battle first aid the other day. He stood up with help, dusting himself off. "She'll live."
"That's good," Xander said, giving him a hug. "Good job."
"Thanks." They looked at the hunters. "Xander, are there spirits around?"
"Yeah, a few." He called them into being seen but he couldn't make them manifest fully. "Sorry, guys. I can't get them any more clear than that."
Dean was staring at one. "Dad." His father nodded. "You good?" He nodded. "Got anything on Mom?" he asked. John mouthed something then glared at the boys.
"Sorry, I didn't expect to need the herbs to open myself to that side of my gifts," Xander said. "Come back and I'll help you do a seance with them in a few days. After the other battle." John glared but nodded and faded out. Xander and Philip shared a look then shrugged. "We're on our way to LA, guys. Need more help?"
"Can the contract be canceled?" Dean asked.
"It should already be canceled but yes. Ask Giles to help you make sure. He's over the slayers." They both nodded.
An older man in jeans, a flannel shirt, and a trucker cap stomped over. "Who were those bouncy girls and who're you two?" he demanded. "Nice leather."
Philip smiled and bowed. "We're wonderful and they're slayers." The guy gaped, shaking his head slowly. "Yeah. We're their occasional backup. We're going to LA for their apocalypse and yours was conveniently on the way so we helped you fix it." He grinned. "Let us get that way. You guys be safe and look us up if you need us," he told Dean. They shook hands and the twins apparated off.
"No way in hell. They're not witches," the older guy said.
"They had wands," Dean said. "Not like any witch I've seen." He handed over the scroll. "Got that from them."
Bobby read it, frowning at it. "That's bad." He looked at Sam.
"He healed him," Dean said. "Totally healed, realived, all that."
"Then we can break the deal," Bobby said. Dean nodded. "Anything else about them?"
"They had the Order of Hunters marks in that one book," Sam said quietly.
"Damn," Bobby muttered. "Okay, that makes more sense." He rolled the scroll back up. "Let's head before we get caught by normals." They nodded, going back to the motel to regather and plan. Dean told him what they had said about LA so he called it in. That would be a mess. They'd head in the morning to try to make it there. It was the least they could do.
Dean and Sam got out of the Impala in LA, staring at the mess of battle going on. "He wasn't kidding. This is an apocalypse battle," Dean said. He shut his door and got their weapons, handing Sam his. "Check in. We both have phones," he ordered as he jogged forward to help. Bobby couldn't get there. His engine was smoking on the state border. Sam followed, diving in to help the young women. Dean spotted one that had been healed. She was limping and not happy looking. He backed her up. "Fancy meeting you here," he said when she stared at him.
"You're one of the hunters from the other night."
"I am. We can't let shit like this happen." He shot the demon coming toward them, blowing off his head.
"So much easier than a sword," she sighed. "Buffy hates guns." They moved forward together. "See the blonde? She's in charge, introduce yourself later."
"I can do that." He kept moving. He saw the twins appear with a huge round thing between them. They rolled it toward the mass of demons then the one in the regular leather harness shot at it with his ray gun. It exploded, taking out the demons and a good portion of the building they were coming out of. He threw something at the portal, which made it scream. All the humans grabbed their ears and ducked. The portal died and the battle was down to killing the rest. The twins stepped in to help.
Faith looked over. "I need that," she said.
Xander grinned at her, blowing a kiss. "I have one I'm not absolutely fond of and you can bum that one or you can wait and I'll try to make you one for the holidays. I made ours."
She looked at their battle waist cinchers and nodded. "I like the other twin's but in a shiny one?"
"I can do that, Faith." He grinned and shot something running toward them. "Shall we?"
"We should. You two disappeared."
"Had to get the bomb," Philip quipped, killing demons with spells for now. He had a regular gun in his other hand. Xander had a sword and a gun. So that worked well and the slayers gathered closer to them to create a pocket of fighting to move forward. "Cindra, go left," Philip yelled. "Get the ones headed out of the area in the alley! Take at least three with you!" She nodded. Xander was ordering some of the girls on the outer edge too. "Beth, go lay down!" he shouted when he saw her.
"When this is done, slayers can rest," she quipped back. "I am that stubborn."
"Yay. You had caved in ribs, woman," Xander said. "Listen to your doctor's orders."
"You're a doc?" Dean demanded. Philip smirked and nodded. "Cool. We need to introduce you to some people."
"Sure. We don't mind." He shot something and then spelled it into parts. They kept going, cleaning up the mess. The military had ringed the area so nothing got out. The girls were all exhausted. So were the guys. Philip nodded at Faith then back east. She nodded. He and Xander disappeared.
Faith caught her breath, leaning down to rest her hands on her knees. She looked around. "We all good or at least living?"
"Don't make Willow try to pull you guys back if you're not," Buffy joked, flopping down to pant. "Damn, I hate real battles like this."
Faith looked at her. "At least we won, B."
"Yeah, we won." She got helped up by Dean. "Who're you?"
"Dean Winchester and your redhead slayer is hitting on my brother Sam. We're hunters, ma'am. Those twins said to come help when they helped ours. Only seems right." He grinned.
She smiled back. "We heard there's hunters. We didn't know you weren't myths."
"Us about you either."
"Huh. So maybe Xander's good for more than weapons." She looked around. "Anyone missing or at the ER?" she called.
"Two down," one of the witches in the coven said. "Both clawed, Buffy." Buffy slumped, nodding some. "We'll handle it and any that have made it to the ER and passed on."
Buffy looked around. "This was worse than the First or Graduation, girls. We did good but I'm sorry we lost some." They hugged her and then Dean and Sam. "We're going to hide before official type people find us," Buffy said. "Meet us in Cleveland?"
"I can do that." He grinned. "Safe trip." The witches moved them. "Wow, I want that ability," he complained, heading for Sam, who was sneaking back to the car. They made it and out of the area before the military guys could pounce. Dean even honked at one that was trying to stop them, waving some and nodding at him. They headed back for Bobby. "So," Dean said when he had to stop for gas. Sam looked at him. "That was bad."
"That was bad," Sam agreed. "They're girls."
"A lot of girls," Dean agreed. "Really strong girls." Sam nodded, looking amused. "Cleveland."
"I like Ohio," Sam said. "We can pick up Bobby if he hasn't fixed the engine." Dean nodded and they paid then were on their way to Ohio. They'd find out that night that the whole battle had been caught on security footage. LA had street cameras due to the crime rate. They had gotten a good view of the battle from a few of them. That might be a problem.
Philip got out of his car his next day on shift, avoiding the reporters. "I don't talk to people," he said when one tried to question him. "At all. Unless you're a patient, I'm sorry." He headed for the door.
"You were fighting demons," one of the reporters said, getting in his way.
He stared at her. "It seems like the thing to do if we're being invaded. Don't you think?" he asked dryly. He walked around her and inside. He headed to sign in but Cuddy got in his way. "Ma'am?"
"What. Was. That?" she asked calmly and quietly.
"The invasion? Pretty much what it looked like. It had to be stopped. A few of those girls we grew up with. I'm not the sort of man who can let a bunch of girls handle something like that, not when it's so important. I also open doors for ladies." He smiled a tiny bit. "Anything else, ma'am, or can I go on my rotation?"
"We're going to be talking. I'll sign you in."
"Yes, ma'am, if we must."
"We must." She stared at him. "At least you left the leather at home." He opened his vest to show his smaller harness. She growled. He buttoned back up his vest. "Why?"
"Because sometimes it's necessary. Do you think they don't attack the vulnerable in hospitals?" She blinked then slumped, mouth opening. "I haven't had to here yet, and I'm pretty sure I won't have to, but I'm not going to be unprepared." She nodded, pointing toward her office. He went that way. He spotted the reporter in there. "I'm sorry, I don't speak to the press. Go bother the crying, pantiless starlette that whined we were mean on tv." He pointed. "Now please." Cuddy came in. "Ma'am, I don't believe we need a press person do we?"
"No, we don't," she said, glaring at the head of PR for the hospital and her chosen reporter. "Out of my office." They left in a huff. She looked at him. "Sit, please, Harris." He sat down, looking calm. "You knew about that."
"You put in papers around the holidays."
"I did. We were warned something was going to happen. As no one would believe, we had no real way of telling anyone on that coast that it may happen. We had people out there who told who they could. That's their area to protect. Most of them are gone now so the slayers are going to have to find someone else to do that."
"Not a chance in hell," he said genteelly. She smirked. "I didn't particularly like LA and I grew up near there."
"I looked at your background check. No one noted you were on both coasts at the same time. Including some time that you were reported missing."
"Temporal...time travel?" she demanded.
"Just jumped back a bit. We actually were missing during that time and then came back to four years before on this coast, where we did what we wanted to do instead of going back to the daily battles we had back there."
"Yes. Patrol was daily." She glared. He stared back.
"So you went to college where?"
"Over there, when we were missing." He smiled. "It was fun."
"How long were you there?"
She slumped. "That's weird."
"It's magic so yes, it is." He smiled. "I don't use it here unless I have to. I've already had a talk with Dr. House about it too when he caught me preventing a further problem."
"Why would her facing justice be a problem?"
Philip pulled out his phone to open it to a page and showed her. "One of those was coming here since she had avoided justice by being in that coma. They're ruled by whatever wish the person made. Which would have hit innocents. The vengeance demon asked me to see if I could wake her up so only she faced justice."
"That makes more sense." She handed the phone back. "Have you had to handle anything here?"
"Not, not yet. A few partial demons have walked in to be treated in the ER and I did handle them. I butted into one person's case because she was complaining she wasn't sure what was wrong with him but something was because he had purple spots. I told her they were moles and did it for her."
"I heard her complaining about that." She stared at him. "Is there something we need to know to treat them?"
"There's multiple species. A lot of the ones here are mostly humanoid in physiology but drugs may react funny. A few have organs in the wrong areas. They do have their own healers. The nearest one is about twenty miles away."
"That's good to know." She stared at him. "What are you going to do about this sudden bit of press?"
"It'll die down and I don't talk to the press. I consider it rude to talk about other people."
She nodded. "Good. Try to avoid them. Make no statements on the hospital." He nodded. "The Board of Directors called me at six this morning when you were positively identified from the tape. They're not exactly happy so expect another meeting soon."
"Just give me some warning please, ma'am."
"Fine. If I can." She nodded. "Go home for the day. That way things can die down." He nodded and snuck down there, managing to get into his car before the reporters spotted him. He was very good at it. Only one spotted him as he got into the car and he honked as he drove off, mostly because they were trying to surround the car and he didn't want to run them over.
Xander looked at his boss at the engineering firm, shrugging some when he gave him a questioning look. "How did you get a ray gun?" he asked.
Xander grinned. "I inherited it."
"Are there a lot of people who do that stuff?"
"No. There's some but not a lot."
"How did you do that stuff?"
"I jumped in when I was sixteen. My former town had a huge problem with things." His boss slumped. "Then again, my former town is now a huge crater due to those problem things." He sipped his coffee. "We do what we must when the time comes."
"Good point. Can I see the ray gun?"
"I... I'd have to ask my twin. I'm not sure if it's a great idea and you hate steampunk things, which that tends to fall into the category of."
"I do, yes. I'd rather have computers than gears any day." He frowned. "Please?"
"If I can."
"Thank you." He walked off. "You're late on that building problem."
"I put it on your desk before I went on vacation, boss. If it's not there, that's not my fault. I time stamped it and all that good stuff." His boss looked at him. "I can print it again." His boss went to look and found it on someone else's desk. He took their ideas as well as his back to go over. Xander looked at him. "Thanks for the grammar checking." The guy slumped. Xander got back to work on his next project. He had to remind himself that fabulous guys like him had wannabes all the time.
"Harris," his boss called. "Why did you add in the extra structure? They wanted less instead of more."
"Those can be covered by things," he said. "But they'll need it because they also increased the number of floors." He brought his whole project in after he had reprinted it, including the request. "See, more floors means more support needed. I went against the pillars for arch spans, which can be covered if wanted." He let him see all that.
His boss flipped through the presentation on the powerpoint, including the original and the updated needs statement the client had sent in. "I do. When did they send that in?"
"Four days before my vacation. It wasn't that hard and I did what they did with bridges, only without the wire supports. If they wanted to do a wire support style, we can do it this way," he said, opening up a drawing file. "I started there but wasn't sure. That would mean they'd probably get a catwalk or something, or a place to hang plants from. Or even pretty things that diffuse the light coming in from that row of tilted windows so it's easier to see." He let him see that idea since it was more complete.
His boss nodded. "That's not bad. Those windows bothered me for some reason."
"I can tell you that putting them in is going to be a pain. Working construction, anything tilted or curved is a lot of hassle. Tilting them like that means that we'll have to probably support the top frames from the overhangs, so we'll need to strengthen this layer here," he said, taking his stylus to draw that window and figure that out. "Even with that slight overhang from the rest of the building, we'll need some extra strength there."
His boss nodded. "They might not want to hear that."
"They'll hate replacing them and the possible lawsuits later more. Better to be honest and have them complain. We can scale it back but it won't be as safe and those windows could blow in with one good wind if they're not supported. The architect is good, but apparently has little idea of where the building's going."
"Hmm. Then using the light diffusing chandelier would help," his boss said, making note of that. He called the architect on the project to ask about those windows and safety issues. He got the simple answer of 'they wanted it that way, make it safe somehow' and got hung up on. He sighed. "Great. He's giving them what they want without practical application." Xander grinned. "Any way we can do simple walls?"
"We can but it'll be a mess of cross-beams." He drew that. "We'd almost have to latticework the walls to support the extra weight with what they're demanding. Which can be pretty, but again hell to put in." He looked at his boss. "The wire one's probably the most structurally good, it leaves the foundation alone for that level's support and puts the majority of stress on the second and third floors for those windows. The arch idea is prettier and easier to cover up." He got into the wire frame idea and prettied it up, making sure it'd hold. "That way no matter what they put in there it should hold up."
His boss grimaced. "It's a bit weird but I can see where the strength comes in and you can integrate that into the light diffusers." He nodded. "Print that too." Xander nodded, taking it back to his desk to work on. "Paul, do you have anything?"
"Yes, sir. I was looking at his to see what non-traditional idea he had." He brought in his. "I'm finishing the drawing today."
His boss looked it over. "Xander pointed out that the windows are going to change the stress points." He looked at him.
"I thought we might have to change that to a lesser angle. Forty-five degrees may not be doable."
Xander came in. "I ran their building specs through the earthquake program. As long as the windows are well supported they'll hold. The top three floors will shake apart."
"Why?" his fellow intern demanded.
"Because there was an earthquake that hit the east coast last year," the boss said. "Everyone forgets, if there's mountains there's a fault line near there, even if they're ancient and quiet like the ones for the Appalachians."
"Hope for the best but plan for the worst," Xander agreed. "I tested the windows alone. If we drop them up ten degrees, it won't take hardly any extra strengthening, but it may have one of those laser effects depending on how often it gets direct sunlight. Like that one skyscraper has."
The boss nodded. "So, Paul, plan for them reducing the windows to thirty degrees, look at the strength of those upper levels. Xander, do you have any idea on those upper levels?"
"There's ways of tying in additional suspension to the main foundation line. They do it in the mega skyscrapers in Asia," he said, pulling up a picture of one. "If I read right, they have additional structural support about every seven or eight floors. I'd suggest five here for maximum efficiency at this height. Mostly because we don't have the counterbalance system they also have for earthquakes."
"Which was a fascinating bit of engineering work," Paul admitted. "I saw a Discovery channel show on it." He looked at the pictures. Then at their plans. "Where it dips in, make a separate foundation line?" Xander nodded. "Would that add cost?"
"Yes," Xander said. "But you're going to be putting in some beams there anyway so it's a matter of a few more and how they're positioned." Paul nodded, taking that idea out. Xander went to do his own version. They came out similar so the boss gave them both credit for it. Both of them went to the presentation with the client. Who got huffy that they didn't need that. Xander pulled up that earthquake program and let them see what happened with the various decisions. His wire one worked well. The arch ones was stable but still shook some. Paul's was stable but not as pretty. They debated about that need with the architect but Xander pulled up where the fault lines were in the US and showed him the building was going thirty miles from one. Better to spend an extra half-million on more support beams than to spend another thirty million to rebuild it after it collapsed if the bad things happened. Plus the cost of lawsuits.
Xander came in that night and slammed the door. No twin. He looked at his pocket watch that had a location feature. "Hospital. Sure." He put his watch up and started on a dinner that could be good cold, if his twin ever got in. Then he puttered around for a bit until he got tired. He also got a visitor about then and went to open the door. "Doctor House, what's wrong?"
"Nothing. I got named the taxi service for your twin. We had a mass case of driving while stupid."
"That happens." He took Philip from him and put him onto the couch. "Thank you."
"Welcome." He stared at him. "He's got a tattoo."
"He's got three actually. Which one did you wonder about?"
"The one I can see underneath your sleeve that matches his."
Xander looked then grinned. "That's the Order of Hunters that we grew up in."
"Are you going to be spreading that here?"
"No. We have slayers and hunters here. We're obligated to teach anyone anything we can if they want us to, but otherwise no."
"What about healers like him?"
"There's a few that we've worked with. They get a lot of that in their training." He smiled. "It's very handy and we don't have to tell them how to treat things during emergencies."
"Figures. What about here?"
"There's been three demon plagues released in the last hundred years. Right now, we're looking at a series of battles that could get another one released. You're on the short list of people who could handle it, but we really didn't come to Princeton for you. Hallie wanted us here."
"The woman who raised us over there." He smirked a tiny bit. "She may have planned on it but not us. She wanted us at Princeton. We thought it was because of all the easy yet smart college girls." He shrugged.
House shook his head. "How do you treat demon plagues?"
"A lot of the time they're like human ones," he said. "You can ask Philip tomorrow. I'm a good field medic but not a healer."
"Fine. I'll see him tomorrow." He left, going to think about that. How did one treat an unknown plague? That he had training in how to do.
Xander picked Philip up and carried him to bed. "You've lost weight and I'm going to tell someone to nag," he said as he tucked him in then went to his own room and bed.
Xander walked up the hallways of the hospital with Philip's lunch the next day, hearing why his twin was so angry with someone. He had felt the anger while he had been driving over.
"I don't give a damn if he is green, he's a human being like the rest of us!" Philip shouted at one of the other residents. "We treat all humans here, no matter what color they are! We're all humans, get over it already! You're not the same shade I am, neither is the head doctor! If you can't get over the fact that some people look different then you need to be in another field, like ditch digging or maybe burial pit digging. At least then you can't discriminate!" He pointed. "Go. Away! Before I kick your bloody ass."
House clapped, Cuddy shaking her head. "He's green. It's gold poisoning," House said.
"It's poisoning certainly but not gold poisoning," Philip countered. "We ran that test already." He handed over the notes. "Xander, thank you, Goddess." He took the lunch bag, giving him a hug. "I need that."
"I noticed you've lost weight and I'll have to complain about the reason." He looked at the other residents. "Quit trying to make him work more hours than you lot do please. Or else I'll have to break bad and make him come home to stop me." He smirked. "You never know what we engineers are going to do." He grinned at his twin. "I stopped one of my fellow interns from building a lifelike, destroying robot. I was having flashbacks to some friends in high school. So I have the day off." He grinned.
"Good, go grocery shopping?" Philip begged. "So I don't have to?"
"Of course I did. We didn't have things for lunch if I hadn't." He blew a kiss. "Be a good boy, don't make me come save you from the epidemic of stupid you're apparently starting here." He strolled off.
"Dr. Harris," a nurse called.
"I'm the other twin," Xander called back. "Just delivering his lunch to him." He smiled at her and pointed. "He's back there berating bigoted residents."
"Awww, we didn't know you were twins."
He smiled and nodded. "I'm the smart one, I'm the engineer." He winked and left.
She laughed, going to talk to him. "Dr. Harris?" He looked over. "One of your patients wants out. She's begging to go home."
"Is she the one that I told to lay still or I'd dose her with castor oil and then stick her with a bedpan?"
"Yup." She handed him the notes.
"If they can put up the proper equipment in her home and she has a home health care aid to sit with her all the time, or someone trained to be one, then she can go home. Or she can quit complaining to you that everything sucks because she broke her leg in four places." He made that note and handed it back with a smile. "You can quote me if you want."
"I can do that. Thank you, Dr. Harris." She nodded at the bag. "Want me to put it in our fridge?"
He looked inside then handed it over. "Thank you, Darla."
"You're welcome. We won't even steal it." She walked off to do that and go talk to that patient. Who got huffy but understood why when she tried to stand up to stomp off but her leg collapsed under her. That got an orthopedist in to see her, which she hated even more. That doctor agreed with the 'I'll torture you if you don't calm down' notes Philip had written.
"You're spoiled," House said sarcastically.
"Only by my beloved, slightly evil twin. Not like anyone else would look out for us," he said dryly. "I bring him lunch sometimes too because I'm the better cook." He looked at the new test results that came up. "That's...is that lead?" he asked, holding it up.
"Lead poisoning's definitely part of his problem. The rest is probably his liver going and his skin tone turned it greenish instead of yellowish. What do we use for that?" he asked the other residents. "Not you, Harris." Philip looked down. "Well, I'm waiting. By now you should be able to snap answers like that off, people. You're full doctors and nearly out of your first year." One was wisely looking it up and showed him. "Can't talk?" She opened her mouth.
"What did you do? Eat pepper spray?" She mouthed 'pepper challenge' and he nodded. "Get that treated." She held up her tylenol and mouthwash mini bottles from her pocket. "Good luck with that. Try a numbing one?" She nodded she had. "That's the correct drugs. Put them into him and monitor his progress. The rest of you are pathetic," he said, staring at them. "Harris is right. Even if he's green he's still a human being and this hospital is in the business of treating human beings. As doctors, you hardly ever get a choice about who you treat. So suck it up, kiddies. Before we flunk you and make you take the year over." He limped off. "Harris, go home. You had today off."
"I got called in, Dr. House. Dr. Cuddy said I was behind hours."
"I did?" she demanded from where she had been watching. The nurses had called about a fight among the residents. She had to say, she was amused by Harris.
"She said she was you." He pulled out his phone to show her. "That's who called, ma'am."
"That's not my office," she said. "It's Dr. Rassenbirch's office. She's the one that tried to screw you up the first day." He smirked. "I'll be counting hours tonight anyway. This time of year we always give you an account of hours so you can make up any you're missing before you finish up." She handed the phone back. "Go back to rounds." They trudged off. Philip gave her a hopeful look. "I know you're over hours. Go home." He ran off to get his lunch and head out to play in the sunshine he hardly got to see these days. She shook her head, going to take a look at the resident's hours.
For some reason, the log-in machine for them didn't keep records any longer. Thankfully they could get it another way from security tapes. Security could note that for her and they had a few trainees that needed the work. They sent up a report the next morning, including which doctor had taken out the person trying to rob the emergency room of drugs a few days back. "Figures," she said, putting that report aside. She made up a nice chart and stuck it in the resident's changing room, then emailed everyone a copy. They had their own email group, she did that for memos.
Then she called a staff meeting. House clomped in looking smug. He stared at her. "Which one did what now?" House said, looking like he wanted to laugh.
"We have to talk about resident hours," she said, looking around.
"The resident time clock doesn't work," Dr. Rassenbirch said.
"Really? How do you know that?" House asked sarcastically.
"I was looking at my resident's hours and it wasn't keeping them."
"You don't have a personal resident," Cuddy said, making her gasp. "They're communal property. Though, you are right and I've got someone figuring out who did what to the time clock." She put down the list, letting them all see it.
House nodded. "Seven of them are wise to be a week ahead of their hours so they have better time to move." He slid it to the next person. "So?"
"We have fourteen out of a hundred that are behind," Cuddy said. "Ten that have no human way of catching up." They all grimaced. "Some of you do have a good rapport with them; talk to them later." They all nodded. "Also, I've noticed there's some favoritism and some negative favoritism of some of the residents so all the evaluations you've done are now being audited." A few of them gasped. She stared at that group. "It was fairly clear, Dr. Vellows. You commented on how nicely she dressed. We all know she's an airhead but if that's the best thing you can say about her, we need to remove her from the program."
House laughed. "Those go to their programs so hers got a copy. She was Princeton, right?" Cuddy nodded. "So his ex-wife's seen them?"
"His sister-in-law gets them presently," she said dryly, looking at him. "Tell your wife no domestic abuse in the hallways this time please." He slumped down. House was laughing. "House, as usual, you're behind." He slid down a USB drive. "Thank you. Who?"
"Everyone but the fashion twits. I can't stand to be in the same room with them. I've never seen anyone that stupid."
"Some people bought their way into medical school," Rassenbirch sneered. "That twin...."
"Had drunk, lower class parents. He paid for it by working," House told her, looking smug. She slumped down. "You just hate it because they're male twins. We all noticed that you keep hiring fewer and fewer male residents."
"We have and that's a severe violation of our non-discrimination policy," Cuddy said. "Especially since most of the ones hired have non-gender names." She stared at her. "The board wanted to talk about that tomorrow. You're to be at that meeting." She got up and huffed off. "Since they're looking at two lawsuits by potential residents," she said dryly, looking around. "Deitrich, you're in charge. Make a new committee."
"I don't have time for that, Cuddy. Sorry but with my own kids having health issues I barely have time to get my own rounds in right now."
She nodded. "I forgot your kids just popped up serious health issues." House slid down a journal to him. "Vellows?" He nodded he could do that. He was on the current one. "Thank you." She looked around. "Any comments on the residents that need to be noted?"
"Someone needs to loosen up Harris and his vest wearing twin," one of them said. "It's like they're British stereotypes."
"They got partially raised by someone who lived steampunk," another doctor said. "She dressed them too. He said he didn't care as long as they were comfortable. Speaking of, I have noticed he has a real problem standing up to women."
Cuddy nodded. "I've seen that. Usually he'll go around them instead of getting into a conflict. That could be good but it can also cause him problems later. House, fix that for them."
"I can teach them how to argue," he said dryly. She nodded, looking smug. "Any other orders?"
"Not yet. Make sure they know they're going to be leaving in a few months, people. Most of them haven't even looked at job openings. No one's applied to have their resident paperwork sent to anyone." They all nodded, getting up and going to talk to their residents.
House showed up at the twins' apartment that night, getting let in by the other twin. He stared at his resident. "You have picked a new posting?"
"I'm still considering opening up an office," he admitted.
"So you'll finally build the tower that all guys like you want?" he joked.
"We could," Xander said. Then he shrugged and went back to his drafting table. "I've got a sudden deadline for an emergency case." He twirled his pencil while he thought.
Philip smiled at his mentor. "Here for dinner? We ordered but we can add on for yours."
"No." He stared at him. "Cuddy said you don't stand up for yourself against women."
"It's always better to let them have their opinions and then move around them to do the right thing," Xander said absently.
"There is that. I stand up to the residents plenty, House, but I'm not going to argue with a person above me. I'll go around them and fix things behind them because they're morons."
"That's a good way to get a bad reputation."
Philip shrugged. "Then I'll do research." House smirked. "I can."
"I'm sure you can." He stared at him for a moment. "You'll need admitting privileges at a hospital. That means so many hours of rounds a month." Philip nodded. "Where?"
"Here if possible. It's far enough away from Cleveland that it's safe enough but close enough to run in for emergencies."
"What's in Cleveland?" House asked. He shifted his stance.
"House, sit," Philip ordered, pointing at a chair. "We'd even let mass murderers sit so we could screw with their heads." He gave him a look. "As for Cleveland, remember all the girls you saw us fighting beside?"
"Them. The next open spot that they're handling is there."
House stared at him. "Does Cleveland know this?" Xander nodded, making unhappy noises. "Someone get busted for code violations?"
"Half of it fell in," Xander said. "Thankfully without trapping anyone. That was the first thing I asked and the head guys gave me looks like I was stupid. I said it mattered to some of us." He looked back. "They're at the framing stage. We need to figure out what they did wrong and fix it."
Philip got up with a sigh, coming over to look over his shoulder. "That frame?" he guessed with a point. Xander nodded. "You've got an odd number of beams."
"On both sides. That one's in the back." He pointed. "They're too far apart. They're too weak. There's no cross-stress points." He made notes of all the faults. Then he emailed his boss about how strong the redesign should be. His boss said it should've been in earlier. Xander reminded him he had until the morning. No one had told him differently. His boss said that's because he doubted that they hadn't cleaned up any dead bodies. Xander sent him articles about why he asked.
His boss called to yell so he walked into the bedroom to complain back. Including that the news said that someone had been missing from the site as of that morning's report. His boss checked and apologized for doubting him but said that they had demanded an answer that afternoon and he hadn't wanted Xander to be there. So Xander came out to get his notes and went back in there to tell him what he had found. His boss agreed with all but two of them. He checked the plans and agreed it'd have to be handled.
Xander still had his last few weeks of internship and two different things he had to submit for. Xander sent over one of them and where he was on the second. His boss laughed at the first one but Xander sent the real plan instead of his fantasy drawing of what it should be. His boss liked that one and said he'd look it over the next day. The other one got talked over. They wanted something very traditional. Xander sent over an idea and his boss agreed it'd work. So Xander drew that out and sent out a preliminary set of ideas. His boss sent back a 'better but color it normal human colors'. Xander came out to flop down. Philip looked at him. "They decided they were offended that I asked about the guy that the news report said that was still missing."
Philip nodded. "Some people are dumbasses. Where are we going to set up shop?"
Xander considered it then pointed. "That end of town. Or closer to the boonies." He looked at his twin. "Stay on the east coast and out of Cleveland but ready to jump in if necessary. Or with that other situation."
Philip snorted, smirking at him. "I think he underestimated us."
"Probably. Everyone does," Xander quipped, smirking back.
"No, some of us know you're dangerous," House said. The twins grinned at him. He felt the need to run and hide behind Wilson. It was an odd feeling and one he should probably follow. He stood up. "You two be good and be more assertive around the bitches we have. It makes Cuddy happy for respectful bitchslapping going on." He left them to plot world domination or whatever those two did on their downtime.
Xander grinned at Philip. "We really don't need a tower."
"Not hardly," he agreed with a smile. "Nice house." Xander nodded. They got up and went to their hidden magical workroom. Things had to be handled quickly and easily. Including a new dose of healing potion. Philip had felt a problem earlier that day.
Philip walked into another doctor's office, closing the door. "Dr. Wilson?" He smiled at him. "You know who I am, right? House blabbed and all that?"
"Good, then let's schedule you for brain scans. Today." He put the forms down. Wilson stared at him, mouth open. "Part of being a healer means that I can feel huge problems." He gave him a pointed look and a pen. "You've got an opening in about two hours. So do they."
"I should," he agreed, taking the pen to sign it. "How bad?"
"Oncology isn't my field," he said quietly, staring at him. "I have no idea."
Wilson nodded. "Thank you."
"Welcome. The world needs more good doctors. Before the whores I'm in the resident class with take over and I have to go on a killing spree." He smiled and left him to handle things.
Wilson laughed. "Some year he'll take over for House." He got up to make sure he was scheduled for that time. He was and the nurses weren't quite giving him pity looks but they knew that emergency scans only happened for a few very bad reasons.
Wilson found House that night, staring at him. "Have a beer with me?" he asked. He was way too calm. He knew that it'd happen but right now he was too calm and he needed to break.
House looked at him. "I can pick up some. Go to my place and wait, James." Wilson walked away nodding. House stared at his back then went to talk to one of the gossiping nurses. "What happened?"
She gave him that same pitying look. "Dr. Wilson had a brain scan suddenly earlier," she said quietly.
"We don't know how bad it is. It could be migraines."
"Yeah, maybe. He's had a few. Who arranged it?" She shrugged. "Thanks." He walked off, grabbing some stuff and heading for his motorcycle. On the seat there was a small envelope. It was a gift card to the liquor store. "I didn't know they sold gift cards." He tucked it into his pocket and drove there to pick up what they'd need for an epic bender. That answered who figured it out.
Philip looked up from his reading in the park on one of his few days off when someone stomped toward him complaining about his designs. "Dude, you've got the wrong twin. I'm Philip." He smiled slightly. "But I'll gladly share your viewpoints with Xander, who was at work the last I knew."
The man stared. "You're *twins*?" he demanded with a sneer.
"Yes, and I'm a doctor." He grinned. "Why do you ask?" The man pulled a knife and Philip dented his book hitting the guy in the face with it. "Huh. Oh, Officer," he called loudly. "Do I need to scream like a damsel or kill him myself?" he called when he spotted one. The officer jogged over. The man was groaning about his broken nose. Philip pointed at the knife. "He decided me being a twin was bad and he had been complaining about my twin's design work."
"He's doing an internship with an architect uptown." He smiled.
"Sir, do you have ID?" the officer asked. Philip pulled out his PPTH ID, holding it up. "That's cool, sir. He had that knife?"
Philip looked and pointed. "He had the silver one. The other one must've fallen out. It's not mine." He patted himself down. "No, not one of mine."
"Doctors carry knives?"
"Do you know how many problems we see in the ER?" he asked dryly. "I'm a resident, Officer. We see them all to spare the more highly trained from being killed."
"That makes sense I guess." He called in for help and another officer showed up to help him arrest the guy and get all the knives he had on him.
Philip looked at the guy's hands, pointing. "Recent injuries, fighting marks instead of scratches. Within the last two hours unless he's a really slow healer." He looked at his face then his neck. "You have another victim somewhere. He's got dried blood on his throat." He pointed at it. "Behind his ear too. Someone does not bathe very well," he told the idiot, staring at him. "What ritual were you doing? Or are you just against twins?" The man tried to kick him. Philip smiled. "Do continue." The man backed down, shaking his head. He looked behind himself. "Ah, my beloved twin." He grinned.
Xander walked around to look at him. "Do I need to go find your victim for them? I'm that badass and I did do my minor in forensics." He smiled. "The things you learn sometimes, huh?"
"No! No! I'll make it so I don't have to face the next apocalypse! They'll never come for me!"
"Great, so you're sacrificing people to protect yourself?" Philip asked.
"Or are you trying what Wilkins did?"
The man swallowed. "Oh, God, you are them." They smiled. "Your blood would let me skip years of steps."
"Our blood is very hard won," Xander said, staring into his eyes. "You'll never get there." The man tried to bite him. Xander grabbed his chin and stared at him. "You're not worthy." The man started to cry. "You have a great life and remember, confessing gets you mental health you clearly need." He wiggled his fingers with a grin.
Philip nodded. "I don't think all the drugs in the world will help him." He looked at his twin. "Though it's nice he has laurel leaves if I'm not mistaken." He pointed at the guy's shoes. The officers looked then at their captive. He was already babbling about needing the twins' blood to go with the others' so he could create the perfect calling ritual. The twins sat on the bench and pulled out drinks, sandwiches, and books to read.
One of the officers stared at them. "You two are really weird."
Xander grinned. "Thank you, I'm an engineer."
"That explains a lot, kids."
Philip smiled. "I'm a doctor, it's not my fault." The officers nodded and walked their captive off. He looked at his twin. "We should have ice cream for avoiding something like that."
"We should, or go find someone nice at the clubs."
"Could. I actually have all night until tomorrow night off." They shook hands. "How's work today?" He got into his book.
"I'm not sure if my boss is under a spell to suddenly hate me." He shook his head, eating his sandwich. "He's had PMS all day it seems like."
"Some men do get it as well. Probably from his higher ups."
"Possibly." He dug into his lunch, making sure he got back in time. He walked in ten minutes early with Philip carrying something for him. He handed the other intern his lunch and Philip put down the carrot cake muffins box then winked at Xander and left. "Absolutely healthy, no sugar added, no frosting but there's packets in there if you want to add some," Xander quipped. "Lots of fiber from the carrot cake." He sat down. His boss was staring at him. "Philip's in a happy mood. He finally had a whole day off."
"I heard residency is hard," his boss said. He stared at him. "The higher ups wanted to know what you were doing after this year?"
"My brother and I are going to set up joint offices." His boss stared. "We're still arguing over here in town or somewhere else." He started a new pot of coffee, then looked at his boss. "I'm not really corporate material as it's been quoted to me repeatedly," he said quietly. His boss sighed but nodded. "I'll take referrals or someone asking me to input on a drawing but I have stuff I want to design."
"That's actually a good thing. There's only one opening and it's at rookie level."
Xander grinned. "Your boss hates me and I realize that. I'm not the uptight asshole he is."
"Good point. He does. He's been chewing on me all day."
"I wondered who had set the PMS spell," Xander quipped, going back to his desk. "You might want to call your later meeting. He tried to stab Philip in the park." He grinned. "He was killing twins."
"Shit," he muttered, going back to his desk to call them. "His supervisor is coming."
"That's cool. He can have a muffin too," Xander quipped.
His fellow intern stared at him. "What warped you?"
"She's about five-five, a redhead, and is *convinced* she's the Goddess and always right. She thinks I'm terribly normal, can't really do anything, and I've known her since kindergarten. She was my best friend for years."
"That explains a lot," he decided, getting up to look at the muffins. They were nicely moist and barely sweetened but the optional cream cheese frosting was decadent.
Xander got back to work on his current project. When someone came in complaining about their supervising manager being under arrest, Xander kept his smile to himself. One of them spotted him anyway, it was only the two interns in this room. "Who're you?" he demanded. "The police said you're a doctor."
Xander looked at him. "I'm the other twin. He's a doctor, I'm an engineer." He smiled. "We're simply fantastic and Philip was the one that nearly got stabbed." He stared at him. "Not like he's the first I've seen trying to take out others. There was one back during our undergrads that was killing sorority sisters for being loose whores." The man flinched. Xander stared at him. "Thankfully, Philip disarmed him with a book." His boss cleared his throat. "We had lunch."
"I know. A book?"
Xander smiled. "Those things you read that aren't electronic? Philip found a new ancient sci-fi series in a thrift store." He grinned. "It looks interesting but I think half the point was to be scared of the aliens and their sexual needs if you were a guy since they were killing all the women but not the men."
His boss shook his head. "Figures." He let the two men into his office. "His twin dropped off some carrot cake muffins if you'd like some, gentlemen, or some coffee. The muffins are no sugar added and have optional frosting."
"No, thank you anyway," the one in charge said. He looked at Xander then at him. "Do you have many problems?"
"Now and then he goes a bit more toward the steampunk prettiness than standard cubism or realism."
"It takes all kinds," the lower manager said. They settled in to go over the plans they had brought with them that needed fixing so they were up to code.
House looked up as Philip walked in to sign in for his overnight shift. "So, how long before your brother has a working ray gun? I know they're an ideal for guys like you?"
Xander looked around then undid his vest and pulled his off his back waistband with a smile. "Not that hard." He put it back and hid it again, redoing his vest and signing in.
House stared at him, mouth open. "That's a laser application."
"I know that." He smiled. "I've used it in duels before too." He walked off. He ran into a familiar figure in the ER, staring at him. "Sir, are you supposed to be back here? It's really only authorized personnel and suffering people," he said dryly.
The demon smirked at him. "I do like to see some suffering, boy."
"Watch me destroy you."
"I could go back and fix it."
"Not without you dying." He batted his lashes at him. "And you know it." The demon smirked. "Problems?"
"What are you going to do with the problem that's taking out all those girls?"
"I've already dealt with it as far as I know." The demon blinked. "Why let problems get that far?" He moved closer, staring at him. "Really, it's not up to you what we do."
"Hmm. We'll see. You aren't really in my plans."
Philip laughed. "Really? You sure you've planned correctly?"
"The same ones will go after the girls."
"The girls are protected by the PTB. I'd like to see that match," he said dryly. "Then again, I saw one of them here last week. Pity." The demon flinched, staring at him. "Really, Crowley. I know everyone underestimates us but *really*. Aren't you better than that?"
"You're in the way."
"I'm fantastic at it too," he quipped with an evil smirk. "The same as I am at poisoning and you've got about an hour to find an antidote." He held up the squirt bottle he had taken from his pocket. The demon looked at himself then disappeared. Phillip put the bottle back and walked off to wash his hands. "That was charming," he decided, pulling out his bluetooth headpiece. "Beloved twin of mine, just had a visit." He smiled. "Of course I did. He said we're fantastically in the way. I think we should become poster boys for it. You?" He laughed. "Great." He hung up and put his earpiece back in his pocket then grabbed his jacket to check over and gloves to put on. The nurse staring at him made him smile. "He precipitated some changes in our lives to save his own plans."
"Especially since he thinks he's a highly ranked demon who's going to take over hell some day soon. I really don't think Mr. Crowley has any idea what he's run into this time." He strolled off. She was gaping. He knew she was a partial demon. She knew he knew. She was also a huge gossip. "Tell your mother I said hello."
"I can do that, Knight," she mumbled, pulling out her phone to text her mother. That was bad news in the making. She looked up to find House staring at her. "I can tell my mother about nutty residents who need more sleep."
"I'm sure you can. The same as she should send you lotion." He pointed at her arm and the scales that were trying to come out of hiding. She blushed and made sure of her form, walking off to take a break. House followed the twin. He was there when the kid was attacked, just too far away to help. The guy who leapt out of a solid wall to pounce him got stopped by a silver looking stick.... House walked over, looking at the wall then at Philip. "Cute."
"Not my doing." He smiled. "I need to talk to him."
"So do the cops."
"They'll probably find he's a dead man. They usually are." He walked the man outside. Two more angels appeared to kill him. Thankfully Xander was waiting against the building reading. One went down to him and Philip got the other one. Philip looked at the one he froze. "Really? You're going to try this?"
"You made a deal," he sneered.
"To stop Rosenburg," he said. "Before she finished destroying the earth. It let us beat the First Evil easier." The angel blinked. "You didn't see that? Dude, how far behind are you?"
"We can feel the deal."
"To save us from the shit she started. Go look."
Xander pulled out something and did a spell then handed it over. "You can check it."
The angel saw that moment and stared at them. They shrugged. "You're still wrong."
"We're still hunters too," Xander warned, taking his compact back. "Have been since we were teens working with a slayer."
The angel blinked. "They all died."
Both twins snorted. "Really?" they asked in unison. "Willow?" She appeared, glaring at the being.
"This kind angel, whose people are trying to start their own apocalypse, think all the slayers are gone."
She snorted. "Like heck." She took him with her. "Giles, we have issues. Now even the good guys are starting apocalypses."
"Had to happen sometime," Buffy quipped. "We've seen everything else." She looked at him then at Willow. "The twins?" She nodded. She looked at the angel. "Let me guess, you felt where they made a deal to save themselves from Willow? I do sometimes too but not always. They've used it to stop a lot of plans."
"They cannot stop us and slayers are weak half-breeds," the angel sneered.
Willow touched him on the head. "You're awfully brave and they can't get in here. We heard about this when Xander and Philip saved the hotty hunters in a cemetery." The angel gaped. She smiled. "We all think they're normal but they're also kinda mean. That life in that other realm he sent them to so they could heal from the black magic I shot at them when I lost it, they taught them to be very mean."
"And to wear vests," Buffy quipped. Two beings kicked in the back door, making her lean back to look at them. "Black eyes are demons, right?" she asked.
"Yeah, like this angel they're possessing beings," Willow said.
Xander appeared, tapping one on the shoulder and slugging him when he looked. Then he attached something to his back and sent him back with a reverse summoning. He killed the other one. He grinned and waved. "It's great when humanity is the third side in the battle." He disappeared, going to see the ones he had saved. He stared at the one he found. "Well." Sam flinched, staring at him. "They're going to try it again."
"We know. Dean's ...they couldn't take the contract."
"They're trying the slayers, Sam." He sat down across from him. "They tried me and Philip earlier. We're not pleased. That's why I used something Philip and I jointly created to send back with one of the idiots they sent to Cleveland."
Sam shook his head. "Which side?"
"We've seen both tonight." He smiled at the angel walking his way. "Did you guys not pay any attention? It's worse than the Powers That Be do." The angel flinched. "You'd figure that you'd realize that I made a deal to stop Rosenburg from destroying everything. And to take the magic that she had stuffed in me before I exploded but still to mostly stop her."
The angel stared at him. "Why would you do that?"
"Because Rosenburg was about to end the earth," Xander said bluntly. "Then I stopped her." The angel looked up then at him, looking so confused. "You guys know what scrying is?" The angel slowly nodded. "Good. Go back about seven years and start watching the Sunnydale team. Because we're not letting humanity fall and if we see more of your side or their side, we get to be mean." He smiled. "We're not pleasant. We learned that really early on."
Sam shook his head. "I heard. I had someone look."
Xander grinned. "Have you seen the site the betting society among the inter-realm demon communities keeps? It's got listings of all of us because they bet on things we do. We're not allowed to make money that way unfortunately."
"There is?" Sam asked. Xander pulled out his phone to show him by pulling up Sam's profile. He held it up so he could see it. "Shit, there is." He took it to read over. "It's pretty right too."
"They pay attention," Xander said with a smug look. He looked at Dean as he strolled over with an older guy. "Hey, Dean." He looked at Sam again. "By the way, you can do a reverse summoning to send them back."
"Don't say that in here, kid," the old guy said. "We're hunters."
"I worked with slayers," Xander said with a shrug. "We had to use it sometimes, even after Willow had her addiction problem." He took his phone back, grinning at Sam. "Buffy's so very pissed off at this. It's making her hair frizzy. She's at the point of not sleeping like she does during apocalypse season. She's about to sic Willow on people." He gave him a pointed look. "And tell her to do whatever she has to do."
"Shit," Dean muttered. "We can talk to her."
"Demons broke in to try to take out slayers earlier, Dean." Xander stood up, letting him have his seat back. "Between them and the angelic assassins we took out earlier, we're not amused." He looked at the angel. "Slayers aren't gentle and we don't play by any rules of any higher being. Our higher being is it has to happen to save everyone. Do you understand?" he asked.
"I'm siding with the Winchesters."
"Then spread it back, baby." He smiled and turned, pulling out his ray gun to shoot the guy stomping through the doors. "I don't think we needed more demonic help today. Your kind have already pissed me off. Do it again." The crispy body died. "Good." He put the gun back and grinned at the angel, who was giving him a horrified look. "Look at *why* and *what* we did. It's educational." He smiled and disappeared.
Sam pulled out his phone to get onto that same site, looking up Xander. "The inter-realm demon societies we heard about from the slayers have active betting societies."
"Figures," Dean agreed. "Probably helps when the bad ones want to avoid being stopped." He sipped his beer. Sam found Xander's profile and read it then handed it to Dean. Who choked. "That's bad." He kept reading, going to the associated files. "Rosenburg. Fuck." He kept reading, letting Bobby have it. He looked at Castiel. "They'll help protect humanity but they will end people."
"And did," Bobby said, looking at the pile of ash. "Who has a ray gun?" He went back to the first page to read. "Well, that explains the magic," he said dryly. "Who made that deal?"
The angel sighed. "Crowley." They stared at him. "It helps by getting people out of his plan's way." The hunters all nodded. "He's not to be taken lightly."
Crowley appeared, looking smug. "I didn't even ask for a sliver of their soul. The slayers needed it to stop the invasion later on and to keep themselves strong." He grinned at the boys then at the angel. "The Powers That Be are in an absolute fit throwing tizzy over their warriors. I'm so happy."
The angel glared at him. "Your side won't win either."
"I don't have any plans to take out masses of humanity. Therefore I'm not on their radar."
Philip tapped him on the shoulder and smiled. "How did you like that bomb my beloved twin sent to hell?"
Crowley smirked. "It nicely took out one of my rivals."
"Great. Did you manage to cure the old poison? I doubt the same cure will work on this one." Crowley growled and disappeared, wiping at his back. He smirked, handing the angel the bottle. "Here, it comes in handy." He smirked at Sam, ruffling his hair. "One of the younger slayers wanted me to do that," he said at the angry look. "She thinks you need petted like a puppy. She's only six though." He looked at the angel. "Castiel, don't try the slayers. Ever. It's a war you won't win because we can send bombs to your people the same way and we'll end it because we know what fucks the supposedly good can be." He stared at him. "We've seen them plenty of times. Neither side's going to win this war. Humanity's going to lose a lot and even then it won't help. Do you really want to do that to yourselves?"
"I'm siding with the Winchesters," he said.
"Yeah, but we kill any other ones we meet." He smiled and pulled the being he sensed sneaking toward him and killed him. He handed him over. "We've been the enemy of fuckers since we were turned into hunters. Both sides suck. Tell the others, okay?" He grinned. He looked at Dean. "They can still try to take out your brother. Look at your own files on that site, Dean. Really." He disappeared.
Bobby blinked, finding them. "You do have a brother. It's listed." Dean snatched it to look at it. It listed his address. They could gather him. Bobby looked at Castiel. "They think you're a good messenger."
"I am," he said. "Though I'm very confused about them."
"The Powers That Be made him into a hunter," Sam said quietly. "To help by being the foil of their slayer. Then they hated him for being the foil and helper of their slayer. They're apparently worse at being higher powers than yours are."
Bobby nodded. "From what little anyone knows about them, yup. Fuckers sounds about right too." He looked at the phone, taking it to look up the name of the slayer he knew. That led to the Council's information page. "There's over six hundred slayers," he mouthed. "Oh, dear."
"We'll need 'em," Dean said as he came back. "Dad knew. He visited him." Sam glared at the wall. "We'll meet him in a few days."
"Good," Sam said. "Before they turn him into a pawn." Dean nodded, gulping some beer. He looked at Bobby. "At least it's not six guys against the universe."
"I called Buffy too," Dean said. "She was sobbing over the slayers' puppy being killed by a few angels. She ripped one to shreds since they don't read as human to slayers. I told her what was going on and she vowed that it'd be ended, even if she had to die again."
"Again?" Castiel asked. Dean and Sam both nodded. "Why again?"
"The Powers over them decided that to counter a planned invasion by an evil law firm of all things, they'd start the First Evil prophecies," Dean said, looking at Bobby.
"Takes a few slayers, not sure how many."
"Seven," Dean said. "She quipped that it had taken seven so no wonder they needed over a thousand, some not on patrol yet. She also said that's probably why Xander got pushed into the deal so they had a higher power with stronger magic." He looked at his little brother.
"They do, and they have other skills that people ignore," Sam said. "They had a ray gun."
"I saw," Bobby said. "I didn't think we had hand-held laser applications."
Castiel cleared his throat. "If they were raised on that realm, they were raised with them possibly, and the magic." The guys nodded at that. "They're on a semi-Victorian timeline." He rubbed his forehead. "This is going to get messy."
"Yup," Dean agreed with a nod. "It will." He looked at Bobby. "They said something at the cemetery you were looking up."
"It only made 'em stronger and taught them more about hunting. I'll show you the books later." The Winchesters nodded. "This is going to be too messy."
"Or not," Willow said as she appeared, handing over the angelic assassin. "He's learned better." She stared at him. "Haven't you?" He nodded, trying to hide behind Castiel. "He's just a guy too." The angel whined and tried to disappear. She smiled at the hunters. She put down a diary. "Xander left that for me after the battle of Sunnydale. That way the girls could know what the other realm did about demon hunting. If it helps, we're more than happy to share." She kissed Sam on the cheek. "Miranda said you're sad and she hates that good guys are sad. She's six though..."
Sam looked at her. "Does she have visions?" Willow nodded. "Bad ones? Headaches and all that?"
"Xander found something that helps his." Dean stiffened, leaning forward. She grinned. "The magic activated it like it did Philip's healing gift and Xander's crafting gifts, plus their magic. Apparently they were dueling champs at one point."
"Then why give fair warning?" Dean asked.
"Because you honor your enemies," Castiel said. "By letting them know they've gotten in over their heads." He looked at the journal then at her. "The Brotherhood trained them?"
"They restarted it." Castiel slumped. "They apparently had an alien invasion right before they died over there. They're not happy. They were wanting less stress. We can't find out what they did over there. Even the demon betting boards won't mention most things and a few are clearly in code since they're cutesy names." She shrugged and disappeared.
Dean looked at the file on Xander, looking at the link to 'that other world' and staring at it. "What's the Destroyer of the Well?"
"Which well? There's three or four in mythology." Bobby asked. He took it to look at. "The Well of Souls? How in the hell?"
Castiel sighed. "This is going to be very bad and mostly evil." He shivered as a chill went over him. He looked up. "I hope they're paying attention and understanding what they've started."
"Probably not. They're arrogant," Sam said. "Like the ones over the slayers." Dean nodded, turning off the phone and handing it back to his brother. "At least we have help."
"We have a lot of help, and some of it's faced yearly apocalypse battles," Dean said. He smiled. "I'm a lot more confident with slayers behind me."
Sam nodded. "Me too." They looked at Bobby, who was gulping his beer. He nodded he was too. Castiel was just tired sounding. That was probably a bad thing.
Philip looked up on his dinner break, sipping his coffee while listening to higher, incorporeal beings scream at each other. "Take the hint," he said quietly into his cup. He'd get a lot of funny looks for talking to himself if they caught him. House sat down across from him. "Higher beings have *plans*."
"Great," he said dryly, staring at him. "What are you hearing that we can't?" He touched his wrist, opening it up a bit so he could her too. He looked up then at him. "Is that normal?"
"No. They're complaining a lot and someone is funneling it my way." He sighed and tapped out a text message to Xander. Who could yell at the higher being doing the funneling since he was at home. He put his phone up and finished his coffee. "Have a good dinner break, Dr. House. Also, there's a new case in the ER you may be called in on but it's neuro related." He got up and walked off, getting a new cup of coffee to take with him.
House followed to the ER, staring at the head nurse. "I was warned I'd be summoned rudely on my way home?"
She smiled and pointed. "Six neurologists and they can't figure a thing out about that kid's case." She handed over a CT scan print-out.
House held it up, walking that way. "None of you are older. Did you guys get any classes on weird things you'll never see?" They all shook their heads.
"Yes," one of the residents who wanted to be a neurosurgeon said. "We had a week of it." He came over to look at the CT. "The teacher mentioned something that looked like Parkinsons in a baby's brain. Said it was really rare, like six cases in the last twenty years." House smirked at him. "I'm right?"
"Most likely." He handed over the CT printout. "Ask the ancient ones about it, guys. I'm not sure how they fight it without having to look it up."
"No wonder we have no idea," one of the doctors said. He looked at the CT. "That's...really nasty." He looked at the kid. "What did the teacher say to do if you found it?"
"Find a really old neurologist because there were more cases in the sixties that got noted around the world, and to look in old journals."
"Not a bad idea. We have one that old but he's retired." He walked off to call him. "Doctor Morgans, it's Doctor Pierce at the ER. I know you're retired but we just caught a case that's only had six known cases in the last twenty years and it was suggested that doctors who were active in the sixties or seventies might've seen more." He listened. "Looks like Parkinsons but it's in a little child. Four."
He listened. "That's what the teacher told the resident and House agreed that we needed older docs this time. Please. Thank you, sir." He hung up. "Doctor Morgans knew what I was talking about, he's never handled a case. He knows someone who has and is still in good health. He's calling him to consult with us." The other doctors and the mother nodded. They were looking up the problems to see if they could find it. They hoped there was at least a treatment.
House walked off feeling proud of a resident. It was an odd feeling but nice that they weren't *all* stupid. Even if he caught Harris grappling with someone. "Knock him out, Harris," he called.
"He's high," he called back. "I'm trying not to do any further damage to him." He ended up doing a throat strike then kneeing the guy in the face when he bent over to catch his breath. "Stop it," he growled. "Before I turn you into mulch." The guy was crying, holding himself. "Good. Get on that bed and stay there." He pointed. The patient moved slowly but Philip helped him onto it. He also hitched him down. "Give me shit and I'm going to make your next few days miserable. Am I clear?" The guy nodded. "Good. Stay there, calm down, don't move." He walked off pushing back his hair. The head of the ER was giving him a look. "House approved force," he defended.
"I would've done it sooner, or gotten him with a sedative."
"Since he's so high on PCP and who knows what else, a sedative is contraindicated."
"Point. Where's his toxicology scan?"
"He fought back when I went in to take blood." Philip got what he needed and went back in there. "I need to draw blood." The guy tried to curl up. "I can be nice or mean. I'm very gentle but I still need three tubes of blood." The young man nodded. "Good boy." He drew out the blood and wrote on them, then bandaged the mark so he could take it to the lab. He walked in. "Toxicology please. He's mightily higher than the sky and combative."
The lab tech handed him a form. Philip filled it out. "Welcome, Dr. Harris."
"Thank you, Paul. I ended up having to be mean to stop him from crushing me." He walked off. The guy was out of the straps and trying to force a nurse to cuddle him. "Do you really want to go into a padded room overnight?" he asked firmly. "Back on your bed!" He pointed. The man mumbled and turned, pouting at him. "Here, one hug then go lay down." He let the guy hug him then he went back to bed. "Thank you." He looked at the nurse, who was smiling. "I give excellent hugs," he said dryly. "Everyone wants one." He smiled. "Everyone good?" She nodded, going to make note on the guy's chart. Philip checked his pockets and went to get his penlight from the guy then went to see his next patient. The head doc of the night just shook his head as he made notes for Cuddy in the morning. When they got the toxicology panel, Philip looked at it. "I haven't seen anyone have that much in their system since a frat party played 'bowl of pills'."
The head doc came to look. "You can't give him anything to help. It's all crossed over."
Philip looked at him. "We can give him time, aspirin, and water or gatorade. It'll help the most no matter what else we try." He let the nurse put it into the chart and got him some water. The guy was happily napping it off. He'd probably still be napping it off the next day. Xander leaned out when he heard angry 'coach' voices, walking out there. The nurse held out the lab report. "Are you Mr. Huggy's coach?" he asked dryly, staring at him.
"Mr..." He pointed. "That's my football tight end, yes."
Philip held up the tox panel. "I'm not sure why he decided to play 'what does this pill do' but he did. He'll be detoxing well into the weekend. I'm still deciding if he's going to observation because he's a bit violent. I had to knock him down earlier." The coach winced. "You can have him back to have a good, long talk with him when his parents have been told as he's barely eighteen." He stared at him. "Them first."
"Fine," he agreed. "Is he being admitted to psych?"
"If he turns violent again, yes. If not, I'll be nice and put him into observation. Earlier he also tried to pin a nurse to get a hug." The coach whined. "I've been told the first workstudy paycheck and anytime a disbursement comes are usually bad nights for the college crowd coming in. What was his reason for celebration?"
"I think it was his girlfriend."
"Grand," Philip said dryly. "Should we be taking forensic evidence for the locals?"
"No. She's not reported a rape or anything."
"I haven't checked him for sexual congress. I can do so." The coach went pale, shaking his head. "She could have done something serious to him."
"She wouldn't dare! She's a woman!"
Xander snorted. "Women do assault others at times, sir. Including people they've drugged up so far."
"I'll have him checked and talk to him when he wakes up. Would you prefer to call his parents or should I?"
"I.... I don't have their number."
"I'll find his phone in his belongings and do so. You can have him back in a few days and he's still going to be miserable." The coach nodded, leaving to call others. He went in there to look at the guy. "Hey, George?" he asked quietly. The guy blinked at him. Philip closed the door and looked at him, walking to the side of the bed he was facing. "I have to ask a question. I don't want you to get upset, all right? Well, two questions." George nodded. "Did your girlfriend do anything evil to you while you were drugged up?"
"Evil?" he asked quietly.
Philip stared at him. "I need to know if I have to do a rape kit, George."
"She..." He sniffled. "No. I don't think so."
"Okay, I'll take a quick check in a minute. Second, I'm required by law to tell your parents. Which one do you want me to tell?"
"My mom's going to kill me."
Philip nodded. "Your coach is here."
"Damn." He pouted, putting his head back down. "Can't I be killed?"
"I'm a healer, not an assassin." He stared at him. "Want to tell me what happened so I can note it? That way you don't look like you intentionally OD'd?"
George sighed. "My girlfriend's got two friends and they were smoking stuff when I walked in. I tried to go but she talked me back up there and I didn't smoke anything but I felt funny."
"So a contact buzz?"
"Second-hand pot smoke."
"Maybe. It was a really thick cloud." Philip nodded. "Then I took a tylenol from her because I had a headache." He sighed again. "Do you have to check me *there*?"
"I do because if she did something like penetrate you, you might have a tear. That will cause you a lot of problems and if you get an infection it might kill you." George nodded and shifted. Philip walked around the bed, putting on some gloves so he could gently remove the scrub pants he was wearing. "Good news, no sign of anything more foul than a sharpie." He pulled them back up and took off the gloves, letting George flip over. "She got artistic. She also wrote her name on you. Do you want to press charges against her?"
"No. I'd rather just break up with her."
"Okay. Do you want me to tell your coach what happened? And your dad?"
"No dad. Mom's divorced. Only been two years."
"Okay." He patted him on the hand. "As long as you stay non-violent and don't go to try to force hugs I'm going to admit you to observation so you can sleep it off. All right?" George nodded. "Good boy. You rest. I'll go talk to people. Your phone is in your bag?"
"I have no idea. The last thing I knew it was Tuesday after practice."
"It's just after midnight so starting into Thursday, George." The guy winced. "I'll talk to your coach." He patted him again and left. "Admit him to observation so he can sleep it off. He thinks we should've just started Wednesday," he told the nurse. Who winced but nodded. "Get his things so I can use his phone?" She nodded. He walked out to talk to the coach, pulling him aside to tell him what had happened. The coach winced but nodded he'd make sure no one else ever touched her. Then Philip got to make the grand call to his mother.
"Ma'am, I'm Dr. Philip Harris at PPTH hospital's ER. Are you George's mother? Your son is here but he's not *that* injured. By law I have to call you." He walked off to talk in the closet since it was private. "This is his phone, yes, ma'am. I'm having him admitted to the observation ward here because he unintentionally OD'd due to his girlfriend and her friends. No, he tried to walk away from her pot cloud but she talked him back. Then he took a supposed tylenol from her.
"Ma'am, his bloodwork is slightly horrific. I've seen less drugs from a frat party," he said bluntly. "He's refused to press charges against her. I've talked to his coach because he was here and he can tell the other guys to leave that girl alone. He can probably be released tomorrow but he's going to be miserable for days. So you do have time to talk to him about the folly of bad women. So far he's been a pretty good patient. The drugs made him a bit violent for a moment but I handled it as gently as possible and then he tried to force a hug from a nurse but otherwise he's mostly coming down. Yes, ma'am, it'll probably be a day. That's why he's going to observation. Thank you, ma'am.
"No, I told him that by law I do have to call you as he was OD'ing. That is the law here." He listened. "Exactly. Which is what I'm doing. I think he's learned his lesson but it's still going to be a rough week for him and it's nearly finals time as well. So in a few days you may want to talk to your son. Yes, ma'am, you have a better night as well." He hung up and walked back, handing the nurse the phone to put back into the property bag. He walked into the room, seeing George pouting at his coach. "Your mother is either exceedingly cool or she's going to skin you alive next week. I told her to give you a day to get out of here."
"Not a problem. It is the law and I'd rather she be told the truth by me than by someone who misinterpreted it. I also suggested she talk to you about girls who are sucking you down. Women know others like that so she can tell you the signs to watch out for." He smiled. George laughed. Orderlies came in. "To observation, guys."
"Yes, sir, that's what the order says," they agreed. The looked at the adult male in there. "Family is allowed, sir."
"I'm his coach. His mom's in the midwest."
"He can go," Xander said. "There's visitors allowed up there. Unlike the ICU." He went back to get the report, showing it to George. "This is what was in your blood."
George looked at it and looked so confused. "I don't know what half of that is."
"*I* don't know what half of it is and I'm trained to identify it," Philip said with a smile. "Pick a better one?"
"Definitely. No more cheerleaders for me," he sighed. The coach nodded, following him being rolled up there.
Philip finished the file for the ER portion and sent it upstairs. He smiled at the nurse. "How easily a lover leads one astray."
"Yes they do. That's why I'm twice divorced," she quipped back. Philip laughed as he walked off. "I should have a talk with my daughter about drugs today," she decided. "Before she turns that evil."
Cuddy came in and got handed notes from the ER as she walked past the main desk. "That bad?"
"Yes," the receptionist said. "Someone attacked one of the residents. Then we got the mother of all drug cases."
She sighed, heading that way. It figured about both of them. Philip was taking a nap in the resident's closet, a nurse pointed when she saw her coming up the hall. She knocked and opened the door. He blinked at her. "Was the takedown necessary?"
"Yes. He was combative and trying to hurt me and others at that time. After making him choke and his nose bleed, he calmed down, wanted to hug a few times, then we talked like men. Then his coach showed up to talk to him and I did the mandatory mother calling since his tox screen was scary."
"Why was it scary?"
"It was three pages long, Dr. Cuddy. Unfortunately he had a girlfriend who led to that."
"I've seen other women like that. The assassination attempt?"
"More like the invasion starters only now they want to take out all of humanity. We handled it and moved on for the night," he quipped, smiling at her. "I have an hour left on my nap period."
"Fine." She shut the door and walked off to make notes in her office in case something happened again. Just a few more weeks and the residents would get to fledge and fly somewhere else. She hoped. Harris had private practice plans so he might need admitting privileges here.
Philip came out that night, smiling at his twin. "You drove?"
"I also made dinner." He held up the bag. Philip didn't quite snatch it but that was mostly because he was happy. "Eat. We'll go look for your new office area." Philip got in to rest and eat while Xander drove. They both looked back once they were on the road because someone had appeared. Xander snorted. "That's a pathetic Joyce Summers impression, dude. She wasn't that old when she died." He found a quiet spot and got out, letting the angel out. He stared at him. "Change back. She was like our mom. We'd hate to kill her but oh well if you stay in that form."
The angel changed back. "How is a healer a hunter?" he sneered.
Philip looked at him over the roof. "Not that hard. I was a hunter first. Then Rosenburg's little suicidal fit woke up the magic." He stared at him. "You're interrupting my first meal in nearly ten hours. Do you mind?"
"I'm an Angel of the Lord."
Xander cleared his throat. "Dude, don't even. First, we *both* have visions. We've *both* seen this problem. Including that your boss is on vacation." He stared at him. The angel glared at him. "Second, why would we respect anyone who tries to take out humanity."
"They're flawed," he sneered.
"Angels shouldn't feel greed or anger," Philip said in Hebrew, staring at him. "So look in the mirror." The angel stared at him, mouth open. "That's not your job, is it?" He walked around the car. "You guys started it when you didn't have to. What makes you think that those who have protected humanity are going to lay down and die this time?"
"That's just proof that you're not worthy of following to most people," Philip said, shrugging. "Why follow you when you're that evil?"
"I am not evil!" he yelled.
"You are," Xander said. "Because you're trying to create genocide. No matter what alignment you started out as, you've switched. Humanity won't fall. There's plenty of people who can make sure of it, and I can teach Marines to meditate to get onto that plane so they can get up there and take you guys out if I have to. I have before." He stared at him. "Evil is as evil does," he said in Latin.
"You're not a healer."
"No, I'm a crafter," Xander said with a grin. "And a mage with visions." He took off his t-shirt, showing off the tattoo on his arm. "Notice the marking, dude. You've already lost."
"They were taken out here," the angel sneered.
"Good thing we spent thirty-five years on another realm," Philip said simply. The angel stepped back. Xander put back on the shirt. "You will not win. Even if you try to win, you won't win because then what happens when humanity's dead? You're out of a job." The angel lunged to hurt Xander. Philip stopped him, making him scream in pain. "No. You won't do that. What we did to your other side's problems earlier we can do to you. You'd make an impressive messenger to them." He stared at him. "As a matter of fact, we can end this all right now." He looked at his twin, who nodded and cast the temporal spell. They came back alone a few minutes later, smiling at the officer staring at their car. "We had someone in the backseat when we left the hospital. We had to take him home," Philip said. He looked at his twin, who grinned. "That was really neat. Here you think for the new medical clinic?"
"My office is still going in the back," Xander reminded him, looking around. "No, bit farther out but still on the bus route for your patients." They nodded and got into the car, driving off.
The officer stared at their car, then looked at his partner, who shook his head. "You looked like you recognized them."
"I do by reputation. They're strong, protective sorts." That got a nod and the other one got back into the car. "A few weeks back, one of them stopped someone trying to stab him in the park."
"I heard about that. Huh." They went back onto their patrol route now that they weren't checking an abandoned car.
Behind them in the clearing, a body fell, panting and bloody. He looked up then passed out.
Philip walked into his next shift, going to the ER. He stared at one file, going to check that one. "You're not a John Doe," he said. He moved closer. "Castiel?" He woke up. "Why are you here?"
"We were cast out," he said quietly.
"Then the evil won up there?"
"No. We found out why and we fought. We were all locked out."
"That sucks and I'm sorry but my highest priority is humanity," he said quietly.
"It was the right thing to do."
"It was." He touched him then walked over to close the curtains, nodding at the demonic nurse on shift to join him. She walked in with his file. "Watch for me." She nodded. He ungloved and touched Castiel's chest, healing him. "All I can do," he said when he let him go. "You're about seventy percent better."
"Thank you. My natural healing will finish the rest in a few days." He stared at him. "They hate you."
"They're going to hate me more if they come after me, Mr. Castiel. Gloria, you can amend his records, his name's Paul Castiel."
"Yes, sir," she said, doing that. She looked at him. "The trio of them and Rosenburg should make everyone safe. That's what the Powers wanted."
"They hate us so hard," Philip said quietly but smiled. "It's a punishment that we deserve sometimes though. Like the visions." He looked at him. "You'll be fine. We'll admit you for a few days." Castiel nodded. "I'll get word back to Dean and Sam."
"Thank you. And for the gift."
Philip shrugged. "I'm a healer, it's what we do. The same as Xander crafts."
"I've seen. I looked." He gripped his wrist. "Some will still try."
"And we'll be ready. The same as the slayers are. Even if it's the other side. See, he couldn't scry over there either." He grinned. "We're not what he expected when he made us the bane of battles."
"Good." He let him go and Philip soothed him into sleep.
Philip looked at the nurse, who smiled. "He shouldn't need an IV but if so, mark down he can have one. Have the priest on staff come bless it for him. He's highly religious."
"I can do that," she promised, taking down that note and leaving. He followed her. He spotted Cuddy and walked over to her. "May I have an opinion on my future plans?"
"You may," she agreed, letting him lead her to an empty room with real walls. "Who is he?"
He shut the door. "He's an angel. They were trying to end humanity and we've pretty much ended a lot of it. The same as the one who attacked me here was." She shuddered. "But it's mostly fixed. They had politics going on."
"Yeah, it was. Especially since humanity was the third side." He grinned a bit. "Just did the healing thing."
"I expected that confession. Is he able to go home?"
"Not for a few days and I know people that'll come pick him up. I'll call them in a few. What do you think about the supposed bluffs region that's really flat?"
"Too far for a regular office. You'd never see regular patients out there." She smirked. "Try the poor section."
"I was going to sign up with the local charity people and the underground doc we have in town."
"Pick out by that development."
"I wanted on the bus route."
"There's a nice area by the park out that way. Still on the bus route. Only a block off it."
"That is a nice area. We drove around the park last night. Thanks, Cuddy." He left. He grinned at the staring mentoring doc. "Talking about where to put my future practice. Let me call his buddies. I know who he hangs out with." He walked off calling on his phone. "Sam, good. Philip Harris. Paul Castiel is here in my ER and needs picked up in a few days. He's got some light fight markings but they're healing nicely and it shouldn't be more than a few days." He listened. "That's great actually. If you guys need it, we have a couch you can bum overnight. Thanks. Yeah, here. Bye." He hung up and went inside, looking at Castiel. He put a post-it on his chart. "They're up by Chicago so it'll be about two days anyway," he quipped. He got his next case and went to see them. "Aww, is someone having ear problems?" he asked as he walked in to talk to the kid. They mostly liked him even though he hated kids.
Xander wandered out to open up the door, blinking at the guys. "Philip thought you'd be here tomorrow." He let them in then closed the door. "He's due to be released tomorrow. Coffee, guys?"
"It's late. Can we crash?" Sam asked.
"Yeah, sure." He pointed. "The couch has two pull out sections." He grinned. "I've spent time on them. They're not great but it's comfortable enough. Bathroom's there." He pointed. "I'm going back to bed."
"Thanks, Harris," Dean said.
"I'm Xander. Philip's on resident rounds, which mean sleep deprivation." He climbed into bed and fell back asleep.
Sam and Dean pulled out the couches, already made up, and used the bathroom then went to bed. It was nice and safe here. The twins had protections up, though Dean didn't see any salt wards. He got up to put some. He spotted an imp and kicked it so it fled. Dean looked in there. He'd mention it to Xander in the morning. The guy looked exhausted. He laid back down and went to sleep until Philip dragged himself in at seven. Dean sat up, looking at him. "I saw an imp."
"The magical protections won't guard against them or we'll have problems casting in here." He blinked at them. "He's on 2 south." They nodded. "He can go home any time after noon." He yawned. "It sucks being a resident." He wandered toward his bedroom, climbing in beside his twin. "My bed. Move, asshole."
Xander hugged him. "Mine has the leaky roof spot the landlord hasn't fixed. You rest, Philip. I've got to go to work." Philip was already snoring. Xander got up and took a shower then came out to make breakfast, leaving some in the fridge for Philip. He did feed the two hunters making up the couches again with a grin. "I'm off to be an engineer." He walked out nibbling his egg sandwich.
Dean grinned at Sam. "Some year we'll turn into them."
"Too late," Sam quipped back. They made coffee and settled in to eat quietly. Philip had looked like hell and clearly needed a rest. They'd seen stuff on residents working long hours. Philip seemed to prove it. Someone pounded on the door. Sam got up to get it. "Yes, sir?" he asked.
"You're not one of the twins."
"Philip's crashed after a shift and Xander just went to work," Dean said. "We're friends here to pick up a buddy in the hospital after losing a fight."
"Oh, that's fine. Where's this leak?"
"Xander said something about his room having one," Sam said. He got out of the way. The two demon dogs following the guy had to stop at the doorway, staring at him. He stared back. "You're cute, dogs."
The landlord snorted again, shaking his head. "They're my sister's. They're guarding her baby because it's a strong witch."
"I've seen a few of those," Dean said.
The landlord smiled. "Figured you knew what the boys did in their off-time, guys." He walked into the empty bedroom and looked up. "That's got to be her spare bathroom," he muttered. "I don't know why." He left, going up there. Then he came through the floor with the tub and the dead body in it.
Dean called Xander. "Come back. Your room is being soaked by the dead body in the tub." He hung up. Sam was checking on Philip, who hadn't woken up. The officers that showed up didn't wake him either. One looked at him then at them. "He's a resident."
"Oh, one of those shifts. We've seen some after thirty-six on." The landlord had gotten the water stopped at least. Xander came back to handle his room's stuff. The officer looked at him. "You were the one that saw the laurel flowers on that guy in the park," he said.
Xander grinned. "My minor was forensics. It meant I got to share science classes with my twin." He looked at her. "Strangled." He pointed. "It's still around her throat and you can't get it that tight on your own. My sometimes roommate way back when had an unfortunate porn habit." The officers nodded but the ME agreed when he got there. "Guys, I can help you move the tub. I used to work construction before college." He helped the landlord move the tub outside for them. Then the landlord went to fix the damage while Xander shifted his damp stuff out of there to dry out. The bed was smashed to pieces and the mattress had been nicely absorbent but still a lot of water.
Dean and Sam told Xander they were going and went to the hospital. Dean found Castiel's room from the front desk and went up there with Sam following. He walked in and grinned. "You better?"
"Quite a lot. Philip has an excellent and delicate touch for healing." He stared at them. "Thank you for picking me up, Dean."
"Not a problem, Castiel." Castiel got checked out and they took his bag of clothes, all nicely cleaned, and his bag of wallet and things. They helped him down to the Impala. "Where are we heading?" Dean asked as he started the car. There was a bright light then they were somewhere else.
"Cleveland," Sam quipped. Dean and Sam got out, helping Castiel out. He was still sore. "Hi," he said to the slayer that answered the door. "We got brought here."
"Buffy, Willow dragged the two hotty hunters so you can flirt," she yelled, letting them in. "Where were you guys?"
"By the twins," Dean said. "Cas was in the hospital."
"Aww, poor guy. Philip's nice but he's mean as a doctor." She let them have the living room.
Dean texted Xander to let him know. Xander texted back they had found the bomb that had been on their engine in the parking lot right before it exploded. "That's a good thing to know," Dean said, showing Sam. Who grimaced. Xander sent a text it wasn't demonic in any sense or angelic in any sense. It had been a gang member who wanted to prove he was a badass so he had picked them because the car was shiny and old fashioned.
Dean nodded. "Hopefully they caught the little bastard." He sent that back and got a 'yeah, he was watching and throwing a fit that you disappeared into thin air, the cops think he's high' back. Dean sent back a thank you and let it go. He looked at Buffy when she came down the stairs. She had done her hair and had on real clothes, including heels. "You didn't have to go to that much trouble for us."
She waved a hand at them. "School meeting later with the principal. I never get to dress up these days so I decided it was a good day to do it." She sat down. "Willow sent you here, she felt something going on around you that was evil."
"Gang kid," Dean said. "Bomb on our engine."
"She wouldn't have pinged to that. So probably you," she told Castiel.
"We had a battle."
"We heard. Two of them showed up in our backyard begging for help. They're still at the hospital. In the mental ward for talking about being angels." Castiel shook his head with a sigh. "Most likely there was a demon there to get you since you were sick."
"It's possible. The hospital had a few half and full demons on staff but they were pleasant to me," Castiel said.
Buffy grinned. "They are some of the most fussy nurses. One of ours is too." Giles walked in looking pissed off. "What's up, Giles?"
"Nothing much. Britney just got suspended for fighting against a demon that came up to try to eat her and others. We'll have to talk to that principal as well."
"That's self defense," Buffy said.
"Zero tolerance policy," Giles shot back. Buffy rolled her eyes. "Boys, thank you for coming. Today's a bit of a zoo I'm afraid."
"It's not a problem," Dean said with a grin. "We were in New Jersey."
"Willow brought them to protect them," Buffy said.
"That's fine. If you want, you can work on training things with the older girls." They nodded. "We really must dash. The principal's a prig even by nobility standards." He walked Buffy out. She smiled and waved.
Dean grinned at his brother then at the slayer peeking around the door. "Want to spar with us?"
"Yes please. It means we get to touch manhoof that's pretty." She grinned.
"Sure, but no pinching this time," Sam said. He and Dean got up to go to the gym. They were excellent girls and very good at sparring. It was a great workout. Even if the girls did try to grope. A lot.
Philip blinked awake at the nudge to his foot, staring at his twin. "Is it tomorrow?"
"Yup, and a bit more." He held up the food. "Eat?"
"Please, yes." He sat up with a groan. "How long did I sleep?"
"Thirty-one hours and a few minutes." He stared at him. "You're also running a fever."
"Post healing crash?" He checked himself as he ate, then sighed. "Flu." Xander grinned. "Anything huge happen?"
"Dean and his bro took Castiel with them, and Willow took them to Cleveland." Philip nodded. "Our upstairs neighbor was murdered in her tub; that leak was her tub overflowing. It crashed into my bed. The landlord was not amused." Philip almost choked. Xander nodded. "Yeah, it's that bad. But they think they know who did it."
"Her loud boyfriend who screamed at her?"
"His girlfriend they were fighting about."
"Charming," he mouthed then stuffed it again. "I need to get meds."
"I already called you off tomorrow and the next day because you were sick and running a fever. Cuddy complained until I told her I couldn't wake you and it had been twenty-six hours at that point. She came over to check, and you didn't wake up, so she gave you until Saturday off and you're still ahead of hours." He walked off. "Dinner's in about an hour."
"Thanks, Xander." He got up to take a shower and came out naked, heading for his room. "Does that mean I'm sharing my bed?" He glanced in Xander's bedroom. It was bare. He looked at his twin. "Storage area?"
"New place." He grinned. "I found us a nice place. It's rent to own. It's near where you thought we should set up. It has an old shop underneath the apartments on top. We can both split the space up easily enough. Used to belong to a few different types of shops. Already has half the plumbing down there you'll need. Cheap rent. The landlord said it's cursed."
"Great. Just up our alley," Philip quipped. He got dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, coming back out. Xander handed him water. "Thank you."
"Not like I'm going to leave you that vulnerable." He stared at him. "What sort of twin would I be?"
"The sort that left me with that hooker?"
"Didn't we agree not to talk about that? I didn't *leave* you with her. I was handling something huge and couldn't break away to come rescue you at that time. Besides, she babied you."
"She tried to put me in a diaper."
"That's still babying." Philip snorted but nodded. "I still saved you the next day too."
"You did. I was ungrateful but thank you." He blew a kiss at him. "I won't mention the one that was trying to force us to screw either."
"At least she had a plan," Xander said. He got things together and set the table so they could eat. Philip needed to gain back about twenty pounds. Residency was really stressing but thankfully nearly over. Just a few more weeks and his brother could have a normal life.
Of course, they'd probably have a battle before then. Anytime things were getting closer to normal, one appeared randomly somewhere.
Philip showed up for his last day looking dapper, smiling at the nurses. "I shall miss you all until I start doing admitting privilege rounds." They smiled back. He looked around. "Am I missing a meeting?"
"They're all being yelled at about their hours. I think you got exempted like a few others."
Philip nodded, walking toward where they held resident meetings. He knocked and leaned in. "No one told me I was to attend, Madam. Am I?"
She looked at him. "Which one are you?"
She checked her list and shook her head. "No, you're not behind on hours."
He smiled. "I did try not to be. Thank you. Let me go see patients then. I'll miss some of you until I see you on admitting privilege rounds, people." A few waved and one smiled at him. He left, going back to the ER to log in and get to work. One of the nurses gave him a cupcake. "Thank you. I won't even share it with my evil twin because his internship stops tomorrow." She laughed so he walked off nibbling the nice cupcake. He had a few routine things to handle and one confusing thing that the lab was going to have to solve so he got that started and called in a senior doctor to handle the strange thing.
It had to be strange. It wasn't gas pains. He wasn't pregnant. He didn't have a known tumor or ulcer. The bloodwork came back without signs of an infection. He got stopped by the doctor and told him why he had summoned his grumpy self. The doctor agreed it couldn't be any of those, though he did give him an odd look for the pregnancy test, then went in there to look at things. Turns out the guy did have a small tumor starting on a kidney and that was causing a lot of problems as well as some light liver damage. So they got him referred to the right doctors.
Philip made it to lunch without anything too horrible. After lunch he was pleased with himself for managing a real meal. Then he went outside to check on his car. No damage yet. He went back in and logged back in. He was happy until the hour before he was due to be done. Then something huge blocked out the sun outside the ambulance doorway and roared loud enough to rattle windows.
Philip sighed, looking at the nurses. "No, you go handle that like whatever you did with the ones in that film," the head nurse ordered with a point. "You can do your last hour later, Harris."
"Yes, ma'am," he said with a perky smile. "Of course, my sword's in my car." She winced. He leaned out. "Can't you manage not to do this for an hour please? I have one hour left of work. And get out of the way of the ambulance! I need to help them. We'll chat when I'm done in an hour. All right?" he asked with a smile. The demon glared and tried to swipe at him. "Don't make me do this. I'm in a good mood. You're ruining it." The demon tried again. Philip sighed, taking off his jacket and handing it to the half-demon nurse on shift. "Hold that for me please and call my evil twin if I should fall? My phone's in my pocket."
She nodded, clutching it. "I can do that, Knight," she said quietly.
He smiled. "That's really more Xander's title. Mine's usually 'damn it, it's him'," he said dryly, smirking a tiny bit. He looked at the guards. "Know my car?" One nodded. Philip tossed him his keys. "Red bag and sword in the trunk, under the blanket. Ignore the two guns, they won't work. Don't bring the shiny sword, I need the other one." The guard nodded. Philip walked out, walking off shaking his head. "Get away from the ER, demon. Before I smite you harder!" The demon growled and followed him. The guard got what he needed and threw it at Philip. He put the red bag down carefully, pulling out something to look at and put on. Then he picked up the sword. "Thank you for letting me properly arm myself."
"No fun if you're not," the demon snarled. He sniffed. "Prey."
"Not really." Philip took off his vest, showing the dueling harness underneath. "C'mon then." He waved at him. The demon stared. Philip smirked. "Did you think I was Xander?"
The demon reared up, staring at him. "You are not Xander."
"No, I'm Philip, his twin." He smirked and attacked. The demon screamed and tried to run but Philip shot him with his specially prepared pistol from his back waistband. The demon went up in a huge flame. The guards had fire extinguishers and used them once they couldn't see the demon's form. Philip shrugged, staring at the mess he had made. "Next?" he called, looking up. "Before I'm less amused?" Two more demons that had been hiding showed up. "I knew I saw one of you when I checked my car." They lunged and he cut one then spun and got the other, letting himself drop into battle and dueling mode. The demons weren't easy but they died.
Then the one that was waiting behind him got shot with the other pistol. It screamed and Philip coldly beheaded it. "Thank you as well, dear." He stared at the mess and sighed. He put the guns back and took off the protection, putting it back into the bag. He took it and the sword to the car, taking his keys from the trunk once he had them inside. His sword could be more than wiped down by his button up shirt later. He'd have to use rubbing alcohol on it to get everything spotless again.
He walked inside, taking back his vest from one of the guards that had picked it up, then put it back on. He smiled at the nurse. "Let me clean up. I'll be right back for my jacket, love." He went to do that. He came out less messy and took his jacket back, putting it on and looking at the staring people. "What? They think I'm pretty." A few whimpered. He smiled. "Now, who's next on my list to help feel better? I promise the sword's in the car."
One of the guards looked at the other then at him. "Do you always wear that thing under your vest?"
"My dueling harness? Yes. It's rather handy." He smiled. "Though one's best weapon is always their mind."
"Good point. The guns...."
"Dueling pistols with speciality bullets."
"Oh, okay." He nodded, walking off to make a report to the head of security. Who was in his office drinking from the bottle of heartburn medicine.
Philip smiled at the nurses. "Charts?" They handed over one and let him go help people. He smiled at the half demon child and human mother. "We're from Sunnydale," he said quietly, making her moan. "I'm only against those that are hurting others against their wills. Your daughter is adorable."
"It's a son."
"Really?" He looked at the form. "Hmm. Have to correct that." He made a note and smiled at the child. "What's wrong, precious?"
She pointed at her tummy. "I think I have worms. It's bad in there."
"Let's look." He had her lay down so he could feel around her stomach. "I think you do too. Hmm. There's something for that." He wrote out a note on his prescription pad, handing it to the mother. "The healer will have to mix it specially but she can do that." He wrote the address on the back. "She's very good and it's a fairly common problem. We see thousands of these a year." She nodded. "Let her help and if she's grumpy tell her I said you're doing just fine."
"I can do that. Some of them hate us."
"There's a lot of uptight creatures on this plane," he said. "I'll go with you later." She smiled and nodded. "Wait on me in the waiting area and I'll take you there." She nodded, doing the paperwork to leave and wait on him. He went to see the other patients he had then ran into Cuddy, smiling at her. "I tried to make it subtle."
"A sword is not subtle, Harris."
He shrugged. "They started it."
"I know. What is that thing?"
"Under your vest."
"Because it comes in handy when you duel professionally like my twin and I have." He smiled. "We were champion for a few years." He walked around her. "I've got a few more to see then I'm taking one patient to a healer for a specific remedy."
"That's fine." She stared at him. "Someone filmed it. It's on youtube."
He snorted. "Yay. Like the last one, I don't talk to people who do things like that."
"Uh-huh. Are you going to file for admitting privileges?" He smiled at her and nodded. "Hand it to me personally."
"I know the one over that's partially ...scaled in her people's cases. I only care if they're hurting people against their wills, Dr. Cuddy. Really." He grinned and went to see his last two patients. Then he came out, logged out for a final time, smiling at the nurses. "You'll see me in a few months I'm sure." They smiled back. He took that family to the healer, getting a few glares. He stared at one. "Shut. Up." The demon shrank away from him. "Any good parent doesn't need your type of shit. It's not up to you about who breeds. Or else we'd all make sure you did not because you suck at it." The demon shuddered. He walked over to the nurse. "She's got belly worms."
"They happen a lot this time of year," the nurse said with a smile for the mother. "Sorry for the judgmental people."
"They happen all over," Philip said. "Even in regular hospitals. I got some for being such a snazzy dresser." The healer came out to stare at him. "Good evening."
"Healer to healer, I'm presenting the patient I saw earlier for her intestinal worms."
"You're a healer?" He touched her arm, making her shiver. "You are." He nodded with a smirk. "Oh, dear."
"Exactly. I find her quite a good mother who could use a heads up on the usual problems her daughter may experience." He stared at her.
"I can do that. She's not the only halfie we have in the area. The others have parents who were careless."
"I was at a bar and woke in the hospital," the mother said. "But I felt happy."
The healer nodded. "The father's people do that." She led them back, taking the prescription to look at. "That's easy enough to make. I'll show you how so you don't have to deal with idiots."
"Thank you, ma'am."
The healer looked at her. "There's plenty of hidebound purists out there in all types of beings."
"So have I, even among yours."
"Them too. They tried to burn us in our apartment once."
The healer nodded. "It's a hard path you walk but hopefully she'll grow up fine." She got the stuff mixed, showing the mother and other things she'd need to be more secure. It could only help the child grow up better.
Xander walked in dusting off his shirt. "Two things just tried to get me in the parking lot thinking I was you."
Xander looked at him. "I saw the youtube video. The boss got sent it by his wife. You leaned back too far."
"I had to, the footing was irregular on the gravel." He handed over a plate with a smile. "Only one more day for you."
"Sure, rub it in," he snorted, settling in to eat. "I checked on the construction permit. It'll be posted in a few days."
"That's wonderful. Then we can work on that and move so you have your own room again."
"I'll take the couch."
"I was thinking about partying tonight."
Xander pouted. "Party tomorrow so I can join in?"
"Sure." He smirked. Xander grinned back. They finished up and went back to making plans for the new building/office/medical practice.
"When is your jacket changeover ceremony?"
"Two days at two."
Xander wrote that down and made sure they had clean clothes for it. Then they went to sleep for the night. It was a good start to a new life.
Buffy got handed a laptop with that video pulled up. She was having a day off so watching movies on the couch. She watched it and sighed, handing it back to the watcher. "We know. The demons like to want Xander a lot." She looked at him. "He handled it just fine."
"I know," she interrupted. "Still, they handled it and they're good at that." She smiled. "That's why he used to back me up." He grimaced but stomped off to talk to Rupert. Buffy shrugged at the staring slayers. "Something attacked Xander or his twin."
They all nodded. They had heard it happened but they could handle it.
Xander was making a soda/milk/beer run when he ran into someone bleeding that he kind of knew. "Hey," he said. The guy looked at him. "I'm Xander, not Philip, but I can take you to him."
"Why?" he asked, holding his side.
"He's the doctor. I'm the engineer." The guy nodded. Xander ran in to get what he needed and came out, walking the guy back to their apartment a few blocks back. "Beloved, visitors," he called as he walked in.
"Damn and I have a friend in," he said, coming out. "Paul." He sat him in a chair, taking the shirt off him. Xander went to charm his date instead. "Xander, bring me my kit," he called. Xander brought it out and handed it over then went back to Philip's room. He smiled. "Sorry. What did it? Do we have any debris?"
"Not that I know of. Something that looked like an oversized werewolf with huge claws."
"Must've been Jacob. He's a local shape shifter and he's some kind of smaller bear as far as we could tell. He's usually peaceful. I wonder what happened this time."
The hunter stared at him. "Usually peaceful?"
"Yeah. The last time he wasn't, his girlfriend had been a ho. He got a bit mad because he had proposed to her the day before. He only scared her though." The hunter grimaced. "You tried to take him out for his pelt?"
"No. I saw him threatening some redheaded lady."
"Ah, his ex. She have the kid she swore was his that wasn't?"
"Yes," he complained. "She was calling it daddy."
"I'll talk to Jacob tomorrow. I'm astoundingly free for most of the day." He got to work cleaning the wound. "Thankfully his kind of shifter won't infect you so you won't change as well." The hunter nodded. Someone knocked. Philip tossed him his shirt on the way to the door, making sure he had it on before opening the door. "Yes?"
"Sir...." The officer looked over his shoulder. "There was apparently an altercation earlier. Are you performing medical treatment without a license?"
"I'm a doctor, Officer. Just finished my residency. I'm just now hearing about the altercation and why. Is Jacob all right and what was going on?" He lounged in the doorway, staring at them.
The other one winced. "You know about them?"
"Yes, I grew up around a number of them. Almost all of them peaceful until bothered," Philip said, staring at him. Then at the other officer.
"She was taunting him and trying to tell him she'd hurt the baby because he was a horrible being and had somehow sullied the baby."
"Ah, her ploy to get money again," Xander said as he came out. "Jacob and the baby all right?" The officers nodded. "Good. The bitch?"
"Arrested for child endangerment," the other officer said. "Who are you two?"
Xander grinned. "I'm Xander Harris. I backed up the slayer in Sunnydale for years." The officer went pale. "This is my happy twin, Philip. He's a doctor. I'm an engineer. We just got done with our internships."
The reasonable officer nodded. "We'd just like a statement." He looked at the hunter. "Jacob forgave you for it because he decided you were trying to protect the baby."
"I was. I thought he was threatening her and the kid."
"Jacob's scary over his kid. We all know it. Someone tried to talk to her in the park and ran when he started to sprout fur and fangs." He came in to get a statement while Philip finished cleaning the injuries. At the end, he looked at Philip. "You were the one that handled the ones at the ER." Philip nodded.
"I only got the ones that tried me in the parking lot," Xander said.
"They think me being a doctor means I'm weaker and nicer," Philip said with a smile. "They're very wrong." Xander nodded.
"I'm sure it's great. The Mayor wanted to know what that was about."
"They're trying to harm the slayers," Xander said.
"All those girls in LA? Their calling is called being a slayer. It's an ancient calling. It's not bloodline or anything but it's being *chosen* to be the one to handle things. Now they're all called due to a problem last year and were all needed for this most recent one."
The officer nodded, then shook his head. "Does it usually matter here?"
"No, the peaceful community here is great and calm," Philip said with a smile. "I talked to some of them recently. We only handle things that come for us. Or others if we see them attacking. Or apocalypse battles."
The officer nodded, making that note. "People are trying to figure all that out."
"Talk to Rupert Giles. He's the head Watcher right now and over all the slayers."
"Where is he?"
"Cleveland unless he's hiding in England," Xander quipped, smiling at him. "Giles is a bit camera shy."
"I can see why. Sure. Let me... the older guy at the battle?"
"Yes. Most of the remaining watchers sat home and bitched," Philip said, making the hunter shudder. "Because that's not how it has been done for the last few centuries. Unfortunately it went from the watchers helping the slayers to them being turned into tools. It's being changed back now."
"Grand." He stood up. "Thank you, sirs." He looked at the hunter. "The motel by the illegal doc is cheapest. It's by the car dealership with all the audis." He left, going to make that report to his boss and then to the mayor. Who was not amused but they all knew something was up with him.
Xander and Philip shrugged at each other, Xander texting Giles on his way back to their fun of the night. The hunter looked at Philip. "You two share a room?"
"No, the upstairs neighbor's tub fell with her dead body through the ceiling onto his bed. We're moving soon so we're timesharing the bed."
"That makes sense." He stood up. "Thanks, Harris."
"Not a problem. I'm not the evil me." He smiled. The hunter laughed but left them alone. Philip made them drinks and presented them with some then went to do an inventory of the supplies. They'd probably need some soon. Especially if the demons and angels got their plans together again.
Xander walked out to get the mail the next day, nodding politely at the guy in the bad suit that was in his way. "Yes, may I help you?"
"There's only one of you listed alive, sir."
"Really? Philip?" he called. Philip leaned out the window. He pointed. "He wanted to talk to you about your conception."
Philip stared at the agent. "Don't make me come down there." The agent stared, looking horrified. "I'm not in a pleasant mood. My twin stole my date last night. It left me an unhappy doctor."
The agent swallowed. "So there are two of you."
"Yes and we're magnificent at being twins," Xander quipped, getting the mail and going back upstairs. "Landlord's trying to raise the rent," he said as he walked in. Philip shut the window. They settled in to call him and tell him they were moving in about three months. Could they put it off since they were still unable to use that one bedroom due to the damage? They really did need to save some money or else they'd have to make some.
The agent called in for new rules and then went up to knock on their door. "The supervising agent over this region would like to talk to you both about what happened the other day and in LA this spring."
Xander pointed. "Cleveland. By the hellmouth. Bunch of girls. Few guys overseeing them, most of them are idiots who need to be brainwashed to start again. The head guy's name is Rupert Giles."
Philip nodded. "Because we're not officially affiliated anymore. We're starting this new life of ours and we're going to be setting up my medical practice and his engineering one shortly."
The agent stared at them. "We just want a report, boys."
Xander looked at him. "That's funny. No one wanted a report when we had something the level of a hell goddess show up a few years ago. Or when a true, old demon came out of his former human skin for our graduation." The agent blinked a few times, calling that in. "Tell him to talk to Rupert. We do not make statements for the slayers or the Council."
"Council?" he squeaked. His boss had done the same thing. The twins smiled and nodded. "Oh, okay. We've heard a bit about them."
"Blew up," Philip said. "By the same thing that sank our town."
"Thankfully since a lot of them saw the girls as expendable tools," Xander added, staring at him. He grinned. "If he really wants to know something he needs to talk to Rupert."
"I can tell him that, sirs. Then come back to you for your own reports." He left.
The twins shared a look and went to work on their new building. They knew what they needed. Xander had drawn up the plans. It wasn't that much work, just some plumbing installing and a few walls. Maybe a bit of light electrical work. They had done more than that when they had set up their original house in that other realm. Then their 'tower'.
Buffy came back from grocery shopping to find two agents sitting in a car. She sighed as she got out of the cab, opening the trunk then the door. "Come help me carry or don't eat and tell Giles we've got suits here." The girls did that and ran everything inside while Buffy paid the cabby. Then she disappeared into the house as well.
Giles came out, staring at the two suits. "Yes, gentlemen, can we help you?"
"Are you Rupert Giles?" one asked.
"I am. Why?"
"Is this where the International Council of Watchers now is, sir?" the second agent asked.
"Yes, and I'm in charge. Thankfully I've changed a lot of the stupid things from happening again. Why is this a concern?"
"We need reports on a few things," the first agent said. "Our supervisor would like to talk to you about them."
"I have my yearly physical tomorrow afternoon but the day after is mostly free, pending emergencies like having to visit a principal over something or the like."
Faith leaned out, looking at them. "Quit being so uptight. What did you want to know about? We'll gladly hand over files so you quit making the girls nervous. A few of them lived through attempts by their governments to grab them." She stared at them. "We don't need them nervous or worried you'll do the same damn thing."
"We're not looking to," the second agent said. "Miss Lehane, does the LA County probationary board know where you are?"
"Good." He smiled. "We'd love those reports before we come talk to him about things. We have no intention of confiscating the girls or anything else but things have been going on that is bothering the higher ups. They can't ignore it when videos show up on youtube about demon attacks."
"The twins?" she guessed.
"Not just them. How are there twins?" the first agent asked. "There's only one birth recorded."
Faith stepped out. "Willow was so deep in her grief she was going to make everyone feel it as they died. Xander stopped her. She nearly killed him and he had to beg for help. Which led to them taking a deal to stay out of one battle until asked so the demon could use them to stop his cohort's plans in favor of his. Which they've already stopped too." She smirked. "In return, he saved their lives by splitting them into twins, sending them to another realm for a whole new life, then let them come back here to save our butts with wicked things they learned over there. The demon didn't expect it to work that well or them to turn into warriors who would make sure humanity kept going, no matter what the angels and demons wanted."
They blinked then nodded. "So they made a deal...."
Faith held up a hand. "The angels and demons were planning to take out humanity. The demon that came to save them wanted out of that war because his own plans to take over would be upset. So he used saving them to end those plans so his own could happen. Thankfully the twins countered that battle as well," Giles said dryly. "All he gifted them with was splitting them apart and sending them to that other realm so the healers there could save them. They took advantage of the new skills Willow's attack opened and trained themselves to be the bane of all enemies of humanity. And a doctor and engineer."
"Was that world a bit...steampunk perhaps?" the second agent asked. Faith nodded. "That explains their fashion choices then." They shared a look then looked at them. "It gave them no gifts?"
"No. Willow overloading them with black magic opened up some latent ones," Faith said. "Like visions and magic. And healing skills."
"Ah, so the demon that did it used some tactics to get his competitors stopped and now the twins are working on his," the first agent said.
"No, they've stopped most of his already," Faith said with a smile. "You can send C-4 to heaven and some hell realms. We learned how to do that when they attacked us." Both agents shuddered. "We weren't going to roll over and die for the angelic plan to take out humanity. We'll be damned first."
The agents both nodded. "Can we have a report on that too?"
"No," Faith said. "And if you make trouble for the twins, you'll be forgetting this whole talk. Really." She walked back inside. She came out with files. "Here, on the First Evil and the battle in LA. Our information files." They took them and drove off. She looked inside at Willow, who waved a hand from reading her book. "Thanks, Red."
"Willow," Giles sighed. "What have I told you about tampering."
"It's for a good reason." She smiled. "The twins don't need hell for being saved."
"Point but not good. They could cause trouble."
She nodded. "They can be kitties too." She went back to her book. Buffy would back her up, she knew she would. Giles couldn't really argue with Buffy and Faith agreed with this limited use of magic too so it was good for the slayers.
The Secretary of State and Chief of Staff showed up for the meeting with Mr. Giles, followed by a few higher agents as well as the guarding ones. The Chief of Staff smiled at them. "You almost managed to cover it up, yet again."
"We did try but it was not our doing that got LA invaded," Giles said, sitting back down once they had. "We were as discreet as we could have been."
"With all the cameras in today's world, there's no way you could've avoided them," the Secretary of State said. "It has brought up some questions from other places. So far we've mentioned the Council and they've cleared up. Until we figured out that some of the people at the invasion, and later, weren't on your staff."
"The US does have a small society of demon hunters. Mostly those who were directly affected by them in some manner," Giles said. "The few we've met have been very tense and very honest about what they do and how they do things. They're not all happy that slayers exist. They understand that she can't be in every place at once and that the old Council would've probably taken them out as well so there were no witnesses. Then we pointed out we don't do that and offered to share information and training so that some may take the place of some field watchers for the girls."
The Chief of Staff stared at him. "Then who are the twins?"
"They're...adjunct staff basically." He took off his glasses to rub the bridge of his nose then put them back on. "They used to help my slayer, Buffy, back in Sunnydale but things happened."
"We heard rumors they took a deal. Did you shove them out for that?" the Chief of Staff asked.
"No! No, I'd never do that. Especially since it was to save their lives after Willow's grief led her to wanting to end humanity and they stopped her. She had sucked up an enormous amount of black magic after losing her girlfriend, who had been right in front of her. She shot a good bit of that magic at Xander and they had to beg for help. The demon that did it, a true demon, one of the possessing kind, helped them with the stipulation that they couldn't jump into our next battle without Buffy asking for help and that they be split into twins.
"Which worked out well for them. He got them to another realm, where they were deaged to ten to save them, and the healers there worked on things. They got about thirty-five years over there from what they said. They did take the opportunity to learn quite a lot. Including their new careers. They've also used it to become the bane of any battles that may impact humanity."
"Okay, that makes sense," the Secretary of State said. "I couldn't blame them for that either. Are you on good terms with them?"
"Mostly. The girls still try to nag about things but they're better at shooting back at them now. Buffy always thought Xander...normal. He didn't have any prior training, no skills like magic until Willow. She had a blind spot about things now and then. She's woken up more to appreciate all that she has and had back then. Including about the twins."
"You've had other helpers," the Chief of Staff noted.
"We have yes, and we do miss a few of them greatly."
"What about that military project you had helping?" the Secretary of State asked.
Giles took off his glasses again. "If you mean helping by torturing beings for supposed scientific information then I suppose they did help by destroying a good bit of the peaceful community," he said, staring at him. He stared back, looking confused. "They did not *help*. They caused a few very big problems, including one within the group. As Buffy was dating one until she found out what they were doing, we lost some of the goodwill we had with the peaceful demon community in Sunnydale. Afterward we were barely able to rebuild some of the lost trust. If you actually looked at their files, I'd hope you'd be ill at the way they ripped apart beings for what looked to us like fun and games under the cover of science."
"We only heard there was one and it was sealed," the Chief of Staff noted.
"We were told some of them were allowed to be reassigned and some went to prison," Giles said. "I know a few are on a hunting squad the UN put together and a few are in Homeland and the FBI because we've run into them a few times." He put back on his glasses. "I do worry about them getting near the twins but as one's now a physician I'm sure he's learned how to take humans apart quite handily if need-be. If not, he knew how to use a knife before and I doubt any magical or other weapons training he gained over there eroded that ability."
"So they do have magic?" the Secretary of State asked.
"Yes. Willow's suicidal fit opened that and a latent gift for healing in one and visions. That's why he sent them to that realm. It was fairly strong magically and had proper education for the boys as they regrew."
The two higher ups shared a look and the head agent for this meeting cleared his throat. "Are they safe?"
"In what manner?" Giles asked. "Around people? I'd suppose so. They always were and Philip's just finished his year of residency. Xander finished his internship as an engineer." The agent nodded. "Are they safe in a battle? They do know how to handle one and have managed to protect themselves when the demons came near them." He smiled. "If it weren't for them, we wouldn't have had any warning about the angel vs demon battle to end humanity that they tried to start. Since the angels wanted to take out humanity, we stood up a bit." The agent shuddered. "Xander nicely knew how to get C-4 to a few of their offshoot realms. It made them retreat to make plans and gave us room to beef up our own protections so humanity can't fall to it."
"An end times battle?" the Chief of Staff asked.
"No, they were tired," Giles said dryly. "They decided they weren't getting worshiped properly and that humanity was full of flotsam for it. They took it upon themselves to start it. Frankly, we were not amused that humanity had to become the third side and half of the demons they were fighting against were really on humanity's side. Though a few angels did defect to side with humanity." He opened his briefcase and pulled out a file. "This is what we compiled on that as of last night. It includes statements by some of the hunters and a few other things." He let them see it. "It was postponed but not totally ended. They're regrouping to make different plans."
"This isn't what the end time battles are supposed to be," the Secretary of State said, looking at his coworker, who nodded he agreed. He looked at Giles. "What about all that stuff in Revelation?"
Giles shrugged. "We have no idea. This wasn't about anything biblical. They got pouty because their worshipers were dying off. No one remembered some of them at all. What happened to the older pantheons was becoming their fate and they decided to say 'screw it' and chuck humanity into oblivion so they wouldn't have to go first."
"Aren't there more moderate voices?" the Chief of Staff asked.
"No, they have *factions*." Both politicians sighed and shook their heads. "The one who could overrule them is apparently on vacation from what we've heard. Has been since about the Inquisition as it annoyed him or something." They both nodded again. "They've been trying to set it up using a few hunters but they've been resisting as well."
"That's good," the Chief of Staff said. "What can we do to aid you so you don't have too many problems?"
"It'd be nice if you could stop all those nagging sorts in the press and the few protests we've seen. The twins could probably use the same protection. Making the slayers more visible will probably only cause problems, if only with the Powers That Be, who are over the slayers. You can't really hunt vampires on patrol when you're being asked for autographs by little girls. Which did rather freak Faith out greatly the other night."
"If we could go back to remove all the cameras in that area, I'd gladly do it," the Secretary of State said. "Let us talk about it and we'll meet again in a few days?"
"I'll be heading back to England to handle the cleaning up the remains over there for the next few months or so. I leave on Thursday but Buffy will have the house well in hand."
"We can try to get things together by Wednesday since it's only Sunday," the head agent said. They shook hands and let Giles go back to the house. The agents and higher ups went back to the White House for a conference. This was potentially something very good publically but very bad in every other manner. Including bad for the slayers and the hunters.
The demons had other ideas. Not Crowley, he knew not to give hunters too much attention. It'd go badly for the ones being hunted. Some of the younger and more stupid looked at the various ways that they were getting attention, including all the protests and complaining going on, and decided it was a good idea to ramp it up. There were a few people who had made soul contracts that they could use for that. Plus it helped that the hunters were mostly pretty.
Crowley when he heard, just sighed and went to hide from the explosions. Because he was sure someone was going to send some again. The twins, at the very least, were like that.
Dr. Cuddy walked out after her shift at the hospital, hoping to find some decent takeout and go home to rest. Things had been a bit odd all day and she had no idea why. Though it was nice a few of the nurses had warned her so she could avoid having to see some problems going on. She walked out into a reporter ambush but just one reporter and her cameraman. "What are you doing?" she demanded. "Get out of my way and off hospital property."
"Ma'am, I'm doing a story on the people that helped LA this spring," she said with a perky smile and voice.
"I doubt they'd like that." She walked around them toward her car.
"Were you close with the one who was a resident here?" she called, following her.
"Not really. No more so than with any other resident." She unlocked her car with her remote and started the engine, then opened the door to slide in.
"Do you think they're evil?" the reporter called. "Misguided?"
"I think they do what they have to do," she said then got into the car and drove off as fast as she could. She'd warn Harris but she had no idea where he was or what his phone number was at the moment. She sent an email to House once she got home. He may know. He kept track of weird things like doctors who could touch-heal.
House was at the bar when he read that email. It wasn't the bar most of the doctors in town favored. It was downright dirty and nasty, and he could pick up easy college girls who thought they were tough there. He looked around, no Harris. He texted one of them to beware of reporters. He got back a 'who are you'. So he wrote his name out and sent it.
//Oh. You got Xander, not Philip, Dr. House, but I'll gladly warn him about idiot reporters wanting to know more about demon hunting. She's probably wanting a huge story to get off the weather girl desk. Have a better night.//
House put his phone up, smirking into his beer. The young one was wise in the ways of stupid girls who thought they were good at things that weren't. He really should've introduced Philip to Cameron, to see how he'd deal with her.
Xander put his phone down, looking across the table at his twin and his twin's bimbo. His own bimbo was laughing. "House wrote saying to beware of reporters."
"Great. Just what we need," he quipped, grinning at the girl next to him. "So, what's a nice succuba like you doing in a place like New Jersey?"
"Hellmouth taint," the succuba said in unison then smiled. The boys grinned. "Can we, please?" they begged.
"Only take some of the taint," Xander said. They squealed and drained some of the growing hellmouth taint. It always seemed to grow, even when he'd like it to go down. It being high meant that he got bad, dirty girls wanting to date him instead of his usual slightly dirtied and only bad in bed dates. The succuba sighed like they had gotten off and cuddled. That was nice and why they liked succuba. Their sort of girl didn't cuddle and cuddles were great.
Philip looked at them. "We should go taunt in a club. We haven't taunted in a while." The girls giggled. "I'm finally caught up on my sleep so I should get my groove thing on." He grinned at them. "Go with us?" They nodded, taking the boys to their favorite club to get down in, and to pick up food sources. The boys could handle anything there. Including the regional boss who was frantically waving them away from the hunters.
Philip walked over smiling. "We know. The hellmouth taint keeps growing. It's a handy service." He smirked. "They're very good at it." He walked back there, taking his bimbo onto the dancefloor to taunt others with his hips of semi-doom. The girls giggled and they went back into hunting and baiting vampires style of dancing, that made it even hotter for everyone. And the two vamps that tried to nibble got staked easily enough.
Xander walked out to get the mail, finding the same reporter and her cameraman waiting. "Wow, you made a deal to be a reporter? That's ....weird."
"I can sense you made one," she said smugly.
"To heal ourselves after Willow went suicidal." He grinned. "It got us healed and all we had to do was stay out of a battle until asked."
"Shoot, that means you're one of the Harris twins." Xander nodded, smirking at her. "Crap." She looked at her helper, who was her demonic owner. He fed off lifeforce in images. She looked at him again. "Um...I'm supposed to be doing a story on hunters."
"We'd hate that and have to go kill the ones that brought us to notice really, really hard."
She laughed nervously. "I'm human."
"I know." He grinned. "Philip's a doctor but I'm an engineer. I build things like ray guns." He smiled at the quiet 'oh shit' repeated under her breath. "Exactly."
"Um...." She stared at him. "There's reports there's a magical surge coming?"
"I haven't had a vision," admitted. "Or Philip."
"You asked for visions?"
"No, getting blasted with black magic opened up my skills for that and a few other things." He got into his mail box and looked at it then shrugged and looked at her once it was relocked. He looked at the demon camerman, who was sweating. "I was going to say, wasn't it too hot here for you? Your type of demon usually prefers colder climates."
"They're not really here."
Xander grinned. "I know." She shivered and backed up. "Anything else, miss? And you do not have my permission to air anything with myself or my twin. Or else we'll sue you."
"You're a matter of public interest."
"Sure, give my twin's future medical practice more customers." He stared at her. She laughed another nervous laugh. They ran off. Xander cast a curse at the demon, making him bellow and fall down dead. He walked up the stairs. "Beloved other half of me, we need to make the triple triskele pendants again." He slammed their front door. The neighbors all thought it was cute how he talked to his twin.
Philip looked up and pointed. "You made a set last month."
"Did I imbue them?" He looked and tossed one over. "They want us to get *attention* now."
"Fuck 'em," Philip said, going back to his book. He put the pendant on one handed and got comfortable with his feet up in Xander's lap once he sat down. "Think we should intervene before they get the slayers?"
"No. We're not Council. Let Giles. Oh, she said something about a magical surge."
Philip looked at him over the top of his book. "Why would there be?"
"No clue. Told her we haven't had any visions."
"Huh. Well, we'll be listening." He got back to his book. "Is the permit in yet?"
"Yup. We can go clean up again today and put up those few stud walls we've been building on the floor." Philip hopped up and got dressed, going to work on that with his twin. They had two months to get it habitable, which the apartment was now. They only needed three new bathrooms put into the medical area, one in Xander's office area, and a communal changing area for the nurses. Plus a few subdivisions of rooms. It was an easy job. All they needed was the stuff on backorder. They found an inspector looking in the windows and cleared their throats. "Can we help you?" Xander asked.
"This is going to be a medical clinic?" he demanded.
"You know that there's special regulations," he sneered, handing over the forms.
Philip looked at it and handed it back. "I'm a GP, not an OB. It's not that sort of clinic. It's a come let me treat your bumps, bruises, and allergies sort of clinic," he said with a sneer. "Thank you for jumping to conclusions and those are not state regulations. That was included in the packet to start my own practice." He stared at him. "Did you have anything else you wished to try today?" An officer pulled up behind them on the curb. "Officer, this man is claiming to be a state employee here to harass us about my general practice medical clinic."
Xander looked at him. "He thought it was going to become an abortion clinic."
"That's across town," the officer said, looking at the guy. "ID, sir. Impersonating a state official is against the law."
"I never said I was, just inferred it."
Xander looked at him. "I may be an engineer instead of a lawyer but that's usually counted as close enough to sue." He stared at him. "Anything else, sir?" The man huffed off. He looked at the officer, who grinned. "What?"
"The thing on your sidewalk?"
"He was tainting the nice young reporter who wanted to make hunters famous," Xander said dryly. "Giving her horrible ideas like we'd like to become media stars."
"I doubt that'd work," he agreed. "Be nicer, boys."
"We're almost always polite," Philip said with a smile. "Hallie would be most peeved if we weren't." The officer drove off happier. They went inside to work on things. Some of their supplies had been delivered, it was a great day to put in bathrooms.
Xander walked in reading the paper the morning they had finally moved into their new digs. "Someone's building a Tesla tower in Camden."
"Who the hell is that stupid?" Philip demanded.
"Probably an engineer," Xander admitted. "Probably a steampunk guy." Philip nodded, buttering his toast. "What worries me is that the tower conducts magic more readily than energy so if he's got any magic, we've got an issue."
"Magical surge," Philip agreed. "Do we find him or do we tell Giles and why he needs to jump on someone's head?" He ate a bite of his toast, holding up the other piece for his twin. Xander nipped it from his fingers and sat down to munch his way through it without touching it. Philip shook his head at the bad table manners.
Xander grinned while chewing. "I say we talk to him."
"You always were the more functionally spoken of us," Philip said with a grin. "We can go look at least. You're an engineer and interested in that sort of thing."
"True, I am. And Tesla towers have a major design flaw that makes it supercharge the magic and regular electricity." He got up to go put on real clothes. Philip finished his coffee and did the same. Then they met at the door. Philip looked snazzy in his vest and pants. Xander looked the same but instead of a regular button up he had one with a mandarin collar that coordinated instead of matched his vest. They left, locking up everything. Their car was nice and roomy. It also had nice weapons in the trunk in case they ran into something bigger.
Xander got out first, staring at the tower. "He's going mega sized," he said.
Philip got out, closing the car door. Xander did the same and locked it with the remote. They stared at the tower being built. They couldn't get onto the property. There were multiple no trespassing signs. Philip looked around and pointed. "We have two points."
"That's going to create a bit of a problem." He frowned. "That won't conduct right on those settings." He checked the compass on his watch. "No, that's sitting to the south, not north or west." A car pulled up next to theirs. They looked at the obvious agent. "Yes, sir?" he asked.
"Boys, that's private property and there's been threats."
"I'm an engineer myself and he's got the towers mis-aligned," Xander said. "It's going to create a hell storm of backflow at that angle to each other."
The agent blinked. "Who're you?"
"Xander Harris." He grinned. "This is my twin."
"I can see that. You an engineer?"
"Doctor actually." He grinned. "But I've watched my twin build a working replica in the past."
Xander grinned. "No." The agent huffed. "Someone really needs to warn him one's supposed to be on a north/south axis with the energy flow and the other's supposed to be to the west of it for safest transmission. Otherwise he's going to get a lot of static and nothing else, or he's going to get flash lightening."
"I can pass that on, boys. Go home." They nodded, going back to talk about that. The agent went to talk to his very weird little brother. "Someone just said you've got them mis-aligned and he had a working model."
"Really?" he asked with a sneer, not looking at his brother. "Who?"
"Said his name was Harris. Xander Harris. Had a twin."
The guy frowned at him. "I think I read something on him somewhere but I have no idea where." He shrugged. "Is he an engineer?"
"Yup. His brother's a doctor. He said you're going to get static and flash lightening."
"No, I know what I'm doing." He smiled. "Thank you for running them off."
"Sure. Not a problem. Weren't we going to have lunch?"
"We are." He tightened one last bolt and came out to clean up so they could eat and catch up again. He had only regained contact with his brother a few months ago. He was still trying to decide if he'd protect him when the big things happened.
"If we were there, we could seed the clouds so it rained when he tried that."
"Rain conducts electricity," Xander reminded him.
"Point but it'd be safer. It might ground it."
"It might screw up the weather so much we'd have a tornado too," Xander said. He looked up from building energy dampeners. "Did you talk to Giles?" Philip nodded. "Is he confused?"
"Very. He said magically it shouldn't make much of a difference unless he's summoning things."
"Yes it does. That one we stopped ...well, that just drew aliens." Philip grinned. "Did you share that?"
"He said magic's weaker here."
"No it's not."
"I pointed that out as well." They shared a look and Xander sighed, putting down the energy dampener and getting to work on protections. He had a neater hand with painting them. Philip got up to work on spelled items that they'd need to help.
Crowley appeared. "It was not my doing."
"The reporter or the idiot with the Tesla tower?" Philip quipped, staring at him. For being a higher demon, Crowley looks a bit scared and maybe worried.
"Tesla what now?" Philip pulled up a picture from the internet to show him. "That's not useful."
"It's an amplifier," Philip said. "We saw one draw aliens to our other world to invade."
"Oh, great," Crowley said. "The reporter thing was not me."
"I haven't killed anyone yet over that," Philip quipped. "You're on your own with the slayers and other hunters."
"I realize that." He stared at him. "There's been a magical breach."
"Greatness," Xander said as he came in to get a better paintbrush. "Do we have to cure it? Not the first one we've seen and handled but it'll mean days of being tired." He walked out again.
Philip gave him an interested look and a slight smile. "He's right, it's not and we were."
Crowley sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. "It's in Cleveland."
"The hellmouth's open?"
"I'll call Giles. Thank you for warning us," Philip said with a polite smile.
"It does me no good if anyone else takes over this plane either."
"Then please go stop the idiot with the tower."
"I may." He disappeared with a sigh of displeasure.
Philip called down there. "Giles, it's Philip. We just had a visitor that said the hellmouth's got a breach."
"Who was your visitor?" he asked.
"His name's Crowley. He's a major demon. The one that shifted us."
"Our witches say there's not. Is he yanking your chain?"
"With the way he looked exhausted and tired of humanity? Probably not."
"We'll check better. Where is that tower you were worried about?"
"Camden, New Jersey."
"I'll have someone look those up."
"They're not aligned right unless he's calling a portal," Philip said. "And even then one's not exactly in the right place. We know it'll amplify things like magic and other energies. The last time we saw one, it pulled an alien invasion."
"Xander said that. I'll have someone look into it."
"Thank you. Have fun with the hellmouth. Call if you need us." He hung up and got back to work on his dueling gear. "Xander, I need more specialty shots."
"I'll do them later if they're not in the closet in the hallway," he called back.
Philip went to look and came back to reload his speciality dueling pistols. Each had two shots, and he had six of them. And another three regular guns concealed for worse things. Plus knives, darts, magical traps, and other assorted things that might come up as useful during a battle. His full dueling vest for battles is much less cute and much more protective. Plus he has his usual harness on underneath it. He made sure they still fit together with everything in place then put them beside the door on a hanger. He got back to work on various banishing potions and other problems he'd do something about until Xander called that someone was knocking. Philip turned on his stool as Xander walked in with a sloppily dressed agent. His better dressed partner was behind him. "Yes, can we help you, gentlemen?"
"Cut the crap," the sloppy one said. "You had someone harassed for correcting you?"
"No, I had someone harassed for claiming to be a state employee and for having the wrong idea. I'm not an OB/GYN and I hate children. Why would I need to follow the rules for an abortion clinic?" They stared at him. He stared back. "If you don't like it, I can have you harassed as well. I don't put up with bullshit, gentlemen, even from agents."
"We can arrest you for making drugs," the other one said happily.
"Those are potions. Specifically a banishing potion." They sneered. So Philip threw one on them and the sloppy agent screamed as the demon flew out of him. He smirked and wiggled his fingers. "You have a great life somewhere else." Xander cast a curse at it to kill it. "Ah, better. We really do have to finish putting up protections." They stared at the other agent, who was holding his partner up. "Anything else you wanted?"
"You hurt him!" he shouted, pulling his gun. Xander snatched it from him with his wand and put it onto the kitchen counter, plainly in sight. "How did you do that!" he shouted. He was groping for his partner's gun but it was also in the kitchen. Philip was calling the locals to come get them. Police officers carefully came up the stairs. "He threw something on my partner and made him pass out and this one took my gun," he said with a point at each one.
Xander waved his wand. "I don't need shot by Mr. Hysterical there," he said. He pointed. "It's within sight. All I did was float it over."
"Float?" one of the officers asked. Xander lifted him and put him back down. "Oh. You can do that?"
"For a few years now, yes," Philip said. "I used a banishing potion." He pointed at the smudge on the floor. "Demons. Yay."
"Just because we sent off the guy who tried to claim we're going to be opening an abortion clinic," Xander said. "I have no idea how they went from GP to OB. It's not even close on a keyboard."
The second officer smiled. "Boys, calm down. Sit. Don't touch anything." He watched Xander put up his wand. The agent lunged at Xander, who punched him and knocked him down. "Nice."
"Practice, unfortunately," Xander said. He hopped up to sit on the table. Philip cleared his throat so he properly sat in a chair. "Hallie did really well housetraining him."
"My mother tried hard too," the lead officer said. He checked the unconscious one. "He'll live?"
"He's just in shock," Philip said, coming over to check him. "Shock and it burned the mark the demon put on his arm." He pointed at the newly burned spot. Then he sat down at the table as well.
"You guys were at the thing in LA," the second officer said. They both nodded. "Interesting."
Philip smiled. "We started doing that in high school to protect ourselves and others."
"And because one tiny, bitchy blonde girl shouldn't have to do it on her own," Xander agreed.
The officers nodded. The second one smiled. "I would've too. That's why I became an officer."
"I like building things," Xander said. He snapped his fingers. "There's a guy creating a problem in Camden. He's building Tesla towers and that's going to cause a huge problem sometime soon. They're amplifiers and with the way they're set up it's more likely to open portals than create energy. We tried to explain that to the guy that caught us staring at his installation. I don't think the agent cared about his brother's misdeeds."
"Sometimes family can be that way," the lead officer said. "Did you attack them?"
"Only when they started it first," Philip said. "Then I threw the banishing potion I had been working on."
"I only pulled my wand when he pulled a gun. I'll be damned," Xander said. "I'm not that noble."
They nodded, calling that in. "The boss hates you," the second officer said.
"We don't care about his species," Xander said dryly. "We don't care about anything peaceful. We never have. That's not the Sunnydale team way." The second officer said that and then winced. "I take it he's not happy we're us?"
"Something about nutjob hunters?"
"No, that's not us. We're nicer hunters. That's why..." He took the phone. "Listen," he said, making the guy shudder. "Yeah, we backed up the slayer. We're retired until it comes up to bother us. I'm still Xander Harris and it's not going to change." He listened. "Exactly. And one possessed and the other paranoid and on something. He's got the shakes, Philip."
"I'm not required to treat him as he just threatened my life. The oath does not say that."
Xander gave him a hug. "It's all right. I'll still protect you from agents who're high on something." Philip swatted him but gave him a fond look. He picked back up the phone. "Sorry, was calming my twin down. Yeah, that twin. Thank you. Here, your officer back." He handed it over.
The officer listened and looked at them. "He was part of a deal?"
"We got hit with so much black magic at once we were dying. No one was going to help so Xander made a short deal. Us being split again was the only way to keep us from dying. We were already in organ shut down," Philip said. "The only price we paid was being told we had to be asked to jump into the next battle. When she did, we went."
"Our apocalypse battle was in the way of that demon's plans. The same as LA was," Xander added. "He didn't want to have to deal with it and we'll be stopping his too."
The officer repeated that and nodded. "That's what he heard, and that you're dangerous."
Xander grinned and pointed. "Only when you make us be dangerous."
The officers looked at the picture. "World dueling championships," the lead officer said. "Impressive."
"Healers don't usually duel but we're excellent at it," Philip said with a smile.
From the phone they heard a loud yell. The officer winced. "He wanted to know if you're a healer or a physician?"
"The same as I'm a crafter and an engineer," Xander quipped with a grin. "We also do teach what we know if people ask."
The officer listened and hung up. "No one touches healers."
"Hmm. It's like being a seer. No rule says healers or anyone with gifts have to help." He smiled. "I'm not usually like that."
"Still, he said calm it down."
"Make them leave us alone. It's the second time in a few days and the second time they tried to accuse me of opening an abortion clinic."
"We noted that and that this was a new family practice."
"Adults only, please," Philip said. "I do not deal well with children. They creep me out."
"Me too, and I have four," the lead officer said. "Let us take them downtown, sir." Xander pointed at the gun again so he could grab it. They carried them down to the car and to the station. They ran both of them through the drug and alcohol screening system. Both of them were high. That was great. Their boss was not pleased but the federal boss would be even less pleased.
Xander and Philip shared a look and got to work on the protections. This was ridiculous. They were over having this happen and they'd be fixing it. Quickly.
Philip looked over at the knock to his door, opening it to stare at the guy on the back stairs. "Yes, Officer?"
"Sir," he said, trying to move inside. "This is illegal. You cannot keep officers out."
"Unless you have a search warrant you haven't presented yet I don't have to let you into my house. I can exclude anyone I see fit." He stared at him. "Beyond that, if my *protections* get you, that's not my fault either."
The officer gasped. "You're..."
"Yeah, a Harris." He smiled. "Long way from Sunnydale, but this is a better thing. Especially being semi-retired." He stared at him. "What did you need?"
"There's been some questionable problems outside the city."
"Wasn't us. We've been fixing up the offices downstairs."
The officer grimaced. "We heard what you're setting up."
"I don't know who started that stupid rumor but I'm not an OB. I'm a GP. An internist." The officer slumped, staring at him. "I hate children. Thank you muchly." He stared at him. "Anything else, Officer?"
"Do you know anything about the cause of the problems?"
"No clue. The only local problem we're tracking is the guy in Camden who's going to end up causing huge issues with his stupid Tesla towers." The officer moaned. "Exactly." He smiled again. "Anything else?"
"It's still against the law to keep law enforcement out of your domicile, sir. What if you need us?"
Philip stared at him. "Why would we need you, Officer? We can handle most everything that happens around us. We're like that." The officer shuddered and shrank back away from him. "Don't fall, it's a nasty drop." The officer turned and ran down the stairs. "That really wasn't a threat but you were about to fall," he called after him. "Sorry if it freaked you out." He waved and shut the door. Xander came out of his bedroom shaking his head. "Anything you can think of that would keep us from going to spy on the problem in Camden?"
"Not unless the cops decided to do it themselves." He yawned. The two succuba left. Xander grinned and let them kiss him on the cheek. "Thanks, ladies."
"You're welcome." They skipped down the stairs. It was nice that there was an exception built into their protections. The twins shared a look and got back to doing what they had to do to set up the offices and stop the idiot bad guy since it looked like no one else was.
Xander went to find the curse on his poor twin, finding it easily enough on a stone by the new house. He took a sledgehammer to it and the curse stopped. He could faintly hear demons screaming too but oh well. Or maybe not demons but some winged supposedly higher being was screaming. Xander walked off, smiling at the staring officers. "It had curses on it."
"If you're sure," one said. Xander pointed behind him at the thing that had appeared to mourn his work. "How did he get there?" The guy stared at them, then glared at Harris. "He doesn't look too pleased with you."
"He's going to be even less pleased with me when I shove my boot up his ass," Xander quipped. The angel rushed him and Xander swung with the hammer, cracking the guy's head. "Hmm. Angels aren't all knowing." He stared at him. "Anything else?" The guy groaned. "I'm not the healer in the family. That's my twin." He smirked. "You going to try me or my twin again?" The angel healed himself and stood up, pulling a sword. Xander shrugged. "Yay," he said flatly. It came at him again and this time the ray gun came out to vaporize him. "Hmm, the things you learn in other realms," he said dryly, picking up the hammer again with a grin for the officers. "You guys have a great day." Someone was clapping so he looked. "I know who you are."
"You can quit fighting them, kid."
"No I can't. I'm still the White Knight of Sunnydale," he said in Latin, earning a horrified look. "Yeah, all that was because of her suicide attempt that I stopped. Hmm, using us to take out the battles in his way, and then his because we're just like that." He stared at him. "You guys can make peace. We'd all like that." He smiled. "Have a great day, Gabriel. I've got to baby my twin. He's having an ice cream fit." He walked off.
One of the officers stopped him. "What sort of gun was that?"
Xander pulled it out to show him with a grin. "I built it myself. My twin's a healing sort and I'm a crafter sort."
"It's a ray gun?" he demanded.
"Yeah." He smiled. "It is. It's real handy for demon battles." He looked at the blank spot then back at him. "Or the angels that are tired of living. They nearly tried their own suicide cult thingy. Too bad the slayers were in the way." He smiled, putting it back.
"Is that on a permit?"
"I didn't know you needed one for a ray gun. Though yes, I do have a carry concealed permit if you'd like to see it, Officer." The guy nodded so Xander pulled it out to look at. "Oops, my twin's. I grabbed the wrong wallet this morning." Philip walked over and handed it to him then took the his own guns from his battle harness to hit the two angels that were invisible. They faded into view with a scream as they atomized. "Thanks, my beloved twin."
"You're welcome, my own evil half." He grinned at Gabriel. "It was the only way to save him and we were important," he said in Latin with a smirk for the senior angel. "Ask Cas."
"I will." He stared at him. "Damn."
"Someone does keep trying," Philip said dryly, smirking at him. "Pity."
Gabriel nodded. "Yeah, I can see why." He walked off shaking his head until he could disappear the normal way. He landed in front of Castiel. "They did not represent those twins fairly."
Castiel looked at him. "The Ones Who See? No, they did not. Or that one was a true healer and the other a true crafter."
"Yeah, I saw the ray guns," he said dryly.
"That deal was to save them from the black magic a witch had shot at them. It moved them realms so they could train their gifts. The one who made it wanted them to take out battles that would get in the way of his. They have, and his."
"That's what they said." He stared at his lower angel. "How do we solve this?"
"We butt out of humanity," Castiel said simply. "Because they are not the sheep they used to be and we are not worthy sheppards in their cases."
Gabriel huffed, sitting down. "You know they won't accept that answer."
"Yet, the twins were the ones that sent the explosives," Castiel said with a smile. Gabriel stared at him. Castiel smiled and nodded. Gabriel moaned, shaking his head. "Exactly." He patted him on the arm. "It will be as it will be. We all know that."
"They're going to try again."
"The slayers will fight it with the hunters."
"Slayers? Why would they get in our way?"
"Because there is not one, there's many, and they have heard so they have a mutual aid pact for the hunters," Dean said, grinning at him. "Which one are you?"
"Gabriel." He looked at Castiel. "That can't be."
"You have not looked," he chided. Gabriel looked then frowned. "The First Evil happened." Gabriel stared to the west, grimacing at what he saw. "So the line was activated to sew her back in there." Gabriel rubbed his forehead.
Xander appeared, patting him on the back. "By the way, those of us with visions have seen their new plans too." He grinned. "We don't like them either." He pulled his wand to time stop the restaurant for a minute and do a small retroactive memory spell on the normals. "It'll never go as they planned. If my twin and I could stop an alien invasion with just three others, what can we do with hundreds of hunters, slayers, and watchers, plus the other normals who'll suddenly realize?"
Gabriel stared at him. "The deal?"
"Willow went on a suicide binge and hit me with seven blasts of black magic. So we made a slight deal, without a soul clause, to save ourselves. It sent us to a new realm where we got to regrow up as twins, because that way the energy wouldn't kill us, and learned all sorts of neat things from the old Order of Hunters and others. Halfrek reraised us."
Gabriel licked his bottom lip then nodded. "You are of them?" Xander showed his tattoo. "Oh, dear."
"Oh, yeah," he said with a grin. "We'll gladly teach what we know to anyone. By the way, Dean?" He looked up from chewing. "Some guy in Camden, New Jersey is putting up Tesla towers that're misaligned. That's why we had an alien invasion over there at one time. If there's any hunters near there, they're doing it on All Saints. We're preparing for problems."
"I can get the warning out," he promised. "Will you guys need help?"
"That might depend on what they pull. The guy's not concerned and I'm not sure he's not trying to resurrect someone with it."
"Great," Sam quipped. Xander hugged him around the head. "Hey!"
Xander grinned at him. "One of the higher angels wants Dean as a human suit. You can stop that."
"I will stop that," Sam agreed, grinning at him. "When do we get to see your other weapons stuff?"
"Well, there's going to be a duel in a few days," he offered. He smiled at Gabriel. "We challenge your champion so they can quit being so stupid. Do I need to manifest a glove?"
"No, I'll pass that on. Where?"
"Cleveland. There's a nice blank area outside town that's not on holy ground but nearby and it's not near the hellmouth. Two days? Around noon to be faithful to the intent of a shootout?"
"I can tell them of the challenge. I can't guarantee they'll take it."
Xander smirked evilly. "We'll see." He winked at Castiel. "Have fun, dear. And watch for the bitchy ho Meg, guys. She's going to crash your car. She's Azazel's daughter and wants to get you guys back. Reapers aren't that fun and we'll gladly come help you guys out of their grasp."
"Already done that once," Dean said.
Xander nodded. "I know." Dean winced. "She's back." He waved and disappeared with his hammer.
Gabriel looked at Castiel. "And yet they're supposedly protectors?"
"They were driven that way by only be surrounded by girls."
"Ah. That'd do it to me too." Gabriel left just before the spell ended.
Castiel looked at the two brothers. "Cleveland's not that far," Sam said.
Dean nodded. "About a day's worth of driving."
"We can do that," Castiel said. "I can help you protect yourselves and the slayers. Some may not be against taking hostages."
"That makes them evil," Sam said bluntly. "Not good."
"True. They won't see it that way."
"The slayers have their protectors as well," Castiel reminded him.
Philip appeared sitting beside Sam, arm around his shoulders. He time stopped the restaurant, looking at him. "One's already tried. He missed. By thousands of miles. If they try that, then we get to be unmannerly as well." He grinned. "They don't want to start that trend. If my twin's a *crafter* the way I'm a *healer*...." He disappeared. The time stop ended again.
Dean shivered. "Wow."
"Yeah," Sam agreed, stuffing his mouth with meatloaf.
Castiel ate his pie, considering things. That was a bad warning to have to give. The angels were not prepared for that sort of war.
Philip looked up from reading when angels started to appear. "My twin's on his way. He had to free your hostages." He tucked his book into his bag. Xander appeared looking a bit sweaty. "They good?"
"Yup, all good." He bowed to them. The angels sneered. "Your champions?"
Three stepped out. "You can handle us," one said.
"Yes, I can," Philip promised. "And have handled worse. Formal dueling rules or do you prefer another method?"
"We can do it the angelic way," another said.
"Sure. Halfrek taught us those as well." One of the senior angels looked horrified. "Yeah, we grew up over there when we got saved from the suiciding witch." He waved with a grin, taking off his overshirt. His twin was in a tank top and his battle harness, including arm guards. Xander pulled on his vest and buckled it as they moved closer. "Now or do we need to count it out? I'll let you decide."
One of the angels attacked and Philip created a shield. Almost nothing got through. Xander cast the curse at them, making them all scream as their powers were leached out. "Hmm, they didn't expect that," Philip said. "Interesting." They cast another one then summoned the demons that still had plans.
The one that made the deal shook his head and walked off. "I did not do this. It is not in my plans and my plans will not try humanity until after all the slayers are back down to a single one," Crowley said.
"Won't happen," Philip said with a smile and a wave. "Not with how Willow used the scythe."
"Oh, charming. Well, I can change it to wait until at least a century after you lot have passed on," Crowley said. The demons growled and attacked so the twins fought them. They were harder to beat but the leaching spell was getting them and a mass blessing worked wonders. Then a 'banishing spirits' spell.
Philip looked at the bodies, sighing. He looked at his twin. "They'll just use someone else," Xander agreed. "Take some of my energy, Philip." They touched hands as Philip squatted down to heal the bodies that had been used and abused. They got both side's bodies. Then they looked at the staring angels and demons. "Humanity's not like you think. Like the PTB, you don't *look*. You assume."
Xander nodded. "We're not weak and we're not giving in. Even if you started a real apocalypse of a natural variety, we can go to space. We have that capability." The head angel nodded once. "We showed mercy because it's what *good* people do. Halfrek had to teach us that."
"Before I wouldn't have cared," Philip assured them. "The petty BS ends, gentlemen. There's enough doing bad things that you're overshadowing. We don't want the extra work and you're pissing off them as well."
"The guy with the Tesla towers is really upset with all this," Xander agreed. "It screwed up his measurements. He was out having to adjust one of the towers. Totally going to be a problem come All Saints."
Crowley looked at them. "We can have a truce until you two are dead for at least a century."
"Later slayers will already know about it. The slayer spirit has a long memory. All the way back to Sineya, the First Slayer. We met her," Xander said with a grin for him.
"I heard when I looked." He looked at his brethren. "I had no plans of trying humanity because they are strong. The hunters and the slayers are strong enough to hold a goal post."
Philip grinned. "That's only partially our fault."
"You took a deal from him," the head angel said.
"Did you see why?" Xander asked. "Or that he didn't ask anything of us outside of staying out of a battle until we were asked for?"
"I..." He looked back and sighed, shaking his head.
Crowley nodded. "They were the needed remedy for Azazel and all that starting off. I didn't want to deal with Lilith."
"Beheaded her last night," Buffy said from where she had been watching, smiling and wiggling her fingers at them. "Slayer scythe, very handy against evil."
Crowley smiled. "Thank you."
"Welcome. She's a bit too freaky, even on the Dru scale."
Xander looked back at her. "She liked to torture too. Even Anya would've called her a psycho."
"Pity." She walked over. "So, are we all done with this? Because my slayers are tired of this and they're cranky. I'm about to unleash them all on both sides."
The head angel shook his head. "We will not bother the slayers, though they are not of our plans."
"Yeah, we figured the PTB were something that could only be found in a comic book," Buffy said.
"Mostly," Crowley agreed. He looked at the head angel. "We can make a truce?"
"We can," he agreed, shaking on it. That was binding for them. "Slayer, we will not bother your girls. Hunters, we will not bother you. There will be no war between our two sides until all of the current hunters and slayers have been dead for at least a century."
"Thank you," Philip said, bowing some. "That's very kind of you." The angel smiled. "Proxy problems?" he asked Crowley.
"Just because they're evil doesn't mean they're ours."
"I know," Xander agreed with a sigh. "We still have plenty of that kind."
The head angel nodded. "One is trying the local hole."
Buffy called. "Someone check the hellmouth." She hung up. "If we have to, we'll go kick butt again."
"I'm tired but I can sure try," Philip agreed. He looked at the bodies then at the angel and demon. "Thank you for your help in this matter, gentlemen. And if it's going to impact humanity, let us know? Hopefully without visions?"
"We shall," the head angel said. "Even though we let you win."
Xander grinned. "It was this or more explosives."
"We'd rather not have that happen," Crowley agreed. "Thank you for being the binding agent this time." Buffy looked confused. "They won, and we didn't fight all that hard, so the agreement could take place. We couldn't make one without it. It's against the rules we both have to play by to make an agreement without a third side stepping in to bat at us."
Xander nodded. "We knew that. Though, the banishing charm? Did it switch their sides? I felt Willow helping."
The two higher beings looked then Crowley nodded. "Yes it did. Rosenburg needs a leash." He sighed but left to take some tums and deal with those spirits.
The head angel looked at Buffy. "Can you have her taught better?"
"We've tried. The Devon Coven watches over her."
"I'll have someone talk to them. Good day." They left.
Xander looked at Buffy, who shrugged. "Hole?"
"Hole," she sighed. "I hate the hellmouth."
"Then go back to Rome," Philip quipped.
"I should. So much nicer." They walked off together and it was comfortable chatting again. The bodies would wake up and the local officers could handle getting them home. They could handle this. Even if Xander did heal one of the slayers for Philip and got a few funny looks. Buffy just rolled her eyes. "We don't expect you two to be normal anyway."
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