The Ship Isn't A Princess, Yet.
The ship landed in the requested spot and she noticed who was waiting so she sailed closer. "Thank you for the invitation. Scott and Hope are forcing Xander to have his injuries cleaned, King T'Challa. It'll be a few minutes."
"That's fine," he agreed. He smiled at her. "Shuri said you were a ship. I figured you to be more futuristic." He looked over the older looking ship that looked like it came from a steampunk pirate movie. It was a medium brown with gold filagree decorations around the main window and to highlight the carvings done around the edges of the main deck. It had four side rotors that looked like stacks and two main top rotors built along the same line. He guessed the stacked nature was to hide the engine modules or energy cores. The main window was a large picture window that took up half of the bottom front of the ship. Right above it was a large balcony area that had no railing but a few pillars. A good place to make an inspirational speech from. He could see why Shuri cooed over the ship, it was clearly a mix of old and futuristic tech.
She giggled. "No. The one who made me many years from now was into steampunk things."
"Many years from now?" Shuri asked, popping out from behind her brother's back. "How far in the future are you from?"
Xander came down the gangplank she extended, pulling on a shirt. "I walked down a street one day and met an older version of myself that had a fake foot and a fake eye. I had hoped to avoid both of those injuries but one was too important." He shrugged then grinned at her. "I've done a lot of little fixing things of her. She's a beautiful lady."
"How did she get possessed by the spirit of a fallen Valkyrie?" Thor demanded quietly.
Xander shrugged. "I haven't built her yet, Thor." He gaped. Xander stared back. "By how old that older me was, it's in about twenty years. Though she does have a program to allow her to integrate any hanging around spirit into her architecture. That's why the two smaller ships we're working on have new AI's from spirits." He shrugged. "I have no idea why. I can think of some good reasons but I have no real idea why she wanted that. Ask me in twenty years. Or ask her. She's super smarter than I am."
Thor had a slight eye twitch but sighed and looked up. "Valkyrie, which are you?" he asked nicely in All Speak.
She giggled. "I do not answer to the pup of Asgard, My Prince."
"My father has passed and Asgard is no more," he said firmly. "We fought Hela."
"Hmm." The ship moved a bit closer. "This is how we chose to not go into the darkness, Prince Thor. This way we are not truly lost. We all agreed on it. If you ask Brunhilde, she would tell you thus."
Thor nodded once. "So it was by your choice?"
"Of course. No one can make a valkyrie do anything against her will."
"As I heard but I wanted to make sure you're not in holding against your will."
She laughed. "If I was that sort of scumbag, she wouldn't let me up onto the ship," Xander said dryly. "Or near my trainee slayers." He looked at T'Challa, shaking hands appropriately with him. "Tin calmed down yet?"
"Of course not, she's a young girl," he said. "She's demanding extra practice so she can defend us all when the time comes in hopefully years."
"Buffy's barely back, and the rest of the slayers are still safely hidden off realm, but she's throwing a huge fit that we didn't call her and the slayers for the battle. When I pointed out why, I got told I was a normal guy again."
"I doubt that," Shuri quipped. "Normal men do not go into battle against hell gods with only a sword."
He grinned at her. "The ship and I agree, you're a princess girls should look up to, even if Disney does try to do a version of you." She blushed and giggled, punching him on the arm as she went up to look at the ship. "Scott's up there working on an engine on the second level, Princess," he called after her.
"Good! I want to talk to him of his skills. We always need geniuses in Wakanda."
Xander looked at the others but grinned. "Scott's helped rehab and remake a few of her engines. Hope's up there with him right now because I had them both out of phase during the battle, just in case. Valkyrie really loves him."
"She has a proper name," Thor noted.
"If she wanted me to use it, she would've told me to use it," Xander shot back, staring at him. "I'm not rude that way. I do have *some* manners sometimes." He looked at Steve Rogers then around him at Natasha. "Your people are stupid."
She nodded. "It could be tactical."
"No, they're stupid. A few of the SHIELD people have declared slayers to be enemy combatants."
She winced, then shook her head with a sigh. "Yes, they are stupid." She nodded. "I will call that in."
He grinned. "Thanks. I hate having to blow up people who annoy or harm my slayers. Just look at the ones I got in Egypt."
She looked that up with a slight scowl then whined for a second. "Understood. They believe you're evil." She looked at him.
"I think that depends on if you're trying to stop us from handling emergencies. Doesn't it? They tried to fire on me for telling them about the visions of the last battle."
She walked off shaking her head. "I will call Coulson."
"If he's the balding guy in charge, he was partially off reality for a bit. Not sure if he's back yet." He looked at Steve, who was shaking his head with a moan. "Yeah. That's how I feel." His phone rang so he looked at it. He wasn't all that happy to answer this call, especially not in front of important people. "Yeah, Buffy?" He listened. "Until we're sure he's not coming back today or tomorrow while we're healing. I know it's crowded but better cramped than dead, right?"
He nodded then sighed, rubbing around his empty eye socket. "No. I'm going to overrule that. I know you're a slayer but most of the girls with you are under the age of sixteen. They're kids. We want them safe. They will be safe. And if I have to send you back there I will." He hung up then looked back. "Valkyrie, if you see the minis show back up, let me know so I can go kick some slayer ass please?"
"Too late," the ship quipped. "Let me send you to do that." She sent him there then hummed. "He's injured but angry. She really does need some sense. And better shoes. What sort of warrior wears heels?" She huffed. "Miss Hope, you should go teach the slayers better. They need people with sense."
"If I could, I would," Hope called. She leaned over the railing. "We're hiding up here to not cause insult by coming along with Xander." She went back into hiding. "Please don't zap Scott with the non-electrical power source, Princess. I'd hate to rebuild his suit again. Or straighten his sloppy self out. His daughter would be most upset." They could all hear Shuri giggling.
T'Challa looked at the others. "This is why we know that Xander is not the usual warrior sort. Weird things happen around him." The boy reappeared with a split lip and a bruised cheek but grinning. "Is it fixed?"
"Yes. The minis will stay in a protected area and the coven will be moving them back immediately if Thanos or one of his uglies show back up. They're raising power for it now."
T'Challa nodded. "The girls could all use protected. The one you rescued from Egypt?"
"She's with them. She complained that this wasn't tactical or reasonable but she was calling her mother to make sure those same yahoos didn't capture them."
"You can ask our CIA liaison," T'Challa noted.
"I could but I hate most of them." Xander grinned. "And if he was NSA I get to kick his ass for sending torturing assholes to my town to rip apart demons for supposed science."
"No, I don't believe he wasn't there," T'Challa said. "You can ask him later. We need lunch. Let's go inside and eat."
"Any of those really great berries? Tin shared those dried red berries that were fantastic." Xander followed him respectfully. He nodded at a warrior. "Let Tin play for a bit," he called. "She needs to be a girl again. Or she might steal my laser pistol from me." The warrior laughed but nodded, passing that on. T'Challa looked at him so Xander grinned. "It was on the ship." He shrugged a bit. "It's very handy in demon battles and against witches."
"I imagine it would be," T'Challa agreed, nodding some. "Shuri will want to see it later."
"Of course. She's the sort the slayers should look up to as a role model. Because your mind is always your strongest weapon."
He nodded. "Her mind is quite strong but she can kick some butt," Ayo said from where she was guarding the group walking. "We made sure." Xander grinned at her. "Tin is a vicious little one."
"Yes, she can be but shouldn't be yet." He grinned at her. "I want her to grow up to be a wonderful woman who dies of old age."
"It's something all warriors truly want," she agreed. "Especially us."
Xander nodded. "I'd love that but not likely. What's the next weapon I need to find her for training?"
"With the scythe training one, she's good," she admitted. "Why a hand scythe?"
"The slayer's mystical weapon, the one tied to the line, is one," Xander said with a grin.
"Ah!" She nodded.
"Plus it's a weapon a lot of the more rural living slayers already knew how to use for harvesting."
"Good point. One I hadn't thought of since she's a city living girl."
"About half the slayers have been from small urban areas. Only Tin and Slick, from Sun City, are from real urban areas. Even the ones born near London are from the outskirts, out in suburbia."
"It's safer to grow up there, less hunting that could attack a kid," Steve said.
"That's what we think too," Xander said. "Slick, she's a tough little kid who was basically a street kid whose mother was kinda sick a lot."
"Is that her name?" Ayo asked.
"No. Most slayers don't go by their names so demons can't find their families. Her gang of fellow street kids named her Slick."
"That makes sense. A few of the peaceful have sought out Tin to talk to her."
"My mini in the Ivory Coast has a group like that around her. They adore the sweet little girl she is. They're not highly protective because they're not that sort of being, but if they can they'd hide her. They hid her for me a few times so I could go handle something near there. They're part of the poker circuit too."
"Interesting." She nodded. "Some of us have learned how to play kitten poker to hear information. Tin shares what she hears on the bulletin boards too."
Xander nodded. "Andrew set those up, including the magical code that allows it to translate for her."
Ayo shook her head with a sigh. "Magic is very strange."
"Yeah but sometimes really handy."
"True." She smiled at him. "What are you doing after this?"
"Taking two days off until I can go deliver all my girls to their families. That way they know they're safe and healthy. I'll probably get to hold off Slick's aunt who wants her to be a more traditional girl too. She tries every few months."
"Many older generations are not remembering that there are fierce women who protect our peoples," she said.
"In her case, she's fretting that Slick isn't her version of Christian leaning." She nodded she understood that. "That and Slick won't wear a dress of any sort."
"It's not easy to fight in one," Ayo agreed. "We'll teach Tin that when she's older."
"Self defense until she's in puberty," Xander said, giving her a look. "Then start on serious identification and how to defend." She nodded that made sense. "Thanks. I really want the girls to have what Buffy did, a normal childhood. Or as normal as she can."
"It's something we want for all children," she agreed. "Even specially selected ones." She smiled and hit him on the arm. "We have film of her riding a rhino to see if she wanted to learn."
"Awww! That's gotta be cute!" She nodded, calling it up for him to see. "That is so cute! She's got a good balance too. She should try camels and horses."
Ayo smiled. "She will be. Some year soon. I caught her riding a goat to get it away from the ones it was bothering." Xander grinned at her. "She does good with animals."
"All girls like animals until they're older. Most US girls go horse mad for a bit."
"They are nice," she agreed. "Many women don't grow out of it."
"And then you get the women that carry around a dog to talk to." She burst out laughing but nodded and walked off to share that with the other warriors. When a slayer showed up they let her in because Tin vouched for her. Xander was at the meeting table and took the baby from her to cuddle since it was fussing. "Sit your butt down, Ara."
"Yes, Xander." She sat down with a sigh. "I'm Slayer Ara. One of the seniors on this continent. That is my fussy offspring, who hates everyone but him. Including me." Ayo sat down in the free seat. Xander patted his slayer on the shoulder. "I swear the baby only likes me because I feed her and change her."
"She senses my inner animal. She always growls at me."
"Is she possessed?" Ara demanded, staring at him.
"No but I think she has healing gifts." He took her off his shoulder and frowned at her. "No doing that!" She pouted but quit trying to make his booboos better. "Thank you! Much nicer, good girl." He put her against his chest so she could see others to scowl at. She fussed at Bucky, holding her arms up. "Sure, you can hug him. I know who he is." She hugged him and calmed down.
Bucky sat down next to Xander. "She's sweet and napping I think. I hear snoring."
"That's her growling," Xander said, taking her back. She fussed but then sighed and went back to sleep on his chest. He grinned at his slayer. "She's got healing skills and traits."
"I'll talk with Slick's uncle who has some he knows. That way she gets training before she tries to heal something she shouldn't." She tried to take the baby back but the baby screamed so she left her with Xander. She grinned. "You are an excellent babysitter."
"Yes I am." He looked at Bucky, grinning. "Hi, Xander Harris, head Watcher in Africa." He shook his hand. "Part of the original Sunnydale team."
"I've only heard rumors about you. And what Tin's told others."
"Tin's a sweet girl. She should stay one as long as she can," Xander assured him.
Bucky nodded. "She is." He looked at the others. Natasha came in and sat down.
"I do not know of you," Ara said. "I'm Slayer Ara and this is my spawn of evil Yewubdar."
"Also known as Yew," Xander quipped. "She hates her name." The mother nodded and sighed. "Did Slick see her?"
"And ran the other way," she quipped. "Like usual. The baby slayers all loved on her and Henrietta's daughter Haley."
"Is that what she named the baby? Last time I knew she had a list and no idea."
"Her boyfriend named the baby behind her back so she's pouty." Xander rolled his eyes. "I know, she's pouty often. It's being her age and spoiled." Xander nodded, sighing again. "Thinking of Buffy?"
"Threw a fit I didn't have you ladies summoned."
"Bull! What can demon slayers do against an intergalactic being?" she demanded. Xander looked at her. "I know but that bothers me. She gets into many battles she shouldn't. The same as you do. Though I am thankful you could rescue that one slayer from the idiots who had her to torture into being normal. Or the slavers you got last year for my mother."
"They needed to go down anyway. People like that all need to die." She nodded at that. "Anyway," he said, looking at the others.
"You took down a slaver?" Steve Rogers asked.
"That group had her baby sister hostage. Yup. They went boom pleasingly. I even called in a demon debt to help me. Playing kitten poker, kinda handy. Even if I owe someone they know I'll probably call them to have a new toy when I have to handle humans with bad ideas." Steve blinked a few times. "There's a number of supposedly civil wars going on. With slayers and others in the way."
T'Challa nodded quickly. "The last one that was near a baby slayer suddenly moved without being prompted. The local peaceful society warned them they were near a baby slayer's town. They did not want to go there."
"Because the last one I gave to a poker debt," Xander quipped with a grin for him. "They don't eat meat but they owed a few others. No more taking out normal people for existing in their way. Boom." Ara laughed but nodded she agreed. "Then I moved that slayer."
"How did you get Shuri's weapon from the closet?" Ayo asked. "She wondered."
"I had Andrew summon it for me. With other weapons I might've needed, like his cannon."
"It was handy," Natasha said. Thor nodded he agreed from his seat. "Both were."
"Shuri's had limited power so limited shots."
"I think that's why she put it into a closet," T'Challa admitted. He sighed. "All right. How much damage did those beings do?"
"Much ground damage," one of the warriors said. "That whole sixteen miles of battle site needs to be cleaned up.
Xander pulled out his phone and found a profile. "Find them," he said, sliding the phone over. "They're the sort that eat the unnatural things in soil to get it back to normal fertility. They nest in the area then move on after a few years when the food thins out."
"Interesting. Much easier than digging it all up too." He took note and slid the phone back. "Thank you, Watcher Harris."
Xander smiled. "Never a problem. They'd probably happily help because it'd mean they were trusted not to be evil."
"We would gladly let them nest there," T'Challa agreed. "If it would help. Do we have any in-country?"
"Two troops just over the border," Ayo said after looking it up. She pointed. "About sixty miles that way. If they can't help, could they tell us who could?" Xander and Ara both nodded. "Then that would help greatly. Natural fertilizing would always be better."
The king nodded he agreed. "What about the alien bits they left behind? Those wheel weapons?"
"In storage," Ayo said. "So Shuri and others can go over them."
"Disinfected?" Xander asked.
"We hope," she said. "I have no idea on that yet but it was something we didn't think about."
"Even things like gut bacteria could be too different and cause problems," Ara said. "Near my town is a small asteroid that made people sick for over seventy years. They said it was bacterial when someone finally came to look at it."
Xander nodded. "I saw the report on that. It was a mold type of bacteria that grew in no-oxygen environments. It didn't dethaw until the thing was exposed by some nearby mining work. Then it started to grow. They fought down the fields by burning them clean every few years until someone finally looked at the thing and removed it. It's in Tunis if I remember right. At some university there."
Ayo made that note to look up. "That's handy to see. Would it matter to those who were not average human?"
"Some things will react if you have any human DNA. Not sure how it'd do with Asgardian or other alien DNA."
"Interesting. We'll figure that out," she decided. "We've kept it in quarantine." Xander spotted the problem walking in. "He was not part of that. I looked it up, Watcher Harris."
"Thanks, Ayo." He grinned at her. "That's very good to know."
"Who're you?" the white guy demanded. It was weird seeing so many white people in Wakanda but this one, he recognized from some file somewhere, he wasn't sure where.
Xander grinned and wiggled his fingers. "I'm Head Watcher Xander Harris. This is one of my slayers, Ara. And her daughter. Also known as the asshole who took down the idiots in Uara base because they were summoning higher demons to kill natives." The man stepped back. Xander looked at T'Challa again, grinning some. "They really didn't like it when their summoned one wanted to keep them as toys. Pity. But thankfully I handled them and they died in the battle."
"People should not summon demons," Natasha said. "It's usually wrong."
Xander nodded. "Quite often. They thought they were disproving that it would work and they were trying to get a succuba to disprove summoning worked." She snorted, shaking her head quickly. "Instead they summoned a goddess about the level and species as Anubis. Only from another realm and female."
"Did she bark?" Ara asked him.
"No. She bit, not me but she did bite most of them. It was her claiming mark." She giggled. "Yeah." He nodded. "That's right before I took that week off at the demon spa to get drunk in safety." She patted him on the arm. The baby woke up with a squeak and a sneeze then fussed. Xander looked down at her. "It was just your nose. Calm down." She quit fussing after a few more seconds of belly patting. "Much nicer, thank you."
Ayo smiled at him. "You should have more children."
"I'm infertile and have no natural kids. I just seem to have adopted a lot of really strong girls." Ara hit him on the arm again but grinned at him.
Ayo grinned at him. "That girl in Canada?"
"Not mine. I've been infertile since I got exposed to demon DNA in high school. I know who you're talking about though. She got pregnant by a sorcerer who decided to cos-play as me. Apparently I'm mythical enough for that now." Ara burst out giggling and ran off to find a quiet corner to finish laughing in. "I'm waiting on them to hold a fandom convention for the slayers." Ayo burst out in louder giggles but nodded. He looked at T'Challa. "Maybe they can host it here?"
"I doubt that would work. Maybe an olympics but fandom conventions are often quite weird," he said but he was smiling. The baby fussed again. "You're fine." She pouted at him. "What?" She babbled. "Did she say something?"
Xander looked down then back at the corner. "Did you get her a bottle?"
"Of course. I know many highers up who are men are creeped out by breastfeeding," Ara said as she came back. She dug the bottle out of her purse and the baby snatched it with a grin to slurp. "Remember to burp her. I don't think I can handle colic tonight."
Xander nodded. "Of course." He snapped the fingers on his free hand. "The temple down in Malawi. The one to the higher goddess? Someone's spell deaged her." Ayo's mouth fell open then she moaned. "I spent a week helping set up her nursemaid and future mom. She's a goddess of night who's about six months old now. From over six thousand."
"That's going to be bad," Steve mumbled. "Is she evil?"
"Slightly but a local witch got sick and in her fever decided to deage the mean people who she thought were making fun of her having measles. Including that goddess and a few priests."
"The only slayer down there is Kitty. She's six," Ara said, considering it.
"She's having great fun playing with the baby priests and baby goddess," Xander agreed, grinning at her. "I'm going to assign Slick to check on her every few weeks since she's moving around that area usually."
"That would help. I'm too far away."
"The baby goddess hated the formula so she created a few goats out of people who were complaining we weren't taking her out since she was so vulnerable. I really have to get Willow to change them back since we bought her actual milk goats."
"I want to be far away from that talk," Scott said as he and Hope walked in with Shuri. "What does she do?"
"She's like that old comic _the Shadow_. She goes after evil people who are using her nighttimes to cover their bad things." He looked at the others. "We found out she was awake because she took out a group of people with ideas and a book of faith that isn't who were going after some girls in an orphanage."
"It's hopeful she'll grow up to be a reasonable adult who does the same sort of community service," Natasha said. "Scott. Who is your friend?"
"This is Hope VanDyne. I'm sorry to intrude but we were told to come attend by the warriors out there, sir."
T'Challa waved a hand. "I know you're an Avenger and she's basically the same thing from what we've learned." He looked at Xander. "Will that goddess travel?"
"Not too far, even before the deaging. She had about a five hundred mile radius she protected. Not real inhabited but she did get a lot of poachers by the local stories."
He nodded. "I can appreciate that sort of being." He looked at his sister, who sat down beside him. Then he looked at the others. "What do we do if he comes back?"
"Hide the stones off realm," Xander said bluntly. "He can't get off realm. Off dimension yes but not off realm. Maybe not even if he finds a nexus point or a doorway to a realm."
"We tried that with the Time Stone," the sorcerer said from his seat in the corner. "It kept coming back."
"What about the ones Thanos killed?" Thor asked. "There's rumors."
"The soul stone," Dr. Strange agreed. "The stories about it say that anyone sacrificed around it or for it is inside it."
"I can dream walk to see if we can find them," Xander offered. "I have no idea how to get them back though. We at the Council have nothing that we know of on the stones. It may have been in a few private libraries but the First Evil blew them up too for the most part."
Dr. Strange nodded. "I've talked to your Mr. Giles about his libraries. He was most amused." Xander grinned. "Then he had to yell at a few of the slayers for daring to go out in heels and skirts."
"They got it from Buffy," Xander quipped. "She used to go on patrol dates."
Stephen Strange shook his head with a moan. "I suppose that makes sense when you're a teenage girl."
"Yup," Ara agreed. "Xander told us to break social taboos to wear pants." Xander nodded at that. "Buffy runs lessons in how to fight in fancier clothes."
"Buffy got horrified by the girls who wore saris. She was an LA socialite sort before she got chosen."
"That explains a lot," Scott said dryly. He sat down behind Xander's seat. The baby turned to look at him. "Hey, Yew. I've seen your picture." She squealed and waved. He took her to burp then let her finish her bottle. "There, you eat. We can cuddle because I miss my baby girl being your age." Hope was smiling but shaking her head. Ara looked back. "Mine's eight."
"I hope she manages to survive that long. Because she keeps half the village up some nights and they weren't sure they were going to let her live that long."
"Is that why the little witch did a sleep spell?"
"Yes!" She pouted at him. "She heard the neighbor complaining about the fussy one there and did a sleep spell on my whole village to help it. She made it work only at night though."
"Remind me to let her talk to Giles soon," Xander quipped. "So she gets a few lessons in sense."
Scott shook his head. "It sounds like a kid plan to me." A few others nodded. "My daughter wouldn't have cared about it only being at night, but she would've made it so only a percentage of the town was hit at a time. So it rolled across them."
"Gives new meaning to a rolling blackout," Xander quipped. Shuri giggled. So did a few of the warriors. "Okay, so if the ugly sucker shows back up. Move the stones."
"We need to separate them again," Shuri agreed. "Together is too dangerous."
"Mine's going back to New York with me," Strange said.
"Before we had three intergalactically apart," Xander said. "Can someone like Thor arrange that again?"
He nodded. "I cannot put one on Asgard as it was destroyed."
"By this one?" T'Challa asked.
"No, by Sutur to stop Hela."
"Who was Thanos' girlfriend according to some things I read," Xander said. Thor moaned. He looked at Stephen Strange. "Did you get that history book?"
"I did get it sent to me." He pulled it out of a portal and put it onto the table. "This is where their race came from. The book has an ignore spell on it unless you need it."
"Because it has how they hyped that species to be their slaves," Xander agreed. "In ritual detail plus breeding notes."
Shuri stood up to grab it and sat down to flip through it. "This is nasty."
"Yes it is," Xander agreed. "Basically a senior race of beings decided they wanted warrior slaves," he explained. The others nodded. "So they made the race that made Thanos eventually. He's just batshit crazy. The later parts of the book are on what happened to the end of the species, who were all immortal."
"There's more of them?" Steve demanded, sitting up straighter.
"Yeah but most of them won't invade and don't want the stones," Xander said. "They're hiding. Thanos got expelled for being the dickhead he is. He's got a brother that's more sane, just seems like a dude you don't want to pick up in a club because he's too slimy."
"Like Loki?" Natasha asked.
"No, frat guy slimy not hot but slightly cray cray slimy. Club guy slimy."
"Ah." She nodded. "I try not to harm those when they try to flirt with me."
"So do I," Xander quipped with a grin for her. "Don't always manage it though."
"Me either. Does it give a vulnerability?"
"Not that I saw," Stephen Strange said. "I had hopes but their whole race is immortal."
"And thankfully I don't think they breed," Xander said.
"That is good news," Steve agreed. The baby fussed a bit but burping cured that and she went to sleep with her hands in Scott's hair. "That's cute," he said.
Scott grinned. "I miss Cassie being this age sometimes. Then I realize now we can do fun things together and I don't have to haul half the house with us while carrying her."
"Much easier when they're old enough to walk but too old to run away," Hope agreed. She looked at the baby. "She's sucking on your ear."
"I can feel that. I don't have an earring for her to suck on so it's fine. Cassie used to give me hickeys." He shifted but got comfortable for the long cuddle.
Ara looked back at him. "Your wife must be very lucky. My husband fled my calling when I was pregnant with her."
He smiled a bit. "She divorced me but I had done something wrong so was in prison for stealing from someone who deserved it."
She nodded. "If you like tough women, keep me in mind?" she suggested with a grin. Xander poked her on the side. She huffed, swatting him. "I could use a man like him."
"I'm working in the US or I might take you out for some fun," Scott said with a grin. "That's too long of a distance for a good relationship."
"Yes it is. If you ever move down here...." He grinned at her. She turned back around.
Hope poked Scott but rolled her eyes. Scott grinned at her too, patting the baby on the back. He got burped on but that was fine he guessed. He looked at her. Fully asleep. Just snoring away. With a few growls. "Xander, does she have that animal thing you mentioned?"
"No, we think she's got healer skills. She just really likes growly things." He looked back. "Someday she'll be the kid bringing home the stray dog."
Ara shook her head. "I'm allergic to dogs. She can play with them outside."
"To get back on point, is there a way to get the souls out of the soul stone?" Steve asked.
"Do we have the soul stone?" Shuri asked. "I'm not sure which ones we have at the moment."
"I have the time stone," Stephen said, patting his pendant. "The soul stone was the blue one?" Everyone shrugged so he looked it up. "We do not have it. It's one of the two he kept."
Xander pulled out his phone to send two text messages. The ship answered first that it would pull spirits but not physical bodies that would need to be rebuilt. The coven answered that pulling a sacrifice out that way was dangerous. "There may be a way but the coven says it's dangerous. The ship thinks she can use the same program to get their spirits but not their bodies." He looked up. "Or we can time turner it and go fix him getting any of them and possibly the destruction of Asgard." Thor perked up at that. "But that would take the time stone, a crapload of power, and knowing what we needed to change, a single event, that would help that."
Willow appeared. "The coven thinks it would be too dangerous to do a temporal spell," she announced. "We have access to a few of them that were written down but there's all sorts of warning about paradoxes." She tipped her head. "A baby?"
"Mine," Ara said. "Yewubdar."
"Future healer," Xander told her. Willow just nodded. "If we had a way of getting back in time without a spell?"
"Then we might be able to do the one thing but none of us are Dr. Who, Xander," she snorted.
He grinned at her. "There may be a way. Can you figure out which event?" She sighed but nodded, going to do that. Xander rolled his eyes but looked at his slayer. "I'll have protections put around her later," he mouthed. She grinned and patted him on the arm. "I know the stones can't be destroyed." They all nodded. "We need a way to get the stones out of the way though. Way far out of the way. Without any two of them being near each other."
"Before the invasion of Hela's troops, the vaults in Asgard held two stones and one was sent to the Collector's amassed treasures," Thor said more quietly than usual.
"And in near space to that one, the other alien people found one," Natasha noted. She looked around then at Thor again. Who shrugged.
"Probably in their ship," Shuri said. "Would them being too close summon things like Thanos?"
"Think of it like two power supplies next to each other," Xander said. "What happens when you do that?"
"They can start having fluctuations on their energy wave from the other one sending their own," Shuri said. "So farther apart?"
"Until Loki, we had three down here," Steve said. "The tesseract, the time stone, and the one here in Wakanda."
"I hate to add something but there's not five stones, there's six," Xander said. "If they were originally five sources of power that consolidated in the beginning, what started the big bang? What power can overwhelm each of the stones?"
"A void," Shuri said, frowning. "Oh. That would be helpful to know where it is."
"We've got it in pieces I think," Xander said. "There's something like stone shards in the Well of Ancient Summoning that links into the one near here. I think that's why they link."
"I remember that place," Ayo said. "We had a bird with injuries land on it and a bird demon show up suddenly."
Xander grinned and nodded. "It's got a small hellmouth inside the one down south. Anything laid on it with intent will summon something or someone related to that. We had a snake giving birth on the southern one and it summoned a few snake gods to help by accident. They were most happy to bless those baby snakes and then sent themselves home."
"The one here had actually allowed a local person to be summoned down there," Ayo said. Xander nodded with a grin. "I remember him having to call to get helped home." T'Challa sighed, shaking his head quickly. "We think that void stone is in shards?"
"I'm pretty sure since I ran a tiny camera down to look at the hellmouth structure and found a few glittery things that looked like obsidian that glowed all by itself. We can do the same thing with the one up here."
"A void isn't that unusual in science," Shuri said, looking at her brother.
"If that is what it takes to keep the one from here safe, then do so," he said. "We'll entrust it to a group that is strong and unable to be taken down to get it."
"Make them like temple guardians protecting relics," Xander agreed. "I'm sure the sorcerer's people saw protecting theirs that way." Strange nodded that was true. He took the baby to hold, making her quit making slight whining noises. "Hmm. Magic, people." Shuri tapped into something from her phone and protections went up. He grinned at her. "You so rock."
"Thank you." She smiled at her brother. "It protects the whole palace from magic so no one gets Mother and makes her giggle like she was a young girl again."
"There's actually a potion that'll do that," Xander quipped. "Ethan Rayne, the high priest to Janus, did that to Sunnydale thanks to our high school selling candy bars." A few of the people stared at him. "They turned into teenagers. The more you ate, the younger you became mentally. Me, being a teenager, didn't have a bit of change. Giles, being an adult, went back to when he was doing bad things in London." He grinned.
"Are we talking gang?" Steve asked. "I have no idea how old he is."
"The London Coven?" Stephen Strange started to choke and splutter. Xander grinned at him and nodded. "Yeah, he turned back into Ripper for a few days."
"Oh, dear," he gasped, coughing to clear his airway. "I need to have a copy of that formula."
"Talk to the man," Xander said with a waved hand. The baby fussed so he looked down at her. "Why do you hate magic?" She huffed and pouted but fell back asleep. The magical thing happened and rolled off the shields. He grinned at them. "I think that was the coven," he admitted quietly.
"Yes it was," Stephen Strange complained. "We will have a talk with the Devon Coven about how it is not just their job."
"Good luck," Xander quipped with a grin for him. "Hasn't worked for me yet. They still think I'm *normal*."
"How very dumb of them," Thor muttered, shaking his head quickly.
Shuri stared at him. "If you're normal what are other men?"
"Just as normal." He grinned at her. "If you're not a trained person, a witch, a werewolf that keeps himself out of trouble, you're considered normal."
Ara nodded. "Buffy created that list." She looked at Xander. "You had those possessions."
"Yeah? But I'm not a teenage girl."
"No, thankfully you're not," she agreed. "Stay in Africa, Xander. Before you have to blow up the main building due to those things." She took her daughter back to hold. She looked outside as a witch appeared and happened into a pocket of the spell that had rolled off the shields, going slack faced and staring into nothingness. "I think she got hit by the forget spell."
"We can drop her off," Stephen said with a smile for her. "I'd love to talk to the coven who is supposed to handle problems." Xander tapped something onto his phone and held up the note of 'watch out for redheads'. "Thank you for that warning."
"Being a dog sucks," Xander said bluntly, staring at him. The sorcerer shuddered. "Yeah. Twice now. Huge suckage."
"I'll definitely make sure that won't be happening," he promised. Who knows what would happen if he started to bark.
Xander frowned as his phone went off. He stared at it then sighed and showed Scott. He snorted. "It wasn't me." He let Hope see it.
"I have no idea who got hold of our technology but I'll be finding out. Is the baby far enough ahead to do a DNA scan?" She looked at Xander. "I know nothing about children."
He shrugged slightly. "Six months or so before they can do the needle in the stomach test. Or that's how far along I've ever seen them done." He looked at Stephen Strange.
"I was never an obstetrician but that sounds about right. What's happened?"
"Some tiny guy was pretending to be Tom Thumb and impregnating women," Xander quipped. "If you find him, stomp his ass please, Scott?"
"Gladly. Gives the rest of us a bad name." He handed the phone back to Xander. It let him steal the baby again. She whimpered but cuddled into his shoulder with a sigh of pleasure. Ara looked at him. "Sometimes I miss this. Things were easier then."
"Yes, they probably were," she agreed, smiling at him. Tony Stark stomped in. She nodded at him. "Sir." She looked at Xander. "What's on my agenda at home?"
"Me going to stomp the crap out of the warband near you." He grinned at her. "You can go talk to Slick's aunt if you want."
"I was going to go talk to her uncle anyway thanks to knowing real healers." She looked out there then at him. "Why are two other slayers here?"
He leaned back to look. "Leave Tin alone!" he bellowed. "Before I paddle your asses!" They squeaked and came in to sit down and read. "Why are you guys back already?"
"The big purple guy is in another dimension," one reported. "The witches said so." She grinned. "Hi, Ara!"
"Hi, Me. You should still be safe for a bit."
"Willow said it's safe enough," the other one said then rolled her eyes. "She nearly sent Haley somewhere away from her mom too."
Xander growled. "I'm going to beat an ass. Preferably a redheaded ass. Hey, Tin, can I borrow that back?" She came running in to let him have her staff. He got up and activated it then beat the crap out of Willow when she appeared until she started to cry. "Endangering the goddess damned slayers is not in our job description," he said in Latin, glaring at her. "What happens if the area is attacked because they think we're still healing from the last battle? And how dare you send the baby away from her mother!
"And for that matter, I can't move all the slayers down here at once, Willow! How dare you endanger them!" he finished in english. "That is not your job!" She got kicked by Tin. "Hey, my duty," he told her, handing her back the staff. He glared at her. "You so need a vacation." She sniffled, staring up at him. "You'd better hope nothing happens to a single one of the slayers you sent places, Willow. Because if I have to avenge one of them, you'll be beside me helping me."
She sniffled and waved a hand. They all appeared there. "That's not what I meant," he growled. "This is still a dangerous area! We had a battle here two days ago! People could attack thinking we're still in recovery so therefore weak!" The slayers clapped. "Sit," he ordered with a point, not looking at them. "I don't need the help."
"I need my daughter," one of them said.
Xander looked then glared at Willow, pointing with a huff. She summoned the baby and a few other slayers. "Thank you. Sit and we'll talk later, when we're not in front of important people." She stomped off. Xander threw something at her that knocked her out. He sighed, looking at the girls. "Tin, honey, is your mommy okay and home?" She grinned and nodded. "Can you get her to help the slayers at your place for a bit? Then I'll work on getting them home."
"Of course. It's always fun to talk to the bigger slayers," Tin said happily. She went to call her mother then came back to lead the slayers to her house. Including Ara and her daughter.
Xander grinned at everyone. "She's sorry she's like that sometimes." He sat back down with a huff, looking at Hope.
"Damn glad I'm not one," she admitted.
"At least you have sense," he told her.
"True. I do have sense. Most of the slayers Scott's told me about have sense."
"It's just Willow that doesn't have sense," he agreed then sighed again and looked at the others. "Sorry for that amusement moment. I'll be talking with people later. Even if I do have to turn evil." He glared at the witch's body then at them again. "So, new threats?"
Ayo looked at him. "That's a great many slayers."
"Only a quarter of them are my slayers from down here. Two of them were Middle Eastern slayers. One was a Canadian slayer, posted in Toronto." He ground his teeth together. "One was out of the house in London." A senior witch showed up with a huff. "She evacuated a lot of slayers to here," he said bluntly. "Two days after that battle. When we're under threat from looking like we're recovering. She also brought a lot of them that aren't supposed to be down here."
"We have no idea where three of the African slayers are, Xander," she said, mouth pressed together in a thin line. "They seem to have disappeared." He glared. "I'm sure they're fine."
"You'd better find them. Their parents would like them back and we're not in the habit of stealing and selling children. If we are, I'm going to have to fix that." The witch disappeared without Willow. "Let me...." He pointed. "Let me go find those kids before something tragic happens that I'll have to blow the fuck up. Princess, if you want to talk to the ship some more, I'll bring her back this way in a few weeks." He walked out, stopping to pick up Willow and put her over his shoulder. Scott hurried after him to help with the ship. Hope nodded politely before following.
"He is very lively," Shuri quipped with a grin for her brother. "Do we think he'll have to blow somewhere up?"
"I have no idea but he might like it," he admitted. "I would if they sold those children. Hopefully the witches who were responsible would be the first." He shifted in his chair. "Is the ship still here?"
"No, he took it and the slayers with him," Ayo said after checking. "Tin went to ride along. She wants to kick someone in the shin she said. She left an email." Shuri smiled but shook her head.
T'Challa smiled. "Some day she will make a fine guardian of what's ours." The natives all nodded. Ayo looked at her tablet, frowning as she tapped into news feeds. "Did he find them?"
"Yes. And the police in Cleveland and London are most unhappy. Though it is nice that the police in London have arrested a number of the witches in that coven. And Willow Rosenburg. She started to change them to get free until a chaos mage showed up to stop them." Strange looked over. "Someone named Rejoles."
"High priest to a Celtic deity I believe," he said. "Has Mr. Giles shown up yet?"
"In Cleveland and he's proving he used to be a sorcerer. The ones attempting it are presently animals. Small, fuzzy animals. The ones in London are being knocked out. And there's Watcher Harris with a ....laser staff of some kind. Not like ours." She looked at Shuri. "I have no idea but another slayer took it from him to use on the idiots." She went back to watching. "This is better than one of those soap operas on satellite." She giggled finally. "They are all safe from what he was motioning. Oh, no, one's missing. He's holding someone up to ask them politely. His version of politely.
"They're begging and screaming but the police are taking the being from him and promising they're going to get the child for him. Their version of a response team is there...and a young woman who showed up to stomp on someone and nag them." She looked impressed. "Scott seems to think she's nice. Interesting. Tin just hit her with her staff but the lady caught it and smiled at her. Tin's giggling so apparently they like that one. Oh, they just called her a Daughter of Diana. I had no idea real Amazons still existed.
"Beyond the ones he ran into by that waterfall. Ooooh." She winced. "The slayer is bruised. The person who had her was gotten out of the car when Watcher Harris destroyed it around him. They're having a Xander talk." T'Challa smiled at that. "And there's our future guardian trying to hit him. Xander turned her around and gave her a slight shove. She went to find the boys that had been brought. There were siblings. And they're found as well. More witches are arrested...." She grimaced. "Rosenburg went off on the witches, who are sneering. Now they're pets."
She sighed. "And there's a few other sorcerers. One of whom kissed Watcher Harris deeply, making him forget to beat someone, which let Ara and Tin hit him instead, and Slick is helping. We're apparently still missing a few siblings but the sorcerers have promised to find them for the girls. Only one can't be spotted and they're in Cleveland. Watcher Harris is calling someone, who must be Andrew by what he said. They've found that son already, he's rescued and worried about his sister.
"The other siblings were rescued as well. And there's now no coven members that aren't furry of some kind. And one iguana." She looked up. "Watcher Harris is not amused. The slayers are all worried that he's mad. Apparently they've never seen it before. He does do a good job keeping them out of the harshest things." She smiled at her king.
"They're suggesting chocolate and ice cream. One of the sorcerers offered a date but the girls pouted at him so he's apparently making a picnic for all the slayers there." She went back to watching. "Mr. Giles was summoned. He told Xander to calm down but to let the girls beat them if they wanted to. The girls cheered and picked up pets. Rosenburg is now an orange tabby cat. They're all staring at her then around. Ah! Another sorcerer. We know of him because of the records Watcher Harris shared. He's Ethan Rayne."
"The high priest of Janus," Stephen Strange said. He rubbed his eyebrow. "That is a meeting I'm glad I'm not attending." He got up to come look. "He is a priest of Janus. That one is a priest to an Asgardian deity. That one's Egyptian and Greek." He swiped. "That's two of the three priests of Loki." Ayo shivered. "I suppose London will not be boring this week," he decided, sitting down again and sipping some water.
"We should find out what that sort of service means and how much power they have, and what they can do with it," Shuri said.
Her brother stared at her. "You can ask Watcher Harris when he comes back with Tin. I do not want to deal with chaos sorcerers."
She grinned and patted him on the shoulder. "We don't need anything like that. Mother said some day we'll have children to understand chaos."
"She definitely learned from having you," he agreed. "You not being a normal child drove some people to drink and talk to the stars." She just smirked and hit him on the arm. "We will make sure your future children are more sane."
"Your first child will be a daughter just like me. I'll gladly teach her how to be in a lab." She smirked at him. "Then I'll make your sons like boys like Watcher Harris."
"At least he's a strong warrior. Make sure they can all stand being with strong warriors," their mother said as she walked through the hallway behind them. "Is this meeting done?"
"Nearly," Shuri said with a smile for her. "We took a break to see what Watcher Harris was doing to those who screwed with the slayers. Tin's already hit many of them. He's taken the weapon from her to hit them himself."
Her mother patted her on the head. "He is a warrior who can handle himself and will help her grow into a beautiful guardian." She walked off shaking her head.
Ayo burst out giggling. "Watcher Harris has somehow gotten a crocodile. He's offering to feed it a few of the former witches. The officers are wincing but their bad deeds are being exposed. Hopefully someone will change them back to let them pay their service," she read. "Mr. Giles is so mad he's forgotten English. Ooooh." She looked up. "Xander offered to make a fur coat for him. Slayer Buffy is there complaining so he's shouting at her about their problems. She's huffing and yelling at the pets as well. And the cat that was her witch. It's going to be highly bad tonight I believe.
"Oooh, the slayers got removed by magic. Watcher Harris looked at the sorcerers and they said they're safely with Slayer Faith and Slayer Kennedy in the local house. The police are gathering the former witches. They're telling Xander to please put the crocodile back. He's offered it to the zoo, told them it's a former arms dealer who tried to take his slayers hostage." She giggled. "Nakia had wondered what happened to that one. She will be pleased." She looked up to grin at her king. "And the problem is now solved so he can put the girls back safely where they belong. Mr. Giles is heading for a drink. The sorcerers are happy as well. So we will probably see him back here in a few weeks."
He waved a hand and nodded. "I do not need him to show up, I hope."
"I'm sure he'll bring Tin back soon. She'll get pouty about missing self defense lessons if not."
Shuri giggled. "She might stay to find new clothes. She was saying she needed clothes."
"It's said that the slayer spirit holds a piece of each slayer ever called," Stephen Strange said dryly. "I'm supposing that would include senior Slayer Buffy. She is rather fashionable." The ladies laughed but nodded. "I'm sure the girls will be fine with him."
"They usually are," Ayo agreed. "He treats them like silly little sisters most of the time."
Bruce raised a hand slightly. "We know almost nothing about the slayers."
"We went looking when he showed up to train the specially marked ones," Ayo said, smiling at him. "He is quite the training master for the girls but he's a simple man with some skills. He takes many battles for the young ones. They're not even allowed to attempt a battle until they are sixteen unless they're getting away from something. He makes sure most of them don't have to. He does not let them go on real training hunts until they are sixteen and then it's eighteen for real battles if they volunteer."
Natasha nodded. "I've been looking into them. They have reformed from their bad old ways into a group that is helping and protecting the young women who are summoned to that service by whatever higher power that is. They can't take the calling from them but they are overprotective about the girls and insist on them being girls."
Ayo nodded. "The one here, who we put under one of my lieutenants, is only allowed self defense classes as of this moment. He said no lessons in anything but getting away until she's hit puberty. Then she'll learn classification and what's peaceful and not. Plus higher level battle classes. We agreed, it made a lot of sense with how we train as well."
Natasha sat up straighter. "There are still those among SHIELD that believe he'll go evil some day."
"Probably to protect the slayers," Shuri agreed. "He'd never hurt normal people." She shrugged. "Sometimes that is the course of history being changed. Anger is a powerful force." T'Challa patted her on the arm.
Natasha nodded. "It can be, yes. Many times anger has changed the world." She smiled slightly. "I only hope not to have to witness it this time."
"True," Shuri agreed. "Anger is scary when it comes out that way." She looked at her brother then at the others. "We were discussing how to handle a battle again." The others nodded and got into what they needed to do and how to summon others or make plans to defend the stones.
Xander walked Tin into the palace last, letting her run ahead. He stopped in front of one of the warriors and punched him as hard as he could, knocking him down. "How dare you think I'd hurt a woman! Even if the Princess was into guys like me, she's not into guys like me. How dare you insist I debauched her!" He stared down at him. "Get up and prove your accusations, goat dung rider."
Shuri came out and looked at the guy on the floor then at him. "What did he say?"
"That I took your virginity and made you less of a princess and a woman," he said dryly, smirking at her. "I know you're not into my type of guy."
"You're sweet but you're right. I don't mind a warrior but it'd need to be a native one." She kicked the guy in the side, making him groan. "I've never slept with the men around here. Or anywhere. Unlike you!" She stomped off. "Is Tin back?"
"She ran off to get cuddles." He looked at the guy on the ground. "Unlike *many* I'd never force myself on a woman. Not saying you are that sort, but well, your son is in jail for that sort of thing." He gave him a pointed look then walked off. He bowed to T'Challa. "Tin's back and ran off for cuddles. I've disputed the claim that I screwed your sister. I stopped the idiot trying to realive your last enemy. Though she might have restarted it." He shrugged. "She's an insistent witch who's only ten. I did what I can. The one who gave her the idea is present a tentacle toy for a poker debt."
T'Challa nodded. "I've heard about both of those and sneered at the ones spreading the rumors. I know my sister wants a native man and you're too tough of a warrior. She'd want one that came home more often." Xander grinned and nodded. He heard a squeal and turned his head to look. "What's happened?" he called.
"Buffy bought Tin clothes," Xander said dryly. "Insisted that she had to have a pretty dress." T'Challa winced but nodded once with a slight sigh. The warrior woman stomped in. "Talk to Slayer Buffy," Xander defended. "I wanted her to get something more comfortable for her and longer. That's a US dress that Buffy picked."
"It needs a skirt," Tin quipped with a grin and a hug for him.
"Yes it does," T'Challa said, looking her over. "That is very short. Has your mother seen it yet?"
"I figured she was up here somewhere," Tin quipped with a grin for him. She properly bowed. "I'm back and I was safe, Sire."
"Good. It's good that you're safe. Go change and find your mother?"
"I was going to give her something to complain about instead of me being with Xander while we dropped off the other slayers." She grinned and looked up at her training 'aunt'. "Is she in the kitchen?"
"Knowing your mother, she's in the garden planting vegetables." She pointed. "Go find her." Tin hugged her then ran off again. She looked at Xander. "Could you not stop the slayer Buffy?"
"No. I couldn't stop her when she was the only slayer and made me her driving pack mule and approval committee. She's why I don't shop now."
"That makes some sense," the warrior said as she walked off. She winced when Tin's mother screamed at her outfit. "The senior Slayer Buffy bought it for her," she yelled. She was not getting near a mad mother. Her own had been bad enough. Tin's mother was not only shrill but mean.
Xander shrugged when the mother stomped in. "I couldn't stop Buffy. She said Tin had to have a pretty dress from the US. She took all the slayers to a mall to shop. Giles had a scotch and made sure she didn't take his credit card this time, only the slayer one. That was probably the most modest, but one of the Pakistani slayers did teach her how to wrap a sari."
Tin's mother huffed. "That girl...." Xander pulled up a picture to show her. "That's highly immodest!"
"She went hunting in that many times," Xander quipped. "Including the heels. Your daughter already has more sense than that. She just wanted some leggings to put under that dress."
"She needs it!" She walked her daughter off. "We'll go let you change then fix dinner to celebrate you being back."
Xander showed the king that picture. "Last year." T'Challa held in his wince barely. "She likes the idea behind combining dates and patrol. Tin has more sense." He put his phone up.
"Yes, she does," he agreed. "My sister is probably already on your ship."
"Probably. I got a text from her saying she was in the engines again." He shrugged. "Anything I need to hear and handle?"
"Not at the moment. We're going to look at that altar area soon."
"Tiny camera on a string. That's how I did the other one."
"That's sensible," he decided. "Go shoo my sister away from it before she breaks it?"
"If so I'd expect her to fix it and Valkyrie to pout at her for it." He grinned and skipped out to go back to his ship.
T'Challa looked at his guard. "If ours should start dressing that way, we'll ask for an exorcism."
She laughed but nodded. "Yes, we should. Ours have more sense than to wear heels on patrol." She walked off. "I'll get Shuri's minions ready to look at that altar area."
"Thank you. Find her later if you can pull her away from the ship." He shifted in his seat, looking at the man walking in. "You missed Watcher Harris, Agent Ross."
"Avoided him on purpose," he quipped with a grin. "I know some about the one trying to bring back the one you recently fought."
"I've heard some."
"She thinks the world needs more warriors. Not only to defend it but also to make sure your females have someone worthy to marry someday. She's ten but it's a problem the slayers have. She extrapolated from that."
T'Challa sighed but nodded. "If Erik should come back, so be it. We will work with him until he is healed and will work with us. Or I'll make him help Watcher Harris with the girls. He could use someone to help him. His desire to remake the world or burn it would help those battles."
"That's almost evil. Thank you," he quipped then bowed and left to pass that on.
T'Challa made out a few notes to send to his people. Just in case. You could never be sure what a witch could do, or would do, when they felt it was necessary.
Xander walked into the witch's town, staring at her mother. "Raising the dead isn't really a light sided activity."
She grimaced. "It's probably too late. I tried to tell her that. She did not listen."
"I don't think many things deserve spanking but necromancy...." He grimaced at the man walking out of the small house. "I see she managed it. We need to make sure you're fully back or else you'll restart an apocalypse battle."
"Who're you? The kid's scared of you."
"I'm the regional head watcher. She's scared because I'm going to paddle her tiny ass for bringing you back to life. It's dangerous. Most people don't come back right. Or fully. It can let loose various hideous things like the First Evil. Been there, done that, don't want another t-shirt from it." He stared at him. "Simple test. Takes a mirror and some herbs. C'mon." The man tried to attack him. He wasn't as good as he had been before he died yet, he was still adjusting to being alive. Xander shot him in the thigh. "Yup, not dealing with that." He dragged the guy off to the small house to use their mirror. Then he called in a local sorcerer. "Is he back fully?"
He looked at him then nodded. "Somehow she managed it." He looked at her. "You need more lessons, child." She shuddered and tried to hide behind Xander.
"I'm going to paddle your ass," Xander assured her. "Necromancy is almost always wrong. Even Willow learned that lesson."
"I'm nothing like her!" she shouted, pouting up at him.
"Bullshit," Xander countered with a grin. "She brought back Buffy and started off the First Evil problems. You lucked out."
"She's got someone influencing her," the sorcerer said. "I can feel a local goddess."
Xander rubbed his forehead while humming. "Sure." He looked at the sorcerer. "He's fully back correctly?" The guy nodded. "No sign that could bring back the First Evil again?"
"Not that I can tell. Tell others and hand him over?"
Xander shrugged. "Maybe. I'm not heading that way yet." He looked down. "I know about who you were and who you are," he said, staring at him. "It'll be six weeks before I get back to Wakanda. You can stay here and teach the witch some sense until I come back in four weeks or you can travel with me but I have to handle three huge problems and one battle before I get back here and then probably another one to check on the mini slayer up there. Your choice."
"I..." He sat up. The mini witch healed his wound. He stared at her. "I'm not nice."
She shrugged. "The world needs more warriors before more evil shows up. And for warriors to marry. Too many female warriors end up single. It makes the slayers nag."
Xander snorted, shaking his head and rolling his eyes. "Don't remind me. I'll give him to Buffy." He stared at her. "Still in trouble!" She ran out to talk to her mother. The sorcerer followed with a grin for Xander. "And this is only a minor problem I have to deal with this week. Want to stay here and be safe, get used to being alive again? Or would you like to go with me when I go hunt down some demons?"
"Me, Watcher," he said dryly. "With the old Council being blown up and us remaking it the way it should be, to support the girls in their natural lives, I'm the head guy down here in Africa. I've got multiple minis I have to handle things for."
"You're one guy."
Xander nodded. "You make that sound like the girls do, that I'm normal. Fuck you for that thought," Xander said blandly, staring at him. "Until you face down a hell god with a sword, you don't have the right to comment."
"Can't you use a gun?"
"It's really hard to behead with a gun," Xander quipped then grinned at him. "Artillery is often more handy but it's stupidly hard to find down here." He stared at him.
Erik Killmonger got off the floor to stare at him. "I'm trained by the US military."
"And that'll help about a quarter of the time," Xander said bluntly. "They don't use a sword either." He shrugged and walked off. He pulled a sword out of his truck and held it out. "You'll want that." He got his axe when it was taken. "It's coming," he called. The sorcerer got the child free of the one possessing her and got the rest of the village moved for their own safety. The demon god showed up and pouted at him. "Yay! You're giving the kid bad ideas. She'll turn into Rosenburg!"
"That would be bad," the god said. "Can I have her brother?"
"Nope." Xander grinned. "Sorry!" He waved his free hand. "Anything else before we send you home?"
"You can't banish me. I can possess you." Xander tapped his pendant. "Oh, poo!"
"Damn, I nearly had a flashback to my ex Anya," Xander said with another eye roll. The demon attacked and Xander defended and attacked back. Erik stared at it then looked at his sword before diving in.
"It's like a really long staff weapon, not a long knife," Xander said. "Think about it being like a spear for the most part." He switched how he was holding and using it. They finally got the hell god down and Xander sighed, leaning down to catch his breath. "I hate them. I really, truly hate them." He stood up to look at the other warrior. "Welcome to demon hunting. We're probably about to be attacked again because we're tired." He pointed at the portal that was starting. "Half of them you can probably shoot but it takes lead."
"I don't have that."
"I only have about six lead bullets," Xander admitted. He got some water handed to him by one of the village women. "Thank you," he said quietly. "Go back into hiding." She got Erik some water then went back to hiding. Xander sipped and moaned as he stretched. Erik stretched his arms. The portal finished opening so he finished his water and put the cup on the nearest flat surface. Xander finished his and put it on the hood of his truck, moving toward the portal. "Go home," he shouted. "Just...go home."
"You're a pitiful human! Conquering is my right!" a young male voice shouted back.
"Great, we have teenagers trying to make a name for themselves." He looked at one of the demon warriors. "You're following a teenage boy?"
"Our prince proves his worth," that one said firmly.
Xander nodded then looked at the prince then threw his dagger at the idiot. It made him scream as it hit his stomach. The demons attacked but Xander got through them, letting Erik clean up the ones behind him. He got the prince down and under his boot. "So," he said, staring down at him. "Is this what you're worthy of?"
"Who are you!" he shouted.
"Xander Harris. Watcher Xander Harris."
"Knight!" he shrieked. "No!" The demons that were still alive fled back home. "I was warned about you."
"Yup," Xander said, taking a swing at his throat. He missed and got his ear since the young, stupid one was moving. "Hold still so I can behead you." One of the guards knocked Xander out before Erik could stop him. The prince was taken off. Xander was shoved through with Erik and the portal was closed.
Erik looked at the portal then at the guy that was groaning. "That's dumb."
Xander blinked at him. "I'm a boogeyman on a few realms," he said dryly, making himself get up with a groan. "He would've attacked another realm if he had any sense. His father's probably going to pat him on the back for nearly winning against me." He popped his neck and sighed again. "I think it's clear," he called. A female, large demon showed up. "Or not." He stared at her. "Hey, D'Isor."
"Xander," she cooed, picking him up to cuddle him. "Such a naughty boy."
"It was a battle. I'm not being mean."
"I know but still, battles are messy, dear. You need some fun."
"I don't have time for some fun. I have another portal issue in two days, D'Isor. After that I have about a week before the next one. You can kidnap me then if you want."
She smiled, petting over his hair. "I can do that. You could use a vacation." She looked at the other one. "You're cute too." She pinched his ear and winked but let Xander go. "There. You rest tonight, Xander. Before the bad thing happens tomorrow instead of in two days." She winked at Erik. "I look forward to getting to know you too, sweetums." She stared at the witch, who whined. "Be a better girl before I accept you into my service, dear." The witch hid behind her mother. "Good girl." She snapped and disappeared.
Xander looked at Erik. "That's the Goddess D'Isor. She's a sweet lady. A goddess of happiness and lust. She's got killer fingers for massages. Stopped my last bout of leg cramps so fast it barely hurt." He smiled. "It's great she likes you. Otherwise she would've eaten you." He walked off, taking the sword from the limp hand to clean. "If that battle's a day early I need to warn Mozambique. Maybe this time they won't try to cover it up so hard. Giles hated that my report said they said nothing happened." He looked at the witch then at her mother. Who smiled and took her daughter off to spank her. The sorcerer followed to work with his new student. Xander got them both some water to drink. He finally looked at him. "So, coming?"
"I want to remake the world so none of these people are in danger from people like you."
"Hey, learn all the classifications. I'll make you a watcher if you want," Xander quipped. "I could use the backup. The slayers are like pesky little sisters. We've got plenty of them who could use backed up. Including one in Wakanda that's studying with the Dora Milaje. You nearly took her out and I about killed you then if you don't remember."
"You need more guns."
"Sure, go buy me silver, lead, and uranium bullets," Xander quipped. "It might help. Sometimes." Erik glared. Xander shrugged. "Truth." He grinned. "Want some more sword lessons? It'll only make you more dangerous."
"He's fine. They just defeated a huge evil fuck from another galaxy a week ago. He got mildly injured. We stopped it before he killed half of humanity. He knows she was going to try this. I've been trying to stop her for a few weeks now."
Erik groaned, rubbing his face with his hands. "You're nuts."
"Sometimes that's what winning a battle takes. Either that or it's because the slayers drove me there." He looked at a jeep that was pulling up. "Hey, Ara. No baby?"
"Slick's uncle is babysitting with two healers to train her." She got out. "I heard there was a portal problem."
"Tomorrow's too. Supposed to be in two days."
"Fuck!" she complained.
"That one was a teenage prince proving his worth. He got warned not to go against me. Pity my swing at his neck missed and hit his ear." She groaned, shaking her head. "So, Mozambique since you're this way?"
"I guess. Slick's already heading that way." Xander nodded. She looked at the other guy. "Who're you?"
She winced. "That's going to suck. Tin thinks you're a demon in human form." She walked off shaking her head. "Okay. So...."
"Tiny witch, slightly possessed, talking to someone who can train her better before she turns into Rosenburg," Xander quipped, waving a hand.
Ara looked that way. "Make the slayers more work, child, really." The kid screamed and went to hide from her. She looked at Xander, who grinned. "Mozambique?"
"Supposed to be in two days, is actually in one according to D'Isor."
"We'll barely make it," she said, heading for her driver's seat. "Meet you there."
"Sure. Tell the general I'm on my way." He waved as she drove off. He looked at Erik, who headed for the truck. Xander waved and got in to drive them off. "We'll get you at least some clean pants after the battle. We probably won't have time beforehand."
"That's fine. I've worn worse."
"Demon goo is often sticky or freezes solid. You'll want some clean clothes and you're too big for mine." He turned on the radio, speeding up so they could hit a nearby highway. This was going to be a sucky six weeks.
But at least he wasn't traveling alone. Even if it might drive him nuts to have someone else there all the time. He could treat Erik like he did the slayers and finish his practical training for their local problems.
The Ship Isn't A Princess, Yet.