Ship by Not-Ship.
Xander showed up at his usual check point to check on Tin, hugging the woman there. "He knows," he said when she spotted Erik stumbling out of the truck. "A witch brought him back. I've had him helping me for the last seven weeks." He grinned at her.
Erik glared at his back then at the woman. "I will not try to overthrow the king again," he said bluntly.
"I will call to announce you."
"Don't tell Tin. He nearly took out her family last time and she'll kill him," Xander said dryly.
"I remember." She called that in. "Agreed," she said before hanging up. "Ayo will be here in an hour."
Xander nodded. "We can go sit on the truck. I've got to check the swords again anyway." She smirked at him but he walked out to do that. He got into the weapons to clean, sharpen, make sure the bindings around the grips were solid. Erik grumbled but settled in to do the same thing. A good weapon was no use if it was weak, worn out, or dull.
Ayo came out of the shield and looked at them. "Watcher Harris." She looked at the other one. "We had hoped the tiny witch would've missed."
"She was possessed," Xander said, looking up from sharpening the sword. "D'Isor said he was cute too."
Ayo shook her head quickly. "I've met her. She showed up to check on Tin and called her adorable and plucky." She stepped closer. "We will not hesitate to take you out. You are not protected by protocols this time."
He nodded. "Not asking for anything else," he admitted. "One of the holy men we ran into told me that there's another battle coming." Xander handed over notes with a smile. "He's very strange." He was still fighting the feeling that someday, someone sane would save him from this watcher. He didn't usually feel like being rescued was a good thing, he was very self-sufficient in that area, but right about now, any help to get him around normal people would be welcome.
Ayo nodded, smiling at him. "Yes, he is, but it's the sort of strange that gets things done." She read the notes and groaned. "At least this one is not purple."
"This one may have a way to get people out of the soul stone," Xander said. "I have no idea how. I know he's fleeing something. I have no idea what it is and if it's related to Thanos. That's all I've had in visions or anyone else I can reach out to talk to has seen."
She grimaced, rereading it. "That's going to suck. Oh, those demons said that some of the things in the field are things that are poisonous to them but they suggested others. Same species but they're ill so it won't matter to them." Xander nodded, grinning at her. "They said it will mostly clean the fields in a few years."
"That's what I thought it'd take," Xander admitted. He waved at the stomping princess in armor. "Hey, Princess."
"No ship?" she demanded, staring up at him. He grinned but shook his head. "Damn. I wanted to see them." She pointed her power glove at Erik, who held his hands up. "I'm not amused that witch brought you back."
"The tiny witch was possessed," Xander said. He slumped down on his trunk's gate. "We got her unpossessed and I summoned a sorcerer from near Slick's people to train her right. Her mother paddled her."
"Good!" Shuri agreed. "I still do not like this."
Xander nodded. "I've given him the choice of learning to be a watcher."
Erik glared at him. "You need sense."
"Yup." Xander grinned at him. "But better me than people who have not a clue."
"Point. Barely." He looked at Shuri. "I'm not going to attack you or your family."
She stared at him. "I don't believe you yet."
"There's a loyalty potion," Xander offered. "Willow made it."
Shuri's eyebrows went up. "Hell no! That's evil!" She had seen the teleplay where the witch had given that potion to a watcher who was causing problems during a battle, and the resulting mess it made of him after he had vowed to protect and help the slayers.
Xander grinned. "Well, Willow created it," he said dryly. Shuri shuddered. "Apparently she thinks I should flirt with you too. I've told her off for you. Twice now. Tin threw an unholy fit on the bulletin boards on her for it." She smirked but walked off shaking her head. "So, Ayo, queen of the warrior women that make Amazons look puny. How is my baby slayer?"
"She's good. Mostly. She's got the sniffles." She smiled at him. "She's a good girl. She's doing good in her self defense lessons. Her mother wishes her to have more sense because she went to where the peaceful ones hang out to talk to them to learn about them."
"Many of the minis have. It's great to get to know those around you."
She nodded. "Her mother freaked out. She didn't leave a note. She nearly stormed that bar. Thankfully she called Tin's trainer to come with her since her mother cannot use weapons. She got her calmed down and they went to yell at the child for not telling them and for not having a chaperone." Xander grinned. "I know. Many are like that probably."
"Yup." He nodded. "I know she said she found someone hiding."
"Yes. We heard. Her mother's shrieking at her for going there included that." Xander laughed, nodding. "We have found what we think are weird beings."
She blinked at him. "We have dwarves?"
"Just over your border," he said with a point. "By the altar's area."
She groaned, calling that in. The guard she talked to agreed they looked like they could be dwarves. "Where did they come from?" she demanded.
"One of the other nine realms. They're great warriors and crafters. They've made some fantastic mythical weapons. Including Thor's former hammer."
"Interesting. Are they peaceful?"
"Ask them that. I haven't talked to them. I'd be seen as a puny warrior sort."
She nodded. "We can send an emissary." Shuri came back. "Those beings may be dwarves from one of the other nine realms."
"By the myths they're good at crafting super weapons," she said. "It might be interesting to meet them." She looked at Xander. "We demand you call the ship here. Tin said you need to heal some injuries anyway."
Xander shook his head. "It's barely still open, Princess. I'm fine." She stared at him. He grinned. "You're so much a puppy when you're mad." She hit him on the arm, making him yelp. "Ow!" She sighed and moved his shirt to look at his arm. "I'm fine. Get off! Only the ship can fuss over me." She swatted him on the head and took his shirt off him to look at the other injuries. He looked at himself then at her. "Someone's going to talk. Again."
"They know I'd never go for a white man even if they're not colonizers." She stared up at him. "What did those?"
He looked again then at her. "The stuff we needed more artillery to kill. The slayers with us are all resting comfortably too."
"We have them here." She smiled. "Next time, ask and I may send you something."
"Unless we used something nuclear, we weren't going to win that one without injuries," Erik told her. "Really, Princess."
She stared at him. "Nuclear? There's safer weapons!"
"I sent a dirty bomb I found to their realm before we blew up the portal," Xander said then grinned. "They won't be coming back again." She huffed and walked him off. "Hey!"
"Shut up, Xander. Before I have my rhinos sit on you!"
"Yes, ma'am. I'll call my ship to fuss over me."
"After you get out of medical treatment." She walked him off by his arm.
Ayo looked at Erik. "Should you move wrong I will kill you."
He nodded. "Agreed. This is really weird." She snorted but looked amused as he locked up the truck and weapons. He took the keys with him and followed where she pointed. When a young woman came out to beat him with her pole staff he caught it. "You're holding it too far down. It's not a sword," he said quietly. He stared down at her. "I'm not here to hurt you or anyone else."
"I'll curse that witch for bringing you back," she said, staring up at him. "I will kill you if you harm my people. They're mine to defend."
"You're fierce, kid, but you got some years."
She snorted and flapped a hand. "It may take me years but you'll be slower then anyway."
He grinned. "You're very fierce. If I stay I'll help your training. That way you can kill me if the country needs you to." She nodded once and stepped back. "For now, hold your staff closer to the middle. You're too short for that length to work for you." She stared at him but Ayo nodded she agreed. Tin huffed but stomped off. He looked at her. "She's good."
"She'll be great when she's older. She's a slayer in training and training to be a Dora Milaje."
"She'll be great at it." He followed where she pointed. He nodded at T'Challa when they ran into him. "Did you know how freaky demon battles were?"
"We fought a purple extra terrestrial," he shot back. "Who was going to kill half of humanity."
Erik grimaced. "Sorry I missed that. I would've fought for you."
"Thank you. For now, Shuri has captured Xander to put him into the medical systems." Ayo grinned. "They said she's fixing more white boys." He walked off. "Make sure he's safe, Ayo, and give reports about the dwarves."
"I suggest we send an emissary," she called after him. "One who has read those myths." He waved a hand back and nodded. She took Erik to a guest room and locked him in it then put guards around it to kill him if he escaped. She sent two to the medical bay too so Shuri didn't have to hurt Xander too much when he tried to escape.
Xander snuck onto his ship and a bright light made him blink, making him realize Valkyrie had moved him to the infirmary. He looked up. "I'm okay now."
"Shut up, Xander. You're not fine. Scott said you're not fine," she said in a firm, clipped tone of voice.
"I didn't get near the dirty bomb I sent over to close the portal, Valkyrie. And I just got snuck away from Princess Shuri's infirmary." She huffed. "Fine. I'll lay down for a bit so you can scan me." He laid down and she did that then growled. "What!"
"That stupid radiation problem of yours."
He looked at himself then sighed. "The necklace broke. I'll replace it."
"Uh-huh." She ran a beam over him. "At least you'll survive. I have no idea what I'd do if you didn't survive. And you haven't read the journal recently."
"I did add to it. Warning the younger me about that tiny witch. And D'Isor." He got up to get the journal, sitting down to read it. She sent him back to the infirmary. "If it's just hellmouth radiation I'm probably fine."
"You'll probably get attacked for that power, dear." She went silent so he stayed in there to read to the point of tomorrow's entry, then he went to get dinner. She couldn't object to him eating.
He walked off with his sandwich, going to check his truck. Somehow it was sparkly clean. He looked up then waved. "Thanks." He ate his dinner while he checked what was in the back. He tossed a bag onto the floor. "His, not mine." He found a few more things to put on top of it. Then he settled in to sharpen things. They were mostly dull. He could go build a few more things later. He heard a girlish giggle and sighed, looking up. "Nark." He went back to sharpening. When the giggling happened in the garage he looked around the end of the truck. "Those are Erik's."
Shuri grinned at him. "I might take them to him. Why are you here?"
"Sharpening things." He held up his axe. "Then I'll go build a bomb later."
"Because I'll need one in about two weeks."
"I can do that."
"So can I. I'll save begging you for help for bigger things. Does your brother know you're here?" She scowled, hands going to her hips. "I ask because the gossip rags out of Egypt said we're together."
"Oh, shit," she muttered, walking off. "I'll yell at someone once I watch you build that bomb."
"Sure." He shrugged it off but finished his sharpening duties. By the time he was done, she was asleep in the library. He lifted her hand to access her communication handpiece, waving at the hologram of the king that showed up. "She's napping," he mouthed with a point at her. T'Challa just nodded. "We're fighting the gossip stupidity in Egypt."
"I heard," he said quietly. "Let her rest. She's not sleeping." Xander nodded, signing off and going to his lab to get some stuff done. Xander turned around about two to wave at Nakia. "She's in the library," he said with a point. "I called to warn her brother she's stalking my ship."
Nakia smiled. "That's very handy. Do you have any information on the group you took out Tuesday?"
Xander frowned and looked around, then led her to the truck to get into those files. "Here you go." He handed it over. She looked at the pile on the floor then at him. "Erik's stuff. Taking out demons creeps him out horribly." He grinned. "I kinda figured he wanted to stay and protect his people."
"Possibly." She looked at the folder. "No, the other one you took out Tuesday." Xander nodded, handing it over once he found it. She took his full file folder and walked off carrying it and the new things.
Xander went back to his lab but the ship had other ideas. He woke up in the infirmary on a bed with Shuri staring at him. "I was being good."
"Somehow I doubt that." She smiled. "What is that weird radiation signature you have?"
She blinked a few times. "They radiate?"
He nodded. "Some. I grew up on the Sunnydale one. It was open and leaking most of the time it was there thanks to the guy who decided to ascend setting up a town on top of it."
"Can those be fixed?"
Xander shrugged. "You're talking science to a guy who only knows Star Trek."
She winced but nodded. "We should look."
"There's one on your western border."
She frowned. "There is?" she demanded. He nodded. "Why? Is it related to that altar thing?"
"That's to your south. To the west there's a small hellmouth. It's not real open but it's there. Kinda tiny still because no one's tried to access it and open it." He pointed. "There's a book on hellmouths in the library if Hope didn't steal it." She went to find it, lips pressed together like she was pissed at the universe for vexing her. Xander got up and went to the kitchen to make breakfast. He put a bowl beside her seat at the table reading that book. Then he went to build that bomb he'd need in a few weeks. He winced when she shrieked in anger. "The universe has stretch marks," he called. "That's what those are."
She stomped in. "They're what?"
"You know what stretch marks are?"
"My mother has a few from where she had children," she said patiently.
"Those are the universe's version as far as I can tell. The world stretched a bit too far so it created a stretch mark. Only this is energy and it leaks. I suggested we open it for the battle that was here but it was too far away. Otherwise we'd see if there was a kraken in it like the one in Sunnydale has."
She walked off to go to the deck to throw a slight fit then came back. "This thing with magic is annoying my science," she complained.
He grinned but shrugged. "Not like I use magic." She huffed off, eating while she held the book on the way up top again. She did drop the bowl into the kitchen on her way past but she was peeved at all this magic stuff. She ran into the warriors there. "There's a magic stretch mark of the universe by our western border," she told them. "It's magic in my science!" They all looked confused.
"I told her where the hellmouth near here is," Xander called from the bottom of the stairs. "She slept in the library so she's probably got a headache too from sleeping sitting up." He came up enough for his head to pop up. "She really hates hellmouth radiation." He went back to his lab. "I'm building stuff to blow up a portal in about two weeks."
The warriors stared at their princess. "We were worried the colonizer was harming you," one said.
She scowled at him. "I'd kill him if he tried and Watcher Harris is not like that."
"Oh, that's him!" that one said, nodding quickly. "We had heard...."
"He's not my type," she said firmly. "I have my eye on a warrior from the border tribe at the moment. If he shapes up and becomes a real man. I'd never sleep with a colonizer!" She hit him and walked past him with a huff, going to talk to her brother. "We have a hellmouth near here?" she demanded, lips pursed again.
"He suggested we open it for the battle to see if it would eat Thanos. Why?"
She opened the book to show him. "He described them as stretch marks of the universe and he carries radiation from the one he grew up near." She stared at him.
"That could explain a lot of things," he admitted, reading that section she was pointing to. "Interesting." He looked at her. "Can we heal it?"
"It's magic!" she complained. "How should I know?"
"Then go look at it?" he suggested, smiling at her. "You wanted to look at that altar area as well."
"True. We also have to stop the stupid gossip."
He nodded. "He's said that it's happened a few times. I respect him but would not want someone that wild to be my brother-in-law."
"It would not happen," Shuri said firmly, glaring at him.
He backed off with his hands up and a smile on his face. "I know you have much sense and compassion. I'm sure you'll find a husband who is good for the family." She glared harder. He backed up another step. "Whenever you're ready of course. I am not like some males who force relationships on their sisters. You'll find someone nice that I won't smite and we'll have a wonderful wedding." She huffed and stomped off to complain to her minions. "If you go, take Barnes with you so he can report to Rogers," he called after her. "They wanted to know about such as well." He relaxed since she wouldn't try to attack him. He didn't want to beat his baby sister that way. His mother would murder him for it and take the throne for herself.
Xander was once again going to check on his girl in Egypt but he was making a detour to check out a new traveling group of demons that she had noted to him. She wasn't sure what they were or how peaceful they were, and she was grounded by her mother so she couldn't go check without taking her uncle who hated her duty. According to that uncle swords were not meant for women. So Xander was going to go look at it.
He parked near where the caravan was resting, getting out and walking over. "Hola, people." They stared at him. "I'm Xander Harris, head Watcher in Africa. My local mini spotted you but didn't know who you were so asked me to come check on you. I recognize a few's species," he said with a wave at them. "But I never met any of you in Sunnydale." He sat down, nodding at the obvious leader. She had the most jewelry and scarves. "So, are you merchants?"
She shook her head. "We are seers, Knight."
Xander grinned. "Then I hope yours are nicer than the PTB gave me since I see apocalypse battles."
She snorted, flapping a scarf's end. "We see for various reasons but none are battles. We are mostly peaceful."
"That's what I wanted to know," Xander said with a grin. "We've had plenty that weren't and many that were in hiding who were not only peaceful but helpful. If you see something that my minis could use would you tell me?"
She nodded. "We can make that agreement. What is the next one you've seen?"
"Paris." He grimaced. "And I'm not going to be there. France apparently hates the Council. We'll get there after it's started apparently." She moaned but nodded. "The next one down here is in about three days and it's a more minor battle but the higher up can cause soil deterioration if she's not banished. After that is...I want to say Sudan. I'm not sure if Sudan is happening before Ghana or not." She and others moaned. "Yeah, I've been a busy guy. We don't have many adult slayers down here. I'd never let a baby go into battle so I've been hella busy."
She shook her head slowly. "What of the one locally?"
"Probably a battle but not an apocalypse battle?" She sighed again. "Where?"
"Nearby. Near the temples." She pointed behind them.
"Is it a witch problem?"
"I think it's a time delayed spell," another one said.
"Protections are breaking down," the leader said.
"Okay, I can go look at that. Which valley is it in?"
"The sunlight casting one," she said. She pointed again. "With the court's higher ups."
"Okay, we can check. Thank you for letting me know." He handed over his card. "This is my number and this," he said, handing over another card. "Is the local slayer's cellphone. She'd be here but she's grounded." They all laughed. "Her mother got mad." He shrugged but put the cards up. "Let me know?" They nodded. "Then peaceful travels and I hope your visions are more pleasant." He went back to his truck, driving off calling his local slayer. She groaned but called her local liaison to call him. With her uncle complaining in the background. Her mother shut the uncle up and said a loud prayer her daughter didn't have to go into the desert.
Xander met the officials where he expected, about two miles from where he needed to be. He got out with a smile and shook their hands. "A group of traveling seers saw a problem around here with a protection that was failing due to the battle recently and a time delayed spell."
"Cara's grounded," the witch with them said.
Xander grinned and nodded. "I know. She made her mother mad. Her mother said she had to bring an uncle that hates her duty if she had to go out. So I was coming to check on her anyway." He nodded at the man stomping over. "They called it the valley that cast shadows, filled with higher ups?"
"That one," the head of the archeology department said with a point. "We don't know what though."
"We can find out and see if it's an easy shut off one." They hiked that way, Xander pausing to look at a stone. He pointed. "There's a body attached to that. Shallow grave but still there." The official marked it after checking and finding a hand. Xander walked off with the witch. They found the spell. It was glowing brighter than the late afternoon sun was. He looked at her, getting a shrug back. "Okay. Can you feel necromancy?"
"You white out all my senses." She moved off. "What did you step into, Watcher Harris?"
"My hellmouth energy blocking necklace broke about two months ago," he said dryly. "So I'm being a super tasty signal until I can get a new one made." He grimaced at the being coming out of the ground like the sand was water. "Well... Who were you?" he called.
The archeologist stood up and looked over, hurrying to them babbling in the ancient Egyptian dialect. The mummy spat something so he translated it into modern Egyptian. "He was an overseer of the court."
"Then why was he made a mummy?" Xander asked. "Was he a guardian? Meant to come restore something?"
The archeologist asked and the mummy said he didn't know but they had a stone cover on his chest when he woke. Xander went to dig it up, finding it broken but easily put back together. He handed it over. "I thought the Aztec mummy that came to our high school was weird." The witch squeaked and stared at him. He shrugged. "Ampata's seal broke. We thought she was a foreign exchange student until she sucked the life out of some people. I nearly dated that woman." The witch squeaked louder. He grinned at her. "Still better than some of the others that got dated by the girls."
"We heard in myths," she said from behind her hand. "So bad."
"No, bad was Angel," Xander muttered. "At least I never went that far." She walked off whimpering but trying not to laugh. He looked at the archeologist. "How do we put him back to his rest? Is it just the seal?"
"It says he was cursed to protect the records of his court. That they would need people to make sure they weren't stolen as others' had been." He looked up. "We can probably fix the seal and send him back to his rest?"
"That's how we did with Ampata," Xander said. "There was a guardian that came to retrieve her but we put the seal back together." He called Giles, making the mummy mumble about the magic. "It's me. How did we put Ampata back, Giles?" He listened. "Because I'm looking at a mummy that was cursed to protect the courts' records. No, I'm in Egypt, Giles. Thanks." He hung up. "He said give him two minutes to look at his journal." He looked at the mummy, who was looking at the sun. "It never gets any less bright," he said quietly. The mummy nodded, stumbling off to look at something. The archeologist followed him to mark areas to respectfully look at later, explaining that they did not steal things, they put them in view so others could see how magnificent they were.
The official looked at Xander. "Can you not just kill it?"
"Probably not with that curse active. It could get up and walk around carrying its head, plus be mad at us for it. Better to end the curse and rebury him." That got a nod. Giles called back, giving him the information he wanted. "When was that? Oh, then. Okay. Thanks, Giles." He hung up with a sigh. "There was another noted case of this sort of situation. It was in the Valley of Light." The archeologist shook his head slowly. "Which is why it's buried so deeply apparently. We can end the curse and put the seal back together and it should put him back to his rest."
He gathered the seal and some glue from his truck to put it together. The curse was ended by Giles calling the witch to work with her and the mummy fell. Xander helped get it back into the coffin, a fairly plain one, and put the seal on his chest again. The mummy's spirit flew out and off. Xander sighed, looking at the other people. "Okay." He walked off. "So." He looked at the witch, who was pointing. He looked at the glow. "Tell me that's not a temple to the underworld?" he begged.
"I hope not. I'm not ready to go there yet," she complained.
Xander sighed but walked over there, pulling her by her arm. The archeologist followed, praying but following. They found the glowing temple. Xander looked around then groaned. "Not the underworld at least. Temporal portal." He looked at the witch, who shrugged. He looked in his phone, finding the number. "If I ask you how to end a temporal portal that goes back to ancient Egypt, can you tell me how to do that?" he asked. "Thanks, Wong." He hung up. "He'll ask the Sorcerer Supreme. This is well above my pay grade."
"Slaves!" someone shouted and tried to hit them. Xander shot him.
"The fuck I am! I've stopped that vile practice more than once, thank you!" The guard was moaning. A portal opened and the Sorcerer walked out. Xander got out of the way and pulled the witch with him. "I got told about it by some seers who're traveling. Apparently one of the battles I've had in the last two weeks opened it. We already put the mummy back to sleep."
"Why do you suddenly feel like power?"
"My hellmouth blurring necklace broke. I haven't been able to get it fixed yet."
"Oh, that hole."
"If you know more about them, the Princess was almost foaming at the mouth to figure out how to stop them."
He nodded. "Me as well. Move, people. Especially you, Harris. It might be attuned to you and then you'd have to come back from that time zone." Xander hurried out of the way. "Further. I can still feel you." Xander moved further back with the witch. The sorcerer called up power to end that portal, and the protection, and the evil thing that was holding all that. He looked at the small box, picking it up. "Let me put this somewhere safe, where no one can get to it." He let the archeologist look at it, take pictures of it, but not touch it. Then he went home to ready a storage area for it. He made note in the register of rooms and went to have a drink. He'd talk to Giles about how to get that protection necklace rebuilt. Before he had to rescue that boy from somewhere.
Xander looked at the official, who was walking off muttering as he made himself notes. "I'm local to check on Cara," he called. He looked at the witch, smiling at her. "See, much worse than you hoped."
"In many ways but at least your witch was not here."
"Don't tempt her! She'll send me there." She walked off hugging herself. He grinned at the archeologist. "Have fun with all this." He waved a hand. He got a smirk back. "Just don't let me wake anyone up." He got into his truck and drove off. He found his usual favorite inn, checking in and getting a shower. He sent Giles a report before going out to dinner. His answer back was 'don't go near there again, just in case please'. He answered back that he had nearly run from there. He didn't want to tempt fate or Willow to draw him back to ancient Egypt. Giles answer back was he was drinking dinner about that thought and to go do something about his hellmouth taint.
Xander did as ordered, going to find someone who could fix his blocking necklace. They could remake it and lock it to his taint, but if he took it off it might cause an explosion of it.
Giles walked out to hand the report to the watcher who had extensive knowledge of ancient Egypt. The man took it and read then groaned. "Xander said he called the Sorcerer Supreme to handle the portal box. He's got it in quarantine." He walked off. "Xander is finding a new blocking necklace if you want to shove a contact his way."
The watcher reread it and then went to put it into the book of problems they kept for later reference. The others in the library looked at him, including the two slayers doing history papers for class. "Xander Harris got told about an open portal problem in Egypt. Thankfully he had a contact who could close the portal to ancient Egypt, they handled the mummy that was up and wandering around, and he's presently finding a new hellmouth energy blocking necklace." The watchers all groaned. The slayers just sighed and shook their heads. It was clearly an only Xander event. That watcher flipped through the book, pausing at one. "Why did the boy get fussed over by a hell goddess?"
"She gives great massages and he had just fought off her son-in-law," the slayer said, then grinned madly at him. "It was part of the report. Buffy was wandering around muttering that she gave him great leg massages."
The watcher winced, rubbing his forehead. "We need to rename that book to show how much of it was his doing." He walked off to get something from the kitchen to drink, getting handed a cup of smoothy that smelled like brandy from Andrew. "Do you do what Harris does?"
"I'm not nearly as tough as Xander is. If he runs into a battle, he'll evaluate and then jump in. My first thought isn't sword or axe, it's robots and what ones can handle it." He grinned. "There's a reason a lot of the underground calls Xander a white knight. Even if SHIELD does think he'll go evil someday."
"I think it may be too late with the way he's warped you all." He walked off sipping his alcoholic drink. "We really do have to find a way for that boy of yours to find a vacation for real before he does find a way to suck up ancient beings," he told Giles as he walked past him.
Giles nodded. "I would but no one else can handle Africa for a few weeks. He should probably have his eye checked as well. It's been a few years." He went to nag Xander about that. What he got back came from someone else's number, and it was that Xander was handling a huge problem. So he could run away before someone captured him to torture him for daring to handle demon things. Giles looked at the online news source he knew about. Yes, there was a huge problem.
The local slayer was showing up but Xander ordered her to run, that the demon had been summoned to trap them. She fled and got taken from there by some sort of magic user. Then Xander turned and stole a weapon off one of the idiot humans who was trying to get him. He blew up two of the other humans, making the demon scream. Xander shot another human and the demon faded out to the point where it could be banished. Then Xander pulled his gun on the others. Giles watched.
Egyptian officials were showing up. Xander gave a short, huffy report. They arrested the idiot humans. Xander put his gun up and told one of them that the local slayer was now in hiding, she had gotten evacuated. They agreed it was a good thing. Someone shot at Xander and he got them back. Then he held the wound and walked off shaking his head. One of the officials was yelling about slayers being evil. Xander shot him a glare and told him he could handle the next demon thing if he wanted. Then he pointed at one stomping toward them.
Xander looked at the army official, asking for artillery. They looked and called in some. The official was trying to prove his point by shouting religious things at the demon. The demon tried to pick him up but Xander shot at it and glared. He shot something else. The demon roared and quit trying to bite the idiot human to death. The military killed it with the artillery they brought then the military people started to complain. Xander pointed at his wound, that made them quit yelling. He told them what had happened so they got to go help arrest those idiot humans who hated slayers.
One shouted it was better for a slayer to handle it than those who were more godly. It being women meant that they were stronger due to Godly blessing. Their own wives and mothers proved that they were stronger so it made sense they were to fight that sort of evil for God. Giles groaned and rubbed his face, then sent a message to Xander's phone. Who sent back that he was busy. He watched Xander limp off to handle his injuries. Someone tried to attack him but Xander sneered and the man wailed as he stomped off.
Ten minutes later Giles had a report that included he had to go rescue the slayer there because the ones who took her are huge idiots who wanted to sacrifice a slayer. The followup report from that showed that Xander had ...inconvenienced as he put it, a few dozen human cultists. That slayer was in the hospital. Xander was getting things fixed. Again. And the idiot cultists were all under arrest by the locals. The ship was the one who had sent the report by the note at the end and she was holding Xander hostage for a bit to make sure he healed.
He'd be allowed to show up for the problem in a few days during a special holiday celebration that might contain sacrificing people. Giles groaned and answered the ship back. "His ship seems very nice," he decided. "And much like the boy." He went to file that report as well. "The Egyptian government has custody of people who summoned a demon to take out the slayer so they could be free of her taint. She's safer now and getting treatment. As is Xander." He walked off to find his favorite bottle of scotch.
Xander did provoke a bit of drinking now and then.
The watchers gathered to look at the report. Most of them went to make better plans for the girls down there. Things like that had been happening forever so they could move the slayers if necessary. Especially with that slayer; her mother had been a revolutionary fighter and would gladly get them all.
Xander looked up from his bed on the ship, shrugging at the man staring in the doorway. "If I go farther than the control room or the kitchen I end up knocked out in the infirmary."
Erik Killmonger gave him an odd look. Of all the weird things he'd seen with that kid, a fantasy pirate ship wasn't that weird, even a sentient one. "Is she that sentient?"
"Yes, I am," the ship said impatiently. "I'm very sentient, thank you!"
He looked up then at Xander. "How did you do this?"
"Apparently in about twelve years or so." He shrugged but grinned. "This is Valkyrie."
"I know what they are in mythology." He looked around then up then at the kid again. "They need you to come help the princess."
"I can do that. Val, honey...."
"Of course. I adore Princess Shuri. She's the sort of woman I wanted to be when I was younger, but I grew up strong instead of smart."
"You're smarter than I am. Don't make me find a way to give you self esteem lectures," Xander said, glaring at a wall. She huffed but they moved off. Xander grinned at his last bit of good work. "So, anything else?"
"The king is a bit freaked out by me."
"Well, yeah, you came back from the dead."
"Point. Any idea of things I could be doing?"
Xander shrugged. "Train to become a watcher?"
"Not likely. That's a bit too freaky for me."
"Then work on training others. Now that the borders are open, someone's going to want things."
"Point. I can train with them to see if I can add to it." He grimaced. "The US military?"
"No idea. We don't usually talk to them because we caught the army torturing demons for fun and science in my former hometown. They tried to capture a few slayers too until they made Willow turn back all the tiny yappy dogs the other slayers were putting pretty bows on. The general who came to politely ask for them to be returned to human had to go to a special mental health spa after dealing with them."
"I would too." He shook his head, leaning against the wall. "I have no idea how you made this ship."
"Me either, yet." He grinned as he got up. The ship shifted and Xander tumbled back into bed. "I'm fine, Valkyrie," he said firmly. "And I'm hungry!"
"Fine. Go rest, Xander."
"You nag worse than my ex-girlfriend. Are you possessed?"
"I'd hope not. That would be hard to exorcize."
"Okay. Let's go to the lake."
"I thought nearer to the altar area," she said.
Xander grinned as he looked up. "You *are* possessed."
"Aw, fuck," the ship's AI complained in All Speak.
Xander grinned, patting her on the wall. "Ya think?" He found his book of rites to go down to the control room to work on getting her back to normal. The AI died for a minute but he reloaded it. He got the demon. That one got dumped and he got the original personality back. "Are you better?" he asked.
"Yes, I'm better," she said slowly and clearly. "That's rather nasty."
"Yup." He grinned up at her computer array. "It was. Any idea when you picked it up?"
"I think the last time we were in Wakanda. It wanted to visit the altar area. That was rather dangerous, Xander."
"You showed us how to upload the personality."
"Point. Still, it could have killed my resonance."
"No if it was that hard, you would've possessed me for a bit," he reminded her.
"Oh, I forgot." She hummed. "Yes, that's the doomsday plan, isn't it. Interesting. We'll handle it."
"You can get the other personality out now too." He left that book open so she could fight it for herself. He went to make himself a quick dinner. Erik shook his head when Xander held up a piece of fruit. They all heard the ship shut down then restart and she sighed. "You better now?"
"I'm good. All systems are good too."
He stroked the nearest wall. "Good. I'd hate to lose you, Val." She let the cabinet unlatch to bump his hip. "Anything else on our to-do list?"
"We need to get Slick's aunt a goat in reparation."
"On our way back that way. After we save the princess. Any idea who possessed her?" he asked Erik.
"She was looking at the local hellmouth and came home weirdly quiet."
"Hmm." He ate a bite, considering it. "We can work on that. There's a few exorcism rites that can get a spirit out of most anything." He walked off eating, going to the control room. "We're about a day out."
"I can rest on a couch," Erik said. He went to explore a bit. This was weird but then again it was Xander.
Xander grinned at the ship's wall. "You sure you're okay?"
"I'm sure, Xander. Go rest again. I'll let you know when we land."
"Yup." He took his dinner back to his tv room. He had missed some tv shows she had recorded for him.
Xander stepped off the ship, looking at the tiny warrior meeting him. "I need to find Slick's aunt a goat when I leave. Wanna help?"
"I can do that," Tin quipped. She stared at the other guy. "I still don't trust you. You tried to kill my family and me, and the king. That's mean of you and I should stab you a lot."
Xander tapped her on the head, making her look up at him. "You're almost ten. Stabbing people is only for self defense until you're sixteen." She pouted. "Sorry, but be a girl for a bit, Tin. We need you to be a happy, healthy girl so you grow up to be an amazing woman. And if he tries it again, you have my permission to stab him when he tries." He gave her a pointed look. "We want you to be a woman that your mother will sob about being too grown up."
She pouted but nodded. "She already does that."
"She shouldn't be doing that until you're sixteen. Should I talk to your trainers?"
"No! I really like training, Xander." She pouted at him.
He grinned. "I'm glad you like it but you need time playing and stuff."
"I don't...the other girls don't understand that there's bad things out there."
He leaned down to get closer to her. "You shouldn't know yet either. No child should know about that stuff." She nodded. "You can still play and have fun. A lot of mini slayers hit that same point and then realize that you only get one chance to be a kid. Unless Rosenburg steps in." He straightened up. "Got me here?"
She nodded. "I'll go play with the other girls. Even if they do stupid stuff."
"So go out to one of the farms and help by petting the animals." He gave her a pointed look. "I want you to spend at least ten hours a week doing fun things like playing. You're becoming an old woman before your time."
She huffed but nodded. "I'll try." He gave her a hug. "I know, you only want me to be a good girl." She glared at the warrior stomping toward them. "Leave my watcher alone!" she ordered. The man snorted so she pulled out her staff but Xander had his axe instead and beat the guy onto the ground and unmoving. She pouted at him. "I could've!"
"That's an adult job," Erik said firmly. "Unless you're the only one there."
She slumped, staring at him. "But I'm a woman."
"That just means that guys will want to protect you so you can protect the family instead." Erik stared at her. "You doing this means you'll follow my footsteps, not your trainer's." She pouted but nodded. "Be a little kid. Little kids get protected and treated nice. Adults get sucky things that hurt them." She nodded, stomping off.
"It's a battle we fight with all the little ones at least once. They're only allowed in self defense training until they're past puberty then they have years of advanced training before being allowed on a training hunt at no less than sixteen."
"That's sensible. They deserve the right to be kids." Xander nodded. "Should we leave him here?"
"Nope." Xander hauled the guy's arms and dragged him to the guard watching them. "I don't know why he wanted to attempt to beat me. He should've known it was a bad idea."
"He probably thought you were going to harm the child."
"I'm her watcher."
"I know that. He's young and opinionated."
Xander nodded. "I was many years ago too, or at least it seems like it's been years." He grinned. "I got asked to come depossess the princess?"
"She's in her suite. The king's in his office."
"Thanks." He walked inside, nodding at a few of the warriors. He caught one by her sleeve and walked her off. "Tin has managed to work herself to the point where she's not wanting to be a kid." He gave her a look. "Most of the minis get to that state and we make the go play and be kids."
She nodded. "I can pass that on."
Xander grinned. "I ordered at least ten hours of fun stuff a week for her."
"She should have more than that. We can pass that on, Watcher Harris. A huge problem?"
"I got asked to come unpossess the princess."
"Ah!" She nodded. "I'll announce you to the king."
"I figured someone would. I'm still fighting those stupid rumors and even if it were true I'd never just walk into his office."
She smiled and led them to the office. She knocked. "My king, a visitor you sent for," she called, opening the door.
Xander leaned in. "This a bad time?"
"No, I'm reading a proposal for a company to come here."
"You need to set up rules up front so the companies know you're not stupid or easy," Xander said. "Including all that green technology and energy stuff you use."
T'Challa nodded. "I thought I had."
"Is it on the page where they find out details?" Erik asked.
"It's on a link. We'll redesign that so it's more clear." He looked at Xander. "I have no idea where she got possessed."
"There's so few chances," Xander said with a grin. "Where was she for the last three trips?"
"To the local hellmouth, to the lake diving to look at a temple structure someone found, and at one of the farms talking about growth of crops."
"So probably the temple then," Xander said. "Huh. The same lake I park on? Because the ship got possessed sometime too. I had to fix that the other day."
"Could be," the king agreed. "How would you fix it?"
"Depends on what it is. Did anyone take pictures of the temple?" T'Challa handed over Shuri's work tablet from his drawer. He flipped through the pictures, nodding. "That's the spirit there," he said, showing it to him. "Hmm." He handed the tablet back. "I can do a traditional exorcism or I can do something more native that I learned from the holy men that worked with me about my easily possessed nature. Which would you prefer?"
"Can you do it the native way and make sure it works?"
"Yes I can. I might need some support from a local one. I only learned two native depossession rites."
"I can call someone." He smiled. "Thank you."
"You're welcome. Shuri's too sweet and nice to be left that way. She might start to growl like I do." T'Challa snickered as he walked off to call someone. "I'll be at Tin's mother's house. That way I can gather herbs on the way." He went to the market, smiling at the kids staring at him. "Hi, kids." One ran off. "I'm Watcher Xander Harris. I showed up to help with a problem." The others ran off. The shopkeepers around them relaxed. He walked up to one selling herbs.
"I need six things," he said. "To work on a removal rite for a spirit." They went into the shade to talk about those herbs. One was pretty rare in the area. He called someone to get it for him. Xander paid the prices for them easily enough, even though he knew that they had overcharged him. They usually did. Xander looked at Erik. "I've got to go get something off the truck, which is hopefully on the ship." Erik nodded, following him. Xander showered, put on the clothes he had picked for native rites, and then marked himself and put on his blessed necklace. He came out.
One of the guards glared. "Cultural appropriation...." Xander pointed at one of his tattoos, making the guard hiss. "Why?"
"I'm easily possessed. It's the only way I could keep it from happening again." He shrugged but grinned. "My first was a hyena because I stepped into a shaman's circle by accident."
"Oh." He shuddered. "I'm glad we don't have those."
"True. Though she's very nice." He walked off. "Going to Tin's house to work on a depossessing."
"Fine. I'll let others know." He called that in, including taking pictures. His boss sent back that they knew he had trained with a few holy men down south about his nature.
Xander knocked and walked in. "I'm glad I did take the time to train myself as fully as I could," he quipped as they let him in. He grinned and kissed Tin's mother on the cheek. "I'm only burning some herbs and a few candles. Shouldn't even be a mess, which I'll help clean up." She nodded and pointed. Xander went to the living room, looking at the princess.
She tipped her head to look at him. "Why do that?" He pointed at his tattoo. "That's very telling." She looked up at him. "I'm fine."
"That's why you're very unlike yourself?" he said with a grin. "Your pictures actually took one of the spirit, Shuri." He pulled out the herbs to crush together. "We decided to do a native exorcism instead of a Western one." She nodded, settling in to watch him. He dotted her with what he needed to do then prayed over her. She choked as the spirit came up. Xander stared and tried it again. "Okay, I'm going to have to go Gregorian here." He did that chant while working like with the native rite. The spirit went out wailing and screaming. He got another small one out and let her sit down since she was probably dizzy and had a headache-he usually did.
She blinked up at him. "Why didn't she go with the native one?"
"She's an ancient demon. Those are mostly for recent possessions. It won't work on really old ones or really strong ones. That and you were only partially possessed because she wanted you as a handmaiden. Her new host body would have to basically be a supermodel sort. You were too smart for her host body." She grimaced. He grinned at her. "I'd consider that a compliment. You're more than pretty enough to be her right hand but too smart."
She snorted, flapping a hand. "Still weird."
"Yup." He grinned. "Very." She pouted. "We might not be able to her out of a proper host body at all."
"That would suck," Shuri agreed. She smiled at Tin's mother, waving a bit. "I'm better."
"That's good." She looked at Xander. "Why did you take the training, Xander?"
He grinned at her. "Because without it I'm an open suit for them to try on." The mother shuddered. "Thankfully I only had two serious ones. One was a hyena I got by accident by stepping into a ritual circle without realizing it. The other was a possessed halloween costume thanks to a chaos sorcerer. I taught Tin about them so she knew how to be careful and how to disrupt magic."
Her mother nodded. "That's fine I guess."
"Also, I ordered her to spend at least ten hours a week playing. She needs more little girl time to grow up to be a happy woman. She's over a year ahead of where she should be in self defense. It's something all mini slayers hit but she needs more kid time."
Shuri nodded. "If not, she'll turn into Erik." She looked at him. "Did you have to come?"
"They sent me and this way I know what to do if I spot another person being taken over."
"He's also an effective chaperone with Tin's mother," Xander quipped. "Because some idiot asked me about you when I was in Egypt." She rolled her eyes. He grinned at her. "They praised me for having taste in who I date. I had to tell them you're not my type, you're only dangerous, not deadly and evil." She burst out laughing but nodded. "I don't want them to give someone the wrong idea, Shuri. It'd hurt you a lot."
"It'll be fine. My people know I wouldn't date you."
Tin's mother gave her an odd look. "You two talk often."
"About magic versus science," Xander said.
"Oh..." She nodded. "That makes much sense then. There's a few who think you'd be her consort."
Xander shook his head. "I know my place and it's not with a woman with giant brains like hers or her social position. It'd drive me batty to have to do diplomatic things."
Shuri smiled at him. "It does me too sometimes but I agree. You are not my type. You're sweet but I'll marry one of our people." She stood up and wobbled a bit. "I'll make sure the gossip stops before they annoy you."
He smiled at her. "I'm more worried that they'll hurt you. As a guy I'll just get a 'good job' arm punch for having a woman like you on my arm. Your reputation would get dirty. That's why I only flirt to make you blush so other guys think it's cute and you can turn me down."
"True. I need to find a man to date."
"Have Tin help you. She seems to have good taste. I'm going to have her help me pick out a goat for Slick's aunt. I owe her one because I used hers to bait something so I could kill it."
Shuri held up a hand. "I don't need details." She looked at Erik. "Walk back with us." Xander put on a t-shirt. "Why didn't you do that earlier?"
"It'd smudge the markings." He smiled at her then at Tin's mother. He cleaned up his mess and put it back into his bag. "There, all tidy."
"Thank you, Xander." She watched the trio walk out together, getting Shuri's guards on the way out. She went to gossip. The watcher did know his place and wasn't dirtying their princess. That was good to know.
Xander walked into the palace again, nodding at someone. "Ross." He looked over then winced. "Two problems. Thunderass Ross went near a slayer. He's presently a komodo dragon thanks to a mini witch. She thought he was too big to be an iguana." He winced but nodded once. "The other is that the demon cocksuckers in a few governments are on a time clock. Rumors are stating that two are going to call in their debts in the next year. Not sure which but rumors are stating that they're going to come down and call them in instead of waiting like the older demons do."
"I can pass that on, Watcher Harris. Is that paint?"
"Yeah. I trained with a few native holy men to help me work on my problem with being possessed." He grinned. "It's why I was with my mini by headhunter country for so long."
He swallowed. "A few wondered. We had no idea you had that problem."
"Dude, I stepped into someone else's ritual circle by accident, which set it off for all of us inside it, and ended up possessed by a matriarch hyena. I was only going to help a bullied kid." Ross walked off shuddering. Xander grinned at the guards. "Aren't we all glad I got the training I needed?" They all nodded. "But yes, I did train with two different holy men. One in the headhunter tribe and one with a migrant one while I worked with that slayer. The first sent me specifically to that one so I got there sooner instead of a year later."
"That's good to note," one of them agreed. "We had no idea watchers had to do that."
"They don't. I'm just really open to being possessed sometimes." They all nodded at that. "But they have come in handy. I'm a much better hunter thanks to my hyena, and she sometimes purrs me to sleep." They smiled but let them walk on. Shuri was once again shaking her head but smiling. "You should flirt with them, Shuri. They seem nice."
She hit him on the arm. "I don't need that sort of warrior. I'm one myself."
He grinned at her. "Only a warrior will understand a true warrior's journey." She rolled her eyes but nodded as they walked off. "That's why I'm still single actually."
"Take Erik," she quipped.
"Not into that gay stuff," Erik complained, scowling at her.
She grinned. "You should try. You're more than deadly enough to be his usual type." She opened a door and stomped in. "She wanted me as her handmaiden because I'm too smart to be her host body. She wanted as pretty but simpler than I am."
Her brother stared at her. "That's good to know. Are you free?"
She nodded. "He had to combine rites. The native ones he learned were for more recent and weaker possessions by normal spirits."
"The Gregorian rite I used works well with the native versions," Xander said with a slight shrug and a grin. "And I have once again disputed that I'm going to sully her with my body fluids."
"I think she'd prefer someone less tough," T'Challa said. "Plus she couldn't work in a lab while traveling with you."
Xander nodded. "That and I'd be driven nuts by doing all this social stuff."
T'Challa smiled. "So are we sometimes. Diplomacy is important but sometimes you don't want to use it."
"Sometimes you need to blow someone back to the dark ages they came from," Erik agreed.
Xander looked at him. "That reminds me. I ran into some of your army buddies recently." He got a 'go on' look for that statement. So he mimicked them. "Don't worry, we're *real* men. We have guns instead of swords. Bullets cure everything. I don't have to wave a sword around to prove my manliness." He grinned. "So I let them shoot at the being that needed lead and wood to kill. When she had damaged most of them while laughing I pulled out artillery and blew her away.
"She didn't have a self healing talent so little blobs of higher being worked great that time. Then I looked at them and pointed out knowledge made a better man and I could use bullets too. I could use all sorts of weapons they couldn't even name. Too bad they were pitiful on the scale of real men. Then I packed up and left them there to whine and clean up." He grinned. "I would've said hi for you but not sure if they knew you or not. They were wearing the same patch you had in your picture though."
Erik shook his head. "I was not that stupid when I was a soldier. Those must've been greenies."
"Doubt it since one was in his forties."
"Oh, stupid ones. Yeah, we got warned about them in training." He shook his head quickly. "I'm sure the spook you talked to in the hall told someone I'm back by now."
"He said he told his commander," T'Challa said, smiling at him. "His boss said he did not want to know what was so big and horrifying that they had to call warriors back from the dead until that battle was done with."
"I had that thought myself," Erik admitted. "Why was that army unit down here?"
"No idea. I watched them first and they said that they had run into the problem by accident on their way to another situation. I figured something down around Sudan since we were about a country over but no clue. Go ask the spook."
"Yeah." He went to do that. "Ross." The guy flinched. "What unit did Xander run into down here and why?"
"They were to take out a militia band that was going to bother an embassy."
"No, lower than yours. Rangers only. Five man team. All living but probably losing rank by the minute." He stared at him. "Do you want me to call your bosses for you? Mine said he didn't want to know and it was too bad he was on the wagon for over ten years."
"Nah. I'll shock the living fuck out of one by letting them find me." He smirked a tiny bit. "It'd do them good."
"Probably when they try to stop Xander from handling something. They've got orders coming down to take him out."
"Yeah, that won't work," Xander called from up the hallway. He came into view. "Fuck them. I will turn into the evil that SHIELD thinks I'll become." He grinned. "I've got all sorts of ideas that Andrew and his buddies used to have to take over humanity. And one almost managed it with a book." He walked past them. "I'm going to clean up. This dye itches."
"I don't wanna know," Erik decided.
Ross smiled. "Most of the government and his own people feel that way many days about what he handles. They only *guess* at what's happened since so many things got covered up."
Erik nodded. "I saw that in action a few times." He walked off shaking his head.
"Erik?" T'Challa called, making him stop. "Shuri is making a trip with our mother to the new outreach center in Oakland. I want you to go with them to protect them. You won't stand out as much and know the area better."
"I can do that. Cuz should be protected from boys like that too. When?"
"Next week. Talk to Nakia please." He walked off, going to talk to Ross. He had to find out what the US was plotting about his people.
Erik Killmonger walked off making plans about who to call to warn them off the princess. She was too vulnerable and nice for a boy from Oakland, California.
Xander looked up from sharpening his axe when a few people walked up to where he was. "Elder," he said with a nod at the leader of the group. "What can I do for you?"
"I'm not that much older than you."
Xander grinned. "I only look older, Elder. It's from the battles. I'm only twenty-six."
"Men such as you should be starting a family by then," he said.
Xander shook his head. "I can't have kids."
"That's a shame." He stared at him. "One of my warriors wanted me to talk to you about his interest in our princess."
Xander grinned. "I consider Shuri to be like one of my slayers, Elder. A sometimes pesky little sister who needs protected. I only tease her to make her blush so other guys think it's cute. Even if I was interested I know her position to your people and I know that's nowhere near where I should ever fall."
The elder smiled at him. "You are a wise boy."
"Sometimes. But sometimes I'm a wise ass too." He grinned again. "I'd only protect her if she needed it. If he bothers her and she can't defend herself I'm pretty sure her brother can end them. If not, a witchling down south was holding a spirit and they brought back a higher level warrior to guard the family."
"We have seen him," he admitted. "He was brought back fully?"
"Yes, we checked. A wrongly brought back spirit can call up the First Evil again. They're what took out the original council and we sank my town fighting her to save the rest of the slayers. They're why we got to rebuild the Council so they're good to the slayers."
He nodded. "I've seen the way you treat the young one here. She is spoiled."
"She should be a kid, a little girl, for as long as she can. No slayer is allowed in battles until they're sixteen at least, unless they're getting themselves free of something. I want her to be a happy little girl for years yet."
He nodded. "Many would appreciate that with their children."
"I consider all my slayers like my sisters. Even the one that's nearly my age and has a fussy daughter. Or the one I have to buy a goat for her aunt since I had to use it to bait something."
He nodded. "It's good you replace it."
"I told her I would as soon as I got near there. It's been five weeks though so I'm going to buy one later since I'm heading down there." That got a small smile. Xander shrugged but smiled back. "I'm a man. I can only do so much. That's why women are stronger."
He nodded. "True." He held out a hand and Xander shook it. "That is a nice marking."
Xander looked and pointed. "That was done by a hell goddess so her people would quit trying to attack me because they thought I'd pull her from her duties to flirt with me." The elder moaned. "My ex apparently bragged before she died. Since she used to be a vengeance demon she bragged to many higher demons, who all know I'm great to my women. She wanted to try."
"You live a very weird life," one of the warriors said.
Xander grinned and nodded. "I do it so you don't have to."
"Could anyone learn the various classifications?"
"Yes. I train anyone who wants to know," Xander said. He got up and got into his truck, coming out with a few books. "These are our common problems compact manual, the classification manual, and the rites and rituals manual. That's how you counter some and has the most handy exorcism ones." He handed them over. "I happily train others so I'm not the only one. It's easier to fight huge things when you're backed up by a national military."
The elder smiled and nodded. "It would be, yes. I have seen film of a few of your battles." Xander ducked his head and blushed. "I would say you need sense but sometimes crazy works."
"Yes it does," Xander agreed, smiling at him. "Often." The elder laughed but walked off. "If you need more copies, those will copy easily," he called after him. "That way it's not just Tin's duty some year in the future."
"We can do that. Warriors should be able to fight anything that appears," one of them agreed with a smile for him. They walked off. "I didn't expect him to have sense. Many white men don't."
Their elder nodded. "Often but that one has learned much from many peoples down here. He does his people credit. Even if we did hear that the slayers nag greatly."
Xander looked at his silent shadow. He was down near that altar to check on a weird occurrence. Apparently this was his helper again, who was seriously creeped out. Shuri was in investigative overdrive. "Don't put anything on the altar itself," he reminded her again. Right before she put her bloody hand on it.
"Unless you want to fight whatever you just summoned." She squeaked and wiped her hand off, carefully putting it away from the stone top of the well. He handed her the tiny camera on a strong string so she could carefully run it down there to look at the structure and see if she could spot any shards. Xander looked at his shadow again. "You look less creeped out than usual."
"I'm just thinkin'," he complained quietly.
Shuri looked up at him. "You should retake your true name. Prove that you're back and yourself." She went back to the video feed. "Your grandmother's people would welcome you to help you."
"I've only seen it done once, when someone nearly died," Xander admitted, looking at Erik again. "It's not a badly hard ritual but it's very long. You start with meditation to see what's changed in you, and if you now have a different spirit guide."
Erik shrugged slightly. "I'll think about that."
Shuri sighed and sat up to stare at him. "N'jadaka, it's important that you're yourself again. This you is quiet and creepy and weird. Even the few weeks I knew you before I couldn't call you more than angry."
"Death can change one," Xander agreed. "It did Buffy when she was dead. Before Rosenburg pulled her back." He looked at him. "Which is why I tested you so hard. Bringing her back brought out the First Evil." That got a slow nod. "You came back without that problem. So reclaim your life."
"I... I don't usually do those things."
"In every human is a primitive ancestor that calls out to them. If you can't accept them then you're just coasting through thinking humans have evolved when we really haven't. We just have more technology now."
"I'll think about it. I know it's important."
"You can't be Wakandan if you don't know your roots here," Shuri said simply. She looked. "Xander, we have a face."
He came to look, grinning and waving. "She's examining the well to compare it to the hellmouth," he called down into the well. "Please let the princess do that."
"Fine," an air breath breathed from under the altar stone.
"Thank you." He grinned at her. "Go ahead. Don't let the camera touch stuff if you can help it."
"I have it!" she complained, shoving at him. He got out of the way, making sure nothing touched the altar top. Including catching a bird and releasing it onto a tree limb nearby.
"What happens if a bird craps on it?" Erik asked.
Xander looked at him. "Did you watch that movie with the emojis?" Erik moaned. "Yeah, we'd have a crap monster and they're almost impossible to end. You can't cut them reasonably and setting them on fire won't kill them for a good hour." He stared at him. "Salt will dry it out and slow it down but not enough."
"Plasma fire?" Shuri asked as she worked.
"No. Still won't end it fast enough."
She looked up then at Erik. "Let's hope we never see one of those here."
"You do have a crap demon worshiping group up in the mountains but they're hidden," Xander admitted. "Tin said she found some of their carvings." Shuri shuddered, shaking her head as she got back to work. "You can talk to the ones that came to make sure I knew I wasn't worthy of Shuri the other day."
"His grandmother were Border people," Shuri said. "I sent that elder a dead frog for daring to think he could control who I like and talk to."
"I pointed out that I know I'm not worthy of you, Shuri."
She snorted. "You're warrior enough but too tough."
He grinned. "And too goofy and too light skinned."
She looked up and smiled. "Could be but I'm not that uptight sometimes." She went back to looking, squeaking at the face. "We have a new face!" She got away from the monitor.
Xander came over to look. "This is Princess Shuri. It's her job to protect this well and she's comparing the structure underneath to what's with the hellmouth near here. Quit freaking her out please." It chattered like a squirrel. He stared. "Yeah, I don't believe there's city squirrels in Wakanda." It changed form, grinning at him. "Quit picking on the princess or she'll have to dismantle it."
"Fine. You're no fun."
"Keep it up and I can't be fun for longer. I would've had a date tonight but you're keeping her here longer." It left again. He went back to leaning against a tree.
Erik stared at him. "What were you going to have a date with?"
"A guy who I met in Mozambique the first time." He grinned. "He's going to let me beg him nicely for a discount for the slayers."
Erik grimaced. "That's not a good thing."
"Hey, I could really use the sex," Xander shot back with a grin. "It's been a while." Erik rolled his eyes. "Sorry but my ex Anya wanted seven or eight orgasms a day. I was working construction, going on patrol, then going home to her." Shuri squeaked as she stared at him. "Sorry about your delicate ears."
"How on earth did you sleep?" she demanded.
"On the weekends." He grinned. "I have fantastic stamina. I've proved it before but it means my dates usually get tired before I'm done. The one I would've had later would've lasted long enough."
She looked at Erik. "Do all you men have that level of stamina?"
"Nope. My record's about three hours." She shivered, getting back to work. "A real husband will have a few times he'll want to stay in bed all day with you, cuz."
She blushed, looking up at him. "Maybe." She noticed the laughing face. "Some day I'll find a husband but it won't be soon."
"Thankfully I stopped the Aladdin wannabe," Erik complained, shifting position. "Had a cheezy lamp and a genie and all that. Thought he could be a prince."
"My husband will probably not ride in on a carpet. Maybe a rhino but not a carpet," Shuri complained. She looked at the face. "Can I please see that twinkly thing?" It shook its head. "I want to make sure it's not someone's jewelry."
"It's not," the face said.
She frowned. "Are you sure? It looks like a teddybear pendant." He looked then it got sent up to land on the grass beside her. She moved the camera to look at the other twinkly thing.
Xander strolled over to pick up the pendant, holding it up. "Wow, that's cursed."
"Doesn't that mean it can hit you?" Erik demanded.
"Yeah but I diffuse most of them." He looked around. "I need a stone or natural glass bottle." Erik drained his coffee drink and let Xander have the bottle and cap. "Thanks." The glass melted as soon as he dropped it in there. "Huh." It fell into his hand again. "Sorry, baby curse. I can't have kids. I'm sterile due to mermaid taint." It warmed in his hand. "You can't cure that." He walked off to put it onto a stone. It got happy with that because it glowed a bit. Xander shook his head with a sigh. "I'll find a guardian for it."
"Mermaid?" Erik and Shuri demanded, nearly in unison.
He grinned. "We had a swim coach in high school that *really* wanted to win. The rest of the swim team was turning into moat monster looking things so I joined the team to see why. It was in the sauna. I got detoxed, all but a few chromosomes."
Shuri gave him an odd look. "I'm taking a blood sample."
"No you're not. Because I've got other things in my blood you cannot get near." She scowled at him. "Dear, a few years later I fell into a native burial cavern," he said quietly. "Think about how easy I was to possess back then and what the US did to the natives." She shuddered. "Yeah. Xander stays away from blood hunters for a reason. You may not have a sample in case someone hears."
Erik shuddered. "I can't even imagine."
"Me either," Xander grinned at him. "Nor do I want anyone to. So if you spill that info I'm going to shoot your ass. Then I'll let the slayers baby you back to health."
"That's evil," Shuri complained. Xander just grinned at her. "Now I see why some people think you might go towards evil." She captured one of the shards. Her whole camera system got shut down. "I just want to test it, I'll put it right back!" she complained. "Please? I'm a scientist. I want to test it. We had a huge problem earlier this year who wanted things like that." She managed to pull it up and tested it then did send it back down. She heard the face in the well huff. "I want to make sure it won't be summoned by that creature. It's evil enough he was going to kill half of everyone with a snap of his fingers. I need to know how to combat him without needing an ascended demon to help."
The face in the well laughed. "Protect and separate the stones. Don't let Dawn near it."
"Heard and witnessed that," Xander quipped. "She doesn't even know."
Shuri stared at him. "Why not?"
"She's a witch. Her powers are elemental and can easily use the stones."
"Then yes, we'll keep her from them," she decided. She packed things up. "Let's go so Xander can date and get his mind straightened out."
"Thanks," he said with a grin for her. "It's much appreciated. The girls will need some artillery in a few months for the usual spring thing." He helped carry her things to her glider. Erik followed but he looked confused. He looked at Erik. "No, she's not like usual witches and she came of age on the Sunnydale hellmouth so her powers are a bit weird. Buffy's little sister is highly protected by all of us at the Council."
"Okay, sure. If I see her near the stones I'll just knock her out."
"If so she's probably bringing it back. One of the ones that went to New York went to visit her so she had to bring it back twice."
Shuri winced. "That's bad."
"Dawn just petted it and made it happy since no one was talking to it." He shrugged. "She knows not to go near them unless she can't help it. That one she tried to avoid it but it floated after her for a few hours until she gave in to pet it."
"Did the other witches like that?" Shuri asked.
"No. They threw an unholy level of fit and Dawn shot back they had come to her, she had not summoned them." He shrugged but grinned. "Dawn's unique and they don't want to anger her. She'll destroy something. She's every bit like my little sister instead of Buffy's. She doesn't really use magic but she knows she can if she must."
"I do not understand that and I'm not sure if I want to study it," Shuri decided. She got in to drive. Xander got the last few things into the storage compartment and got in to sit down and buckle in. Erik sat down and buckled in too. Shuri called in that they were on their way back.
They landed and Xander got out, going to save his date from the warriors. "He's here to talk to me about slayer battle needs," he quipped with a grin. "And feed me because I haven't eaten since breakfast. If I'm really lucky it'll be breakfast too." He walked him off, undoing his cuffs to throw back there. He waved and smiled at the watching spook, who was looking a bit creeped out. He grinned at his date of the night. "So, dinner?"
"Dinner's great, Xander." He smiled at him. "Why are you here?"
"They asked for some help at a mystical spot earlier."
"Ah!" He nodded. "That's sweet of them. It probably creeps them out like it does the rest of us." Xander smirked and winked, strolling off to his truck. They drove off together, going back to his hotel room so they could talk about slayer weapons, and he could make Xander squeal. A few people had suggested he needed to make Xander less bouncy before he had come here. They were right, Xander did need some stress relief.
Shuri went to report to her brother with Erik silently following her. "That altar is very weird. We found a cursed teddybear pendant in it. I looked at one of the shards. The altar has some sort of guardian that I chatted with after Xander told it calm down for me."
T'Challa stared at her. "This guardian?"
"Sprit type, not sure why," Erik said. He held up the stone bowl that held the pendant now. "The cursed thing."
T'Challa looked then at him. "Please lock that up."
"Xander picked it up by hand."
"Whatever he gained from his hellmouth probably warped him," T'Challa said. "He's not the normal man or warrior." He looked at his sister. "Is there any good news?"
"I can reproduce the sucking that shard had," she said with a smile. "I'm fairly certain I can." He nodded, smiling at her. "Magic is very creepy though. And we have to make sure if Witch Dawn shows up that she's not handing a stone back to us. Apparently they all like her to pet them so they go visiting."
He raised an eyebrow but nodded once. "Is she with that coven?"
"Xander said she's like his sister but is Buffy Summers' sister," Erik reported. "She's in college by her profile."
"That's fine. I'll let you update Ayo's files with her." He looked at his sister. "Anything else come of it?"
"Xander told us what is drawn to the altar if a bird craps on it," she said. "It's basically unkillable but fire will work eventually."
"I don't need to know," T'Challa decided. "Find a way to kill it faster?" She nodded quickly. "Good. We could use better ways than a sword sometimes."
"As the boy said, it's really hard to behead with a gun," Erik complained. "And artillery's too big for a lot of things."
"Have people work on that so Tin only has to have a ceremonial sword," the king told his sister.
"Already trying," she quipped with a grin. "Any other orders?"
"Go on a real date to stop the rumors?" he asked. She nodded. "Thank you."
"Welcome." She looked at Erik then at her brother. "We're going out the Border tribe tomorrow." She walked off.
Erik stared at her back. "If I do that now I might not be done by the time you're going to Oakland."
"You can join us there," she said. "Nakia and Mother will be with us."
"American boys won't care about that, that just gives them more targets," he complained. He looked at T'Challa. Who shrugged. "I said I'd go. They want me to do some ritual stuff."
"As we all have had to do sometimes," he said, shrugging again. "If so, you can catch up to them. Shuri will be too busy for a few days." He walked off. "I'd rest, she'll pull you out there by your hair. She's done it to others."
Xander was back in ceremonial gear, bowing to the elder he had met before. "I bring before you a tribe member who needs some training," he said quietly. "He was brought back by a tiny witch under possession. He was tested, he is fully alive and whole. He needs to reconnect to his self. May we give this hereditary member to your people?"
"You may," he agreed. "It is something that must be talked about. Our priest comes."
Xander grinned, pulling Erik in. "This is Erik Killmonger."
"What was your birth name?" the elder asked.
"N'jadaka." He straightened up.
The elder hummed. "I remember seeing you. You are quite strong and clearly one of us, N'jadaka." The holy man came in and everyone stood.
Xander bowed. "Sire, I bring this revived one to you for reconnection to his self."
"Is he whole?" the older man said, squinting at Erik.
"Yes. The witch was possessed when she brought him back. She's only ten and said more warriors would be needed. You are his hereditary people."
"I can sense his connection to our people," the priest said, walking around him. "Your name, son?"
"Hmm. A strong warrior who proved it. You showed you had some honor, but it was warped by the western peoples." Erik nodded, staring at him. "That odd feeling is why
you reconnect after you die, son of the tribe. So you're whole again."
"I only know that they exist, not what the path is so I only escorted him here so he was not harmed by any," Xander said. "May I leave his spirit with you?"
"You may." He looked at the boy. "They taught you well for a white boy."
"It was that or I'd end up with another spirit using me." He grinned. "Who knows what the next one would be."
"I can feel your spirit animal."
"I was possessed by a hyena in high school." The priest winced, shaking his head. "By accident. But she's really nice and has helped me a lot."
The priest nodded, patting Xander on the cheek. "You should do your training exercises more often. It will firm up your shields."
"That's probably my hellmouth taint. My new blocking necklace isn't as strong." He adjusted it. "Better?"
"Yes. That is very weird."
Xander grinned. "All the evil girls tell me that before they squeal." The men all laughed. "I'll leave this tribal son with your help so you can guide him. Erik, I'll be back in about six weeks if you need me." He bowed. "Thank you for helping him."
"You're most welcome," the priest said. Xander left. He looked at Erik. "He is most unusual."
"I never met anyone like him before either," he said quietly. "But he's good at what he does."
"Yes, he should be. We will work on getting you back in touch with yourself." He led the young warrior off to his house to work on his meditation.
Shuri showed up that night, looking around then at the elder. "Is he all right?"
"N'jadaka will be fine."
"I meant Xander. He touched something cursed yesterday."
The elder sighed but shook his head. "That one is very strange."
She smiled. "But highly overprotective. He nearly beat his future slayer's aunt for nagging her because she was being a young girl instead of a young warrior. The lecture lasted over an hour. Even my mother's not that bad." The elder smiled but nodded slightly. "We are going to the outreach center in four days. I'd appreciate having a male guard if N'jadaka's not done by then. He and my brother are both worried about local boys trying to take advantage of a group of women."
"I can offer you three guards, Princess. One of which wanted to talk to you anyway."
She looked around. "Don't matchmake. Please?" she begged. He grinned. "I know, some day I'll have a husband. He'll have to want to work in the lab or around the palace at least."
"I can tell them that. Going with you will let him see how you truly are. It may crush his infatuation." She grinned. "I will make sure N'jadaka comes to you when he's ready."
"Thank you." She bowed. "Let me go pack. I'm hoping there's a music festival near then." She bounded off.
The elder looked at the staring young warriors, who smiled back. "At least she's mostly realistic about her future spouse needing to be a warrior." They all nodded. "Son, go get the one who wanted to talk to her. Get yourself and our senior warrior ready." He nodded, going to do that. His son was young but needed experience.
Xander looked around the end of the battle he had just fought, by himself because the locals had run from it. Even the ones that had been at other battles had run from this one. He sighed and rubbed his neck, taking off the burnt holding necklace. That made him feel better at least. Though he knew he was probably glowing a tiny bit. He looked at himself. Yup, glowing. He looked up then at the east where Valkyrie was flying toward them. He looked back at the staring general, who had forced some of his people back. "Well, they're gone," he called. The general nodded slowly. "I sucked up hellmouth radiation. It's fine."
"It's not fine. You read weirdly," he called, not coming any closer.
Xander turned and walked back that way. "I told you about hellmouths, right?" The general nodded once. "Well, I was born *really* near one and studied overtop of it for years after I started to patrol. I naturally suck up the energy it gives out. Which is what my necklace usually holds in," he said, holding it up. "But then the idiot demon broke it."
The general smiled slightly then wiped it off. "So this weird feeling?"
"Hellmouth radiation," he agreed. "They're like stretch marks of the universe only they let out energy." He looked up. Then at the general. "My ship."
He looked up then gaped in awe. "That is very unusual. I expected like a space ship, like in the movies." Xander grinned. "Hmm." He looked at the young warrior again. "You should probably let your version of Riker do your stitches, Watcher Harris."
"It's just me. She's great but not physical." He grinned. "We have to clean up the battlefield."
"I can have mine that ran do it. At least then they'd have a good punishment." Xander nodded and shook his hand, then used his remote to move himself and his truck up to the ship. The general looked behind him at his waiting army. "Go clean up the mess you ran from. You made the walking Hellmouth break out in magic." The flying ship puttered off. The general shuddered but said a prayer as he went to rededicate himself to his faith. Things like this made people run for some version of God.
Xander flopped down on the infirmary bed, where he had nearly landed, and sighed. "They're scared of me."
"I'm only scared for you," Valkyrie complained. "You're full of hellmouth radiation again, Xander."
"My necklace got broken by a demon," he said dryly, holding it up. "And the stone's burnt."
"Charming!" She flew them off. "There's two known battles coming up."
"I'm going to Sunnydale's. Cleveland and London are both shit storms and I'll get there afterward if I can."
"Agreed. That's the most sensible since no one will know that one's starting."
"And zombies aren't something anyone needs to deal with," he quipped. "Not even the shallow ones in LA that're living zombies."
"That might make the fashionable ones less wanted to be followed," she quipped. "But probably bad for all the people that make the things they insist on buying."
"At least most of them don't haggle over prices," Xander shot back with a grin at the ceiling. "So the shopkeepers can probably add on at least ten percent and they'd agree to pay it. Not like most of them *like* math."
"Too true. You rest. It'll be an hour. I'll warn Buffy you're going to that one thanks to a vision and you'll join the other battles later."
"Thanks." He yawned and laid there, taking a good nap. When they got to Sunnydale, he had her land and walked out onto the former port's walkway. He looked at himself then sighed. More glowing. Great! He headed for the hellmouth with his chosen bag of weapons, sighing when he saw the glow there. He stared at it then nodded once, stepping into the glow. It sucked up into him and he walked off to grab a few shotguns. An agent ran toward him and he stared at them. "Back off," he called. "We've got visions that it's going to spill out zombies."
"You walked into it!"
"Dude, I sucked up so much hellmouth radiation when I was here people call me a walking one. Suck it up." The hellmouth was pulled open by what Willow was doing in Cleveland. He took a few pictures to send to her and the coven then started to shoot the zombies coming up. Thankfully none were Anya. A few were vampires and they all glared at him until he used his stake shooter instead. The last one out shook his head, pushing his blond hair back again. "They sent you back again?" Xander demanded, grinning at him. "Welcome back to hell, Spike."
"Nummy," he said with a nod then yawned and stretched. "The PTB are pissy."
"Yeah, they spread how Anya bragged about me in bed so other higher level demons wanted to try me for a ride," he said dryly. "Pity about them too." Spike burst out laughing. "You still chipped or souled?"
Spike vamped out. "Nope."
"Great." He shot him with a stake and watched him dust, waving at him. "Sorry but don't need the extra headache, Spike. Come back again next time." He called someone. "Can someone tell Willow to *please* quit pulling on the Sunnydale hellmouth?" It suddenly quit glowing and then closed. "Thanks." He hung up and grabbed his bag, grinning at the agent. "Sorry, gotta hit London's battle." He jogged off to the ship, which took off as soon as he was on the ladder to the main deck. The agent was trying to shoot at them, and did manage to graze Xander's leg, but he was calling in about it. Xander got up to the top deck and found his first aid kit up there. He treated the graze, going to get something to drink. He came up to the top deck. The shotgun got put aside. The stake shooter too because it was probably a bad idea this time. Then he picked up his bag. "Okay, dear. Let's go where we're needed."
"You need to save Dawn. It was in the journal."
"I'm going to have her summoned to me in London." He grinned. "That gets her out of both problems." The ship sighed in pleasure. "Can you?"
"Of course. She's not in great shape."
"Hit her into an ER?"
"I can do that. She's in London's chosen hospital for slayer evacuations."
"Thanks. I'll be there later. Send me now?" She sent him to the battle. He pulled his bag around and pulled out a few grenades, tossing them at the demons. "Hi, all, did you miss me?" A few of the demons ran. Another two sniffed at him and lunged toward him. He gutted one and then kicked the second before slicing it's leg. Kennedy killed that one. "I was just in Sunnydale. Willow let it open by accident so I had to take out a few zombies."
"Is that why you're glowing?"
"The necklace broke again and the stone actually burnt."
"No, shit was the PTB sent back Spike," he quipped with a grin. "And I staked him since he wasn't souled or chipped. And Dawn's in a local ER."
"I'm not telling her sister," she decided. "What other weapons do you have?"
"Six or seven useful things." He let her have the bag while he took out his extra sword and guns to put on. The next wave of demons were showing up so he dove into the fight with the girls, and a few agents who stepped in. This was going to be nasty.
Xander stopped at the foot of Dawn's bed, staring at her. She blinked up at him. "You okay?" he asked quietly. She shook her head. "Can you fake it enough to get released?"
"Do I have to go to the local house? I noticed the accents."
He grinned. "I had Valkyrie save you by bringing you here."
"Is that the ship Giles moans about?"
"Yup." He grinned. "Coming?"
She nodded. "Yeah. I can hide and cry there just as easily as here. Buffy alive?"
"I haven't checked," he admitted. "I just got done getting stitches." She nodded, letting the nurse help her out of bed and into actual clothes again. Xander tucked her under his arm and walked off with her to the other slayers. "Ladies, Dawn and I are vamoosing. Eat tonight, even if you're sore. Be safe. Let me know if there's problems?"
"Make the report for me?" Kennedy begged, giving him puppy eyes. "I just want a tub right now."
"Yup, already sent," he said with a grin. "At least no one's going to deny it happened so they won't try to kill you all."
One of the others glared at Dawn. "Were you there?"
"No, she had the PTB show up to try to take her out," Dawn said dryly, glaring at her. "Because apparently I'm too powerful and they're worried I'll be used against my will by a boyfriend."
Xander looked at her then shook her head. "I don't. You're more picky than your sister is. Her boyfriends, maybe. Yours? No!" He snorted. "It's fine. They've also told a lot of higher demons how Anya bragged about our bedroom stuff so a lot of higher demons wanted to try me for a rideable toy." Dawn moaned, shaking her head. "You know they hate some of us for not being slayers. That's just another version." He walked her off. "Laters, ladies. I'll call Giles and the Buffster in a few minutes. Let us get something to drink." He clicked the remote so Valkyrie took them both. "Val, this is Dawn," he introduced with a grin.
The ship ran a beam over her. "You'll be okay, Dawn. Go rest for a bit. I made sure my hot water heater's fully stocked so you can soak for a bit."
"Thanks, Valkyrie." She patted a wall as she walked off. A door opened for her so she picked that bedroom. It did have a nice tub.
Xander looked up. "Can you pull up skype or something? I need to chew on someone."
"Gladly, dear. Control room?"
"Yeah." He put down the weapons and went that way. He sat down on his throne/recliner, waving when the picture came up. "I summoned Dawn so she was saved from the Ravagers who were trying to sacrifice her for power," he said in greeting. "The PTB set them on her for daring to do the job and not be a slayer."
Giles winced. "We couldn't find her and worried."
"I had the ship send her to an ER in London. Where I just picked her up after the battle." He sighed, shifting to look in Willow's direction. "When you pulled on the Sunnydale hellmouth...."
"I did not!" she interrupted.
"You sure as shit did. Check your phone, dear. I sent you pictures. I was late to the battle in London because I was taking out all the zombies that came out. Including a few vampires. And Spike." She gaped in horror. "He was without chip and without soul. Yeah, not going to be food. I'm not nummy that way," he finished blandly. "His message said the PTB are pissy before he vamped out and tried to lunge toward me."
"You never did appreciate Spike," Buffy complained.
He stared at her. "I'm not going to sacrifice myself for you to get laid." She slumped again. He looked at Giles. "So, I'm protecting Dawn at the moment," he said dryly. Then he grinned. "She's in the tub soaking out the soreness. The PTB said they think some boyfriend like Buffy dates would influence Dawn. I pointed out she had taste and didn't date guys like Spike or Angel. You might want to talk to Whistler though?"
Giles sipped his drink. "I shall if he shows up here. Is she all right?"
"I'm guessing she's just sore after a few hours in the ER. I asked, she said she's fine. The same as I do."
Giles nodded. "I've seen you do that. Where's your hellmouth hiding necklace?"
"Stone's burnt. The chain was broken during the battle earlier today." He sent over his reports from his phone. "The one from earlier and London's. Kennedy's still in the ER as of when I left so she asked that I file it."
Giles read through London's report, nodding at it. "Reasonable." He looked up. "Those extras that showed up?"
"Saw Cordelia," he said sarcastically, staring at him. Giles nearly dropped his tea cup. "Yeah. She said they were my reward for winning in Botswana a few months back."
"Did I get that report?"
"No." He grinned. "Because they'd hate to look that bad to anyone and I really don't want to remember that battle, Giles. Talking a local militia into dealing with it for me wasn't that fun."
Giles cleared his throat. "May I have a report that you don't have to type?"
Xander got into his phone and sent the video file he had of that battle. "What the militia was taping to prove they were good for their people when they tried to take over." Giles got into the file, Buffy leaning over his arm. She went green suddenly. Then Giles dry heaved. "Yeah, I was still a few miles away then. I got there about ten minutes into the nibbling things trying to find nests." He sipped the coffee that landed beside him.
Giles saw what happened when Xander got there and started to kick at the things. A fire axe and a lot of bullets solved it, but at a cost of a lot of the militia being eaten before he got there. He looked up, looking nauseated. "Is that all of it?"
"No. After that..." He sent over another file. "We were all calming down, getting injuries treated, seeing if we could save the bitten ones...." He waved a hand. "I got so fucking drunk I hallucinated Anya and Cordy showing up together to tell me I did good."
Giles got into that file. Buffy burst out crying and stomped off. Giles stared then slowly reached up to turn off the video. "Was that the one you wanted to send?"
"That's the one I had marked. Val, did you send something else?"
"No, Xander. That was the rite that you interrupted that night."
"No, I meant the second part of the battle, dear. Not the one I stopped while drunk by pissing on the demon whore they summoned to get me back for showing them that they're not godly enough."
She sent that one over. "That should be the right file, Mr. Giles."
"Thank you, dear. Valkyrie was it?"
"Yes, I was." She sounded so smug and nearly purring.
"That's interesting." He got into that file and sure enough, there was another battle with demons saying that the PTB had sent them because Xander wasn't supposed to still be helping. Xander grinned and waved when he stared at him instead of the battle. "How?"
"Weapons," Xander quipped. "I like me some weapons. I teach the girls a lot about weapons. That militia had some in storage that they pulled out for me. They didn't want to be demonic sex toys so they saved us all."
"Two of those demons carry horrible diseases, Xander," he said quietly.
"I asked a healer a few days later. She thanked me for not catching demonic AIDS. Which is apparently a lot closer to the feline version than the human version." He grimaced. "The two things I did catch, one of which was a gooey infection, and the other a chest thingy, got cleared up fairly fast thanks to the healers. D'Isor's healers were really super rockstars to help me that day."
"I'll send happy prayers to the Goddess D'Isor for that," Giles said then cleared his throat again and finished his tea. "I...."
Xander grinned. "Thank the PTB for me?"
"Yes, I think I shall. Is Dawn truly all right?"
"Crying in the tub. She had painted on marks but they hadn't done more than paint her with hallucinogenic paint. I got to her before they cut or raped or stabbed."
"Thank you. Let me know where she's going to be hiding next?" Xander nodded. "I'll..." He sighed, then looked to the side. "Cordelia. Pleasure to see you."
She leaned around the screen. "It wasn't a hallucination, dork. You did good that day. But fair warning, someone did get some of your blood to test." He winced. "Have fun in Wakanda." She waved. "And bring Dawn." She looked at Giles. "They *still* hate that non-slayers and bloodline watchers are doing the job and winning for humanity but the rest of us have pompoms we use when we see Xander in a battle. Like tomorrow's by that altar."
Xander looked up. "Hey, Val..."
"Already heading there, Xander," she said smugly. "All along."
"Thanks, dear." He patted the wall nearest him. He looked at Cordelia. "Any other wise words?"
"Yeah. Don't cap the CIA guy. He was trying to help." Xander growled. "And don't destroy stuff?"
"Maybe," he admitted. "Can I finally go evil?"
"Yup." She smiled at him and waved. "Have fun with the ones that want Slick's aunt." Xander groaned. "Yup!" She waved and disappeared.
Xander waved and cut the connection, calling the phone he got Slick. "Cordelia, the Messenger Cordelia, said that I can go evil on the ones that want your aunt."
"That's very pleasant of her," Slick said, then ate a bite of dinner. "Thank the Messenger for me for that charming news, Xander." She stared at him. "Are you well after London?"
"I'm good. I'm going to train some woodsy stuff into Dawn."
"Have fun with that." She hung up with a swear. "Auntie, evil things are coming for you. The PTB's messenger said that Xander could go evil to stop them."
Her aunt stared at her then nodded slowly. "We'll take precautions, child. And make sure Yewubdar is at home during that." She sipped her water. "How evil can your watcher go?"
Slick pulled up a file on her phone, letting her aunt have it. "They totally upset him and made him lash out." Her aunt watched it, going pale and shaky. "So he can do it again apparently." She took her phone back to sent out an all African-slayers wide message. She noticed one from Xander, taking the time to decode it. "Someone tested some of his blood. Oh, that's going to be bad." She put her phone up and got thirds so she could store up energy for those fights. Her aunt and uncle were staring at each other but they both got more food put on their plate by Slick's mother. They knew they needed to eat. They could deal with Xander going evil later. Or at least get out of the way to watch how evil he went with snack food.
Ship by Not-Ship.