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Plotty Plots Not Brought By Bunnies.

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Plotty Plots Not Brought By Bunnies.







Xander appeared on the main screen, waving at them. "Thanks to all the spells being removed, Cordelia having a fit at the PTB, and the problems that Willow was causing that was making the girls act out and steal stuff, we have warped two prophecies and a vision." Giles scowled at him. "One of the prophecies was supposed to be later this year. It's about a tree demon?" They all groaned. "By the way, had that one again and he's not a demon, he's an alien. SHIELD knows something about his peoples.

"Since an agent helped me when I fell down on patrol with that vision, he looked it up because it sounded weird." Giles nodded, making notes. "The other prophecy that got warped, beyond the one about the slayer in Sunnydale if you haven't heard, is the one on Thanos. It was warped because they did win on Asgard. Which leaves a huge demon problem down here from an ancient one that was trying to prompt the destruction of Asgard. I've gotten some information on them. Giles, I emailed it."

"That's fine, Xander."

"Asgard isn't real, boy," one watcher sneered.

"You've seen Thor, right?" Xander asked dryly. "And I used to date a bard at one time." He grinned. "Yeah it is. Thankfully Thor and his people managed to stop Hela from destroying things and bringing Thanos down here."

"Thanos isn't real either," that one complained.

"Yeah, he is. We've seen his minions," Xander said. "That's that multi-city battle we fought? Those weren't his upper level minions but his lower level sycophants."

"That's what we have them recorded as too," Giles agreed, taking his glasses off. "Since you led off with two we've warped to have lesser battles is the new vision worse, Xander?"

"Um. Yeah. There's hidden portal realm coming open soon thanks to someone removing the protections on a building in London. Which we did not realize that the coven had done under coercion." Giles groaned. "But the girls will get to pet a dragon soon when it opens."

"The one by the Gardens?" Giles asked.

"No." Xander grinned. "The one up by the college. That's why the realm merge got called to that area."

"Oh, shite, those are elves," Giles muttered.

"Um, used to be elves," Xander said. "Or they're at least hiding like hell from the dragons that'll be coming through to be petted. I didn't see any huge ones and only one person being bitten for being mean. And a zoo guy that they pounced but didn't do more than lick for smelling like food."

Giles stared at him. "How many dragons?"

"I saw about fifteen, twenty before we can get the portal closed. I sent that one to Kennedy and she promised to let all the minis go pet them instead and said she'd tell their zoo."

"So not horrible?"

"Dragons are magical creatures," Xander said. "With a different form of magic to human or demonic magics. What's going to happen when we get fifteen or twenty different magic bearing beings here?"

"An explosion," Giles said blandly. "Which is why we closed that blasted thing when the former coven opened it." He stared at him. "Why is it opening?"

"Because the coven was under coercion back in the eighties and put a lock on it then. With another spell but that one may not backfire. Oh, and we found a magical city." He grinned. "I'm taking a few days off to go explore. My finding gift is really handy for that and if they're horrible to humans we'll know pretty fast when one flirts."

"Xander, really," Giles complained.

"Well, they will! The guy that gave me the map promised they would," he said dryly, holding it up to the camera. Another watcher gasped. Xander grinned at him. "Might not be inhabited but I'll drag you with me if you want."

"That has been my life's work."

"Yeah but if they're dangerous you can't handle that. You can come with me and handle most of it. I'm only looking for two specific artifacts said to be there. One's for Tara for her present for Solstice and the other one needs to be put away safely because it's got a djinn trapped in the crown. Apparently it was driving the former wearer nuts by telling him things."

"I know of that crown. Would that be finding its way to our custody?" Giles demanded calmly.

"Um, no, because someone looted the vault again." He shrugged. "I've already refound most of it. Outside that stupid gem sphere. It's not metal so I can't find it. With how expensive and large that thing is, it's probably heading to Germany or China. The two biggest collectors of arcane things are there. The third is, interestingly enough, here in town and the mage's society group that annoys me by saying we're weak but they don't help even if we could use the magic."

"The sorcerer?" Giles asked.

"No. Dawn had to depossess him recently. Again."

"Shite," Giles muttered. "Is he fine?"

"I don't talk to the guy since he tried to take out the slayers while under possession."

"That's rather bad of you, since you attacked Buffy during yours."

"I was acting to add to the pack," Xander said. "Hyenas are female headed, Giles, and a strong hunter in pack lands either joins the pack or is run off." Giles slumped. "I probably wouldn't have hurt her. Knocked her out.... but not raped her. Hyenas don't tend to use sexual dominance moves the way lions do. I learned in case it happens again since it's slipped thanks to some herby things a shaman gave me down there."

"That's reasonable. Is she still trapped?"

"He taught me a lot about how to tap into it for things like bad hunts or battles. Otherwise she's just napping up there. Every now and then I can hear a huff of pleasure. She really likes barbeque."

Giles shook his head quickly but made that note. "Did you write down how you've merged them better for future sufferers?"

"I thought about it but the shaman said they weren't secret methods. I've put it as more shaman training meditation methods. Which I do have a good manual so I can someday teach Bruno or someone to use."

"Will he need one?"

"The kid's got my danger sense somehow, Giles. He got away from mom in a full mall and found the only assassin in there to cuddle and babble at." He grinned. "I know the guy, he's an agent, but Bruno was totally flirting with him and nuzzling his hip while trying to get a cuddle. Some day, he'll need it. I'll gladly pass on my axe to him and all the training like that he'll need."

"That would mean you have to survive," Giles reminded him. "You do some amazingly stupid things, Xander. Like date assassins."

Xander shrugged. "I can only date those who like me. As Cordelia proved, only the dangerous ones like me." He grinned.

"Yes, I've seen some of those."

"Hey, a few died and left me things," Xander said dryly. "I'm presently working out how to deal with a few houses I half-own."

"Half own?" Giles asked casually.

"Yeah. Domino owns the other half of them." He shrugged but grinned. "We're working on it so I don't have to be a landlord."

"You don't want to handle those?" Giles asked.

"Do I want to go back to construction and fixing things? It's not a bad calling but I don't want to have to deal with background checks and the like. Just cleaning them up is taking a ton of time. We've already had to call in a crime scene team twice. And SWAT another time. And SHIELD twice too." Giles moaned, slumping back in his seat. "But it does mean I have a thing to fall back on." He stared at him. "By the way, I've heard. Fat chance." He grinned.

"I've already signed that building over to you since you put my name on the deed, Giles. You're not getting anything Anya left me. You're not getting anything anyone else left me. Or else we can do the same to the rest of them." He smiled sweetly at them, making them shudder. He looked at Giles again. "Also, you forgot to pay the house's expenses again." He gave the camera a pointed look. "Are you still possessed?" The guy faded out. "I knew that. By the way, he's in London looking at that portal. Tara summoned him this morning."

"That's...do you often do those things?" one of them demanded.

"No," Xander admitted. "But they happen around me an awful lot. I'm some sort of odds generator somehow. Always have been. That's why I don't believe in coincidences. They're all related back." Willow stomped in. He nodded at her. He looked at the others again. "Beyond that, you guys forgot to pay for the tuition too."

"The girls can go to public schools."

"Up here in New York, public schools are horrible pits of gun violence. Do you really want the girls to be shot?" He called up a copy of the newspaper from a few days ago, putting it beside his display. "That was one school over one day. Notice there's four gun events at that one school that's really near the healer's hospital up here. The girls won't be safe. They won't get an education since half the public schools don't have the money for books, and I'm not qualified to home school them because hey, no degree and Sunnydale's schools were horrible but not even this bad."

The budget oversight person shook his head. "I had it sent yesterday, Xander. I'll look into the tuition. Has the school said anything?"

"I got the letter. I called and said I'd check. They know it comes from down there." He looked over the camera. "Hey, Kara. We're doing a watcher meeting. Problems?"

"Two huge ones. One of my teachers is trying to have me expelled for being a slayer." She came around to look at the monitor. "NYU is not a safe school for us. I agreed that going to online classes might keep down any danger to the other students but NYU has been trying to get myself and a few other known mutants out of there. I know it was on the safe list but it's not."

"Did you warn Melissa? I know she was planning on going there," Willow said.

"She's going to U-Conn," Xander said. "They offered better financial aid in case she needed it and they accept weapons on campus from us because they have rules for bodyguards." That got a nod. He looked at Kara. "Piotr?"

"One of his art teachers is sticking up for him but he's also known to be great at art and has been there for a few years now. I'm just first semester." He patted her on the arm, giving her a hug. "Thanks, Xander. Help me look at colleges?"

"Of course." She grinned. "Go tell TNW?"

"I can do that." She went to call her. She was in class but that was important information that needed to be heard. She called one of the mutant group homes too so they could pass that on. She came back. "The other huge thing is that there's a massive anti-mutant protest downtown today. It's blocked half of six blocks. The NYPD can't even contain it and it's probably going to turn violent. I warned Weasel so he can warn the guys that go to Sis...the bar. They had to evacuate two mutant group homes." She left them alone again.

Xander looked at them. "That's going to suck."

"The demons up there are involved in mutant affairs?" Willow asked, looking confused.

"The peaceful community up here, and even the less than peaceful, has been a huge help for the mutants in the city. From running safe shelters to the healers taking care of us when the regular hospitals won't to sharing things like social workers. The last huge anti-mutant push we had up here the demonic mafia was guaranteeing safe shelters." Willow sat down, looking horrified. "They share a lot of the same problems coming for them from the same people, Willow.

"The demon community had social workers and things but the mutants didn't. There was a huge amount of homeless mutant kids who had to form gangs for self protection. They opened up their orphanages and shelters to them after a lot of talks. The girls up here all go over to a few of the shelters to help out, mentor the kids, do some tutoring if asked. I like that my girls are all very socially responsible. Even my tiny minis mostly go to a school that's demon and mutant inclusive because no one wanted the slayers either."

"Wow," she said. "I don't know why they'd put their necks out that way."

"The enemy of my friend is my enemy too," Xander said dryly. "The same people were coming for us. Protecting each other made the protections stronger."

"I guess. Still kinda weird to me."

The budgetary watcher looked at her. "I think it's a splendid idea. It's saved the girls a number of times. Including the healers working on the girls. Especially those few slayers who are also mutants."

Xander nodded. "Bethy's generally a loved mini in the area," he agreed. "We're all looking forward to seeing her as senior some year." He grinned. "Her sister Diana wants to take watcher lessons so I've let her sit in with Bethy's demonology lessons. With two other slayers in the siblings, it's a great thing for the family."

"Diana was a charming young girl when she was here protecting her sister," the oversight person agreed. The others nodded at that. "I think we're all looking forward to her being a senior girl. Bethy was very into her training."

"All my girls have mandatory self defense lessons or sparring time with the group," Xander agreed. "Because I don't want them vulnerable."

"It's a good idea," the oversight person agreed with a nod. "I wish some of ours were more interested in defense training."

Xander grinned. "With Bethy I didn't have to push. She demanded. Diana demanded. They're both working on Sarah too. The other mini in the family is presently sick so they're hovering over her until they figure out why she's sick." That got a few nods. "Most of my minis are now school aged," he said with a grin. "That means I get a few free hours to handle things during the day."

"Why are you handling anything?" Willow demanded. "That's the girls' job, Xander!"

"Because there's still ignorant idiots up here who want to kill the girls, Willow. Beyond that, do you think that the girls could handle a group of young vampires who used to be ninjas?"

"They don't exist!"

"The Hand," Xander said dryly. "Look them up." She huffed but did that and moaned. "A lot of them got turned a few months back. Did you want the girls to handle it or me?"

"Neither." She glared. "You could've magiced them."

"I did that the second night. I made a statue garden. And got screamed at for doing that." She slumped. "But I also had help that night because I got jumped on patrol. The girls were all grounded to the house thanks to a phone threat that morning."

"Your house has an extraordinary amount of threats."

"If we were scared of them they'd probably do it less," Xander said with a shrug. "But mostly it's because New York still has that stupid law on the books that says no mutant is protected by any law."

"Did they get Bethy's step-father?" Willow asked.

"Yup. The judge decided that child protection laws still protected mutant kids because otherwise the law was beyond heinous. He's trying to appeal but a few mutants in the jail made him beg for solitary." He grimaced. "We're all kinda hoping he keeps pushing his appeal all the way up so the supreme court has to rule on that law."

"What about that registration act?" Willow asked him.

Xander grinned. "They can put my ass in jail, Rosenburg. Just like they will you for being a witch since that's included in the bills. There's people working against it but you can join in."

"I...."

He held up a hand. "I know. I remember your mother." He stared at her. "Sucks for you but so far they haven't been able to attach the rider trying to get the slayers identified too."

"Do others up there know about your gift?" the oversight person asked.

"Yeah. Most everyone up here knows me as metal finding guy," Xander said sarcastically. "People worry about things like their keys during battles." That got a slight groan from Willow. "I've had to look at a few of them to tell them to quit it because I needed my concentration. That and people like Deadpool used to tease me about my gift. He used to think about his supposedly lost piercing so I'd get mental dick pics from him. He did eventually stop that when I got mean back." He grinned again.

"That guy in that red and black costume?" one of the other watchers asked. "Why do you know him?"

"He's basically my best friend up here," Xander said. "And he's helped the girls a lot. He'll fall in for battles if he's nearby. He's protected some of the girls. He's sparred with a number of the girls to up their hand-to-hand and sword skills. He's a fantastic fighter and I have to fight real dirty to win against him. He's gotten some others to help by sparring and training the girls too."

"I hadn't realized that. Do others in costumes help?"

Xander smiled. "This house is full of treasured support. We get Hawkeye in sometimes to spar or help the girls with crossbow work. He's another excellent weapons fighter and bare handed too. We have some of Wade's friends that help us sometimes. We've had some of the X-Men in here to help. A few of them are actually best friends with a few of the older girls, and Kara's dating one. The one that escorted her to the Carribean for her skull fracture was one of them."

"That's interesting and probably good for the girls. They do share battles and similar problems."

"And they're friends. They go shopping, they talk about boys," Xander agreed. "And sometimes girls. One of the girls that's helped when we had girl problems has the most charming girlfriend ever. We all adore Yukio because she's got sense and she's sweet and nice. She even talked to a girl that was being bullied by a boy and told her to punch him if he tried to pull her clothes off again. I didn't hear a thing about it until Yukio said something. Then I agreed with that action plan and went to talk to her teacher. The teacher huffed and tried to excuse it as boys being boys and he might like her but I reminded her that such behaviors led to abusive spouses and did she want the same thing to happen to her daughter. She stopped the boy."

"Why did all the girls abandon one school?" Willow asked.

"Ah, that teacher." Xander resettled himself in his chair. "That school had the opinion that if they gave the boys a girl in slutty clothes to look, leer, and try to grope at, then they'd settle down. They were forcing some girls to dress super slutty for that purpose. One of ours told her off about that and got expelled. And then I found out why, told some of the other parents, which then got spread via facebook. Because the moms didn't know that their daughters were being forced to be that way.

"We withdrew all the girls when the one got expelled because it was a spreading problem. Thankfully five of them had been pre accepted at another good school and the other one could go to the other school the minis went to." He tapped the computer on his end, pulling up that facebook post with pictures. The guys all winced. Willow groaned, shaking her head. "So we were saving their tempers too. Amanda was going to slug the teacher when the bitch tried to force her to join in on the slutty thing against her will. The other school is science and math heavy so they're doing even harder work."

"That's reasonable and a good idea," one said, banishing that image. "Those poor kids."

"They shut that school pending it being rebuilt," Xander agreed. "Thankfully the girls are all safe now. They try to run in packs at school for safety things and so they don't get bullied by cheerleaders."

"Why would they bully the girls?"

"Because the slayers are a whole bunch of pretty girls with great athletic skills who are forbidden from joining any sports, and the cheerleaders get jealous that the girls get special privileges like time off for injuries after battles. Mostly it's the same thing that made Harmony pick on us." He snapped his fingers. "Speaking of, she said hi when I ran into her group on patrol last night." He pulled up their group. "Non-killing but mentally warping. Everyone blames it on Harmony being from Cali."

The watchers looked and got confused but they all shook their heads with a sigh. "Are they a massive group?"

"Sixty," Xander said. "They meet up a few times a week for yoga and lessons on how to not kill but eat organic food sources. They've creeped out a number of people." He turned off that feed because the music was annoying. "They do accept members of our teenage girl coven in for yoga classes too." He typed in another profile he had been working on. "Ran into him twice. Any idea beyond thermal rounds?" They looked him up and shook their heads. "Okay. He's not bad and he's not a killer either, and he's helped a few of the guys in costumes but he's creepy and I've found him watching us on patrol a few times." Giles appeared in a twinkle of light. "Are you back?" he asked with a grin.

"I am and thankfully we could stitch that portal closed again." He moved Willow out of his seat and sat down with a sigh. "I've been monitoring the talk for the last little bit. That group, Xander?"

"Feeders but not killing. Mostly turned as older than teenagers. A few are even in their forties or so. I don't think many are really old, probably not over a decade turned, but I haven't asked. I know the spoiled girls in the local coven join them now and then for yoga classes. Oh, and had to have a talk with their head witch because complaints were made about them using magic to mind fuck their way out of cab fares and stuff again. One mind screwed her way out of paying for a shopping trip at a designer boutique."

"Great," Willow complained. "The sorcerer?"

"Said he's not over them. But did have a word with her when he got complained to."

"Good. Someone should have a talk about ethics," Giles said dryly. "What is that vault you rented in England?"

"The stuff I found in Africa." He smiled. "That I don't want there. I'm not going to put a world destroying demon locked in a pewter sugar bowl there."

"No I can agree with that. Did it have any of our old artifacts in it?"

"I sent them to Cleveland in the early days. You still have a few. That was the possessed statue vault apparently."

"Oh, them," the watcher over the vault sighed. "That is not a very secure facility."

"Yeah but do you think anything sane is going to go for the World Eater?" Xander quipped.

"No, I'd hope not. Though that does bring up the troubled problem with Wolfram and Hart."

"They started it," Xander said. He sent over a report. "I sent that earlier but it got ignored."

Giles read it over and growled. "Why would they..." Xander sent in another contact report. "Oh, for fuck's sake," he complained.

"Their ploy. Notice the poison the healer noted he was infected by? It takes months to make. They only go into heat every few decades. They're also behind a human with the flu being sent up there to take out some of them. The holy relics are being hidden by another of me though."

"Another...one of the ones that go to the convention?" Giles demanded.

"Yup," Xander said, grinning at him. "He's used to hiding artifacts that should be hidden. It's kinda his job."

"What of that cursed choker you have?"

"That is special to all the Xanders and we've made it our obligation in all our realms to find it and protect it if possible. In one case it was given in reparation when that realm's me was sent to hell as a sacrifice by Wesley. Though he's still handling problems from the other side."

Giles shivered. "That would turn you both."

"No, he survived nine months in hell, and fought his way out." He grinned. "He had some *charming* scars from marks being carved into his skin. Wesley took so much from the side of good on that realm they had to repair the problem. The Deermere choker was part of that. It let that me there have his family thanks to Janus interfering."

Giles cleared his throat. "I know of that choker."

"Every one of us that has the choker in our world is encouraged to find it and protect it. That way it doesn't fall into weird hands. Though in one, the me there gave it to the Dawn there so she could use it with her spouses. They're very happy for anniversaries."

Giles blushed. "I..." He cleared his throat again. "I'd assume it could be use that way."

"Lavelle uses it to go to comic conventions and because his husbands love him when he's a girl."

Giles shook his head quickly. "I can't even imagine."

"I could try to mimic it," Xander offered.

"With your luck you'd get kidnaped and end up pregnant," Willow complained.

"Then Penny and I could share tips. Oh, her new one is a girl and will be the last because of her health."

"A slayer problem?" Giles demanded.

"No. Bruno caused a hernia. The new one's helping reopen it." Giles winced but nodded. "She's fine and healthy. I make sure she's fine and healthy. She showed up to recuperate here when they tried to fix the hernia for a few days of being the house mom. I got a lot of time with Bruno so I had guy time. A friend of Deadpool's even taught him to play poker with her."

"Why was she playing poker with the baby?" Giles asked.

"I was playing poker with her. She's blind and it amused her to play strip poker. She's a great card cheater but it was fun. Bruno giggled a lot."

Giles stared at him. "Did his mother know?"

"Yup. Brad was not amused but Bruno had a lot of fun and we did a lot of talking about future guy and slayer things. I really need to make more notes for him when he's older." He frowned but let it clear up.

"You will be teaching him for years," Willow complained.

"He's like two and a half, Willow. It'll be years before he needs slayer lessons."

"Oh." She slumped but nodded. "You'll probably be killed by a girlfriend by then."

"I'm more likely to die from the militant yahoos your mother talked about me to," he shot back. "It was on Fox."

She huffed as she walked off. Giles scowled. "That wasn't nice." Xander put up the report for him to see. The watchers all groaned. "Oh, dear."

"Her mom's always been like that and so has she," Xander complained. "I expect it sometimes. Thankfully I have friends up here to talk to sometimes."

"You could hang out."

"We sometimes go on patrol together but not like I have a game system to invite them over to play with. They're both older than I am too. I doubt they play video games. One did make me buy new t-shirts at Sears."

Giles sighed, staring at him. "At least you do have some men around you now and then. I know you feel warped by being surrounded by girls."

"Ya think?"

"Fine. Any other reports to note?"

"I emailed them like usual." Giles got into his files to look them over. Xander looked at the oversight guy. "How long? I should tell the school something by tomorrow."

"I'll email you tonight, Xander."

"Thank you. The girls needs to stay in school. If they're home all day they drive me nuts by giggling over boys all day."

"They're young," Giles reminded him. "I'm sure Willow and Buffy did."

"Yup, they did. I remember being pulled into that argument many times." He grinned. "Now the boys are nearer to their ages than Angel was but less approachable thankfully. I can just imagine one of my girls kidnaping a boy band member." He hung up with a wave. They all heard "that was not a hint, Kara" as he hung up.

Giles shook his head. "Xander is quite lively and young sometimes."

"Yes but he's right, he's doing a lot more with his girls than the rest are," the oversight person agreed. "Most of us can't even name the school where their girls go. He does parent/teacher conferences for them, checks homework, and gently pushes them greatly to do good in school so they have a later life when they wish to retire."

"Why have so many of those costumed sorts jumped into our battles?" another asked. "Did he prompt it?"

"They're all centered up there according to the news," another said. "We've had those Avengers members a few times and they're from up there. The X-Men were mentioned and they're up there. I have no idea what a Deadpool is."

"The scarred one that was there when we went up to get Harris thanks to that demon's spell," the oversight person said. "That's his costumed name." They all nodded and sighed at that. "I've found out that was due to torture."

"As long as he doesn't hurt the girls," Giles said. "Xander could use more male friends." He looked over things, handing the reports to others. "There. Any remaining topics?"

"We didn't decide on a path with Wolfram and Hart."

"We need to see where the agents are handling it," Willow said as she came back in. "They've been ripping at them for a few weeks now." She saw the report on that demon, tipping her head to read it. "So that was clearly a plot. I wonder if that detective was their original target or just convenient."

"According to some lower sources, Wolfram and Hart were going to attack a few senators or something that were looking into them," Buffy said from the doorway. "They're down a lot of people. Then again, they weren't too bright. They thought Xander was Oz." She looked at Giles. "Are you back?"

"Yes. The portal was closed so only one dragon came through and it was rather young so we managed to shove it back over." He looked back at her. "We have an updated vision and problem reports for the girls to go over."

"Xander does too much work but all the angry buttholes are up there and in LA." She took the reports to read as she walked to the library. That way they could be gone over and put into the appropriate books. The Book of Xander Problems was getting another few entries it looked like. Great. Just...great.

***

Xander was out on patrol when he had the next vision. "Fuck," he growled. Thankfully he wasn't alone. Clint was with him. Clint watched him and winced, waving Cable over. He and Deadpool were joining for this patrol to make plans for the next few months. "Help me get him onto a bench. I can't lift him." Xander winced when he was touched by him and Deadpool but Cable touched his head.

Deadpool looked at him. "You're a telepath?"

"Yeah," he complained. "A minor one." He was reading the vision, holding up a hand when Wade opened his mouth again. "Wait." He watched it all, wincing at it. "Damn it." He knocked Xander out, making him sigh as he fell over. "Okay, few problems." He saw someone jogging over. "I knocked him out after the vision," he told Kara.

"Did he tell you what it was? He doesn't remember if he's passed out. With our luck it's another invasion," she defended when Clint stared at her oddly.

"I read it," Cable told her. He considered it. "Okay, we have a few problems to deal with. Barton, one you can deal with. He saw himself post kidnaping and torture and testing by your boss's higher ups. Who're demons." Xander moaned so he knocked him out again.

"SHIELD already knows he's a mutant," Clint said.

"We've had information about two of the members of the Security Council being demons," Kara said. "Maybe another one's about half." Clint gave her another odd look.

"Who's the lady with dark hair that wears an action suit like the redhead?"

"Hill?" Deadpool guessed.

"I only saw her from behind. Pert little ass, sidearm but no other weapons. Clipboard."

"Hill," Clint agreed. "Why?"

"She woke him up in an interrogation room after saying they were protecting him but Xander got free of her and disappeared back to the city. He went to calm down on Wade's couch but he was having a pissy day so Xander stomped off. We didn't realize he had been taken. Or that he was injured. Or that the guy his mind identified as Riley Finn, he named him as he pinned him by his neck to a tree, gave him a shot."

Kara blinked. "That's bigger than usual shit."

"They were going to use his testing to promote the mutant registration act but Xander sued the ass off that senator and had him remove it during an event by highlighting that they took it under torture and that meant the guy got hard for those sort of things." He grimaced. "Then we had a battle that he didn't foresee, but someone else did. It was warped beyond the usual and it wasn't a battle. Xander cuddled one of the water demons that was young so trying to figure out humans and handed him back to mom and dad.

"Then he stomped off again and ran into Finn, which was when he pinned him to a tree. We found out a few days later that they had given him some sort of shot. That's why none of the healers would touch him after he rescued himself. He went to someone he called a specialist healer to remove the first one, and Wade caught him on the way home that night. Which he never mentioned but Wade complained Xander was sick again. Xander made a joke about it been going on for a few weeks but no one had seen Wade.

"A few weeks later he ended up in the healer's hospital to have three lumps removed." Wade stiffened. "Something about the shot turned it on. You showed up that night to talk to him by stealing a doctor's coat. It amused everyone on the floor. Then it switched to the girls having to flee to some castle somewhere with some of the watchers and Tara. And Penny went with them with a healer and her family. She was delivering but Tara locked the slayers behind a magical shield. The watchers there decided to ..."

He knocked Xander back out. "They were going to take out half the slayers as a sacrifice. Russell was there because Xander took his training over. He protected the girls with Tara. Tara also took out the watchers, and some of the witches, and I got summoned somehow and took out Whistler. Then it flipped to a scene of Cordelia going around smashing a hammer into some buttons on some large table to curse a few people, including Xander, but having Dawn remove it removed all the other things.

"We found out that Mephisto had allowed a deal from the demons on the Security Council to give them power if they could best Xander. Xander found him and trapped him in some bracelet." He checked and made sure Xander was out. "He went totally cold and warrior Xander because we slightly isolated him again. None of us checked on him because the girls were out of the area. Even when he went to the bar. He became what he called realistic and Wade said was depressed." Xander moaned and tried to move. "Stay down." He shoved him back down. "Before I have to hurt you for real."

Kara licked her lips. "Dawn!" she shouted. A young woman appeared, blinking at her. "Xander had a huge vision. It's a problem. Finn showed up and had that shot that Buffy sobbed about," she said more quietly.

"Fuck that'll happen," Dawn said. She looked at Xander then at the guy standing behind him. "I'm going to guess here but can you show me? I need to remind people I'm a Summers woman."

"Not One Eye's," Wade said when Cable shuddered. "She's Buffy's little sister and a witch."

"We're cousins to Cyclops," she quipped with a grin for him. "Distantly. But even we think he's uptight." Cable held out a hand, letting her touch it so she could see the whole vision. "Huh." She looked at Xander while she ran ideas through her mind. "Let me go solve a bitch, guys. Like hell that'll happen." She went to the Council building, showing a version of the vision then looking at Giles. They had been at dinner so most of everyone was in there. Giles was gripping his utensils tightly but growling. "So," she said with a smile. "Let me preempt a lot of things by doing that cursing then undoing it."
She cast a curse on Cordelia to make her do that. Yup, she trapped the PTB then banished the crystal then cursed them all so Dawn could uncurse them. When she did, a few people screamed in pain. She looked at Giles. Then she called that bracelet to her. "Hey, he trapped him already. One less thing I gotta do." She put it onto her wrist with a grin. "So, let me hide this thing. You...." She waved a hand. "Handle that and then I'm going to go off on Riley Fuckface Finn. Any other orders?"

Giles put down his utensils carefully, then shook his head. "No, I don't think so, Dawn. Thank you for handling it."

"Xander had a vision." She grinned. "Be fucked if I let that happen. I may hate some people for how they treat me but I'd never let Xander do it all on his own like *some* have." She glared at the oversight guy. Then at Giles again. "It's nice that three people run the damn Council and one's Xander." She disappeared.

Buffy looked up. "Dawn, if Riley's doing that, you let me help you!"

"Won't need it," floated back. "They tried to dose all the twinkies in the area." She landed in front of two guys in a school, and a slayer. "Hey, Amanda." She hugged her.

Amanda stared at her. "Oh, shit. You're out of Spain and your protected spot. You're smiling like you're evil. How bad is it? Invasion?"

"Worse. But weird." She grinned. "We have to prove something and then solve a problem. You like chemistry, right?"

"Yeah, I like chemistry. Me and the guys were working on a problem Peter's been having in chemistry."

Dawn summoned eight twinkies packages from around the city. "All from the city, but not just Manhattan. Test it for chemicals that aren't supposed to be there? I can't tell you what, I don't know the technical term and it'll lead you some way."

"Can we help?" the two guys asked.

"Yes. Once we find it, we need someone to go tell others. Because if I'm right, the Army's trying to kill a lot of people to get just one guy."

"Oh, fuck," Amanda muttered. "Like *Army* army?"

"Like Finn army, yeah."

"Yeah, let's look at the chemical composition of the twinkies. Get me one to compare from out of the area?"

Dawn called one. "From Spain." She grinned. "I had an emergency pack for a snack tonight after working on the artifact area."

"Is that why you're wearing one?" Amanda guessed, pointing at the bracelet.

"Two of the Security Council, the guys above SHIELD, are demons who made deals with the demon trapped in this to gain power if they could best Xander."

Amanda winced. "Oh, shit. Oh, shit!" she said, sitting up straighter. "Twinkies." Dawn nodded. Amanda worked faster, setting up the tests. The chemical composition came out the next morning.

Peter got woken up and looked it over. "What is that?"

"That... If I'm not wrong, is the formula of the Initiative project's serum that gave Dawn's mother brain cancer," Amanda said. Dawn nodded. "And they're trying to get Xander."

"By dosing all the twinkies in the area," Dawn agreed dryly. "Be my instrument of anger, sweetie?" she asked with a grin for Peter.

"Yeah, I can do that. Let's...start with a newspaper article." He typed that up and submitted it. "And then the health department. Ned, go hide. The army hates being found to be doing the wrong thing." Dawn took Amanda with her. Ned went home to hide. Peter went to the health department people. "Hi," he said with a grin. "I'm a student and I found out that something's contaminated a whole lot of foods. Can I talk to someone please?" The receptionist called that in. Peter got shown into an office within a few minutes. "Hi, I'm Peter Parker. A few of my chemistry class were testing twinkies to see what was in it and we ran into a strange chemical mix that one identified as something that's cancerous."

She took it to look over the results. They were marked as 'regular sample' and 'samples from around the city'. "How many samples?"

"Eight from the city. The non-city one was from a girl who brought hers back from Spain by accident. Kinda stale but totally not from around here."

She frowned. "What does that do?"

He winced. "She's had experience thanks to her family with the army doing something really bad. Like torturing demons bad. That formula was what gave her mother brain cancer." The woman winced and flinched. "Beyond going on twitter to ask Hostess when they added that to their formula, I thought I'd start here then I'm going to take those results to a scientist I've worked with in the past to have him figure out exactly how harmful it is and how many twinkies you have to eat before it hurts you."

"Oh, dear. This scientist?"

He grinned. "I interned under him. He's legit."

"Okay. Can I make copies?"

"Please do. We just did a single breaking down test to tell the component parts against what regular cake has. That vanilla flavoring was kinda weird too but it came up with cheap imitation vanilla. That the computer couldn't identify and when we searched it out, we ran into a nice 'this site is classified, put in your ID please' notice for the army."

"All right. We'd like to test this ourselves."

"Hey, there's plenty of twinkies. The ones we got were from a recent batch. I put the batch and lot numbers on the back page."

"I can test back to see when it came out. Thank you, Mr. Parker."

"You're welcome. I'd hope none of us got cancer from it." He took a copy of those notes and took a cab to Avengers tower. He used his pass to get onto the lab floors. "Oh, there you are! Thank God!" He hauled Stark into the lab with Banner since he saw him there. He put down the sheets and one he hadn't shown. "The army is apparently putting something that can cause cancer into twinkies."

"Have you been up all night again?" Tony Stark demanded.

"It's the same stuff that killed Dawn and Buffy Summers' mother." Bruce took it to look at. "We tested eight packs of twinkies, all recent batches, against one Dawn pulled from Spain. We did this after Xander had some sort of vision that showed he ran into a guy named Riley Finn. Who was apparently part of a group in Sunnydale that was torturing demons. Also, somehow Xander in the vision got captured and tested on by the demons on the Security Council who then used it to support mutant registration. I didn't get to hear the whole vision. Dawn brought it to Amanda to have her test it and we were working with Amanda last night."

"Girlfriend?" Tony asked semi-casually.

"I really like Slayer Amanda but I don't think she's into me. I think she thinks I'm doing Ned actually. I did go to the health department first. They can start a recall on the twinkies through Hostess where I can only go on twitter and ask them about it."

Stark nodded. "Someone get me packs of recent twinkies," he yelled. "And don't eat them!"

"Twinkies are changed out every two weeks according to How It's Made," a female voice called back. "Because they go stale quickly. The shop downstairs has some and will let us come buy them."

Tony went down to the shops in the lower section of the tower, getting a case of them to check the unit made date. He bought two cases and brought them up to test. Peter was telling Banner about what he knew. "Ask Barton. He was on patrol last night with Harris," he noted as he walked in. Bruce called him and found him talking to someone about the demons on the Security Council.

Clint knew more and told them what he knew. Stark was searching out Finn and that group, finding that classified wall. And almost nothing behind it. But some deleted facebook pages that were quoted mentioned that group so he went looking. Amanda brought up notes that she had gotten from the bartender information network and handed Peter a coffee before leaving. "She's cute."

"She fights better than I do and she still thinks I'm boinking Ned," he said dryly, but did sip his coffee with a grin. "She's a neat friend. Even Aunt May thinks she's a nice friend. Even MJ can't snark at her too hard."

"That's good, kiddo." He got back to looking. It was bad and Pepper had to be summoned to talk to press people. Peter got notice that his story was refused. Peter wrote back that there was going to be a press conference in a few hours. Of course, another reporter got that one and his story was ignored. That was fine. It went online on his blog. Ned had made sure. Stark laughed about that but it helped his reporting career.

***

Xander woke up and moaned, holding his head. "Ow. Whoever has a heavy hand with the knocking out."

"Shut up, kid," Wade complained. "It's early."

Xander blinked at him. "Did I sleep teleport?"

"No," he said patiently, staring at him. He hugged Xander, making Xander grumble but hug back. "The drugs in the twinkies part has come out. Petey boy found it with Amanda." He pulled back to look at him. "You better for hugs? They're weird."

"You didn't have to hug me."

"Shut up." He hugged him again. "Cable has mind powers."

"Great. Did the hyena like him?"

"Apparently. It didn't attack him when he watched the vision with you." Xander winced and pulled back. Wade pulled him closer again. "Quit wiggling. I'm the bouncy one and it's still early."

"I don't..."

Wade covered his mouth. "Stop it. It's early, I need my beauty sleep. Not that it'll help but you never know about magical sleep. They say it cures a lot of what ails your life." Xander nodded, going limp. "Thank you." He went back to resting. Xander was pretending to fall asleep but Cable came in to gas him into another nap. "Thanks."

"Welcome."

"Why didn't the hyena get you?"

"I wasn't doing more than reading surface thoughts and visions apparently give her a headache too." He walked off again. They were handling the problems at the Council today. Xander couldn't deal with problems like they could. Anyone who was going to sacrifice a bunch of kids were their problem to deal with, not Xander's. He spotted one of the local minis coming in. "It's a real bad day, kid."

She stared at him. "Yeah, had slayer dreams," she said dryly. "They're going to try to get rid of those of who're stronger or different. Me, two of my sisters, Bruno.... They're going to lose but they'll try really hard." She grimaced. "So I'm up to get protected and not lose my temper. Because I'm *so* going to lose it." She walked off. "Is Xander all right?"

"We're keeping him down while we work on it."

"Sure. Let me know how I can help." She grinned at him. "Though I'm going to talk to an uncle later. He's confused about why." She skipped up the stairs. "Just getting a few things," she called. "Slayer dreams suck."

"Don't you dare do something he's going to scream at you about," Wade called back.

"Suck me, dude."

Wade came out to capture her and lock her in a closet. He walked off calling Barton so he could inform her father of her mouthiness. "Doing me and Xander proud, Bethy. Be more like your dad."

"Hey!" she complained, kicking the door. "Let me out!"

"Your dad's on his way."

"I don't need Dad for this. He needs to be safer."

"He'd say the same thing probably. Be a kid, Bethy."

"I need to meet someone." She got free and ran for the doorway but Cable caught her. She managed to wiggle free because he wasn't used to handling little girls. She ran out, using her extra speed to make it to the meeting area in the park. She panted, looking up at her Uncle Growly. "There's huge shit coming. I really hate slayer dreams."

"Is that like foresight?" he asked.

"Yeah. The same as Uncle Xander gets visions. We get them while we're asleep." She let him have the notes she had in her pocket. She heard her father coming and got behind the growly one. "It's important, Dad."

"I'm going to beat you half to death then lock you in a safe!" he complained in his native language. "You will not be getting out until I marry you off to someone."

She looked out at him. "I only understand half of that, Dad, and if you try to marry me off I'm going to destroy them. Be damned if I want that." She looked up. "That's important, right?"

"Very. We have two young mutants who can't stay out of the hostess aisle." He handed them to the worried father then pulled the girl out from behind him, handing her over too.

"Hey!"

"You've done more than we expected," Pietro said, staring down at her. "You are not to be in danger yet!"

"Sucks but I had the damn slayer dream. Xander apparently had a vision because they're keeping him asleep."

Pietro stared down at her. "You are almost twelve! This sort of danger is my job, not yours!"

"Suck it up," she shot back, hands going to her hips. "Sometimes we gotta handle it if it happens around us." He grabbed her, walking her off muttering about mouthy children. Sabertooth walked off to share that with the local demon community as well. They had more to lose thanks to people like Finn. He might feel sorry for the kid but he wasn't going to stop her father from beating the heroics out of her. The notes went to Magneto too so he could share them around.

***

Kara walked into the school. "Logan," she called quietly, getting the Professor instead. "Good. Need you too. Xander had a huge vision last night and it's a huge problem. We need Logan to sniff out all the problem items." She handed over the notes they had. Logan got summoned and she looked at him. "Initiative." Logan paused mid-step. "Finn's people are drugging twinkies with the same stuff that gave Buffy's mom brain cancer. Peter Parker found it for Amanda earlier." He winced. "You guys are about the last to know, thanks to Bethy getting to the one she calls Uncle Growly."

"We've had some twinkies around here," Logan agreed, taking the notes. "The whole vision?"

"Cable watched it from Xander's mind having it. Bethy had her slayer dream version that wasn't as detailed. Dawn's solved a lot of it already. At least the Council end of it."

Logan nodded, walking off to sniff out all the twinkies in the school. Half of them did smell more like chemicals than normal. Including the one Rogue was snacking on. She complained but he handed over the notes. She read and groaned then handed them to Cyclops since he was glaring at Logan for interrupting class time.

"Fuck," Cyclops said, making the kids giggle. "No one is to touch a twinkie until they're cleared again. Someone was putting drugs into them that can cause cancer apparently."

Kara walked in and hugged him around the shoulders. "It's what killed Buffy's mom with brain cancer," she said in his ear.

"Rogue, you're getting scanned every week for the next few months," he noted. She groaned but nodded.

Kara looked at her. "Finn." Rogue sat up straighter, glaring at her. She had told her friends about them the last time the army showed up to cause problems. "This was someone's bright plan." She walked off. "Get the scans. I'd hate to mourn you, girlfriend."

"Yeah, I can do that." She looked at Cyclops, who shrugged. "Today?"

"Probably not instantaneous. How many times have you had twinkies this week?"

"Three. I've had cravings for the stuff." She went to the infirmary to get scanned. "Just found out that someone's drugging twinkies with stuff that can cause cancer, Hank. I've been ordered to start being scanned weekly."

"That's a weird plan from someone. Against mutants?"

"Nope. The same ones that used to torture demons in Sunnydale that the team out there shut down."

"Crap. All right, let's do the first one now." He got her into the machine for now.

Kara came back to the meeting. Logan had separated them out. Kara noted the dates and what the first batch was to Amanda, who sent it to Peter, who told Stark.

Storm came out of the office. "Stark is on the news talking about drugged up twinkies?" Kara handed over the notes. "Oh, dear." She looked at the pile of them. "All of them?"

"That I could find," Logan agreed. "Earliest with the extra chemical smell is from about a week and a half ago." She went to gather a few other students she knew liked the little snack cakes. Hank had on the news down there to watch when she handed them over. They all got scanned too.

Kara looked at the Professor again. "Another point that I'm not sure got passed on. NYU is not on the safe list any longer. They're trying to force out any noted mutant. Piotr's got a teacher fighting for him but me and the other slayer taking distance classes got kicked out too. One young woman, who has head feathers, was sobbing in the student center so I asked. She got expelled from school for being a danger to the student body. The mutant kids society there reported that all but two members had been expelled and those two were honor roll, though that didn't stop them putting out a potential Rhodes scholar candidate."

Logan grimaced. "That sucks. It was a good school."

"I totally understood them asking me to take online classes instead because of all the problems that came for us. But they have physically evicted a few mutant kids from the dorms as well. Had the campus security team throw their shit out after them without packing it sort of expelling. Then they got notices that they were expelled and in violation of the forty-eight hours to vacate rules and were going to be arrested."

"Which goes against due process and all that," Logan agreed. "Crap."

"Piotr is fine?" the Professor asked.

"Bummed. He's been working with the kids who were expelled to find them new places to live and stuff. He and Domino have been doing a lot. Thankfully she and Xander had inherited some real estate they're letting the kids borrow for a few months. I got one of the law professors to help them. She's a mutant too, with a very weak gift, but she's volunteered to help them with appeals. Though she may not have a job either soon."

"That's how it usually goes," Logan agreed.

"That and her husband came up to her class to hand her divorce papers in front of a class because she's a mutant. Totally outed her to the class. A few of them were the sort to stab her tires and the like."

"So it's getting less than subtle again," Logan said. She nodded. "Charming." She grinned. "Your studies?"

"I can go to other schools. Including online. I've already applied to two for next semester. I wasn't aware one wasn't on a safe list but I'm not holding my breath there. The other is inclusive and a state school."

"Which will probably try to claim that they can discriminate because of that law," Logan said.

"I'm looking at U of New Hampshire."

"So no law," he said, smirking at her. She grinned and nodded back. "They got an art program for your guy?"

"No. There's another one in the city he's looking at."

"That's reasonable. I can amend the list of safe schools," the Professor said as he rolled off.

"Don't forget to take off that one school of whoring off the list, Professor. The one Amanda and a few others went to got shut down because they were expecting the girls to dress up for the boys' amusement and leering so they could concentrate. Xander told a few parents when he had to rescue Amanda before she slugged the teacher for that prompting."

"I saw that report," Logan said, shuddering. "Some really angry mothers."

"I'd be one of them if it was my kids," Kara agreed. "Be damned if I'd have let the other slayers do it even if they volunteered."

Logan patted her on the arm. "You're a good house mom."

"Thanks." She grinned. "I should go make sure the girls get home tonight. Wade's keeping Xander down so he has to rest."

"Why would they dose twinkies?" Logan asked quietly.

"Because back in Sunnydale, that was Xander's dinner a lot of times before patrol. Which the walking dead man Finn saw many times." Logan slumped, staring at her. She nodded. "Yeah. We're pretty damn sure. Plus it's known that X-gene carriers tend to sweets binge due to needing more calories and craving the stuff." She shrugged but grinned. "By the vision, Xander was going to go off and behead him after a slight incident that others were trying to blow out of proportion so it was a battle instead of an easily solved problem. Mostly as prompted by the demons on the Security Council that made deals with Mephisto. He'd give them power if they could best Xander."

"Involved in that law firm?"

"Nope. They didn't have any idea who Xander was. Thought he was Oz. They knew about stuff in Africa but didn't ID Xander at all." She smiled. "They had no idea who Xander was. Or is. Or is going to do to the remains of them." She beamed. "Us girls have decided we'll have popcorn somewhere safe to watch it."

"Probably a good idea." Piotr came in. "You good?"

"Thankfully I do not like those little cakes," he said. He hugged Kara. "We will put up a protective enclosure and film it so it can be safely viewed."

She grinned up at him. "We have a safe room at the house that has video abilities so we can keep track of the news."

"That may be safe enough." He picked Kara up, making her squeal but shift to ride on his back. "We will go make plans outside as I was removed from the school as well." She hugged him as he walked off with her. She did hop down to get them lunch, then climbed back up to go out to the gazebo to nibble and talk.

Logan shook his head but he was smiling. "Young love is gooey mush," he complained quietly. He had to tell the others about twinkies.

***

Xander woke up and winced, trying to stretch. He got pulled back down and the leg cramp rubbed out. He drifted off to that but only halfway back to sleep. He was aware of things, just not outside himself. So he could tell there was someone behind him. And in front of him. And the one in front of him was murmuring 'Ness' a few times while rubbing against his leg. The one behind him had rubbed out the leg cramp. Xander decided to lick the one in front of him and cuddled him better so he could fall back asleep too.

Wade blinked at him. "Why did you do that?" he complained.

"So you wouldn't think you were in bed with her again," Cable said, looking at him. "So you wouldn't have a bad waking up. That's why he licked your temple."

"That's weird."

"But not something she'd do."

"Good point." He looked down and sighed, letting Xander cuddle him. "I...." He and Cable got Xander flipped over and Wade held him instead. It worked better that way. Cable could cuddle if Xander needed it. Wade wasn't exactly anti-cuddle but he didn't want to be held down tonight. Xander drifted back off and started to snore, getting a head shake from them both. They could nap again for now.

So when a demon broke in and Xander hopped up, his axe appearing in his hand as he jumped at the demon by instinct, Wade wasn't ready for that. Or Cable, who was right behind the kid's move. The demon died of his head being split open. Xander growled, glaring at the body. "I hate cleaning up bodies. You can't burn them inside the house." He pouted. "Damn it. What now?" He searched the body, finding a ring. "Oh, sure, an assassin's guild that's almost as good as the one after Buffy." He kicked the body and went back to bed. "I'll set it on fire in the morning. Maybe it'll dissolve on its own."

Cable stared at him. "Let me toss it out back, kid."

"Sure." Xander yawned and flapped a hand. "Make sure it didn't bring anyone that wants to make me their angry harem." He yawned again so Wade made him put his head back down. "S'nice, thanks, Wade," he said quietly. "Very nice of you to baby me with the post vision headache."

"Not a problem this time, Xander. We could all use the napping buddies." Xander nodded, nuzzling his shoulder. "Rest. I won't even hump you like you're a table dancer." Xander grinned, falling asleep that way. Cable came back from the body dumping. "Anything good on that assassins guild?"

"It's not Taraka but they're pretty tough."

"All make deals to join," Xander mumbled. "Horrible idiots who think I'm helpless too."

"Thankfully the rest of us know better," Cable complained.

***

A female voice cooed the next morning. "Awwww. Finally!"

Domino followed her up the stairs. "No, no morning wood even. No nakedness. Didn't happen." Wade flipped her off. "How are you the only guy in the world that doesn't get morning wood?"

"I get plenty," Wade complained. "Quit taking pictures, Penny, before I paddle your pregnant ass."

"Brad would be pretty upset if you did," she quipped, taking a few more pictures. "You're right, they're not even hard."

Domino shrugged. "Sometimes we aren't that lucky." Someone threw something at them, they suspected Xander since he didn't have a pillow anymore and it fell short of them. "Xander, you were supposed to come with me to the lawyer's this morning," she called more loudly.

"Fuck 'em," Wade complained, snuggling against Xander's back again. That woke him up a bit more. He looked at himself then down at his crotch. "Huh."

"Yeah, you're the only guy that doesn't get morning wood," Penny quipped with a grin for him. "So did Cable scare it away or did Xander scare it away?" Xander stole Cable's pillow and threw it at them, making both women duck. Wade just glared. Penny took a picture of that look too. Then had to run from Wade trying to grab the phone. "The other slayers need to see that Xander needs cuddles!" she complained, making it inside another girls' room and holding the door shut by leaning on it.

"Erase the damn pictures, Penny! It's not even porn!"

"The girls will be happy Xander got cuddles! That way they don't pick on him as much."

"Fuck that, erase the damn pictures. Brad will let me paddle you."

"No he won't." She sent the pictures anyway, at least to her spouse. She sent that Wade was threatening to spank her too even though apparently nothing happened. Brad told her he wanted film of her being spanked because she was being bratty today and Xander would hate the unauthorized pictures. Even if he did look cute being cuddled by two strong guys. And think of what it could do to their heroic careers. She pouted and saved them down on her backup cloud drive then sighed.

"Fine, I erased them," she said, sliding her phone under the door. "Don't you dare erase pictures of the baby. Or the ultrasound. I haven't gotten to show Brad that film yet." Wade confiscated the phone and went back to the bedroom to clean himself up. She came out and went back to the doorway. "Brad's bitchy today." They both backed out of the way when Xander patted around to grab something else to throw at them. Especially since someone's gifts floated over a grenade from Xander's vest. "Um, Wade?" she called with a point.

"I knew Cable had TK," Domino said. "Don't want to be blown up this morning though. And think of all the fixing he'll have to do." She took Penny with her to the kitchen area.

Wade came out of the bathroom, scowling at the grenade. He tried to tug on it, no go. "Cable, let the grenade go," he said loudly. "Before you blow us all up trying to stop the giggling girls." Cable grunted. "Xander, let the grenade go," he called. No answer. Wade tugged a few more times until it came from of whatever was gripping it. "Thanks." He put it back into Xander's patrol vest then went back to cleaning up. Somehow a few hairs always grew through the scars but he was too lumpy to shave. So he had to tweeze them. Which sucked greatly.

Cable blinked awake and stared at the power signature in the room. "What the fuck?" he complained.

Xander blinked at him. "Huh?"

"Magic."

Xander blinked at it then grunted a few times. "Willow magic." He put his head back down on the only pillow on the bed. "Why are you cuddling me? You're not into me."

"We all needed cuddles last night," Wade called. "Get over it. No morning gay panic, Xander."

"I've had plenty of gay sex but I was hoping nothing coerced us into bed," Xander complained. "I'd hate that."

"Nah, just cuddles. As Penny pointed out none of us had wood this morning," Wade said. He came to the doorway. Cable glared at him. "I erased the pictures. Including from her cloud drive." He went back in there. "Domino's here, Xander."

"While that would be a fun bed, she's not into me either," Xander quipped, eyes still shut.

"Lawyers," Domino called up the stairs.

"Someone yell at Rosenburg the Damned for her magic in my bedroom. I don't want to know what she was planning with it," he called back.

"She stole a grenade and was trying to hit us with it," Domino said as she came back to the doorway. "Is it still there?" Xander got up with a sigh, going to smack the magic until it left. He went to his own bathroom to pee and stuff. He had to shower and look respectable today.

Wade looked over at the naked guy that walked past him. "Gee, thanks for the show, Xander," he quipped.

"Shut up, not like you haven't seen it the night I stripped."

"Good point. Though not that close. Is that a scar?"

"I have a lot of scars, be more specific?" he sighed.

"I meant on your dick."

"Oh, yeah, one of my ex's captured me for a night and had been turned after I dumped her. She tried to feed and couldn't get it right. Totally painful but she was so frustrated I got to stake her with my foot." He shrugged. "It healed and it still works." He turned on the water, yelping. "Damn, cold water." He changed it. "Better." He got to work on his shower.

Wade shook his head. "You've lived a wilder life than I have and that's kinda freaky, kid."

"We're the same age, Wade."

"We are? Na-uh!"

"Yeah."

"Oh. Huh. You sure?"

"You're six months older and a few days."

Wade shook his head. "Sure, if you're certain."

Domino came to the doorway. "Weasel told him that. I was there that night. He was complaining that all the guys he knew were older than he was again." She looked in the shower.

"You only get a free show if we're fucking, Domino," Xander quipped without having to look at her. "Quit staring at the magnificence unless it's a proposition."

"I'd hate to kick Cable out of the bed," she quipped. "And I don't squeal." She walked off again. Cable was looking embarrassed. She grinned. "You two looked nice around Xander. You didn't even have to pin him down for all the wiggling." She strolled off. "Have Xander put on real clothes. The lawyer's going to be waiting soon."

"I can do that," he complained. He got up to relieve himself and ended up taking over Xander's shower when he walked out of it. "Put on real clothes."

"I heard. Thanks." Xander went to throw the covers back onto the bed, picking up the pillows at the same time. Not like he made the bed, he just threw things back close to where they belonged. Then a nice pair of jeans and a button up shirt Cable had made him buy and he was done.

"Panties, Xander," Wade reminded him as he came out.

"Not my kink, dear." He blew a kiss with a grin. "If you like panties, I support you in that but I can't stand anything that tight anymore. Not since the swim team days. I start to think about the mermaid stuff and get a bit freaked out when I suddenly crave raw fish." Wade burst out giggling, shaking his head. "Seriously!" He walked off to grab what he needed for a normal time out. "Okay, let's go benefit from another of our shared ex's going bye-bye."

Domino stared at him. "I don't think I slept with most of them. Half of them had clauses in the wills telling me to watch out for you and be a normal person you could lean on."

Xander rolled his eyes. "Yeah, and I need that. I fought for years over being called normal by the girls." He looked at Penny, who was pouting. "If you took pictures I'm going to paddle you and Brad can suck it up." She shook her head. "Really?"

"I deleted them and Wade got onto my backup, Xander."

"Uh-huh. That's an invasion of privacy. Did you like it when the girls did it when you were cuddling Brad and Bruno one morning?"

"No," she agreed. "Sorry."

"Uh-huh. Go apologize to the other two. Slayers aren't the evil bitches of the universe unless Willow gets you again, Penny." He got his car keys from the board and went out with Domino following.

Penny looked up as Cable and Wade came down the stairs. "Xander reminded me I didn't like it when the girls did it to us and slayers aren't the evil bitches of the universe so I'm sorry I snapped pictures of you guys sleeping." She grinned. "Though it's nice that neither of you are badass enough to be attracted to Xander. Means you're sane too."

Wade looked at her. "Take that back!"

She grinned. "Only the dangerous, deadly, and slightly insane like Xander. Proves you're kinda normal."

"So getting permission to paddle you once you're not carrying the next spawn that'll squeal at me." He walked off shaking his head. Cable grunted, shaking his own head on the way out.

Penny grinned, sending out a few text messages to break up the betting pool on when Wade and Xander would do the nasty. Clearly it wasn't going to happen anytime soon.

***

That night, Wade was slightly lit at the bar. "I can't understand why I didn't react. I'm more badass than all of the ex's that've died off. Hell, I'm more badass than a lot of the ex's Xander's had."

Weasel looked at him. "Either you're expanding your ego and you're not that badass or you consider him a friend. You don't get wood over Al do you?"

"No," he admitted. "Only if I'm really drunk enough for beer goggles."

"Exactly. You put Xander into that category." He walked off to get another drink, shaking his head. Cable was at his usual table nursing a beer but being amused by Wade too. Weasel came back. "It could be that you're MPD. There's Wade and there's Deadpool."

"I...that could be more likely than I'm not badass enough," Wade decided, finishing that drink. He walked off to go home for the night. His big, empty apartment. That somehow had a stripper that used to work with Vanessa in it. "How did you get in here?"

She stood up, looking at him. "The manager made us clean out Vanessa's dance locker," she said quietly, pointing at it. "We knew you'd want it, Wade." She patted him on the arm. "We're sorry you lost her." She went up on tiptoe to kiss him on the cheek. "We wanted to wait another month but the manager was being a dick about replacing her this week with some new thing that needs implants and rhythm." She patted him on the cheek with a sad smile. "I packed it myself and got the clothes she had loaned out back too."

"Thanks, Stella."

"Welcome. We all miss her. She was like a big sister to a lot of the younger girls. We'll need huge heels to fill her shoes." She patted him again then left.

Wade sat down to stare at the bag his girlfriend had taken to the club on the nights she danced. He almost tossed it into a closet but that would mean touching it. He wasn't ready for that yet.

***

Wade looked at his phone as Dopinder drove him home after a localish job. "Kara," he muttered, thumbing open the message. He blinked a few times. "Why can't you ask Xander, girl?" He typed that back and got told that Xander had threatened to lock her in a closet before she dressed the other girls like that. Then she added Vanessa had helped her buy both the shirts and she had no idea which looked better because the younger girls had no taste. He was her last resort because everyone else was out on date nights too. "Fine," he muttered, typing that in. She sent two pictures and he nearly swallowed his cigarette. "Wow. Yeah, my baby girl helped her buy those things. And the push up bra too." He held up the phone. "Slayer Kara's having a clothing crisis. Which one do you like better?"

The cab driver blinked a few times. "She needs more cloth."

"She's trying to thrill her boyfriend, Colossus."

"Ummmm...." He nervously licked his lips. "I'm having thoughts my wife would not enjoy."

"Yeah, I'm having some of those too but I'd never touch Metal Daddy's girlfriend." He considered them, and the fact that he was feeling pretty manly at the moment, and told her to wear one of them and show up on a motorcycle to get him. She quipped and said he had one and she liked riding behind him. She sent another picture a minute later, with the jacket on. He blinked and held it up. Dopinder moaned and closed his eyes for a moment, nearly causing a crash but corrected it fairly easily.

"Damn." He sent back the message of 'damn' and Cable's phone number for a second opinion of a guy who wouldn't touch her. Because he didn't want to take her from Colossus. She sent back a blushing emoji and said she'd ask Weasel instead. He pointed out Weasel was without a woman and might try to flirt with her in front of her guy. She giggled at that idea. "The slayers really are good girls. She doesn't think someone would flirt in front her boyfriend when she's dressed up like that."

"Many men have no self restraint," Dopinder said. "My cousins mostly do not. I have learned. My wife would take me out in a more messy manner than you ever have used." He grinned at him. "Though she is adorable."

"If you weren't married I'd introduce you to the slayers who were older, but you're married and somehow I ended up being a big brother influence over the house." A message from Cable popped up with the simple 'I'm going to kill you for suggesting I give clothing advice'. Wade sent that he had gotten it first and at least Cable wouldn't have inappropriate thoughts about the slayers. And how she had threatened to ask Weasel thinking he wouldn't flirt with her in front of her guy. Cable agreed that couldn't happen. The girls didn't need treated that way.

***

Bethy was watching tv with her dad and aunt when her phone rang. "Kara." She looked at it, frowning. She picked a shirt for her. Her aunt snatched the phone. "Kara wanted shirt picking help." She took it back. "She's got a date with her boyfriend."

"Those are trashy," Wanda complained.

Bethy looked up at her. "She and Piotr have been together now for a few years, Auntie Wanda. She can wear the showy, booby shirts for him to make him a happy guy as Dad put it." She sent another suggestion and that shirt got sent. "No, that's not the right sort of showy. And might be too cold." She sent that and Kara agreed, even if they were partially covered by the motorcycle jacket she'd be wearing that night. She grinned at that. "Have a good ride, Kara." She sent that and put her phone up again. Her father was staring at her. "What? They're going riding on a motorcycle he's borrowing from Logan." She smiled. "They're cute together and very happy."

"I like that they're happy but you are too young to know about relationships," Wanda said firmly.

Bethy looked at her. "Most kids learn about relationships by watching the ones around us. It's the sex stuff we have to learn through talks mostly. Which I've been through two of now. Starting to have a period sucked a whole ton of crap. So did starting to wear a bra." Wanda looked horrified. "It happens to most girls sometime, Auntie. At least I started later than a few girls. Sarah's older half-sister from her mom is twelve and stacked like a porn star already. Poor girl. We had to protect her from a guy last week who wanted to grope. He did not like Diana kicking his butt."

Pietro looked at his oldest child. "We should talk about you swearing as well as how to be an adult woman."

She looked at him. "Do you know about being an adult woman, Dad?"

"Smartass," he chimed back, staring at her.

"I'm still at the stage where I don't know why women put up with men, much less what they'd do with them. The sex talks were more about my body and how it's changing and to not let a guy there yet. And talking to the poor slayer that's got a two-year-old and she's thirteen." She swallowed. "That was a sucky talk but it showed the girls who were trying to be too flirty that they didn't want that because they didn't think they could have a baby. Dawn had to point out they had girl cycles, they could get pregnant, and then Xander would beat them while making sure they got whatever medical treatment they needed." She swallowed again. "She wouldn't tell us how she got pregnant. Said we were too young for such ugly things."

"You hopefully are," Pietro said, cuddling her. "You're growing up much too fast."

"Dad, I barely have boobs," she said dryly. "Or a period. I'm only about a quarter of the way to full womanhood. I'm still little yet."

"Good! Hopefully for many more years."

She looked up at him. "I didn't know your people believed in chastity until marriage. Wow, did you annul or divorce my mom?"

"You will not do as I did. I made many mistakes. You will not. I kept your aunt from them and I will keep you children from them. Even the boys."

"They could use it. One of them has a serious problem with nipples. I realize he's four but he's always trying to get at people's nipples."

"I'll talk with his mother in the morning." He cuddled her, grinning at his sister. "Who is Dawn again?"

"Buffy's little sister. She gives all the sex talks because the watchers can't and Buffy's uptight. She didn't think girls who were having their periods needed to know about that stuff until they were already fourteen. When one got hers at ten Buffy went to bed with a headache."

"I probably would as well," Wanda agreed. She sat down with a huff. "You are too young for boys or girls."

"Yes I am. I have no idea why they'd like me and Dawn suggested I try it out for myself before then because sometimes guys would use us enjoying things to make us go farther than we wanted to go. If we knew what it felt like we couldn't be confused by happy feelings and him talking us into it."

Wanda blinked a few times. "They do what?"

"If you don't know what your body feels like when it's *happy*," Bethy told her. "Sometimes guys will use showing you how *happy* you get and how good it feels to go further than you want them to. It's like the ones who use emotional blackmail to talk you into it with 'you'd do it if you loved me' and other things like that."

"I had not thought of that."

Bethy looked at her. "Do you have a boyfriend, Auntie Wanda?"

"Not in many years," she admitted quietly. "Smartass." Bethy grinned at her. "We should talk about such matters."

"You should talk to Grace. She's got magic and that can screw up the sex stuff a lot from what Dawn told us. There were a few younger witches in the group talk. She pulled them aside later to talk to them about magic and sex stuff not always going together real well."

"I have no idea about that," Wanda admitted. "My last one got scared of me."

Bethy reached over to pat her on the arm. "You'll find someone someday, even if they're like Dad and only there for the fun." She shrugged. "Mom said often enough that was a perfect thing for her. Then she told me everyone needed something different in their lives and I would need a real relationship or else she'd skin me alive."

"If you pick up someone like your father, yes I will be," Wanda assured her, staring at her.

Bethy leaned closer. "My name's not Freud, Auntie Wanda." She sat up again, accepting her cuddles. "I'm not into something like Dad is. And I sincerely hope I never remind a boyfriend of his mother. Because that's icky."

The twins both nodded. "Yes, it would be," Pietro agreed. "We can talk on that later." She shrugged but got comfortable. "Did Dawn tell you much about sexual matters?"

"A few of the girls had questions about finding Faith's vibrator when they were pawing through her stuff. Dawn said that helped her when she was getting happy with herself and if they were ready to try that for themselves she could take them shopping for their first one but they had probably better be on the other side of junior high at the very least. Hopefully at least a sophomore in high school."

"That's a bit young," Pietro complained.

"Sixteen isn't that young, Dad!" She gave him a funny look. "It really isn't. What were you doing at sixteen?"

"Not having sex toys," he said.

"No, you probably had a few girlfriends instead. Girls and gay guys have sex toys more than straight guys because it helps us get happy. Straight guys don't need things inserted." He spluttered and Wanda choked. "I talked with one of the gay guys in my class when he was talking about finding a spot online that explained how sex things worked so you got realistic and factual information. Because two kids in my school have parents that believe that information is given over during the wedding ceremony and it's too late for one of them thanks to a birthday party game."

He stared at her once he quit choking. "What sort of birthday party has sex games?" he demanded.

"Um, ones where the parents weren't paying attention to their beers from what I heard. But that's just rumors." She shrugged. "I wasn't invited and I hate the taste of beer. Mom made sure I knew what those things tasted like in case someone dosed my drink on me some night. She explained how rophies work too because some guys will do that to girls. One of the high school kids got one of the boys on camera because he dosed his mountain dew and taped him doing bad things to blackmail him.

"Diana caught him trying to figure out a solution and helped him get his parents to the school so they could find out. One of my besties found the tape for him to show. When they admitted they drugged him on the tape the mom threw an awesome fit on the principal since it happened at the school after hours and then called an officer. Who agreed, the kids who dosed him and taped it were in huge piles of shit. The kid's switched schools and is hopefully okay again after some therapy."

Pietro blinked at her. "I don't..."

She stared at him. "Dad, boys can be raped too. They have the same right to say no that girls do," she said, very serious all of a sudden. "Mom and Dawn both made sure we knew what consent was and how it worked and that both sides had to consent to things. Otherwise it's wrong and no slayer wants to use our gifts against someone. It's not right and we will not become rapists by forcing ourselves on someone. That's wrong and it's evil."

"It is," he agreed, hugging her again. "I'm glad you're so responsible." He looked at his sister, who was nodding she agreed. "Still, we will be talking about that stuff ourselves."

She huffed. "If we must. Are you going to try to tell me about periods too?"

"No. I have no idea about such things," he admitted. "We will be talking about things like not dating until you're eighty."

She grinned. "Mom's rule was thirteen for group dates and fifteen for one-on-one dates. Xander's rules are group dates until your senior year unless you get permission and then one-on-one dates are senior year and over but he'll beat someone if they're not worthy of our magnificence."

He blinked but nodded. "I could like Xander's rules," he agreed. "If you should truly find someone you'd like to date, we would like to meet them too."

"Let me get a few dates in first, Dad. That way they don't clam up due to hero worship and I make sure they're not gold digger types who only want to meet you."

"That would be acceptable but Xander would get to meet them first?"

She nodded. "He has a few times and we watched him drive off two of them, making sniffly girls happen, but the others he approved on causal dating. Anything like exclusive relationships required a lot more talking with the person. But Gloria did find a really nice girlfriend. Xander liked her on first sight then got to know her and realized she was kinda evil. Gloria helped her girlfriend start therapy for her controlling ways. They're still friends as far as I know but not together in the girlfriend way."

"You are very accepting of that," Wanda said.

Bethy snorted, staring at her. "I'd never be a hater, Auntie Wanda. If they're born that way, then they are. If they're not then they may be bi or pan. It's all good to me. I'm pretty sure I'm straight but if not, I'll find a great girlfriend."

"Many people do not like that thought," Wanda said.

"Then they need to keep those thoughts away from me and the sibs because none of us are haters that way. If you love a girl, you love a girl. If you love a guy, you love a guy. If you love a trans guy, you love a trans guy. If you love a trans girl, you love a trans girl. All love that's healthy and consensual is a good thing. Only abusive and mean love is wrong. And really, those people suck ass anyway and need my field hockey stick upside the head for being such bad people." She shrugged. "I hope I never run into them and if I do I have enough sense and strength to get help."

"That's a good way of putting it," Wanda agreed. "We are not haters either, niece."

She grinned. "Good. Though you should try the dating stuff again, Auntie Wanda. It sucks when you're alone all the time."

"I have you children and your father to keep my attention."

"That makes you a stepmom," Bethy joked with a grin for her. "I didn't know you were like that with Dad." Wanda and Pietro both choked so she grinned. "So see, you need a boyfriend or a girlfriend. Whichever floats your boat in the sea they keep saying have other fish." She climbed off the couch. "I'm going to go get some ice cream for you." She skipped off to the main gathering area. She nodded when she ran into Steve and Bucky.

"I'm getting Auntie Wanda and Daddy ice cream because they're a bit freaked out." She grinned. "They didn't realize that I'm growing up again I guess." She shrugged, pushing a chair over to get into the back fo the freezer where the ice cream was hidden. She pulled it out and found the scooper, washing it off so she could use it. Steve handed her three bowls. "Thanks, Steve." She dipped some out, hers biggest of course, then climbed up to put the ice cream back and carried the bowls with spoons given by Bucky back there.

"Bethy has some really nice manners usually," Steve said with a smile for Bucky. "Her dad and Wanda have kept her being a pretty nice young girl."

"She seems like it when she's not holding a field hockey stick," Bucky agreed. "I saw her beat someone with one last week because he was picking on one of her siblings' breasts."

"Plenty of guys these days have no class," Steve reminded him. "I hope he learned not to do it again."

"I'd hope so with how his nose broke. And possibly his chin." They went down to the gym to workout against each other.

***

Kara walked into Sister Margaret's and sat down on a stool in front of Weasel.

He stared at her for a minute. Then he made sure his tongue was in his mouth instead of hanging out and he wasn't drooling. He was a bit scared of what Colossus would do if he drooled on his girlfriend. "This is not a sex club, and you are too young to be dressed that way, Kara. I don't even want to imagine what sort of ideas some of assholes in here are getting right now."

"They can suck themselves or each other, Weasel. It's important. Piotr and I were out for a ride on a borrowed bike and found that guy Dougie meeting with a cop when we paused to walk around a park. And he was talking about the bar. The cop spotted me looking and I told him that this was an *inclusive* place that was a safe spot for us slayers who were patrol cleared. That's all I said. Piotr was worried about why he was talking to a cop and not in cuffs until we left and he wasn't really in cuffs because they were still chatting."

"Oh, shit," he said. "Okay, so you think he spilled something?"

"Could be, don't know. Piotr didn't hear a lot of what he said because he was getting a vampy vamp that tried to pinch him on the ass."

"Okay, so a really good reason you came in here looking like a lap cat in a strip club."

She grinned. "I only want one lap and I have that one." She stood up. "I thought we should've told you about an hour ago when we got back but we went to talk to Wade first. Since he's kinda distinguishable and would have an idea of who else might need to know that wasn't in here tonight."

Weasel nodded. "Yeah, he's real identifiable. Especially in his costume." He sighed. "Okay, well, we can watch out for it." He stared at her, hoping she got the hint before he had to help protect her young ass.

"Thanks. I'd hate to lose you to prison. You might not come out the same asshole you are now." She smiled sweetly at him. Then turned and decked someone. "You're not metal enough to be my guy. Only he gets to grope. Next time I'll break something." She gave him a pointed look then looked at Weasel again. "Wade didn't want us to worry too much. Said it's happened before."

"Few times," he agreed.

She leaned over to kiss him on the cheek. "We'd hate to lose you to prison, dear." She strolled out, going back to their ride.

Weasel leaned on the bar. "Guys, she heard one of you talking about the bar to a cop." That got a mass groan.

"Could it be where the slayers are technically underage to drink?" one of the more sober and older mercenaries in there asked.

"Kara got asked and bluntly told them we're an inclusive place that's safe for the slayers who're patrol cleared." That got a nod. "So...."

"We'll make sure we're all mercs. Or Harris. We know he's not a cop."

"Wade knows. They asked his opinion first because people know who he is." That got a few nods. "Though I did warn her about looking like a lap cat in a strip club."

"I'm plenty metal," the guy Kara had decked complained.

"She's dating Colossus. No you're not," Weasel told him. "You're nowhere near metal enough for her." The guy pouted but nodded. "Nor are you tall enough, strong enough, or tough enough." He walked off calling his stand-in for the slower hours. That guy didn't handle anything but pouring drinks. So he was probably in the clear if something happened.

***

Piotr walked Kara into the school, handing Logan his bike's keys with a smile. "Thank you for the lending."

"You're welcome." He looked at Kara and whistled. "Damn."

She grinned. "I did riding behind him in style." She heard sniffling and looked at him. "Who's crying?"

"Probably some stress crying." He shrugged. "Could be Rogue. It's finals time and it's been one sucky week around here." He looked uncomfortable with that thought.

"Sure. I can handle that." She looked up at Piotr, who kissed her. "I'll meet you up there in about ten?" He nodded, heading up to make sure his room wasn't a mess. Not that she'd care but he didn't want her to giggle at his thrown clothes or something. Kara went to where she could hear crying, settling down next to a young girl. "Hey." The girl sniffled, staring up at her. "I don't know you yet. I'm Kara, Colossus' girlfriend." She held out a hand. "What's your name?"

"I'm Persephone."

"That's a cool name. You were named after a nature Goddess who also did death stuff. She was totally badass in her day."

"I don't want to be badass though."

Kara hugged her. "That's a decision we all have to make, Persephone. No one's going to do more than teach you how to defend yourself from creeps."

"But my powers are strong."

"So?" She shrugged. "Not everyone's meant to fight. Even among my sister slayers, there's a number of us who aren't meant to go on patrol. It's not right for who we are and what we can do."

"You're a slayer," she said, eyes wide.

"Yeah, I'm Slayer Kara, technically the head slayer of the local house but we have Watcher Xander over us so he does all the picky stuff. All I have to do is nag the girls to pick up their shoes." She grinned, tweaking the girl on the nose. "Not everyone's meant to fight or protect others. Sometimes you'll have to protect yourself, that's just reality. There's creepy people out there. And if someone tries to put you on a team when you don't want to, you run to us. Okay?"

She nodded, staring up at her. "Now, it's probably past your bedtime since it's past mine." She grinned. "Some day you'll get to stay up half the night but you're probably in the before nine pm bedtime group." The girl pouted but nodded. "Okay, let's go find Logan so he knows that you went to bed." She stood up and helped Persephone up, walking her out. "Oh, here's Storm. I thought we'd run into Logan."

"He's making sure Piotr didn't dent his bike."

"No, we didn't dent it at all but it was a really fun date and we had a great picnic." She smiled. "Persephone and I talked about how not everyone's meant to be on a response team."

Storm nodded. "That's quite true. Though she does have to learn self defense."

"Because there's creeps in this world," Kara agreed. Persephone nodded but sighed. She smiled at Storm. "I'll let you help her to bed. Piotr's convinced his room is a mess and I know it's not. Even if he threw art stuff everywhere it's a lot more clean than the girls I have to remind to clean up. Or Kennedy's girls in London, who have bugs because they left dirty plates under their beds."

"Eww," Persephone said.

"Yup, we feel the same way," Kara said, patting her on the head. "You have a better night, princess." She grinned and nodded. Kara skipped up the stairs to pounce her man, who was fast asleep so less pouncing and more cuddling happened. When she was drifting off, a thought hit her head. She frowned. "I thought only Wade got thought bubbles," she said quietly so she wouldn't wake up her man.

//Kara, while it's nice to calm the children down,// the Professor sent telepathically.

//Not everyone is meant to be on a response team and pushing a seven or eight-year-old girl that way isn't healthy mentally or physically for them. They should be playing with dolls, not learning how to protect the ungrateful assholes in this world. Children her age should be innocent of everything they can be. Self defense is always a good idea and when we adopt some kids, or he has some somehow and I adopt them, they'll all get self defense lessons. The same as Bruno is. We can still keep him innocent of the horrors that all the teenagers in this school have seen.

//Sorry but that's a huge outrage for those of us who were taken from our families and nearly turned into little soldiers, Professor. I was her once, and I'll be damned if more child soldiers get made that same way. Now, it's nearly one in the morning. Can we talk about this over coffee?// She put up her shields but felt another, more delicate touch, and glared mentally at it. The female touch laughed but tried to force into her mind so she pulled up a nice battle video for her to watch. And that voice screamed and left. She closed it off with a sigh of pleasure. "Thankfully I won't have nightmares from it tonight," she told herself.

Piotr blinked at her. "What's happened?"

"Got lectured telepathically for telling Persephone that not everyone ends up or should end up on a team. Self defense lessons are one thing...."

He kissed her nose. "That's true and I agree. She is a delicate child and should stay one as long as possible."

"Are you turning telepathic?"

"No, Emma told me. She said good job and Jean's presently ruing her decision to snoop in your head due to a battle?"

Kara nodded, grinning at him. "I pulled up memories of the First Evil battle." He cuddled her. She sniffled into his shoulder and cuddled in. "Thanks, babe."

"You are most welcome and it was most rude to talk that way at this time of night. You need rest so we can go over schedules tomorrow and figure out if one of us is moving off our usual housing arrangement."

"Xander would allow me to move nearby if I wanted to get away from the kids."

He kissed her on the head. "We will see. There's many advantages to living in the slayer house. The same as there are ones here. Though there are disadvantages as well." He threw his pillow at the little one who had just walked through his door, making her shriek in a giggle then run off again. He sighed. She got up to get the pillow then came back to bed. "Someone must teach that one manners."

"Have Jubiliee do it?" she suggested with a grin.

"Yes, that may work. She needs something to do this week." He snuggled her against him again, getting comfortable.

***

Emma smiled in her office. "Young love is so adorable," she said happily. She got up and went to nag Jean in her confinement room. "Shut up!" she yelled back. "You weren't in that battle and you're only seeing it second-hand. Quit complaining!"

"She was a child!"

"Yeah. One that had to do that. They had twenty-two girls and seven of them had to bleed on the altar. They restricted it to anyone over fifteen and she lied about her age by a few months. The same as Rogue did when she got here." She stared at her. "I don't know why you feel the right to complain about someone else's life, but I've had enough of you nagging that one.

"If you ask, she'd tell you that they pulled her out of the field immediately after that and sent her to school. As her mother had handed her over at the ripe age of five to become a future slayer, when the watchers showed up to get her one way or another, she spent her formative years training. Thankfully she's healed from that, even if you do try to bring it up. And leave them alone! They both deserve happiness."

"They can't be together."

"Bullshit. Plenty of mutants date non-mutants. Even ones on response teams." She stared at her. "Are you jealous, envious, or that unhappy with your own relationship that you have to shit on others?" She locked the door again and stomped off. Thankfully her rooms were insulated against casual mental intrusion. When she felt some, she threw power at it and they stopped.

She smiled and sighed in pleasure. She got up to look at her former uniform. Maybe she needed to give it up and go back to her old life. But then who would speak for the children that needed help? She felt someone start a nightmare and smoothed a mental hand over their minds to calm them back down. Russell, that figured. He had a lot of nightmares.

***

Kara walked into the slayer house the next morning, looking at Xander. "That room upstairs, can me and Piotr have it?"

Xander sipped his coffee, nodding some. "I've already heard from Ellie and Rogue both. What did he do?"

"Tried to complain that I told one of the younger kids that she didn't *have* to be on a response team."

"Good! Not everyone should be in a battle unless they have to fight to protect themselves. Especially kids. They find out that you were watcher raised?" She grimaced but nodded. "Figures on that too. You've grown a lot since those days, Kara. And we're all really proud of you for that. Yeah, you two can shack up in the attic room." She grinned, squealing as she hugged him. She went out to get her boyfriend and his art stuff, and three changes of clothes. Though she'd fix that for him later. Xander waved a hand. "Attic, Piotr. It's got plenty of room and you can adjust the lights from the windows or we can add in lamps."

"Thank you, Xander. I know it sets a precedent."

Xander shrugged but grinned. "You two have been dating for over a year. If you wanted to move in together, I think that's fine. I moved in with Anya when we had been together for six months. I'm sure by now you know she snores and has a clothing habit." He sipped his coffee through a grin. "Go unpack and figure out what sort of lights we have to find you." He nodded, going up to do that.

The rest of the stuff got brought in by them in two more trips. Kara helped him move her stuff up there too. They definitely needed more rods to hang things from. And a few good lamps. The open roof beams made nice little nooks to hold artwork or clothes, as long as they weren't too long. Pipes to hang things on were easy enough to install on them. Yeah, this would be nice. It was bigger than Penny's apartment too.

Yeah, they could love living up here as long as it didn't get too cold in the winter.

***

Xander was talking to an officer when Weasel opened the door to the bar. He had to have seen it on the cameras. "No, Officer, the girls aren't allowed to drink. They can duck in here safely though. The girls hid here a few times, including when the house was attacked. They know the people who habitually inhabit this bar aren't going to bother them. I have friends here, and one of my girls actually married one who went here."

"We got a report that an eleven-year-old was here one night."

"That's one of my minis. She was running away from Mom's shithead boyfriend who tried to kill her a few weeks later." The officer winced. "Since her aunt wasn't home, she was running for the slayer house and felt she was being followed so she walked in there to break her trail. She got a lemonade while I was called to come get her. Which I would've done if she had thought to call from the Tower. Who told you about that if I can ask? Her mother was beaten pretty severely by that boyfriend. Her boyfriend should be in jail for all that mess."

"Her aunt, sir."

"Oh. Yeah, her aunt's uptight. No, Bethy wasn't drinking more than lemonade. Weasel, this guy here," he said with a head nod, "has made sure that the girls are safe if they come in. They can come in, destress while teasing and picking on some of the usual clients. They dance to the jukebox. They cheat people they arm wrestle who don't know any better." Xander shrugged. "The two times I've had to drink or cause my own apocalypse battle, I came and they kept me safe too. It's not a nice place and it's not a great, happy place but those of us who usually go here tend to be former military and the like."

The officer sighed but nodded. "I can see that, and I'd never say anything if a kid ducked into a bar to get help." He grimaced. "I'll report that back."

Xander grinned. "I'll talk to her aunt myself to make sure she knows Bethy was safe. There's a few places that're kinda rough but they'd never hurt one of the slayers."

"I get that. They have a hard job. Thank you, Harris."

Xander handed over a card. "If you get worried about the girls again, call me and I'll gladly help you figure it out. I know they're teenage girls who sometimes sneak out or steal from my wallet. I grounded the whole house six times in just over a month and had to get a social worker to help me move one back to Cleveland over that shit."

The officer smiled. "I would've spanked."

"We have social workers who pop up to protect the girls from their calling," Xander said dryly. "Though the social worker that night suggested it too." The officer walked off smiling. Xander looked at Weasel. "I'll talk with Bethy's aunt," he promised.

"Thanks. Was that the only reason?"

"No. He tried to ask me about anything changing hands I might've seen, like drugs." Xander shrugged. "I told him I haven't seen any and most of the guys I see are drunk, not high." He walked off. "Let me go talk to her. Be back in a bit about the rent stuff. Someone's missing."

"I can do that. Thanks, Xander."

"Welcome." Xander used the walk to Avengers tower to think. He got let up by Clint, who gave him an odd look in the elevator. Xander shook his head, going to look at Wanda. "You nearly got one of the best safe areas for the slayers to hide shut down because Bethy ran there to get away from being followed." Wanda glared at him. Xander stared back. "It's not ideal but the girls are *always* safe there and I know very well Weasel won't feed anyone underage liquor."

"She had a drink."

"Lemonade. He only gives the slayers who're under twenty lemonade and iced tea unless it's been a huge battle and then a few of the older girls have huge nerve problems and end up shaking in a corner. Those, he'll allow half a shot in their lemonade or iced tea to help them calm down and I can agree with that since it's so damn rare. Also, he's put his ass on the line to protect Bethy and the other girls in the past since he's got a safe haven spot in the back.

"Including a few other runaways someone found until they could get them to a social worker who could help them. Just because it's a dirty little bar with a lot of people like me and Clint doesn't mean it's a bad place." He looked at Bethy. "You, schoolwork?" he asked patiently. She winced. He mock looked at his watch then at her. "Isn't everything due next week?" She groaned but nodded. "You're how far behind?"

"Weeks," she complained.

"Um, yeah. And the person over that called me about you and Di's work both."

She huffed. "I'll cram tonight, Xander."

"Thank you. I'd hate to yell at you for slacking that hard and getting held back." She pouted but nodded. "Remember, you have to prepare for a long enough life to make me watch your grandkids be baptized. You can't do that if you don't pass eighth grade."

"I know," she sighed. "You nag really well."

Xander grinned. "I learned from Willow. Aren't you glad it's not her?"

"Very!" She got up and went to get her laptop to get back to school work.

Xander looked at Wanda again. "She's got about three hours of school stuff to do a day. I got asked if she had an excused absence but explained about the hell she's had this semester so they'll forgive her missing so many days, but everything is due next Wednesday or she'll get held back."

"I can make her do that. You do nag."

"Yes I do because I want what's best for her so she gets to grow up to a fantastic woman who does something great with her life. Even if she just becomes an accountant and never falls in for more than self protection. We insist all girls get a full education, and pay for college if she's willing and wants to go. We're downright picky about grades too. I ground for a week each for less than a C." Wanda winced. Xander nodded. "I treat for A's though. I'm hoping I get to wince as I buy her gift card for all A's."

"Doubt it," Bethy said as she came back. "B's maybe."

Xander looked at her. "Is that slacking? I want you to do the best you can. And if you totally fail a subject because you don't get it, that's a thing I can understand. Ask me about algebra after you pass yours. But if you're slacking and you get a C or below, you'll be grounded again."

She huffed but nodded. "I heard. Buffy doesn't do that."

He leaned closer to her. "Do I look like the dyed blonde woman who keeps dying and dates vampires?" he asked, staring at her.

"No," she said with a grin. "You're right, I need to do my homework. My mind is my best weapon." Xander grinned and nodded, straightening up. "Fine." Pepper Potts and Tony Stark came off the elevator. "He's here to nag that I'm not doing my homework and that Auntie Wanda turned in a safe spot for the slayers to hang out without drinking or dangers because I had to duck in to get away from being followed because she wasn't here."

"And what was the smarter idea?" Xander asked.

"To have the guards here call you while they kept me safe from creepy sorts," she sighed. She slumped, staring at him. "I'm twelve."

"Yes, but you act like you're fully grown. That's why you guys came back on Amtrak together without an adult."

"Point," she admitted.

"And you've done things that only bigger people should a number of times. Like calling a meeting in the park?"

"It was important."

"I could've found him and told him. So could your dad. Which wouldn't have put you in danger. Because two of the guys from that group that keeps stealing mutants were in the park too. He had to get around them and told me that night." She winced. "Yeah! Sense, common and otherwise, didn't come with the slayer download, Bethy, but it's time you inherited some from someone."

"Dad doesn't have sense either," she muttered, getting into her laptop.

"Hey, get an infusion from someone who does have some." He pointed at Pepper. Who hit him on the arm. He grinned at her. "I'm guessing you have some."

"I try," she agreed. "We can go over that sort of thinking once she's done her homework for the semester and taken any tests," she said with a smile for the young one.

Bethy nodded. "I know. And I'd hate to be grounded for slacking and bad grades." She pouted at Clint. "Can we still do archery practice?"

"Yup, you need the practice. Your aim sucks, kiddo."

She nodded. "I'm better with blunt weapons than crossbows and regular bows."

"Each slayer has a few weapons they're better at," Xander said dryly. "You can be great with kendo sticks or something but you still have to learn the others just in case you have to pick one up sometime."

"I know," she agreed, nodding along. "And it gets me away from English lit with girly, boring stories."

"Suck it up. You have those again in college," Tony quipped. "I had a whole semester of Jane Austen at MIT."

"Maybe I'll do a trade school then."

Xander shrugged. "If that's what you want, you'll let us know in your senior year and we'll help you put in applications. Meera's announced she wants to be a truck driver. Giles is kinda confused but he helped her fill out her application and made sure she finally got her regular license first."

"That's a neat thing," she admitted. "Traveling a lot." Her father sped in. "I have to do homework, Dad."

"I was wondering about that."

"Due by next Wednesday," Xander quipped. "We ground for bad grades or slacking bad grades. Anything below a C if she's not totally confused."

"I can agree with that," he said. "Why else is she pouting?"

"Her aunt called in a report about a safe bar that the girls on patrol can go hide in." Pietro rolled his eyes but scowled at his sister. "The one Bethy had to duck into because she thought she was being followed."

"I've seen that bar. It's not a nice, clean place but it is safe for the girls. I know they have a hidden area that the girls hid in when all that mess was shown about Xander."

"Yes we did," Bethy agreed. "We all hid in the cubbyhole so we did not have to hear Xander scream at the PTB or get to see anything on the news. When they quit showing stuff we got gathered by Brad to go nap with Bruno." She logged into her school program. "An error message."

Xander looked and typed in the code to reauthorize her. That worked and she could get into her work again. He grinned at Pietro. "I told them about all the hell she's had this semester so they're not counting her absences against her at this time."

"I can understand that. It's important."

"It's important for Di too."

"I'll check on her later," he agreed, looking smug. "I want all my children to graduate college."

"We pay for college," Xander quipped back with a grin for him. "Or trade school or whatever. Her big sister slayer that she talks to for advice and stuff just decided on truck driving."

"That's an interesting job," Pepper agreed. "You get to meet a lot of people. See a lot of places. And later on it can lead to driving a school bus or public transit I guess."

Xander nodded. "It's a steady career and she hates to be cooped up." He shrugged. "Her cat will like being in the truck too. It likes to sneak into the car and nap on her dashboard." He grinned. "She'll figure out her future and tell us before she graduates. Or she'll ask to take a few years off for patrol or just to travel maybe."

"I might like traveling," Bethy admitted. "I did when we had to travel before." She got back to her schoolwork. "What is that? I'm not in that math," she complained.

Xander looked then grinned at her. "You're in geometry, dear. That's your math." She groaned. "Then you should've played dumb." He shrugged and grinned at her. "Sucks but you're smart. Live up to it. Someday it may be your job to be the absolute senior slayer over all the others." She grimaced. "Yeah. Some day you could be Buffy."

"I'd hate to dye my hair or date vampires."

"Uh-huh."

"Oh, shit, I might be the senior," she agreed, thinking about it. "The local girls aren't strong enough to handle a tough thing."

"You'll all grow some of that," Clint assured her.

"Melanie won't be able to handle anything!"

"And there's a great college fund so the girls who can't patrol can do that instead," Xander reminded her. "Plus, girls don't just stay in their areas. If you were totally orphaned I would've put you in the Savannah house since a lot of the top slayers go through there for at least six weeks to learn from the Sergeant. She's made a lot of the top girls learn how to lead people. Instead of Buffy making speeches or me and Faith just showing up and being impressive. That way they learn how make battle plans and the like. You have some people who can teach you that."

Bethy stared up at him. "I'm seriously on the list to someday lead a house?"

"You're seriously on the list to lead my house. By then I'll probably have to retire from injuries. With Kara back in the house most of the time, she's senior with Penny retired. There's only three girls between you and Kara, Bethy. Half of the other girls won't make it to patrol because it's not in them to do that stuff.

"Now, two might do great helping Dawn with artifact work and guarding an area that might get demon interference. And I think a third would do good at something like that but more in security than working with artifacts." She grinned at him. "I've told them that. They've agreed that patrol creeps them out and sometimes gives them nightmares. So yeah, you need to study a lot. From a lot of people." He grinned. "Unless you totally can't stand patrol and stuff."

"Well, fuck," she said, getting swatted by her father. She looked at him. "Do you think I'll do good with that?"

"You've proven you can handle weird plans by nearly getting me kidnaped," he said dryly. He looked at Xander. "The other older girls?"

"They're mostly heading a house that they can someday lead, or emergency lead. With two exceptions because I'm about to yank on the house in Houston and separate that little pack of bitches that was picking on someone. Then I get to boot camp one." He grinned. "And the other two are going to Europe to deal with Sanya and Solaria." Clint shuddered at that set of slayers' names.

"The pack in Houston needs a firm hand in their hairs. Thankfully I sent down Gloria and she stomped them for a few days before coming back. They *so* deserved the traction one ended up in." He shook his head and took a deep breath. "They were bad enough that it made Buffy take an actual yoga class to calm down when she heard. Without Willow going with her. Just her by herself."

"Wow," Stark said. "That's very un Buffy."

"Yeah. Then she called them on the way back and screamed for two hours. Went over her minutes and Giles just handed her a new phone card without comment and asked where she thought they might work better. I suggested KiKi to go down there but she hates heat. I'm thinking one of my girls from Africa. The one in Tunis could handle it easily. She'd just have some problems for not being American." He shrugged. "Giles is thinking on that one." He looked at her. "Some day you might take my place."

"I need to learn more weapons," she said.

He grinned. "You will. It's part of you. And plenty around here to teach you about them."

"True. Thanks, Xander. I'll do my homework."

"Thank you." He looked at Wanda. "If you have a doubt about somewhere the girls end up, tell me and I'll tell you why I allow it or don't allow it. Including the mall. The girls aren't allowed in a mall for another two months thanks to the grounding." He grinned at Pepper. "Stole from my wallet again."

"It's a good thing to ground them from all fun things," she agreed. "They can use their mall gift cards for A's once they're free."

"In January," he agreed with a nod. "I offered to spank for it instead and they all ran away holding their butts because they know they don't want that."

"How much did they steal this time?" Clint asked.

"My whole damn paycheck. Again." Clint winced. "Yeah. Almost went lingerie shopping. Instead Kara and Penny got it back for me and took it grocery shopping."

"I'm not sure which would be more expensive," Pepper admitted, considering it.

"Groceries are six hundred a week," he told her. "Because they all eat like plowing oxen." Bethy snickered but nodded. He looked at Pietro again. "You need to have her blood checked. When they did it in Cleveland she was anemic. Our doc called to tell me to have it checked again."

"I can have someone do that. I want her in good health." He looked at his daughter, who was trying to shrink down. He grinned at Xander again. "We will make her do her homework."

"Thanks. I sent out the sparring schedule each Sunday night so she can fall in on her days." He punched him on the arm. "Also, saw the one that used to run around with you last night? He was all but crying about his divorce."

"Paul?" he asked quietly. Xander nodded. "I can call him. I didn't even know he married."

"Apparently she took him for a lot of things."

"Hmm. I hate women like that. I'll call him later. Thank you for letting us know."

"Welcome." He left, going back to the bar.

Clint looked at Wanda. "Sister Margaret's isn't a bad place. It's full of tough people who will protect the girls. Even the other night when Kara went in there wearing a fairly revealing outfit because she and Piotr had been out on Logan's bike, no one did more than stare. Well, one new guy tried to pinch but she knocked him out."

"Penny met Brad there," Bethy quipped. "Miss Buffy met two or three nice sorts there but they were too nice for her tastes apparently since she didn't keep them." She shrugged. "I beat a guy at arm wrestling when we had to go in there because someone tried to blow us up on the way back to the slayer house from the mall.

"He was so unhappy and told me he had to go back to the gym if a kid my age could do that. I patted him on the arm and told him being a slayer meant I was extra strong but he did okay. It took nearly ten minutes for me to beat him. So he was just tired." She went back to her homework again.

Wanda shook her head. "Why would you go there instead of somewhere more safe?" she demanded.

Bethy put her laptop aside to stare at her. "Because that is the most safe place we can be outside the slayer house. There's very few people in that bar that would harm any of us girls. Mostly because they're scared of Xander." Clint nodded that was true. "And Mister Weasel will ban them for life. It's only the very new people we have to watch out for there. Otherwise, the girls go in there to dance to the jukebox without worrying about having to bait vampires and they play some cards that's not kitten poker to win bra buying money and they flirt with some guys who they might like to date and who'd understand our stupid calling.

"That day, we were halfway back and the house was under attack too. It was there or renting a sudden hotel room to hide in, which we've done before but they don't like to rent to older teenage girls so we would've had to go to somewhere scummy. Or we could've went to a demon poker hall but they were farther away and they had attacked the car. Mister Weasel opened his hidden cubbyhole for us to hide in and told Xander we were there.

"When the attack on the house was done, Xander came to get us and we went to Canada for two days." She shrugged. "It's the safest place in the city for me really. Here gets attacked. The slayer house might get attacked again if the sorcerer guy gets pissy again. My house sure isn't safe even if Mom weren't in jail for the next six months.

"I know damn well I can go hide in there and they'll just hand me a glass of lemonade if I pay for it and then go back into hiding. The only other really safe place is one of the mutant kids sanctuaries and that's run by the demonic mafia. They won't touch a young slayer, but I'm getting closer to patrol age so they'd at least give me dirty looks because some day I might have to go after them for doing bad things. Which did you want me to go hide in?"

"I...you could have brought them here."

"Eighteen blocks to run," Bethy shot back. "You guys were out of town. Do you trust the guard guys that way?"

"No," she decided after thinking about it. "There's no safer place?"

"I'm not going to lead the bad guys who're trying to hurt us anywhere near a group of people that might get hurt too. That sort won't care if we're in a mall. Why would I do that to a bunch of innocent people?"

"I had not thought of that."

"Hmm." She stared at her. "I have to be socially responsible and responsible for my own safety and if the other slayers are with me, their safety too. Xander's right, I'm about the only one in my age group in this area that could someday be a lead slayer because I can look out for them and I can lead them. I already have a lot of those skills. I may not ever get to the level that Mr. Logan has with leading the mutant teams but I can do a pretty good job of it."

"I think you'll do a great job, sweetheart," Pepper said, mostly to calm her down. Bethy grinned at her. "Do you get special training for that?"

"Tactics, battle plans, budgeting so I can run the house and not bankrupt the Council. Which explains a lot about some of my studies. They're really sneaky. Though I really don't want to take the mandatory medic classes next year." She pouted at her father.

"I can see them being mandatory," he agreed. "So you can help yourself or others if you must."

"There's emergency rooms," Wanda complained.

"Which won't treat us," Bethy shot back. "They treat us like they do mutant kids. Very few of them will treat a slayer for more than life threatening stuff they're required to do before sending us to the demon hospital in Queens. Or the bigger clinic in Brooklyn." She curled up some to get comfortable. "Hell, we're really lucky the demon healers will treat us. They didn't used to before a peace treaty thing that Xander did up here and Buffy and Faith did in Cleveland."

She shrugged again, grimacing at the end. "It sucks but only two ER's in this city will treat a slayer or a mutant and both are on the edges of the city. Columbia's ER actually tried to lie about the condition of a mutant girl who had been mugged and beaten nearly to death. They tried to evict her without sending her on and she coded there in the hallway when they were trying to shove her out. Which she's suing them for I heard. Thankfully a nurse handled it when the doctors got all horrified. There's probably been a few deaths thanks to that. We all hate it but we do what we can to protect them too."

"Isn't that an adult job?" her father asked.

"If it happens at the mixed schools they have to mostly protect themselves, Dad. Not like the NYPD is going to show up. Your team or the X-Men won't show up for militant yahoos with guns. If anyone's in the area they might fall in to help the kids but if not, then it's up to the school and the kids in it. Xander helped by putting in safe areas in each classroom in my old school.

"All the minis in the school knew where the slayer weapons trunk was too in case we needed it for something less usual than humans. We did have that one vampire menace one day that snuck in overnight." She grimaced with a sucking noise. "So damn gross when they got staked by Merry." She looked at him. "The same guys that hate you hate us too. Maybe doubly because we're girls."

"We'd fall in if they were attacking a school," Clint said.

"If you're around," Bethy said dryly. "The last time you guys were on your way to DC for a battle. Thankfully Mr. Cable was nearby. Mr. Cable's pretty badass. He scared the militant yahoos and they ran for their lives like he was going to burn them alive in their undies. I need to know how to do that look he has so they run from me too." Her father hugged her. "Some day I'll need it."

"You don't have to." He stared at her. "You don't have to lead the girls."

"No but if I have the skills and it doesn't bother me, I should use them. If I totally can't handle patrols and stuff then I'll probably fall back to training or admin stuff. Buffy has mostly outside battles. I can do that stuff. By then she'll probably be dead. Faith too." Her father slumped, staring at her. "Shit happens, Dad, and sometimes we gotta bring the TP. I bring both Cottonelle and Charmin since I'm so great." She kissed him on the nose. "Can you explain geometry?"

"I can, kiddo," Stark said, waving a hand. She got her laptop and went to get help. He looked at Pietro. "Steve probably feels the same way."

"Yes he does," Sam agreed from where he had snuck in. "Though she's too young to know whether or not she can handle a battle."

She looked around Pepper's hip at him. "Then you go get rid of all the militant yahoos who made sure I know I can handle an emergency if I have to." Sam moaned. "Not like I haven't had to evacuate my sibs a few times thanks to all that stuff. And then myself. And I now realize that Sarah has to be one of the first out because people come for the cutely innocent and second-youngest slayer." She went back to her homework with his help. "Is that X?" she asked with a point.

Tony shook his head, grabbing the paper Clint handed over with a pen to write out the method of solving those. "It's two."

She frowned. "Where did the X go?" He pointed. "That totally blows."

"Yup, but geometry is a natural math about natural things," Tony quipped. "Useful in building things too."

She looked up. "Thankfully that's Xander's job, not mine." He grinned, ruffling her hair. She straightened it out as she did the next problem to make sure she had it. He patted her and let her go to the table to work on it.

"Thinking about it, the groups that have attacked the slayers aren't the same group," Clint said. "There's been six groups in nine attacks."

"Seven in ten," Bethy corrected. "There was the magic guy thing."

"Point. Only four of those groups were in any way related and as far as anyone could tell they weren't communicating together. They just had similar ideology."

Stark blinked as he considered that. "I didn't realize that. Most of the time they get captured afterward."

"Or Xander scares the poop outta them," Bethy agreed with a grin for her laptop.

"Or that," Clint agreed. "His battle rage step of his temper is pretty damn scary." Sam Wilson blinked at him. "It is. He's a great guy until you come after the girls or make him defend the crapheads we have to deal with later on today. Then he becomes a warrior that would do Thor's people proud probably. I saw him back in Africa and it was downright nasty during one of those battles. One that wasn't shown on the news." Bethy grimaced at him. "I'm not mentioning details, kiddo. I'd hate to puke for dinner."

"We don't get details but if we're older and want to know how to beat something a lot of the battles were filmed for our later education. Probably after this current generation is all gone so kids like Bruno can learn from it." She smirked at him. "We can learn directly from Xander himself."

"That's true and it's always nicer," Clint agreed. "Or you could learn with us. Most of us have been in a lot of battles."

"I know, and I will when I get to that point. I have a few years before I learn more than self defense and minor categories of information of things that might come for me at my age." She shrugged but grinned at him. "I have no idea why booger head demons like virgins but they seem to and they like virgin slayers a lot more than regular ones. Meera had to duck away from two of them in heat last month. She warned me about them so I looked them up." She went back to her math work.

"Booger heads...." Pepper said, considering it. Clint got into their copy of the identification manual and handed it over. "Oh, it's literal. Huh." She looked at the pages around it. "That one winds what around its head?" she muttered. "Eww!"

"That's their version of marking their spots to draw attention," Bethy said dryly. "We all agreed it was icky and if we saw them we could run the other way. They wouldn't hurt us or anything but their ickiness does not come out of clothes no matter what you use. Even Miss Joyce's laundry secrets can't get that stuff out of clothes. And one liked to flirt with Faith the last time she was up here so she warned us that they're flirty but wouldn't hurt us."

Pietro took the book to look at and grimaced. "That's disgusting," he agreed, handing it to Sam. "There's some very interesting species."

Bethy smirked at him. "At least I don't drawn hell gods like Miss Buffy does or Xander does them and hell goddesses. Willow told us that there were nineteen that hit on him in Africa. She was moaning about another one showing up with flowers to woo one of the other girls and said that Xander would have appreciated the flowers too because they had a use in potions." She ducked her head, smiling because her father looked highly upset at that thought.

Pietro looked at Clint. "Can we stop that gift?"

"I have no idea. Don't have it myself," he said dryly, smirking at him. "Two of them showed up last week to double date with Xander. They were willing to share and help the girls but hated that Penny's pregnant and that Bruno came into being. They thought the slayers would be like holy priestesses. So they decided not to fully date Xander. Which sucks for Xander because he could *really* use a date."

"Kara heard from Penny that Xander gave Mr. Weasel a list," Beth quipped. "You can ask to see if you can find any of them since they sometimes give us weapons." She grinned at him.

"I'll see if I can get the list so we can route any of them this way. You girls could use more weapons. And Xander could really use a date." She got up to hug him then trudged back to her homework.

"Is it wise to encourage that?" Sam asked.

"Not like nice people like Xander that way," Stark told him. "If they're not dangerous and deadly, none of them like him in that special boyfriend or girlfriend way. I know there's a betting pool about him and Deadpool?" he asked Clint.

Clint shook his head. "They might but nope. They're not compatible in bed. They like different things and Xander doesn't have a self healing talent. Now, napping on? Yeah. They have fallen asleep while watching tv with the girls."

"Deadpool gives great hugs," Bethy quipped. "Just hard enough to be nice. Mr. Cable too but I heard he used to have a kid in the future." She clicked on the answer for the problem she was working on and pouted. "But that's the right answer!" she complained, clicking it again.

Tony got up to look and frowned. "That is the right answer." He sent a message to the teacher through the system and she kept going. "I like that home schooling system. It's challenging."

"Xander took six months to pick which one he wanted the girls to use. The school in Cleveland wanted one that was super easy. Xander wanted better for the girls so they use a harder one that has a high emphasis on reading skills and math with some science for those who like it."

"It helps because I suck at it," Bethy complained to the laptop. "I *totally* suck at science stuff. I think sometimes it explodes just to get away from me."

Clint and Stark shared a grin. They had seen her doing that in the labs one day last week.

"We can't be good at everything," Wanda reminded her. "But you will at least try your best."

"Of course I do." Bethy looked over. "I hate being grounded. I can't play with the other girls outside sparring practice and we can't do anything fun like go play in the park." She got back to it with a sigh. "Another wrong problem." She sent a note to the teacher on that one too, who sent back what it should be. "That makes no sense! It's not eighteen!" she complained.

Tony came back to look at it. "That's about the order you do things." He wrote that out for her. "Though the answer's actually nineteen." He sent that to the teacher, who got huffy about having taught math for years. So he introduced himself and did the problem in the email. She sighed and agreed it was wrong and she'd correct them both. He went back to lounging for now.

"Could be worse. It could be calculus," Clint quipped when Bethy sighed the next time. "That's all the lower stuff plus new math on top of it."

"No thank you! Never ever please!" She got into her english system instead. At least it was more fun. Outside the fact they were reading something girly and frilly. "Why are we reading a romance novel!" she complained, shoving it aside. "I don't want to know about that stuff! Xander said pirates were meaner than the ones on the movies and they all needed a bath." She pouted. "This teacher sucks."

Pepper got up to look this time. "That is a romance novel." Bethy nodded, letting her have the laptop to read over. "Oh, that is. Why is she making you read that trash?"

"Because we've had to read a lot of girly stuff that's boring." Bethy shrugged. "I don't know why beyond that. It's that or some classical lit thingy that had to be translated from French." She pulled that up. "I didn't like that one any better."

Pepper read the title, then sighed. "That's probably because it's kind of porn in literature form, Bethy." She hugged her around the head. "Read the romance novel and then move on." Bethy grumbled but did that and went back to her reading assignment. The book wasn't the least bit interesting but she could suffer through it to get to something better and less girly. Pepper smiled at Tony, who grinned back. "DeSade."

"Fuck no," he said firmly. "That's...she's only in eighth grade!" He took the laptop to email that teacher that note and then handed it back. "I realize it's to make you think about society and the ways we deal with things, but way too sexual for someone her age."

"I've never even heard of it," Wanda admitted, frowning at them. She looked it up online and blushed. "Oh." She let Pietro see it. And he sent a note to Xander, who said he had complained to the teacher. "Oh, they get an edited version to teach them to think critically about societal expectations and the like. But it is rated at PG-13."

Bethy looked over. "You hate to let me watch movies that have that rating too." She went back to her reading assignment, answering the questions as she went. "If I really do all this today, I'll only have an essay to write," she mumbled to herself. "For history class. I can use the house's books for that." She made herself notes and went back to the boring reading section. "Eww! Pirates don't kidnap girls to kiss them! Gross!"

"Just keep thinking that way please," Pietro said. "Is that one edited?" Pepper looked then nodded. "Good!"

Clint was grinning. "Some girls are reading those on their own at her age."

"Which is disturbing," Wanda said. "They're also the hoochy things you see in the clubs."

"Hey!" Bethy complained. "Slayers in the US and Europe have to be able to club hunt. It's how we get a lot of vampires who think we're nibbles." She scowled at her aunt. "Some day I'll have to learn how to dance too." She got back to it. "In Africa there's not that many clubs. The Asian girls don't have that many either. The ones in Brazil go to Carnivale each year." She considered it. "With Xander a few times. They said it's a huge street party and a lot of biting going on." She shrugged and got back to her reading assignment.

Clint nodded. "The girls who are stationed in cities where they're clubbing do often hunt that way because it's easier and a bit safer. Not like you can go wandering around our cemeteries with how large they are. That data's gathered the day before patrol and mapped out for the route."

"Wow," Wanda said, shaking her head. "I didn't even think of that need."

"The main cemetery's a few miles wide," Bethy said as she read. "We commonly end up in two sections and have a map of those sections so we can figure out our routes based on what the ME's office sends us. Then we go club hunting up here. And sometimes frat party hunting because there's a few in the city that're hella stupid about that. Xander said he had to save a frat house he didn't really want to save last year because about half of them had been turned and showed up to party with the rest and half the campus." She looked over. "He doesn't like frat parties and it shows but he still saved them from their own stupid." She went back to reading.

Clint grinned. "I heard him complaining about that. Sixteen vamps from turned frat brothers in two frats thanks to being too drunk at a sorority party during pledge week. If the girls and Xander didn't step in they could've turned half the frat and sorority kids on the campus, and some from nearby smaller campuses that shared the house."

"Just what the world needs," Stark quipped. "Vampire frat boys and sorority sisters." He rolled his eyes and shook his head. Natasha came off the elevator splattered in blood, making Clint hop up to check on her. "Need the infirmary?" Tony demanded, getting up.

She flapped a hand. "The idiots are outside and threw it on me for daring to protect people. Apparently it's the blood of innocents we've killed during emergencies."

Wanda winced because some of that was on her shoulders. "Can we send them off?"

Bethy looked over at her. "We need to make sure the blood wasn't mixed with something, Auntie Wanda. Not like bad guys don't have crappy plans." Clint walked Natasha off to get her checked over. She grimaced but sent an email to Xander then got back to her assignments. At least this reading section was only about fifteen pages long.

***

Xander went to find his new protege, who was getting mad at something. Or a whole group of someones that he was facing off against. He swatted him on the head to distract him. "C'mon." Russell stared at him. "Yes, you. Halfrek said to come help you by turning you into me."

"Who're you?" he demanded, pulling up fire.

Xander grinned. "The head watcher. The guy you were just blaming for keeping Deadpool too busy to answer you." He stared at him. "So, c'mon." The kid tried to fry him and Xander smacked him down. "Nope. Not allowed. You have to have manners, Russell. Even I have to have manners sometimes."

"Xander," Logan said.

Xander held up a hand. "Halfrek sent me." He stared at the kid. "C'mon, let's go."

"I don't need...." Xander hauled him up and walked him off. "Hey, kidnaping!"

"It's protecting you from your own stupid, kid. It really is. Because there were three girls there who could take you out." He looked at him. "Beyond that, it's clear that the supportive approach they use here isn't working yet. Therefore you're going to be my protege for the next six months. Then if you want, and they let you, you can come back here." He stared at him. "On the way to the slayer house we're going to have a talk about rules. Because I don't want you doing that shit around my girls. They have enough stress without yours. Get in the car." He pointed. "You can even have Deadpool walk you through your first sparring lesson with the girls, kiddo."

"I'm not that young!"

"Dude, I'm old enough to be your dad. Get in the car." He pointed again. Russell crossed his arms over his chest but Remy came to help him. "Thanks. Halfrek said he was going to have a breaking moment," he said quietly.

Remy nodded. "We've seen a few of those. Better to get him helped now." He got into the car with Russell and they went back to the slayer house with Xander explaining the few rules Russell would have to live by. And the punishments if he didn't. Russell snorted but Xander could bully even the most unruly girls into better behavior. He could handle one boy who was like he was, only he had fire skills.

Deadpool got them when they got there and walked Russell off to talk to him. He had been too busy to help the kid and Russell had blamed that on Xander. So now Xander was going to show him how to handle things like a real guy. Remy came in to spar with the girls. They enjoyed teasing him about his overcoat but they had to learn how to duck thrown things and magical explosives, which he could mimic at a lighter level. It was good for everyone.

Colossus walked in with Russell and Wade still talking. "Xander."

Xander looked over from helping one of the tiny minis. "Halfrek."

"Ah!" He nodded and smiled at Russell. "It is a good thing when the Demon over Lost Childhoods takes an interesting in your life. It means you can be destined for something good. Or something very evil." He patted the boy on the head. "Let me introduce you to the girls." He walked him over to introduce him to the girls in his age group. Deadpool got some of the older girls to spar with, helping Remy's lessons. Xander went back to helping the tiny minis. They could handle putting Russell in a room in a bit. Even if Cable would scowl about him doing this instead. Russell knew a better deal when he spotted it. It wasn't going to be easy to reassociate Russell with normal human things but he could handle it. Before his only option was confinement.

TBC....
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