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Death of a 'Hero'

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Death of a 'Hero'

The judge looked at the file on the young idiot hero who had done the unthinkable. He had taken out a gathering of villains. Somehow. No one was fully sure how but he had managed it and had survived so far. Now...the judge wasn't so sure the kid wasn't mentally unstable from it. He looked at the defense attorney. "I want him to be evaluated for mental health," he said calmly.

"I don't think he's snapped, Your Honor."

"I doubt that. He seems very pleased."

"Well, it was his stated objective in life to take down at least one of those villains."

"Yes, but there's legal ways and then there's extrajudicial ways of handling those things. He didn't take down just one. He took out twenty-four. Yet doesn't seem to be phased by it. I'd like him evaluated and then I'd like him to talk to some senior hero sorts about what happened. They do not have to tell us what they talk about, but I want their evaluation of him as a wannabe hero and as a non-threat to society."

"I can arrange that," the defense attorney said with a nod, making a note. "Does the prosecution want to sit in on that meeting?" he asked that lawyer.

"No but I'd like him to talk to more than one of the elder heros. Including some non-traditional ones. Including perhaps one of the people from those girls who have recently come into the open. Apparently they've been handling things since writing started. They may have different standards to evaluate him on."

"I don't disagree with that idea," the judge said, looking at the defense attorney, who made another note with a nod. "Thank you. I look forward to seeing those reports on how they are."

"Within a few weeks if I can," the defense attorney said. "I'll let you know the timetable we manage, Your Honor."

"That's reasonable." The prosecutor nodded at that time table. "Any other motions?"

"I'd like to have him moved to solitary," the prosecutor said.

"He's done nothing to warrant that," the defense attorney said.

"The other prisoners are looking to make their names by taking him out," the prosecutor said. "He's in danger. He can't fight them all."

The defense attorney sighed but nodded. "I would not be against a more confined or exclusive confinement to protect my client's safety. Since you wanted him evaluated, can he go to a hospital?"

"The only one that has that level of security is Arkham," the prosecutor sighed. "Unfortunately."

"Not true," the judge said. "There's two that are just as stiff, and they don't have a history of people escaping every few weeks. One's relatively nearby so that would be a reasonable location." He wrote out the order for the prosecutor. "Tell him why," he told the defense attorney. "So he doesn't cause problems and get into more trouble."

"Yes, Your Honor. Today." He stood up. "I may have a motion or two after those evaluations."

"I figured you would," he agreed dryly, smiling at him. "Most of you defense guys do." The guy nodded and left. The prosecutor left after him.


The Defense attorney walked up to someone at a funeral for one of the villains. They were moving to the graveside part of the service from the memorial part. "Sir, I need a moment," he said quietly. "Please."

The hero looked at him. "Why? I'm a reporter."

"Sir, I'm not stupid," he said quietly. "The one who caused...this is under evaluation and the judge has asked that someone of your caliber evaluate him for his continued ability to be not a danger to the rest of humanity. He doesn't want to know what you talk about but your impressions of him and his levels of sanity and threats to normals."

"I can see why," he agreed. "I'll look up a few heros to ask them. Where is your client?"

"The Brandlin Institute. He got moved last night for his own safety and for a psychological evaluation."

"That's probably a very good idea. I know a few heros I get to make quotes for stories." He walked off considering that idea. Yeah, he wanted to know if that kid was sane too. So did a few others he knew about. He'd talk to them that night.


The young hero sneered at the man coming in. "Another hero?" he asked.

"No." He sat down, staring at him. "Not most of the time. I've had to do a few big things."

"A psychologist?"

The older guy grinned, shaking his head. "You wish." He stared at him. "So... I've read the other reports. I know why they asked one of us to come too. Most heros are idealistic. A few of them are kind of messed up on top of that. Instead, I work with the slayers." The hero flinched at that.

He stared at him. "I'm a normal guy who jumped in because one little girl shouldn't do it on her own." He leaned on the table. "So let's talk about your idea and what you did, kid. I want to know why you decided to go lethal around normals."

"They were all villains!"

"The wait staff were?" he asked. "The reporters there? The girlfriends and wives were?" The guy blinked hard. Xander stared at him. "You killed twenty-four people who some would classify as villains. Though a few were just mildly annoying with ideas that're weird. I find a few heros fall into that category too." He stared the guy down. "You also killed another thirty normal people. And injured over a hundred. Just normal, average, doing their job people. Did you even consider their inclusion?"

"I only wanted that one that killed my mother!"

"I get that. I helped get the vampire that took out my lifeline, who I had known since I was a toddler." He shrugged. "Did I include others? No. So explain to me how you decided on that plan." He leaned back, staring at the kid again. And he was a kid. He was barely above a teenager.

"I was only going to get that one guy. It was only meant to get him."

"And you didn't decide to take him on one-on-one? Work against him in a less public place?"

"No one would care that the other villains got hurt!"

"Except for the thirty non-villains that died and the other hundred that got sick," Xander shot back. "You potentially could've killed *thousands* of people to get one person. Thankfully one of those villains knew what was going on and called it in to save the rest of the civilians and started the evac that was needed to try to save the ones in there with them." He tipped his head slightly. "So what gives with that plan?"

"I couldn't get him at his office. Or on the way or anything."

"Is that because you lack skills?"

"He has a fleet of cars. He changes randomly."

"Okay, and that's solved by watching him leave and travel," he said dryly. "Maybe using some artillery on a private plane if he's traveling that way." The guy slumped. "Then you would've only killed the other staff on the plane. Hell, I could've done it and made it look like a regular plane crash until they ripped things apart. So why there?"

"It was the most accessible he'd be for months."

"Because it was a public event." Xander nodded. "You still went for collateral damage."

"It wasn't intentional," he snorted.

Xander raised an eyebrow, shaking his head slowly. "That still hasn't sank in yet." He pulled an envelope out of his overshirt pocket, laying pictures out in front of him. "You killed them too, dude." The guy looked then looked away, shuddering. "Also, you went in like an oil company to rip apart an ecosystem." He stared at him. "If there's no villains, then you're not necessary and you're just a threat to normals. You've proven you don't care."

"There's always another one."

"Half of the ones you consider a villain were just smart people with ideas that're a bit wacky. Mr. Freeze was there and he went bad to help his research to fix his wife. He wasn't known to kill." The guy slumped. "The Riddler, not known to kill. Just had a lot of wacky ideas." The guy shuddered. "So what are you going to do now to get your fix?"


"Dude, the handling of a problem gives you a high," he said dryly. "We all get it. I get it after I help stop an invasion. After I save someone from a neck biting fiend. That whole feeling at the end, that's addictive. So how are you going to get that fix?"

"I..." He swallowed. "There's always another evil one."

"Is there?"

"Yes! Two have tried to take their places!"

"They're called heirs. They inherited things. That doesn't make them evil." The guy looked confused. "Really. Just because they you inherit things doesn't make you evil. Even Luthor's heir isn't necessarily evil. Though she is a bit leaning that way. She'll do enough good in the world to make up for her uncle's bad reputation." He shifted to cross his feet. "So how are you going to get that fix?"

"I...there's lower level ones."

"Yes and they don't deserve to be killed either."

"You think you should just arrest them?" he sneered.

"Some guy mugging ladies in a park isn't due for a death sentence for it. The guy who holds up a convenience store isn't due for a death sentence." He stared at the guy. "The really good drag queen going around protesting things by standing up for her rights and the rights of others isn't due for a death sentence even though your prior writings show that you want them to die." He stared at the kid again, making him look away. "So how are you going to get that fix?"


"Yes. Like there's sharks in the ocean who eat tinier fish and dolphins that fight them but they eat tinier fish. There's an ecosystem to that lifestyle. A lot of the supposed heros haven't figured that out yet. Or that they're kind of creating more mental hell for themselves and yet still not winning. Even if you win a battle that doesn't mean you're winning the war.

"Luthor still got to buy companies to sell off if he wanted. The ones who got fired were probably mad enough to take him out and yet didn't. The victims of the others probably wanted to take out the one that made them a victim but didn't. You want to be a great white but you're really just a little nurse shark. Which don't eat people."

"I'm a great white!" He got up to pace. "The good guys will always win."

"No they don't and they shouldn't. Then you get things like the Inquisitions. Too much good is as bad for humanity as too much bad. It took me years to see that. I don't want true neutrality like the Powers That Be but yeah, there's got to be some balance to nature. There's predators, there's prey."

The guy was glaring at him. "Are you sure you're not a villain?"

Xander took out his phone to show a video. "Yet there I am helping stop an invasion to end humanity." The guy shuddered and backed away from him. Xander put his phone back into his pocket. "Humans are still animals underneath the hood." He got comfortable. "So, how did it feel to kill more people than most serial killers, kid?"

"I didn't mean to do that!"

"Uh-huh. So you clearly can't make good battle plans since that one sucked." The guy tried to hit him so Xander knocked him down. He stared down at him. "You aren't a hero, dude. You want to be a hero. You're like the fireman that joins the fire department to get attention and ends up starting fires." The guy whined but shook his head. "Yeah. This gets you attention and you decided this was the easiest way to get it. So how did killing thirty people feel?"

The guy got up and huffed off. "I'm done."

Xander nodded at the guard. "He needs a shrink worse than I ever have. Or Batman does." He left, going to hand over the tape and a report. He looked at the judge. "He's not a hero."

"I don't need to know what you talked about."

"Yes you do. He likes the thrill of the capture, of the kill. If he has to he'll take out muggers. He noted the heirs that inherited things." The judge nodded once, taking the tape to listen to. Then he moaned. "Exactly. If he was one of my slayers I'd sink him into a mental health hole and keep him there until he was straightened out.

"Or permanently because he's going to keep being a danger to everyone." He nodded. "I hope they can keep him confined." He left to go tell his bosses about that one. Guys like that would hate competition doing good things and might come after the slayers.

The judge called in both lawyers. "I got a report and tape from Mr. Harris of the Council."

"I asked for a senior watcher," the prosecutor said with a grimace.

"That's the guy that's training the girls overseas," the defense attorney said with a sigh as he sat down. "I did not watch them." The judge ran the tape for them. The two lawyers looked at each other then nodded. "I'm going to move to have him declared insane," he decided. "My client will not like it and will fight me on it."

The prosecutor considered it. "Did the facility's people watch all the interviews?"

"Yes, and they suggested a few of the heros get some mental help as well," the judge said, handing over their report. "That's from the first two they witnessed."

They went over it. "I'll offer life in a mental facility," the prosecutor offered. "He clearly needs it."

"I have to talk to him but I doubt he'll want to take it. He might fire me and go to another lawyer."

The judge nodded. "He could," he agreed. "You're beholden to the law to do the best for your client that you legally can."

"I know." He stood up. "Let me talk to the facility's manager and then my client, Your Honor." He went to talk to him. He found the head psychologist waiting on him out in the courtyard. "You knew I'd be coming?"

He smiled and nodded. "Of course you were coming. That last interview was...brutally honest."

He sat down on the same bench. "The prosecutor thinks he should be permanently confined."

The shrink nodded. "Yes he should. Someone's going to have to take him out to stop him taking out civilians someday. Probably soon."

The lawyer considered it. "Is here a good choice?"

"Son, I trained Dr. Quinzel in her doctorate in psychology." He looked at him. "This guy, he's closer to her boyfriend than her. He has the same mental status as I put the Joker." The lawyer shuddered. "I watched the other ones. Even the ones who're more vengeance oriented thought he had went too far.

"Batman because he killed. Two of his trainees because he went after them in public and did collateral damage. Hell, I asked Quinn herself about it to see her take on it. She'd know psychos better than most anyone." He smirked a bit. "She asked if he was hiding white pancake makeup and walked off shuddering about her ex's near twin."

"So he's definitely a danger."

"Yes, he is." He nodded. "That last one was a bit different. Where was he from?"

"The slayers." He looked at him. "He's the guy who trains the girls overseas."

"Interesting. He had an interesting take on life. Compared it to an ecosystem in nature with predators and prey. I wonder how he'd take Batman."

"Probably as a predator that preys on other predators." He stood up. "Let me talk to him."

"Oh, I'm going with you to explain some harsh realities." He smiled. "The last guy was right. He's going to have to find a way to get his fix from the high he created. He hated to look at the pictures of his victims but not that much. It didn't disgust him by any means." He stood up and walked him down to the same interview room. The prisoner was brought in. "Son, we've gotten reports from all those heros."

"So I can get out of here?" he asked.

"Hell. No," the shrink said dryly. "I asked some of the lighter level villains I know as well, ones who have no problem killing others if they have to." He smirked a bit. "They said you're more psycho than the Joker. Plus you won't last too long before you take out someone else on purpose. Before someone attacks you to get the guy who took out so many villains to make their own names in the underground. Or before someone has to take you out to spare civilians."

"I don't want to hurt civilians!"

"But you did a great job of it," his lawyer noted. "The Prosecutor offered confinement here or somewhere like here until they consider you well, which would probably be a lifetime sentence by the reports given over."

"They're just jealous I got their nemesis before they did," he sneered.

"Doubt it." The lawyer let him read the copy of those reports he had. "They all thought you had went too far. That you hadn't cared about the civilian casualties. They all think you're snapped and a danger to everyone. Villains think you're a legal target because you took out so many civilians."

"Not their own type?"

"No. They know the rules of the life," the head shrink said. "They know they could die doing their things. The same as heros do."

"I always win."

"You're not winning," the shrink said. "You lost a lot, including your mind, when you decided on that course and didn't care about anyone else who was there."

"They chose to work there."

"To work at a hotel? Does the busboy that you killed decide who throws shindigs at that hotel?" The guy shrank away from him, looking disgusted. "There is the option of a trial and then regular jail. Which means you're going to be locked up with people who want to kill you to make their own reputations. You probably won't make it more than a few months," the shrink said, sounding honest.

"The ones you missed will show up in gen pop to get you. Even in a supermax there's ways to get another prisoner. The ones you took out were the lighter end of villains. Nothing on the level of the horror that is the Joker." The guy winced at that. "And I doubt he wouldn't be the first in line to get to you as you took out a few of his henchmen."

The shrink nodded. "The current deal is a good one. You can have therapy until you realize why you did the wrong thing trying to do the right thing. It may take you years though."

"If I get cured do I get out?"

The lawyer shook his head. "They asked for lifetime confinement. The Prosecutor doesn't think you'll make it very long to be honest."

"Hmm." The shrink laughed. "True. Neither do we." He stared at the guy.

The lawyer looked him. "Oh, shit," he said, realizing what was going on.

The shrink winked at him. "I really did ask Harl about him. Let her see all the interviews with her *team*," he said dryly. "She was very, very worried about this guy's mental state. Said he needed more help that she did. Which...says something coming from Dr. Harleen Quinzel." He looked at the hero again then smiled.

"Boo," he said quietly. The hero tried to attack him so he beat him pretty badly. Then he stood up with a grin. A very trademarked grin. "That felt good. It felt real good." He smiled. "Take the deal, kid. You won't make it in jail. And make out a will so people know who you want to inherit your things." He strolled off.

The lawyer looked at a guard. "That's the Joker."

"We figured that out earlier and put it online," the guard said with a nod. "The head shrink is in traction but he didn't hurt him too much to take his place. We were all happy with that."

"He trained Harleen," the Joker called back. "She asked that I be nice to him."

"Thank you for that, sir." The guard waved then called in help for the victim. "I don't think him staying is going to be a problem for a few weeks."

The lawyer nodded, looking at his client. "Do you want to take that deal offered of lifetime imprisonment in a mental institution? Do you want me to counter?"

"We have to get him," he moaned, trying to get up.

"Kid, you've got broken bones. Stay down," the lawyer ordered. "You won't get that villain. Hell, no one can get that guy and keep him down. Maybe the slayer guy could but most of them, nope." The hero slumped and whined when the medics came to get him to the infirmary. "The Joker beat him pretty badly."

"We can see that," one said with a nod. "We may have to send him to an ER."

"Under security please," the lawyer said. "Just for his own safety." They nodded, taking him off to be examined then sent to the local ER for x-rays and casts. And drugs.


The Joker walked past a looming shadow that night. "Harley wanted me to not take the brat of a wannabe villain out. So he's just very injured." He smirked. "I was feeling *nice* since he made me so much work." He strolled past again. "You should've seen that slayer guy going after his mental state."

"Is that why he's in the hospital?" Red Hood asked after him. He had been specifically asked to attend, as a mind fuck on the Joker's happiness scale, this neutral meeting. No one had wanted him to show up but the others couldn't pretend to be him so they were stuck. Listening to him of course, with open comm line and a few others in the same park watching his back.

"Sure is." He grinned as he disappeared into the foggy night.

"Great." He called that in. He had wondered why a truce meeting had been called for this usually foggy park. Now he knew.

Harley Quinn roller skated in another direction after avoiding her ex-boyfriend before she tried to punch him or something weird like kissed him. She paused to wink at him. "The team is watching that kid. If he steps out of line, one of the Squad will get him, Hood." She grinned. "And he won't be joining the squad. Even that horrible cunt can't find a use for that guy.

"She even sent down orders that if we caught him out and about he was to be taken out at all costs." She shrugged, moving off backwards now as she waved. "Ain't nobody like that guy's odds. Even bookies won't bet he'll make it another two years." She spun around and bladed off again.

Red Hood called that in as well. Bruce was groaning at that information.

Harley came back to pause in front of him. "Tell Bats not to help the slayers. They could use it but they do have to *end* their baddies, not send them to jail. I don't think he could handle that mentally. And he'd probably freak out at the vampires thinking he was gloomy." She rolled off again. "Toodles. Go be safe, kiddo. The guys are watching Pookie too hard to ever come back tonight. And he knows it."

"Thank you, Miss Quinn." He went back to tell the others. Bruce agreed, he was not cut out for that sort of battle. He'd help in major things but nightly patrols he'd never want to handle. Superman had said the same thing when he had learned about them. The video of one of their battles had made Bruce clench his bowels so tightly he had to use laxatives to fix it.

They hadn't let the younger Robins and former Robins see that battle at all so they had snuck it. He walked into the manor, taking his hood off. "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman said to not go help the slayers for regular things, that it's outside your usual methods and you'd pout about the vampires calling you gloomy." He sat down. "The Joker said he was being *nice* when he beat that guy."

"He was. He's alive," Bruce said quietly. "All right. Anything else?"

"Harley said the bookies weren't even taking odds for over two year's survival."

Bruce nodded. "As soon as he hits prison, he's a target. People like the Joker would consider him a fun toy to play with for a bit then he'd be worthless when he got too injured or they got bored with him." He considered it. "He could ask to stay in that hospital."

"He might need it," Hood said dryly. "He'll need medical care for a while apparently."

"Sixteen broken bones. The Joker wasn't even using a weapon." He considered. "He didn't hurt the one he took the identity of either but that was Harley's mentor in her doctorate." He looked at the others. "Other fallout?"

"They're mostly in shock," Damien admitted. Then he sighed. "They're not sure how to change things and who's in charge. I feel sorry for a few groups."

Bruce nodded. "So do I, but mostly the families left behind." He looked around again. "Any idea of them trying to make their reputations?"

"Not yet. Though two things from the talk. Joker said we should see how that slayer guy talked to him, Bruce." That got a nod but an amused look. "And Harley said that the Squad was using him as a target. He wouldn't be asked to join?"

"Waller," Bruce said. "Her team." Hood shuddered at that. "She might find a use for someone like Harley and a few other villains but not that one. That's actually very comforting. She's a bottom line, human lives are worthless sort herself. If she thinks he went too far, that's actually a good sign." He looked at his kids then at Barbara. "Can you find that film?" She nodded. "I would like to see that. We know almost nothing about those people."

"I do. I asked," she said dryly. Bruce stared at her. She went over the notes she had made while asking them things. Superman had made his own notes during that talk since they both went in as reporters. They didn't like that system of theirs but they couldn't solve it yet. Not that they wanted to take the place of the girls. No one wanted to fight vampires and other nasties of that level.


"Are you a hero or a villain?" some woman asked a youngish man at the bar. It was a fair enough question. This bar was full of villains and those on the darker side of the line. The few wannabe heros in there weren't all that light sided. Including the one sitting in a back corner having a beer and sulking about being yelled at by his all-but father earlier.

He sipped his beer, staring at her. "I work with the slayers, ma'am. I train the teenage girls that we can't take the calling from to go out and protect people who hate them for doing it." She shuddered, backing away. He nodded. "It's my night off. I'm not against flirting but I never pay for anything these days. Giles pays shitty wages, even for living in Africa most of the time. Sorry if that's what you were hoping to set up for me?"

She shook her head. "Just wanted to get to know the new guy."

He grinned. "I'm only in for a short visit. This pretty, gloomy, steam filled town is going to have an issue with some refugees in the next few weeks. I'm here to make sure they're safe and get them to some help since they're fleeing from an idiot sorcerer." He took another sip of his beer. "But hi. I'm Xander." He held out a hand.

"Jessica." She shook it. "They make the girls train?"

"No. The girls all get to make that decision for themselves; they can totally decide not to go on training or patrols or fall in for battles. But they do need to know self defense because no one can unmake the slayer calling so they're in danger. My job is to make sure they can get to the age where they can make that decision and to fill in when there's not enough of them. And to tell the normals that hate the slayers to fuck themselves."

She nodded. "That sounds...hard."

"Often." He grinned. "I've got two six-year-old minis I'm helping with school work and self defense work plus keeping their uncle from trying anything against what he considers against his religion. But they're safe while I'm here because he's in traction for the next two months."

He took another sip with a grin. "And they're visiting one of the other girls while their parents move that way so they have access to great schools. A lot of people don't understand how much their calling sucks but we do what we can so they're happy, healthy, choice making young women. So what do you do?"

"I..." She cleared her throat. "I'm a secretary at a bank."

"That's cool. A normal job is a godsend in this world today." She nodded with a grin. He grinned back. "At least it's not exciting most of the time. You get a few angry people and that's the worst you'll probably see. Though...this town seems to have that problem often." He looked outside and sighed.

"Excuse me for a minute. Let me go yell at someone." He put money down for the bartender, getting a nod. "Be right back." He went out there, popping in a breath mint. "Dude," he said loudly. "Do no make me ruin my only night off for the next month! Please! You don't want to be my stress relief." The villains all stared at him.

He grinned and pulled his axe off his necklace, letting it grow in his hand. "Recognize me better now?" They nodded and ran off yelling that crazy guy was there. He put the axe back and went back inside, shrugging at the bartender. "They think I needed the night off too," he quipped.

"I'll be lucky to get another night off before I have to go back to my minis." He sipped his new beer and sat back down in the same spot but Jessica had fled for someone safer to be around. He grinned internally at that. She probably wanted to brag about having a dangerous boyfriend. Which he wasn't always and not really into having a full time girlfriend.

His phone beeped with a meeting request so he tipped the bartender again and left to go see the healers. He popped another breath mint as he walked into the clinic, nodding at the receptionist. "It's my night off but I love the healers around my minis. What did these ones need?" he asked with a grin.

"They wanted to know what was going on and what support you'd need from the community, plus how many slayers were coming, Knight."

"No, it's just me," he said dryly. "It's a refugee thing. They're fleeing some idiot sorcerer." The receptionist smiled at that. "We'll probably need some of their help in case someone's injured in the fleeing or from the reason they're fleeing. I was going to meet them tomorrow."

"The head matriarch of the area is being induced tomorrow."

"I hope her future wiggly one is less chaos inducing than Samia's is."

She giggled. "We heard the baby had colic."

He grinned and shook his head. "I meant her older one. He's four but he's got more chaos than Ethan Rayne does for Janus. The younger one does have colic and needs a serious dose of zen. Maybe then she'd be able to sleep." He shook his head quickly. "I've spent way too much time telling that kid how great sleep is and how it'll solve most of her problems if she'd just go ahead and nap."

She giggled louder. "I had that with one of mine too."

He smiled. "I can't have my own. Might as well spoil theirs." He shrugged a bit but grinned at someone in the waiting area. "It's okay. I'm a good human. You're not evil right now." She quit trying to turn invisible. He smiled at the healer coming out, handing over his phone once he had the notes up. She touched his hand to sober him up. "Hey!" he complained but smiled at her. "I didn't need that."

"This city's too dangerous to be that drunk, Harris."

He smirked. "Really? For me? It's nothing on a few of the battles I've faced, dear. But thank you for worrying."

She snorted and swatted him on the arm but read over his notes. "I'll have two or three waiting to hear if you need us to treat injuries while we're doing refugee things." She looked at him. "You're meeting with the police tomorrow?"

"City services. So them, fire department, probably someone hidden from one of those hero sorts if they're smart."

"I know of a doctor who works with their sort. I'll have him told so he can share that." He smiled and nodded, sending those to her in an email. "Thank you, Harris. Go rest. You clearly need sleep."

"Yeah, I do that less than the kid with colic does." He sighed but winked at the receptionist before strolling off. Outside, someone tried to pounce him so he beat them a tiny bit, just enough to make them sorry. He stared down at him. "I. Hunt. Demons," he said simply, staring at him. "Do you really want to try that?" The guy shook his head and ran away once he scrambled to his feet.

"Have a great night," he called with a grin and a wave at his back. Xander went back to his hotel room. He realized someone was probably watching him to see what and who he was. If he was the top hero in an area he would watch over an outsider that just came in. Especially one with a chaotic rep like his was. So he settled in to be a good boy tonight and just rest for a change.


Xander walked into the meeting with the City Services people, nodding at them. "Sorry, I don't own a suit. Doesn't really work for me in Africa." He sat down at the table. "Your security team was very freaked out by the eye patch for some reason." He smiled. "I'm Watcher Xander Harris." He waved a bit. "In the time frame of two weeks to five and a half weeks, we're not sure totally when, there's going to be a refugee situation coming here via portal."

The mayor winced. "Refugees? We're sure?"

"From what we've been told they're running away from a sorcerer who's a bit of a dick head. Of the lightly torturing them instead of all out genocide at least but we heard there's going to be at least forty beings coming over via portal as soon as they can get it made." That got a nod made. "I've talked with the local healers." He nodded at the local demon community's representative. "Is her future wiggly thing okay?"

"He's just fine, Harris." He smiled. "Buffy already sent over her congratulations for the safe birth."

"Add mine to it." He handed over a card with a smile. "Everyone should have a wiggly thing to give their life chaos. And then there's Samia's kids," he finished quickly, getting a laugh and a nod back. The card got put into his bag for later handing over. "This is what we've heard from the kitten poker circuit and verified through the Arajat's intelligence person I sometimes flirt with." He handed over the printed sheets. "I printed them at the hotel this morning after checking my sources for updates."

They went over them, the mayor nodding some. "Okay, so not an emergency."

"No, it's just that here's got a similar energy so they can open it easier."

"It looks like nothing we should have to handle," the police chief said happily.

Xander nodded with a grin for him. "Until some yahoo decides they're demons?"

"True. We can gladly rush to help contain the yahoos and anyone else who might try to harm them for daring to flee."

Xander grinned. "Thanks. That'll help me a lot. I'll handle it if that sorcerer or someone tried to stop them, or if someone else tries to attack them, but some help getting them to the healers or the local community's center, would be a big help." He looked at the community member. "I talked to a healer last night. Where do you want me to send them?"

"Our community meeting hall would be fine. The healers talked and then to us this morning while we waited on word of the birth. They were most pleased it wasn't an emergency."

"We hope," Xander agreed. "Please let it not be like the battle in Botswana last year!"

The demon guard nodded. "Definitely. We heard. Nice job screaming and ranting."

Xander grinned. "I *so* deserved it after that. And before then because that was supposed to be like this but someone interfered. The minis were there watching to see what happened and so they could help get people to safety." The guard winced at that. "And then the other realm decided to visit at the most bad moment ever. So yeah, I ranted a lot."

He shrugged. "At least it wasn't like the one in Ghana a few years ago. Being naked in the rain in a field battle with a sword, not all that much fun. But the ranting was cathartic. Even the generals agreed with that when they told me to quit complaining." He grinned at the others.

"I'd rant about having a battle in the rain too," the mayor admitted. "Much less with a sword."

"I've had some real charming battles with swords down there." He shrugged again but grinned. "But here has better cable in the hotel. And I can threaten the muggers. And not deal with another group of people with *ideas*."

They nodded at that. They had a few of those but they could ignore them for this situation. "Will that sort interfere?" one of the mayor's assistants asked the police chief.

"I'm going to preempt that later by talking to them myself," Xander admitted with a slight nod. "Because I don't want to have both happen again. I'll let something eat them." He grinned. "I know Spike wanted to know how certain villains tasted to compare them." He smiled. "He's presently in Brazil though. Willow banished him by accident when he was making sick jokes about one of the young teens starting her period."

"Why?" the police chief asked.

"He's a vampire," the guard said dryly. "An older master vampire."

"Spike loves and lives to cause mental distress," Xander added. "To everyone. That's his version of a chocolate sundae."

Everyone nodded at that. He was a vampire, they were weird, that was within the boundaries of weird to them.

"So, how do we handle this and I doubt I'll have more than a few minutes warning when it does happen."

They settled in to talk about all that. Plans saved problems later. Mostly. Some things you couldn't plan for.


Xander walked into a bar that was full of the dark side of Gotham's life, going to the bartender. Who sneered. He put his ID down on the bar, making the guy shudder and back away slowly. "I've got to FYI some people about an upcoming refugee moment from another plane that'll happen soon so they don't have to panic. Can I do that here?"

"I'll have the boss ask," he said, calling the office. "Sir, we have a watcher here to tell us about an upcoming thing." He listened. "His ID says Harris."

"The guy from Africa," Xander added with a smile for the one moving in closer on his blind side. "Dude, I handle field battles with a sword. I can feel you and your aftershave stinks." He looked at the bartender again. The guy moved closer so Xander turned and kissed him hard, bending him backward some and making him moan before he let him go. "Thanks, needed that." He grinned. "I'm off duty after this if you're free to have some fun tonight?"

"Nah, I've got to work," he whined, then fled back to his table.

"Okay, come find me if you want some fun." He grinned and waved at his back. Then at the bartender. "Porgi's bar is a lot like here."

The bartender listened to the boss laugh. "He said he's met Porgi and he'd think he'd be upset."

"Dude, he owes me a blowjob for cheating at poker so I had to pay for weapons instead of winning them for the girls." He smirked a bit. "I caught him doing it." The bartender moaned and hung up. "Thanks."

"He'll be in the upstairs area in a minute. Wait there until he sends for you."

"Of course. He's a busy man." He sat down and didn't watch anything going on. It wasn't his city, he wasn't going to get involved unless it was a huge terrorist action or he had to save the local demon community. They had others for that duty. Guards came over to check him for weapons. Xander let them, just looking amused. "Want the hidden things now or later?" he asked.

"You're hiding some?" one of them demanded. Xander pulled his sword off his back to put on the bar. "How are you doing that?" he demanded, taking the sword to look over.

"Magic." He grinned. "Some of us know some witches." They groaned and he put the sword back and rehid it. "I'm sure he's not going to require me to behead a vampire tonight."

"No, probably not. We don't allow them in here," the other guard admitted. They took him to the upper suite, letting him knock then walk in at the granted invitation.

Xander opened the door and nodded, closing it behind himself. "Thank you for seeing me."

"Porgi said you're an asshole, Mr. Harris."

"Well, yeah, I am," he agreed with a grin. "I met Porgi because I conned his little brother into helping me with a battle. I didn't have the weapons his little brother had." He shrugged but smiled, put a copy of those notes on the desk in front of him. "Refugee moment via portal."

The Penguin looked it over, nodding at that. "I can see why you're warning. Most of us would not want to interfere."

"There's always someone who'll go 'but they're demons'," he mocked then sighed. "Which means I then have to prove I'm an asshole. I'm hoping telling you means you can tell most of them to not do that?"

"I can definitely do that." He stared at him, handing back the notes.

"That's your copy. I talked to the mayor and city people earlier. I talked to the healers, who knew someone in a cape so they could warn them so they didn't have a heroish hissy fit like I had to deal with in South Africa and Egypt last year," he said then sighed at the end and shook his head. "Sometimes the good guys, aren't."

"I've seen that." He stared at him. "You're not very light sided."

"That depends." He grinned. "I do save humanity. I do save little girls. I hopped into the duty to make sure one little girl didn't have to do it on her own. Am I nice when I don't have to be? No. Because I deal with a whole lot of people who're hemorrhoids on humanity's ass."

The Penguin smiled. "I know some people that expression fits."

"Me too. That's why I got a terrorist group to help with a battle and then sent their bosses a letter praising them being martyrs to save their people." He smiled. The Penguin laughed, nodding a bit. "But I'd like this to go off peacefully if we can. I know asking means that there's a few who'll try it just because I asked.

"There's always one," he sighed then shook his head. "But if we can make sure it doesn't cause a huge problem I'd like that. This is kinda my vacation this year. And last year. And the year before really." He considered it. "Though I could probably count the healing time...." He shook his head quickly. "Sorry, long day. Catching up on my naps. I have a slayer with a colicky kid." He grinned.

"I've heard how bad that can be. I don't have any of my own."

"I can't have any of my own so I'll spoil my minis." He shrugged but smiled. "Can you please pass that around?"

"I can and will. You should go somewhere safer."

Xander pulled out his phone to pull up a site, letting him see the profile. "I'm not the target just because I'm polite, sir. I'm really not. I may be happy I'm on vacay...." He took the phone back, seeing the small shudder. "I can handle it and myself but I'd rather not have to?"

"I can warn them of that. Where is that from?"

"One of the off-realm intelligence agencies. They tried to tell my boss about that and Giles called me a normal American boy again."

"Ah." He nodded. "Some people never see you as you are."

"No. Buffy thought I was normal for years." He smirked. "Still does sometimes. But I'll leave you to have some fun too. It seems like a night for fun and maybe even some clubbing later for me. Have a good night."

"You as well." He watched him go and moaned then shuddered. That young man was just...weird. And possibly dangerous to anyone who tried him. He called some of his contacts to warn them about that young man and the upcoming refugee event.


The next night, after that meeting Xander had eaten a full meal and taken a long nap instead, Xander was in the club getting some attention.

"Have you ever thought about going into stand up comedy?" some girl asked him as they danced together.

He smirked and shook his head. "I don't like being the center of attention and I'm not funny in a ha-ha way." He pulled her away from someone trying to get behind her. "Pickpockets."

She smiled. "You still seem dangerous."

"I am," he agreed smugly. "When I want to be. But I'm outside all that mess that goes on out there." He waved a hand at the back of the club.

"So not a caped guy?"

"No, I'm a Watcher, the guy who trains some of the slayers."

She moaned at that and nodded. "So really not into all that."

"Nope." He smirked down at her. "This is actually somewhat of a vacay for me until the event that brought me to town." He spun them around, tripping the pickpocket and making her moan as she fell. He looked down at his partner again. "You can assure whichever one sent you that I'm good and staying out of it unless it happens in front of me. I'll jump in if it happens in front of me but otherwise I'll only answer pleas for help."

"I can let them know." She stared down at the pickpocket then at him. "How did you know?"

"She tried me last night on my way back to the hotel after I had dinner." He smirked down at her. Then at the dance partner again. "That and she's an agent I've had to get around before to help my minis. Aren't you?" She looked up and nodded. He grinned at the dance partner again, going back to moving, making her dance with him. "I'm usually a good boy."

"I'll let others know." She stared up at him. "We don't have many vampires here."

"GOOD!" He smirked. "I like that! I should move here if I get to retire."

She giggled. "There's always hope."

"True. And for the rest of the times, there's artillery." She moaned at that. He smirked. "I love me some big, loud bangs." She shivered but nodded, letting him get closer again so they could...talk some more about fun things. The agent left them alone once she got up off the floor.


Xander was listening to his boss complain manfully about him the next day while he was taking a walk in the park for exercise.

"Xander, do quit dating agents!" Giles complained. "I've gotten multiple complaints about you dating and tempting agents to go rogue. I don't know how you did it but do stop it! Today!"

Xander rolled his eyes. "That's like I made Anya have a conscience again, right?" he asked dryly, listening to Giles complain more, this time in Latin. "Giles, really? I'm a grown man and if they hit on me, well, I'm known to be fantastic to my dates. Or just my fun time friends. If their agencies hate them for being my type of dangerous being, then they probably hired them for that reason and now they're just understanding better."

"Xander, do not date again while you're on that mission."

"Giles, I'm here on semi-vacay waiting on the portal to open," he said dryly. "It's nice enough that I don't have to walk a colicky kid to let mom get some sleep, I don't have to hunt down and kill my own dinner, I don't have to eat fruit that's the last fruit of the day left in the market, I don't have to deal with military people, or battles, or nagging slayers.

"If I want to get my flirt on, I will! And if they're my sort and flirt with me first, then yay! I'm not sleeping alone for a few hours! You should be happy I still *like* sleeping with people with the way some of my past serious dates have went.

"Now, I called because you forgot to pay me. Again. For the second month in a row. I'm on the job so you're still paying for the hotel and they're scowling at me too for some reason that means someone's probably not paying real fast. Keep it up, I'm coming back to run the Cleveland house instead of training.

"Including all those assholes you let hover in the library and mess up the girls. Should I do that and let someone else come here to handle the upcoming portal? And any possible other bad idea in the making thanks to there being heros here and villains?"

Giles spluttered. "There's what?"

"Giles, I'm in Gotham. You know, that area that had the villain attack on a hospital not that long ago?" he sighed. "That has a few caped people running around to handle the big shits going on with their ideas? Do you think Faith or Buffy could come here and deal with the villain contingent?" Someone tried to punch him so he ducked and dropped the phone as he beat that someone.

"Hold on, Giles. Bad ideas happening." He stared at him. "You done now?" The guy whined but nodded, laying there. "Good!" He picked up his phone. "Okay, I'm back. The idiot that just tried to punch me for listening to you bitch about my dating life is sorry." Giles choked at that. "He can walk. I was nice enough. I'm *polite* about such things, Giles."

"Xander," he moaned. He cleared his throat. "The other watchers think you're being a bad influence again and giving us bad representation."

"Then they can come out of the library and do it themselves, Giles. It'd be great if they did. I should not be the only watcher on a continent. Neither should the guy in Asia. We are, but we should not have to be. That's their problem, not ours. We do what we gotta do because no one gives us the backup the girls get. If they hate it that much, they can pick up a sword. You all learned how to use one in watcher school!"

"Point. We've had that talk with them before."

Xander smirked. "I've sent you suggestions on how to change things so we're all in better form. Institute some changes. The Council's no longer six thousand assholes treating the girls poorly, and a few who wanted to reform it for humanitarian reasons. Now it's less than a hundred assholes trying to take the place of six thousand assholes and the rest of us doing the real work and helping the girls be treated like they should be. We can throw a good, old fashioned reformation conference if you want. Or they want."

"They'd have you killed, Xander."

"Yeah, they've been trying that since I was seventeen. Haven't managed it yet. And the day they do, the earth'll be invaded and no one will be there to handle it probably. It was when they tried to infect me with something and I got a tiny bit sick. That's why I had malaria and a battle or three." Giles sighed at that. "I can gladly come back there to fix things as I take over the main house if you want. They can go walk Samia's daughter who has colic for her."

"I doubt they'd do that, Xander." He sighed again then took a drink. "Can you quit warping agents?"

"They hit on me, Giles. Not the other way around. Their agencies hired them to be that sort of being."

"Point. I'll have your paycheck deposited today and check on your hotel payments in a moment. Are you able to handle it?"

"It's a refugee moment, Giles. Of course I can! I've already talked to all the pertinent parties and they're all behind it being an easy thing to handle. It's nothing I haven't done before. And hey, it's not a naked battle in the rain with a sword."

"That's disturbing as a thought," Giles decided. "And a bit sad. No weapons?"

"Beheading necessary," he said blandly.

"Oh. That sort of battle. Wonderful. Are you well otherwise?"

"No. I'm still tired. It makes no sense. But I'll manage it. At least they know where to find me if it starts to happen and I'm not aware."

"Fine. I'll nag them greatly in a moment. Will you need some of the girls?"

"Do I want to have to keep them from being taken by villains, Giles?" he complained. "Really?"

"No. I'd hate that. Buffy could probably find a nice date."

"If she wants, I'll gladly introduce her around. There's some heros around here somewhere. I know she goes for predators but they're close enough probably. At least they're dangerous."

"She may like that. If you need help, do let us know."

"Giles, some villain around here tried to blow up the city last year," he said dryly. "Without anyone in the civilian areas doing more than complaining loudly. If I have a full blown battle I doubt much is going to be said."

"I need to look up that city. Should I sit a slayer there?"

"Do you want them to be taken out by a villain with ideas?"

"Well, no."

"Then no. Here's too dangerous. We're in a predatory ecosystem. They'll all be taken out by it for being one of us."

"Fine. Do keep me informed, Xander."

"Yup, of course I did. Did you get the new reports I finally finished and sent this morning?" Giles sighed and you could hear his computer start up then he started to yell. "Ah, you did. Have fun with that!" He hung up and put his phone into his pocket, shaking his head. "I so need to go have some common sense shoved up the other watchers' asses. Like that poop infusion that gives you gut bacteria.

"They could probably get it from that sort of infusion." He considered it as he finished his lap. He was well aware someone was watching him and stared at the officer doing it when he walked past him. "I only talk out loud so you guys can hear it and figure out what I'm doing," he quipped, making the officer moan. "Because I'm polite, not stupid. I'm doing vacay things."

"They were worried you'd be taken by those sort with ideas," he quipped.

Xander paused to smirk at him. "Dude, I've had two battles in the rain with swords where I was naked. Do you really think the bad idea committee you have around here will manage anything with me? I might take them over.

"It might be fun to run that sort of organization and I'd certainly find Slayer Buffy a boyfriend and backing up for my minis out of the minions. We'd be a great group who used our chaotic urges to protect humanity." The officer shuddered, trying not to hug himself.

Xander grinned. "I think I'll be okay. I play poker with three hell gods and a few arms dealers. They're not worse than the drama queens that some demon goddesses are." He walked off again. "If you tell them I said that I'll introduce them so they can find a deity they can appreciate the ways of. I've recruited a few for a love goddess already."

"I'll let them know," he said quietly. "But that's a bad image." He called his real bosses then his at the police station.

Xander went back to the hotel, smiling at the staring people. "Did Giles fix whatever the morons at the Council tried to do?"

They nodded. "He did, sir. Thank you for having him fix it."

He grinned. "They hate me like hell because I call them on their shit against the slayers. Which we're all supposedly working with. I do the work, they bitch and whine, and I make common sense fixing rules to stop it. They loathe me." She giggled. "But I'm going to spread info about some of the people I've met in Africa."

He went up to get a few things out of his bag and his laptop to run them on, taking them with him to the community center. "Hola, smart beings with common sense, unlike many I work with." A few of the demons in there laughed at that. "I bring info for some lucky journalist about the ones I've worked with in Africa if you want it."

He grinned. "Including my poker circuit and the Goddess Amri. She's looking for more worshipers. I've introduced a few into praying to her but she could always use more since she's going to have a wiggly one of her own sometime this decade. Plus the others I've met."

One of the community council's people stood up to look at him. "Amri's real?"

"Yeah. She makes fantastic lavender cookies. I don't like lavender that much and I loved those things. The minis near her adore her temple and the high priestess who helps and gives advice on boyfriends. Her high priestess gave one of my girls their big girl puberty talks for me." He beamed. "I've met a few of them. Want to watch the videos?"

"Yes. We'd enjoy that." She let him set it up and run the first one on his poker circuit. Most of them weren't demonic but a few were. Then he went over the temples he'd met and talked to, and had peaceful relations with. He went over the mythical cities they had down there that no one else knew about outside the continent.

A veiled woman showed up and leaned down to kiss Xander on the cheek. "I adore you, Knight. You give me such happy tingles." She handed him a cookie then left again.

He grinned, nibbling the cookie. "She feeds my chocolate habit with really good chocolate chip cookies." He let the head of the council have a bite and she moaned but nodded it was a good cookie.

"She's a chaos being," one said quietly.

Xander beamed and nodded. "Sometimes I live like that. It makes my life more interesting than slay, repeat, train the minis." He finished his cookie. "I adore her anyway. She tried to teach me how to play chess and she's a really smart woman. She reads philosophy from multiple realms and could teach that shit.

"In realistic terms anyone can understand. She put it down to the dummy level for me and one of the minis when the mini asked her about what she was reading." They all moaned. "She's super smart and very patient. Her and Desnaria both. And Amri."

One of the guards whined at that. "I have to tell my wife so she can do a pilgrimage to her deity's temple." He walked off calling her. "Honey, Amri's got a temple in Africa. Harris just told us about her temple and how nice she is." He hung up on her squealing.

Xander grinned. "Amri really loves that sound. I made a few pray to her in that tone of squeal. She sent me homemade granola bars." The guard patted him on the shoulder before going to hide from any more information. He grinned at the councilors again.

"Want me to copy off those files and maybe some of the battle ones for you? That way others know?" They nodded, letting him copy and send them to someone's email. He took his information back to the hotel to go back to his resting. He was still exhausted.

That council got into the videos to see pictures of the ones they thought were mythical who weren't. And sometimes were flirty with Harris. He was not a normal human by any means, no matter who said that he was.


"How do you handle nineteen squealy, happy, bouncy preteen girls?" that same agent asked him a few nights later.

"Mostly, I just smile and nod and hand them animals." He grinned. "Or flowers. Though most of my minis aren't preteens. I have a mini who's only four months old. I have one mini who's thirteen. I have a few in the ten to twelve age range. Though I have twenty-three minis total. And three fully of-age slayers." He grinned at her. "They're not hard. They're normal, happy girls. How does a teacher do it on a field trip?"

"Point I guess." She settled beside him on a stool. "My boss said you're warping."

"If you're the sort who'd want to flirt with me that means you're dangerous and probably deadly, which they probably hired you to be, dear." He grinned again. "Only the dangerous like me."

She nodded. "Watch out for some of our heros and villains around here then."

"Oh, I'm aware. I briefed myself before I came. And I talked Giles out of setting a girl up locally. I figured they'd turn the villain who tried to capture them into a boyfriend." He sipped his beer.

She considered it. "Some of them date like they say Summers dates."

"Yeah, she likes dangerous, reasonably helpful, and predatory." He shrugged. "I'm sure she could turn at least a minion into a proper boyfriend. A few of the younger teens think she's a dating ideal so she could turn some into their dates too probably. Or nag them into it maybe." He took another drink. "I'm missing my weekly poker match." He sighed. "I've already been pouted at about that."

She stared at him. "We hacked your phone and saw that. My boss went to heave."

He nodded. "I noticed and so did he. Sorry if he has his people ruin your agency's computer system."

"Too late." She got a glass of wine and paid for it then sat back down beside him. "What are your girls doing?"

"Helping Samia with the colicky daughter. Some day I'm going to be teaching the kid how to meditate so she can find zen. She really could use some zen."


"For four months so far," he said dryly. "I've spent many nights walking the kid for her so she could get some sleep."

"Wow. Is it a spell?"

"Personally I think she hates that her mom eats spicy things and it transmits through the breast milk so she's got heartburn." He took another drink. "She quit crying for a few days when we had to do formula because mom got gored by something that could poison her milk. But it sneezed on her in a market then apologized for a few hours so we weren't mad about it."

She whined and took a big drink. "Things are insane."

Xander nodded. "Everywhere has some form of insanity. You guys have a unique form. We have our unique form. Cleveland has the assholes in the library for their version. You can tell your boss I've suggested to Giles that the watchers have to take a parenting class because they do have to deal with a lot of young children. They loathe that idea. I've suggested a lot of updating things that would bring them to this century instead of the fifteen hundreds."

"That's good for the girls," she said, patting him on the arm. "Do you have weapons with you?"

He grinned at her. "No comment."

She moaned. "My boss is worried about that."

"And I'm hoping we don't have something or someone else show up during the refugee moment to cause a huge problem because we're distracted. If so, I've got to handle it."

"Point. Will they?"

"They have in the past. I've had humans doing it. I've had others doing it. I've had enemies of the people they were fleeing from show up to take out the ones fleeing for daring to flee their enemies instead of battling them. It's very Klingon of them and they hated that comparison but oh well." He finished his beer, grinning at her. "I'm going to go dance. If the reason I'm so tired is a light poisoning, be aware that if I'm too sick I can't fight off whatever else happens." He went out onto the floor to dance.

She called that in and they got the bartenders to quit dosing him with things to make him weaker. It'd mean that agents had to do Harris' job for him and they didn't want that. No one wanted that to happen. She fought down the urge to go flirt with the boy. She was deadly and dangerous but not enough for him.


Xander groaned, bent down holding his head, wincing as the vision kept going. He shuffled to the side to lean against a building and sighed in displeasure. He blinked, wiping off the tears from the sudden headache, looking around to try to find his usual watcher. Nope. Apparently they were on coffee break. He moved into the alley to take audio notes for later on his phone, leaning against the wall. It was cooler and helping his headache.

"Boy," someone shouted.

"Dude, I just had a vision. I've got a huge migraine and I'm dictating what I saw. Unless you want me to have to summon slayers here, shoo!" he called back, going back to his note making. He checked and had to unpause it and go back to where he had paused to yell at whoever that had been.

He sighed and put his phone into his pocket, heading out to find a damn officer or agent or someone. Or City Hall. One of them. Of course, City Hall was evacuated at the moment. The fire alarm was going off. Xander looked then sighed, staring around until he spotted an agent he knew, hauling him off. "I just had a vision."

"We saw, that's why we ran from you. That way we don't have to handle it."

"Well, suck it up, princess. The ones fleeing are going to be attacked by someone idiotic but humanish." He stared at him once they were out of the way, handing him the phone. "The sorcerer's going to be highly upset and attack them back. Which means your town just became ground zero for an invasion. And he's got a real army, not a poser army. They're all hyped on things that'll make them super rabid to kill us and they use weapons too."

The agent listened and winced at the description. "That's one of the villains."

"I know that. I briefed myself before I came here." He sighed, looking around. He spotted someone and pointed at them, making them flinch. "Now, dude!" he called, chasing him down to walk him back. The agent was nicely answering his phone. "Slayer problem?"

"Samia complaining her daughter loves you more and her son's saying you're going to get into trouble." He handed the phone, cuffing the obvious clown thug. Xander told her he'd call back later, he was about ten minutes post vision and briefing people. The agent grinned at the thug. "His vision showed your boss starting off a mass invasion of the world and having to fight in it."

"He'd hate that."

"Yeah, he did by the time an hour had passed," Xander quipped. "Right before something took a big bite of his chest cavity to stop him from bitching." He looked at the agent.

"I'll brief people for you?" he guessed.

Xander grinned and nodded. "Give us some backup if you can? Just in case? I didn't bring the artillery I should have for that."

"Damn. How much did you bring?"

"My traveling case that I usually keep in the truck."

"Oh, shit." He nodded. "That usually only has a few things and they've all been Rosenburged. Okay. Let me talk to the higher ups and then the mayor. You're going to have him take you home to his boss?"

"Yeah. Maybe if I can tell him about this he'll listen." The clown whined. "I don't care, dude. Your choice is this or being eaten."

"I never see the big man," he complained.

"Well, you can introduce me to your boss, who probably can talk to him." He shoved him. "Walk."

"It's twelve blocks! We drove."

Xander stared at him. "Walk!" He pointed. "However. Twelve blocks will do you good. You're getting too pudgy for those clown pants. How do you think you'll avoid being captured that way?" The man whined but did take him back to the group house. Which had a higher minion. Xander stared at him. "I'm Watcher Xander Harris, the training watcher in Africa. We just had a vision reported that showed your boss, the head clown, having to handle an invasion he prompted. Can I talk to him please?"

"I doubt it," he said dryly, and pulled a gun. Xander pulled out a bigger gun and used it to destroy the house. The thug was cowering in case it was turned on him. "Um, yeah, let me show you to the boss's lair," he offered, taking him there.

Xander grinned at the thugs. "Construction's a good paying job, guys. Especially around here. Pretty easy to learn too." He let the minor thug go and walked with that one. The guards on the main lair looked upset. "Dude, I'm reporting on a vision he was part of," he said. "I'm the watcher in charge of Africa's slayers. That's all I want."

"The boss isn't happy today."

"Okay, I'm not happy most of the time," he said dryly. Then shrugged a bit. "I deal with teenage and younger girls all day long, dude. Should try my job."

"No, it's more deadly than being here is. You can't bring in the gun." Xander hid it again with a smirk. "How...."

"Magic." He grinned. "I do work with witches. And many of them sub on the other side of that coin."


"I'm here peacefully. I promise I won't touch him at all."

"We can't promise that back."

Xander grinned. "I can get nineteen slayers here tonight to come help straighten out his mood if I need to."

"No. Thanks anyway."

"They love dangerous guys. Sixteen of them are above patrol cleared age. One that likes them dangerous is fourteen so if someone has a younger brother I'll introduce her."

"We'd all like our brothers to go to other fields."

Xander grinned. "Being a watcher is a *great* choice instead of a gang. We see just as much stupid and stress but we use swords a lot of the time, and sometimes artillery. We have normals who complain about us the same way but the government is actually scared of us."

"I'll suggest it to a few. GED?"

"Yeah, and training time. It's a year-long with six months of it being a ride along. I do a lot of that and then send them to South America right now. I really could use a few new watchers in Africa with me."

The guy nodded. "I can see how that'd work. Let me see if he's even awake." He opened the door and found his boss glaring at him. "You were part of a vision this watcher guy has, boss."

Xander grinned and waved. "I saw how you died by huge bite to your chest that opened your ribs. You decided hearts aren't that funny looking after all and do fit the valentine's heart if you look at them from the right angle."

"Who're you?"

"Xander Harris. Watcher in Africa." He pulled up the notes so he could read them. "Right before I saw you bitten you complained killing those sort wasn't as fun." The Joker snatched it to read it and moaned at that. "I warned others that it was going to be a refugee moment, then I had the vision this morning. Since I've only been off-time a few times...."

He shrugged. "I'm trying to prevent that sort of work. I don't have the artillery I'd need to handle that and the government doesn't want to handle anything locally. Something about too dangerous. Too much stress. Dealing with people in capes gives them headaches."

The Joker stared at him then handed the phone back. "I can totally miss that event."

"Thanks!" He grinned at that. "That'll help me a lot." He looked at the one speeding his way shooting. "Watch me shoot back," he muttered. They took aim at them so Xander used the gun he had just hidden to blow up their engine. "Stop it! Before I call something to eat your asses!" He looked at the Joker again, shrugging some but smiling. "But I can count on you to make sure none of your guys attack the refugees running from that idiot sorcerer?"

"Yeah. I don't want to die that way."

"Okay. Thanks. Have a nice day. It's pretty today. Nothing's full of steam and fog for a change. I wonder how they do that." He walked off again, making notes on the end of the file that it may be solved before sending it to Giles. Though he did add that he suggested some of the girls could rehabilitate the minions into their personal boyfriends and watchers. The thugs could be protective and do good for them without too much complaining.

Then he called Samia back. "Okay, I've alerted, I've warned, I've talked someone into not attacking the refugees so they don't start an invasion scenario. What's Miss Cranky doing now?" He listened. "You know what, switch her to formula again for a day. See if it helps that stop again. If not, let her go suck on a goat's teat, Samia. She likes goat milk."

She complained but did fix a formula bottle to give to her cranky one, who liked it a lot more than eating off her. "Some people like that chemical taste. The same way I like cheetos and you loathe them." He listened to her complain about that. "It's fine. If I was there I would but I can't do that from Gotham."

He smiled at the nearby cop staring at him. "Officer, can you make sure your higher ups hear that I did warn the person starting off that problem in my vision and he's said he won't react so hopefully we've side stepped that one? He'll understand." That got a nod and he called that in then went back to his route. Xander went back to talking to his tired sounding slayer. "Hand her to Grandma and go take a nap, Samia. You sound exhausted."

Someone grabbed his arm so he looked at the female agent who had been haunting him. "Harris, the vision?"

"I talked to the guy myself, showed him the notes, he said he didn't want to be eaten that way so he'll probably avoid it."

"Good!" She stared at him. "You faced down the most psychotic villain in the world today by yourself?"

"With one of his minions leading me to him." He grinned at her. "I've seen worse. I mean...Buffy after a week of finals is worse."

"I won't tell her you said that, Harris."

"She'd agree." He shrugged. "We won't even go onto the post final, fully caffeinated and beyond Rosenburg either. He can't stand up to either one."

She blinked. "That's nuts."

"So are they!" Samia laughed. "Got a good cure for unending colic of Samia's daughter?"

"No. I don't have kids yet."

He grinned. "I'd offer to fix that for you if you wanted but I can't."

"I...no. I'll do it after I retire from this hellhole of a job, Harris. Thanks though." She walked off shaking her head.

Xander grinned as he listened to Samia complain he had flirted of all things. "Hey, I can get my flirt on if you can, Samia. Maybe I'll find someone nice who'll want to help me travel to help you girls." She spluttered. "Let Grandma have the baby for an hour long nap. You're so tired you're sounding like Buffy, Samia."

He hung up and went to find breakfast and then back to watch some tv. Gotham really didn't have a lot of daytime activities for sober people. He could go to an all day rave but he was a bit older than their usual sorts. He didn't want to sneer at college girls today. He did enough of that on the job.


Buffy got the text from Samia while in the meeting about that vision. "Samia said that villain guy was more sane than Willow and I were after eleventh grade finals." Willow groaned. "I guess that's good."

"Xander did say he talked to him about not appearing to be threatening," Giles said, not commenting on that dark time. He had nearly asked Angel to eat Willow to save humanity that day.

"I should go have a lot of coffee and go help that town get pretty again," Willow complained. "It's gothic and dirty."

"It's a city," one of the other watchers said dryly. "They're all dirty, Rosenburg. If you visited them you'd see that."

"Xander's having a bit of free time while waiting on the portal to start," Giles told him. "Including flirting with a few agents."

That watcher nodded. "At least we know he can't spawn. That way there's no future Harris watcher coming."

Willow stared down at him. "I can help him with that." He shut up and shuddered. "It's not that hard. Giles' books even have a spell so he can carry it himself."

"Please don't," Buffy whined. "We'll have to help him when the kid has colic like Samia's daughter does. Baby Xander would be a lot worse, Willow."

"True, which is why I haven't yet." She glared at that watcher, who shuddered again. "The baby slayers could really love playing with watcher spawn too if there were any. Then again, that means the watchers may die out and leave just the girls doing it for each other."

"I'd suck at that but Cho and Rona would make great watchers," Buffy quipped. Willow grinned and nodded at that idea.

"That's why we put them in charge of regional houses, dear. It's part of that job," Giles told her. He looked at the others. "If we have not diverted that, we'll have a major invasion out of the blue. Are we prepared for that?"

"No. Xander didn't bring his artillery with him. We have almost none here and the witches can't move what we have for some reason so we'd have to fly to Gotham. We'd have to lean on the government and military for that."

Buffy nodded. "Will they finally step in?"

"Not at first," that watcher admitted. "There's no military base near there. Those caped ones may but I'm not sure which ones would have weapons. Or magic to counter that sorcerer."

"No, I've got that," Willow reminded him. They all nodded at that. "Can we talk to other villains? I mean, if he's the worst and less than us on a lack of sleep, then maybe they can help?"

"I'd trust Xander to know who to talk to," Giles told her. "They're not all in that area. He's said he's talked to their city's underground overlord already, Willow."

"Oh, okay." She nodded. "That's handy. Xander does know bad guys. Are they flirting with him?" Giles scowled. She shrugged. "He does draw them."

"He's been drawing agents. They've complained."

"Oh. Poor agencies." She made a few notes for herself.

"I've also reminded him he may not take some of the slayers to introduce to villainous minions to see if they'd like to date." Buffy shrank down but was grinning at that idea. "I'd prefer if they weren't villains, Buffy."

"Okay. They have heros too. Maybe a few would like the girls? They could probably even act like watchers."

"It's been a good century and a half since watchers wore capes," the other watcher told her dryly. "Back when it was fashionable to do so."

"Back when Jack the Ripper was flirting with the girl of that time?" she guessed with a grin to piss him off.

"She did?"

"Yeah. According to her memories in the slayer spirit she did."


Giles looked at him. "They did hunt in the same areas for different reasons."

"Point but still!" He shook his head, making a note to look into later in the past chronicles. He knew Buffy ran into a few serial killer types but he thought that was her being Buffy and flirting with them. "Should we send a single girl to help Harris, Rupert?"

"No. He said it's too dangerous. The town's in constant flux due to the villains and heros arguing over their place in the ecosystem."

"Poor city."

"I can go being undercover," Buffy said with a smile.

Giles looked at her. "You are in no means subtle, Buffy Summers. I'd have to send Faith for that and I doubt she'd enjoy it. Also, Xander said he'd have to rescue someone from one side or the other."

She pouted. "We could go to back him up. That way he's got someone watching his back when he's flirting with agents."

Giles sighed. "We'll see. We have a few days." She nodded at that. He scowled, taking off his glasses. "We will not allow a...what was it you called it, a hoochie mama road trip. You'd be going as a slayer, not to find a date."

"Fine!" She waved a hand with a grin. "If I find one incidentally, then I'm okay with that."

"Isn't their main villain a clown?" Willow asked.

Buffy nodded. "Yeah but Xander fought off the clown phobia back with the fear creature in high school."

"Oh, yeah." She nodded. "Okay." They made notes. "Remember to check the weather. You don't want to wear stuff that'll get sticky if you get rained on."

"I know." She sighed. "And not the cute shoes either. They're not for battles."

Giles stared at her. "Do desist."

She rolled her eyes but got back on topic. "How many refugees? Did Xander get a count?"

"He said about forty made it over before the sorcerer spotted the clown and attacked because of him."

"I didn't think demons could have clown phobias," Buffy said, looking at Willow.

"I didn't think clowns existed on other realms." She shrugged. "No idea. I'll see if we can find a reason through the poker circuit tonight." She sent a text message to Xander and a few contacts. "Oh, he's anti makeup. There's a prophecy about someone wearing a lot of makeup taking him out at the height of his power." She put the phone down. "So we should probably avoid some others going there too."

"If it'd freak him out...." Buffy offered.

"I doubt the amount of makeup you wear would," Giles told her.

The other watcher looked at her. "Yours is usually tasteful. Unlike some of the girls' application of paint with a roller. Can you correct that?"

"I have been. All young girls go through that stage. I've taken them to Sephora to have them taught how to put it on the right way. Which reminds me, I need to pick up more setting spray soon. My makeup runs so much when I'm sweaty during a fight." She made herself that note too.

Giles and the other watcher shook their heads. Buffy had a unique way of seeing things and they could ignore this version.

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