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This Was Not What I Wanted To Be When I Grew Up!

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Story notes:
There's some deaths off-screen of major Buffy characters. You see a funeral or they're mentioned as dead. Also M/M/F.
Notes: Off-scene deaths of major characters. Not seen but mentioned and buried.


This Was Not What I Wanted To Be When I Grew Up!




"What the hell did you think you were doing!" one of the two young men facing off yelled at the other. The other was a bit taller, blondish, and military in every single way that you could visibly measure.

"I *think* I saved everyone by killing that thing," the other guy snapped back.

"Psyeach, course you did!" He pointed. "Does it look dead? I yelled over very explicitly not to shoot it because it'll absorb the metal and use it to heal itself." He stared at him. "Now we've got to behead the even bigger than it had been sucker of a shitshow. Thanks!" He walked off. "Anyone seen my axe, wherever that thing threw it?" he called.

Someone pointed. "It's stuck in the building."

"Thanks! In the future, ask if you don't know how a specific demon is killed please. Quit making me and the slayers more work." He hauled his axe out with a few tugs and walked over. "Back off, people. Her death will send out energy." He took a swing and hit the neck, then a second. The third severed the neck and everyone got knocked down by the wave of energy if they didn't have at least a touch of magic.

He leaned on his axe, looking at the body. "Okay, let's strip it of things in case it has something we need to know and jewelry that'll be sold off so someone else gets pissed off at us. Then we'll burn the bodies, ladies." He looked at them as they got up with a moan. "C'mon. Your turn to set the bonfire. You begged to do it this time."

They came to strip off the jewelry and anything else then set the body on fire. "Good job! Not bad for your first battle out of the blue." He patted them. "Go see Patricia in the clinic, ladies." He followed them, taking the bag one held out. "Oooh, that's nasty. That's... yeah, that's Grolling guts. Eww but that means she's a spell caster. Great!" He looked around. "No witches. That's weird."

He grimaced but nodded, calling one. "The demon that appeared and had to be taken out had Grolling guts on her. No, in a bag on her belt. I'm looking at higher end spell components and one magical book," he said, finding it.

"Yup, that park. Thanks." He hung up. "Military guys should probably flee. This'll bring out vampy vamps and they're going to eat you. They like to pick on the military since the military picked on them." He got the girls into the minivan and drove off.

"What the fuck?" the guy in charge demanded. "Who were they?"

The blonde lady grinned and wiggled her fingers. "Slayers. That was the guy who trained the girls in Africa and stuff. He's their *guy* sort according to what the girls have said." She smiled. "He draws deadly and dangerous sorts and he was pretty hot with that axe, but I've been single too long I think."

Rick Flag looked at her then at the others. "What?" he demanded.

"You haven't heard about the slayers?"

"Yes, of course I have."

"Oh, you haven't seen the non-briefing stuff." She nodded then sighed and grinned. "He's their version of 'just a guy'. But that 'just a guy' took down two militia units in Benin for going after a slayer for being a girl and then he won an invasion by forcing the rest of them to fight in it or else he'd just kill them for being annoying." She shifted against the tree.

"Also that 'just a guy' and the slayers drive Waller *nuts*. Absolutely pulling her hair out nuts. Super strong, inborn fighting skills, can't be touched by the military or her projects." She beamed. "Because then they'd lose the next invasion on purpose. That 'just a guy' has been at every single battle but four since the late nineties when he jumped in during high school." He blinked a few times. "The girls consider him normal and all military guys scummy."

"Is this from the popular press?" Deadshot asked dryly.

She nodded. "That and interviews. Plus the lifetime movie of the week. He nearly married the vengeance demon over women scorned but ended up leaving her at the altar because it was what was best for her."

"I'm sure Lifetime had a lot of fun stretching that plotline," Flag complained.

"Oh, no, not stretched." She smiled and shook her head. "Not at all. It was a documentary. They even had film of Anya from his home movies. He did it as a tribute to her memory and donated the money from it to abuse shelters in her name."

He blinked a few more times then had to turn to stake the vampire behind him that was breathing on his neck. "Okay, let's go clean up this mess, get back on target, and then we'll talk about all this to see what's going on and if it's pertinent."

She shrugged. "I doubt it. We only detoured to here to stop that thing because we saw it expanding."

"True," he agreed with a nod. "Back on target then."

"Ooh, targets? Can we play too?" one of the vampires cooed. "We can play hunting games and everything."

"Sparky, I'm Harley Fucking Quinn," she said dryly. "Back your ass down." The vampire laughed but the others fled for their lives. She smiled and waved. "Have a great run, guys!" She shot the other one and he went up in flames. The guys stared at her. She shrugged and smiled. "Puddin' had some fun with their type. He liked the minions, they were expendable."

"Oh," the guys said and nodded, walking off together. They called in that point was handled and Waller was still having a fit. Harley leaned over to note that Xander had beheaded that demon for the slayers. The screaming went nearly supersonic over their mics so they turned them off for now. They had to handle a bigger problem, and found one tiny blonde girl doing it for them.

"Would you *quit* blowing the snot!" she complained loudly to the ten foot tall slug being. "I can't get that out of this shirt. Not even my mother could've gotten your snot out of my shirt!" She hit it with the wooden club she held again. "Quit getting me all snotty! It's bad enough the minis sneezed on me earlier! I don't want to be snotty now too!" She heard them and looked then sighed. "Oh, great. Military people."

"Not exactly, ma'am," Rick Flag said.

"Hey, Buffy, we're Task Force X or the Suicide Squad, princess. We were sent to deal with him. Can we spare your shirt by shooting him a lot?"

"No!" She sighed, rubbing her head. "Don't shoot him. He's not evil. And he's a kid. His mother told me to hit him for her." She looked at the kid, who was trying to hide behind her. "C'mon, I'll get you home to your parents before someone else in the government decides you're evil for being big and scary looking and snotty." She pushed back her hair. "Why did they send you?"

"He's supposedly got a few politicians in thrall," Rick said dryly.

"No, he's a kid and his parents are US Demonic Congress members."

"There is?" Deadshot asked.

"Yeah. They're more open about it now." She nodded. "Whoever sent you is clearly up someone's butt with her head."

Harley grinned. "We think so about Waller too."

"Oh, her!" she said with a nod and a smirk. "She's a kill on sight person for the USDC. She was Initiative and her people summoned some higher demons to get their kids to experiment on and torture." Rick winced. "So yeah, don't really like your odds either."

"No, we handle bigger threats," Harley assured her. She moved closer. "We ran into Xander and tried to help him and the girls but we shot at it and he yelled at Rick for being a guy."

Buffy nodded. "I do that a lot at Xander." She sighed, staring at her. "Why are you...." She waved a hand.

"Bad boyfriend choice."

"Yeah, I've done that. Finn comes to mind for that." She grimaced. "Well, have fun in Cleveland. Watch out for the neck biting patrol. The minions are having a contest to see how many they can bite but not kill." Harley rolled her eyes and shook her head with a sigh. "Oh, yeah. But not killing! So that's a step in the right direction."

"Okay. We can note that they're not holding politicians in thrall."

"No, they were probably working on the demonic immigration laws so they can get green carded or whatever," Buffy told her. "A lot of congress is in thrall or at least have soul deals, but his parents are okay."

"Okay. We'll pass that on. No idea what her problem is."

"Probably where she was Initiative and torturing beings for science experiments."

"Probably. Want help walking him home?"

"Nah. They live in a burrow nearby. I was helping him get some fresh air." The demon wiped his nose on the back of her shirt. "Eww!" The demon grinned at her. "No more snot! Giles won't let me shop again this month." She walked him off. "Have a better night, guys."

"You too," Rick Flag called then looked at Harley. "How did she know you?"

She grinned but shrugged. "One strong woman recognizes another, Flag."

They walked off together to call that in. They were not taking out a kid on purpose who wasn't doing anything but wiping his nose on someone's shirt.

"Oh, guys," Buffy called, making them turn to look. "Just had a thought thanks to Colonel Muscles there. Is that blond guy who wears the shiny toilet seat helmet thingy yours? If so, he's being held hostage by a few demons for a fight ring thingy uptown by the museums." She pointed. "Please have him before the girls decide he's worthy of flirting. He's cute and all but too much of a dickhead for my minis and I'm not into blonds." She walked off again.

"Yeah, we can go save Peacemaker," Rick said, then growled. "I want to hit him a few times myself."

Harley grinned at him. "At least you got brought back by that shiny light thing you stepped out of."

"Yeah, that was nice of them." They found the fight ring by asking one of the vampires sneaking up on them.

"Are you guys LARPing?" one of the minions asked. "You look like you're dressing like cut rate superheros."

Harley grinned and wiggled her fingers. "I'm Harley Quinn. They're my teammates."

The minion looked amused. "Wow. Your ex is a douchebag."

"Yeah, totally bad boyfriend choice there," she agreed with a nod. "But I'm over him and looking for better. Someone I can go on picnics with and not have to worry about them drugging the food and the water supply in the park."

"You know, there's Harris," he offered with a point. "The guy with the slayers. He's kinda mean but not evil. He'd be a great step up. The girls say he's got a sense of humor and the whole kitten poker circuit likes him."

"I haven't really gotten a chance to flirt with him," she sighed. "Maybe someday soon we'll be able to flirt." She grinned. "He is the type of guy I'd hope for." The minion grinned and nodded, running off. "Thanks!" They walked off again.

"Kitten poker?" Deadshot asked quietly.

"Yeah. It's their poker variant." She nodded. "Most of them eat them instead of other living flesh."

"Ah." The guys both nodded at that. They'd seen weirder than that. They really had.

They found the right fight club and Rick went to talk to the ring manager, getting put in to fight against the asshole who had killed him. Peacemaker's look at him as he walked in was comically horrified. "Surprise, bitch. I'm back."

"I can see that. Why? Or how?" He was making himself untense because he knew there was about to be a brawl.

"Don't know who they were." He smirked and took a swing. "But I owe you a few things."

"She took the drive!"

"Doesn't mean you don't deserve the asskicking." They got into a good brawl and Rick won. He smirked at him. "You're recalled."

"Thank God," he muttered, hauling himself up holding his left ribs. "Maybe I've won my freedom?" he called. "Please? They're even more mean to me. They won't even let me have guns."

"Fine," the ring manager called. "Go with them. Your stuff's in your locker." They walked off together. Someone tried to grab Harley so she beat him until he was a puddle. "Hmm. Slayer?" he asked.

"Nah." She smiled. "I'm a monster, dear."

"I've never seen your type."

"Well, we Harleys are really rare."

"Like Quinn?"

"Sure am." She beamed.

"Oh!" He nodded. "Welcome to our ring, ma'am."

"It's cute. I need to find one of these where I've got a hideout. Any in Gotham?"

"No. That idiot Batman tried to drive us off thinking we were just thugs. Between him and your ex, the whole of Gotham is listed as no-go for safety reasons."

"I'll yell that at him the next time I run from him." She smiled and strolled off. Peacemaker was getting back into his uniform and looked pleased. "Did they make you wear a toga? I always wondered about that."

He stared at her for a minute. "I wasn't that sort of hostage. Thankfully." He pulled on his shirt with a wince then put on his helmet and grabbed his weapons. "I lost fifty bucks and pouted. So they took me for it."

"Waller's having fits. She hates the demonic. Buffy identified her as former Initiative."

"That doesn't shock me any," he admitted. "Hopefully they look into that again and get her this time." Flag looked confused. "Super high clearance and I nearly got sent to work on that but I got arrested for drunk and disorderly instead on purpose." He walked out with the team around him just in case. "Thank you for coming for me," he said quietly once they were outside. He looked at Rick Flag. "Sorry?"

"We'll work that out the next time we fight."

"Yes, sir."

They went back to base to see where the snafu in orders had been. Then he really had to see why so many demons knew about Harley if they weren't really in Gotham. That was fishy. She wasn't even partially demonic as far as he knew.

***

"We must do something to save everyone some stress and the world," the trio of demons told the human they had summoned. He blinked and nodded once. "We must sacrifice your job to that though."

"Why?"

"The PTB wanted you to not work with the girls and this is their idea," the second one said. "It's a pity, we enjoy watching you."

"I can still be watched. I'll be jumping in anyway. What did they want to do this time? I haven't had a vision recently."

"They were going to sacrifice your job to make humanity steadier."

Xander nodded. "Why?"

"Something will invade if not."

"Uh-huh. How?"

"They wanted you to be a leader of many more than girls."

Xander shook his head with a sigh. "I had a visit from Cordelia about that. Me being president has a few problems. The first being that I'm three years too young." They winced. "The second being I can do all that without leaving the girls at all.

"Hell, have the other watchers slip up because they hate me and show more battles to the press to try to make them mad at me again. I nearly made it to governor that time but they caught me swearing at Brenda for being a whiny girl and making her admit she had done the stupid thing that time."

They shared a look. "That would definitely build up a reputation."

Xander nodded. "Also, that invasion they're thinking, that's already starting. That's what was in Corto Maltese. That starfish thing was one of their peoples' allies."

They groaned. The third one just nodded at that. The first cleared his throat. "They need someone to look up to."

"I don't mind that, though I hate that some kids thought I was role model. You guys can point out that anyone can learn how to behead with a sword and step in. I sure did. Others do. And if you do that, you can also point out some of my past dates. Or even that battle in Malta that I nearly lost until the witch finally got off her ass and came when I shouted yet again for her to show up like she had said she would."

"That battle would get you much staring in awe at."

"And hey, we ran into people sent by Waller earlier." They stared at him. He nodded. "That's her special task force team. Saw Harley actually."

They sighed in pleasure. "That would make her look bad if we noted about her."

Xander nodded. "One's fighting against her shit quietly. Use him."

"I can plan that." He looked at him. "Their idea may still go through."

"Can't for at least another three years by law."

"Very good point," the second agreed. "Plus it may give the future slayers hope as well. Some of them are depressed about their futures."

"They see the senior girls not getting dates and stuff so yeah they are. That and normal school problems." He shrugged. "I'll help to make sure humanity's more stable. But their ideas have more cracks than ancient vases handled by toddlers."

"That's why we told you, so you could fix that plot." They all smiled at him.

"Gladly, guys. I like warping prophecies." He winked. "And out that one guy, that politician with the big mouth in Congress. We know he's got deals. He somehow managed to sell his soul three times."

"Wow," they said, looking that up on their network. They moaned at that notice. "There's two!"

"Great. Have them. Please get them away from the girls. Cleaning up that mess will lead to a lot of happier, more steady people. Start there and tell me when you need more help but can you unsummon me back to my bedroom please? I've got a nine-am yell at Patti's teacher for being an absolute cunt to her yesterday." They sent him back to his room so they could go over those ideas.

They could even use the girls and the Knight to do that outting.

***

Xander came out of school with the mini Patti, who was pouting. "I told her to quit before I told Giles and others," he reminded her. "She didn't have to try to take a swing at you. So we'll work on your ducking today too, Patti."

There were three news vans on the street and one ran over to them. Xander put the mini behind him to shield her. "Mr. Harris!"

"What? And do not even *think* about photographing the mini, people. You know better!" He dug out his keys and handed them back. "To the car. Go the long way around the bushes." She ran for that area and around to the far side of the car to hide in it. He had a blanket in the backseat she hid under. He waited until he heard the car door slam. "What?"

"There was a teacher arrested?"

"Yeah. She totally decided to go off on that same mini for daring to be born that way. Today she took a swing at her in the teacher meeting we had with the principal. She did not like me breaking her wrist for it." He grimaced. "The principal called them on her before I could. Anything else? I'm guessing it's a slow news day."

"The local demon council has announced they are not happy with their political minions and someone siccing a military squad on a child of them?"

"I heard from Buffy. Someone, who had been Initiative and is now heading a problem solving task force *somehow*," he said sarcastically. "Sent them after two Demonic Congress member's kid. Not sure if she was confused that it was the kid and not the parents or not, but with her history I doubt she'd care.

"Buffy talked to them and they realized the mistake they had been sent on and didn't try to hurt the kid or her at all. They were nice about it and sane. Which is appreciated from military people. It's pretty rare when it comes to them interacting with slayers. That same team had tried to help me and my patrol when we ran into a problem but ignored me yelling about not using metal bullets. But then again I'm not a perky blonde girl."

"Why would someone like that be sent against a politician?"

"According to what Buffy said they told her, they were told that demon had politicians in thrall." He grimaced. "Which that family does not. They've been working in the immigration rules that need to be cross-passed and they're on the committee of people that has to work with the human congress too.

"So apparently someone hated that idea if they knew." He shifted to look around then pulled her down. "Duck!" She did and he fired something at someone, making them scream and fall down. "You good?" he ordered.

"I'm...I'm fine. Thank you!" She got up and went to cover that story instead. She looked back. "Are there politicians in thrall?"

"Yup. And plenty that have at least partial soul deals. I have no idea how some of them managed to sell their soul multiple times. Two, one of them the only democrat we know of for sure due to pictures showing the marks, and one republican sold themselves three times."

She whined at that. "But yeah, those of us who can find those sort of markings on them have seen about a third of congress, if not more, with soul debt marks. A lot don't go that undressed in front of you guys so we can't see each one's marks to tell who they've sold themselves to." He grinned and shrugged. "They wanted to rule the world apparently."

"Are there any with soul debts that could have had a better reason?"

"Yes. According to the Big Book of Debts, there's three in various state congresses, and one in the national congress, that have them for saving others. Out of over seventeen in state congresses and forty-two at the national level that're listed locally." He grinned. "And only one has some owed to them."

"Oh, dear."

He grinned and nodded. "Yeah. Which is why none of the council will go testify when called before congress. We send out a nice note each time that we are not going to be called before demons to justify ourselves as we are multi-national and over everyone's protection, not just the US's." He smirked, heading for the car. "Let me in," he said, knocking on the window. Patti opened her door so he used it to open his then get in and take the keys. He drove off with a happy beep at the reporters.

"Someone's going to get really mad and yell at Giles," she said quietly.

"Why? He notes it each time they try to call us in to talk to them about stuff. No one's cared so far."

She giggled. "It's nearly an election time."

"I know. And this time's shouting will be a lot louder maybe."

"Was it a bad guy shooter sort?"

"No. It was a militia member that hates the Council and tries to picket us. Shows up with grenades on his vest. Hell no."

She giggled again and rested for now. She'd have to tell Giles later. After Xander went over how to duck blows better.

***

Xander snuck into the police station, grinning at the one they usually talked to. "Three things." He laid down two papers. "Restraining orders? Violated. They're in the trunk. They walked into the house itself. I was talking with Patti's teacher about her malfunctions. I'm saving them from Andrew."

He looked at them and moaned, loudly. It drew attention. "Sure, Harris, we can come get the two violators from your trunk." His boss walked over so he handed over the restraining order copies.

"They walked into the house while I was nagging Patti's teacher for being a cunt about her being a mini slayer." He grinned. "Andrew got them because everyone else was still asleep. So I saved them. I didn't want to but I did."

The senior officer looked at him. "We can come get them."

"They're in the trunk." He handed over his keys. "Have fun with them. I wanted to but I was being the responsible role model again."

The officers snorted but went to get those two guys and save them from Harris and Wells.

"What's the third thing?" that officer asked.

"I have stuff that can take the blow out of those 'girls shouldn't be in battles' sort. Wanna help? All you have to do is put the ones you have in a room and show the film. One of the senior watchers was cutting things so I looked worse before he released them to the press." He handed over two DVD's in holders. Then he let out a manic grin. "They can be big guys who help girls too. If I can do it they can do it. You can quote me to prove they're not men."

"I can do that," he decided, looking at his boss.

"That might be considered an unusual and unfair punishment."

"No, that's the judge yesterday who gave us two shoplifters. They're going to be training as watchers and going shopping with the girls." He grinned. "I'm pretty sure they'll be on the straight and narrow after the first time. I'm still having daylight flashbacks to shopping with Buffy in high school. It really has hindered my sex life on occasion when lingerie got me."

The officer shook his head with a sigh, looking down. "I'm sure they'll be pleased to help, Harris." He looked up but Xander had snuck off. He looked at his boss. Who was smirking. "Whole new meaning to scared straight?"

"Or gay maybe. Those girls can drive off men really fast. Go ahead and show that film. I wanna see too." He nodded, arranging to get those they had in custody in to see that film series.

***

Xander got home and heard Buffy complaining loudly that guys didn't need to help them so he went to play poker instead, sending someone a text message about who had cut those films, she should watch the whole ones. He went to hide for his life until the slayers got some chocolate in them. And probably some ice cream.

They knew where he'd be when they were ready to see him and not rant. It took four hours but one of the teenage slayers showed up to hug him and thank him quietly for Benin then left again sniffling. Xander grinned, finishing up that hand and going home.

"Willow got so mad at what they cut out, she yelled loud enough that reporters heard, and that watcher got so upset at being yelled at that he intentionally released them in front of her for yelling at him," Buffy said as he walked in.

Xander nodded. "The PTB had a crackhead idea that I should run the country to save you girls. That was my idea to counter it."

She blinked a few times. "Oh, dear. Shit, I sounded like Giles." She sighed. "At least I'm not wearing glasses yet." She walked off to get more ice cream. "We need to make sure Cordy doesn't need drugs. The PTB wanted Xander to be the president so he countered with this idea to let a few more battle videos out."

"That's a much better idea than him being the president," Willow decided shrilly. "Xander!"

"Like hell I'm going in there. You'll try to change me again and I'm going to beat your ass for it."

"Hey! It was an accident."

"Magic takes intentional thought and action, Willow. There's no accidents in magic."

She shrank down and got another scoop of ice cream. "You should go talk to the reporters, Xander."

Xander went to talk to them, staring at them. "The watcher who cut them originally, who also released them to you, was trying to cut me out of slayer history so no one had to realize I was there helping. It's a great advertisement for getting more guys to join the Council though.

"And a taunt for those who decided they can do the job better. I'm just glad I managed to win at Benin finally. Even if it did take two weeks." He walked off. "By the way, the Big Book of Debts can't be photographed or copied by mechanical means."

"We'll figure out how to look up names in it without those," one quipped. "Who was that guy this morning?"

"One of the anti-girl yahoos with weapons. He had grenades near a school."

"What about the guys who got given to the Council as a scared straight program thing?" another called.

"I'm really sorry for them but I can't save them from the girls and shopping with the girls. I still have literal flashbacks to shopping with Buffy in high school." He shot a grin at them. "Of course they'd be nowhere unsafe because shoplifting doesn't require a life sentence." He went inside and shut the door.

A teenage slayer leaned out. "Faith said if you don't go away soon she can't go on patrol tonight so you'll all get eaten," she called. "Have fun with that." She yelped. "Hey!"

"Quit picking on the reporters before I make you become one," Andrew complained. "Even if Faith did send you to do that." He shut the door again.

The reporters shared a look and got away from the Council house so Faith could go on patrol. They went to check on the police to see if they had a statement about earlier or those battle videos going out. The last time they had set part of the city in quarantine just in case riots broke out. Bar fights had but it was mostly guys going 'I could do that' drunkenly and people egging them on to try it. This time.... Well, the officers didn't want to comment or cause a problem so they'd be on the watch for new problems.

***

Peacemaker looked at Rick as he stomped up to him. He had told him to come talk to him in the group's special portion of the prison. Everyone on the Squad now got a section to themselves so the other prisoners didn't feel like they were getting special treats. "The Council sorts ended up releasing some new battle videos to spite the witch yelling at one of the old watchers for daring to crop Harris out of the film. One of them was the one he nearly lost."

"I want that guy's dossier," he admitted.

"There's not one," Harley said as she walked up to him and past them. "If there is, their hacker there, whoever that is, has gotten to it and made him look like a clumsy imbecile again."

Peacemaker looked at her. "Really?"

"Yeah. She does it a lot. His FBI file she totally changed things to suit herself. Including his birthday." She grinned. "Because she knew better. I'm pretty sure it's the redhead's fault." She beamed. "New battle videos released?"

"Yup," Flag said. "We can watch them." They settled in to do that all the present and former squad members just in case they ran into them on some sort of mission. Yup, it was nasty. And dirty. And worse than some of their team's had been. He looked at Harley at one point, getting a shrug back. "Isn't he in these?"

She nodded. "From the underground, he got there late. He was half the continent away." She got up to make some popcorn and came back when she heard the military showing up. Finally. Of course the annoying demons were cheered up for being taken seriously finally so they brought over their real weapons and fighters. And army. And half their population probably.

After another hour that had clearly been cut some to show the less destructive parts, Harris got flown in and took out the head demon with a grenade. "Holy water," she said. "There's a recipe online." The guys just nodded and watched how it happened. Harris had good ideas. They hadn't worked the first or the second time but they had at least slowed the battle. The third time it ended it and most of the other side. Only a few more soldiers got killed or injured.

Rick looked at Harley, who smirked. "Is that the worst there was?"

"Nope." She popped the 'P' sound. She ate another piece of popcorn. "Someone asked him while he was drunk one night which battle was the worst ever and he mentioned the last one in Sunnydale, where they were inside the hellmouth facing thousands of super vampires, with one mystical weapon that worked against them and a lot of others, but had to fight their way to the altar to bleed seven of the girls on it somehow and then fight their way back out."

She ate another bite. "I totally profiled him for class my last year of studies. I even compared him to my ex and should've listened to my instincts." She ate more popcorn. She pulled up a video and sent it to the smart tv for them. "Not that one. There's no film of that one."

They turned to watch that battle, which was pretty bad but Harris had tricked some militia members to fight it. They tried to attack Harris, who was drinking something while sitting on the gate of a pickup truck until the portal opened in the mass of the militia members. Rick burst out laughing. She grinned and nodded. "Yup." She went back to watching. "He's called the White Knight in the underground."

Rick looked back at her and she smiled but he went back to watching. He'd talk to her about how she knew all this later. "There's no dossier on him anywhere."

She nodded. "I know."

"Can we find a real one?"

"Ask the poker circuit?"

"Not a bad idea."

"That's how I did it when I did his profile."

"Can I see that?"

"You can ask the college if they have a copy. Mine's buried somewhere in my storage building at home."

"I can do that." He went back to watching. It was goofy but the kid had some skills. What Harris could've been with military training was a fantasy he had.

Peacemaker leaned over to look at him. "I would've liked to see him with your training."

"Me too," Rick admitted. "Or even yours."

Harley giggled. "I'm shocked you didn't flirt, Flaggy. Only the deadly and dangerous sorts like him that way."

He shot a look back at her. "I'm not gay, Harley. That may have mattered."

"Not really." She flapped a hand with a grin.

He rolled his eyes and got into the next video. He needed to know about that guy's abilities. Just in case he ran into him in the field, or in case they were ordered to take him out to spare the slayers.

***

Xander looked at the man staring at him. "We do not testify in front of demon owned people. That is our decision to protect our girls."

The agent sighed. "We agree with that. The ones on that hearing panel are not tainted. We asked. It's about that issue though. We need someone who can show up and tell us how to find them and how to find that book."

"That book is found at the head of the local demon poker halls. Most cities have at least a copy of it. Ours is about nineteen inches thick and it'll have pages disappear when people die, after six months. It lists all the debts owed from anyone. It lists the three I'm owed from poker debts. I was looking for one I knew I had but it wasn't listed. So I asked that higher demon and he huffed and checked too, it was listed in LA's and not Cleveland's because ours doesn't list that level of demon."

"Okay. Can agents in LA get theirs?"

"Probably. Some of them play kitten poker. Have them ask."

"That's actually very helpful. Can you tell me which one here would have a copy?"

"Sid's Tentacles Bar." He pointed. "Sixteen blocks from the hellmouth to the east. A lot of the girls can go there."

"That's actually very helpful. Can we borrow one of you for that talk?"

"I.... Giles?" he called, tipping his head to the side. Giles came out of the office and sighed. "They're holding a hearing on how to find if someone's demon tainted."

"I can't see sending some of the older watchers to that," he admitted. "They'll try to cover things up." The agent nodded. "However, I could foresee myself or Buffy going if they wanted." The agent sighed in pleasure. "If I cannot, I can probably lean on Xander."

Xander looked at him. "I doubt they want to talk to me about anything, Giles."

"Actually, they did want to know about any battles here in the US," the agent admitted. "If they could get you to come testify they were going to ask about that as well."

Xander sighed. "I can provide copies of film we take. We generally wear a body camera to real battles for the later slayers to see. I have a ton of them in the safes. Not all of them are in the US and that's not all battles. Sometimes I couldn't grab the camera, sometimes I didn't grab the camera.

"A few were going to be so nasty no one needed to see that. Including me. Half of those Giles got a single paragraph report on about a third of them total." Giles scowled at him. "What? You wanted me to note the battle against the family clan of Maharans?"

Giles heaved, then shook his head. "Not particularly. How were they found?"

"They tried to take out a baby slayer's village. She called up panicked when I was too far away so blew a poker debt to go handle that and to bring Faith down to help me. For which she swore at me for hours for thinking about her."

"Faith?" he called. She came out. "That battle he pulled you down with a wish for?"

"There's been four," she said, grimacing. "I can't write a report on how nasty any of them were. One wasn't *too* bad, but it's also gross. Globs of snot demons who were about house size and eating the trees it ran over. That was gross but not harmful."

Xander nodded. "I did put in a report about that."

Giles sighed, looking at him. "Those are particularly rare."

"Yeah, a minister summoned them to make his people more faithful," Xander said dryly.

"Oh, dear."

"Yeah, not harmful to humans but scary because of the size and being flying balls of snot. I got someone to translate for one of them and they said who it was. The whole town was listening. That minister...well, he fled for his life somewhere."

Faith nodded. "Good!" She looked at the agent. "We don't talk to congress."

"They're asking about how to find out about demon owing ones, Slayer Faith. If we can find out, we can get them out of congress. They did let me know that if Mr. Harris showed up they wanted to talk to him about any battles we've had in the US."

"What's their definition of a battle?" Faith asked. "Because there's skirmishes, fights, brawls, patrol fights with vamps, and then there's huge things."

"I think anything that takes more than four slayers to handle."

"That's a lot," Faith sighed. "About every six events."

The agent winced. "Do many of them have films?"

"Nope. We only put on the cameras for the bigger things where it takes more than ten of us. And sometimes patrol to show the later girls how to do it."

"Can we borrow those at least?" the agent asked. "So they can ask if anything like that minister has happened?"

Xander pointed to the southwest. "Two telepreachers. One graduated the holy tower college from that original telepreacher. The other one's from Arizona and part of a cult who did that and fought it to prove he was anointed by God."

"Can we get that information too?" he asked.

"We told the FBI," Faith said dryly. "They moaned a bit, shrugged a bit, then ignored it."

"Shit," the agent muttered.

"They do it a lot," Xander agreed dryly, smirking at him. "But yeah, we may share some of those battle videos." He looked at Giles, who nodded. He looked at the agent again. "As for testifying, we can make sure Buffy's wearing a non-patrol skirt for it so she looks nicer and like a decent human being." Faith snickered.

The agent smiled and handed over the paperwork. "Then please, sirs and Slayer Faith." He nodded and went to share that information. Plus find that poker hall. It was a bar up front so he went to talk to the bartender. "Congress is looking to see whose name is in that book of Debts we heard about," he said. "If there's a way we could?"

"I can ask. We expected someone to do that."

"Please if we can. We'd like to get those who sold themselves for political gain out of politics."

"That'll empty out DC," the bartender said. "Let me talk to someone."

"Thank you." The bartender went into the back and the agent ignored the others in the room and what they were drinking and eating. The bartender came back with a higher level demon and the agent nodded politely. "We'd like to find a way to copy the names and details of anyone in congress or higher positions with deals if we could. We'd like to not have them infecting the government."

The demon nodded, handing over a notebook. "We had minions copy it."

"Thank you, and the government thanks you as well." He nodded at the demon and bartender. "We're holding a hearing about how to tell soon and the Council has agreed to help us with that. I'll hand them back the notebook."

"That's fine. It saves us dealing with someone who'd want to buy it." He went back to the back.

"Thank you," the agent said, giving him a twenty as a tip and leaving.

The bartender smiled. "If more agents were like him, it'd be great." The others in there nodded. He had been polite. It was a great change.

***

Xander and Faith walked into Congress. "Giles broke his ankle," he told the waiting agent. "Buffy's hiding like hell because the girls dyed her hair green." The agent laughed. "So we got deputized."

"That's great, Mr. Harris. Slayer Faith." He nodded at her. "We have to go through security."

"I have shrapnel injuries," Xander said. "Faith does have weapons in case."

"We expected that." He took them to the security team. "This is Slayer Faith and Watcher Harris. He has shrapnel, she has permission to carry weapons as needed. He does too but usually only higher weapons."

The security team hand wanded them both and the agent took Faith's weapons to hold since he'd be with them. Once they were near the hearing room he handed them back, making her smile. She looked at Xander. "What did you get shrapnel from?"

"Few things." He shrugged. "Maya's thing too."

She blinked then nodded. "Ohkay then. I do not need to know."

"Probably." He grinned. They were let into the hearing room and shown to seats to wait in. He looked at the staring congress members. He leaned closer to Faith. "They missed one," he said in her ear.

"I can tell." She grimaced but nodded. "It'll go." They got called up.

"Mr. Harris, Miss Lehane, thank you for answering our summons to figure out how to tell if one of us is owing a debt."

Xander nodded. "There's a few ways."

"Also, Slayers can feel certain types of debts," she said. "Including full soul contracts most of the time."

"That's good to know," the head of the panel said. "Before we begin, is there anyone up here who may owe one?"

"Two," Xander said. "By the Book of Debts one gave up a tiny sliver of her soul to save her family from something and the other one is a soul contract."

Faith nodded and waved a hand. "Yes, she does. I could tell from the theater seats."

"Does that get stronger the longer you're a slayer?" he asked.

"No. Some girls are great at sensing demons and taints. Some of us are all but headblind but have other skills and sense other things. One of the minis is actually the most accurate and best at sensing that. She's four and she'll hug everyone she runs into unless they have a soul contract or they cough on her."

"Interesting. All right." He looked down. "You two should not be in here." One moved. Xander shook his head. "Not him?"

"No. Representative Andrews has the tiny one to save her family for some reason. It didn't record the why, just that it was to help her family. Representative Michal," he said with a point. "Somehow managed to sell his whole soul." That one moaned and he stomped off. "I don't know why that one senator moved," he told that one.

"To test us," Faith said.

The head nodded. "It was. That was their idea to prove it." He looked at Representative Andrews. "Why?"

"We had a break in from someone who wanted my father for his political views. We lost him anyway but the guy got caught before he shot me, my mother, or my siblings. That's worth six percent of my soul. I've lived a good life beyond that."

The head of the inquiry nodded. "That's actually not a bad reason and as far as I know no one would mind that. It's less than half. It's not going to make you sway your vote. You're every bit like your father." She grinned and nodded.

"She's not going to jump up to attack us for being who we are," Faith said. "We haven't minded her. One of them we mind because he made drunken innuendos about an underaged slayer." She stared at the one who moved. He ducked his head. "She was fifteen when you said you wanted to toss her down and teach her how to be a real woman." He winced too.

Xander cleared his throat. "Someone else had that idea. The officers in Cleveland were very nice to stop me last month."

Faith grinned at him. "You got there before I could."

"Yes I did."

"You two are militant," the head of the panel said.

"Yes we are. We're highly protective of the slayers because they're young women and people hate them for being born called. I'm super overprotective over the younger minis I usually handle these days. I've sent teachers running for their lives for making inappropriate comments about the girls. I'm a big brother to the slayers and they all know that."

The head of the panel smiled. "Good. Someone needs to. So, how do you tell beyond the slayer senses?"

"Marks," Xander said. He pulled out his notes for them with a grin. "These marks are the most often seen. A lot of times they will photograph. I have special glasses to look through." He let the usher take them to hand over so the head of the panel could look through them.

"I can see a glowing mark on her arm."

"Yes," she agreed with a nod. "It's right there." She pointed.

"No, the one I see is further up."

She pointed and he nodded. "That was an anti-demon toxin shot recently. I had one try to infect me."

"It can show other demon taints," Xander agreed with a nod. "Those shots will show up."

The head looked at them, frowning. "Slayer Faith?"

"We show up because the slayer essence that we all carry was originally ripped from a few demons way back in caveman days to be given to us."

"Mr. Harris?"

"Exposure to demon blood," he said dryly. "You fight them and they will bleed on you."

That got a mass nod. "That figures," the head of the panel said, handing them back. Xander put them back into the case in his pocket. "Beyond that and the rumors from the poker circuit, how else can we more normal people tell?"

"Some people can get charms made to tell them if there's a demon of certain classes nearby," Faith said. "It'll tell the higher ones definitely but not the ones who fled here to be safe ages ago. It may catch more recent ones because of the energy differences. Some can tell magic as well."

"So there's no great, definitive way?"

"Doing a markings search from someone like a dermatologist does work," Xander said. "If they have the proper glasses or other seeing devices, because I know someone who put it on a magnifying glass, then that would be the best, easiest, and least likely to be paid off to lie."

"That could work. Making a list of certain dermatologists who can do such things and has the glasses or some other device." He looked at the others. "We have a mandatory physical yearly." The others nodded at that. "What do you suggest about the ones we already have in seats in this house?" he asked.

Faith shrugged. "That's why we wouldn't come talk to you guys."

"Once it's known, they could probably be voted out," Xander offered. "Would most people vote for a demon tainted congressional member?"

"No," the head agreed. "That's a probable outcome of it coming out." He looked at that one representative.

"No, I've admitted it in the past when someone sneered at me for it. The ones of us who did something like I did, a lot of people won't mind as long as it's less than half according to my last election committee's research."

"You'll get a lot of people who hate that demons exist too," Xander said. "The 'I'd never let myself do that, I'd let them die' sorts who'd try to make the country bitter."

The head sighed but nodded. "Yes there are. That's a problem that could happen as well. We may not want them in here either. Between the two, I'm not sure which is worse."

"Even if they're fully indebted it won't change how they vote," Faith said. "It's basically a timer on their life, not a possession."

Xander nodded. "Possessions are not picked up that way. But that is picked up on most of the magic detectors."

"So we can put those on the entryway," Representative Andrews said happily.

"Yes," Faith said, handing over a card. "This is one that works out of Cleveland and they did say they could give you a list of who does that sort of work in this area." They smiled. "They've been asked that before. Especially after the invasion in LA."

"Excellent." He shared that with the others. "We also wanted to ask one of you about battles in the US."

"I've only been back for two years," Xander said dryly. "But we were warned. What is your definition of a battle?"

"I'm getting a flashback to Clinton asking for the definition of the word 'is'," one said dryly. "Any fights?"

"Staking on patrol fits that. So does a bar brawl we sometimes get into. Are we talking huge things like the invasion, something that pops up suddenly that took a few slayers to handle?"

"Let's go down to that last category," that one said.

"Sixteen in the last four months," Faith said. "Since Xander came back from Africa, probably eighty-three or so?" she asked Xander, who shrugged but nodded. "All over the US. About another sixty-five in Europe and Asia. Africa's new team doesn't report anything but huge events. So does South America."

The senators and representatives all stared at her. "Why so many here?" the head of the panel asked.

"We've had a few that were fighting for dominance over their clan," Xander said. "We attended to make sure no one outside stepped in, and stopped it a few times. That accounts for probably four of those. We've had a few huge domestic fights that it took multiple slayers to break up."

"We had one last week that was a princess showing up through the hellmouth to try to complain that we can't accept her fashionable and special nature. She came to shop for minions and cute outfits. It took ten of us to drive her off and Rosenburg calling her mom to come get her, and her showing up to nag her daughter for two of the five hour fight against her before she stomped off. Xander just basically blew her clothes up and made her huff home."

"It works with Buffy," he said dryly. "You mess up her clothes, she huffs off."

Faith tipped he head then nodded. "Yeah, that's how I've done it before when she tried to nag me."

Xander grinned. "I sicced a mini to mess up her hair. She screamed in outrage, the mini said she got her back for being such a poopy head earlier that day about them being cute kids, and then ran off to cheer and talk Andrew into cookies."

"I heard that scream of outrage," Faith said dryly. "I locked my door so no one involved me." She looked at the congressional members again. "The slayer house is sometimes a bit trippy."

"There's thirty-three kids and sixteen adult slayers," Xander said dryly. "It's a big building but not that big." Faith nodded at that.

The head of the panel moaned. "I have three daughters and that's more than enough in one six bedroom house. With each of them having their own rooms."

"We have double rooms," Faith said. "Until high school." He shuddered. "Yeah. A lot of times it's a lot of girl fights over nothing."

"Or the bubble bath," Xander quipped. "Because they went to hair pulling and screaming over whose bubble bath was used. I had to use nineteen corners that night."

The head of the panel laughed. "You guys live a very weird life."

"Yes but we insist the girls grow up like normal girls."

"Good. It's good to see." He looked at the others. "How many of those eighty-three were big enough that you taped it for later?"

"About fifty," Faith said. "Some we didn't manage it, some we weren't going to. No one needs to see a few of those."

"One was wacky," Xander offered. "Because we had to keep switching which one had which demon because it kept splitting off and only three of us had the right sort of weapons, the rest of us handled the other things going on."

"Huh?" Representative Andrews asked. Xander sighed and dug out the DVD set he had carried in, handing it over. "Which one, Mr. Harris?"

"Disc six, probably third or fourth and the one before then is nasty. Like heaving for the rest of all time nasty." She nodded, getting up to run those and find that one. "Oh, it's blue. Not the green thing that'll make you think it's harmless."

She went past that green thing and found the blue one. She moved the tv so the others could see it. "This one?" Faith nodded. They watched that one. It wasn't great but it was...rather charming. "Special weapons?"

"Silver," Faith said. "We only have a few silver blades."

"That's something that happens I guess." She let it go to the next one. And heaved about a minute later. "Oh." She turned that off. "I don't think we need to show that in open session. The parents of that child may mind."

"Considering they summoned it to get power? They've already been sentenced," Xander said. "But yeah, it's gross. We came up on that one afterward and had to fight the parents and the demons. I was not there. I was in the ER getting piece of stake taken out of my side."

"We can close the session and turn off the cameras," the head of the panel decided. They did that and went back to that video. The usher brought in a few extra trash cans for personal use.

Xander held up a hand. "Do not let it go on. The next one was huge, dangerous, and we lost three girls during it." They nodded, taking a break before seeing that one. They all were quiet afterwards. "That is not the worst on there." They nodded at that. "You guys wanted videos of former battles. Those are the ones we recorded." That got a mass nod. "The worst is on the second disc, sixth video in. It's short, it's gross, and it was eating children."

"I think we can view that privately at a later event," the head of the council said quietly. "Did your copies for the later slayers have worse than what you included, left out on purpose?"

"Yup," both young people said together.

"Worse than that one?" Xander nodded. "Oh, dear. How many, percentage wise?"

"Probably thirty percent of the safe's contents are worse. Two in there are from Africa but they relate back to the US as there were US soldiers there not being very helpful." That got a group nod. "Some of them are from overseas. Three of the worst in there are from the US, including the last battle in Sunnydale."

Faith looked at him. "We had that one attempt thingy."

"Oh, yeah, well the battle that sucked in Sunnydale then."

The head of the panel nodded. "I understand why you would not like to have that shown."

"One has a missing town," Faith said bluntly. "All dead."

"I can fully agree with us not having to see that one unless it's pertinent to another investigation we're doing," Representative Andrews said. "I toured after that incident but they had cleaned it up by then." The others looked at her. "I was on the investigative panel." She waved a hand at someone else. "So was he."

He nodded. "I was. It was after all the cleanup was completed, all the bodies buried." He looked at them. "How do you handle seeing that?"

"We do it so you don't have to, or so some little kid doesn't get hurt from it," Faith said. "What choice do the slayers have? Some never go on patrol but we'll still step in to save our own."

"I can see that." He slumped and grimaced. "Do they get training?"

"Yup. They have to at least take the book work," Xander said. "That way if something's going on they can identify it, stop it if they can, or to call one of us and tell us what's going on so we know what we're looking at when we get there."

"Why do some of the slayers not go on patrol?"

"Because, like soldiers, not everyone's meant to be in the field," Faith said. "Some girls physically can't. Some girls mentally can't. Some really don't feel good doing it. We had one girl who was going to cut her wrists if we sent her out again. She could but shouldn't because it was wearing on her. She didn't tell us, like she knew she was supposed to, because her mom told her it was her duty and she had to do it because it was her duty. Some people can be soldiers. Some people can't. Some people shouldn't."

"I understand that." He licked his lips. "What do they do?"

"They go to college, they find a real life, all that the other girls do too. We send them to college or trade school or whatever they want to do. Unlike the old Council, our job is to support the girls in their duty, help them do it, help them grow up into women that their families could be proud of, and if they want to stay at home, that's fine and we support that too," Xander said. "They're like every other girl or woman in the world, only they've got a nasty after-school job given to them without their consent."

"I can see how that happens," he decided. "Miss Lehane, are you going to go to college?"

"I'm not a college girl," she said. "I'll stay and help the younger girls until it kills me. Me and Buffy both. That's our choices."

Xander nodded. "It's my choice to make sure one little girl doesn't have to do that duty on their own, so I jumped in at first and stayed no matter who told me to go away, because no one else was."

"Would the Council hire more watcher trainees?"

"We're always looking for more," Faith said dryly. "Most of the ones who apply have no clue and aren't really a good idea around the girls."

"We had one that was racist and trying to make the girls he worked with that same way," Xander said with a grin. "We had a talk with him."

"A violent one?"

"Yeah, I had a bat." He grinned and nodded. "The girls have to be able to protect everyone, even the ones who hate them for it, and work in any country. Racism isn't allowed."

"Especially not with the diversity of the demon community we work with," Faith agreed.

The congress members all nodded at that. "Are the girls safe, Mr. Harris?"

"If they're not I've still got that bat. And a few other choice methods. I've proven that a few times." Faith sighed but nodded. "Including for bad boyfriends." He grinned his most insane grin. "I'm a highly overprotective big brother to the slayers."

"Good," the head of the panel said happily. "It's good someone's protecting the girls." He looked at the others. "Any other questions?"

"Can other countries pick which slayer comes?"

"No," Faith said. "We set who goes where. The houses have a mix of gifts and strengths. The bigger houses are more particular. The single girls on patrol in more rural areas are usually from an area like that. Some of them are at home, some of them aren't. The girls themselves can ask if they want to go somewhere specific. That's why B...Buffy went to Rome and I went to Germany for six months."

"I went to Africa to grieve for my former fiancee and tell the girls what had happened, and then it happened in front of me. So I stepped in and found people down there trying to hide it from the general populace so I taught them too."

"Good. It's good the girls get support now." He looked around. "Any other questions?"

"Do your people get federal support?"

Xander shook his head. "No. The Council is self supporting so we don't have to deal with people who want us to do things for them."

"I can see that problem. Are there things that could make it easier on your duties?"

"Hospitals," Faith said. "Some of them are docs who hate us and won't treat one of us. They hate Xander for having been exposed to demon blood sometimes. Out of all the hospitals in Cleveland only two will treat any of us. None of them will treat him or anyone else with even a drop of demon blood."

Xander nodded. "Every city really needs an emergency plan. An evac or whatever. A battle can happen anywhere. Cleveland's emergency plan wasn't available for over two years after we moved there. That would've been a year after the invasion. Rosenburg helped them set it up. New York City has one but I'm not sure how realistic is it. A lot of other places don't have one. Which means more civilians in the way possibly."

"We don't need 'em to be paranoid," Faith said. "But knowing how and where to run if something happens? Probably a great idea. It's not like tornado basements will help in some cases."

"I hadn't thought on that," the head of the panel admitted, making himself a note. "Any others?"

"Can we *please* get the military taught how to at least use a machete properly?" Xander asked sarcastically. "Most of them have no idea. Those that try it anyway often end up hurting others. Even those who use the ceremonial swords have no idea how to use them. Bullets only work in about forty percent of our problems. A sword would be better but a machete will be handy."

Faith nodded. "Definitely. We don't tend to work with the army after their little project problem but the rest, we'd like them to actually not be a casualty in a battle because they have no idea. They don't deserve that. They also need to keep bringing their own weapons because we never have enough."

"What project?" Representative Andrews asked.

"It was sealed by presidential order," Xander said. "Though Faith was not there, she was in a coma, and I did not sign any NDA or anything else, I was warned I was not to talk about them. Or their actions in other countries for the UN." He grinned. "Unless I cannot be held accountable for mentioning that.... Ask the president. Or actually the president that was in office in 2000."

She stared at them. "Generally speaking, what were they doing?"

"Experimenting on anything who wasn't a standard human."

The representative looked at the others. "Someone call and ask please?"

"Give me a minute. My phone's in my office," the head of the panel said, going to do that. He came back ten minutes later. "The president had to look that up, got sick, I heard him using his trash can like a few of us have, and said to please make sure they can't do that again."

"We drove them out of the college in South Carolina when they tried," Xander said dryly. He pulled out his phone and looked up something, finding a warning from Willow. He answered her and went back to the files, letting the usher have it to hand to the panel.

"That is the basis of the program, the incarnations I've found since then, the ones I've run off, and the name of the project for the UN's hunting squads for those that didn't end up in Homeland." He grinned. "We thought it was shitty they got permanent duty assignments for it."

They looked that over and the head of the panel nodded. "Oh, dear. That bad?"

"Yeah," Faith said. "I wasn't there and I heard later. It was that nasty."

Xander took his phone back after waving for it, getting into a file. "On a vampire that we had to help guard that they had gotten. That's my journal from that time complaining about him." They looked that over. "That was the lightest thing they did. And that was testing it to use on later soldiers. Which you guys now have in a certain program out of Louisiana according to my sources."

"Task Force X," one said. Xander nodded. "Oh."

"Waller was one of the geeks then. An administrator but part of the science crew."

"We'll be looking into that."

"You'll want a few more trash cans," Xander said bluntly. "And they didn't keep good notes." He grinned. "If you ask the Demonic Congress they have a committee much like this to identify any other programs like that to warn the community and try to have them shut down. We were forced to let the Army deal with its own people even though we knew they wouldn't. After that, nope. I have no mercy."

"Good," the head of the panel noted firmly. "Excellent in fact. You let us look into that, Mr. Harris. The president demanded we look at that." Xander nodded. "Which college?"

"That was in the notes."

"I took that down and copied it," Representative Andrews said, handing over her notes. "What happened to them?"

"Most of them went to the UN or Homeland," Faith said. "One of them tried really hard to come back to take out the slayers. Riley Finn and his wife."

"I had a lot of fun blowing up their compound," Xander said quietly. "A whole lotta fun. They wanted to blow up the girls. Our protections defeated that. We repaid it."

The head of the panel smiled. "You're rather scary."

"I'd hug you but only assassins and arms dealers like my hugs," he quipped, cracking up Faith.

"Thankfully I'm not in that sort of life," the head of the panel agreed. He went back over the notes and handed them back. "Find them, Andrews."

"Yes, sir."

"Good. Let us look into that. We'll talk to Slayer Summers during it since it was probably her who handled it." Xander nodded. "Good. We'll see her in a few weeks, once she's no longer dyed funny colors thanks to a mini slayer." He banged the gavel. "Dismissed. Have a better day." They nodded and left together. He looked at them. "Let's look into that project then get Waller in here."

"The cameras are still off. So she may not have heard," Andrews said.

"Good. Excellent in fact." He smiled. "We'll have a lot to look into." Willow appeared with two file boxes and handed them over. "On that project, Miss Rosenburg?"

"Yes. The president called Giles to tell us to release it to you. I have nine more boxes if you need it. This is the pertinent files and non-identifiable beings so no one has to hear about their families. We can release the rest but I'm worried about the families having to hear about the tortures they went through."

"How bad was it?" Representative Andrews asked. Willow put down the boxes and found a file after some looking, handing it over. "Oh, my God," she muttered, handing it over to go get sick.

"We couldn't identify his species," Willow said. "It was down to one of three. He was there when we freed the base. We had to give him mercy because that's how we found him and the healers said they couldn't fix it." She grimaced. "If you want the rest, I'll gladly hand it to the Demonic Congress or directly to you."

"Do they know or have other files?"

"I handed them a copy of everything. I have no idea where they stored it."

"Good. About Director Waller?"

She grimaced. "The administrative lady who ordered things and kept track of files? We'd rather not see her." She smiled. "But if you want to, go for it. Her file's not in there, it's in the other box. Which is in my closet."

"We can send an agent to come gather that, Miss Rosenburg," the head of the panel said. "Gladly. That way we can find out how bad our army screwed up."

"They were mostly Rangers."

"They were Rangers," he said.

She nodded. "The soldier portion, they were Rangers for the most part."

"Why were they doing this?"

"They were going to figure out demons to see if there was something that could help strengthen chosen human soldiers. And the original doctor, Dr. Walsh, was making her own franken soldier out of demon and human parts."

"Was it stopped?"

"Buffy did that," she said happily.

"Good!" He smiled back. "I'll send someone to heft the rest here. Is it this bad? The rest of the files?"

Willow nodded. "Yeah, the testing tapes they had stored? Unfortunately yes, and some are identifiable. I'd hate to hurt someone's family."

"No, we'll close that hearing," he said. "That way no one hears about their family. Do you know anyone on the Demonic Congress committee?"

"Dathra. She's our local rep for Cleveland."

"I'll ask them," he said. "Thank you for that service, young lady."

"Always happy to not let it restart. We consider that a debt of honor to stop it anytime it starts." She smiled and disappeared.

The head of the panel looked at the others. "Someone get them to come talk to us about this hearing we need to have." Someone nodded, going to his office to call them. They came over to talk that night. They brought their full files, including things the Council hadn't heard about. But they considered it sweet that Harris had stopped the last attempt.

***

"Why am I being called in front of Congress again?" Waller complained loudly. The others all shrugged. They didn't know and no one was talking. She stomped off but everyone had a feeling they knew. The Squad had run into the Council and they probably had a talk somehow. The Council was like that.

***

Rick Flag was also called to testify about their task force and if anything was similar. He heard the evidence of that prior group and nearly ground his teeth into dust hearing it was his army's people, Rangers for the most part. Rick was a West Point graduate. His father had been a war hero. His grandfather had been a war hero. He was a war hero. This was making him want to end the threat to the world.

He stared at Waller's back. He knew she could tell and feel his anger, but she'd deal with it later when he got in her face. Well, she went to jail so it'd be much later. He walked up for his turn and they agreed he had nothing to do with that, they were just making sure she wasn't continuing in the same vein.

He noted the current things, including the explosives for missions. They weren't pleased and agreed that it was wrong of her to do, but they were using villains to handle bigger problems. They'd be looking over her methodology later that day to see if the task force could go on. He got asked how he got brought back and he was honest, he had no idea who they were but they had said he was needed. So he was back.

They decided he was in control for now. The project was halted for now until the review. He agreed and left to tell the people that hadn't watched the broadcast that.

***

Rick made it back to the prison and called everyone together. "Congress has sank Waller into a cell," he announced, seeing the few who were happy about that. "Not only because of her problems here but because of the other ones she participated in. Right now, if any of you were Initiative I want to know so I can send you away from us before they kill us to get you.

"I may use you as a training hunt for someone on the task force but I can't promise that bit of fun for us to bet on." He looked around. No one said anything. "Good. If I find out later you lied, it'll be worse." He looked around again then at his people, insane though they were. "Congress has said I'm in charge from now on until Waller's problems are settled. Then they'll revisit it.

"Tonight, I want all the upcoming possible mission profiles handed over to me. The one mission currently going I want to hear about immediately. Just in case I have to stop it immediately. Who's in charge of that?" One raised her hand. "Bad, we're covering our asses, or her ass?"

"Covering her ass yes, Colonel, but important to stop anyway. Like in Corto Maltese. It needs stopped and if they find out the US helped, then they're the idiots and they deserve to go down."

"Is the team working?"

"Very well. They're within a day of ending it completely. If they had went the easy way, starting a coup would've worked faster but they're being subtle with explosives and kills."

Flag nodded. "Tell me later with the others. Also if we're actively supporting projects like that. I know she had some...friends in low places who used her and us to try to cover up things. But Congress found out," he said smugly. "Including her stint doing that to demons."

A few winced. "Is that what that Initiative project was?" one asked.

"Yes. In Sunnydale. Slayer Summers' team took them down the hard way. We got to see the head of the army today to talk to him about his Rangers doing that," he said dryly. "He was throwing a fit in the hallway during my testimony because he heard Waller's.

"He's vowed some of them are going to die by his hand. I think a demon offered him Harris' baseball bat he used on the last group he found." She shuddered at that. "Exactly." He looked around again. "Any missions in last minute prep?" No one said anything. "Any in the next day I need to look at first?"

"You were due to go out with the team in about a week to handle another lab thing," the main computer guy said. "Not sure, Colonel." He looked at someone. Who pulled it up to show him.

"That needs to be ended and we're doing a favor for England to cover their asses. No. Can the civilians be saved?" That handler shook her head. "At all?"

"All dead already."

"Then let it be known. That's not ours, we're not doing it, and I'm not into covering up our mistakes anyway. Stopping them, yes. Covering them up, no." He looked around again, staring at Peacemaker, who shook his head and looked down. "Anything I need to hear right now?"

"We've only lost one member of that current team," that handler said, lifting her chin. "They're not working together very well but they're handling it fine."

"That's fine. All current, former, and future possible members can do some training together. I know we won't trust each other, and most of us don't like each other, but we damn sure will learn how to handle a field situation so we're not killed by semi-friendly fire because we're arguing."

"Yes, sir," a few mumbled.

"Thank you. I'll be going over those mission files tonight. Tomorrow I'll go over handler methods and those things to see where things are sticky or stinky. We'll figure all that out." He relaxed himself and crossed his arms over his chest. "Anything else I have to hear right this moment?" No one said anything. "Then get me those files and have an easier night than I will." They left.

"It's cute how you went macho with the arms crossed thing," Harley quipped as she was led off by a guard.

He snorted. "Keep it up and I'm going to make you profile any newbies to the team, Quinn."

"Yeah, yeah, give me something to do at night," she said dryly. "They only let me have little kid books. I'm tired of pokey puppies."

"I'll see about that too. You being bored is going to cause me more problems," he complained. The others in the prison were led out and he went to get those files so he could see what needed stopped and what needed to be handled.

He got to use the phone number he had been handed earlier by the head of the army to talk to him about two missions that had his people screwing up again within an hour. And suggested one could be handled by them if they wanted. He forwarded those files. That general wasn't happy but he did growl a bit. It was almost amusing.

***

One of the underground reporters at a minor tv station in the midwest smiled at the camera. "I think it's very interesting that we're being protected by young women and we have no idea who they are. So for the next few weeks I'm going to be going over the profiles of our senior slayers, and the males that help them as watchers, hunters, or trainers.

"Because I'm sure we're all wondering about that guy who was testifying with Senior Slayer Lehane recently. We know almost nothing about him but he's been doing it just as long as she has." The camera cut for the commercial and they watched it and approved it then she moved to tape her reports on the senior slayers.

She had done her homework. She had talked to Buffy's former high school friends. She had talked to survivors of Sunnydale High, including many in that group's year. She had found people who had known all of them, and the offshoot group in LA and about that military project and who were willing to spill information. She had also asked some clan elders around her grandmother, who played bridge with her.

Her grandmother was so proud of her baby girl, all human but protecting both communities. And spilling dirt so people would look up to Xander. Her grandmother thought he was hot. Especially when she found out someone had taken pictures of him on the swim team.

***

Faith woke up to a staring higher power. She sat up with a moan, staring at her. "What's up, Cordelia?"

"We, well they, plotted to have Xander take a bigger role than the Council to protect the girls more. His recent warping of the prophecy isn't *bad*. It's useful. It nearly fixed it, but in three years we'll have another invasion and we'll need someone with some sense in charge."

"X is three years too young to run for anything."

"Oh. I didn't think about that. The other's not forty-five either. Huh. They're probably about the same age." She grimaced, her face scrunching up. "Huh. Okay, well, I'll make that note. Maybe we can do something...."

"The next prez election is this year. So it'll be four and five before he takes office."

"That sucks. That'll derail the plans totally." She huffed. "Okay. You can warn him. Others did and he sidestepped it with the whole videos thing." She waved. "Tell everyone to batten down the hatches. This spring's going to be a bitch too." She faded out.

"Fuck you for the visions, Cordelia!" Xander shouted from his room. "Damn bitch!"

Faith sighed, laying back down. "Great. Just great. The girls will freak."

***

"Mr. Harris, where is your birth certificate?" the DMV worker asked patiently.

"It's mythical because it's never existed." He pointed at two documents. "I had to use the alternate documentation you guys require now."

"Then how do we know your birth date and that you're a born citizen?"

He pointed again. "That's the social service record from when I was a kid. The one underneath is a certified letter from a judge back in California, though a few years old, that states what is known about my birth. My mother was so drunk she didn't realize she was in labor with her first kid until some monster apparently attacked her leg and the paramedics had to come save her from me. The paramedic later told me he remembered my birth because it was so unusual but it was dated somewhere about June 11th."

She sighed and read that, frowning at the facts in the judicial letter. "Oh, dear." She looked at him. "How did you get into school?"

"Sunnydale didn't care. The schools were just fattening pens for the later food sources for vampires." He shrugged. "I survived it at least."

"Oh." She went to get her supervisor, who came back with the rule book and went over what he had. She looked at him. "We still do demand a birth certificate."

"The judge said they could not backdate and enter it." He pointed at that letter again. "It's in the last paragraph. He decided June 11th was close enough because the paper listed that incident for the week and only had about a two or three day lag time at times. The paramedic told him what he told me. My mother agreed she was so drunk she didn't realize she was pregnant, much less in labor. Apparently I was a bad burrito." He shrugged again.

The supervisor shook her head. "There's some people who should not have been having children."

"Thankfully Sunnydale had a high rate of miscarriages so I'm the only one." He grinned. "Cali said they couldn't backdate and insert my birth certificate and they couldn't give me a new one based on this incident. She tried to file my father's with a September date but the person in Sunnydale told her it was my father's. Mom apparently decided any one was good enough. The social services records state the same thing." He pointed at them. "I used your list of alternate documentation."

"You clearly did. Does the Social Security administration accept that?" He nodded and pointed at the card he had put in the pile. "Oh. That's fine." She looked over the rules then at his pile. "You did comply and bring us everything we could need to verify it's you."

"I went to the judge hoping he'd grant me a birth certificate. He said he couldn't. I've done all I can but I do need my license renewed and I came extra early because of all this mess. Sunnydale's DMV usually just shrugged off weird things like me and vampires but last time I came in for my renewal here they took an extra month."

"I can see why." She looked at his record. "It is stated here." She read it over the nodded. "They did agree that you've fulfilled the old requirements. The new ones were stricter but... Yes, we can renew it." She looked at her worker then at him. "I have no idea what'll happen if the rules get stricter again, Mr. Harris."

"Me either but I might just move to another country by then." She smiled and left. "Thank you!" He looked at the worker, who shook her head but did process the renewal and took the new picture for his license. He paid and went to wait for it to be printed out. His whole file went back into his messenger bag for now. He had other copies at home, certified copies just in case. So he was back at the center within an hour. "Giles, they made notes. They were competent!" he said with a grin. "It's amazing!"

"That is amazing," he admitted. "Did it go all right?"

"Yeah. They saw the prior notes and all that." He went to open the door someone was knocking on. "It figures that the flag on my file popped up when I renewed my license. What do you want?"

"Mr. Harris, how did you get into school?"

"Sunnydale?" he laughed. "Care about things like paperwork?" He snorted. "Yeah, right."

"Oh."

"I don't have a shot record either. I got a few through the school but otherwise, no idea."

"Damn it."

"I got the ones I needed for traveling."

"That's fine I suppose." He stared at him. "Why is there a flag?"

"Remember us talking about that program that was torturing demons?" The agent nodded. "Them."

"Oh." He nodded once more. "All right. We'll try to remove it since it just gives us work. Though you do have a secondary flag for weapons?"

"I'm allowed to keep and use weapons, by federal order of multiple governments. It's not like you guys give us weapons. I have to find them somehow."

"Oh, I didn't think about that. We don't?"

"Hell no and when we asked all the agencies they said they'd rather see humanity die. That was the head of the ATF's letter back to us. He would rather let humanity die than provide us with weapons to protect them and others."

"Great."

"We keep them in a scrapbook because we have to bring them out each time agents complain that we had to use weapons. Wanna see it?"

"Sure, why not." Giles got it to hand over. "Oh, he did." He read through them and the various permissions for the Council and Harris himself or any other field watchers to own, use, and buy weapons however they got them. "I suppose it's taking them off the black market and we know you're not going to use them on civilians."

"I'd hope not," Giles said dryly. "Though a few times we have been tempted at the protestors."

"That needs to be stopped too, but again, they're women saving people and that freaks the male aesthetic going on around here." He waved a hand. "It's sad India's better with their gender gap."

The agent looked at him, handing back the book. "I would say we'd do that but you're right." He looked at Giles. "People are wondering about how bad Sunnydale was thanks to a few recent stories by some of your people."

"You can tell them about my birth certificate." Xander took that form to copy, handing the agent the copy of it. "That's the judge's statement."

He read it over, looking very confused. "What the hell?"

"Exactly." He grinned. "Have fun!"

"Yeah, I can do that. Thank you for cooperating, Harris." He left them to talk or whatever they did all day. The ones looking into Sunnydale got that copy and they read it as a group then frowned and went looking at the records. Yes, it had been that stupid out there apparently. The letter even explained why the school records listed him as a September 23rd birthday thanks to his mother and then Rosenburg fixing the files so they were 'correct'. It had been one of her earlier hacking jobs apparently.

***
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