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Lineage of the Damned 1: The Shoes You Walk In.

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Note: Set between Gingerbread and Helpless.


Lineage of the Damned 1: The Shoes You Walk In.






Somewhere in lower Mexico, an amulet lights up, alerting the owner that someone special was now aware of who they were. He had been watching it for weeks. Something had told him it was about to become active again. It did it once a generation, for the last twenty or twenty-one of them. He had lost track a few times. He finished his beer and went to pack his bags so he could follow it. It looked like it was pointing north. Thankfully, it didn't seem like a long drive. He hated to cross countries.

***

"What do you get when have a dryad that's given herself over as maenad, who sleeps with a Titan, and gives birth to a child that later lays with the bastard offspring of a cambion and a nephililim?" Xander asked Giles as he walked up to where the librarian/watcher was working.

Giles considered it. "A huge mess of wrongness? Where did you find that story? And how reliable was the fiction story it came from?" Xander put a scroll on the table. "Where did you get this?"

"For some reason it appeared in front of me," Xander said dryly. "Right after you detoxed all the mermaid stuff." He stared at him. "Apparently it mixed poorly with the dryad DNA I have a smidgeon of." He stared at him. "What the fuck am I?"

"A mess," he said bluntly. He read the myth twice to make sure of what it said. "You're sure it appeared?"

Xander pulled out the other thing that appeared that he wanted to admit to. It was a silver staff, a scepter, that had a crystal on the ends, one ball and one rod crystal. The middle of the silver had a piece that looked like marble wrapped around it to join it together. "That scroll was wrapped around this. I almost disbelieved it, thought it was a joke, until the scepter lit up."

Giles took it to look over and sense, eyebrow going up. "Oh, dear." He looked at Xander. "This isn't a scepter, it's an ancient style of wand for witches." He looked at him. "Why didn't you mention this when it showed up?"

"Because I didn't want to hear the 'Xander did something else huge' rants." Xander took it back. "There's a reason for that being a wand. Found that too when I was looking up the Hansel and Gretel myths. There's a few that weren't the demon." He walked off to get that book, bringing it back.

"The watchers consider them to have taken their names." Xander opened it and pointed, making Giles look. Giles went pale. "How did you know about that?" Xander pointed at the scroll. "You can't mean...."

"I can mean. One of them got desperate and infected them with the essence of a demon as she was dying. Not by them, they happened upon her while hunting down another witch. Oh, and," he said, flipping over to another page. "Grand white witches?"

"That's who started the Devon Coven," Giles said.

"Yeah, they're not on the path if they're in it for the power." Giles scowled at him. Xander got that section open and let him see it. "Is it?"

"No, that's not....." He looked at Xander. "Why tell me?"

"I'm trying to figure out what the hell is going on, Giles. I mean, a suddenly appearing scroll and staff is one thing." He gave him a look. "I know I'm a magnet for the weird and unusual, but *really*?"

Giles sighed. "If this myth is right, there's very ancient powers in your blood that are probably never going to be awakened."

Xander nodded. "Maybe." Giles glared at him. Xander stared back. "Could that be why I'm such a magnet for every weird thing?"

"Well, yes, it may. That level of powers would screw things up grandly when they mixed."

Xander nodded. "Probably, yeah." Giles snorted. "Okay, so what do I do to shield it, stop it? Because if whatever got ....woken up for lack of a better phrase due to the mermaid taint...." Giles eyes went wide. "How do I shield it? Control it?"

"There may be no way to do so, Xander," he said quietly. "You could end up quite dangerous."

"Then it's a good thing I tend to go out at night and help stake other dangerous things," he said firmly. "There has to be shielding exercises somewhere, right?"

"For mental gifts like empathy and the like."

"Would that help?"

"Not if these aren't the same. They're fairly tailored to that specific skill set."

"Can they be untailored?"

"Not that I'm aware of. That is not my best skill, Xander."

Xander nodded once. "Okay," he said. He gathered those things. "Now what?"

"We need to see certain things, see if the gifts have woken up."

"Well, my first thought this morning was 'I miss trees' and then the second was 'blood wine, I miss the party' and then I fully woke up and realized that I was four inches taller overnight." He stared at him. "Which is my second growth spurt. I'm sure you heard Willow and Cordelia going off about the last one a few weeks back. It's been a few months since the swim team stuff and it's only gotten stronger."

"Which Titan was referenced?" he asked.

"Eros."

Giles moaned. "That's not good." Xander stared at him. "I'm sure you can translate that name?" Xander nodded. "That's not good, Xander."

"As opposed to the cambion blood?" he countered. "Because, yeah, incubus isn't it?" Giles nodded then shuddered. "Or hey, nephililim, so part angel way back when."

"Oh, dear." He looked at him. "Only someone like you could get into such situations." Xander snorted. "Did anyone else in your family get into such things?"

"Apparently," he said, pointing at the book on the Hansel and Gretel myths. "They did a lot."

"Oh, dear Lord," he muttered, taking off his glasses to clean them. "If you should start broadcasting some of your darker powers you could become dangerous."

"Then teach me how to shield it and/or turn it off," he said simply. "I'm more than willing to do the exercises. Because, frankly, dancing around in a clearing under the moon is kind of appealing right now." Giles shivered. Xander smiled some. "I could be worse."

"Not really."

"I could be full-blooded incubus or first generation cambion. Wings and all."

"That's true, that may be worse." He watched him. "I do not know, Xander. Let me study some. Do hide that wand?"

Xander tucked it into his pocket after it had nicely shrank into his pocket. "I can do that. I have been anyway." He put the scroll into his backpack with the books. "Don't tell the girls?"

"No, I don't think I should need to. Perhaps warn them that some demons have been noted locally that can put off lust feelings so they're aware if you do start to broadcast by accident."

"Sure, get me beaten by the girls," Xander said dryly. "That'll really help and keep my powers down."

"Hmm. Point. I hadn't consider that point."

"Considering Willow's so far up the butthole of the Mother of Prudishness? Yeah, I can see her freaking out at incubi being real."

"She probably would. Go to class and let me research." Xander nodded, heading out. Giles sighed, calling his overseer at the Council. "It's Rupert and I have a quandary. One of the students here just found out he had cambion heritage back many generations and it may have awoken in him due to some recent paranormal activity here. He came to me to see how he could control it. Do we have any exercises like the shielding ones that could help him?"

He listened. "That's not an available option nor do I see the need to take him out when he wants to control it. Frankly, the heritage is from BC times," he said dryly. "He's a good young man with a possibly bright future. No, he did not influence me," he said dryly. "Yes, I'm sure BC times. He researched before coming to me." He listened. "That's what he was thinking, yes. I'm not sure if those exercises would help him learn to control that. Even full blooded incubi can control their output." He made a few notes. "I don't have that book." He nodded at the 'it'd be sent' answer.

"Any other options beyond that? No, I won't take him out," he said dryly. "He could be highly instrumental in helping my slayer." That got an agreeing grunt and they agreed to watch that situation for him. "Thank you." He hung up and looked up the sources he did have. It didn't have much on the abilities that cambion inherited. They had some more on the abilities of nephililim. Not much but a tiny bit more. At least Xander wanted control instead of the ability to use it to help.

***

Xander was outside that night after patrol, looking up at the moon. He was unconsciously moving toward the woods. There was some ancient sacred grove sort of thing out there. He found himself in it and stared around, sighing in pleasure. This felt nice. It wasn't protected by anything or anybody but it felt nice here. He heard a footstep and turned, stake in one hand. "Who are you?" he asked the guy.

"I should ask you that instead. Why are you here?"

"It's a free woods in the US. I can be here."

"I saw you earlier, kid."

Xander nodded. "Are you a vampy vamp?"

The guy laughed, shaking his head. "Not hardly."

Xander moved into the moonlight, looking at him. "Grandfather."

"Bullshit." Xander pulled out the wand, letting it expand in his hand. "I know that thing. It's what got me cursed until no more of the family appeared to tax the Dark."

"It's also been passed down to me." He stared at him. "You slept with my great-great-great grandmother." The older guy took it to look at. "Though, I'm told by certain histories that the staff was already in your family." He looked around. "I left my backpack in the locker at the bus station. It's got the scroll that came with the staff."

"It's a wand."

"It's a lot more than that." Xander took it back and moved closer. "Want to see the really screwed up lineage that led to the family?"

"Mine's not that bad."

Xander looked at him. "You've been hunting for and watching over the reincarnation of your sister since you were cursed, Hansel. Really?" He got glared at. "Way back when, back when gods were real in the multiple sense, there was apparently a supernatural treaty that got called by some of the higher level beings. Some titans, some nephililim, some cambion. Some maenads in for entertainment purposes." Hansel shuddered. "Yeah. Want to see the scroll?" His pack suddenly appeared at his feet. "Wow, I didn't know I could do that." He dug out the scroll, handing it to him. "It appeared after they finished detoxing the mermaid taint from my system. I've been trying to find answers but since we just dealt with the demonic version of you two I looked harder and asked questions."

"Mermaid?"

"Swim team's coach wanted to win *really* hard."

Hansel groaned, shaking his head. This kid was sounding a lot like one of his relatives. Things like that only happened in their family. Usually to his sister. "I've seen others do it and get killed."

"Yeah, they did it to him then they swam off with the first one's remains." Hansel shuddered but unrolled the scroll to read it. Hansel stared at it then at the kid. Xander nodded, handing over another one. "That came inside that one, both wrapped around the wand."

Hansel looked at it, frowning. "I did sleep with them. I have fuzzy memories of waking up next to her and her babying me for a concussion." He traced it back. "Twenty generations. And she was my great-great-great-great niece too. I did not know that. I missed a few lines."

"Twenty-one, that's my mother, not me." Xander sighed, sitting down to look up at him. "I'm exhausted after patrol," he said at the look he got. "So, is there a way to learn how to control these? Giles isn't sure but he thinks there's some control exercises that may help."

"Pure stubbornness."

"I'm still alive, that proves stubbornness," he said dryly. "Especially after a good bit of time patrolling with a slayer."

"My first-born niece was one of those." He looked around then at him. "The trees calling?"

"The glade is really peaceful and I'm still fighting this urge to dance around with wine," he sighed. "I've been fighting it all day long. It's been a long damn day."

Hansel nodded. "That might be bad since most maenads tended to rip mortal men apart." He reread the family history scroll about the matings going on. "What sort of nymph?"

"Napaea."

"Nice pronunciation, kid."

"Xander."

"Xander?" he asked, looking at him. Xander nodded. "Short for....."

"Alexander, which I never hear without flinching."

"Oh, okay. Xander it is then." He stared at him. "Do me a favor and touch this amulet," he said, holding it out. It glowed. "So you're the reincarnation of her too."

"My life's a bit wacky that way," he said dryly. "Possessions, mermaids, hunting...." He waved a hand. "All this."

Hansel nodded. "Yeah, I remember those days. Then Gretel got hurt and found a husband when he tried to kidnap her to protect her from the bad things coming for her while she was weak. And gave me hellions to watch over and torment me." Xander grinned. "They were."

"I'm sure they were. All kids are little chaos sources from what I've seen."

"Yes they are. I nearly dedicated one to them." He looked around. "Like beer?"

"Nope. Hate the stench of beer and whiskey. I smell it *way* too often." He stood up and dusted himself off, taking the scroll back to put into his bag. "But I know where you can get a nice one even at this time of night." They walked off together. "Are you sure I'm her reincarnated?"

"If not, you're one of her kids. That's what the amulet tells."

Xander nodded. "I was kinda hoping it wasn't a girl. I spend a lot of time with girls who are bitches at the moment."

Hansel nodded. "So was Gretel when she was in a mood. All women have that, then and now."

Xander grimaced. "Wonderful." He felt something shift and looked at the wand in his pocket. It was now a silver wand with a silver filagree top ball. No stone. No marble. He held it up. "Am I going to turn into a fairy godmother?"

"If so that'd be weird even for our family. Do you hate witches?"

"Only the one at the moment." He put the wand back into his pocket with a sigh. "You'd have to meet her to understand. Maybe it is a good night for a beer." A vampire popped out and Xander staked it before it got him. Hansel laughed and they went to the pub by the college. It was quiet and open all night as a refuge for college students to hide in. Xander went over what he knew of the more recent family history. And his friends so Hansel wouldn't kill Willow. That might be bad.

***

Xander woke up the next morning in the local motel. He blinked around then at his 'grandfather'. "Did I pass out? If so I'm sorry I looked like such a woose."

"No, you got knocked out by a vampire that tried to eat you." Xander groaned, shaking his head. "You killed it first but the release of the pressure pulling you up out of the chair made your head hit the table."

"It happens. I seem to fall into open graves now and then." Hansel grinned at him. He sat up and looked at himself. Then at his back since it itched. "Did I suddenly grow wings?"

"Not that I can see." He came over to look. "No wings. Marks but no wings." He patted him on the head. "You should go to school."

"Want to come with me to talk to the Watcher?"

"Yeah, I can do that." The man knew a lot, supposedly, about this new relation and he had things he still needed to know about Xander. Xander grinned and cleaned up, and the wand sparkled to change his clothes. "Ummmm..... fantasy of yours?" he guessed, seeing the slinky dress.

"No, not really." He glared at the wand. "Not. A. Girl." It changed it to guy clothes. "Thanks." He stuffed it back into his pocket. "I don't know. I have absolutely no answers for anything anymore beyond someone way back when probably cursed the line in thanks to who we were sleeping with."

"Possibly," Hansel admitted. "That might explain a lot." He followed the kid out the door, smiling at his back. "It missed a step." Xander looked over his shoulder and groaned, turning the shirt around to button on their walk to the charming school. "Why does your school feel like bad magic?" He slowed down a bit. The miasma of evil was getting stronger and he didn't usually have the sensitivity to tell bad magic from good.

"Hellmouth," Xander said. "Right underneath the library."

Hansel snorted. "I saw one of those in Russia way back when."

Xander looked at him. "Ours is really open sometimes."

"It figures. This town was made as a pretty bait for a trap."

"Yes it is." They shared a look and Xander turned to glare at the person watching them. "Yes?" The officer ran off. "Great," he muttered. "Let's hope that's not a huge issue." Hansel shrugged so they went inside the side door of the library, finding Giles talking to Buffy. "Hey, Giles? Meet my Grandfather."

Giles looked at him then at Buffy. "I'll take your report in a moment, Buffy."

"He's really young to have grandkids," Buffy said with a smile for Xander. "Were you our age?"

"Something like that." He grinned at her. She slowly backed up. "Easy, slayer. One of my nieces was one of you."

"There's a few 'greats' in there," Xander admitted. "He got cursed to watch over the family."

"Oh, okay," she said weakly, looking at Giles.

"I've seen mentions of that," Giles admitted, looking at him. "Why are you here?"

"The amulet led me here," he said with a point at Xander. Giles moaned, shaking his head.

"Is that why I'm getting the wiggy feeling from Xander?" Buffy asked.

"Undoing the mermaid taint meant that a bloodline gift showed up," Xander said dryly. "That has some links back to nymphs."

"Like in books?"

"Yes, like guard trees," Giles said.

"In my case, guards grottos and valleys," Xander said.

"Huh," Buffy said. "Does that make you anything special?"

"Not exactly. The later generations might. I'm going to see if my grandfather can up my hunting skills."

"Yes, I can probably do that," Hansel agreed with a grin for him. Xander smiled back. Buffy whined. He looked at her. "My niece lasted five years thanks to her mother and I." She gaped then nodded and walked off happier with that. He looked at Giles. "Thank you for getting rid of that demon. I've tried a few times for it giving me a bad name. Gretel would not be pleased at what it did in our name. We learned that there was a difference and only went after the dark ones. That demon didn't."

"No, I dare say she wouldn't like its actions," Giles agreed weakly. "I've found a reference on your hunting times."

"I miss my sister. Her smartass ways and drawing strange things. And sometimes trolls." Xander was looking at him. "As Edward said, trolls help witches. He was a really nice troll. He died of grief when she died."

"So him dating a reawakened Inca mummy was normal?" Giles asked dryly. "Or the shapechanging teacher?"

Hansel looked at Xander. "How long ago was that and did you cure it?"

"Not exactly."

"We'll find a way." He patted him on the arm. Giles gaped.

"What?" Xander demanded. "Not like Cordelia wanted that from me."

Giles cleared his throat. "I had assumed that you had at least had carnal knowledge of some form or another."

"Tonsil hockey count?" Xander asked. "Butt groping? Because Cordelia only does *that* with guys who have real cars and money." Giles groaned. Xander nodded. "Would that matter to the heritage thing?"

"Yes, yes it would," Hansel said, and suddenly it made so much more sense. "If it was awakened while you were an innocent....."

"Whoa, have staked, have stabbed, have shed blood of mine and theirs," Xander said.

"Your blood innocence counts. Was that before or after?"

"Way long time ago," Xander said. "Putting down a cat that had been tortured."

"Human?"

"Fights count? Because I've spilled plenty of my own and I kinda stabbed a kid trying to kill me one day."

"That'd count," Hansel agreed, looking at him. "If you hadn't, you'd already be going through all sorts of changes."

"Great," he said dryly. "Can we short circuit it before I have to hear the judgmental bullshit from the girls?"

"Well..... Not really sure," he admitted. "Gretel would probably know." Xander shrugged. "I can't summon her though."

"No, it wouldn't fully matter," Giles said. "Which means that other heritage will come out," he told Xander. "Including possibly wings."

Xander nodded. "No, I've got marks, not wings."

Giles sighed, shaking his head. "It doesn't look like he got too much of the incubus part," Hansel said. "Some of the stuff from Eros. Some of the maenad dryad traits. Cambion were supposed to be strong warriors." Xander grinned. "You need trained."

"I do," he agreed. "I'd appreciate that a lot, Grandfather."

"Good." He patted him again. "We might be wrong about wings. I feel a lump."

"No, that's a rib that never got fixed from when I was ten." Hansel nodded at that. Giles stared at him oddly. "What? You think I didn't know what fighting looked like? Please!" he said dryly. "My folder at the hospital is a good three inches thick, Giles. Just from the ER reports." Giles sighed, shaking his head. "Which Willow nicely doesn't like to think about because it means people can be bad."

"Yes they can be," he agreed, staring at him. "I think there's two ways your powers could come out. One of them is assassinating the bad types. Or you could use those skills to hunt."

"So hunting or hunting," Xander said dryly. "Levels of badness depending on who and what they are. Though, I'm not going to pull a Buffy anytime in the near future."

"I'd hope not," Hansel said. "Gross." He shook his head. "Beyond that, that's not really the family way. We tended to go around and hunt down the bad things." Xander nodded. "Traveling, moving on after burning them."

"Burning's nice," Xander agreed. "Fire pretty. Fire, wine...." He shook his head quickly. "Sorry."

"I dare say that the maenad taint is out," Giles said dryly, staring at him.

"He found me last night in the woods trying not to revel while sober," Xander shot back with an evil smirk.

"That taint probably explains why we never understood how my other niece went out to black widow a bunch of evil fucks," Hansel said, pulling out a flask to take a drink. He looked at Xander, who was staring at it longingly. "Nope."

"Damn."

"Just beer."

"Good!" He looked at Giles. "Though, the staff this morning thought I needed to be slinky."

"It was a very pretty, very seductive dress," Hansel agreed.

Giles sighed. "Do you think he'll learn to shape shift?"

"Yup. I'm not sure which one's his direct ancestor that's his underlying soul part either. It could be either of Gretel or Alinada." He put the flask back. "If it's Alinada, he might go for the black widow thing."

Xander looked at him. "I'd probably end up taking in kids who needed help too because I'm kinda feeling like I should invite a few I know to find a better home," he said quietly.

"That was Gretel once she was forced to settle down. She and I taught a lot of hunting to a lot of kids. Including ours." He shook his head quickly. "It is not nice when you get woken up by a ten-year-old son you didn't know you had and hearing your sister cackling downstairs with her girls and newborn son."

Xander grinned. "Beer?"

"Much beer. She jumped me to get debauched so she wouldn't have to marry someone she didn't like, then claimed her deceased friend was the father of the child and they had secretly wed. It let her see her little sister in secret for years." They looked at Giles.

"He needs trained," Giles said.

"I do not know magic."

"I don't think I have magic," Xander admitted. "I think I have bloodline related skills." Suddenly his hand held a silver chalice-like cup that held red wine. "Huh, I thought I was hungry and thinking about sneaking into the caf to get toast." He sniffed the wine. "What is that?"

Hansel took it to snip and sip. "Blood wine." He put it down on the bookshelf beside him. "Probably not a good idea."

"No, probably not." He looked at Giles. "Any ideas on controlling it?"

"Some of it you can fight the prompting. There's no known way to control some of the other bloodlines," he said quietly. "Though I believe if you wanted to be like his niece that might be a good career for you."

Xander stared at him. "I'm sure that'll go over swimmingly," he said dryly.

"The girls shall not be tainted, Xander."

"As far as I know I haven't yet. Buffy's still pining over Angel. The love spell didn't matter."

"It may have been why it went strangely," Giles said. "I hadn't considered why but it would fit." Xander sighed but nodded. "The Council thinks I should remove you before you become dangerous," he said quietly. "To both the slayers."

Xander snorted. "Not like they'd care if they both went, Giles. That would give them a slayer robot under their control again."

"It would," he agreed. "Though they're worried about you tainting me as well." Xander gave him a pointed look. "It has been known to happen."

"Ewww."

Giles smiled. "Thank you for that." Willow stomped in. "Good morning, Willow."

"Xander isn't here yet, where is he?" He pointed. Xander waved with a slight grin. "Who's that?"

"Ancestor with a curse to watch over the family line." She gaped. "He came to meet me last night. We've been talking. He used to hunt too." She snorted, crossing her arms over her chest.

Hansel smirked. "You must be the witch he told me about." She shivered, backing up. He sneered. "I've already removed a lot of spells off him, witch."

Xander sighed, looking at him. "She's been my friend since I was five and she's been helping the slayer, Grandfather Hansel."

"We can tell if she's evil. There's always marks of decay from the dark magic." He walked closer. Willow looked like she was about to piss herself. He checked behind her ears then inside her mouth, giving her a pointed look. "Grind your teeth a lot?" She blanched. "Dark magic does tend to show up, child."

"I....I had to resoul Angelus," she babbled.

"Hmm. That may be borderline. I'd find the light again." She nodded and ran off. He looked at Giles. "She's got a good taint going," he said quietly. "Her back gums are rotted and it's not her adulthood teeth coming in."

"I'll help her clear it later. Would it have been that curse?"

"Or pulling up the wrong sort of magic here thanks to the hellmouth?" Xander asked. "You gotta figure it's dark magic."

"It is." He looked at a spot then at him. "There?" Xander nodded. Hansel shuddered. "Great. Under a school. A reason?"

"Probably," Giles agreed. "I'm not sure who's idea though."

"If you need help with the reason, let me know." He looked at Xander. "Coming?"

Xander considered it then nodded. "Yup. Giles?"

"Go, Xander. Be safe, be healthy, be alive." He gave him a look. "Write often."

"Yup." He walked off with him. "I need to break into the house to get some things," he said as they walked off. "And then break into my storage area to look at the things I've found in nests."

"You've been raiding nests?" Hansel asked.

"Not like I want the other dirt nappers to have them."

"That's not a bad idea. I've done that a few times. Pickpocketing the ones in New Orleans was fun during the eighties. Even if one zombie queen did keep trying to hit on me."

"Huh. That's not so weird next to the mummy then," Xander said with a grin. Hansel smirked back, shaking his head. "She only wanted to survive."

"I figure she did." He heard a female voice yell for Xander and nodded back toward it. "That one?"

"Cordelia. It's.... Really not happy making."

"Okay. I got a zombie coming up last night while I was following the pendant to you."

"Cool. One less they'll have to deal with so thanks."

"Welcome." He patted him on the back. "Can we fix that rib?"

"Probably not without rebreaking it," he sighed. "It's just a bone spar that's sticking up where the rib regrew sticking up." Hansel nodded at that. "Willow used to fix me up from her mom's textbooks." They paused when Xander saw cop cars on his street. Sneaking closer they were at his house. He smirked, heading around a few of them and inside the back door. One officer gaped.

Xander considered it for a heartbeat then let his new powers come out. "Hi, how are you? Let me pack a few things and go. I didn't mean to interrupt." He walked around the stunned cops and upstairs, getting the others. He didn't even look at his parents. They weren't moving either and he didn't want to know why. He got all his wanted stuff packed in three bags and walked out, releasing the spells as he walked. He looked at his 'grandfather'. "What did I just do?" he asked quietly.

Hansel looked back then at him. "I think you used the Eros powers to stun them. They're having an orgy with the bodies." Xander winced. "Your parents?" Xander nodded. "Sorry, kid."

"I didn't get them dead, they tried to get me dead." He sent Willow a text message and they disappeared into daytime Sunnydale to his storage unit. He opened the door then shut it once they were inside. He flipped on the lights and Hansel stared then at him. Xander grinned. "Some vamps are pack rats."

"Yes they are, and so are you."

"Not really. I dumped all the clothes and the all that stuff. I kept weapons, artifacts, books, antiques, and jewelry."

"Jewelry is the universal currency," he agreed. He looked at the stuff then at the U-Haul style truck in there. It had the jewelry and a few other things. "Anything else you want to pick up?"

"Only if you want to raid the Mayor," Xander said, tossing his bags in there and moving a few other things into the back. Mostly the weapons and antiques that weren't going to break. He found two artifacts he wanted. Hansel stopped him from putting them in the truck. "One's a shape changing one, and one's basically an 'ignore me' spell on high." He smiled. "I could've picked up the invisibility one."

"Pick up that one," he ordered with a smile. Xander finished their packing and called Giles to tell him about the artifacts as they drove off. Xander paused near a warehouse then drove inside. He dove into the weapons, getting a few good things, but not all that he wanted in case they got stopped on the interstate. He found the boxes with money and the cases with gold bars, loading them too. That was practical. So was the massive amount of first aid supplies. That went into the truck too and they left the town.
Xander nicely called in a tip to the ATF about the mayor's hoard of illegal weapons. They made it to LA in time for the news to report that three government agencies were investigating the Mayor of a small town named Sunnydale for being an arms dealer. He and Hansel shared a smug look and they found a decent hotel for the night. Hansel got a beer. Xander got a soda and a twinkie. They settled in to figure out where they were going since Hansel didn't have a home base anymore. Somewhere they could train Xander's new skills and old skills he hadn't been able to train without a lot of notice.

***

They finally settled on a converted industrial apartment in New York City's warehouse district. Plenty of areas there to hide and train. Plenty of people that needed to be taken out so they could use them for training. Xander was tired after doing all the driving but that was all right. Hansel had to make some plans. Xander had a few things he needed to get used to. They also had to empty the truck and had no good, hidden way of doing so. Well, unless the staff did it for them somehow. He walked over to tap it on the top.

"Hey, can you unpack the truck for him?" he asked it. "Up here in the living room so we don't have to hike it all up here?" Everything appeared but the chaos artifacts. He went down to get them. The truck was clean and even swept. He walked back upstairs after securing it. The artifacts went on the crappy coffeetable that had come with the place. They had two crappy beds, a crappy couch, a chipped, wobbly table with three chairs, and a kitchen that looked like it had been put in in the seventies. But they'd manage. They were them and they'd been worse places.

He could even cook because Gretel had been horrible at it when she was alive.

He laid down on the couch to nap, going over ideas in his head. He really had to get Xander to learn how to self-regulate his powers before he blasted him with demonic sex pollen or however incubi did their thing. Or worse, went on a wine binge and started to chase him around to fuck him hard and then kill him. Though, that was about his luck.

***

Xander looked up from his research when Hansel moaned and sat up holding his right shoulder. "Liniment's in the bathroom cabinet. It's all herbal stuff but I like it a lot."

"Thanks." He went to pee, put some of that on, then came out. "What are you reading up on?" He sat at the crappy table.

"Right now, nephililim. I've got books on each of the four ancestor races so I can figure out what I might be able to do, and how I might control it." He looked at the older hunter. "Did the one I remind you of have the gifts?"

"I don't know. She might have had some of them. There wasn't a bad thing alive that wasn't attracted to her." Xander blushed a bit but grinned back. "We'll figure it out. Anything beyond the drawing ability?"

"Not really. The whole 'unusual tolerance for wine that can make me turn violent', the, um, gift of sex apparently and the draining from the incubus side, the nephililim didn't seem to have too many hereditary gifts outside of mentions of 'sinful perversion', which I guess goes well with the incubus skills and feeding. Some people thought they were scary giant sorts. Cambion are a lot of powerful, mythical warriors like Merlin and a few in other histories." He looked at him. "Is this really in line with taking out vampires and bad demons?"

"Bad demons are probably attracted to you too and you can use that to stake vampires better. I'm betting most cambion and nephililim are stronger and/or faster and/or more powerful if they have magic."

"Magic goes really wrong around me."

"That could've been the area. It could've been how you were focusing on the spell, or it may be something that you can work around. Of course, if you slip off the white magic path I'm going to burn you at the stake."

Xander nodded. "I'm not all that interested in magic but I've looked up a few things thanks to Willow. Are blood magic protections still considered dark?"

"Yes."

"Why?"

"Because blood magic is inherently dark."

"Even if it's to protect people, or to heal? Like the Voodun traditions with animal sacrifices to heal?"

Hansel grimaced. "You're trying to turn it into gray areas."

"I'm used to gray areas. All I seem to see are gray areas. I also can sense blood magic downstairs but it feels like a protection to me for some reason."

"Okay, that's a good reason to ask." He considered that. "If they're protecting and using their own, or if they must animal but not human, and it is for protection, healing, that sort of thing, then they're not likely going to be on top of any target list."

Xander nodded. "I can agree to that. What about humans who do bad things?"

Hansel shrugged. "We had more than one human that tried to stop us from getting someone because it stepped on their toes. We always tried to just tie them up but it often left them vulnerable for attacks." Xander nodded. "If you're talking guys like mob bosses?" He considered it. "I'll leave that up to how queasy it'll make you."

Xander stared at him. "Not like I don't realize that some humans are shitty beings," he said bluntly. "I was raised by two of them who turned into human demons whenever they drank." Hansel winced. "Do I want to take out most of them? No, but there's all sorts of rapists, killers, child molesters and beaters out there that no one seems to be able to stop. Most of them don't believe in the paranormal anyway."

"So you need a line to not cross?"

"I'd appreciate a line," Xander admitted. "Especially since I'm still unwarping my ethical spider web." He cleared his throat. "If I start off like that and my incubus heritage comes out, will I need to keep feeding? Will I become like a vampire and just pick worthy victims instead of anyone?"

"I have faith that you won't," Hansel said quietly. "Mostly because I'd stop you." Xander smiled at that promise. "It's an ethical qualm a lot of people would have. Do you have it about hunting?"

"No. Vampires brought it on themselves."

"They mostly don't ask to be turned."

"There's been a lot that have risen, panicked after inhaling their first victim, and met the sun," Xander said. "Or they stake themselves or prompt someone to do that. There's a few higher vampires who have blatant signs up around town telling minions if they're tired of being one of them, or want out, to come see them and they'd be unmade."

"Most vampires have the demon in control."

"Not always."

"They have no souls to counter the demon."

"Souls are filling prisons for things like raping babies and college kids. Did theirs stop them?"

"Is ours stopping us from killing," Hansel said.

"I only take out the bastards that shouldn't have been made in the first place. They started that war by taking Jesse, they can beg for mercy when I end however much of it I can."

"That's how we've always seen black witches," Hansel agreed.

"But mob bosses and rapists are not vampires."

"True. And frankly, I think their souls are a bit shot to hell anyway." He stared at him. "It's a worthy thought. I don't think you need to worry about it."

"I need to worry about it so I don't get lost," Xander said bluntly. "Or else I'd possibly start to enjoy it instead of seeing it as a duty and helping people survive shit."

Hansel nodded. "That's a good way of looking at it. I'm not leaving you alone anytime soon, kiddo." Xander grinned, looking relieved. "We'll figure all that out." Xander nodded. "Any other heavy thoughts before food?"

"I ran out to buy groceries and found a pawn shop to pawn one of the rings in the stuff I found." He pointed at the stove. "Yours is in the pan."

Hansel got up and shooed the bug out of the pan. "Can we get stuff to kill the bugs?"

"I put some down but New York City bugs are notoriously nasty. Do we have bugs?"

"Yup." He brought the food over and sat down to eat. Xander grimaced. "I've had worse at some inns over the centuries." He ate another bite. "Anything useful that you know you can do so far?"

"I'm pretty sure I can use the incubi powers with some gifts from the Eros. For some reason I think the staff...."

"Wand," Hansel corrected and ate a bite of breakfast. Xander pointed at it. It was now a wand sort of wand, still silver but now it had stones that looked like crystals or diamonds all over the curved, majestic top and a few lines of trailing crystals down the side. "Why is it doing that?"

"I think it's changing to all it's possible forms based on the heritage. The first one is a wand like the white witches use. That's more flashy, probably something Eros would use. The single stone one was more what I'd call for the incubi side. The twirly, fairy godmother one looks more like what a dryad or a teenage girl would coo over. I think it's prompting me to use the illusion necklace."

"Why?" he asked, eating another bite.

Xander nicely waited until he had swallowed and was digging out more eggs. "Because I woke up with it around my neck but not hitched." Hansel moaned, shaking his head. "And I have the feeling that it'd be easier to do that trick as a girl. Which...is kind of freaking me out in a few ways. I've never considered myself wanting to be a girl. Not even to get a sneak peak at boobs."

Hansel nodded. "Most guys aren't." He stared at him. "Why do you think that?"

"Because I think it'll be stronger. I also think that the wand keeps pushing me to end some innocence and I don't know why. Which is why I started to research."

"Hmm." He considered it. "Could it be that it'd take you over more easily if you were more innocent?"

"I know too much about shitheads as is," Xander said. "I'd never want to be one of them. Being female won't make that much of a difference as long as my mind is still mine."

Hansel nodded. "Okay, then why could it?"

"Well, there's one strange myth about one of the maenads finding love and he rejected her so her pack got revenge on his callousness. There's one from the nephililim side that mentioned ensnaring one with their wiles."

"So.... it could be that or it could be that." He nodded once. "So maybe it thinks it makes you more vulnerable?"

"I'd be more vulnerable in that form since I have no idea how to use that body to fight or run properly."

"That can be practiced, and will be before I let you out on your own. In both forms." Xander grinned at that, looking pleased. "I'm not going to be nice about it."

"Okay."

"Good." He finished breakfast and got up to do the dishes. "Any other ideas it likes?"

"I think it considers the clothes cuter on girls."

"Great," Hansel groaned. "Like the outfit at that motel?"

"Yup."

"Huh." He washed the few dishes and put them up, smacking the bugs he spotted. "We need to get better bug stuff. Will the management spray?"

"I'm not sure the manager isn't a zombie," Xander said. "They could be his pet bugs. I'm wondering if I can find a bug-be-gone potion to make."

"I know there's a few herbal ones but I'm not sure what they are. Potions, again, will be checked for white magic."

"Is killing bugs bad?"

"Not in my book. Love spells, as were mentioned by some white witches, I'd have more problems with."

"No comment." He ducked his head down.

Hansel swatted him on the head. "Why?"

"She broke up with me on Valentine's Day because it was infecting her popularity," he said dryly. "The spell got everyone but her."

Hansel grimaced. "You had it canceled?"

"Yes."

"Good!" He swatted him again. "That would be bad."

"Yes, sir."

"Thank you. No more of that."

"Yup." He grinned at him. "Does that mean I have to find out what dating's actually like?"

"Yes, you should." He gave him a look. "Just don't get pregnant."

"I don't think I can do that."

"Huh. Let's hope not." He went in to shower and came out to get dressed. "You need better clothes."

"Why?" He looked at himself then at Hansel. "Jeans are universal."

"Those are baggy. The shirts are uglier than anything I've ever worn. Gretel would paddle me to death if I wore something like that." Xander laughed. "C'mon." Xander nodded, grabbing their small stash of money and going with him. Hansel counted it out and nodded. "Thrift store." Xander nodded at that. He went back in to lay the invisibility necklace back over their supplies and stash. That way no one could break in and find it. Then he came out and locked the door. Hansel was talking to their landlord about bugs. Xander spotted one crawling on the dead flesh under his t-shirt and blew a bit of power toward him. The zombie stiffened and Xander grinned. "We really don't like the bugs. Is there a good bug spray we can use if you don't do it for us?"

"Ummm. Yes. I'll get you a can." He went back to his apartment, pulling back all his little spies. They had said those two had interested things but he wasn't going to mess with an incubus or partial incubus and a demon hunter.

Hansel looked at him. "Nice, thank you."

"Dead flesh, a lot of dead flesh," Xander said dryly. "So probably spies."

"Hmm." They went to the nearest thrift store to pick Xander up some real clothes. And some beer. Xander picked up a small four-pack of mini wine bottles for himself, getting a head shake. "As long as you behave," he warned. "No chasing me around with a knife or anything."

"I like you too much to do to you what some of them have done to me."

"Great, thanks." They checked out and went back home. Their stuff was still mostly there. Two things had been moved. One of the books now had a bookmark that was a calling card for a local magic store and one of the gold bricks was missing. Xander tracked it back to the store and they went to visit once he had showered and changed. They walked in and the mage behind the counter stared at them. Hansel smirked a bit. "You wanted to talk to us that badly?"

"There's a few problem witches in town," the mage said. "And apparently a new incubus?"

Xander shrugged. "Way back in the family line. It just opened up in me and I'm trying to control it."

"There's meditations for half and quarter ones. How far back?"

"Back in BC times."

"Oh, shit. Where are you from?" he asked dryly.

"Hi, Xander Harris. I was helping the slayer Buffy for a few years in my hometown of Sunnydale." The mage stiffened and slowly backed away from him. "What? Do I have a rep? Because the vamps there don't even like to admit I exist and help. Neither does Buffy sometimes but you never know how a girl's mind works."

"Um.... You know Rosenburg?"

"Yeah, one of my supposed best friends. She's dating Oz."

The mage blinked. "You know Angelus?"

"Yup. I scared him off once. I also unfortunately know Angel." The mage let out a tired, shaky laugh. "He back?" The mage nodded. "Pity. He still souled?" The mage nodded. "That's nice but maybe this time he and Buffy won't be doing the nasty and he won't lose his soul again." He stared at him. "Why are you scared of me?"

"You were possessed by a hyena." Xander nodded. "Ethan Rayne said that your time under his Halloween spell wasn't like the others."

"I kept more memories. His deaging candy didn't work on me at all."

The mage was sweating. "It's said that you suck in spells?"

"Not usually. They go weird around me." He stared to relax. "We're not sure *why* or if it was Willow's fault."

The mage started to sweat again. "How wrong?"

"Pretty well sideways. I was reading a book in Latin, like it was written, and it caught on fire."

"Oh, crap." He stared at him. "There's a contract out to get you on our side."

Xander smirked. "He's my granddaddy." He pointed at Hansel. "He did warn Willow."

"Good!" He stared at him. "Magic?"

Xander shrugged. "If I did it'd have to be white magic."

"Yes it would," Hansel said firmly. "I would know and handle it if not." Xander hugged him. He looked at the goofy kid, shaking his head with a smirk. "Get off and I'll let you go play on the roof tonight." Xander grinned and let go of him. The mage was staring. Hansel shrugged. "He's my lineage and a lot like my niece."

"Oh, dear," he muttered, making a warding off evil sign. "I'll send you the notes about the bad witches we have locally so you can look into them?"

Hansel nodded with a smirk. "That'd be nice since I'm going to be training him. Thank you."

"Welcome," he said, looking at Xander. "What if Buffy needs you?"

"She'll call."

"Oh, good. We're a bit worried about the mayor and those things."

"The guy that got arrested by the ATF for having so many weapons?"

"Um, yes. Him. We hadn't heard about that." He made that note to look up then looked at them. "Do you need anything for your training?"

"The gold bar you stole," Xander said with a sweet grin.

"Not me, dude. The landlord, definitely."

Xander smirked and strolled out. Hansel walked out after him rolling his eyes. Xander knocked on the landlords door and smiled. "Can we talk?" He walked in and kicked the door shut. The zombie yelled a minute later and Xander came out with an arm and the gold bar it was petting. He looked back in there. "I. Helped. Slayers." He gave him a pointed look then a sweet grin. "You have a great day and we'll handle the bugs." Suddenly all the bugs in the building were drawn back to his apartment to cuddle their zombie master. Xander handed Hansel the arm and petted the gold bar, using his shirt to clean it off.

Hansel looked at the arm then tossed it back in there before shutting the door. "If he's harming humans we can handle that later." Xander shot a grin at him. "Training."

"Yup, please." He put the pretty gold bar down with its friends so it wouldn't get lonely. Then he stripped down to his jeans and socks, letting his grandfather teach him what he needed to know to hunt better.

***

"Why aren't you freaking out about all this?" Xander asked the next morning over coffee and the papers.

"One of the last things she ever said to me," he said quietly, not looking up from the obituaries.

"Your sister?"

Hansel looked up and nodded, looking pretty emotionless. "She had a vision right before she died. She said the family's history was more wrapped around the supernatural than I had any idea about. That wrapping would someday lead to one who was what we fought but was a bane to them and to my temper. They'd be my salvation and what ruined me for good." He grinned slightly. "Looks like I found that."

"Unless I have kids, probably," Xander said, considering it. "Am I a bane?"

"Not yet usually. Not to me anyway." Xander nodded, going back to his funnies. "Do you even read the important part of the papers?"

Xander looked at him. "We had three vampire deaths in the city in the last six weeks. One was last night, because it came over the police band scanner. They probably won't rise, just fed on, and I'm not sure if they're the same species."

"What about the other ones? There were two suspicious deaths by what looks like poisoning."

Xander nodded. "There's a few assassins who work here, or are in and out of the city. A lot of agencies we aren't supposed to hear about have their agents here in the city too." Hansel winced. "Most demon poisons I know about would've been noted by cuts, bites, or unusual foam."

"They would usually but there's a few exceptions. Like how incubus kill."

"That'd be seen as a heart attack, not a poisoning." He found one and pointed. "Them. Wealthy, young club kid. Could've been an OD so subtle. Had money but rumors in the poker circuit said his father was trying to buy a hidden enclave's protected area." He looked at his grandfather and grinned. "The kitten poker circuit has a lot of great information."

"I hadn't thought to ask them." He looked at his student. "You sure you're up to this stuff?"

"Because staking was different?" he guessed sarcastically. "Especially of people I knew?" Hansel grimaced but nodded that was true. "As long as we can prove they're bad guys, then that makes them demons, even if they're supposedly human."

"Good point." He switched parts of the paper with him, smiling at the funnies. "We need to finish some shopping for you. Especially if you're going to use that disguise on yourself."

"I woke up with it on my throat again this morning. I think I need to find a source about why."

"We can ask," Hansel said. "Would someone in that poker circuit know?"

"Not likely. They're lower demons, not the sort that have to possess. I haven't seen too many incubi that play kitten poker." Hansel nodded at that. "I can find their bar though. It's not usually that hard and the poker circuit should know that." He got up to call the local demon bar he had found the night before. "Where do the succuba and incubus hang out?" He smiled. "It is. Well, sorry, but necessary to protect myself. I know. I've already sent him back that money." He rolled his eyes. "Yes I have. I mailed it yesterday. That's all I wanted, yes." He wrote down an address. "How far from Manhattan is that?" He wrote down another note and smiled. "Thanks." He hung up and handed it over. "Let me get dressed."

"Eat something first."

"I am." He grabbed a snack on the way to change clothes. Hansel got changed too and they left to catch a cab to Brooklyn. They had no idea how public transportation worked around there yet. Xander walked into the bar first, letting go of all the things he had been stomping on. He saw all the heads in there turn to look at him. He grinned at one. "Need some advice."

"What happened to you?" the incubus demanded, walking closer. He sniffed. "Cambion? In this day and age?"

"Well, farther back," Xander said dryly. "And other things." He stared at him. "Unfortunately something tainting me brought out all the old habits from the old bloodlines." He nodded back at Hansel. "Grandpa found me."

"Kid," Hansel complained. Xander shot him a grin.

The incubus looked at Xander. "How far back?" Xander held up the scroll that had the story of their lineage. He looked and moaned. "I know the incubus that started that demented.... Oh, shit." He stared at him. "You're a hunter."

"Well, I was helping Buffy," Xander offered. "Out in Sunnydale. Then there was this fish thingy....." He shook his head. "I need some simpler answers. Like why does the shape changing necklace we found want me to suddenly be a girl?"

The incubus looked at him. "You have what?"

"Found it in Sunnydale," Xander said dryly. "Thought it might come in handy as most demons seem to think I'm a great playtoy."

"Yeah, I can feel that urge." He took them to a table to talk to them. "There's no way you're from that bloodline. That one Harris guy...." Xander snickered and pulled out his wallet to hold up his ID. "You're still there."

"Not unless I'm back in time." He put his wallet back. "They're saying I'm still there?" The incubus nodded, taking out his phone to text someone.

"It might've been the group trying to protect you," Hansel said quietly.

Xander shook his head. "With the way the Mayor's people stomped on the 'rents for them hearing me say the word hellmouth? Probably not."

"They say they have him out there in the jail for selling weapons," the incubus said.

Xander considered it. "Maybe the neighbor's kid.... Though I don't sell weapons." He shrugged and called Giles. "I supposedly did what?" He listened as the older man read the paper to him. "That's charming. Though I'm nowhere near there." He smiled and hung up. "The ATF was behind it. The Mayor whammied someone." He shrugged. "I'll deal with that when it comes. Tonight is for other shit. Like that necklace's wants."

"It'd probably come easier," the incubus said, considering it. "With the other female powers it might not balance out real well. They're not really complementary. The only reason the bloodline was allowed to go on was because the higher ups decided that nothing would ever come out, that they were too opposed and would probably rip apart the heir they came out in."

"Had some urges to dance under the moon with some wine but otherwise not really," Xander admitted. "I've been stomping on everything since then though."

"That might help." He got one of the succuba over to help him. She purred and teased Xander's hand with hers then drew back looking startled. She changed into a normal looking woman. "His just got woken up."

"I can see that. Who are you?"

"Xander." He grinned.

"People want to talk to you."

"I'll talk to them tomorrow." He stared at her. "I got accidentally on purpose given mermaid taint." Both sex demons moaned and shook their heads. "Swim coach," he chirped with a grin. "Went to see why they were turning black and slimy." They nodded and settled in to tell him how to use his sex demon powers and they found out how the powers from the Titan Eros were now helping those. They taught him how to feed for the first time and noted he wasn't getting any nourishment with it, which calmed Hansel down a lot. So Xander was a lot more like the maenad side than the cambion side with Eros floating around going 'sex is great!' and the nephililim side going 'only women had easy sex, that's why they were made'. So that explained a lot.

***

Xander walked into the local ATF office alone. Hansel didn't like this idea but yay. "I'm told that supposedly I'm under arrest in another town where I turned my mayor in to your agents because he had a cache of arms I found."

The receptionist frowned. "Then how are you here?"

"I don't know since I ran away from my town because that same mayor was busy killing my parents."

"Oh. Okay." She called an agent out.

Xander smiled at him. "Supposedly you guys have me in jail in my former town for arms dealing? I don't know *how* since I left before I called you guys about the mayor having an arms cache and that was after he was busy killing my parents."

"The only case I've heard rumors about with a mayor was in California."

"Yes, I was living there." He followed him to his desk, letting him have his license for a few minutes.

"It appears the police there misidentified you."

Xander laughed. "Three officers were in my house with the mayor killing my parents when I snuck in to get some things so I could safely leave. I'm pretty sure they know which one I am."

"You didn't care....."

"My parents were violent and alcoholics." Xander gave him a look. "He saved the other bad things in town the trouble."

"What is with your town?"

"Well, there's three things wrong with my town. One of them is under the library of the high school. There's a low point that gathers energy. Which I know you guys don't know much about."

"There's supernatural beings in most agencies, kid."

Xander grinned. "There's a hellmouth in Sunnydale. I used to work with the slayer."

"Shit, they'll never believe that."

Xander grinned. "The mayor is really weird and he made the town, he's running the town, has since he helped found it nearly a century ago." The agent grimaced. Xander nodded. "We think there's a reason for that and we've heard rumors that he's got a reason coming up this spring."

"Oh, charming." He made that note into the case. "Is there any easy way we can prove to them what's going on?"

"Take the tiny blonde girl that they've probably noted thanks to the principal being a troll and trying to blame us for shit we didn't do, and go to Willie's Cantina. It's the local bar."

"She's... they've got her on home confinement. There's all sorts of screwed up and made up records. They said they did it because there was robot?"

"Her mother didn't realize that Ted wasn't alive. Ted and Buffy got into it and she protected her mom because Ted hit her. She shoved Ted down a staircase and killed the robot, who isn't really dead."

"Oh, that's even more charming." He made a note and Xander wrote down Ted's address. "Thanks. You were noted as taking things from the mayor's warehouse."

Xander nodded. "He'd never pay me even if I could get him into court for killing my 'rents and making my life a living hell. So therefore I compensated myself since I was leaving town."

"You took weapons."

"I have them in storage because I was helping Buffy before."

The demon grimaced. "That's not going to fly." Xander touched him and he flinched. "Damn it."

"Something in Sunnydale made the heritage that's been held down forever come out." He stared at him. "Which is why I left Sunnydale. I probably could've hid around there to keep helping but the watcher freaked out a bit at me suddenly having incubus taint from wayyyy back when."

"They do things like that."

"Yeah, and have a price on my head."

He looked that up, nodding. "Yes they do. Not a great one either."

Xander looked then shrugged. "It was higher before. I heard five." He leaned back again. "So, anyway."

"You can't keep the weapons."

"I'm still a hunter."

"You might use them."

"I take it they found the doctored tape of us having to fight the Judge in the mall?"

"The what...." Xander got him into an online site that was run by some of the Sunnydale demons. He pointed at the entry. "I wouldn't admit to that if I were you."

"World ending, or hey, you guys could've tried." He grinned. "No one else, even the ones that knew, stepped in to stop the rampant shit out there. That left the slayer to do it and this one has people who help."

"We're not allowed without a reason."

"Our stated death rate was *how* high?"

"Point," he admitted. "Which should've gotten at least an FBI team in to investigate." He looked that up. "Oh, they got killed and someone confounded the death rate." He tapped out an email to another agent he knew. Suddenly all the spells around Sunnydale's records were gone. He looked at the kid. "We can still arrest you for stealing the weapons from the stolen weapon cache."

"Sure. Then who's going to stop him this spring?"

"He's going to be in jail."

"You're so sure about that?" He stared at him. "Absolutely certain he can't get bail?"

"No," he admitted.

"And he'll probably be back in Sunnydale on bail. Right where he needs to be for whatever he's doing. Right?" The agent winced but nodded. "We're going to be there too. Which is why I took a few pretty things to pet. I'm not going to sell them and if I have to use them, it'll be on something huge."

"Crap. We have no idea what he's going to do."

"Us either." The agent winced. "But we know it's going to be huge because a lot of demons in town are already planning on moving. If Sunnydale has a mass exodus of beings, there's something huge."

"Yeah, there is. We haven't seen that in years. Not since... What happened when you were in tenth grade? In the spring?"

"The Master got free for a few minutes but our slayer got him."

"Oh." He made that note. "Nest?" Xander nodded. "Wasn't she supposed to die?"

"CPR."

"So...." Xander held up two fingers with a smile. "Fuck."

"Leave the other one alone too," he said quietly. "She's got it real bad and they're not paying attention to it. At all."

"Where was she?"

"Boston. It's been about seven months."

He looked up Boston cases. "Lehane?" Xander nodded. "Listed as a runaway in the system."

"Nope. Her watcher was tortured and killed in front of her."

"I see that." He fixed that note too. He sighed and looked at Xander. "You can't have it, even for that reason."

"If we need it that means I'll have to steal it. Which do you like more?"

"Neither. We can do that now."

Xander snorted. "Who do you have in jail out there that's supposedly me?"

"They said his name was Jesse McNally?"

"He died when we were sixteen during the Harvest," Xander said quietly. "I doubt that." The agent winced and typed that at the agents out there. He got back something that made him glare at Xander. Xander nodded. "How else do you take out something that can't be destroyed by any weapon made by man? We disassembled him. Again, not like we had people that'd do it for us."

"We need to arrest you for that."

"You can't prove it was me."

"They have tape of her firing it."

Xander grinned. "We can put it back together so you guys can handle it."

"No, don't you dare," he warned. He typed at the agents out there, which made them quit going after Buffy. Though, now that Joyce knew, Joyce was throwing an awesome fit apparently. Xander used the agent's desk phone to call. "Whatever," the agent said. "If it's helping."

Xander listened. "Joyce, calm down. Buffy had to use that. That thing couldn't be killed by anything made by man and we had to destroy it before it killed everyone. So yes, I got it for her to use." She ranted. "No, I'm not. Because the mayor's people killed my parents for me admitting I knew about the hellmouth in the open while talking to someone else who knew." He grinned at the agent. "He's talking to them right now, Joyce. Yeah, I heard that. Then I heard them say that they were assuming it was Jesse, who died because he was turned."

He listened. "What's he look like? No, that's not Oz. That sounds like Devon." Joyce said that to Buffy, who agreed it probably was but she'd have to call Willow to have her call Oz to see. Which she wasn't going to do with agents in the house. "Tell your daughter that Willow's fine and she can even use this to talk about her parents, who are on another talk show circuit trip. This is like their fourth this year." He listened. "No, sir. Did you want to handle it?"

He grinned. "Then where the fuck were you people? If you weren't there then the only people who knew had to handle it. You guys who knew didn't so you left it up to a group of teenagers. So we handled it for you." The agent next to him flinched at that. "What did you expect? Us to all give up and die? Really?" He got asked about his parents and shrugged.

"Hey, no more liquor stench. No, that wasn't my family. I'm unfortunately a Harris. That's the Miterson family. That's Devon's neighbors. Yes, that was mine. I know, I snuck in to get things so I could leave and I'm the one who called you guys." He listened. "Well, duh! Some of us have shit we have to handle this spring too. Because the people who knew about such matters apparently decided to overlook things. Because I'm pretty sure if a group of teenagers can go play poker for information, you guys can too." The agent he was next to winced but nodded.

"You guys left us to handle it, what the fuck did you expect beyond us handling it? And leave Faith alone. Get her to Mrs. S. She's had a shithole of a life; she had her watcher tortured in front of her recently. Get her to Joyce please. Joyce just found out recently but she's a good mom." He ordered one of the guys to do that. Joyce gasped and said she hadn't known, she'd gladly help Faith. He sighed. "No, I cannot come back there. Because the swim coach's *brilliant* plan meant that my long-past bloodlines' gifts came out. Which means I presently have a few gifts that would bother others."

"Cambion are supposed to be pretty good fighters," the agent next to him said.

Xander nodded. "I'm learning better. I have a mentor I'm with." He listened. "Exactly. Well, yes, because we have to handle this spring. Really? So you're sure he won't get bail? I mean, if he can cloud you guys the way he did for years, what's going to stop him from doing it to a judge? Because you guys thought I was Devon," he said blandly. "When I'm clearly not. You could've looked at the yearbook and found that out. Did you?" He smiled. "Well, yeah, I think you have been compromised a lot." The agent complained about that.

"Really? Then explain how the principal's still out of jail." He listened to the spluttering. "The mayor can still access the hellmouth even if the building's destroyed. It's not like it has a physical boundary. Ask Buffy the exact location. She doesn't allow me at fights like that." The agent asked her that and she choked with her mother. She took the phone and demanded. "Well, yeah, you kinda have been a bitch about me and fighting, even though I've been doing it for two years and helped cover for you when you were gone. A lot. Still are sometimes too."

He smirked. "Hey, calling it like I see it. I'd say it to your face if I was there." She huffed. "Yup, but you're also not the greatest of friends either." She brought up the kissing thing. "Um, excuse me, but was I the only one there? Did I *force* her to kiss me? I had no idea why I was kissing her at all, Buffy. Then again, Cordy and I were on the outs. She actually cheated on Oz. Cordy's mad because that got her injured and scarred. Which I understand. That part I regret a lot. But it wasn't just me kissing."

He listened to her whine about the love spell. "Huh. And yet did I take advantage of it? No. I did not. I could have. Most guys would have. Ask the agents if you don't believe me. I did not and actively tried to dissuade all of you. Even you if you remember right." He rolled his eyes and shook his head. "Exactly. Now, while that was my fault, partially, because I only had Amy cast it on Cordy to get her back for that stupid ass stunt of hers, and I had no intention of it hitting anyone else.... actually it could've been the heritage," he admitted.

"Yeah, all that. It could've warped it a lot." The agent nodded at that. "If I was guilty of forcing myself on Willow to kiss her, don't you think I would have at least gotten a tiny bit from some people during the love spell?" He grinned. "And none of my dates have killed members of the group." She flinched, he could hear it. "So let's not start comparing. 'Kay?" he asked in a more chipper voice. "Good idea. We'll forget about all that stuff.

"No, Giles is worried that my heritage will come out and leak towards you, distracting you from all that duty stuff. I pointed out it's been going on since the swim team and hasn't yet but you know how he is about me having gifts or skills. I think it's contagious." He snorted. "Suck it up, Summers." She huffed. "Yeah, well, one of mine was a Titan too. So yeah, suck it up, Summers." She huffed and asked her mother what that was. "Have Giles tell you. Yes, as in one of those and the fish stuff brought it out."

He listened. "Are you going to handle this spring? Because if you are I'll give back all but two of them. Because I have to go destroy something later on. Well, too late in one case but you guys clearly haven't heard and in another.... well, too late tomorrow but it has to be done. Because that's kinda the job sometimes. Again, you guys left it up to a group of teenagers to handle things while you tried to ignore them too. What did you want us to do? Cry?" He smiled at the local agent. "He said I'm stupid."

"Only for coming forward."

"I can't hunt bad demons with you guys looking for me. Who knows who might be exposed."

"That's a point."

Xander hummed but listened. "Still not me. I'm in New York. Have been for a while now. I left the day they killed my parents. No, the Harris's aren't there. Buffy or Willow can show you where I lived. Well, maybe not Buffy but Willow knows where I lived." Buffy whined. "You've never even been there. She has." He listened. Willow was brought over, with her parents. "Hey, they found them! That's almost a miracle. You guys might wanna look at how often they left Willow alone at home while they traveled. Like since she was six, dude. Seriously."

He looked at the agent. "Hand Willow the phone." He did. "Wills, there's a blocking spell on them all. They still think I'm Devon." She snorted. "By the way, they think he's me and he's in jail if Oz was looking for him." She muttered something and he smiled. "Do the removal one, Rosenburg." She sighed and cast the 'see clearly' spell she had found recently. The agents all yelped but then suddenly realized what they hadn't seen. "So, anyway, this spring," he said. Willow hung up on him. "Sure, I'll come in, save your ass, be nagged," he said, hanging up. "Willow fixed that little clouding problem. It's apparently on the town. Which explains our denial problem."

The agent looked at him. "Now that we know...."

"If you still know in six days, I'll let you guys handle it." He stared at him. "If not, I'll go help handle it." He grinned. "Even if you took them I'd still get more and better."

"We can raid your loft with your grandfather."

Xander grinned. "If you touch my shit, including the money I took from the old mayor for killing my parents and making my life a living hell, I'll just get it back." The agent blinked. Xander smiled. "Sorry but kinda need that for a secure future."

"You can't have gold bars."

"Bullshit."

"There's laws, Harris."

"Plenty of people do. They just keep them in safes."

"Those are smaller investment size ones. Not those. Those are Federal Reserve only."

"Then help me change them out." Xander stared at him. "Unless you want me to use my gifts to make ends meet?"

"No," he said. "That's a really bad idea."

Xander nodded. "Probably, yeah." He faded out and went home. It gave him an atrocious headache but oh well. He held his head and let all his taints go, making the agents drool. "You can have the artillery but nothing else. Put it back unless you want me to go find another source and use them. Because I'm pretty darn sure I can handle some of your caseload and have tons of fun with it." They whined but had to follow that command.

One agent had seen through the invisibility thing but not the one layered underneath it. Xander waved as he slammed the door and got their things moved. Hansel would find him in a few hours. He knew where they were going. Xander sighed, leaning on the new rooftop deck. Hansel came out of the door, staring at him. He grinned. "They got the artillery that wasn't under both charms."

"I saw that." He swatted him. "That was stupid."

"I didn't want the ATF finding me at the wrong moment."

"Good point. Still dumb." He hit him again.

Xander stared at him. "Willow broke the confundus on Sunnydale."

Hansel moaned. "That's so sweet."

"That means agents might have it this spring."

"Maybe." They looked around. It was a nice loft apartment. "How...."

"Kitten poker." He grinned. "One of the higher demons. He wanted to know why I was looking for a hideout so I kinda let out a bit of the maenad once I had a glass of red wine. He was not amused." He grinned. "Especially when I turned three of his minions into dancing partners. He promised I could have it if I left the minions living." He walked inside. "Can I plant mini trees?"

"If you take care of them." Xander looked at him. "Fine," he snorted. Xander grinned. It was a nice place. Nicely big, a bit fancy but it was like a nicely painted whore - still a slum underneath. Had two bedrooms, was furnished, had a real kitchen. "The bugs?"

"There'd better not be any bugs. I'll find the bug repellant spell tomorrow."

"Thank you." Xander unpacked all their stuff that he hadn't gotten to while moving it the day before. Including the spellbooks he had gotten off the mayor. He found the bug spell and let Hansel see it. Hansel nodded and Xander mixed it, putting it around the apartment. Then he went to look over the rooftop garden of their semi-slum apartment. Hansel shook his head, calling Xander in to work on his fighting skills. He'd need them.

***

Xander was staring at the stupid necklace a few days later. He didn't like that idea. Why couldn't he do that as a guy? Well, that might mean letting them touch him and he wasn't sure he was into gay sex, which the necklace would move to het sex, which he wasn't sure he wanted either. So he was staring at this thing. This evil little thing that was prompting him to do things.

Hansel walked behind him shaking his head. "The only way you'll know is to try it on and I've got a sword on me in case you try to jump me to kill me. I'm not against using artifacts as long as they help the hunt and don't cause harm. I gave that up in the nineteen hundreds."

"So if I tried to jump you for some other reason I won't get stabbed?" Xander joked without thinking about it.

"No, I'd probably stab you anyway." Xander snorted but kept staring at it. He brought his coffee out to sit across the table from Xander. "Neither of us is truly comfortable with this idea and if I had known what my niece was doing I'd have stopped her." Xander blinked at him. "But it may be the best way you can hunt and I'd be a terrible mentor if I didn't let you learn how to hunt that way as well." He sipped his coffee. "Not that I like the idea but you're not feeding from it."

"No, I'm not." He touched it with his fingertip. "Things would definitely change." Hansel nodded. "I'd have to have sex."

"Maybe. Not sure if you can do that and not have sex. I've never tried it." He sipped his coffee. "We need to break that innocence anyway." Xander grimaced. "There's a few easy ways."

"I don't want it to be an easy, in the club thing. With my luck it'll be a vampy vamp."

"I'd never let you do that, kiddo." Xander shot him a grin then went back to staring at the necklace. "You'd have to break it that way too." Xander shivered but shook his head. "Probably."

"Maybe."

"No, probably. Or else you might have more of the bloodline gifts show up." Xander stared at him. "It could."

"Which would make me a screwed up mess?" Hansel nodded, sipping his coffee. "Am I sure I want to do it this way instead of just kicking ass?"

"You're going to learn how to do that in both forms," he assured him. "My sister would have killed me if I had kept her from doing her own ass kicking way and made her play bait."

Xander grinned. "That could help a lot." He touched the necklace again. "What if I hate it?"

"Then you'll figure out how to handle it better as a guy. Which you're going to be figuring out anyway. Just... no dancing in the moonlight. No blood wine." Xander nodded, pulling the necklace closer. He went into his room to put it on in private. That way if he broke down no one would be disappointed in him. Hansel gave him a few minutes then followed, staring at him.

"Fuck," Xander said, staring at the female version of him. "I'm actually pretty. Really hot sort of pretty."

"Fuck, yes you are, and you look way too much like my sister."

Xander looked at him. "Some...closeness I should help you deal with?"

"No!" He glared. "Stand up straighter before I get you a corset like hers."

"Corset?"

"All good women wear one."

"Today we have bras."

"I've noticed. Half of them look like trash." He looked her over again, nodding. She did look a lot like Gretel. A lot more than his niece had. That same dark hair. That same shape... which he was not going to think about because it drew up nasty comparisons that made him want to drink even more. It had been five hundred years and he missed Gretel, but not that much. Those same legs. He blinked. "We need to dress you right."

Xander looked at him again. "We didn't see anything too appealing at the stores when we went."

"Guys can get away with anything. Girls cannot." He stared at her. "Fuck, I need a drink." He walked off.

"No drinking before dinner," Xander called after him.

"Yes, Miss Nag." She threw something at him, making him yelp. "Nice aim. You'll pay for that later."

"Fine." She walked out. "I look too busty."

"No, you don't."

"They'll get in the way."

"There's ways around that." He wasn't staring, he really wasn't. Over five hundred years..... still not staring.

Xander put his hands on his hips, staring at him. "Eyes off the boobs. Now I know how others feel when I do it to them." She took off the necklace, becoming Xander again with a sigh. Hansel blinked a few times. "What?"

"You have the same bone structure, it's just not as feminine now without the hair and the breasts." He sipped his coffee.

"I'm kinda glad I don't look that femme when I'm in guy form." Hansel smirked at him for that. "Do we have to shop? Can't I get used to having a body with that shape first?"

"Sure. A few days won't hurt." Xander grinned and grabbed their staffs so they could go back to training. He was comfortable with this. "You have to do at least a few hours a day in that form to train it," Hansel warned.

Xander nodded. "I know." He attacked and Hansel snorted, teaching him better. "How do you fight with breasts?"

"I've never actually done it but it's a matter of grip and tying them down I think." Xander nodded at that, going back to the fight practice. "How good of a shot are you?"

"I know how to in theory, mostly thanks to a possession, but I never got a chance to put it into real practice beyond a crossbow."

"We can work on that." He watched him work. "Footing, Xander." Xander glanced down and got smacked for it by the flat of the blade. Xander shrugged and they went back to sparring. Then Hansel was going to get to teach the kid weapons maintenance and how to use a crossbow better. He'd need it, plus shotguns and other weapons. "Anything you favor?"

"There's an axe I'll miss from Giles' weapons," he said quietly.

"We might be able to work one of those in," Hansel promised. "Gretel had a sword inside her crossbow." Xander grinned and got a drink then came back to it. Hansel nodded, not taking it easy on him. Xander had some basics down that were only applicable in Sunnydale. Witches were trickier than vampires. And usually more deadly. They'd curse you and torture you for a few hundred years then kill you.

***

Xander was getting used to the necklace again since he had woken up in it again. He was grumbling at his coffee not being ready yet and his toast taking too long. Hansel came out and had to pause. Sometimes that stuff seemed so familiar but it wasn't her. He had to remember it wasn't her. "You need to tame that rats nest."

"I'll brush it after I wash it," he mumbled, then sipped his coffee once it was out of the microwave. He spread stuff on his toast and sat down to eat like a civilized person. He grimaced when his breasts got in the way. "If I'm going to keep doing this, I need to get a bra."

"That might help," Hansel agreed. Xander looked up at him. "Woke up in it?" He nodded. "Take it off and see if you can shift forms yet?" She did that and stayed female, then scowled at her body and changed into a guy. Then slowly faded back to a girl. She huffed and became a guy again. "Is it going to drift back again?"

"I hope not. That's weird. I'd miss my dick."

Hansel nodded. "I would too." He got his own breakfast and sat down. "Eat more than that. You're burning calories and protein."

"I know." He grimaced but let it clear up. "I'll eat a good lunch."

"Fine." They ate while reading the papers, like usual. "Vampire death last night?"

"Already staked it." Hansel looked over. "It tried to get in here. I staked it. If not, want to go hunting later, see if there's nests?"

"Sure. We need to do that anyway." They finished breakfast, did their morning sparring, then Xander sighed and let it all go. "Maybe it's because of the maenad being on top of everything else?"

"I think so. Which sucks a bit," he told his breasts. "I miss my dick. And no quips about having one inside me instead," he ordered Hansel.

Who shrugged and shook his head. "It's probably not the same as having your own."

"I need my dick back more often." He made himself change back and sighed in pleasure. "There. Let me go enjoy my dick for a few minutes then we'll get lunch and go out?"

"That'll work." He watched Xander go, smiling some. The kid was blunt. That was nice. He wasn't naive like Ben had been. He wasn't idealistic either. He was possibly a bit darker than Hansel or his sister had been but he'd deal with it. They might lighten each other up. Xander came out in girl form, pulling his hair up. "That looks sloppy."

"I don't know how to do this yet."

"C'mere. I used to do Gretel's when she was younger." He made Xander turn around and braided the messy mass for him. "You need to brush it better and wash out the conditioner."

"I need a harsher shampoo probably." He looked back. "Thanks. Did I grow again?"

"I think so. You're a bit over my height." Xander nodded with a sigh. "Come on." He took their ready store of cash to a store he had scoped out while hunting. It had nice things that Gretel would've worn. It'd do until they could get her special gear made. This could be for hunting the non-demons. Xander gave him an odd look but let himself be steered into the store with the lace, leather, and odd stuff. "Corset, it'll help with that posture thing too."

Xander looked at him. "Bras," she said slowly and clearly.

"Later." Xander sighed but nodded and gave in. He smiled at the curious looking saleswoman. "This is my niece."

"Awww. She's adorable." She looked her over. "You're a bit of a tomboy, aren't you?" she asked with a smile. Xander grinned and nodded. "We've seen a few of you girls over the years. What sort of look were you going for?"

"He wanted me in some sort of corset-y thing." She followed her. "Other than that, I have no idea."

She laughed. "Did you want her to look like a fantasy warrior woman sort or like a slinky, corset on top of a skirt look?"

"Both are nice. I'm more used to women who wear corsets instead of flimsy little bras."

"Hmm. She does have a nice figure." She noticed a few things but Xander sighed and they went away. She gave her a curious look, getting a shrug back and her putting on a necklace. "We can match that. It's very tasteful."

"Thank you." She got helped into the first outfit, which was a light tan poet shirt underneath a vest that had a corset waist and straps over her shoulders, but a covering back. Then into a leather pair of pants that weren't all that comfortable. She had on underwear that was acceptable enough for now. She came out and Hansel blinked a few times. "What?"

"You look so much like Gretel," he said quietly. And there were those damn thoughts again. Damn it! He nodded. "I like that one. We can work on that look. The other one you liked?" he asked the saleswoman.

"Before I go into the back, what's your budget? This outfit's six hundred total, with shoes." She pointed at those.

"Boots?" he asked with a point.

"That'll raise it to seven."

He counted the wad of cash and nodded.

"Leave a tiny bit for groceries before we get home," Xander reminded him with a grin. "I'm a growing girl."

He looked at her. "We can get you a twinkie later." She grinned and let the saleswoman help her into a different sort of corset. This one was silk. It had lace around the edges and the ribbons that tied it up must be made of something *really* strong to hold up to it. The skirt was satin and came to just above her knee. Plus hose and shoes. Heels were rejected because of her height thankfully. She came out and Hansel blinked a few times. "That's.... that's in no way sweet or innocent but it looks nice on you." She smirked, hands going to her hips. "Get that." The saleswoman smiled and rang them up. They had enough for about two twinkies later but they were happy enough.

Xander looked around the apartment once they were home, then at him, taking off the necklace. He changed back. "It wouldn't stick."

"I noticed." He looked him over. "Go shower all that stuff out of your hair."

"I need to learn how to be a real girl if you think I can pull that off."

"I think you can. We'll figure that out. I had to watch a few of them go through growing up." Xander nodded, going to shower again and do his hair. It was a bit greasy. He changed into his female form during it to clean up there as well. The corsets had made him feel weird.

Hansel looked up, silently praying at his sister, who must be a saint by now because she hadn't stormed down there to kick his ass. He needed her to. Just to get those stupid thoughts out of his head before something bad happened.

Xander came out in female form, which seemed to make Hansel a bit more comfortable. "What are we going to do if I start having a girl cycle?"

"Pray harder," he said.

"Oh. Okay." He went back there to put on clothes. Then he came out as a guy. "We need to get some money changed over."

"We can do that or you can try that, either way you want."

He looked at him. "Am I ready for that?"

"I don't know," he admitted. "Are you?"

"I... I'm a bit wigged that they might want to touch me."

"That's a weird thought, yes." He grinned. "We'll handle it. Pawn shop?" Xander pointed at the street below them. There were three of them. "Anything we know the former owners didn't steal?"

"The gold?"

"I doubt we could do that."

"I'll ask the circle about how to change those out." He called the demon bar. They had a few suggestions. None of which he liked but if it had to happen.... No, that wasn't really an option and they'd find a better way. He thanked him and hung up, going to sit on the porch and watch his lone mini-tree start to leaf out.

Hansel shook his head. That was easier in the old days, when you didn't have stolen goods lists.

***

Xander looked up from a few girl magazines he had checked out from the library and watching princess movies when Hansel came to the doorway. "Being a girl is hard."

"I'm sure it is." He watched the movie, shaking his head. "Be yourself only female."

"If I do that, you'll have to keep doing my hair."

"That may be a point."

"I have to learn how to shave, and trim." Hansel walked off shaking his head. Xander went back to preparing for all this. This was not a good thing. And half of it he couldn't do in guy form. If he was going to go test their theories, then he'd have to have it down perfectly before then.

The End?
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