A Princess of the Disney Lineage.
Xander looked at the judge. "Your Honor, I think my former friends have decidedly lost their minds," he said.
The judge grimaced a bit but nodded. "Especially as we're told that they don't operate like they used to. What is your job within the Council, Mr. Harris?"
He smiled. "I'm the one they send out to train the slayers staying at home."
"Then why do they think they should have custody of your daughter?"
"I don't know," he admitted. "Apparently I'm good enough to train all of them but my own daughter who's one. Which is why I think they lost their minds. Though, I thought this might happen, which is why I was hiding the fact that she has the slayer mole from them. Because sometimes they think I'm an idiot savant who hangs around to fetch donuts."
The judge stifled a smile. "I had a few friends like that. I dumped them."
"I'm going to be moving somewhere exotic in a few hours," he said with a grin back. "Because I'm at my point of 'I'll be damned' and thankfully you don't allow weapons in here."
The judge nodded. "I've seen that sentiment before." She looked at the lawyer for the Council and Buffy Summers. "Why do you think he can train all the other slayers and not his daughter?"
"It's harder to train one of your own family," Buffy said. "You end up going easy on them."
Xander looked over at her. "Is that why I trained your sister when you thought she'd be cute, helpless, and kidnaped every other week?" He rolled his eye. "You can't even manage to train the girls in residence. Giles had to hire a few people for that while you *mentor*." Buffy glared at him. He stared back. He looked at the judge again. "I'll move planes before I let her have my daughter to ruin by turning into a miniature version of herself."
"That's a bit drastic," the judge said.
"I'd also like an order of protection so Willow Renee Rosenburg cannot do magic on myself, my daughter, or any other future children I may have."
"I can grant that because it would probably cause harm," she agreed. "I saw that expose on her," she said when Buffy opened her mouth. "How did your daughter come to be, Mr. Harris?"
"Her mother went to a sperm bank. She had been told that having Belle was her last chance at having a child. They had found a rather large cyst that didn't look cancerous at the time, though they were going to do a hysterectomy anyway. She went to a sperm bank, chose mine, and got pregnant. It turns out her cyst was cancerous. She turned over custody of Belle to me when she went into heavy chemo right after the birth."
"No significant other?"
"No. Her mother and sister were alive at that time. Her sister died in a car wreck about a week before Ariel died. Her mother had died shortly after Belle was born."
"Disney theme?" the judge asked with a slight smile.
"Grandma's mother liked it when it first came out. She was named Aurora after the princess in Sleeping Beauty and kept up the trend. Ariel told me I was going to be a daddy when she was about six months along. Right after they told her that it was cancerous after all. I was there through the last part of her pregnancy and for the birth. I left an apocalypse battle early to come back for the birth." The judge nodded, making that note.
"You did?" Buffy asked.
"Yes," he said patiently. "I yelled that at you. You were busy complaining about demon goo under your nails." He looked at the judge again. "We talked after she was calmer and I kept Belle for her while she did her first few treatments. Her grandmother had a heart attack about a week after Belle was born. I helped arrange for the funeral with Ariel's sister. She made Ariel make plans for Belle just in case."
"The deaths, were they caused?"
"Not that we could tell. Her sister was hit by a drunk driver on her way home from the hospital after one of Ariel's treatments. I arranged her funeral with her husband. We've talked a few times. He helped me through Ariel's funeral."
"That's good. Are they okay?"
"They're marginally moving on. His mother's moved in to help him. They had a son. His name's Charming." He smiled.
"Strong grandmother," the judge quipped with a smile back. "Is Belle physically healthy?"
"Mostly. She has an allergy to wheat. It's not real strong, she usually gets a few hives if she nibbles on toast instead of the throat closing, might die symptoms. Her doctor thinks she might age out of it."
"So nothing horrible," the judge agreed.
"She's always got the sniffles," Buffy said.
Xander looked at her. "She had a cold. You haven't seen her in three weeks and look, no sniffles. Maybe she's allergic to you or your perfume." He looked at his daughter, who was napping, then at the judge again. The judge smirked at him for that. "It's possible it is a perfume one. I haven't tested it but she does sniffle whenever Buffy comes near her. She screams her head off each time Buffy tries to hold her too. That's how I knew that Buffy was changing her with Willow's help, she was screaming. I walked in and Buffy was staring at the mole. So I kindly finished the diapering job she hadn't, took her upstairs, and suddenly they started to rant that I had to turn her over to the Council's care. Which I'm not doing. Frankly, I've got offers to go other places," he said dryly. "I'll ask a few higher demons for help first. I'd hate for them to treat my daughter like they treated me."
"We...." The Council's lawyer laid a hand on her arm, shaking his head. She grimaced but glared at Xander. "We'll be talking later."
Xander shook his head. "I'm already having someone move my stuff. No we're not." She called home but the lawyer took the phone from her and put it into his briefcase. Xander looked at the judge. "I'm moving next to a distant cousin that I get along well with."
"That's reasonable. You've raised her alone since her mother's death?"
"Yes. Mostly. Now and then I let Dawn babysit. She likes Dawn. Thinks her hair's a great toy."
"Buffy's younger sister."
"Ah." She made note of that. "Is she going to be testifying on either party's behalf?"
"I wouldn't do that to Dawn," Xander said bluntly. "I'm not going to make her pick between me and her sister."
"Fine." She smiled slightly. "Social services records were included on your behalf?"
"Due to me taking custody that way, the hospital called on Ariel. Who told the state social worker what had happened. She's done a home check and a follow-up check. She's found nothing that I've seen."
"According to the notes she's more worried about a few of the other slayers."
"They have therapists. Giles and I talked about it when one started down the path to homicidal and crazy. She's got a therapist and two others have another one. The social worker asked me about one other girl we didn't realize was having more problems than adjusting to not being at home. We sat down and talked to her that night. She was from a fairly conservative part of Pakistan and we got her a mentor from the local community that she could talk to about things. She has daughters herself and works at the Council in Records. That's helped her calm down and figure out how she wants to adjust to her duty and her chosen lifestyle."
"Good thinking." She looked at Buffy. "Were you involved in that?"
"I was in LA then. The girls know they can talk to me whenever they need to or want to. Even if I'm not there."
"She didn't want to go to Buffy because Buffy's chosen lifestyle is nothing at all like hers. She didn't think Buffy could understand the conflicts of being a conservative Muslim woman who had a chosen destiny."
"No, probably not. The modesty rules would probably be a problem."
"I talked to her about that when she started to go on her training patrols in a fully covering outfit. We had to pull her out of training until we could find her something she could comfortably wear that wouldn't endanger her. It took us about two weeks. I took the ladies shopping a few times. They also took the Hindu slayers because they were wearing saris, which got unfolded or tangled them up a few times. The other three Muslim slayers are all younger and we've talked to their home mosques to get their help with those sort of quandaries if their parents couldn't handle it. Plus to help protect them if something like a family honor battle erupted."
"Sensible. Are they all right?"
"Yeah. I chat with their parents once a week. I call all the parents of the girls I've worked with once a week. Dawn's going to be taking over my job and the training job."
"So you've made plans," she said. Xander nodded. "Good. Also sensible."
"Sometimes it's like I'm the only one that has common sense," Xander said dryly. "I think it's because I'm one of the few guys around the Council."
"You are not. Giles is there," Buffy reminded him with a huff.
The judge looked at her. "That's two gentlemen out of how many females?" She piped down again. "Do you have any proof he's an unfit parent, Miss Summers? Or that he can't train a future slayer?"
"The girls have funny names and they're not really interested in talking to us older girls. We think Xander warped them."
"We think Xander gave them a mentor that was slightly older than them," Xander said dryly. "Because you're the same age as a few's mothers." Buffy shuddered. "And they do get pet names, just like Buffy had to be told not to use her real name so no one could track her home."
"Forgot about that," Buffy muttered. "But they're not using the same methods we older girls are."
Xander looked down at her. "They have to learn them as they grow up. Only two of them are old enough to be in training patrols. The other older ones were Council trained and found a home so they didn't want to come to the Center." Buffy nodded at that. Belle fussed so he looked at her. "Morning," he said with a grin. "What's up?" She wiggled so he picked her up to put her into his lap. The judge smiled at her, getting a grin and a wave from the baby. "That's very polite. Thank you, Belle." She grinned at him. "We have to be quiet for now. Then we can play." She sucked her thumb, staring at Buffy.
"I can cuddle," Buffy offered.
Xander snorted. "No you can't."
She glared. "I'm a good auntie."
"Yeah, that's why you're trying to get custody from me for no reason," he said bitterly. "Really good auntie material there, Buffy."
"You're not one of us, Xander. You'll never understand."
"No, I haven't been doing the same job," he said dryly. "Right beside you. Lost people to it. Lost an eye to it. Nearly died a few times working with the girls out in the field," he finished harshly when she opened her mouth. "Usually because you let them out without knowing how to use everything they should know how to use. It kinda sucks having to run a 'this is how you use a sword' lesson in the middle of a battle." Belle cooed so he patted her feet. "I know, you hate it when I yell at her. Sorry. Won't matter much longer. We're going to move up by a cousin. You'll like the cousin. He's kinda uptight so you can make him blush. A lot." She giggled when he tickled her.
"She should probably be changed by now," Buffy said, looking away.
"She's not wet or dirty. You don't change them on a schedule, Buffy. You change them when they need it."
Xander looked at the judge. "He's right," the judge agreed. "It wastes diapers to change them when they don't need it. I have three," she said when Buffy opened her mouth. "Diapers are expensive. How are you going to support yourself up there?"
"Giles said last night I'm going to be the field watcher in the city. I'll have two slayers under me and Dawn will be checking in from time to time. Both the girls are at college right now so I'll only have to have a spare room in case they need it and training areas."
"That's nice of him."
"He agreed, he wasn't sure what she was doing," Xander said. "He's also in London this month." He looked at the lawyer, who nodded that was true. "Does he know she tried this?"
"We did inform him of that filing and he groaned but said that Buffy probably had some sort of point to it, though he wasn't sure what."
"Ah. And now?"
"I'm not sure where all the lines crossing are, Mr. Harris." Xander nodded at that.
The judge shook her head. "I see no reason to remove Belle from her father's custody. I hope Mr. Giles has you on retainer so he doesn't have to pay you by the hour."
"We work for the Council exclusively."
"Ah. Good job." She looked at Xander. "She's staying yours." Xander smiled. Belle squealed and bounced some. "She's not walking?"
Xander laughed. "Yes she does. She keeps trying to help me in the shower. She loves showers. That's how we found out she was walking. She tried to run in and help. I thought she was in her playpen."
"So you underestimated what she could do?" Buffy asked dryly, staring at him.
He stared back. "She was doing it two months earlier than most kids. Her pediatrician was most happy with her."
"That's always a happy time," the judge agreed. "Putting everything up higher."
"I don't let her run around on her own unless I'm there with her as the Center isn't babyproofed. The other little kids are all past that age."
"That makes sense. Do have fun with your cousin," the judge said, banging her gavel.
"Are you coming back?" Buffy asked.
He looked at her, shaking his head. "Nope. Not ever." He walked off after putting Belle back in her stroller. He called the moving people via Dawn. "They good?" He smiled. "Great. Yeah, the wardrobe was a baby present, Dawn. It has to go no matter what Willow says about it having magic. It's to protect her in case the house is attacked." He listened. "Great. No, heading up there now. Thanks, Dawnie. See you in a few days." He hung up and caught a cab to the train station. He didn't want to fly. He hated to fly. No other good way to get to Africa or Asia but he'd had enough of flying for now.
Buffy was standing on the stairs being huffy, looking a bit sad. But he was done with it. The drama, the stress, all of it. He was just...done. He called Giles. "It's me. The judge agreed Buffy had no known point beyond being pouty. I'm already all but moved up there." He listened. "Yup, that's fine. Including the wardrobe, yup. Dawn's watching the movers for me." He smiled at her. "Uncle Giles said hi." She squealed and waved. "She said hi right back, Giles."
He listened. "That's what I'm doing, and there is a protection order against Willow doing *any* magic on me or the baby, or my future kids. I asked. Just in case. Yup, let me know. Tonight probably. We're going by train. Have fun talking to Buffy over her milkshake, Giles." He hung up and relaxed, looking at her. "I don't know," he said quietly. "Your aunts are judgmental bitches. Even Dawn at times. You'll learn better, dear." He patted her hand, letting her grab and keep his finger for now. It made her happy and he was all for his baby girl being happy.
Xander looked up from his place in the park with his daughter. "These are daddy's boots," he said with a point. "These are my jungle boots instead of the sand boots." Belle stared at him, sucking on her thumb, eyes big. "Yes, Daddy has more than one pair of boots. The jungle boots are waterproof and the desert boots have air holes. And now a hole on one heel but still air holes so Daddy doesn't sweat as much as he could. Some day you'll have boots too, and I probably won't even mind if you have cute boots like your Auntie Buffy would want. I know she infected the slayer spirit with the need to be cute."
A male voice laughed. "A hole would be extra air conditioning."
"Someone got me in the heel," Xander said with a grin for him. "I only minded when a snake decided I was good shade. Belle, this is your cousin Don. Who looks like he was sick recently. You should give him a hug to make him feel better."
She looked at this new person and blinked then grinned and held up her arms. "Memo?"
"No, he's not Momma Ralla," Xander said with a grin for her. "You're so silly. Momma Rolla's purple and has orange hair. Plus she's about eight feet high. This is Cousin Don. Can you say hi?"
She grinned and waved. "Hi."
"Hi." He sat down beside her on the blanket. "You're adorable." She patted him, crawling over to cuddle him. "Sure, I can hug. You give great ones, Belle." He looked at Xander. "You okay?"
"Gotten a few huffy text messages. Otherwise we've met the girls up here, who both think Belle's a great excuse to get out of studying. Had to break that attempt already." Don smiled. "They took Belle up to clean out my closets for a donation drive their school is doing even though I cleaned it before I moved us. They did not want to study."
"I had a few of those days." He looked at the baby, who was staring at him. "What?" She slobbered on his chin and smiled. He grinned back. "Thank you, I needed the baby kiss. It's very special." She cuddled in again, smiling and waving at her father. Who grinned and waved back. "Anything else going on?"
"Not at the moment. We're all unpacked. She found her wardrobe hiding spot again. I told the slayers how it's a specifically magiced safe place in case we're attacked. Just in case."
Don nodded. "A good idea. You got sitters and stuff lined up? Not like you can bring her on patrol with you."
"I shouldn't have to patrol too often and I'm looking. Earlier we went to the local immigration point to introduce ourselves. We also talked to a few of the top patriarchs around here. That way they're know we're here in case of problems. They all cooed over her too. One called her a cute, worthy puppy for me." He smiled. "She tried to play with his ear."
"Most kids are good with ears." He looked down. "Are you napping?"
"No, she's using you to get closer to the squirrel she wanted to chase earlier," Xander said with a point at the thing staring at them.
"City squirrels are really aggressive," Don said. He looked down at her. "Squirrels would nibble on your toes. You don't want to chase squirrels, Belle." She held her toes, staring at him. "Yeah, those. Squirrels nibble on those. They're mean that way, that's why we give them stuff to eat, so they don't eat cute baby toes." She grinned at him and put her head back down. "She's really sweet."
"She tries awfully hard." Xander smirked at the demon walking toward them. "What's up?"
"The Red Witch is pouting."
"I'm up here to avoid her magicing me and my daughter. For some reason they decided I couldn't train my own daughter as a slayer even though I train all of theirs."
The demon snorted. "We heard, Knight." She smiled at Belle, who grinned and waved. "She's adorable."
"She tries *awfully* hard." The demon laughed but nodded, patting her on the head before walking in. Xander took her back. "She's like Momma Ralla's sister-in-law. They eat trees," he told her. She grinned at him.
"Having to know all that would drive me nuts," Don said. He pushed his sunglasses back up his nose. "Anything going on we should hear about?"
"Not really. You?"
"Nah, not much. Haven't even heard of a vampire death recently."
"You've had two but on the other end of Manhattan in a club," Xander said. "The girls reported it to me." Don nodded at that. "Are you sure you're okay? You look like you've just had the flu."
Xander nodded. "Do you remember seeing me after my first turn in Africa?" he asked, staring at him.
"Yeah. It did look familiar." Don scratched the back of his neck. "I lost Angel," he said quietly. Xander hugged him. "Thanks, Xander."
"Welcome." He looked at him. "You're more than welcome to come hang out with us. Sometimes the quiet is what drives you the most nuts, even if you think you need it. It did me for months on end. That's why I looked like hell when I showed up."
"I can do that sometimes." He patted the baby on the head, getting her to quit gnawing on his other hand. Xander handed her a cookie to nibble on. That helped. "Just think, you've got the fun years coming," Don taunted with a slightly evil grin. "Dating, boy bands, girl talks."
Xander nodded. "I've had a lot of those already." Don laughed. It sounded a bit rusty but it was good. "I have! I even had to give Willow some of her girl talk. Her mom was packing during it and forgot to tell her about periods and why boys wanted to look at that part of her body. I was getting it from Jesse's mom so I told her when she was wondering what her mother kept changing the subject about."
"You guys were so screwed up," Don said. Xander nodded. "But now you're closer to normal."
"Some days. Some days, not so much."
"Yeah, I guess you'll never really rejoin the land of normal."
"I don't think I've ever visited there," Xander said, considering it. Then he grinned and shook his head. "Nope, never."
"Figures." Don grinned at him, looking over his shoulder. "One of my many angry coworkers is joining us."
"Sure." Xander looked then at his daughter, who was happily staring at the squirrel again. "It's good you've already found a new friend, Belle."
Don shook his head. "I hope it doesn't follow her home."
"That was Snow White," Xander joked with a grin. "Different princess."
"Yeah, sure." Don grinned at his coworker. "It is my day off. Don't scowl at me like that."
"Didn't figure I'd see you here."
"I came to see my cousin, who just moved up here, and his adorable little girl." He pointed. "This is Xander, Danny. He's with the Watchers Council. He trains some of the girls."
"I'm your local liaison," Xander said with a grin and a wave. "This is my daughter Belle. Say hi?" he told her. She grinned and waved. "Very polite, thank you."
The CSI had to smile back. "You're nearly as cute as mine is, Belle." He looked at him. "No Mom?"
"Died right after she was born due to her cancer."
"Sorry to hear that. It sucks being a single parent. It's hard enough with two of us and mine."
"No comment," Don said. Danny glared at him.
Xander grinned. "It's good you have someone to tease you, Don. It means I won't have to pick on you or let the girls give you makeovers."
"Don't you dare," he said with a grin. "The slayers up here are little monsters at times. They've tackled cops and everything."
"They sent in a report about that. Giles told them to quit trying to molest them while saving them." Danny burst out laughing. "They're in college."
Danny nodded. "I can see how that stuff happens. I'm on my way to a scene. Expect Mac or Stella behind me, Don. Nice meeting you, Xander." Xander dug out a card and handed it over. "I can do that. Have a good day with the flowers, Belle." He waved at her and walked off smiling. He ran into the ME at the scene, who scowled at him. "Ran into Flack. He's here talking with his cousin, who is a Watcher, and his cousin's little girl. She's adorable."
"We have an actual watcher?" the ME asked. Danny showed him the card. "The White Knight? They gave him *here* instead of somewhere like Europe? Wow. Did he get demoted?"
"Daughter," Danny said. "Cute little daughter."
"Awww. No wonder. He'd have more options to hide her around here." He nodded. "At least we're mostly peaceful. I'll call him the next time we have a zombie in the morgue."
Danny shook his head. "I don't wanna know, Doc." Mac walked up behind him smiling. Stella was behind him grinning too. "Ran into Flack's cousins?" he asked.
"She's so cute," Stella said. "She tried to capture the squirrel she was staring at and nearly managed it."
"Wow, that's talented," Danny said. "Mine can't do that yet."
"Harris supposedly has a way with the girls," the ME said with a smirk for them. "We expected him to take over a head office on one of the other continents, not move up here."
"His little girl's probably about a year and a half," Danny said.
"Probably a good idea then. Kids that age are cute but not easy to protect."
Stella nodded. "Very." She heard a squeal and looked back. Xander was chasing his very fast daughter, limping slightly. She pointed.
The ME stared. "She's a slayer," he said quietly. "Only they can move like that."
"Belle!" Xander called. "Quit chasing after the damn squirrel! Daddy doesn't need to jog today!" He saw someone paying a bit too much attention. "Belle, freeze," he ordered. She froze and looked around, scowling at the man staring at her. "Thank you." He picked her up and walked her off. "Do not run from Daddy. There's bad things around here and he doesn't want to have to cut off their heads today. Not that he won't but he doesn't want to wash blood out of his clothes." He smiled at her. "Daddy hates doing laundry, you know that. Don't make daddy behead bad people. Okay?" He walked her back to the blanket, where Don was on the phone with someone who was making him scowl. He sat down and put her on the blanket. "Stay." She pouted but took another cookie to nibble on instead. "Thank you."
Don looked over as he hung up. "Willow found me."
"I'm sorry. Did she try to magic you?"
"The judge gave me a protection order against her and I told Giles that. Buffy heard her say it." He smiled. "If I'm suddenly found as a little kid, there's a note in my desk that gives you custody of both of us. It's in my top desk drawer on top of my journal."
"Good to know. Would she?"
"Yeah. This is Willow we're considering. Yes, she will."
Don just nodded. "She needs beaten if she tries."
"You should've beaten her when she turned me into a baby goat in Africa. Where they eat those," Xander said dryly. "They thought I was a very mean goat and might have been a tasty one if I hadn't knocked the shit out of a few people with knives."
Don winced. "Does she know she did that?"
"Yeah. So does Giles. So did Buffy, because I called up ranting hard about that. Giles tried to get me to calm down and sent her back to Devon." They shared a look. "So if I end up a kid or a goat or whatever, you have custody of us, even if I'm in animal form."
"I can do that," he agreed. He shook his head. "And I'll go stomp on her ass too."
"Thanks. I like you too, Don." He grinned. Belle squealed so he looked at her then at the one who made her squeal. "What?" he demanded. "The judge said you're not to magic us at all, Willow. So why don't you shoo so I don't have to defend my cousin from you?"
"I'm not like that," she said firmly.
"Bullshit. I have the scars from their knives to prove it, woman. Really, you've never given it up. You still like black magic and you still think I'm your personal toy. So ... no. I'm very glad my daughter won't be learning that."
"Buffy should be training her," she sneered.
"And yet, I've trained all the other slayers," Xander said dryly. "Hmm. Kind of a double standard, don't you think, Don?"
"I do." She raised a hand, which started to glow. Don's gun came out of his holster. "NYPD, Rosenburg. Put it away." She stared at him. "I'm faster than you can cast. Put it away." She huffed and disappeared. He put his gun up and looked at Xander, who nodded. "Protections?"
"We both have some on us. I did hers as soon as she was born. I've had mine since the goat incident. A shaman that helped me when I came back put them on me."
"We can go find someone to put on more though. Wanna join us?"
"Sure." They packed up and walked off together. Belle liked the backpack carrier. She got to see a lot more and wave at more people, who mostly ignored her but a few waved back. Don ran into one of the uniforms nearer to his precinct and stopped him. "This is my cousin Xander. He's a Watcher. Just moved up here."
"Pleasure, sir," he said, smiling at the waving baby. He waved back. "You're adorable."
"Her name's Belle," Xander said, shaking his hand and handing out a card. "Right now I'm your local liaison so if you can't find one of the girls call me."
"I can do that, sir. Thanks for letting us know, Flack." He smiled and nodded. They walked off together. The uniform went back to the station to tell his commander and let him copy the card to tack onto their bulletin board of necessary numbers. The others heard and it got passed up to Flack's people too. They were happy that he had someone there to help him straighten out again. And if that adorable baby helped, so much the better.
Xander and Belle were watching tv together that night. Xander was shaking his head because Willow was doing a forced interview with some entertainment reporter she had hostage in Cleveland. You could hear Buffy and others trying to get into the room she had her hostage in. He texted Don to turn to it.
"And what happens if one of his 'dates'," Willow snorted that last word. "Kidnaps him again? I mean, he dates *horrible* people! They kill people sometimes! Or...or I think a few sold guns and stuff and that's just as bad! He's never dated normal people so we're certain that they're going to make Xander and his daughter disappear! Then what? She'll be without her slayer family or any of us who are like family to Xander! No matter what the judge said, she should be here with us. Where she's safer!"
On the screen, the window blew in and someone slid in on a zip line. He stared at the redhead, casually leaning down to cut the ropes around the reporter. "Ma'am, outside. You can use my line. Rosenburg, none of us would ever hurt Belle. We adore the little hellion. We love like hell that he's finally away from *you*. You're an abusive, evil friend who's done things like turn him into a goat so he almost got eaten. No one likes you and we *all*, every single one of Xander's past dates, think you should probably go run back to Devon *tonight*," he finished in a growl but smiling.
"Before we use you as a tracking game. Some of us have apprentices that we need to test and that'd be a good one for them." Willow on the screen went pale. He casually walked over and flipped the lock on the door. "You might want to let them in to save you. Before this nice Federally employed assassin has some *fun* with your remains." The reporter escaped out the window. Her camera guy followed her so they didn't get to see more than the slayers rushing in and the guy sliding down after them.
He grinned at the camera as he came down his own line. "Most of us adore Belle. We'd probably protect her for Xander if he needed us to during an emergency. Some of us might be slightly bad guys, but we mostly have a good reason to do it. Not like he dates the evil ones, only the ones who do evil for the good of everyone." He walked off calling in that the reporter was free of Rosenburg and the slayers had her, plus he had passed on the good advice of 'leave or be a game'.
The reporter looked at the camera, swallowing hard. "And that was Willow Rosneburg of the Council losing her mind apparently." Cop cars streamed up and she got helped to an ambulance with her camera guy.
Xander sighed, texting Don to see if he knew who to contact to make sure they were pressing charges against Willow. She had to learn to deal with consequences. Then he called Giles. "Did you watch that entertainment show, Giles? Yes, you might want to. Because Willow's now guilty of kidnaping two people. They got it on camera. She kidnaped a reporter on purpose," he said when Giles went into 'oh dear Lord' land. "Yeah, I'm pretty sure she's praying the one you switched from, Giles," he said dryly.
"Willow *really* needs to be spanked at the very least and I'm not sure if Cleveland's in a lockdown because of her. No, I'm not calling down there. They'll drag me into the drama since she kidnaped a reporter to complain about my dates." Giles clearly gulped something strong, he moaned as he swallowed. "Yup, and one of them rescued her. So.... can you spank her this time? Thanks!" he finished with a cheery sound then hung up to look at his daughter. He pointed at the tv. "You will never be like Auntie Willow. Ever. I will make sure of it." She cuddled his arm, sucking on her sippy cup. Xander considered it then texted a kind-of ex. Well, from a two-night stand ex. He was a field reporter working on a story about genocide in Africa. He'd hear if the other reporter wasn't okay or if Cleveland was in a lockdown tonight.
Don looked around the bar he was in. It was surprising but none of Xander's ex's had just popped up. Usually whenever he talked to Xander about his recent dates, one of them showed up somehow. Usually one in particular but he had heard that one was facing bioterrorism charges for making germ warfare things. He sipped his beer, shaking his head at the continued stories. The bartender stared at him. "Xander's my cousin. He's up here. She's a cunt," Don said bluntly. "A using, spoiled bitch of one."
"Sounds like it," the bartender agreed, getting him another beer.
"I'm just glad the bioengineer guy hasn't popped up to protest it yet," another guy in the bar complained. Don looked over at him. He grinned. "My partner dated him. I saw that guy way too many times."
Don nodded. "Me too. About every time Xander and I talked about who he was dating. Which one is your partner?"
"Bob." He grinned again.
"I heard about Bob. Xander's up here being the local liaison with Belle. Buffy tried to get custody of her but the judge agreed and gave Xander a protection order against Rosenburg and magic on both of them and any future kids."
"Huh. When Bob's out of his coma for being shot in the head I'll tell him. He'd like to have a stressless date with Xander." He sipped his beer. "You do the same thing?"
"NYPD Homicide," Don said dryly.
"Even better. Demons drive normal people nuts sometimes. Even if one of them did shoot my partner in the head so he could demoralize Xander."
"Did he hear?" Don asked, pulling out his phone.
"Yeah, showed up to shoot the demon back. She paid nicely." He smirked at Don. "He's been babying Bob when he can."
"Good to know. I might babysit Belle so he can visit or something."
"That'd be great but Bob loves the baby. Said if he could make an honest man out of Xander, he'd love to adopt her too." He finished his beer. "Tell him I said hi."
"I did." He waved his phone. He looked at the incoming text message. "Xander said Bob's going to be fine. Dawn did a healing spell and he's awake?"
The guy looked at his phone. No text yet. "I have to go hug the angst witch. Thanks, Flack." He left.
Don sent that back and went back to his beer. Sometimes, Xander drove him a tiny bit more nuts than thinking about demons did.
Xander walked into the Natural History museum, scowling heavily. "The guy who has my daughter is in here," he said when a guard started for him. "He's not supposed to have her or be in here." He headed back for the skeletons.
"And this is a Dodo, Belle. It was a flightless bird and it went extinct because it was prey. Prey is always hunted and this one was not smart enough to adapt to become less eaten." He smiled at her. "You'll never have that, princess. You're going to be able to adapt like your father has. He's very good at it. He pretends to be prey very well."
Xander snatched her. "That's why I'm going to kick your ass for taking her from the daycare." He walked off looking at his daughter. "You need to tell Uncle Hubert he's a fucking moron for taking you from the daycare, Belle. He really is. He should know that kidnaping is *never* a good idea, especially when Daddy's having a bad day." He smiled at the guard. "Thanks for the help, dude." He walked out talking to her about birds. She liked animals so it made her happy.
"Mr. Harris?" a woman asked. Xander flinched but looked at her without having to spot her in the crowd. "Can I ask you a few questions?"
"Must you?" he asked. "And I'm really sorry Willow kidnaped your coworker or colleague or whatever. We all would like her to have a reality check sometime soon."
"She got a hell of a story for it and if being kidnaped by an angry witch is the worst that's happened to her, she's lived a charmed life. Did you meet pirates?"
"Pirates?" he asked, looking at her.
"Yes, we heard you met and dated a pirate somewhere by the Ivory Coast."
"Met a pirate, yes. Not the guyliner, movie sort but yes the sort that takes ships hostage and that sort. Yes, I did meet him. Date, no. Slept with to get out of custody, yes." She blushed, mouth opening. "It knocked him out so I could get free and stab all his hostage taking idiot buddies." He looked at the officer coming his way, hand on his gun. "If you're here because a former two-week boyfriend took my daughter from her daycare, it's already solved and he won't be doing it again."
"We have reports of you taking the child from the father's custody, sir."
"No, I'm her father. I'm her only father and I haven't seen him in almost two years. He took her from the daycare today. I got a frantic call from them that my daughter was missing somehow and there's only so many of my ex's in the city. That plus the demon underground told me where she was."
"I'm with the Council. I'm the one they send to train the girls."
"Oh." He nodded. "Can we take you downtown to get a statement?"
"Sure." Xander glared at his former boyfriend, who just smiled.
"Pookie, I have custody from the divorce."
"If we were married, you'd be a dead man by now," Xander said with a smirk back. "Because I would've killed your ass. Mostly because you were really bad in bed and kinda selfish too. Wouldn't even give a blow job." The former boyfriend blushed but glared. Xander smiled. "You keep pushing things."
"I'll get a great reward and I'll treat her well." Xander shifted his stance, hand going to his holster the baby was no longer covering. The guy flinched, backing up. "Now now, Xander. There's no need for that." A mad Xander with weapons? He'd never live to regret it for long.
"Really? Ya think? Over you kidnaping my daughter?"
"Um...." He laughed nervously. "Officer, can we please go to the station?"
"Yes, we will be. Sir?"
Xander looked at him. "Let me put more money in my meter and get her diaper bag." He walked off shaking his head. "Sorry, Miss Reporter, but have to handle this bullshit before I kill me an ex lover."
"Sure," she squeaked. "Officer, that's his daughter. We've had pictures of them together since before her mother died if you need them."
"I might." She handed over her card. "Thank you. Who is he?"
"He's the guy that the Council sends out to train slayers."
"Oh. Okay." He followed Xander, taking the baby while he dug into the car to get the diaper bag. He locked his car, paid his meter, then took the baby back to put into the carseat he correctly installed in the back of the cruiser. He'd seen regular officers that weren't as calm as this guy. "Have you been arrested before, sir?"
"Yup. Usually by dirty cops in Africa and Asia though."
That wasn't an answer he was expecting. "Okay. Well, we're not."
Xander smirked. "You might want to put him in another room. Fair warning that I'm going to rearrange his body parts for touching my daughter and then pulling this shit."
"I would too." He drove them back and radioed in. His captain was waiting. "Sir...."
"My daughter is staying with me," Xander said simply. "I'm pretty sure we can get water now and then for a bottle. We can sleep anywhere if we have to."
"We have social workers," the captain said.
"Yes, I know. I've killed a few for trying to kill some of the younger slayers," Xander said blandly. He smiled at the one behind the captain. "Let's see, half of you is a flesh eating clan and the other half....leaves?"
"Which is why I only eat organic cow byproducts," she said with a smile. "I can hold her, Harris."
He grinned back. "What makes you think I trust you?" She flinched. "Belle and I are going to sit in a room together while you guys do whatever you have to do to my former lover. Be it a DNA swab or whatever."
"That's reasonable," the captain decided. "Not like you can sneak out of there."
Xander gave him a look. "No comment." The captain scowled. "Honestly, no comment." He grinned. "Usually the ones that try to take me hostage are dirty ones, not NYPD. Then again, you guys don't usually work for warlords."
"No, we don't," the officer agreed. He took him to a room. "Need anything right this moment?"
Xander looked in the bag. "She could use some water in about an hour or so. She'll start getting hungry and I have some instant oatmeal."
"Sure." A lab tech came in to take swabs from both of them while he filled out paperwork in the room.
An hour later the captain came in. "She's not yours. She's his."
Xander burst out laughing. "That would be really hard to do since he's infertile."
"What?" the captain asked.
Xander nodded. "He has no balls. Hasn't since he was sixteen and got them stomped on. He told me when I asked back when we were seeing each other."
"Still, the DNA...."
Xander shook his head.
A female CSI walked in. "The machine was running a second test and somehow the swab from a female victim up for ID came up as the other guy as well," she said.
Xander nodded. "I'm going to kill Willow."
"Who?" the female CSI asked. "Because that's a felony, sir."
"I'm Xander Harris. Willow is the Council's witch. She and Buffy have been trying to get custody from me because my daughter's a slayer."
"But you train the slayers," the Captain said.
Xander smiled and nodded. "I do. It made no sense to the judge that turned them down either." The female CSI groaned. "I'll consent to having the test rerun. We're fine to be here for a few more hours. She's learned to sleep anywhere she needs to, she has been able to since her mom was in the hospital."
"Let's do that," the female CSI agreed. "That other one?"
"One of my former lovers and he's in deep when I grab him."
Giles walked in. "Xander. Belle." He picked her up to hug her, getting babbled at. "It's good that you're well. Xander?"
"Hubert took her from her daycare."
"I didn't believe he was that stupid," Giles said. He handed over something. "The baby's birth certificate."
"Somehow tests that aren't even related to us come up as him," Xander told him. "Which the nice CSI lady here says is a felony, Giles. So who did it?"
"Samia talked to him I believe. She just called confessing that she had talked to your ex about the baby. The news report that you were in custody over such a situation made her panic because she had helped."
"Ah. So I get to kick Buffy and Willow. Great." He grinned. "Can I have my daughter back please?" Giles handed her over. "Thank you. She's very calming. They might last a few days with her calming me down."
"I had no idea Buffy was going to try this, Xander."
Xander nodded. "I've about had enough of both of them, Giles. I really, *really* have."
"I understand and I'm going to spank them."
"Great. You can get Willow for both felonies. The one here and the one where she kidnaped a reporter." He smiled.
"Someone asked me about that in the airport."
"Laying over?" Xander asked.
"No, coming to check on you both. Mostly to make sure you don't smite the slayers."
"No, just your slayer, Giles. I'm about to lose my temper on your slayer." Hubert leaned in with a grin. Xander put his gun on the table and stared at him.
"But, Pookie," he said.
"We should have disarmed him when we came in," the female CSI said, glaring at the officer. "If you fire that, you can have her visit you for the next ten years."
Xander grinned and pulled out his wallet, holding out something. "That's the name of my attorney, who will tell you if I have to take out a terrorist cell, I'm fully allowed and it's all good to the government." She blanched at the name of the Attorney General for the US. "As my ex is so nicely in the higher end arms trade, I think he'll probably count and they'll just pat me on the head, feed my daughter another cookie, and then tell me to be more subtle or to handle it before the NYPD has to get involved."
"Quite probably," Giles admitted. "He did the last time you and one of your former boyfriends got into it in such a manner. Though, if I remember right, wasn't he a kidnaper of some sort or another?"
"He liked the ransom scams. Usually worked with the heirs to get the money split. Tried Snowy to get my attention. He didn't like it when he got it." He grinned at the female CSI. "You might want to shift about two degrees. With her trying to grab my gun to chew on it might shift my aim so I hit him higher than in his missing balls."
"Hey!" Hubert complained. "Low blow."
"You working with Willow *and* Buffy or just one of them?" Xander asked.
"Buffy," he sighed. "She was going to talk Willow into helping her though. I'll take very good care of her and you can have another child." Xander glared. Hubert let out a nervous laugh and started to back away. "Xander, please? C'mon, Pookie. You know I wouldn't hurt her!"
"You might wanna run like I told some of the other ex's about this," Xander said bluntly, staring him down. The guy turned and tried to run but officers stopped him. "Aww, come on! I need a good hunt!"
"Xander, less anger," Giles chided gently. "Before you teach her such bad habits."
"I'm going to teach her to punch Buffy and Willow on sight," he snorted. "They deserve it." He put his gun back, opening his mouth. The CSI took another swab and one of the baby. She ran them herself on multiple machines. The ones that were hooked up to their online databases, or that had been noted as just being purchased in news articles, showed that Xander wasn't the baby's father. The other two said he was. She ran a checking test and they came up the same way with the same answer on totally unrelated samples. "Mac!" she yelled. He came jogging in. She showed him.
"Someone's hacked?" he guessed.
She pointed. "That belongs to Xander Harris."
"Yup. His daughter's adorable. He nearly shot the guy who tried to claim his daughter. He admitted someone at the Council is helping him to gain custody of the child."
"Okay," he said. "Let's go talk to him." They went down there. Flack was in there with the baby. "Mr. Harris?" He looked over. "Who screwed with our machines?"
"Has to be Willow. She's our only hacker and the other witches wouldn't be that unethical. Most of them think Belle calms me down a lot so they like me being a daddy."
"I don't think Detective Flack is a good guardian for her tonight," the social worker said. "He's been known to drink heavily."
Xander stared at her for a minute. "We all react to grief differently, lady. Some of us drink. Some of us go to Africa and start blowing the shit out of bad guys and taking out huge demon menaces that the slayers can't handle on their own." She shivered and backed down. "If she needs a placement overnight, my cousin is going to be more than able to handle her. He's also next in line for her custody if something should happen to me, or if Willow deages me as well he's going to get both of us. I doubt Don's going to be drinking tonight. She'll be begging him for custard all night, like usual. She likes how he makes pudding. Anytime she sees him she begs for it. That's what she's trying to say."
"I thought she wanted to swear about all this shit," Flack said. "I do." He grinned at her. "I can make vanilla or lemon custard tonight. Which do you want?" She hugged him. "I like you too, Belle."
"Still, with your recent...." Giles cleared his throat and shook his head. "You have no say, Mr. Giles."
"She is a slayer so yes I do rather have a greater say than you do," he said dryly. She flinched. "Xander has chosen a well liked and well respected cousin of his. I dare say that he's much better than a number of his dates that could step in." He looked over her shoulder. "Did we need more help?" he asked dryly.
"Mr. Giles, the President said to ask if Mr. Harris needed help blowing away his former paramour," the Secret Service agent said. "He said he would gladly lend him a few of his other ex's to help him secure the custody of his child if necessary. Especially since Ms. Summers has now given him and his wife a headache and Miss Rosenburg is presently being debated about going on the National Terror list for the third time."
"Willow is going back to Devon tonight," Giles said.
"The UK does not want her to enter their domain, sir," the agent said. "They have made that very plain. The Prime Minister called the President last month to make sure he knew that order had been posted." Xander burst out giggling. "You know why I take it?"
"Well, unless it's to do with something other than the five agent hamsters.... Maybe."
"No, I believe that was the final straw, sir." He looked at Mr. Giles. "Should I tell him Mr. Harris accepts his offer?"
"I'm sure the rest won't," Xander said with a grin. "I was going to conference call the ones I still have the numbers for since Willow hacked my phone earlier."
"Yes, sir, we're aware of that. The felony of hacking a federal telecommunications company to alter their data is just one of the charges filed against her today."
"Add screwing with their DNA machines?" Xander asked with a grin. "So it made everything look like they were Hubert's?"
"I can have that added." He called that in and nodded once he hung up. "Done. They were not amused and her name is now on the list." He looked at Giles. "The only place that's presently a good place for her is a jail cell or a non-extraditing country." He gave him a pointed look. "Because we know you need her help on occasion." He looked at Xander. "Should we put a guard around your house?"
"No. If anyone breaks in tonight they'd probably be checking on us, not taking her. Unless you hear Willow showing up to try again. She showed up to yell at me in the park the other day."
"We heard, sir. Due to her almost inclusion on that list, we do keep track of her. The junior agents we train on how to track people, because she's a great lesson in slippery people, were not amused when she was teleporting to the mall two blocks away."
"The coven has a few people in Central America," Giles said. Xander shook his head quickly. "They should."
"Miss Amber ran into an idiot trying to be a warlord and trying to take an orphanage hostage. It was mutually destructive from what I heard."
"I had not heard that. That's a shame. I did like the old biddy even though she hated males who could use magic. Though it was illogical and bending the proper ways for males to have that gift." He took off his glasses to clean them. "I'll arrange for her to travel tonight."
"Thank you, Mr. Giles. We'll be there at ten tomorrow to search for her and the stashes of two slayers who are presently dating drug dealers."
"Oh hell no," Xander said dryly. "When did they start that?"
"A day after you left. They had been hiding it before then but you hadn't caught them yet, Xander." Xander smiled. "I'll assign someone just in case and we've uploaded the numbers you had into your phone again." He left with a nod at the officers.
"An ex?" the female CSI guessed.
"His brother was," Xander said with a smile. "But I also helped them find a few really bad guys because they used to watch all of us at the Council when we first popped up to see what was going on. They did not like some of my former dates."
"Yeah!" Flack snorted. "One was selling nuclear weapons, Xander. Of course they didn't." He took Belle back. "Your daddy needs better taste in boy and girl friends before you take up with arms dealers someday too." She babbled and patted his cheek. "I know, I need to shave. You can help me with that later, okay?" He grinned. She cuddled in, stroking his hair again. "I love you too, Belle. You're such a good girl." She cooed.
"I believe he chose quite well," Giles said. He smiled at the officers. "Does Xander still need to be held?"
"No," the head CSI said. "We have her birth certificate and the DNA tests that weren't clouded. However, we really should get her ...whatever stopped. Now. Before it impacts more cases. What does that one person do?" he asked Xander.
"He's an arms dealer mostly, Mac," Flack said.
"Very high end arms," Xander agreed with a grin. "He gave me a nice discount on a few weapons for the slayers once."
Willow appeared in a huff and a flash of light. "I'm not doing anything wrong. You're the wrong one, Xander. She's one of us!"
"You do realize what I do all day long?" Xander asked dryly. "And that if you touch my daughter, you can explain to the gates of hell why you showed up in a bunch of tiny, microscopic pieces?" She blanched, shaking her head. "Yeah, I can and will. Even here in this nice police station. I'm pretty sure I can pay to repaint this charming room a few times over if I have to."
"You don't have anything on you," she sneered.
Xander looked at his gun and ejected the clip then chose another one and put it on the table. "There, now I do." He smiled. "That new bullet I helped create for that one apocalypse? I always carry a fully loaded clip with them. One clip with acid points. Clips with lead and wood." She shivered. He stared at her. "There's many ways of killing people that piss me off, Witch. You want me to name them as I use them on you or before so you can pick your favorite five?" She tried to move but Mac caught her.
Don took the gun. "I wanted to look at those. I'll do that on the way home." He looked at Belle, who patted the gun with a smile. "It's good you like weapons like your daddy does." He handed her back. "Cuddle Daddy. He's mad at the stupid person."
"I'm well beyond *mad*," Xander said dryly with a grin for him. "They're kind of explosive."
"I'll keep that in mind." He smiled at Giles.
"We really can undo all the harm she's cause, Officer."
"Detective," Flack corrected. "Me, her, him, all detectives."
"Detective then." He looked at the person who had Willow. "Let me see if it was a spell or not."
Dawn appeared in a twinkling of light, shaking her head. "No, she hacked. The coven said if they caught her doing bad things against Belle again they were going to destroy her or put her in a big piece of amber forever."
"Are they going to bury her for people to dig up in a thousand years or so and wonder how that had happened?" Xander joked. Giles glared at him. "We do."
"We may," he corrected. "They may start to wonder what sort of ritual activity led to her having scarred, inflamed buttocks as well," he admitted, looking at Dawn. "Did they say anything else?"
"One of them looked at me and warned me not to either. I pointed out I love the baby like my own, she was my method of remembering my birth control, and I had secondary custody after Flack." She grinned. "Then I pointed out Belinda is more of an evil bitch than I'll ever be."
"Perhaps," Giles agreed. "She does have that reputation now and then." He cleared his throat. "Can Xander and Belle be released?"
"Yes," the head of the CSI unit said. "You have a nice night and we're sorry, Mr. Harris. Next time, call and tell us she's been kidnaped so we can rescue her for you and not freak out museum staff?"
"Sure, I'll try to instead of just shooting his ass to add to the skeletons he was showing her."
"He was?" Giles asked.
"Yes! He was explaining dodos and other extinct versions of prey to her." He looked at Flack. "Dinner?"
"I can do that." Xander hugged him around the baby then he and Giles left with her. He shook his head. "Let me make it pretty clear that if *I* see that ex, he should probably be far, far away from me too." He stood up. "Because I have the name and numbers of some of his ex's too. They call to check on him now and then." He smiled. "Including two African warlords who *really* want Xander to be their wife. They might even form an alliance to share the Xander they want him so much." Mac shuddered. "Yeah, exactly." He walked off happier. "Have a nicer night, Miss Social Worker. Really." He waved back at her.
The captain cleared his throat. "I had no idea there were dangerous people on the Flack family tree."
"His mom's side," Mac said. "I asked." That got a nod and they walked off to finish their reports. Xander had at least been nicely reasonable about stuff. He hadn't been huffy, crying, begging, bribing, or threatening anyone but his ex and the social worker.
Dawn took Giles with her. He did need to have a talk with his slayer and his witch. He might need a few drinks to calm down first but they really had to talk.
Don got dragged to the bar by someone he barely knew. He knew they weren't NYPD, their fake badge was pathetic. He finally had to look at him. "You only had to ask me to come talk to some of my cousin's ex's," he said dryly. "I know about some of you."
The guy grinned. "That's great. How's Belle?"
"Sweeter than usual today. She kept me and her daddy from ripping Hubert into tiny little chunks."
"What did that pansy do?" he asked dryly.
"Took her from the daycare to show her skeletons of prey in a museum. Without telling Xander." The guy flinched, staring at him. "Not why you guys are meeting?"
"No! No, we think we've seen a problem starting."
"Okay. Need me to get Xander?"
"We were going to talk about it then call him."
"He's not doing much tonight beyond making sure that Willow can't magic him and the baby." He texted Xander. "Where are we going?"
"That bar you like. We figure it's probably private enough." Don nodded, adding that at the end. By the time they got there, Xander and Belle were getting out of the cab. The guy driving Don smiled at him. "We were going to talk about a huge problem, Xander."
"That's fine. It keeps me from going after Hubert in creative ways later tonight." He walked inside, nodding politely at the bartender and accepting hugs from his ex's. "What strange thing?"
"And guys, we might have to take out Hubert for kidnaping the baby," the guy that had gotten Don said.
"Great," one said with a grin. "He's in my way anyway."
"He's in custody at the moment," Don said. "The bail guys are going to let me know if he gets out so I can hunt his ass myself." He sat down. "What sort of weird things?" The baby reached for him so he took her to cuddle.
"We think we've spotted a portal or something," one of them said, looking at Xander. "And it's local."
Xander nodded once. "Okay." He considered what he knew of his new city. "The slayers haven't sensed it yet. If it was demonic they should have started to sense something wrong at the very least. Which borough?"
"This one," another said, showing him the pictures.
Xander stared. "That's not a portal." He sighed. "I don't have a number to reach them either. Um...." He pulled out his phone to look at it. "I don't want to go there," he muttered. "That might help..... Fuck." He called one number. "This is Watcher Xander Harris. We have what appears to be a non-portal terminus opening in Manhattan. So far it's glowing and causing normals to notice. We're not sure if it's demonic or not. Yes, I'd like to know if you guys have it on your radar or if we at the Council have to look into it. That'd be great. Thanks. This is my number and I am in the city as the new liaison officer. That's me, yes. Thank you." He hung up. "Let's see what the Big Brother conspiracy sorts know about it. I know it's not demonic because I can identify it."
Don looked at him. "Then what is it?"
"It's a gateway terminus but it's not a portal. It's actually part of the Rainbow Bridge." Don gaped. Xander nodded. "Yeah, story I never told you about how I know that." A few of the others groaned. Xander nodded. "So....." Belle squealed. Xander looked at her. "Bored?" he asked, taking her back.
She patted the phone with the picture. "Baba?"
"Yes, that's a bad thing," he agreed, kissing her on the head. "Very good, dear. Where?"
"By the park," one of them said.
Xander nodded. "Okay." He called one of the slayers. "Cheline, Xander. Sorry about your date," he said when she complained. "No, I need you to swing by and look at that terminus that's starting to open by the park. Yes, the pretty gold one. It's the Rainbow Bridge if I'm right so I'm pretty sure it's not demonic but we need to know if you feel a threat from it. Dear, one of my ex's I'm going to smite is up there," he said dryly. "Of course it's a threat to me and the baby. But to slayers...." He grinned. "Thanks. Yeah. Tonight please." He hung up. "I will never hear the end of this if the girls hear."
"I think that's the only time you've been captured that you couldn't save yourself," one agreed. Xander nodded. Belle wiggled her way onto the table and crawled over to hug the others, who all smiled and patted her. "You're a good girl."
"Sometimes," Xander said. "She took off after a squirrel the other day in the park." They all grinned at her.
An agent in a black suit, white shirt, and had sunglasses in his pocket walked in. "Mr. Harris?" Xander looked up at him. "We're aware of the terminus you noted. It's not a danger to the slayers or their duty."
"And yet, one of them decided I'd make a *charming* slave to sell to some enchantress as a spouse," he said dryly. "I had to have help being rescued from her army of demons."
"Oh, I had not heard that."
"Is it *open*?" Xander asked. "Because if it's just blatantly open, then there's problems we'll have to deal with as well."
Xander sighed, shaking his head. "My fault?"
"No, not your fault."
"Okay." Xander stared at him. "Where is he?"
"Thor. There's not too many big idiots who can *break* the Bridge in a way that means it's noticeable to normals." He waved a hand.
"He's back home."
Xander nodded. "Don't lie to me. And tell him I said hi, okay? I won't even remark on him nearly getting captured as her second spouse while trying to rescue my ass."
"Yeah. Which is why this is a bit worrying. Especially with our head witch heading for the border tonight before Homeland arrests her."
"I hadn't considered that problem. I will make the Director hear that one."
"Good. Make him hear that if they come after Dawn again, they're all going to die. I do have an ex who is a bioengineer who likes to weaponize things." He gave him a pointed look. "Or me if they come after myself and my daughter."
"We have noted that you have a child. She's adorable."
"She tries awfully hard because they like to tickle her," Xander said dryly.
"I'll let the Director know. Where will you be tomorrow?"
"Home. Probably. I have Cheline going to look at it tonight."
"That's fine. I'll let him know that so he can come see what sort of threats those may be tomorrow, Mr. Harris. Thank you for working with us."
"Because if we have something like the invasion here locally? I'll fucking destroy *everything* that gets near my daughter," he warned him with a smile. "That mess in upper Turkey that time? Pitiful."
"Understood." He left, going back to their land base. His director was waiting. "Sir, did we know that they had captured Mr. Harris in the past, that Thor had been injured trying to rescue him, and nearly got taken as a secondary spouse due to it, or that they've come after Miss Dawn Summers?"
"Figures, hadn't known why, and figures," he said dryly. "And?"
"Some enchantress had him captured as her spouse, sir."
"He did make it known that he would be destroying anything that came near his daughter."
"He has a what?" the director demanded.
He took out his phone to show the picture he had snapped as he walked into the bar. "That's his daughter. The ones informing him of problems and making plans are probably more of his former lovers."
The director stared at it. "That is not good."
"Probably not since I recognized three people from their files, sir."
Fury considered it. "I'll talk to the paranoid bastard tomorrow."
"Sir, I believe he's not paranoid but he's not going to relax until he's sure that it's not a real problem for his slayers to handle."
"If they invade, we'll fucking handle it," Fury said dryly.
"Sir, I doubt the girls wouldn't help," he said bluntly.
"Perhaps. There's only two locally."
"And him," Fury agreed. "Get me Harris' file." The junior agent went to get it for him while he called Coulson. "It's Fury." The phone was handed over from the junior agent. "Huge problems that had your phone handed over?" He considered that information. "Great," he said dryly. "Anything else I should hear right this second?" He listened. "No, problem. The Rainbow Bridge is visible again. Someone told Harris, who is our new local liaison officer. With his daughter." He listened to the ideas. "He said some enchantress had him captured as a possible spouse and Thor had to get injured helping them both out of there."
Coulson said something to someone else then walked off. "I don't know, Coulson. His daughter's in the cute, drooling stage. Apparently he's a bit paranoid now. Not that I wouldn't be in his job with the prices on his head. He was meeting with some of his former lovers at a bar." He nodded once. "If that'll work, that's fine. I don't care but I know where he'll be tomorrow so someone can talk to him. Great." He hung up. The junior agent in the doorway handed over the file then left again. Fury went over it. "Someone pull film of that meeting, see who was there," he called.
"Already running," his second-in-command noted. "Some we don't have files on, sir."
"One's apparently a detective in the NYPD."
"Dirty?" Fury snorted.
"No, we think he may be a relation to Harris. They've met a few times. They called him when someone tried to snatch Belle Harris earlier."
Fury shook his head. "Just great."
"He's in custody and we're transferring him to ours, sir." She handed over a copy of the picture that was labeled. "That's his cousin from what we're seeing."
Fury stared. "Two arms dealers, an assassin. Two we know almost nothing about."
"They're former dates." She pointed. "That's his cousin."
"That's an arms dealer, Hill." He pointed at the other guy he didn't know. "Him?"
"I didn't think so. I can get a better shot for facial recognition." She went to do that so they could make sure.
Don Flack looked up as his desk was stomped toward by an agent. "Yup, what?"
"*Detective*," the agent sneered. "How was your date?"
"Your date with Harris."
"Xander's my cousin, you fucking moron." He smirked. "I've got custody of Belle if something happens to him." The agent glared. "Really, I am. I'm related to his mother's side of the family. His mom and my mom were first cousins."
"I see. What were you meeting with him about?"
"A slight portal thing that got spotted by some of his ex's. He's already talking to people about it and if it's something the NYPD has to know he'll tell me so I can tell the higher ups. Why?"
"We have you listed as an arms dealer."
Don burst out laughing. "If I was, do you think I'd be working here? Or living in my tiny rathole of an apartment? Really?" The agent glared. "Sorry but you're mistaken."
Xander strolled in and poked the agent on the arm, smirking at him. "You work for imbeciles and you can tell Fury I called him that. Because he's a fucking paranoid nutcase. And a moron. Leave my cousin alone." The agent huffed off. Xander looked at Don's boss. "There's a small portal here," he said, handing over a map. "It is not a demonic event. It will hopefully not spill anything. If it opens, call. If only so I can run from someone who tried to capture me as a spouse?"
"I can do that and have the patrol guys go past it more often, Harris."
"Thanks. That's one ex I'd like to remove the immortality from." He grinned. Then at Don. "They mistook you for Emphreys." He walked off shaking his head.
Don shook his head. "I'm not some 70's gigolo arms dealer. They're blind."
"Quite possibly," his boss agreed. He went to tell the higher ups. It was nice that Flack's cousin warned them of things. The Council usually only warned a few days in advance. Though there being an ex involved figured with what he'd heard about Harris' tastes in lovers.
"Paranoid nutcase?" Fury asked as Xander opened his door to let him in.
"That was as nice as I could go, Fury. And a moron was added later, and whoever told you my cousin was Emphreys needs to be kicked in the ass."
"Already done." He walked in to look around. "Nice."
"Thank you. I'm working on fixing it up." He led him to the living room. "I'd offer you something to drink but I know you won't take it."
"No thanks." He spotted the staring kid. "She's fucking adorable."
"She tries really hard since she woke me up by breaking her lamp this morning."
"Would Thor remember you?"
"Yup, probably. Especially if that injury scarred."
"Why couldn't you get yourself free?" Fury asked.
"Because I'm good but I had a sword and there was a newly called demon army between me and freedom. Thor got sent to take out the army. He nearly fell too. Thankfully he had reinforcements. Odin sneered at me being captured until Thor noted that I had killed over a hundred of the demons myself. When one of their warriors attacked me I showed him some mercy and just hamstrung him and then knocked him senseless before tossing him out a window. Frigg was pleased I showed such mercy." Fury shook his head. "So they helped me get home. How open is it?"
"Not very. It's broken. Thor and his brother got into it."
"I have a protection against Loki. One of the junior warriors gave me one after my sneering back at Odin time. Thor and I get along but even he warned me about his brother's tastes."
Fury shook his head. "You live in a soap opera."
"Some days, yup." Belle toddled over and patted Fury. "That's very nice of you, Belle."
She grinned at this new guy. "Baba."
"Yes, he's a bad guy," Xander said with a grin for her. "You're so brilliant." She beamed back and stole one of daddy's pieces of meat from his sandwich. She toddled off to look out the window. Xander looked at Fury, grinning some. "She's very smart."
"I am a badass."
"You're an ass," Xander agreed dryly.
Fury smirked back. "Whatever."
"Still not bad enough." He looked at his daughter, who was patting the window to stare at the deer out there. "Really, it's broken?"
Fury looked. "What the fuck is that?"
Xander walked over to open the window. "I'm coming up there with artillery." It dropped an envelope then disappeared. Xander opened the screen to grab it then closed both of them to read it. "Fucking ex's," he muttered. He called. "Dawn, me. Go to a safety fallback. That dumbass bitch that took me hostage to Asgard said we're both adorable and would make a nicely matched set of spouses for her." He hung up and handed the letter to Fury. "Here, you have fun with that. I need to count artillery."
"Does your cousin know you have artillery?"
"He probably expects some but no, I've never given him a tour of the armory." He smiled. "Even the slayers don't know all of them."
Fury shook his head. "I can set a guard on Summers." He stood up. "Don't do anything I'll have to take you out for."
Fury walked off shaking his head. He hated working with the Council. They were either flakes, researchers, teenage girls - even if they weren't that age any longer- or Harris. Though Harris was the most sane and like his own agents so he dealt with him whenever he could. Buffy gave him hives. Rosenburg made his hands itch for weapons. Dawn was turning out sensible but still too much of a flake.
Xander called Giles. "Its me. The dumb ex on Asgard wrote me a *charming* note that Dawn and I would make a wonderful pair of spouses for her." He hung up and looked at his daughter. Someone tapped on the window. Xander didn't exactly flinch but close enough. The ex out there smirked at him for it. Xander flipped him off and pointed at the door. He and Belle sat down to eat.
His ex leaned in. "Deer?"
"She rides one," Xander said. "She's basically their version of the Good Witch of the South because she's an inbred wannabe society chick. She reminds me of the moms on that toddlers and tiaras show."
"Oh, yay," he said dryly. "Want me to go over your armory so we can up it?"
Xander smiled. "I wouldn't mind in the least if you gave me new toys, Brad."
"Great!" They went in there to look at what he had brought up. Xander had some odd choices but he guessed hunting demons did that to your weapons cabinet.
Xander walked up to an ex, handing him a package. He hissed in his ear, getting a look back. "Vitally important. The one ex I couldn't get free from has some kin near him. He needs that protection more than I do."
"I can get it to him. They probably won't like it."
"Yay. I'm not sure if he knows or not but I had a vision. It's in there."
"Got it, Xander. How's the baby?" Xander turned so he could see her napping in her backpack carrier. "She's getting a sunburn. Where's her hat?"
"She threw it at a mugger a few blocks ago so we're getting a new one." He smiled. "Thank you."
"Welcome." He called his associates to get word to that one. The guy was in the same field, just employed by someone steady.
In New Mexico three days later, the head agent got handed the envelope. "Why should I hand this on?"
"Someone from the Council had a vision. It's in there and that's to help protect him. He's not sure if it can be mitigated." He shrugged. "He wanted him to borrow it."
"Fine. I suppose. I'll tell him."
"Thanks." He walked off.
"How did you get back into the US and remove your files?"
He grinned. "I'm dating a chick in the FBI for that." He got into his car and drove off.
The head agent went inside, looking at the vision that was included. It barely made him pause but it was horrible. He called his boss, letting him read the handwritten letter over the video line. "Harris sent a protection amulet."
Fury nodded once. "I know he's up here in New York now. Why him?"
"By the vision it's a bad thing, sir."
"Get that to him, Coulson, and ask how he knows Harris. By the records they never dated, even though he's his type." He hung up.
Coulson walked the letter and the necklace out to the main lab, climbing up onto the walkway. "Hawkeye." He looked over. "Someone at the Council sent you something and a vision." He handed them over.
He looked at the vision first and put on the amulet before he was done. "That's good to know." He looked up. "Shouldn't we suspend operation just in case?"
"I'll talk to him about it. The Director wanted to know how you knew him."
"I don't. I never met the guy. I've heard of him. Nat likes to read his file like a fairy tale and laugh at it."
"Huh. We know he knew Thor. The Director passed on that Thor had gotten injured helping him escape a sorceress who had him hostage to marry."
"Sounds like what's in his file," Hawkeye agreed. "Ask Nat, sir. She's a better expert."
"I can do that." He went down to talk to the scientists. "We had a vision from someone at the Council." They all groaned. "The Tesseract is going to spit out someone bad from Asgard."
They shared a look. Then at him. "Do you want us to stop?"
"I'd like some precautions taken. As of this point, I'm not sure who had the vision, how correct they are, or how bad this could be."
"We can be very careful and not put any extra energy to it," the science team decided. He nodded, going to call that in. The Director didn't know who had the vision either. This was the first he was hearing of it and no one could get Harris today. He was the baby doctor with his phone turned off.
Xander looked at the new pediatrician. "I know she's got the slayer mole. I'm actually part of the Council."
"So you adopted?"
"No. She's my biological daughter." The doctor nodded at that, making a note of it. "So far she's not really been blessed with pre-slayer hyperness, or their need for sweets to keep up their metabolic spaghetti mess. She does have the extra speed already. She's very smart. Her old doctor said she was running about two, three months ahead of most kids in most things. The slayer spirit has helped hype that but we're not sure how much is her and how much is Belle's genes."
"That's good." He made that note. "I see we have his records." He read them over, nodding some. "You spread out her shots?"
"Yes. I don't like more than one shot at any given visit. I know she's due for tons in the next few months but I react funny to meds at times and so does she. That way we can make sure there's no reactions or funny problems from them." The doctor looked at him. "I got exposed to demonic DNA back in high school, before I gave the sperm that created her," he said with a slight grin. "It's not totally affecting her but her chromosome mapping showed that one is slightly affected. It's why she gets scaly ears at times." The doctor looked at that and made a note. "I'm out of lotion. I'm picking some up on the way home."
"That's reasonable. What sort of demon?"
"Mermaid." He smiled. "They're not pretty like Disney said."
The doctor shook his head. "That's very weird."
"Then again, I grew up on the old Hellmouth," Xander said with a grin. "Born and raised there."
"I can see spreading out the shots just in case." He made that note. "I see she's behind on one we consider necessary locally."
"Yeah, no, she can't have that. She's shown some weird reaction to it. It's in her six-month visit." He flipped back to that, scratching his eyebrow. "So I'd rather not if we can get by with it. I have told the daycare and showed them her medical records. I don't really want her to be in the ICU again."
"No, I wouldn't either. That contamination?"
"No. Not that we can tell. A few of the younger future slayers have that same problem."
"Okay." He made a note to look into that. "Any others?"
"She does not get along well with bright lights when you try to look into her eyes. She will kick and she's already kicking like a mule."
"I can be wary of that. Many children do kick."
"She got a doc across the room," Xander warned.
"I can stay out of her feet's way then." He smiled and made that note as well, only in the front this time. He pulled out what he needed to examine her. "This bruise?"
Xander looked then shook his head. "She's got the nasty habit of climbing out of her bed. Since she broke a crib doing it we've switched to a transition bed that has railings. She likes to roll over the railing instead of climbing off the free spot at the end of the bed. Usually she rolls over it." He showed him the film on his phone. "I caught her sneaking off to get cookies."
"I refused to give her any and she was in an enforced nap because she had decided to beat the fridge for being out of juice. She desperately needed a nap."
The doctor nodded. "Some kids do throw fits."
"She doesn't usually but her aunts have taught her how to be way too spoiled and bitchy at times. It's an infection from her Aunt Buffy, who was an LA princess before she got Chosen."
"I've seen articles on the upper slayers." He went back to his exam. She watched what he was doing but kept looking at his earring. Xander stopped her from reaching for it. "Thank you."
"Not a problem. Babies like shiny things, like dragons." Belle grinned and growled at him. "Aww, are you a dragon, Belle? Your mommy would've loved that you're a dragon."
The doctor smiled, making his notes on her progress. "She's a bit chubby."
"She's running off everything and she's mid growth spurt. I'm hoping it slows down soon since she's went up two sizes in the last month."
"It should but we can pay attention to that and her weight."
"As long as she's healthy, Doc. She'll need some to help her body through training when it starts in a few years."
"Good point." He checked her ears and got out of the way so she couldn't kick him when he looked in her eyes. She did get his arm on purpose but it only hurt for a minute. "She might need glasses."
Xander nodded. "I've been told that. I figured it'd be when she was a bit older?"
"Probably. It doesn't look bad. A slight case of lazy eye on her right side."
Xander nodded again. "Okay. When she's two I'll get a referral from you."
"That's a good age," he agreed. He smiled at her. She grinned back. "She's seriously happy."
"Most of the time." Belle tried to wiggle down. "No. Stay up there." She pointed and grunted, staring at her father. "No, you don't need to see if that's a mouse. Stay there." She wiggled again. "Freeze, Belle." She whined and pointed. "No!"
The doctor helped move her wiggling self farther up the exam table. She burst out crying. "She's already opinionated."
"Yup," Xander agreed, staring at his daughter. "Stop it. Now please." She sniffled and held her arms up so he cuddled her. She kicked him in the side, making him wince and grab the table with one hand but he knew to keep hold of her with the other. The doctor winced and took her from him. Xander stared at her. "Keep it up, I'll ask the bad auntie to make you a mule since you like to kick so much." She pouted and wiggled to be put onto the table. Where she promptly rolled off it on purpose but Xander caught her. "Yes, we need to nap," he told the doctor, who was shaking his head but making notes. "Baby bootcamp is starting to look really good."
"It might be. She's well behaved. I've had some children in here who are always screaming and always trying to get free."
"If she's interested, she's a good kid. If she gets bored... not so much a good kid."
"When she's older we can test her for ADHD as well," the doctor said, making that note with a smile.
"Runs in my family, Doc," Xander said dryly. "I have it too. Most slayers have it unless they're hunting as well." He nodded and made that note. "But we're good?"
"For right now I'd say you are. I can give her one of her shots today. It's a bit early but not critically so." Xander nodded so he got that to give her. She did fuss at that, just like every other kid. Daddy hugging her made her stop. "We'll do the next shot next month?"
"Whenever's good for you." He smiled. "The insurance guy I go through agreed it was a very good idea since it's cheaper to pay for a short office visit for the next shot instead of a trip to the ER and possibly an overnight or longer stay."
"It is. In her case it's a sensible precaution." He looked at Xander, noticing the bandage on his arm. "Kitchen trouble?"
Xander looked then shrugged. "Mugger. I've done good with stitches yet again," he said dryly. The doctor gaped. "I learned to field treat myself. It's *so* much easier if I do it. No lying to the ER docs that don't want to hear about demon injuries. Or occasionally from a former date that now wants to kill me because I'm in their way." He shook his head but grinned. "I do most of my own stitches and I have a nice herbal antibiotic gel that the Council uses to put on them. It got me through Africa too, Doc." The doctor quit staring and nodded. "She'll get to go to the ER. She's been a few times."
"Good!" He stared at him. "Why do you dislike doctors?"
"The hospital where I grew up had a twenty-seven percent homicide rate," he said dryly. "Starting in the ER where anything bigger than needing a cast or stitches had a really high chance of making you food for something else."
"It fell in when Sunnydale did." He grinned. "If it hadn't, I would've blown it up."
"Good!" He shook his head. "She's fine for now. Come see me in two weeks to get that next shot." Xander nodded, shaking his hand and walking out with the fussy baby. The nurse got him while they were checking out. She had hives around the shot area.
Xander looked at her. "You get the pink liquid. You're very special, Belle. Pink liquid and an oatmeal bath too." She squealed and beamed at him for that. The nurse smiled and nodded he was right. The doctor agreed and made that note in her new file.
Xander got out of the cab, pulling out her carseat, and walked up to his door. He nodded at the woman who walked up behind him. "Morning, Agent Romanoff."
"You know of me?"
He smiled. "Vesily suggested I should date you once. He told me about you." He opened the door, looking at the stuff in the entryway. "Awww, Unclie Brad was here," he told his daughter, grinning at her. "He gave you stuff to pat to feel better with your hives." He let her in and shut the door. "Let me get her some medicine. Her baby shot today did not agree with her." He took her into the kitchen to get the meds down her then let her go free. His daughter went to coo and pet the cases that were in the hallway. Xander got them shifted into the outer level of the armory and took the baby with him to the living room. Natasha was waiting patiently. He smiled. "So, I figure it's not a huge problem since you waited around, but at least a slight one."
"Who had that vision that got sent to New Mexico?"
"Interesting. How correct are you?"
"I've been off-time twice."
"So not wrong but the time code shifted."
"Mostly because what we were doing blocked them so it held it back."
"Can it be averted?"
"I don't know. Can we stop someone somewhere else from having a fucking idiot moment?"
She smiled slightly. "I'm not certain. I know they are guarding the cube better."
Xander nodded. "Might be a good idea."
Belle walked up to this new person, patting her on the thigh. "No baba."
"No, she's not a bad guy. That's very smart, Belle."
Natasha smiled at the child, who grinned up at her. "I'm not a bad guy most of the time. That's very wise." The baby hugged her leg and grinned at her. "You are adorable but I am not used to children."
"Neither's she," Xander quipped. He patted the couch next to him and Belle ran over to climb up to get cuddles. "Sorry," he said quietly.
"She's adorable and smart."
"I try." He smiled. "Did he get the protection amulet?"
"Yes. How did you get it?"
"One of the junior warriors gave it to me after I basically yelled back at Odin for blaming me for being kidnaped while I was asleep. He thought a real warrior should've been able to rescue himself. I pointed out I defeated all the ones in the castle and was working on the others when he sent his son to handle the demon army she had called up. Thor stuck up for me too because he nearly lost and got captured as a spouse. Odin was not happy and when his idiot warrior attacked me, I kindly put him out of commission for a while and threw him out a window."
"How injured were you?"
"I was making myself stand up at that time. I was in pretty darn pitiful shape. I fully admit that but if the slayers hear I'll never hear the end of the nagging. Especially from Willow and Buffy."
Natasha nodded at that. "We've been told that they do like to nag you."
"They like to think I'm normal too," he said dryly. "That's why Buffy tried so hard to get custody of Belle from me when she found out she was a pre-slayer."
"Oh, yeah. Did Willow make it to a non-extradition country?"
"She's presently in Brazil at the slayer house down there." Xander shook his head. "We're certain she's still fuming about you and the baby."
"Probably. If I'm ever turned into a kid or something, the custody forms for both of us are in my top desk drawer. We both go to my cousin Don."
"I'll have that note made. We heard she turned one of the slayers down there into a poodle to have something to pet."
Xander nodded. "Doesn't shock me any. It only shocks me that she's not a cat."
Natasha smiled slightly. "She does seem more like a cat person." The baby got down and walked over to hug her again. "Thank you for hugging me. Why did you hug me?"
Belle grinned at her then pointed at the deer outside the window. "Baba. You?"
"No, the deer is not mine." She got free and walked over to see what it wanted. It had a nice box and a scroll so she took it. Xander shot the deer so it couldn't come back. Natasha looked at him.
"Second present from her." He took the scroll and groaned, handing it over. Inside the box was a pretty collar. He handed that over as well. "It's got magic around it."
"I can tell. It's making my skin itch." She looked at the scroll. "What language is this in?"
"How did you learn an extinct language?" she asked.
"Anya taught me. She had been a viking bitch before she got turned into a vengeance demon." He smiled. "It gave us secure communication to complain about Willow in so she wouldn't turn us into things. I asked her to teach me."
"That is not in your files."
Xander laughed. "I've seen the files you guys keep on me. It's pretty darn wrong. I'm not that heroic. Or that great. I know I'm a usual mortal that stepped into a slayer's appointed duty to quote someone else. And that pirate, I basically slept with him to knock him out then stabbed him and the rest of his people to get out. I set their buildings on fire as I left. I was not a happy camper."
She smiled, a full smile. "I would have done the same." He grinned back. "Can I get a corrected version of your records?"
"Not like I fully kept track. You might ask a few of my ex's to correct it. Not Hubert. He's still mad at me and I need to shoot him because he thought taking my daughter from daycare was a great idea. I don't want anyone else to think I liked that idea."
"He's in SHIELD custody now and I'll tell your other ex's we have in custody, plus ask them to correct your files." She tipped her head to the side. "Why did you need more artillery?"
"Just in case." He grinned. "I'm just as paranoid as your boss but I get a head's up about big things happening now and then. You should read that vision. Including on the backside of the page, which is in special ink."
"Red with a filter."
"I can do that." She nodded and smiled at the flirting baby. "You are a very good girl."
Belle squealed and hugged her leg again then grunted and pointed at her daddy. "Dada?"
He stared at her. "I thought you gave up trying to get me dates." Natasha burst out laughing. "She is. She's done it before. That's why I dated Marta." He picked her up. "Say bye?"
"Bye!" she squealed, waving with a grin.
"I'll see you soon. Bye," she told the baby, getting waved at so she waved back. She left, going to talk to those ex's first. She called ahead to have one brought to an interrogation room for her. She sat down across from one of them once she got back, crossing her legs. "Belle is adorable."
"She try to get you to flirt with Xander?" he quipped with a smirk.
"She did. He said the files we have on him are incorrect."
"Probably. I know Rosenburg got into them at least once."
"He suggested his former dates may have a better version."
"I can help you correct them, Agent Romanoff. Though if you want to date Xander, none of us would be jealous. You're his type of girl: dangerous, pretty, deadly, and smarter than he pretends to be."
"I find a man who learned an ancient language to be fairly smart. Though I do not casually date."
"Pity. Xander could use the casual fucking too though." She smirked slightly. "He really could. He gets ...bouncy."
"I'll keep that in mind." She called up the file on her tablet, letting him see it. "You can make notes on that copy."
He looked it over, making a lot of notes. "I can already tell Rosenburg got into it. She put in his fake birthday that she gave him and got his father's name wrong."
"Yes." He looked up. "Xander's father skipped out on his first family and created a second one, with him, but things only got worse and he couldn't slip out of this one as easily. No car to wreck." She tipped her head slightly to stare at him. "That's all I know about that. It's been a rumor in the underground now since he showed up. I don't know where it started but we know it's true, Xander admitted he knew that much and that he had a few older half-siblings but one of them had told him when he was a child."
"Interesting." She stood up. "I will be right back. Let me drop off the newest present he received for testing."
He looked at her. "From.....? If I can be that nosy?"
"The one who rides a deer, which Xander shot."
"Oh, that bitch." He grimaced. "She's some sort of Asgardian sorceress. We think it's Rosenburg in another life or something. She's really bad for Xander and he loathes her." She held up the box with the collar exposed. "That's got magic. I can feel it itching."
"It does." She looked at the guard in there. "I will be right back." He nodded, letting her out. She went to their labs. "A magically enhanced ugly present from someone's paramour that they do not want." They took it to look over and scan. They didn't get much chance to look at magic. "We know the source is Asgardian magic." They smiled at her for it. "She is fixated on Harris." She went back to the cells to talk to that interesting prisoner again. He didn't give them anything they had wanted, even under torture, but he seemed more than willing to talk about Xander. That was interesting.
Natasha showed up in the Director's office that night, handing over the corrected file. "Rosenburg hacked their files."
"Charming," he sneered. He took it to look over, giving it a funny look. "He did *what*?"
"Apparently. I had no idea either." She sat down, watching him read it. A few things made him swallow and once blush but it was amusing. "Also, look at the family section. We need to do some research there."
"We got his birthday wrong?"
"Rosenburg apparently gave him a fake one she could remember and she put that in there. Also, that sorceress on Asgard? A few of them have noted they weren't sure if she was related to Rosenburg, either in another life or by family."
"So she's a redhead with addiction issues?" Fury asked dryly.
"Apparently, yes. Fairly strong as a witch as well. Xander did shoot her deer earlier when it brought the charmed collar and scroll." She dialed a number on the phone, putting it on speaker.
"There is hidden information on the back of that vision. It will appear under a red light with a filter according to Xander Harris, who had the vision."
"How correct is he?" he asked.
"He admitted to being temporally wrong twice."
"Let me get that to look at. I need a red light with a filter system and that vision."
"Also, whoever did his background failed miserably," Natasha said casually. "His father apparently ran from his first family and started that one, but couldn't escape for some reason. A few of his dates knew that much but not who the other family members were. Just that one of them had told Xander when he was a child."
"That's interesting to note," Fury said, looking at that section. "You let them make notes?"
"Yes. They were more than happy to talk about Xander and Belle. They've all agreed that if Xander needed someone to take his daughter in due to a current problem, they would most happily do that. Even the two that admitted they'd have to hire nannies because they didn't know what to do with a child."
"Huh. How does he draw them?" Fury asked.
She shrugged. "I do not know. I know his daughter latched onto me, told me I wasn't a bad person, and tried to get me to flirt with her father." The director snorted but shook his head with a smile. "They said that's not the first time she's done that. You might also check the skills section as we had no notes on him being able to speak Norse or a few demon languages."
Fury looked at those. "That's ... how did he learn that?"
"The one he nearly married was apparently Norse in her original human life. She taught him so they could complain about Rosenburg without her knowing."
Fury shook his head. "I might've too."
"Here we are," Coulson said over the phone. "Though you've missed some. He has a smattering of about seven different demon languages, three fully down, Norse, Latin, and he reads two other dead ones fairly well thanks to the research they did in high school. Hmm. It's a warning about.... That's very interesting. It's a personal note to Hawkeye though. Nothing more on the invasion as he calls it. That was not on the other side." You could hear him flip it over to check. "No, he doesn't mention an invasion at all."
"Like they had in LA?" Fury asked.
"He only mentions that he'll be healed by the invasion, sir."
"Who?" Fury asked.
"I'd suppose Loki since the protection charm he sent was against Loki's magic," Coulson said.
"Interesting. Let me know if you see any Asgardian."
"I can do so, sir. Thank you for that note, Natasha." He hung up.
Fury looked at his agent. "Good work."
"Thank you." She stood up. "We may want to check the other records for people in the Council. Who knows how she warped Buffy's as she has heroine worship for her." She left. She hadn't wanted to suppose but that note and Coulson's not-saying something told her all she wanted to know. That was quite interesting indeed.
Coulson hung up and looked around. "Get me... No, wait." He frowned. "Tell Hawkeye I want to see him first thing in the morning. There was more on the back of this but I'm looking something up." His assistant nodded, sending that message and leaving him alone to look up things. He had done Clint Barton's intake files himself, including his background check. Sunnydale's papers were preserved thanks to a college nearby that was looking at the town's history as a special project of their library. He found the notice of a lot of drunk and disorderly charges, and a few had pictures. He pulled up Clint's files to compare them. "That is very interesting," he decided quietly.
Clint leaned in. "Should I show up now, sir?"
"I've barely looked into this." He waved him in, handing him the flashlight with the filter on it. Clint read the back of the vision, stiffening. "His former lover told Natasha Xander has known about his father thanks to an older sibling telling him?"
"No," Clint said. Coulson let him see the side-by-side picture comparison. "Okay," he said after a few deep breaths. "So he tried to kill us on purpose?"
"I do not know. You'd have to see what Xander knows."
Clint nodded. "Can you have Natasha ask him? I might punch him in the nose."
"They said he found out when he was a child. Whoever told him probably said that you didn't want to know."
"I haven't met Harris."
"You did have a brother," he said quietly.
"I did." He considered it. Coulson dialed the phone for him. "Harris, Clint Barton."
Xander's voice came over the line with a sigh. "I wasn't going to put that on there but I figured out that it was something about us that made us so attractive to him. Somehow we gave off 'top minion to handle all our shitty plans for us' vibes. Otherwise I was going to let you keep ignoring it."
"I didn't know a damn thing about this," he said a bit too firmly.
"Really? Okay. I thought... He said you knew."
"Was his name Barney?" Clint asked.
"Yes. I was about eight when he showed up."
Clint sighed. "So that was after he left the circus."
"You guys were in a circus? Wow. I thought about doing that a few times."
"Barney and I escaped to one. It's a lot of work."
"I'm used to work. No, Belle, go back to bed please."
"No!" the baby shouted. "Baba!"
"Let me go see what bad thing it is." He moved with her because they could hear her patting the phone and breathing into it. "Fuck," he said. "Wardrobe, Belle. Sorry, guys. Gotta cut this short." He hung up. Belle ran for her wardrobe. It was the first thing Xander had taught her when she had learned how to walk. Xander grabbed a few weapons and went out to handle the issues going on outside his house. Including for the young woman they were trying to eat.
Clint looked at his handler. Who nodded. "We can talk to him."
"Do you want to take a leave of absence?"
"This vision says a few months. I should."
"Agreed. Take a week, Clint."
"Thanks, sir." He stomped off. He had to catch a flight back east apparently.
A Princess of the Disney Lineage.