Teeny Tiny Heroes Needing The Xander Solution.
Xander picked up the baby from the basket the demon had been carrying it in. "Finally,"
he sighed, grinning at him. He was a tiny little white kid with kinda tanned skin and light hair. "We've been working to get you back where you belong. Whoever put you there was kinda dumb, little guy." He grinned at the demon. "Thank you."
"Welcome," he said, looking down. "They said it was for the best. That way he'd grow up like normal."
Xander snorted, shaking his head. "I doubt that. We have his partner." He looked the baby over. "Who drew the markings?"
"They appeared last night. You know there's a prophecy, right?"
"What's this one about?"
"Some child you rescue will be the bane of demon kind?" his poker buddy guessed. "I think."
Xander frowned and pulled out his wallet one-handed to look at pictures. He held one up. "You mean like she is?" The 'she' wasn't a slayer but she was the next best thing and she hunted demons because Xander had saved her from being sacrificed back when he was on his post-graduation road trip. She had trained herself well in how to hunt.
The demon blinked and nodded. "She would be, yes. I'll let others know it's already been fulfilled." Xander grinned and walked off with the baby. "He'll be safe?"
"Of course," Xander snorted, staring at him. "Not like I'm going to hurt the baby. He's going to be with his usual partner as soon as I get him home."
"Good. We all thought it was weird that they got split up that way."
Xander nodded. "Me too." He got them into the jeep and buckled the baby into the car seat. "Few more minutes and we'll be home, little guy." He got in to drive them off, heading for an older, abandoned area. That way no one would notice them going home. He hit the switch to move them, one hand on the baby's car seat just in case. Then he drove a few feet and returned to the same spot he had been to pick up the baby. "That's kinda weird. Who charmed you not to be able to be teleported?" he asked, staring at him. "We'll have to fix that." He walked back to the jeep. The baby was laughing so that was a great thing. He blinked at the lights that went on. "Hey, Officer."
"Sir, what the hell just happened?"
"I'm taking him back to the Council but someone charmed him so he's not able to be teleported." He grinned a bit and shifted the baby to his other hip. "We'll get that straightened out in a few minutes."
"Is he yours?"
"No, he was mistakenly put into demonic custody when he should've been dropped at the Council. Though most of them have no idea about any of this," he admitted with a sigh. "Giles is having a book week. He hasn't come out of the library in nine days."
The officer stared at him for a minute. "You're giving me a headache."
"Sorry?" He shrugged a tiny bit. "It happens around the Council sometimes. They give me one and I'm used to their insanity."
"ID, sir?" Xander put the baby onto the driver's seat and pulled out his wallet, handing over his license and his Council ID card. "I see you are one of them."
"One of the trainers."
"So this kid....."
Xander leaned against his hood, crossing his arms over his chest. "The baby was recently mystically deaged." The officer moaned and shook his head. "He wasn't the only one. The female they got to use for the sacrifice got sent to us. He got sent to a demonic family, which is headed by a great guy. I know him, have for years. He's a poker buddy. I'd trust him with the baby but it's not going to be good or healthy for him for however long he's tiny."
"Oh, that. We're ignoring that place."
"I get a lot of information from the circuit," Xander admitted.
"Yeah, but they use cats."
"Better cats than homeless people."
"Good point," the officer said with a sigh at the end. "Anyway...." He made 'go on' motions.
"This one was sent there. We talked and because of the clan's rules, I had to win him, which I did earlier. So I'm on my way home with him but the teleporting spell on the jeep didn't bring him. Probably because someone put new mystical markings on him to sacrifice him for something else."
"So who has official custody of the kid?"
"I signed the paperwork to take him earlier." He dug them out of the glove box to hand over. "That's the non-signed version. The former parent has the signed one."
The officer looked it over, shaking his head. "Totally illegal."
Xander grimaced. "We thought it better to do this quietly than to bring in the Council's lawyers and things. We worked it out between us so the kid could come home tonight." He looked back at the fuss. "Give me ten minutes and I'll change you, Clint." He looked at the officer again, who was giving him a funny look. "He needs it."
"He probably does." He walked back to his car to find his cellphone and call his boss. This was totally brain warping, irregular, and probably really illegal. He really didn't want to have to handle this. He was a nice, simple, normal officer. Council things always brought problems that got you commended, usually after your long stay in the hospital or the morgue.
Xander walked back to change the kid. He was wiping him down when the officer walked over. "Let me do up his diaper," he said at the disgusted look the guy had.
"Captain said he wants you to explain this to the higher ups."
"Sure." Xander did up the diaper and threw the old one into the plastic bag he used for trash. He tied it off and unhitched the carrier. "Want me to drive or you?"
"I'll follow you but if you deviate you're going in cuffs."
"Whatever you want." He put the carseat back, put Clint back into the carseat, and then got in to drive. "Lead the way." The officer pointed as he walked back to his car. Xander drove them off, hitting his hands-free system. "It's me, Willow. Got a major issue."
"Who's the redhead little girl?"
"It's related. Remember that rite I tripped over and stopped?"
"Yeah," she said, sounding displeased. "She was one of the sacrifices? Why is she here? I thought you got them to their people."
"Well, because our newest ally asked us to take her in and then gave her partner to some demons to supposedly raise like he had the first time. I've got him with me and am going to a police station to answer things."
"Great," she muttered. "Giles was really confused."
"I tried to tell him all this on day six of his reading binge. He was engrossed."
"Fine. Whatever. The girls are cooing over her."
"That's a good thing since she's on par with a slayer when she was an adult."
"Really? Huh. The other one?"
"I've got him with me. Fergus had him."
"Tell him I said hi."
"I will. We'll probably see him at the station."
"Where?" she groaned. He repeated the name of the town. "I'll have our lawyer fly out."
"By the way, they blocked him from being teleported or we'd already be there. I was going to walk him up to her room and let her quit fussing about him not being there."
"She'd probably like that with how she's scowling at me. Xander will be back with your friend soon, dear."
"Bring her too," Xander sighed. He might have to do something drastic and it was better if he didn't have to come back for her.
"Fine. Be there soon." She hung up.
Xander hung up and looked at the baby, shaking his head. "You'll get used to the gang." He found the police station and parked, pulling the carrier part of the car seat out to carry inside once the officer had parked and gotten out. "Willow's coming with his partner and probably our lawyer," he told the scowling man staring at them.
"I'm a Social Worker, sir. We thought that the Council didn't steal children any longer," he sneered.
"I didn't. I played poker for him due to the clan's hand-over rules but I didn't steal him from more than the people who were going to sacrifice him. His former higher ups put him there and his partner with us to have us reraise her. That's not going to work all that well so I'm fixing his mistake." He stared the guy down, making him back off slowly. "Don't touch the kid. I'm very protective over all the kids the Council has around." He looked at the officer, who pointed. He walked into a meeting room. The captain was waiting. Willow showed up with the little girl and their lawyer. The officer handed over the paperwork. "Fergus's sister got him handed over. Fergus won him from her so she wouldn't drive the kid batty. Then he told me so I won him from Fergus so he'd be with his partner."
The lawyer looked it over, nodding slowly. "Not a bad agreement," he admitted. He looked at the officers and smiled at the Social Worker. "Don't try." He stomped off calling someone.
Willow grimaced. "I didn't realize that they let his kind be around kids." She took the little boy to look over, erasing the new markings. "The spell on him is older, Xander, and it's chaos based. Powerful too." Xander looked at her, then leaned over to hiss in her ear. She blinked a few times. "Dirt." She unraveled a few things around the kid and suddenly he was scowling and not as happy. "I'm sorry but you don't need that sort of protection right now. Maybe when you're older and people want you like they do your adopted dad-sort there." She checked the other one and took the spells off her too. "There, better." She smiled. "They'll have a year this way. The spell will wear off and they'll be adults again."
Xander nodded. "That'll be great for them. I'm sure they won't want to go through potty training again."
"Probably not," the captain agreed, staring at them. "You two done?"
Xander stared at him. Then he grinned. The guy shivered. "Not really. What sort of problems are we having?"
"Illegal possession. His higher up called us and tried to charge you with kidnaping, Mr. Harris."
Xander snorted. "Not likely."
"The paperwork would help but not fully shield you," the lawyer admitted. "Though he's clearly having issues that need to be dealt with."
"We put two slayers with him. We can remove them," Xander said. "I'm not letting them be used as pawns like he's trying with these two." The Captain grimaced and sucked at his teeth. The lawyer was grimacing as well. He looked at Willow. "Let me go do something better."
She nodded. "We'll forward things for you and your paychecks."
"Thanks." He smiled at the Captain. "If his former bosses call back, tell them he's safe and being raised by who he should've been raised by. He'll have him back in a year according to Willow, and she'll be talking to our slayers in a few days." He fingered his necklace and touched both kids, taking them with him to Africa and his former location. The slayer that was in the house stared in awe. "They're only little for a year."
"Awww." She took them to cuddle and coo at. "You're adorable! Such pretty red hair and a blond too. So cute together!" The kids both grunted at her, looking displeased at that statement.
Xander grinned. "I have to find someone rumors state is mostly local." He found what he needed to fashion a carry sling. "The jeep should be here soon."
She looked outside and nodded. "It landed on top of one of the chickens."
"I needed to kill one for dinner anyway, Xander. The others will adore them."
"We'll see them later. I've got to hit the clinic in the next village." He took the kids back and went out to get his jeep, driving off. Thankfully Willow had put an extra car seat into his jeep on her way out of the station. The slayer called the others to let them know. The African slayers were all connected, he had made sure of it. It would keep down bigger threats and let them know when things were going on. He drove to the next village, nodding at someone he knew there, getting a smile back.
He parked at the clinic, walking in to see the doctor in a really bad state. The reason for it was higher ups who were trying to steal supplies. Xander cleared his throat. "Hi. Watchers Council." The two 'military people' fled. The third tried to take things. Xander took the box and put it on a desk. "Fuck with me, see how fast I shoot you. I am the White Knight. I'm sure you've heard the rumors by now." He ran off too. "Huh, apparently he's heard of me," he said sarcastically. He looked at the really green and kinda angry doctor. "So, Doctor Banner?" The guy growled. He pulled out the tiny little girl and held her up. "Look familiar?" She was staring at him but totally still and silent.
"Baby Black Widow."
The Hulk stared then slowly started to change back. "Excuse me?" he demanded.
"I'm Xander. I'm the one that saved them from that sacrificial rite."
"I heard something about one. Them being deaged." He looked. "That is Barton. He scowled at me the same way when I accidentally destroyed his X-Box."
Xander grinned. "His boss had *ideas*."
"I've heard." He stared at him. "Why come here?"
"His boss's ideas nearly had me arrested for kidnaping for getting Clint out of a demon family. They were nice but Fury decided he'd be raised like he was before. He gave the slayer house in Cleveland custody of her."
Banner blinked a few times. "Why?"
"She was on par with a slayer."
Banner shook his head. "Okay, so why come look me up?"
"I'm just letting you know they're okay. Willow said the spell should wear off after a year." That got a single nod. "And I'm the trainer for the local slayers so we're kinda local if you wanted to show up now and then for your other teammates."
"I can do that," he decided. He handed her back. "Are they okay?"
"Yeah. We took off the no-teleporting spell on him earlier. It was apparently older and chaos based. As far as I know they're both healthy. Fergus wouldn't have hurt him."
"Good to know. I'll call our teammates." Clint let out a squeal of outrage. "Yes, that means I'll tell Stark," he told him, smiling a bit at them. "They're adorable at this age."
"Most kids are. I have two baby slayers that are about their age. One I had to rescue when she was left in the woods and one that got handed to me in a marketplace, without me asking," he said at the look he got. "Her mom just walked her up to me and handed her over before walking off."
"The old Council tended to gain custody one way or another when the girls were as young as possible. We don't like that method anymore but some people remember them." He shrugged. "Anyway, I'm with Pretia. She's already called the others. We'll be doing the rounds of the girls most likely."
"Sure. I'll let that be known, see if Stark can do something about Fury's ideas."
Xander smiled. "More than I hoped for, Doc. Drop in or call if you want to see them." He wrote down his number on the box. "Works on most realms." He walked the kids off, changing them in the car. He had to get some supplies but the market here had some good things. Then they went back to the slayer house. He had even gotten them some candy, because his girls needed some. The ones that were local were all waiting on him. They stole the babies to change and coo over. Xander smiled, working on dinner for them. Happy slayers were a gift from Janus. Even if the babies weren't sure how to handle girls cooing over them.
Bruce looked at his staff. "Sorry I lost my temper."
"We've seen many strange things thanks to the demons," one said. "You're not dangerous?"
"I am but I control it most of the time. I would've only hurt them." He hoped. They smiled so he walked off calling someone. "Steve, Bruce. Are you near Stark?" He listened. "No, I need you both to talk to me without Fury helping. Or anyone SHIELD. Because I just ran into a shrunken Natasha and Clint." He waited through the choking. "Thanks. Yeah, I'll be up. I'm just getting dinner." He hung up and went back to his temporary shelter to get something to eat and finish calming down. That guy had been bravely stupid to face him down even if he had been partially Hulked out. Though, the Hulk hadn't felt like the guy was a threat to him for some reason.
Xander got up the next morning, bathed and changed the kids, and then took them down for breakfast. "Where am I on the chores chart?" he asked as he poured some cereal.
"You can do the barn if you want, Xander. The goats are getting stubborn again and one tried to kick me last week."
Xander nodded. "We can do that." She gave him a funny look. Xander grinned. "They'll get to see me doing a lot of chores." He finished up and made them oatmeal, letting them suck down the thinned down gluey stuff, which they enjoyed. He got them some water and put them into the wheelbarrow so he could go work in the barn. The goats rushed him so he growled. They ran the other way. "Thanks for cooperating," he said dryly, opening the door to the fenced-in wandering area that had no grass. "Go outside!" One ran. Xander nudged the other two and they ran outside. Xander got to work on the stalls and milked the female oxen that they had.
The kids were staring at the chickens that were trying to climb in with them. Xander smacked one with a shovel that managed it. "Get off the kids before you hurt them." It flapped outside too. He spread out some feed for them and got some hay for the goats to eat so he could milk them. One was dry. So it was time to have baby goats again he guessed. They could do that. He'd done it before. He finished in the barn and took the kids to the jeep, which had changed colors to fit in with the local vegetation. The kids were staring at it oddly.
He grinned. "Neat spell, huh?" He took them to the market to handle the buying of a male goat. And maybe a male ox too. And a rooster so they had more baby chickens since his jeep had killed the old one. The goat and ox walked behind the jeep on the way home, him going very slowly for them. The girls squealed and petted them to get them used to them. The oxen and goats got their new playmates. The chickens ran from the rooster but he was happy to have a home that didn't have a frying pan in his immediate future. So life was good. For now.
Tony Stark got off his plane two days later, looking around the dusty little airport in Africa. "Wow, we need to get to work on water supplies." He found Bruce waiting and walked over to shake his hand. "They okay?" That call had made him quit drinking, quit flirting with Pepper, and quit building something. So it was really a bad thing in his book.
"Yeah, they're fine. I popped over earlier to check on them. The local slayers are very protective of them and the guy that rescued them from that rite is downright scary. I caught him staring down a creature that I didn't recognize. The slayers said that it was dangerous for humans but he was Xander so he did things like that."
Stark just nodded. "Wonderful." He looked that name up on the way through the airport. He got a full dossier on the guy. Which was full of gibberish. "Looks like Rosenburg got hold of SHIELD's systems because she decided Fury was brainwashing the slayers."
"Doesn't shock me any about either side," Bruce admitted. "The kid was not scared of me in Other Guy form," he said quietly once they were in Bruce's car.
"Hulk felt something like respect for him, Stark. I have *no* idea what that guy is."
"Apparently he's interesting." They drove on and Tony looked around. "They're unloading the stuff you asked that I send you."
"Thanks. They could use the vaccines. Xander walked into me having to scare off some of the local rebels trying to confiscate the supplies." Tony shuddered. They got to the house to find two cars there, neither had been there earlier. They parked and watched people run out and to their cars babbling prayers to be saved.
"Huh," they said together.
Xander walked out onto the porch, staring at them. "I don't give a goddess fucking damn what that man wants. He pisses me off again and I'll make sure that he has to deal with a demon apocalypse. I'll call in poker debts, favors, and everything else to give him something to do since apparently he's bored if he has the time to try to manipulate me." They drove off. Xander shook his head. "Mother fucker."
Bruce got out. "Fury?"
"Yup." He grinned. "Mr. Stark." He looked at Bruce again. "By the way, those rebels? They were getting some limited help from SHIELD to take down a rival group. We had a talk about how that one group was bad but there was worse and they were coming. If they do, I'll hand you the kids and go help them." He looked inside then at Stark again. "They're napping."
"That's fine." He walked up the porch, staring at him. "Your dossier's gibberish."
Xander smirked evilly. "Good. I'm glad my poker buddy could do that. It was wrong anyway." He let them inside. "Let the babies sleep in their cribs," he said patiently.
"No!" The slayer air-swatted him. "Shut up!" She looked at them. "Hi, Doctor Banner. Xander, he did my cast last month."
"He's a good doc from what I've heard. He also worked with those two when they were big people."
Stark took off his sunglasses, looking at the baby she was holding. "That is Romanoff."
She grinned. "Who the fuck are you?"
"Tony Stark. She's my teammate, well was when she was an adult." He sat down to take her to hold. "You're tiny. Thankfully you don't have weapons so you can't taze me this time."
Bruce snorted. "I doubt she couldn't find a way, even at that size." Xander handed him Clint and went to get them water from the fridge. Clint blinked at him. He held him up. "Look, it's Stark." Clint fussed.
Tony took him to hold too. "What? Too good for me now, Barton? Watch me not update your bow." The baby settled down to stare at him. He grinned. "How on earth?"
"A few half-demons that are part of an Al-Queda subsidiary were doing a rite to hype their operations and give them luck with future missions," Xander said, handing over bottles of water and bottles to Stark. "That's who deaged them. I tripped over it, literally, while on patrol and saved them. Did the DNA to find them and told Fury, who took custody of them. Then one of the slayers up there gave us her back and said that she'd be able to retrain effectively with us while being protected. I went looking for him and found him with a few demons I knew. So we played poker and I won him. Which is when Fury tried to have me charged with kidnaping him." He sipped his water.
"That's been a news story recently but your head is fighting back and so is Willow. Not hard," Stark said. "I'm guessing there's some pressure there to go Fury's way."
Xander snorted. "I'll make sure Fury's too busy to worry about these two." He gave the slayer a look since she was scowling. "Bert's not busy."
"That's mean, Xander. He'd blow snot all over their pretty flying carrier thing that was on the news."
He grinned. "Probably, yeah." He sipped his water, looking at Stark. "I've already hired independent council so he couldn't get the Council's lawyer involved. They're not happy with Fury at all."
"They are evil," another of the slayers said, taking Clint to feed. "There, you eat. You need it to get big and strong again. How else are we going to drool over your picture, dear?" She grinned. "It's not many heros who can use our favorite weapons."
Stark looked at them. Then at Xander. "Was that Fury?"
"Yup. Not because of them. They had no idea I was here or me."
"That's probably a good thing," Stark said. "He might try to kill you."
Xander shook his head. "Won't work. If he tries, there's going to be shit coming down from the skies." He smiled. "I'm not the nice fairy sometimes." The girls shuddered. He grinned at them. "No, I'll do better than I did to that group that had you girls to sacrifice you for not being proper girls."
"It was nice the rebels begged," one said quietly. "I wanted to make them beg more." Xander hugged her. She pushed him off. "Get off, mushy! Willow did bad things to your macho state. That's why you do things like that."
"Probably," Xander agreed with a grin. He looked at Stark. "They have a year according to Willow."
Stark nodded. "That's good to know. Why didn't you call me directly?"
"Because the last I heard, you were infested with SHIELD."
"In some areas. Not Pepper." Xander smirked. "She's not," he said firmly.
"Not fully. She's ...sympathetic. Beyond that, these are my girls. I helped train them. It's a nice coincidence that Doctor Banner's nearby. If not, I would've hidden them here and traveled to him to let him know. That way you guys wouldn't worry."
Stark nodded. "What if he finds you?"
Xander laughed. "He's not getting them back, Stark. If I have to I'll do a blood adoption rite so they're really my kids." Stark gaped. Xander smirked evilly. "I always wanted a family. I have the girls I trained most of the time but I can't have my own. This way I'd get my own."
"You need to adopt the two new minis that got handed over," one of the girls said quietly. "Before Buffy warps them."
Xander looked at her. "I hadn't heard about new ones."
"They're cutting you out so you can't look bad on them," Tony said.
Xander nodded. "I realized that, Stark. They've never seen the real me. Not since high school." He walked over to a mirror to turn it on. "Hi," he said, grinning at the agent standing there. "I'm doing a blood adoption later. They're my kids." She gasped and moved away. "Buffster, new minis? Do I need to work with them?"
"They're male," she said. "They can't be slayers."
Xander stared at her, then nodded. "Does the serum react?" She grimaced but nodded. "Does that mean someone with skills might've tampered?"
"We think it was a government program," Giles said, walking into view. "Since an agent ran away with them. We've since gotten the others free through one of your ex's."
"Great." Xander grinned at the two fussy things Willow was holding. "Want me to?" he asked.
"No, I think we can handle it, Xander," Giles said. "Are you sure you want to do that?"
"No but I will to make them safer." He looked at the agent again. "If your boss is that unbusy, I'm telling some of my poker buddies who want to test you." She fled, calling that in. He grinned at the scowling senior slayer and witch. "Bert's bored."
"Eww, snot," Buffy muttered, shaking her head quickly. "When are you coming back?"
"When I don't have to deal with a kidnaping charge or Nick Fury?" he guessed.
"Good point. We've all but gotten it thrown out," Willow said. "Can you please quit screaming!" she demanded. Xander waved a hand to come over. Willow appeared there to give him the boys then disappeared with a sigh of relief. "Thank you! Boys are weird and wrong!" She walked off. "I need a cappuccino."
Xander looked at the boys he had been handed. "Did someone deage you?" They calmed down. "Willow, deaged?"
"Same people?" he guessed.
"Great!" Xander said dryly. "Same year time limit?" She nodded while she fixed the coffee machine to make her drink. Xander rolled his eyes. Some day Willow was going to have a son that she'd screw up worse than she had him.
"I don't know why they gave them to us anyway," Buffy said. "We're not set up to be foster parents."
"Because we're about the only ones who can protect them from the demons taking them back," Xander reminded her. She slumped. "We need a house for the minis anyway, Buffster. Somewhere that's not Cleveland. Pre-slayer training age and down."
"That's like ten girls," she agreed. "Where would we do that?"
Xander shrugged. "Not really sure."
"Out by LA so you could get them used to the closed hellmouth there," Stark said.
"That was one of my ideas. Or somewhere in Canada so they're out of the political BS that's going on," Xander agreed. "Lots of trees, a safe place for them to play in. Good schools." He stared at Buffy again. "Speaking of....."
"We've talked to them. Again. The school was not my choice," she said firmly.
"They're good academically," Giles complained. "Even if they do not see a reason for the girls to be more than dainty."
Xander snorted. "One's taking crocheting and knitting as her PE, Giles," he complained, handing the boys to the slayers. They got cooed at too.
"Xander, he's definitely a slayer," one said. "The other barely tingles my 'other slayer' senses."
"Yup, I know. I'm pretty sure I know who was doing that too. We'll fix them later," he sighed. He looked at Giles again. "I think penmanship is a great class, even for the slayers. They could all use some handwriting practice since most have very sloppy handwriting. I don't think it's a reason to hold them back a grade since two will be the last I heard."
"Perhaps the girls that are older but not on patrol rotation should be moved somewhere safer too," Bruce said.
"We'd have to move all the training classes," Buffy said. "We thought about home schooling but they never get around to homework with the other training and stuff we do around here."
"Then move them nearer to Kennedy or hire a teacher to go over that," Xander quipped. "Pick a good school, make an agreement that they'd do their homework via video learning or something and have one of their teachers oversee it." She blinked at him. "We did it for Portia when she was in the hospital."
"Good point." She looked at Giles, who shrugged a bit. "We can look into that." She smiled at Xander. "She was in a good school when we found her."
"Fairy decent," Xander agreed. "We can ask them or another good one." Giles nodded that was true. "Okay, any other problems?"
"Nope," Buffy said and hung up.
Xander looked at his phone then called someone. "Hey, Bartty? Are you busy?" He walked back into the kitchen to get new bottles for the boys. "It is me. No, due to all of that and the new two, I'm dealing with things. Yup, that stuff. I was wondering if Bert was still bored, but the girls all declared that *mean*." He grinned. "Thanks, man. Yup, got them too. Is there another one?" He blinked a few times. "I'll call Faith." He hung up and called her on the mirror. "You needed me?"
"Last night," she said. She looked rough. Her arm was in a sling. Her hair was pulled back. She looked like she was in pain and she had one leg propped up so you could see the end of the cast under her sweat pants. "I could use the military today, Boytoy. Where are you?"
He pointed behind him. "With the kids."
"Crap." She looked around then at him. "I don't think B's going to be able to handle it. It'll take a male to kill the demon."
Xander nodded once. He looked at the local slayers. "Of course we can babysit," the local one said with a grin. "They're all very good for us, Xander."
"I can get her some help," Stark offered. "Fury's good for that much usually."
"He sent us female agents," Faith said. "Who all nearly died." The two mini former agents both wailed. "Sorry, guys. I got them sent home before they croaked." She knew who the kids were even if everyone else had ignored that fact. She looked at Xander. "It's going to be one hell of a bitch to kill this thing."
"Where is it and you're in no shape to go tonight," Xander said, staring at her.
"I'm not moving my ass off this chair, X. I. Ache."
He nodded. "Been there, done that. More than once actually." He ran a hand over his hair then nodded. He looked at the slayers, who waved him off. "Give me twenty, Faith. How?"
"Beheading, needs mystical sword." She pointed at the one in the corner. Her hands clearly had burns on them.
He nodded. "Yup, I can do that." He looked at the two adults. "See you guys in a few hours?"
Stark nodded. "You've got to handle things sometimes."
"Cool. Be right back." He turned off the mirror after adjusting his amulet to there. He grabbed the sword and walked off. The town was eerily silent. He waved at the cop car that drove past him. They backed up. "Faith said it took a male to kill it."
"Aren't people looking for you?"
"Slightly. It's all bullshit and I'm handling it for Faith. Where is it?"
"Six blocks," he said with a point. "We've got the nest cordoned off after trying to get the hostages."
Xander nodded. "Give me a ride?"
"Yup." He let Xander get in and drove him there. Xander got out and walked around the officers. "Let him. Lehane called him, guys." The other officers backed up.
The demon stomped out. "What are you doing here?" she demanded.
Xander stared at her. "Shut the fuck up." She growled and lunged. Xander took a swing and moved to the side. She purred and lunged. He got her on the wrist, disabling that hand. Then her leg. That let him move behind her to behead her easier while she tried to turn around. She let out one last scream as she died. Xander shook his head. "Lighter fluid?"
"That'll burn that building," one of the officers said.
Xander nodded. "Let me drag her into the road then." He hauled on her arm, dragging her out there to light on fire. She turned into a pretty bonfire. They got the hostages free. Xander disappeared before anyone could grab him. He put the sword in the corner. "Only guys can handle it." The ladies smiled and nodded. "Napping?" They pointed. They were on the porch talking to someone. Xander walked out there with the sword, staring at the agent. "Yes?"
"I don't give a goddess fucking damn," Xander said bluntly. "I don't get paid by you people. He had bad ideas. So yay, dude, and you can quote me. Now, aren't you on the wrong continent? Because if you piss me off some more I'm taking the kids to a demon plane for their year of being a baby." The agent slowly backed up shaking his head. "You sure? Because I can make sure you're too busy to worry about them. I don't want to go evil but make me go there by hurting little kids." The agent swallowed and called that in. Xander stared him down. "Anything else?"
"No, sir." He ran back to his car and took off.
"Wow, he gets a driver? Must be a *special* agent," Xander quipped, going back inside to get some water. He called Faith back. "You meant Helga, right?" She nodded, pointing at the officer talking to her. "Fury's trying to manipulate, dude."
"Not Dude, sir. We still have to act on the warrant."
Xander grinned. "Not if I'm not anywhere near there." The officer groaned, walking off. He looked at Faith again. "Yelp if you need me."
"I will, boytoy. Be safe?"
"I'm always safe." He smirked and turned off the mirror, going back outside. He walked into the yard. "Ethan, can I talk to you please?" he yelled. He disappeared. He came back about an hour later undoing the buttons on his shirt, which he hadn't been wearing earlier. He stared at Stark and Banner, then grinned at the kids. "It'll be okay." He walked inside. "Let me take a shower and then I'll take them back. Ethan wanted to get a bit sweaty."
One of the slayers shuddered, curling up against Stark's side. "It's bad when he has to go into that mood to protect us girls," she said quietly. "I'm really sorry you had to see him doing that." She looked up at him. "The last time, he and someone chatted so he could get weapons to destroy the compound they were holding two of us in. I went along to help and he was not nice."
Stark nodded. "Sometimes you can't be nice." He patted her on the knee. "It'll be okay and things like that happen. We do the same thing."
She smiled. "Slayers are good girls. We'd never dick tease the arms dealers into giving us things to blow up a compound." She went inside to hug Xander then got to work on dinner. They'd all need food.
Xander came down pulling on a new t-shirt once he got outside. "Sorry. Had to get things handled." He took the basket the four kids were resting in to carry inside. "Let's nap in the cribs, guys. Want to share?" They got put down in their groupings. Clint was napping on Natasha anyway. The other two were snuggled in with one nearly on top of the other. Xander went back outside. "Sorry you had to see that."
"Been there, done something similar," Stark admitted, standing up. He stared at him. "You're bringing them back to the US."
Xander nodded. "As soon as it's safe. I'm not going to jail for doing the right thing."
"No, you're not. We'll stop Fury," Banner said, patting him on the arm. "We'll be checking, kid."
Xander smiled. "That's why I told you where we are, Doctor Banner." He smirked a tiny bit and got Tony back to the car so they could go back to the clinic and talk. They had some planning to do. Xander looked inside. "Let me see what Giles is planning on the tiny mini house." They handed over the computer so he could check his email. ***
Stark walked into SHIELD's land base, sneering at the agent glaring at him. "Get out of my face unless you want me to buy this building and evict you all." The agent backed out of his way. "Thanks muchly," he said sarcastically, heading for the elevators and up to the office. Agent Hill tried to get in his way but he was used to stubborn women. This one had nothing on Pepper. She was also easily feinted and knocked out when she tried to stop him. He walked into the head office. "Did you really want the kid to go evil?"
Fury looked up from the paperwork he was pretending to do. All an act to keep Stark humble. Not that he thought it would work. "He can't do anything."
"He can. They also have said they want their slayers back."
"No great loss. They can't kill a human. That puts them at a disadvantage around here. Anything else, Stark?"
Stark was staring outside, then smiled at the young woman who walked in and put a hand on his arm. She had to be a slayer since she wasn't in uniform, wasn't overly pretty like an undercover or special agent tended to be, and had sensible shoes on. "Xander's decided to go evil."
"Good thing Buffy recalled us then. Xander going evil is not pretty." She looked outside. "Huh." She smiled at Stark. "Can we get a ride to the airport? I think all the agents are going to be busy." Fury looked out the window, staring at the demon for a moment before barking an order.
"Sure." He walked out with her, letting her get the other girl to meet them at the elevators. "What's that demon?" he asked once they were in it and going down.
"He *really* wants Xander and he considers us keeping him from his rightful spot as the demon's wife," the second slayer said, looking at him. "He doesn't like slayers."
"We can protect you two," Stark said, leading them outside. The demon stared down at them. "Buffy's recalling these two."
The demon smiled and patted one on the head. "My true one is doing good learning how to take care of my heirs by taking care of those children for the slayers." He walked over Stark's car and punched a hole in the building, pulling out an agent to look at. "Not the one I want." He dropped him onto the ground, making him break a tiny bit. He did it again. "You either." He dropped that one on top of the first before punching another hole and grabbed a few more agents. He kept going until he found the one he wanted then he walked off with him to talk about things. This one was keeping his family much too busy and they had a sacred holiday coming up. The demon would have to correct this agent's faulty thinking.
Stark got the ladies into the car. "Airport, Happy."
"Can do, boss." He drove off. The girls were flirting badly with Tony, who was being a perfect gentleman for now. It was nice to see.
Steve Rogers looked up from his sketching in the park when a demon walked toward him. He could tell she was a demon. She was green skinned, had vines for hair, and had a few flowers among the vines. "Yes, miss?" he asked, staying polite. He doubted she was a harmful demon.
"May we speak?" she asked quietly.
"We may. Want to sit down?"
She shook her head. "No thank you, Captain. Do you remember Dusseldorf?"
"I remember being there during the war once. Vaguely. I was between missions."
"Do you remember a young woman during that break?"
"Ma'am, I'm not that sort of guy," he said with a slight grin.
"Many of us can tell that, Captain, but that does not mean things did not happen." She stared at him for a moment then smiled. "You should talk to your grandson's mate even though it is a tragedy. He may have answers that you seek." She left him to his sketching of the trees. He had a nice hand at them from what she had seen.
"Grandson?" he muttered, pulling out his phone. Then he decided to visit in person. This was not a conversation to have over the phone or in the open. He knew he hadn't slept with anyone so how did he have a grandson? He took his motorcycle back to Stark Towers, heading up to the administration floor. He ran into Pepper. "Is Tony around?"
"He's on his way back. Is there a problem, Steve?" she asked, brushing some grass off his shoulder.
"A demon just came up to me in the park and told me I had relatives still alive."
"Really?" She sent an email to Tony's phone, getting one back almost instantly. "He's dropping the two slayers in Cleveland on the way back from Virginia." She smiled at him again. "Why don't you go get dinner and by the time you're done he should be back."
"I can do that. Thank you, Pepper." He went to the staff cafeteria. He could put up with people staring at him oddly because he wasn't an engineer. It usually happened whenever he was around Tony's coworkers. He finished his sketch and doodled a bit until Tony walked in. "Stark?" He came over and sat across from him. "While I was in the park a plant demon came up and asked me if I remembered Dusseldorf. That I had a grandson from a dinner that I know I didn't do more than eat at," he said quietly. He looked around but no one was paying attention to them. "She said I should talk to my grandson's mate but there was a tragedy."
"Let me look," Tony said, pulling out his tablet. "JARVIS, unlock my father's files," he said quietly, doing a word search for that city. "You did have that dinner, you were drugged. Dad's team got there just after she left." He glanced up. "She took a sample, didn't do it the natural way." He went back to chasing that down. "It appears she knocked herself up, used it to escape, and Dad's team lost her on the way to the US." He put down his tablet and looked at him. "Tragedy?"
"That's what she said," Steve said with a slight slump of his shoulders so he could lean on the table. "Anything else on her?"
Tony looked at the name through the public databases and nodded once he found something. "They wanted you to talk to Harris."
"Because the kid was in Sunnydale and he's listed as 'disappeared' back when he was in high school. I'm sorry, Cap." Tony looked up at him.
"Why tell me now?"
"They couldn't tell you before?" Tony guessed. "Or they want you to get to know Mr. Harris better."
"The guy that helps the slayers, right?"
"Yeah, him. I just met him a few days ago. He's protecting some kids that some demons were going to sacrifice. Including Romanoff and Barton." Steve's eyes got wide and he blinked a few times. Tony nodded. "He's a bit scary. Banner said that he wasn't scared of the Hulk at all. Got him calmed down by showing him he had the kids."
"Wow. That's... Even I'm a bit scared of him."
"Yeah, well, he's not. Fury's presently not happy since a demon all but destroyed his building looking for a lesser agent."
"Huh." He shook his head. "So you think Harris would have known him?"
"Yup. Especially since the only picture of him that was listed for a newspaper had them all together and looking happy they were hanging out at a park."
"Interesting. Can we call him? Where is he now?"
"Africa but I'm pretty sure he'll be back sometime soon."
"I'll ask him when he gets back. Anything on her or her daughter?"
"He's named after his mother and Grandmother. She kept the same last name so probably not married. Her daughter too."
"How did she get there?"
"Maybe he knows."
"Maybe. Are they okay?"
"They're good. They're being cooed over by the local slayers where he is. Banner's a few villages over so he can check on them for us. Harris said he's going evil and I'm not sure what that means so want to go watch some news?"
"Sure, I can do that." They went up to Tony's suite and Tony's array of tv's that covered a whole wall facing a massive sectional sofa set. Each tv was tuned to a different news station and on captioning, with one on the right hand, lower corner tuned to G-4, which was a tech and geek network. They settled in to watch, Tony enlarging some of them so they were bigger pictures over a few tv's. Steve would wonder how he had done that but he'd never understand.
When one of the reporters cut to a few Congress members giving a statement about how they were going to be investigating Director Fury of SHIELD, that got put over the entire array for them. They were adamant that he was doing something wrong and the taxpayers didn't want to pay for him to rampage all over cities causing problems.
"I think that's the start of something evil," Tony quipped.
"How would someone like Harris know senators?"
"He probably knows the demons they swore themselves to," Tony snorted, getting up to get a drink. "Want something?"
"Water?" Tony tossed one at him over his shoulder without looking. Steve caught it and opened it to sip while they watched the huffy people have a fit on national television.
Buffy had Xander summoned with the kids. She stared at him. "You have to fix this situation. It's looking bad on the Council, Xander, and it's drawing press attention to us."
"The warrant was removed earlier," he said, glancing at the agents behind him. One groaned and called that in. He stared at her. "It's already been fixed and if our PR department had gotten off their asses it would've been fixed weeks ago. We'd be looking great but they didn't push anything." He smirked. "Beyond that, if you expected me to let myself be arrested, you're nuts." He picked up the basket with the kids, heading out to his jeep since he had seen it land. "How's the planning for the mini house going?"
"Not that far," Buffy said. "You can't leave, Xander."
"I can so. There's no reason for them to arrest me, Buffy." He shot a smirk at her. Then at the agents. "Is there?"
"No, it was removed," one agreed, glaring at him.
Xander grinned at Buffy. "Don't call." He got the kids into the jeep and took off. "Okay, let's go do something nice for someone, because I heard the underground was wondering about someone, and maybe I'll get you guys a sitter for a few hours because Sarah's got issues coming." He drove off. "Do you guys want to drive for seven hours or do you want to partially magic it and then come down from upstate? There's a slayer house upstate and if I remember right it's only about four hours from hers." Natasha shifted but waved a hand. Clint was asleep. So was Sam. Dean grunted and waved a hand.
"Sure, more cooing. And less tracking," he said, spotting his tail. He hit the switch after keying in which house he was going to. It was nice that Ethan had done a bit of tinkering on the spell for him. He landed and checked on the kids, all there. Sometimes Dean and Natasha didn't always go with the teleporting spell so he had to check. "We all good?" They all smiled at him. Clint woke up at teleporting to scowl at him usually. "That means you all need changed, doesn't it?" He pulled off to the side of the road and parked, getting out to change them. Then he took them to the slayer house to check on her. She was a bit older and cooed over the babies. She even fed their ongoing cookie addictions. Xander drove them off, taking them to New York City. He had the stereo up. Dean was almost happy but he hated his choice in music. Sam and Clint hummed. Natasha fell asleep. Dean and the boys finally did about halfway there. It was a great idea.
Tony Stark looked up. "What's that alert?" he asked his AI.
"Mr. Harris is here, sir, with children."
"He'd better have the kids," Tony said, walking out to meet him at the elevator. He got handed two small boxes. "Moving in?"
"Someone told me your teammate wanted to see those." He hefted the babies out to the living room, putting them on the floor. They were napping and would harass everyone later. "Let them sleep, Stark." He took the boxes back and grinned at Captain Rogers. "Pictures?"
"Please, Mr. Harris."
"Steve." He grinned and took them. Xander sat beside him to tell him who everyone was and what the pictures had been after. The demon had been right, it was a tragedy. He could see that the memories were good ones but still hurt the young man next to him. Fortunately the kids woke up and Sam needed changed. He stared at the others, smiling. "Hi, guys." Clint grunted. Dean blinked at him, just staring.
Stark sat down and picked up Dean to look at. "It's okay. He's used to people staring in awe." Dean smirked and crapped himself. "Gee, thanks." He handed him to Xander when he came back from the bathroom.
Xander put Sam on the floor and took him with the other two to change too. "Be right back. They like to synchronize to drive me nuts." Stark laughed but looked at the pictures.
Steve showed him. "That was him."
"He was a cute kid." Xander came back. "So what happened? All he heard was a tragedy."
"He got turned a few days after Buffy got to town." Xander sat down once the kids were all on the floor so they could harass Stark. "My first apocalypse and he was my first one staked when someone pushed him onto my stake while we were talking." Steve nodded at that, slumping. "He's the only one I regret out of all of them," Xander said, looking at the older man beside him. "If I knew then what I learned later about Angel I might've tried to resoul him. He probably would've tormented me night and day for it, and tried to beat me up more than once, but he's the one I didn't want to lose."
"They called you his mate," Steve said quietly.
"Yeah. Nearly. We probably could've moved into it. I'm not going to lie and say it was fated destiny sort of mating but we were that tight. There were a lot of days that Jesse was why I made it through earlier Sunnydale." He found another picture and settled in to tell him about that one. It was funnier and Xander didn't want the depressing thoughts tonight. He had enough hell in his life with the kids, he didn't need the bigger, heavier thoughts until things were settled again.
Xander was getting them breakfast the next morning when an agent got in his way. Obviously FBI by the bad suit. "Yes, Agent...."
"Stephens. Do you believe you're above the law, sir?"
"No, I believe the law is cranked about half the time though. Why?"
"You sedated an agent last night to get into your stored belongings."
"If I hadn't, he would've died. There were three vampires hunting in that area and the paralyzing agent I used meant he couldn't be eaten, they couldn't get through his skin. I doubted he could've survived an attack. Beyond that, the warrant allowing you to hold my things was also removed with the arrest one so you had no reason to be there and illegal custody of my things." He stared at the horrified looking agent. "Anything else?"
"We think you're a problem, Mr. Harris."
"I think someone trying to fuck with me for politics is the problem and I'm not that sort of boy," he said sarcastically.
"You're not a boy. You take a life you automatically move up," the agent sneered, stepping closer.
"Great, then I lost it at fifteen. Do you even realize what you just stepped up to me with?" he asked, glaring back at him. "I'd like to see you do the hunting duties. Staking people you went to school with when they didn't have the good sense to stay dead. People you've known for *decades* sometimes. People you took to dances, had dinner with, ones you helped when they got banged up knees or helped with bullying problems." The agent shuddered and took a step backward, almost looking like he wanted to hug himself. "You have no idea what you stepped up to, little boy, so leave. I'm not putting up with this bullshit either. You want me, you come at me." The agent shook his head, backing off further.
"You have a good day, Agent Stephens. Especially with an attack coming up around here soon." He left, going up to the suite again. "Okay, guys, let's go somewhere there's not bitchy agents and we can have breakfast." He looked at the two older heros. "Copy whatever you want, Steve. I'll get 'em in a few weeks. When I've had to finish dealing with this shit." He and the kids left via his amulet, going to a house in Europe then transferring to one in Asia that was safer. Almost nothing happened up there. The single slayer wasn't one that Buffy or anyone had noted him working with. He'd be safe there for weeks. "I brought breakfast."
She nodded. "That room's still free, Xander." She looked at the kids then at him. "I heard you were going evil."
Xander smirked. "I've just barely started thanks to them screwing with me." She shivered but helped him get the kids set up for the next few days. She told Buffy he had popped in and left again when she checked. So that was good and they could have a few quiet weeks. Not that she liked kids but he had some former lovers over this way that could help him and the slayers since they had a battle coming up.
Xander woke up a few days later to find a cooing ex-girlfriend leaning over the kids' shared cot. He blinked at her. "You snuck in to coo at the babies and didn't molest me at all?"
"I was going to molest you but they're adorable!" She grinned at him and winked. "I'll molest you after you change their stinky butts then we can talk about what you need for the battle, sweetie."
"Cool." He got up to change them and put them in the slayer's room. "Getting weapons," he said when she grunted. "Gretchen's here."
"Yay," she said, flipping onto her side. "I had silencing spells put on since my former roomie was louder than most Bangkok houses of kinky shit." She flapped a hand. Xander snickered as he went back to 'talk' to his ex. She glanced at the kids, who were all awake. "I'm not the mother sort, sorry, guys. Go back to sleep?" They eventually did and so did she. Xander would sleep sometime this week she was sure. She could even be a bit mean and interrupt his sexing up to make him change diapers.
Stark was watching the news, shaking his head. "The IRS is into it now. That's totally mean of Harris." He sipped his post-sparring water. "I wonder if this is how high his evil goes." Stark considered that mildly evil, not truly evil, but he wasn't sure how far up the scale Harris would go.
"I'm hoping we still have a SHIELD above us when he's done pushing back," Steve said, watching the trainwreck in the making.
"I'm sure there will be. Not sure in what form but I'm sure something will be there." The Congressional Oversight Office was also into the fray, going over Fury's budget with a fine tooth comb. Someone had found information that Fury was paying one splinter cell to take out another one, but that first one had mysteriously been wiped out by another group. "It's like chess. I'm going to jump you, you're going to jump me, one of us will end up king." He took another drink of water and nearly spit it out when he heard what had happened to that first cell. Harris had happened. It was subtle but it was 'Council related' by what they were reporting from an unnamed source in that district. "Wow, I didn't know he could do that."
"I'm wondering how he did that," Steve said quietly. "He doesn't have military training."
"No, he doesn't." They shared a look but nothing on the official dossier SHIELD had noted anything about that sort of training. They'd have to ask the kid when he showed up next time since he had warned about an upcoming battle in about a week. "Maybe he's going too evil," Stark said, shifting some. Not even Pepper could do evil that well; she'd never turn anyone into the IRS for spite. Now he was starting to worry about SHIELD surviving. They might have to step in to mediate or something.
Xander had brought the kids to Hawaii for a meeting with Gretchen and a few others. The kids were playing on the beach while he got some tanning time in. It was nicely more warm than Asia had been. He saw someone walking down the beach. "Commander. Come to play with the kids?" he greeted with a grin.
"Not really." He stared down at him. "Thankfully that warrant's gone."
"It had better stay gone too."
"I'm sure it will." He looked at the kids then at him. "What're you doing here?"
"I'm meeting Gretchen."
"We arrested her last night." He grinned. "We had a suspicious note left in our confiscation vault and I have the feeling you know something about that, or she would. So when I heard whispers that you're here lounging with the kids, I decided I should politely come ask."
"Not really. You know very well my skills aren't at the breaking and entering levels." Neither one would mention how he knew that, ever.
"No but I'm pretty sure you know where things are." Xander shrugged but grinned. "Where's the battle?"
"New York has a battle coming up. Maybe whoever took them donated."
"You can't ask?" he demanded.
"No. Not with all that shit going on."
"Your governor sent a letter to the Council last year demanding that we never show up unless it's a battle. She didn't want us to vacation here, live here, work here, play here, nothing here." He gave him a pointed look. "So we're not here."
"I should have ICE see how you're doing that," he said dryly. "But they'd probably freak out." He squatted down. "Any extras?"
"SHIELD probably or Stark. I'm having everything I won at poker last night going to Stark," he said quietly.
"I can accept that. If not...."
"It'll probably mystically appear on your back porch?"
"That could work." He glanced at the kids. "She's fast."
Xander looked. "Good job on crawling, Natasha." He got up to chase after her. "You're not supposed to wander until you're older," he said when he caught up to her. She was trying to get something. He looked and pulled out the shells. "You have great taste, dear. They're very pretty." She smiled when he handed them over and carried her back to the blanket he had spread out for them. "Dean, no chewing until we can clean them off." He looked at the guy beside him. "You sure you didn't come to play with the kids?" he asked with a smart grin.
"If I want kid playing time, my new partner has an eight-year-old daughter he gets visitation with."
"That's not as fun of an age as these guys are." Xander grinned then at the SEAL next to him. "They only have a year of being mini but I'm having the really mini slayers being set up somewhere safer."
"That's a great idea. I know if they knew you had tiny kids in the slayer house on the hellmouth people would freak out and scream some more." He stood up. "How do you do that?"
"Someone made me the amulet. It sucks off the Sunnydale hellmouth's remaining energy output, keeping it closed." He smiled. "It works well with my screwed up things since I was born and raised there."
"Huh. I need one of those."
"You'd need at least latent magic."
"No thanks. I'd hate that and the Navy would hate it more." He walked off to tell his team about that note and what was going on so they could all relax. The governor wasn't pleased but when he pointed out that saving a metropolitan city like New York was good for the whole US, she calmed down for a while. He'd never tell her that Xander and the kids had been local for a few hours. Though, for some reason his partner reminded him of Xander at times. Thankfully, Danny was still sane.
Xander looked at the kids. "We ready?" They packed up and Xander took them back to the jeep, sending it to the house in lower Asia. The kids stared at him in awe. Xander smirked. This 'house' was beside some ancient ruins. The slayer here was actually a Buddhist nun, who could kick butt better than most of the girls could. She belonged to a sect that stressed the importance of self-training on all fronts. She looked at the kids, smiling. "We're visiting quietly. Getting out of the way of the BS going on."
"Of course," she agreed in fairly good English, smiling at him. "The local nuns would love to coo over them. I feel magic around them?"
"Spell to deage to sacrifice."
"Ah, I heard that news. Welcome to my temple, children." She got them inside, showing them things. They all stared in awe. Apparently Dean had never seen a Buddhist temple before, or the meditation gardens. Natasha got comfy in a corner of it and napped. Clint was nearby sitting up staring at the koi in the pond. Dean and Sam were playing with the pretty marbles in the sand garden. Xander sighed but she stopped him. "They must learn about nature the same as the rest of us did. They're too young to appreciate the ascetic beauty. You can teach them as they age." She smiled. "Let me get tea and ginger cookies." The boys all grinned. Xander pulled Sam over to change, making her laugh at his wiggling. The other nuns came to meet the children. The boys tried to hide from the cuddling but the ladies were sure it was good for them, and they were usually right.
Xander appeared with the kids in the basket and piles of weapons around him. "Thanks," he said, looking up. He looked at Stark since they were in his living room. "For the battle. Ninety-three launchers and about a thousand small missiles."
Stark got up to come see. "That's a nice system."
"I made sure they all work." He let Natasha crawl off to bother Steve, who grinned and picked her up to cuddle.
"Do I want to know where they came from?" Tony asked.
"Some ex's, some kitten poker." Xander grinned. "The demons that're coming can't be staked."
"Buffy said she heard it was ended."
"No. I checked, it's still going to happen."
Stark shrugged. "JARVIS, call the main slayer house."
"On the line, sir."
"Summers, Stark. We just got weapons dropped off for you for the battle. Where are you staging?"
"Willow said it wouldn't be happening. I guess she talked to Xander's contacts."
"I talked to Xander and as of last night he said it was still on." He looked at Xander, who was shaking his head and letting out a light moan.
"I'm going to go with Willow's view," she said, sounding like she was pissed off. "Besides, we don't use weapons like that."
"Since they have to be blown into bits instead of beheaded or staked, you'll need them," Xander said. "And no, whoever she talked to didn't stop it. The former lover I have up here is watching the ones doing the summoning and she said they're still going."
"You're still in trouble, Mister, and it's looking very bad on us."
"That's all been cleared up, Buffy."
"You're being evil."
Xander snorted. "I'm still less evil than you on a bitchy day, dear. Need midol much?" She hung up with a huff. He rolled his eyes. "I have no idea," he said when Stark looked at him. "Frankly, if Buffy wants to try to stake them, let her. The other girls know better and can handle the weapons."
"Sure. You showing up?"
"I shouldn't. I'm sure someone will try something." He shrugged. "No clue. Depends on how it's going. I'll be watching at the very least." He grabbed Natasha and went back to lower Asia. The slayer smiled. "Buffy?"
"The weapons are with Stark. She just told me that Willow said it's not happening."
"How did she do that?"
"I'm not sure I want to know," he admitted. "Sometimes, blind ignorance is best." She nodded that was true. He took the kids out back to meditate. He really had an anger issue and he didn't want the kids to see that part of him.
She called the house in Cleveland, getting Faith. "What's going on with the battle?" She listened. If Faith didn't know, it was probably a bad thing going on.
Stark got finished putting the weapons into the van for the agents to bring to the battle and locking it down. He came up to find Steve staring at the tv and the bad thing going on. Stark watched. "We going?"
"I think we should," he said quietly. "I'm not sure though. The girls should be able to handle a small group of really large demons." They watched. The small group of really huge demons were heading right for the slayers. They got into their outfits and headed down there at the speed of Stark's jet boots. Faster than flying most of the time. They landed and stomped over to intervene. "Stop it," Steve ordered.
Stark looked around. They were gathering around Willow Rosenburg. Buffy was trying to push her way in there to help Willow. The other slayers were being kept away from the witch. "What's going on here?" he demanded. JARVIS had downloaded all demonic language examples so he translated it into a mostly appropriate version.
"This witch is causing the world harm, again. She must not be allowed to continue before we all die," one of the demons spat back.
"She is not!" Buffy complained, decking that demon. She almost made it to Willow but they shoved her out again like she was a toddler to them. "Leave Willow alone!" she shouted.
"She is evil and doing worse than evil," one said, staring at her. "We will finish this evil before it taints you and all of us. We do not want to die tomorrow."
"You won't be! It's not going to happen! I made sure of it!" Willow shouted, trying to beat them back with spells. "The slayers would die if I didn't. They can't handle that sort of thing."
"That's why Harris got them weapons," Steve said. "Everyone back down. We'll be discussing this to see what she did and did not do."
The demon holding Buffy off looked at him. "She decided a sacrifice to those same powers would stop it, though no one would ever manage to touch those children." Stark gasped. "He's already ended that plan."
"He's going to get them killed!" Willow shouted. "He has to give them up for the good of everyone!"
"Shut the fuck up," Stark said bluntly. Willow flinched. "She goes to SHIELD for a real trial." The demon backed off at that.
"I can have her sent to Devon within hours," Giles said.
"No, she gets a real trial," Steve said firmly. "She can put her actions up to be judged." Giles stared at him. "She deserves it if she tried to sacrifice four children."
"It's her problem with magic," Buffy complained, pushing her hair back.
"Mr. Giles can suggest going back to Devon as a punishment," Steve told her. "She's endangering the world. She goes up for a fair trial." The slayers all nodded. Buffy looked around.
"B, she needs one," Faith said. "Is X okay?" she asked the demons. "And the kiddies?"
"They're fine. He was getting supplies for a slayer and got attacked. The demons doing so did not win. The damage was not as extensive as we had thought he would cause. He rushed home to save that slayer and the boys. The demons there were mostly dead but your Knight got the others and saved them." Buffy stared at him, mouth open. "He is very protective of what's his," he sneered. "He protected you for years."
Faith laid a hand on his arm to stop that argument before she had to watch Buffy get her ass kicked. "Not now. Not with a battle tomorrow." The demon nodded. "They're fine?"
"They're fine. He has moved on and hidden them better for the next few days while he ends this plot." He stared down at her. "Slayer, you will be at the battle?"
"I'm going to be there, just like the others. All of us will be."
The demon bowed to her. "We thank you for saving us all and honor you for it, Slayer." He looked at Buffy then back at the two heros. Most of the slayers were staring at them in awe and lust. "You will be there?"
"Yes, we will be," Steve said. "We've got the weapons Xander found for the slayers."
"Excellent. He said he thinks it will be about ten." They all nodded.
"Did he send you?" Buffy asked.
"No, Slayer, he did not send us," another of the demons said. "Our Great One sent us to take out this evil. We respect the Knight for what he does and has done."
"And it is always amusing watching who he dates," the first agreed with a smile for her.
"Let me call SHIELD in," Stark said, sending that call. They showed up from the local office to arrest Willow. The demons told them what she had done and they promised to investigate and then put her up for a real trial. They took Buffy and Giles back to check her usual areas and gather the rest of her things to look over.
Buffy found Andrew tied up in a closet, helping him out and out of the ropes. "Are you okay, 'Drew?"
"No!" He glared at Willow. "I'll have you eaten for that."
"That would be *evil*," she sneered.
"I may not be Warren but I have plenty of my own levels of evil, Sith Emperor Rosenburg. You're about to see it." He stomped off.
"'Drew, want some ice cream?" Buffy called.
"Later, Buffy. Let me undo what she's done."
"She's going to SHIELD," Steve said as he walked up to them. He stared at the young guy. "Do you need help pressing charges?"
Andrew gaped, slowly shaking his head. "I can handle that witch."
"The law has to work first, son. Let it work then get her if it doesn't." Andrew slumped but took the order with a nod. Steve patted him on the cheek. "Press charges with the agents so they know and can add to them," he said quietly. "Justice has to prevail this time."
"I can do that and take care of her recent hacking." He looked around. "Wow, the girls aren't drooling over you yet."
Steve blushed a bit but smiled. "They're outside talking to Stark." Andrew smiled and went to fix what she had done. "Miss Summers, where are your girls staging tomorrow?"
"No one's told us where it's going to be. We were expecting to have Willow send us there when it started."
Stark walked in. "Let's get you all moved up there tonight to a motel so you're fresh and calm. We know about where they're going to be working from because an area of Manhattan is suspiciously clearing out for no reason." Buffy nodded. "I'll have the weapons in a van for you. A few SHIELD agents are watching over it tonight. Xander and I both made sure they work."
She smiled. "Thank you, Mr. Stark. It's great that we have backup for these things. It's a lonely job."
"I remember when I first came out." She grinned and went to check on her girls. "Guys, need help?" Willow was muttering so Stark casually knocked her out with a pulse blast. "Tasers, they stop witches," he quipped, heading back out. "Cap?"
"Coming. Let us know if you need help," he told the agents. "We don't want anything to endanger the world." He left, letting Stark get them home. They needed to calm down, get ready for the morning's battle, settle in for the night.
"Mr. Giles, her hearing will be after the battle," one of the agents said. "We'll send you time and date information so you can be there to talk to our judges about her." He nodded, escorting them out. The demons had left the city. The slayers were calming down. They got out of the way so no one was helping Willow. When one almost backed into them, another slayer pulled that one out of the way. They nodded their thanks as they got onto the quin jet to take her to the new temporary headquarters building. They left one there to arrange the girls getting to New York and a motel for the night. Buffy Summers was a lot of things but organized was not one of them usually.
Steve and Tony were watching how the battle was flowing from their sections of it. Steve had a group of slayers he was leading against some of the foot soldiers. Stark was firing off at the group behind them that were trying to kill the slayers. This is where they could use a sniper or two. Or maybe a pep talk since the girls almost seemed to be fighting by rote, like they were tired or bored or something. This was not a good sign for them winning. Then Xander showed up with a higher weapon.
"You ladies are better than this, I made damn sure of it," he bellowed. "Let's go, girls!" He led Faith's section into the battle. The other girls fought harder and even Summers was more peppy as she kicked butt and fired off the weapons they had given her.
Xander hit one of the two summoning beings with his weapon then reloaded on the fly as they moved forward to beat back more of the foot soldiers. He got the other one. Giles and the coven broke their summoning devices, which sucked most of the demons back home. The girls set up a cheer. Xander smirked at a few nearest him, accepting hugs, then he disappeared.
Buffy turned around. "Damn it! Where did he go!"
"Probably back to the kids?" Steve guessed. "Wherever he had them stashed safely out of harm's way?"
"I guess." She looked around. "Great work, ladies." They grinned. "Let's go clean up and get ready to head home." The SHIELD agents keeping everyone away from the battle got them to their motel. Not like the slayers were expected to drive. That was almost coded into SHIELD law and was informally a major rule. Especially about Buffy driving.
Stark nodded, floating in midair. "Clean up on aisle six." He flew off. "See you at the tower, Cap."
"Yup." He made sure everything was cleaned up before going back to the tower. He was sore and wanted a shower. He came off the elevator to find Stark in the living room gulping water and still a bit sweaty from the suit. "I can't figure out if fighting demons or aliens is harder." He flopped down and took some water for himself.
"Demons. Aliens died and didn't get back up if you didn't kill them precisely the way they wanted." Xander appeared with the kids, who were all fussing. "Bad timing?" he guessed.
"Some official wanted me to pay a bribe so I wouldn't be arrested for being a single father. Apparently it's against their religion or something so I beat his ass and left. Beyond that, was looking for Doctor Banner. He's not at his clinic." He pulled up Natasha and moved her shirt. "Any idea what that is?"
Steve looked then shrugged. "Poison ivy?"
"Contact dermatitis. She's allergic to one of the laundry detergents," Stark said, sipping his water. "Why wasn't he there?"
"The nurse said she hadn't seen him for two days. No answer at his apartment."
"JARVIS, where is Banner?" he asked.
"He should be arriving in approximately three hours and thirteen minutes if he is on the plane he booked on, sir. I've alerted your driver to pick him up." A beam went over the baby. "That does appear to be a textbook example of contact dermatitis, Mr. Harris."
"Thanks, JARVIS," he said, blinking up at the ceiling. "Benadryl cream? I used some."
"That's a good solution," Tony agreed, taking her to look at it. "It looks okay."
"Good. I was worried she had gotten into something I didn't know about since she's the only crawling one." He sat down and checked. The boys had fallen back to sleep. Though, Clint was butt up so he probably needed changed. "Let me do that. Be right back." He picked him up carefully and the diaper bag. Clint still growled and tried to bite. "Hey, just doing the diaper thing," he said in his ear as he walked him off. "Calm down. I'm sorry I woke you suddenly like that." Clint calmed down and let Xander change him then Steve took him. Clint grunted and stared up at him. Xander made them bottles and warmed them in the microwave on the bar. Steve grinned, handing him the bottle. Clint enjoyed that and slurped it down.
Stark grinned, teasing Natasha with the bottle. "Thirsty, Romanoff?" She patted him on the cheek. "I know, you're going to kill me when you're older." He let her have it and she settled in to drink, wiggling off his lap to sit on her own. "Awww, you're already being independent." She kicked him while drinking. Xander just grinned. "What was with them?" he asked Xander.
"They've never had a lost slayer in a battle I was in," Xander said quietly. "So I'm guessing they were worried? The demons noted that last night."
"Huh," Steve said. "I guess that makes sense. They would try to protect you." Xander nodded. "Do you encourage that?"
"No. Buffy's had a hard core feeling that I'm 'normal' and therefore more fragile. She passed it onto the girls. No matter how hard I've fought it, or fought other things, I'm still 'normal' to them so they think I'm a tiny bit helpless. Any more, I quit arguing about it because it makes me huff off to do something else and them pouty, which I get blamed for by Giles. It's not worth my stress or the younger girls' stress."
"I get that," Steve agreed. "Before the serum I was pretty much a slightly less than average guy." Xander grinned. "I was shorter and had asthma."
"Jesse had a touch of that whenever he got sick. It could be the flu and he'd start wheezing, even if it wasn't affecting his lungs at all. He started to wheeze once from a broken foot, which freaked his mom out majorly."
Steve smiled. "I didn't know you could do that."
"I think it was just him. The doc used him to write an article." He shrugged. "So did Willow's parents."
"I saw theirs on him when I was looking up stuff on Jesse for him," Tony said. "They're a bit weird and cold. Willow's clearly due to them."
"We're not sure if they're alive," Xander said. "They left after trying to burn her at the stake."
Steve blinked. "What?"
Xander grinned and told them about the Hansel and Gretel demon. Steve shook all over and got up to get a beer. Tony got handed one too so it was good. "All the wacky in Sunnydale, guys. It took Willow another three years to turn Amy back from a rat."
Stark shook his head quickly. "Damn."
"Pretty much the whole town," Xander agreed, nodding too. He shifted to look at the kids in the basket then the other two. "Toss 'em here. They sleep together most of the time."
"Doesn't that bother Natasha and Clint?" Steve asked, handing the sleeping baby back.
"Clint either guards her or I let her be on the outer edge. If they're sleeping, Dean likes to be in contact with all of them. Sam likes to be cuddled. Clint gets cuddled a lot because he's between them and Natasha usually." He put her on the outer edge of the kids. Clint shifted to cuddle her, earning a grunt and a kick but he nuzzled and they fell back asleep. Dean shifted, laying on top of Sam to get closer to Clint and Natasha, which made Sam smile in his sleep.
Stark watched, shaking his head. "The other two were hunters?" he asked quietly.
"Yeah, brothers and hunters." He tucked a blanket around the group and looked at his phone as it chirped. "SHIELD wants me to testify against Willow. Huh. Wonder if that's a plot too." He sent back a message and put his phone back up. Bruce got off the elevator. "Hey, Doc."
"I took an earlier flight when I saw the battle on a layover. We all good?"
"We're fine," Steve said. "The girls only had a few bumps."
"Good." He sat down. Xander handed him Natasha once he had her shirt off. He looked at the rash. "Contact dermatitis. She's allergic to one of the all natural laundry detergents. She usually uses Cheer Free."
"I can use that instead. Benadryl cream?" He nodded, handing her back. "Then I'll cover it again in a few hours, when she's awake." He put her shirt back on her, because he had found Sam sucking on her bellybutton the other day, which had horrified her and Clint into a temper tantrum, and put her back into the basket. "We'll have to figure out a better way of carrying you guys around soon. You're getting too big for that basket."
Tony shook his head. "Might want to move Dean."
Xander leaned down and carefully shifted Sam. Who pouted at him because Xander had woken him up. "I'm sorry but Dean's going to fuss if you nurse on him again. He did last time." He pulled him out to change then cuddle for a bit. Sam yawned and fell back asleep, sucking his thumb. Dean fussed. "I have him, Dean. It's not a demon." Tony snickered, shaking his head. Dean calmed down and cuddled up on Clint's back until he put Sam back down. Sam snuggled in with a coo of pleasure, sucking on Dean's ear. Dean fussed but Sam cooed until he quit and drifted off again.
"They're so weird," Steve said, shaking his head. "Some day I wanted kids but I'm pretty sure mine will be kinda normal."
"Normal is relative," Xander said dryly, smiling at him. "If they like RC cars and stuff I'll gladly find the few drawings I have from Jesse plotting his ultimate one for them." Steve smiled and nodded. His phone beeped. He looked and hung up on them. "I'm not talking to Fury." He put his phone back. "Let me take them somewhere else before Fury invades or something." He took the kids with him.
"How does he do that?" Bruce asked.
"The amulet," Steve said. "He always touches it."
"I guess that's magical then." Stark nodded through a yawn. "You guys go rest. I'll make sure we're not invaded." They smiled and went to nap off the battle while Bruce settled in to think about things.
Xander appeared in a slayer house that was pretty well hidden from everyone, including Buffy and Faith. Xander shyly held up the basket in offering. The female smiled at the kids then hugged him. "About time you came here to hide, Xander."
"I didn't think you needed the extra stress, Dawnie. Let me put them down."
"You're in the garden room and they've got a huge cot to sleep on." She pointed. He smirked, going to put the kids down. They'd yell if they needed something. He came back to chat with Dawn. She had been sick and tired. People who had mono took a while to get better. With who and what Dawn was, her house was extremely guarded so no one had to rescue her again. He and the kids would be safe here. Especially from cranky senior slayers who really needed his foot up their butts.
Stark looked around his lab that night. He was getting an itchy brain feeling whenever he thought about Harris. "JARVIS, rerun the battle from earlier. Focus on Harris. Something was wrong." He watched the replay cobbled together from all the news outlets. Steve came in with a plate of dinner. "What's wrong about that picture?" He took the food to eat.
Steve watched, considering it. "Where did he get military training?" Stark quit eating to stare at him. "That's a military formation, an older one but it's still used I guess." He let Stark replay it slower for him. "He's... he's not in his first battle. No fear, not overly cold like he's been in too many." He tipped his head. Xander had just kicked a weapon up and caught it. "He clearly learned some things off movies."
"Nothing in his background points to military training."
They shared a look and Steve shrugged. "Maybe one of his girlfriends was and taught him to help him train in the field?"
"That's not a quick thing and Harris hasn't had a steady thing for years by his files." He pulled up the SHIELD dossier on Harris, which had finally been decoded. Rosenburg had translated it to a demon language then used a numerical cypher to encrypt it. They read it over, Steve shaking his head. "There's nothing."
"You think they missed things?"
JARVIS cleared his virtual throat. "There was a news report that some slayers had to be rescued from a group in Kenya," he offered. "No source given for the rescue or any other overwhelming details but he was there by his service jacket."
Tony finished his dinner in a few gulps. "We need to figure that out. I don't want some freak raising Natasha and Clint," he said at Steve's look. "Do you?"
"I doubt he is. He's a nice young guy."
"Around us. What about around the kids?"
"I've never heard of anything being wrong. The kids seem to like him."
"Barton grew up hard. Romanoff was raised by the state. Those two hunters probably grew up hard too. Who says they're going to be used to 'normal' things?"
"I don't think it's a problem, but if you want to do a better background check on him, go for it. Let me know if you find something." Stark smirked and got to work on that while Steve left him to it. He knew people and Xander wasn't a bad person.
"JARVIS, pull up any news stories or feeds you can on the kid or anything you think he did with a high probability of him doing it." His AI got to work on that command while Tony found his files with other agencies he wasn't supposed to be getting into the files of. Within hours he realized that whichever SHIELD agent had done the files on the Sunnydale team had been very sloppy. They had missed multiple social services calls on Harris' parents. They had missed that Rosenburg pretty well raised herself and the kid. What else did they miss?
Stark walked into SHIELD with a smug look. He found Fury chewing on someone. "Is that the moron who missed nearly everything on the Sunnydale team?" Fury turned to glare at him. "You missed so much it's not funny, Fury." He held up a file. "Even the FBI had more on him."
Fury snatched it to look over. "Rosenburg, how much of this is correct?" he ordered.
She took it to look over and shrugged. "Not a lot of totally inaccurate things. I don't think he did bad boy things on his road trip. He said he worked in the kitchen or something." She kept reading. "Got his parents right." More reading. "He never dated anyone that evil. His most evil was Anya."
Tony Stark laughed and it drew a lot of attention. "You mean like his ex that got arrested in Hawaii who's a jewel thief?" Willow stared at him. "She is. A very good one. She nearly snuck something out of my art collection once." He smirked at her. "They missed stuff in yours too."
"Xander's not dating girls. He gave that up after Anya," she said smugly.
"Half his ex's are still female, Rosenburg."
"He shouldn't, they each get worse and worse. I'll have to stop that by turning them in."
"You might consider that option before doing it," Tony sneered. "Since one was the one that got your friends weapons for that last battle." He looked at Fury again. "Beyond that, *so* missed a ton of shit he's done. That's just doing an online search, Fury. How pathetic was your agent?" He took the file back and walked off. "By the way, Summers' father got moved to Croatia. You might warn her."
"I can email her," Willow said, glaring at his back. "He's a huge, arrogant, poopy head. I thought Ethan Rayne was bad."
Tony looked back at the elevator. "And yet, Xander likes him too. He goes to him for magical help instead of you." He got onto the elevator and went to pick up Steve with a stop at the bank. They really wanted the true story on Harris.
"Hill, redo their background checks," he ordered. "Figure out who missed so damn much shit that it made Stark smug." He walked off. "Rosenburg, I want a list of his ex's."
"Sure. It's better for the world if Xander quits dating." She followed to write out the ones she knew.
Agent Hill sat down at her desk to go over the information she could get online. Thankfully they had a minor line into Stark's mainframe so she could get what he had to verify it first. It would make it easier on her. What she saw.... Well, it amused her on some levels and on others it made her very angry at whoever hadn't noted it before. She looked them up and unfortunately they had already died so she couldn't teach them better. She put a note in Xander's file to recruit him if he ever left the slayers.
Xander woke up to a feeling he knew, it was a sleep spell. He grabbed a weapon and headed to check on the kids. He had no idea how a high level demon had gotten into this house but he wasn't putting up with it. Not in Dawn's room. He moved to the room the kids were in, glancing in. Human looking and giving him that weird 'sucking' feeling so one of the *really* high level ones. He walked in and shoved him away from staring at Dean and Sam. "Who the fuck are you?"
"Who do you think you are," the demon sneered.
Xander stared at him. "A lot healthier than you'll be in a minute."
"Not hardly. I've met a few of them."
"Who are you? You took that which is mine."
Xander stabbed him. "No, I'm just taking care of them after someone tried to sacrifice them."
"You are most interesting. But that won't kill me."
"No, but something else will." He muttered the charm he had been taught by Ethan when he had run into a higher level demon before, one claiming to be an angel. The demon shrieked, which woke up Dawn. "Get the boys. He's after Dean and Sam." She got them out of there first then came back for the other two. Xander smirked. "You're so pathetic."
"You.... How did you know to do that!"
"I took out another one who came for me, demon. Do you think I was going to stand here and cry and sob and beg for the kids' life?" The demon tried to rush him but Xander cut him again.
"I'm in a human body," he sneered. "Hunters don't take out humans."
Xander snorted. "I'm not that sort of hunter and I've taken out more than my fair share of humans rescuing slayers and the like from rebel-led groups and the like. Including some gangs. You being in a human body only makes me shrug." He did shrug then pulled up his gun and shot him. "Really, mother fucker, some of us did do some research. Especially after another came for us." The dead demon laid there. When the demon tried to leave, Dawn was ready with a capturing jar. "Thanks. The boys good?"
"No sign that anyone's touched them except for a really old one on Sam and I've blocked that from being sensed." She stared at him. "Does Buffy know you've done that?"
He snorted, looking at her. "Your sister? Miss 'he's normal'?" He gave her a strange look. "She could be standing there watching me do it and not *know*, Dawn."
"Good point." She leaned against the doorframe. "Now what, Papa Smurf?"
"Now.... He's a higher level of demon, one of the really high. We reward the house against them and I have Ethan do some marks on Sam and Dean to protect them."
"The other two?"
"I'll have him do some for them too. Just in case." She nodded, standing up again. "Go back to bed. I'll do elimination duties and then give that to one of my contacts as a show of respect and to pay my future poker debts." She laughed, handing the capturing jar over. Xander dragged the body out back then came back for the jar. He used his amulet to get to a bar he hardly ever went to. He walked over the body, leaving it there. "Free snack, guys. Just killed him and he was possessed." A few people rushed for the body. The vampires and the flesh eaters could share. He put the jar down in front of a very high level demon with a grin. "For any future poker debts."
He picked up the jar to sniff and stared at Xander. "How...."
"He came for Dean and Sam. I'm guarding them until they're bigger."
"Oh, my." He stared at Xander. "You need to ward Samuel."
"We are." He smiled. "I thought you might like a prezzie."
"I do, Xander. I adore this one very much. He wants to bring hell here."
Xander laughed. "If he wants hell that much, make him school shop with all the slayers." They shared a grin then Xander went to see Ethan. "Hey." Ethan looked up from his brandy snifter. "Bad night?"
"You could say that. I felt an Old One die."
"He came for Sam."
"The demon I just handed him to said he kept trying to bring hell to earth. I offered school shopping with all the slayers for that." He grinned.
Ethan smiled. "That may be a very good thing. Bring me the children, Xander." He disappeared and came back with them. Their carry basket was about to rip. "You can find a stroller."
"I've been looking. I'll have to cobble two together."
"There's a place downtown that has some." He pulled up Sam to check him over. "Summers does good warding work."
"I can add onto that. I do not want to see that outcome by any means." He settled Sam on his altar to work on shielding him in Janus' name. Janus might like the chaos he would cause but not that much. Janus didn't want hell on earth unless it was fun for him. Xander yawned and fell asleep on the couch while he worked, making Ethan smile. "You have a very strong protector but some day someone will need to protect him." The baby grinned at him. Ethan smirked back. "Hopefully you'll remember this as a debt when it's time."
He finished off the protections, letting them sink in. He put him beside his brother, picking him up. "Let's protect you as well, shall we?" He settled him on the altar to do protection marks. He looked up at the shivery feeling wen through the air. "Hmm. The same thing happened when he killed that angelic being that showed up to try him." Dean was staring, eyes wide. Ethan smirked. "He attacked him, that made him a legal target." He did the warding ones on the baby and put him with his brother, who adorably cuddled.
He picked up Natasha to look at her. "You already have a thread of chaos around you, my dear. Let's make sure it can't bite you." He laid her on the altar to do some slightly different marks. She probably wouldn't need the full set he'd do for a demon hunter. "You know, I nearly did all the ones on Xander. I started to do the full set I gave the other boys but one of them kept driving those who like his tight little bum off." The baby blinked at him, studying him. He smiled. "You don't need anything that strong unless you're going to suddenly hunt demons, my dear." He put her down and picked up the last one, sensing all the spells that were still on him. "Stupid bint didn't remove half of them, just rendered them quiet. Someone really must teach her the proper methods sometime soon before she tries to destroy the world again."
Clint stared at him. "Yeah, she did," Xander said quietly. "He had a non-teleporting one on him."
"That's fine, we can fix that as well. That's one she actually ended, but improperly." He sighed. "Let me undo her work and then redo it properly." He did that, shaking his head at a few of them. "It's nice that Marianne protects you. I'll send her a note so she can renew them when you're older in a few months." Clint grinned at him, sucking on his first finger. Ethan smirked back. "Some year I might have a few of you chaos batteries but not yet. I'm nowhere ready for such mushy feelings." And really, he'd have to have someone like Xander have the baby so they'd automatically become a future high priest of Janus.
Xander smiled, going back to his nap. Ethan was a bad guy but he wouldn't hurt the kids. Terrorists winning by sacrificing them wouldn't help him or Janus any.
Tony walked Steve into a demon club. The demons blinked at them. Tony grinned. "Just looking for some information."
"On...." one of the dealers asked casually as he dealt a new hand. "Muffle your bet," he told a player at his table.
"We've recently started to wonder some things about how Xander rescued slayers in Africa," Steve said. "Since he's got our teammates."
One of the demons in the back waved them over. "I know Xander pretty well. We're poker buddies. One of my cousins had that kid originally." They settled in and Tony put cash on the table. "That's a nice wad."
"I don't have any cats." And really, Pepper would kill him if he bet cats. A happy Tony stayed on Pepper's good side or else she made him miserable.
"We take cash at this table." He motioned a few over to help him tell them about Xander. They liked Xander. He was a goofy guy who'd protect them too if something happened.
The next day, Stark and Steve sat down to eat breakfast since they were just now back from the demon bar. It had been eye opening in many ways. Pepper stormed into the cafeteria. "Pepper, calm down," Steve said. "We were looking for information."
"So you went to a demon bar? It was covered, Tony. Some form of reporter saw you there."
Tony ate a bite of egg. "We were looking for information on Harris since his file's so wrong it ignored multiple incidences of combat and taking out bad things." He ate another bite, staring at her. She was clearly not thinking happy thoughts but she didn't swear out loud usually so at least Steve wouldn't have to blush. "They missed his background, they missed him rescuing civilians and slayers. They missed him taking out a Triad gang for having a slayer hostage." She shuddered, sitting down. "We talked to people who didn't ignore him like Summers and Rosenburg."
"I can see why. Do you think he's got combat trauma or PTSD or something?" she asked quietly.
"No. No one's ever said anything like that. Sometimes he sounds exhausted but he's always on the go," Steve said. "There's a few places that think he's mythical. One that thinks he's robotic."
"I had to tell them that I couldn't build another Xander for them," Stark quipped then stuffed his mouth. "By the way, lost about three grand but I won you a kitten," he said, pulling it out of his jacket pocket to hand over. She cooed and petted it. "They sedate bets when they're on the table so she should sleep for another few hours."
"She's adorable." She looked at them. "You might want to make a note about why you were at a demon club. That one reporter that thinks you're the Anti-Christ decided you were making dark deals with them."
"Not hardly. But I can make a pithy quip on my Twitter that I was looking for intel and winning you a kitten." He finished up and took his plate to the drop off area then kissed Pepper on the head before going up to take a shower and do that for her. Then he had some serious searching to do.
"I've known guys from the war that saw less action than Harris," Steve said quietly, glancing around then back at her. "And he mostly did it by himself."
"Everyone said it went back to how Summers considers him 'normal'."
"Oh, yes." He smiled. "Let me go shower and put up my own note that the demons at the club were very nice and explained the odd rules of kitten poker to us." He went to do that. Someone at SHIELD had started a livejournal page for him and when he found out they had taught him how to update it. It meant more human contact in the modern world but without all the clinging, smiling, flirting people that he couldn't handle as well. Pepper went up to her office, letting her assistant find her a vet to check over the kitten. It was sweet of Tony to have kept the kitten he won.
Teeny Tiny Heroes Needing The Xander Solution.