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Lineage of the Damned 10: Playing With Fires

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Lineage of the Damned 10: Playing With Fires







Clint Barton was patient, he was a sniper so of course he had some. Though his patience had paid off. "Target acquired," he said into his communications gear.

"Take the shot when you have it," Director Fury said.

***

Xander had a flash of vision about two targets. He winced. "Damn it," he muttered. He hopped up and grabbed the wand, thankfully he still had on jeans. "We got issues I'm going to solve," he yelled. He disappeared. "Sam, good." He took him with him to solve one. He'd talk to Clint about that later. He tossed Sam the wand and got the sniper going after Jason and Casey. Just enough to wound severely and keep him from running away. The unmuffled shots would mean someone would see what was going on. "There, better." He grinned. He took the wand and Sam with him before they got caught.

Sam looked at him. "Did I need to see that?" Sam asked once they were in the living room. He flopped down. "I have classes in the morning, Xander."

"You also had a sniper about to take you out."

"Great."

"Let me go talk to the idiot higher up." He left, going to see him. "So... you decided to take out the cure for the apocalypse?" he asked.

"They're going to use him."

Xander looked at him then did the exorcism chant, getting the thing out of him. Xander waved at the black cloud. "Fuck with my family again." It fled. Xander looked at Fury. "Taking out Sam only starts it off sooner." He found the packet of visions and pulled out one to show him. "It was filed in order, Fury." He laid them out. He popped off and came back to other agents with guns. "Shut up," he said, waving the wand to freeze them. He put down that one. "This is the one that was going to tip that one off." He let Fury see it, getting a grimace. "Taking out Sam will only speed it." He grinned. "Also, that whole seers are on the hitlist first? You nearly did their work for them."

"Damn it," Fury muttered. Xander nodded, standing up straighter. "Did you hurt him?"

"I'd never hurt family. Even ones I barely know. Though it was a really piss poor bad guy plan to send him to take out his own cousin." He stared at him. "Kinda low even for the people who don't care about collateral targets according to a lot of sources."

"We try very hard not to," Fury said, glaring at him.

"The same sources probably told you about the hunters and Winchester," Xander pointed out.

"Possibly." He relaxed some. "Unfreeze my people, Harris."

Xander snorted. "I'm not that stupid, Fury. If I wanted to be shot, I have a few names on a secret list I can go take out for trafficking kids."

"Got any evidence beyond that?" he asked. "We do like to take those out." Xander left and came back with his files. He took them to look over. "Mostly hearsay but not all of it. Nice gathering job."

"The poker circuit has a lot of interesting people in it." He grinned back at the woman stomping in. "They're just frozen. I'll release them in a few." She pulled her gun. Xander stared at her. "You really don't scare me." He looked at Fury again, who was smirking. "No one in your agency does. Because... well, let's just say that against hell having a rising up, you guys aren't jack." He stared at him. "Can I tell Sam he can go back to class? Because if I have to, I'll make sure he's safe another way."

"Why would you interfere with our mission?" the woman asked.

Xander looked at her. "Because I have a higher calling of saving everyone. Which I can't do if you guys trip into our things." She snorted. Xander shrugged. "I work with the Council's girl out in Sunnydale." She glared. "I'm not Council. They'd like to kill me an awful lot actually." He looked at Fury again. "So?"

"How do we stop that one?" Fury demanded.

"The demon's banished. The hunters know. Only one can give him back a body unless he finds a willing host." That got a single nod. "If so, Sam's aware that he's going to try to come at him through his girlfriend. That they're going to try to build on that to start the other shit so they can have a battle." Someone appeared with a sword. Xander shot him. "Not into angels today." He turned and snapped out the exorcism he knew, making the angel scream and writhe as he had to vacate the body. The body was alive, barely.

"He could use some medical help. Angels have to possess too." Xander looked at Fury again. "I told you because if they go after the potentials, they're going to kill a bunch of kids all around the world." That got a nod. "If they manage the invasion in LA, we're going to need some help. If they start the end-times one, we're going to need some help that has a clue."

"So...." Fury said. "That was warning us we might have huge shit that we'll have to step in and possibly cover up?"

"I don't think you can cover up an invasion by a demon plane," Xander admitted. "I don't think anyone's that good."

Fury smirked. "Maybe."

"Youtube," Xander quipped back. "New camera phone things that are coming out."

"That's a point." He considered it. "Stand down, Hill. If he wanted to kill me he would've."

Xander nodded. "Weeks ago when I was seeing who in the hell we could trust for help." He looked at her. "I'll unfreeze the jumpy ones if you want." She nodded, putting her gun down but not in the holster. Xander unfroze them. One of the agents tried to hit him anyway. Xander exorcized him too. He shrieked and went up in a gout of flame. "Hey, a higher demon. Great." He looked at Fury. "Also, the higher ups have a peculiar blind spot," he told him. He pointed. "They haven't redone any plans. Even though some things were taken out." Fury smirked at him. "Then again, the higher power over the slayers thinks there's only *one* and it's not either one that's active."

"How do you know that?" Hill asked.

Xander grinned. "I asked a few sources who'd know. They have a more direct line."

"Poker?" Fury guessed.

"Went to flatter them at their bar of choice the other night." He grinned. "Sometimes it helps."

"I bet. Do they know about you?"

Xander pointed at the heaving body. "They know *some*. They all think I'm only a cambion. Or so one said earlier when he tried to get Dean to take me out."

"There's other things," Fury said. Xander nodded with a tiny smirk. "You're a wildcard."

"They tried to kill off my bloodline years ago. As you can see it didn't work." He shrugged and grinned. "Probably won't since you guys or whoever never confiscated the stuff the Initiative had in DNA storage. Including some seed I stored in a bank in New York for dinner money once."

Fury groaned. "They did?" Xander nodded. "Crap."

"I have a few I could ask to carry one for me. The wand has to go to someone. It may have a mind of its own but it can't wave itself."

"What is that wand?" Fury asked.

Xander shrugged. "Ancient but otherwise no idea."

"We've seen you with a few," Hill said.

Xander smiled and shook his head. "No you haven't. Same one." She glared. "Really." He pulled it out of his pocket to hold up. It had changed to the sparkly ballgown wand again instead of the witches wand. "It's got MPD I think." He looked at Fury. "Was it your guy trying to take out Jason?"

"No."

"Oh, that's good then." He smiled. "I'll duck if he yells." He put the wand back. "So, anyway, can we stop the shit?"

"Fine. But if Winchester goes dark...."

"He'll be on my side of the battle," Xander said dryly. "Hunting other dark things." He shrugged. "What makes you think Sam wants to go dark? He and Dean both have seen all the visions I've ever had. We made sure of it. They know that the higher beings are going to try to use their brotherly connection to get somewhere." Fury nodded at that. Xander smiled. "We'll handle it. Just handle the bigger shit. Unless you want to give me some people so I can go invade heaven and hell both?"

"Probably can't do that."

"Damn, I was hoping. Then we could short-circuit it." He shrugged. "Let me go home. I was trying to get to sleep when I flashed on Clint trying to take out Sam." He disappeared again.

Hill looked at her boss. "This is insane." He let her see all the visions. She grimaced. "That's bad."

"That's very bad. Call them off Winchester. We need to have a full meeting with them."

"They bounce between New York City and Sunnydale."

"We'll meet them in LA. The others are there." She nodded, going to call that in and call up a jet. Fury gathered things and walked out. This was insane and now that he knew he was going to have someone's nuts for trying this on humanity.

***

John Winchester looked up from his breakfast at Denny's when a tall black man wearing a leather trenchcoat with an eyepatch sat down across from him. "Do I know you?" he asked, sipping his coffee.

"Slightly. I'm Agent Barton's boss."

"Xander sent us all an email. He makes sure everyone knows what he does so they can make their own plans and fix things." He ate another bite of scrambled egg. "Why the meeting?"

"How do we stop this?"

"Stop the bigger things," John said. "The things that the hunters can't."

"I'd rather stop it before even you guys had to get involved."

"Got a time machine?" John asked dryly.

"Unfortunately not."

"Then you can't. The one after Sammy has been doing it for years." He ate another bite.

"What about the current one?" John got up and went to his car, coming back with a journal. He opened it and handed it over. "Meg?"

"His daughter. She can restart it." He got back to eating.

Fury read it and nodded once, handing it back. "We were thinking your younger son was a problem."

"I heard that. I sent Xander some nice red wine in thanks." He stared at him. "Of course if you had managed it, not even Xander would've been able to protect you." Fury nodded at that. "Or from himself." He smirked. "Xander's in his destructive years."

"I heard." Fury shifted to look at him better. "What can we do to help beyond that?"

"Invade them both?"

"Probably not a viable option."

"Pity. It might save some stress."

Clint walked in and sat down. John stared at him. "We thought we could take out the start of the problem."

"If it was that easy, I might've let someone do that," John admitted. "Or put him into a coma. Maybe magical stasis." He finished up his breakfast. "Now what?"

"I don't know," Clint said. A small ball appeared. Clint stared at it. "What are you?"

John picked it up, wincing. "Message ball." He handed it over. "A lot of people have the wrong idea about Xander."

"I saw that," Fury said. Clint put down the ball and it dissolved. Then he looked at him. "Any ideas?"

"A good old fashioned rant at one?"

"Then they'd definitely try harder," John said. "They hate it. They hate the bloodline, they hate what happened way back when...." He stared at him. "I should really ask you that."

"Our next step has to be working on strengthening everything," Clint said. John nodded. "Your boys?"

"Dean's had a few weird things going on recently. He's in town. I can get him here." He paged him. The waitress answered the phone and wrote down something, doing something with the credit card part of the register. She said 'thank you' and hung up then got Clint breakfast. John looked at her oddly. "Am I getting his?"

She grinned. "The nice sounding lady paid for it. She said he needed food." She walked off.

"Thank you," Clint said with a grin. "Can I have some coffee?"

"Of course, dear." She got him some and refilled John's then left. The other guy didn't seem to want to eat. When the other young guy came in she got his breakfast going too and kissed him on the head. "She said you needed both those. You had a bad night."

"Thanks," Dean said with a flirty grin.

"You're welcome, sugar." She sashayed off.

Dean grinned at Clint. "I would've made your remaining few days so miserable it wasn't funny."

"If that was the best way to solve it, I would've let him knock Sammy into a coma," John said. "With the hell that's coming, we wouldn't want that." He looked at his son. "Any idea which one?"

"Had to be Xan." He dug in, nodding. "Good food."

Clint shook his head but went back to eating. "What can we do to help?"

"Castiel tried to get me to deal with Xander. Said he was wrong." Dean stuffed his mouth. "Xander showed up to prove we knew why and he wasn't the thing they thought."

"We had a bunch of that guy's buddy's showing up in my office," Fury told him.

"Figures," Dean agreed. "He tends to draw attention to himself so others can do their things. I know he went to save Jason too."

"I wondered why Jason sent me a text wondering if I could identify a guy trying to shoot him and his partner by picture," Clint said. "Mid-level, mob guy," he said when Fury looked at him. "Not really in great shape since his hip's pierced."

"Jason fussing? Xander said he's hiding from him today," Dean joked.

"Others maybe, but not Jason or Casey." Clint shrugged. "I would've if I was there."

Fury shrugged. "I wouldn't have cared. Jason's a good detective." The waitress was trying to listen in.

Dean looked back at her. He smiled and held up his empty coffee cup. She grinned and came back to refill it. "It's nice that some of you are like the ones in New York that have jobs," he said quietly. Her eyes went wide. "We really like the ones in New York. They do good things."

"How did you know?" she hissed. He patted her hand. "Oh, damn."

John smirked. "We respect and like the ones in New York for them having good jobs."

"Out here we get picked on."

Dean snorted. "Hunters like us, we take out the ones who don't and use their skills indiscriminately."

"You are?" she asked, flinching back.

"We're Winchesters," Dean said with a grin.

"Oh." She blinked at him.

He smirked a tiny bit. "You make great food and we don't care as long as you're peaceful," he said quietly. "We've worked with Huntress a number of times."

She stifled a snicker. "We're not all that hyper."

"Nah, but they're good."

"I know them." Dean sipped his coffee with a grin. "Yeah, it might've been her that paid for breakfast."

"Probably," Clint agreed with a grin.

She looked at him. "You look so much like Hansel."

"Granddad? Kinda." She walked off laughing. Clint finished breakfast and looked at his boss. "Now what?"

"You have jobs waiting."

"I figured I did." He looked at John. "Anything I can do to help?"

"If you're local and Xander's not, watch over Jason and Casey a bit. They get into weird things," Dean said dryly. "They had a woman wearing a Big Bird costume robbing a jewelry store. When they finally caught her, she had them in her nest's eggs. Jason said she had an actual nest in her apartment, made of hay and all that." John shook his head with a slight moan. "Jason complained it wasn't the weirdest ever but damn near."

"I can't even imagine chasing Big Bird," John said, shaking his head quickly.

"Me either," Clint complained. "And I've seen some pretty weird people in my job." Fury snorted but nodded. He looked at John. "Anything we can do?"

"If they manage it, yes," Dean said. "Please jump the fuck in."

Clint nodded. "If at all possible."

Fury nodded. "Definitely." His phone beeped. The other three's phones all went off with Xander's ringtone. "Damn it, they moved it up." They finished up, Dean gulping the last of his coffee on the way out.

"Thank you, ma'am," Clint yelled on his way to the agent SUV. No SUV. He got into the Impala.

Fury was calling in help and the SUV showed up from up the street. This was going to be bad.

***

Xander woke up in a room. Which was wrong on a few levels. He looked around then at the doorway since it was opening. "Hey," he said, nodding at Fury. "Did you have me knocked out?"

"So we could do your stitches," he said. He walked in and put something on the foot of the bed. "The president is not impressed."

"The whole battle I was wondering if me telling others was why they moved it up."

"Not quite. Angels appearing down here was why they moved it up. The angels showed up to start their own problem. They wanted to get there first." Fury looked at him. "No other questions?"

"Is Buffy's mom okay?"

"Not sure. The infection's clearing." He stared at him. "We looked into that based on something Dawn said. Well, she ranted a lot at the rookie agent I had watching over them during the battle. It got added into the charges against the ones that survived." Xander nodded, making himself sit up with a wince. "The president's not amused."

"Yay?" Xander shrugged but winced and touched his left shoulder. "Not my job to make him happy." He looked confused. "It's not, right?"

"No." He stared at him. "You haven't asked about the others."

"I know the others survived, Fury. I saw them before I got knocked out."

"That was Hansel so they could handle the bleeding on your shoulder." He pointed at his left shoulder. "You were fussing over others and not letting anyone do it to you." He pointed at the door. "They're all in my infirmary." Xander grinned a bit. "Now what?"

"They can't do it again hopefully."

"No, we're shutting their people down," Fury said. "All their local people, their other offices, their higher ups and the foreign people helping." Xander smiled. "Beyond that, the others?"

"Castiel still thinks I'm a cambion." Fury snorted. Xander smiled a tiny bit. "Frankly, I'm in a bad enough mood that I'm not putting up with him or his shit this time."

"I haven't been attacked by a single being all day," Fury said dryly.

"Congrats. Thank you for saving Cordelia earlier. She's an ex but I still love the bitch queen."

Fury shrugged. "She needed it." He stared at him. "No other visions?"

"Not yet and please don't prompt them. The purple flowers that get made into the syrup to help afterwards are in really short supply this year."

"There's one that helps?"

"Yes. It's a flower that originates off world. It needs blood and maybe decomp to grow. There's a person trying to grow it in Sunnydale so they sacrifice a victim a few days before they plant the seeds. I'm growing one myself but I fed it my blood so it'll only work for me. The stuff lasts for about a year but way too many visions at a slugged back shot each means I go through a lot."

Fury nodded. "I'll have someone look into that."

"They're really hard to grow. Even for people who like plants and me, who's part maenad nymph."

Fury shuddered. "I don't need to know." Xander grinned. "Anyway, the President said thank you and I'm to give him some warning if I have it. If not, handle it. I told him about the others so warn me of anything too obvious they're trying to do."

Xander nodded. "I can do that. Or I can tell Clint if he doesn't already know."

"Will this keep interfering in his life?"

"Probably not. I don't make decisions for either side."

"Good point. We can make sure people can help him if so." He pointed at the paper then left.

Xander kicked the paper up so he wouldn't have to bend over, smiling at it. That was nice of some political higher up. He looked at his room again, reaching his good hand over to grab his water to sip. He tried to lay back down and winced but he needed to. That shit hurt! He was in a hospital gown so no wand. He concentrated. Still no wand. "Must be with Gretel again," he mumbled. Since laying down hurt he tried to stand up. That he managed. It hurt slightly less. He tried the door. Open. He and his paper of shiny pointlessness wandered out to the main infirmary. He nodded at Natasha as he wandered past her. He heard Hansel swearing in German so went to check on him. "You good?" Hansel glared and swore at him. "Oh, bitch, bitch, bitch," he complained back in German. "You whine like a girl." Hansel glared. "I'm going to check on the others. I'll tell you how Gretel is."

"Tell me how all of them are, Xander, not just her."

"Fine." He left his paper there and wandered out. He could hear someone talking to Clint so he walked into his room. "You good?"

"I was higher up. I only got attacked by a few of them." Clint stared at him. "How are you walking?"

"I'm a stubborn bitch," he said with a slight grin. "And it hurts less than trying to lay down does."

Natasha stared at him. "You're certifiably insane."

"Not really. I have a few issues, but not that many." He smiled sweetly at her. "Let me check on my family and you can go back to fussing over your *partner*." He looked at Clint, who was shaking his head but smiling. "You sure you're good?"

"I'm fine. Buffy's up this hall with us. Hansel's over there." Xander nodded he had seen him. "The others on the LA team are in the other hallway." He pointed. "The Winchesters are in the main area since they're still stitching Dean the last I knew, and if not they're on the other side."

"Gretel?"

"Surgery. She had a claw embedded in her stomach."

"Okay. Thanks." Xander wobbled out, going to check on Buffy. She was still out so he tucked her in better. He left a note on her bedside table that said Fury said her mom was still okay and Dawn was there. Then he went to check on the others. Dean and John were getting stitched. Still. Xander looked at them. "Want a hug?"

"Not exactly the macho reward," Dean snorted but he was grinning.

Xander shrugged and winced. "Best I can do in this gown, dude."

"I'm good. I'll call to tell Sammy we're okay once I get my phone back."

"I'll call Sam since I'm up."

"He'll fuss more until he hears from us," John said. "But go ahead. He'll calm down for at least a few minutes."

Xander nodded, finding the phone on the wall. "Dial 9?" The nurse nodded so he did that. "Sam, me. Dean and John are fine. They're getting stitches. They'll call once they find their phones. We're in SHIELD's ER. Sure. No, I'm okay. Lots of little ouchie spots. As far as I know, and I haven't gotten to everyone, only Gretel had to have surgery for an imbedded claw. Yup. Thanks, man. Let me call Joyce so she doesn't have to worry about Buffy." He hung up and dialed 9 then Joyce's room number. No answer. He called Dawn's cell.

"It's us. We're okay." She sighed and babbled. "Buffy's napping off the stitches and battle, Dawn. I already checked on her. Yup, we're good. Going to do the others now. No, Hansel's still swearing and Gretel's having a claw removed. Yup. See you soon, Sprout. Let me know if you need stuff before then. I know my phone's around here somewhere. Probably with the wand." He hung up and went to check on the others. Faith was muttering while looking at her bandages. He leaned on the foot of her bed. "We all have those."

She looked up. "I saw." She looked him over. You could see the bandages through the hospital gown. "They didn't give you panties?"

"Not like I care and you won't get hot from my ass anyway, Faith," he said with a grin. "You okay?" She nodded. "Buffy's asleep. Hansel's swearing. Clint's getting fussed over. John and Dean are in the main area." He pointed. "All that way. I'm making my way this way."

"I'll live. I think we all will."

"Then that's better than the vision said." She nodded she remembered. "Try to rest. Dawn said Joyce is in treatment downstairs so Dawn's cleaning her room for her. We'll head back to the house as soon as we can."

"Okay. I can do that." She slid down and he tucked her in, getting a funny look for it. "You're weird."

"Yeah, but can you blame me? I was born and raised in Sunnydale." She smirked but he walked off to check on the others. Doyle had a head injury by the bandage. Angel was grunting and in game face. Cordelia was pale. Xander checked on her and then went to the other two. Gunn and Wes were in the room across the hall. "Want me to ask them for some plasma or something?" he asked quietly.

Angel shook his head. "I've had some, Harris. Thanks."

"Welcome." He looked over at Gunn and Wes, who waved him to stay over there with the hand that wasn't holding his head. "You guys good?" Gunn nodded. "Need stuff?"

"Need to tell people we're okay."

"Dial 9." Gunn came out to use the phone in the hallway. Xander looked at Angel. "At least it didn't catch us totally cold."

"No, we had *some* warning," he said, smirking a tiny bit.

"I asked. Fury said someone spilled that they moved it up thanks to the planned angelic invasion that would've overridden theirs."

"Great. Just what we need." Angel shook his head. "We'll handle it as it comes."

"I think the rest are in the midwest."

"That's good. LA has plenty of apocalypses coming up." Xander nodded and went to check on the others who had been there. He finally found the recovery room, where Gretel was swearing more than Hansel.

She glared at Xander. "Go the fuck away."

"Sure, I won't wheel you to where your brother is swearing too." He stared at her.

"Is he good?"

"Injured, just like the rest of us. Swearing at them. At you. At me. At demons. At witches who helped the demons. At the army for not showing up for an hour." She snorted but looked pleased. "Want to walk or ride?"

"Walk. Get these lines off me."

Xander removed all but the IV and helped her up there, letting her flop down on Hansel's bed since he was in the bathroom. Natasha grabbed Xander and took him back to his own bed, dropping him into it. He was exhausted anyway and the sub-dermal needle she had with sedative made sure he took a nap. She handed Clint her phone so he could text the others in the family group. They heard Hansel fuss at Gretel and her tell him to stop being a mother and sleep. She surely needed some and he looked worse. They smirked a tiny bit. They knew that sort of relationship.

***

Dawn jumped when the hospital door opened, blinking at the woman there. "I don't know you. Don't make me taze you or something."

"I'm Agent Hill. I'm with SHIELD."

"That's great. Xander already called and told me Buffy was okay."

"You know you can't talk about what happened right?"

Dawn snorted. "Lady, my sister's a slayer. Do you know how much shit I see that no one would believe? Though...." She turned on the tv and changed the station. It was on the news. "That's CNN and I'm pretty sure if they have, everyone else has it too. Including FOX News, home of paranoid people who will make militant yahoos even more paranoid." She stared at her. "Beyond that? I'm trying to hide that from my mother. She doesn't need this sort of stress so if you told her I'm going to rip your head off."

"I have not talked to your mother yet," she said.

"Try at all. My mother's going through a radiation treatment today. You're not talking to her *at all*, Agent Hill. Ever. She does not need this stress and if I have to remove said stress, so be it. Unlike my sister, I'm not prevented from harming a people." She gave her a look. Then she smiled. "But I heard Buffy's fine and I told the nurse down there to tell Mommy that she's fine. I had the nurse tell her Buffy had been mugged."

"Do you really think that'll fly for very long?"

"Do you think my mom's not too tired to hear anything else? She needs way less stress. A battle, even though this isn't Buffy's first, is too much. She'll take the easy excuse because she can't bring up the energy to know. Yet."

"Fine." She nodded. "I'll let that be known and I'll make sure your sister gets to you tomorrow."

"That's fine." She smiled. "Mom gets to go home in two days."

"Congratulations. We also have all the hunters that were there."

"That's fine. I can pick up my stuff from Xander's house. I have a key."

"Okay." She left. That young girl was tough. She'd make a note to look at her for future agent recruitment.

Dawn shook her head and looked up. "Mom doesn't need this either," she told the ceiling. "Really." She got back to remaking the bed so the nurses didn't have to.

One nurse leaned in. "Dawn, dear, when can you go home?" Dawn pointed at the tv. That nice young man that showed up to visit was on it. So was that perky young woman. So was Buffy. "Oh, dear."

"Mom gets to go home in two days so I'll go with her." She smiled. "I had someone tell Mom Buffy had been mugged." She gave her a pointed look.

"She won't ask us but her tv can mysteriously go down." She unscrewed the cable from it and left to make that note in the chart. The hospital's social worker understood why Dawn was hovering. She had seen the tv coverage and knew that relatives hovered, especially when things were bad. Dawn was even nice enough to fuss over some others that didn't have anyone to fuss over them.

***

Xander mumbled and stared at his hand. Still no wand. He concentrated harder. His phone. That was nice. He tried something wacky, using Willow's old summoning spell for when she couldn't find her phone or keys. That worked. He curled up around his wand again, smiling and petting it. "Good wand. You were a lot of help earlier." It got warm but stayed there to cuddle with him. That was nice of it. It was even attempting a healing spell. It wasn't helping much but it was trying. Which was the important thing.

Fury walked in an hour later with a sigh. "Some of our science geeks said you somehow stole something from protective storage, kid."

Xander looked at him. "Why are your geeks wondering about our family heirloom? As far as I know only family can use it and I'm pretty sure I found all the relatives we have inside SHIELD." He grinned slightly. "You can tell them thank you for not damaging her but she's a family heirloom. And if they get cranky, so am I. They can be bunnies." He yawned and let himself drift off again.

Fury rolled his eyes, walking off. He ran into John Winchester up to use the bathroom. "How do you put up with smartasses like that kid?"

John looked at him. "Xander's slightly weirder than Dean is but he's one too. The whole family is full of sarcastic smartasses, Fury. Isn't Clint?"

"I don't want to remember his last one." He walked off. "He has that wand thing again."

"Great." He went to the bathroom then went to check on Buffy, who was pouting. "Dial 9 on the phone to call your sister." She frowned at him. "There's one in the hall, Summers." She hopped up to call and check on Dawn and her mother. John checked on everyone else. It was his turn since Xander was in bed. He had to shake his head at Buffy's 'no, Mom, she was right, I was mugged but I'm okay, just bruised'. Those kids made up bad excuses. Dean would have to teach them better. He leaned into Hansel's room, finding him awake and Gretel conked out again. The nurses had nicely given her a bed in there. "You guys good? I'm checking since Xander's in bed."

"We're good," he admitted. Gretel hit him. "She's cranky."

"Figures. Xander just got the wand back." Hansel smirked. "Fury called him a smartass."

"Yes he is."

Gretel blinked at John. "I'm surprised he hasn't hidden yet."

"I think he would if he didn't feel he had to protect the rest of us," John admitted. "Let me check on the LA team." He walked over that way. He had on a hospital gown but had gotten his boxer shorts back when he had asked. He had worn worse and he was sure the nurses had seen more than his ugly body. He leaned into Angel's room. "Need help, guys?"

Angel shook his head. "I can hold on."

John stared at him then back at one of the nurses. "The vampire needs more blood, nurse. He's starting to feen due to the injuries. It'll send him into blood lust and we don't want to have to stake him. We don't need more shit with his bosses." He looked at Gunn and Wes, who shrugged. "Okay. Cordelia, are you all right?"

She opened an eye. "You don't look like the big dork."

"He's finally resting so it's my turn. That way he doesn't have to get up again."

She smiled slightly. "We're good. Doyle's got a huge headache but they gave him stuff that might work."

"Vision?"

"Claw to the temple and then batted into a building."

"He'll probably heal from the concussion and maybe it'll close down the vision gift." Doyle snorted but started to quietly pray to the Powers That Be for that benefit to a concussion. John stopped in on Clint last, getting a nod from him. "You good?" Clint nodded. "You sure?"

"Got bitched out for being at an invasion by a demon plane." He shrugged a tiny bit and winced. "I had the easiest spot of all you guys. You guys all okay?"

"We're fine. Bit more banged up than usual but we're fine."

"That's good. Xander run away yet?"

"He's napping. That's why I'm doing his rounds for him."

"He could use it. I realize battles happen but you guys are slightly insane. You went in with shotguns." John nodded. "He went in with his battle axe and a backup sword, plus a crossbow. That's nuts."

"Welcome to the hunting lifestyle," John said dryly. "You do what you gotta do sometimes." He went back to his own room. Dean was in there with him. Only Buffy, Faith, and Xander had their own rooms. Which probably meant they were scanning Xander extra hard thanks to the stuff that had been woken up in him. People like Fury did things like that.

Clint looked up. "I don't believe in any higher powers at this point in time, but thanks for letting everyone survive and especially Xander and the slayers." He waved a bit and slid back down. He got out tomorrow if he was a good boy and rested like the nurses said to.

***

Xander woke up in the middle of the night, looking at the nurse staring at him. "What are you doing?"

"Taking blood, Mr. Harris."

Xander stared at her. "Why would you need some?"

"To make sure you're okay."

"I've only got stitches. Why would that require bloodwork?" She blinked a few times. Xander shook his head. "You have a great night." He got up and went to check on everyone, finding Clint barely awake. "I'm going to bum my couch," he said quietly. "Don't let them start doing human experiments on anyone, okay?" He disappeared. He wobbled when he landed in Jason's apartment. He looked at the wand. "I wanted my apartment," he muttered. It warmed and wiggled so he sighed and laid down. He guessed the wand wanted him watched over. It snuggled in and was happy that he had given in so easily. It even nicely brought his favorite blanket from home for him and his pillow. Plus his battleaxe, phone, and wallet.

***

Jason came out the next morning, blinking at the lump that hadn't been on his couch when he had went to sleep the night before. "Huh," he said, making Xander flinch and reach for a weapon. "Calm it down, Xander." He leaned down to get closer to him. "Shouldn't you be in a hospital bed?" Xander mumbled something and went back to sleep. Jason smirked and petted his hair then went to get coffee. He could let Xander nap on his couch. No one was going to bother him over the assassin that had nearly shot Casey. Jason got to work thirty minutes later, walking up to his desk.

"Was that your insane cousin on the news?" one of the guys asked.

Jason looked at him. "Be more specific. Which one?"

"The dark haired one that shows up when you need help," he said bluntly.

"Yup." He sat down and started his computer. "A few others were there too."

"He good?"

"Stitches."

"How do you learn to do that?"

Jason shrugged. "I didn't so no clue." He looked over. "You can ask him the next time you see him if you want."

"No. I don't think I need to know how to use a sword." Jason smirked at him. "He had a battleaxe!"

"Yeah, he babies that axe. It's his favorite thing in the world. He clean it, it sleeps beside his bed, he sharpens it when he can't sleep or there's been a bad date." They all sighed. They knew cops that did that to their guns. Casey came in with her morning coffee. "Morning, Shraeger."

"Morning, Walsh. How's Xander?"

"Stitches. He snuck in to nap on the couch last night. I woke up to him huddled under a blanket."

She smiled. "He's a sweet kid."

"He is. He's a goofy, sweet guy. I wish like hell he'd date someone nice."

She blushed. "I heard you talking to Anya."

"Yeah, I had to get that away from my ear so I put it on speaker. She's blunt that way."

She shook her head. "Some girls are all about that instead of more meaningful stuff."

"Don't know. I don't date girls like that. I leave that for the young and desperate or the odd ones like Xander."

She smiled. "He's a good boy."

"Most of the time," he agreed.

"At least he's not dating when he's here in New York."

"True. That is very nice of him. Especially since someone set him up on a blind date and she ended up being an assassin." She shivered. "I'm about to start a fund to buy him a foreign wife."

"I'll help you pick her out," she quipped back. "That way she's pretty, can cook, and can put up with all the stamina Anya made him grow." The other guys laughed. "When she called, Anya was pouting that their last one *only* went three hours before Hansel broke them up for good that night."

One of the guys shook his head. "I've never had that kind of stamina."

"Me either," Jason admitted. They smirked at him. "Anya went for six one day, and she's *loud*." They smirked.

"Like you could hear them up the block according to what Hansel complained about," Casey quipped.

"We have no idea how since Anya's not like most other women." Jason got to work on some backed up paperwork. He was just waiting on something new to come in.

The other guys looked at each other. "We'll contribute to the fund to get him a foreign bride," one said. Jason smiled at him for that.

Jason sent Anya a text message. She had made sure he had her number in case Xander got into trouble in New York. She was probably worried at least a little bit about Xander. She sent back a rambling six text long message about him. Surprisingly there was only one sentence about sex. Jason tossed his phone at his partner so she could read it.

"Aww, she thinks she loves him." The other guys came over to read them over her shoulder.

"My mother would've killed me after having a priest do an exorcism if I dated a girl like that." They went back to their desks. Casey tossed the phone back and got down to her own work.

***

Clint had barely flopped down on his bed when someone knocked on the door. "If I know you and I like you and you know how to pick locks, do that. If not, I'm not getting up or you're not invited if I don't like you a whole lot." Natasha picked the lock and walked in with Coulson. "Hey. I'm free."

"Good," she said, checking him over. She got an extra pillow for his leg. He grinned at that niceness. "Xander escaped."

"I saw him last night. The nurses were trying to pull extra blood."

Coulson nodded. "They're very confused by his bloodwork, especially his DNA." He sat down. "Are you all right?"

"I survived a demon invasion of Los Angeles with only sixty stitches and a few bruises. I'm pretty damn good and proud of myself."

"Good," he agreed. "I know the others are being airlifted home tomorrow."

"That's nice of Fury. He pumping someone for hunting information?" Coulson nodded. "Good luck. Most hunters are paranoid." He shifted with a wince then was comfortable. "So, dinner?" he asked hopefully.

"I can order," Natasha offered. Clint smiled and nodded. She rolled her eyes but did order it on his credit card.

***

Xander wandered into the house that night, nodding at the guy standing in the kitchen. "Make dinner since you're in there or else I'm going to have to order something nasty." He went to shower.

Castiel stared at his back. "What makes you think I would do anything for you, Cambion?"

Xander smirked. "Because I'm not." Castiel frowned. "Fuck it, had enough. My threshold for dumbasses is very tiny today." He used the wand to hit Castiel with a spell and carried his frozen, struggling body out to the room he and Hansel had put up on the back of the house. He knew the spell wouldn't last that long so he'd deal with it. He dropped him onto the cot in there, hit the automatic burner for the oil circle around the room and small shower/sink/toilet area. It was like a deluxe jail cell but pretty nice. He had windows. He could look out the door. He had a comfy enough bed with nice pillows and sheets thanks to Dawn. Xander was outside the ring when the spell finally got fought off. "Sit and think, Castiel. Really."

"This will not hold me."

Xander smirked. "You might be surprised." He went to his own bathroom to clean up and then lay down. His bed was nicely soft and comfy. He sighed and fell asleep. That was good.

When Hansel and Gretel came in, Hansel could hear swearing in another language so went to look. "I wondered why he needed that room." The angel glared at him. "We're a bit cranky and tired after an invasion of LA. You can be quiet for a few hours or I can knock you out." He walked off. "Gretel, let me change the bandages on your back. You can do mine."

"I'm looking at Xander's." She walked out rolling her eyes. "He mumbled he's fine and he changed most of them after his shower."

"He usually does." They changed their bandages and went to their own beds. They were exhausted. This was Gretel's first apocalypse battle and Hansel's third ever.

Out in that little shed room Castiel was fuming and praying for help. He wasn't getting any but he was trying very hard to let others know he needed help. He paused and looked around because an odd thought hit him. "How does a mortal, or even a cambion, know Enochian?" he asked the air. He got up to look around the room. Holy oil in a complete circle around the room on gas burners. "There's not that much.... he made some," he realized. "How? That's lost and forbidden knowledge." He kept going. The whole room had very faint marks on the paint. He paused to stare at one. That was Enochian too, the native angel language.

Something was not right here. No one should know that who wasn't an angel. He kept going, finding a few other runes. The ones in the bathroom area made him pause and stare. That wasn't Enochian. That was Stone Angel. Who would've known the other angelic language? Castiel blinked. "We eliminated all of them and all rumors of them," he said quietly. "This is not right." He heard a perky voice and looked out the doorway toward the back door.

Anya leaned out. "Do you need anything? Not that I care but I'm here to get orgasms from my boyfriend for a bit and it's humane to ask. Hansel likes it when I act more human and less like my former self."

"Anyanka?" he asked, looking slightly confused. She smiled and nodded. "We heard you had been demoted."

"Depowered actually. My dumbass boyfriend and the slayer he works with broke my power center." She shrugged. "I want to get my old job back but I'm enjoying all the orgasms while I'm here."

"He's... you don't worry he'll feed off you?"

She laughed. "He can't do that. He gets no nutrition from sex, Castiel." She smiled. "You have no idea what you stumbled into and you activated Xander's stubborn gene."

"I'm starting to realize that. Who is he?"

"Can't your kind read people? I know I used to be able to."

"I cannot. He's not my charge."

"Ah." She nodded. Then she grinned. "Well, I'm sure the year that oil will last is a great thing. Though I'm not sure how he'll refill it or if he'll refill it. That might depend on you." He stared at her. She stared back. Then she smiled. "Ever hear about an ancient power orgy during a treaty conference?"

"Yes. Then we wiped everyone out."

"Not before they had kids."

"Yes we did."

"No, you didn't." She smirked a tiny bit. "You really didn't." He gaped. "Then they bred once. Or twice. Hansel apparently procreated back into the lineage."

Castiel swallowed. "He can't be."

Xander came to the door. "I'm trying to sleep off the pain from the battle." He was down to his boxer shorts so you could see all the bandages. He looked at Anya, who was pouting. "What?" he whined.

"You're too sore for orgasms?"

"Anya, I'm too sore to masturbate. Yes, I'm too sore to even lick you. I'm sorry but laying down hurts. It'll probably hurt for the next two or three days." She pouted. "Sorry! Let Joyce come home, us have a celebration of her being home, and then ask. Okay?" She nodded with a huff but gave him a hug and a kiss then left when her attempted grope didn't even make his cock twitch. Xander looked at the captive angel. "Nice job pumping her for information, dude." He went back to bed.

Castiel sat down on the floor, looking around his cell. It was a nice cell at least. He got up to pull the door closed. It had a rope for that. He sat back down, sending up a prayer to anyone who might have any idea what they had sent him into. Because what she said wasn't possible, right?

***

Xander came out the next morning and started to work on breakfast. Castiel was still sitting on the floor only now he was staring out a window. "Do I need to make you food? I'm not sure of your dietary needs." He stared at him.

"I do not eat food, no."

"Okay." He walked off, going back to making breakfast. Gretel stomped down the stairs. "Sit. Coffee's nearly ready. So are eggs and toast." She glared at him, trying to loom. He stared at her. "If you're that bitchy, go back to bed. Your breakfast can wait."

"Who were you talking to?"

"The angel that we captured before he killed everyone in the family for existing. That way I'm not in their way of their apocalypse attempt." She blinked a few times. "He's a guardian angel." He shrugged and poured some coffee, holding it up. "Milk was bad."

She added sugar and sipped, grimacing. "Made it too strong."

"It was a short night. We all had nightmares and I'm hoping we don't have a thing to do today outside going to make sure Joyce's house is set back up so she can come home tomorrow with the girls."

"That shouldn't be too hard. Minor dusting, groceries," Hansel said as he came in. "You still have him out there?"

"Yeah. The gas burner's not real high but it's working."

"Good." He accepted his coffee and looked in the fridge. "Milk?"

"Was chunky."

"Fine." He accepted his plate and sat down. Xander handed Gretel one then brought his own over to the table. "You had plans for today?"

"Joyce is coming home tomorrow. I figured I'd go dust and make sure she had some necessary supplies on hand." He ate a bite of toast then some eggs.

Hansel nodded. "That's not a bad idea. I know you ran over some pantry staples before the battle." Xander nodded. "Dusting, vacuuming, and making sure things are good shouldn't take more than an hour." Xander smiled. "Plus getting Dawn's stuff back over there."

"I was going to let her come pack whenever her mom needed a break from the fussing." He looked at him. "She's got to come for self defense lessons anyway."

"Good point. Though not this week." Xander shook his head too. "We'll work that out when they get back." He dug in, getting them all more coffee when he got up to make more toast. Then he sat down and dug into that. Xander handed him the peanut butter from the cabinet behind him, getting a nod of thanks. "Did you feed your new friend?"

"I asked. He said he doesn't eat."

"Hmm. Interesting. I did not know that." He looked at Gretel. "You can go back to bed or to the Magic Box to get herbs for a healing poultice."

"We need to teach her how to drive while we're doing Dawn's lessons," Xander said.

"True. She'll need it." They finished up and Xander did the dishes while he was still perky. Then they trudged over to Joyce's to clean her place really good and get some light stuff done. Gretel got groceries while she was out for healing herbs. Xander nicely used half the groceries to make stuff and put it into the freezer. Gretel smiled at him for that. Hansel had made sure the rest of the house was in good shape and safe for them to come home. They left and turned back on the security system then went home. They were walking this time. They all wanted to drive but Hansel couldn't find the keys and Xander was too tired to hotwire it for him since he couldn't bend over far enough.

One of the few officers in town paused and got out to look at them. "Harris, why are you in Summers' old house?" he demanded.

"Joyce is coming home tomorrow from the hospital."

"She was?"

"Yeah. They found a tumor," Xander said. He stared at him. "That's why I had temporary custody of Dawn."

"She wasn't at the local one," the officer sneered.

"No, we made sure she went to a *good* hospital, not one that has a high patient death rate," Xander said dryly, staring at him. "She's been in Sinai in LA." The officer slumped. "Buffy's been there most of the time with her." He smiled. "Now things are set up nicely for her to come home. Including the security system that's run by a national company so they don't have to worry about people breaking in."

The officer grimaced but got into his car to put that information around. They hated that whole gang.

Xander grinned and waved at his car then used the wand to blow up the trunk. It didn't hurt the officer, who didn't see it happen, but the car looked like an exploding cigar. Xander grinned at Hansel then at Gretel. "Anyone else want ice cream?"

"No," Hansel said. "I do not. You know I loathe your sweet tooth, Xander. I hate sweets."

"Fine, I want ice cream. Aunt Gretel?"

"No thank you, Xander. Why would I? It's not that hot."

"It's a good source of calcium, which means stronger bones," he quipped with a grin.

"I had not thought of that," Hansel admitted. "Get me some cheese." Xander nodded, looking at Gretel. Who shrugged and went with him since she had his wallet anyway. Hansel went home to check on their hostage. He was apparently meditating and had unbent enough to take off his overcoat. "Do you need anything?" he asked quietly. The angel shook his head. "Okay. Let us know." He went back inside to put up the dishes that had been in the strainer all day and figure out what dinner was going to be if they didn't pick up a frozen pizza or something. It turned out they had picked up a frozen lasagna so that was nice. Very filling and garlic bread to go with it only needed the oven too. Perfect for three sore warriors when only one of them could comfortably bend over. Hansel took Gretel out to teach her about the insides of a car. She needed to learn a few things before they started lessons. Xander called a poker buddy in LA to liquidate a few more things from their stash so they had more than enough money at hand in case they had to do something rash, like pay a bribe.

***

Xander opened Joyce's door when he heard the car. "Hey, Dean. Thanks for picking the ladies up."

"I was in the neighborhood. Sammy's nearly done with this trimester, which is really weird to the rest of the world, and is coming down again if you guys don't mind."

"Why would I mind Sam?" Xander shrugged. "We like Sam. He can help Dawn work on her self defense next week." He got out of the way. "Joyce, there's a nice nest on your couch." He helped her to it and let Dawn tuck her in. Xander looked down at her. "We got you some minor groceries yesterday, and some stuff I made last night that's frozen so you don't have to cook today. Including one of each meal in a Buffy sized container." Buffy swatted him but was smiling. "We dusted and vacuumed yesterday. The only thing you need to order the girls to do is the laundry. Because none of us was going to touch any dirty panties they may have."

Joyce pulled him down for a hug. "Thank you, Xander. You're a good boy." She looked at him. "Were you mugged too?" she asked with a grin.

"Yup, sure was." He kissed her on the head. "Dawn, self defense in three days. Let us get unsore." He patted her on the back. "You can get your stuff then if you want. Or earlier if your mom wants some fuss-free time."

"I can do that," she said, sounding perky.

"Cool. Joyce." He put the phone next to her. "Call. We only live a few blocks away. We'll be here at least another week or so." He looked at Dean. "Dinner? You're ordering or cooking."

"I can order." He followed Xander out after Dawn gave him a hug and Buffy paid him gas money. He smirked at Xander. "Want a ride?"

"Sure. I love the Impala." He got in and carefully closed the door then looked around. Dean drove them off. "By the way, that angel guy? He's kinda stuck in the back room."

That almost made him pause, but this was Xander and Xander did weird things. "What if someone finds out, Xander?"

"Why would they care? This is Sunnydale. I can walk into the police station to announce I've got him hostage and they won't care unless they want to have some blackmail on me."

Dean shook his head. "This town would never work in the real world." Xander grinned. "Fine." He parked in the driveway and got out, heading inside. He went out back when Xander pointed, staring at the angel. "Did you have to make Xander come up with wacky plans?"

"Apparently." He stared at him. "Why do you hang about with him?"

"Because they're hunters and we get along well. It's a good place to rest. Since we were in our first apocalypse battle three days ago, we all need some rest."

"I saw that battle. You did good, Dean."

"Xander and the others did too," he said. "They have more experience with them. They apparently have them every spring in this town."

Castiel blinked then nodded. "Interesting." He stood up, looking at him. "There's still a higher purpose to any life."

"Yup, mine's a hot chick." He grinned. "Because I saw Xander's visions about you guys' plans and they suck ass." He went back inside. The angel let out a tired sounding huff but oh well. He had come after Xander and Xander could handle stuff. "He doesn't get food and water?"

"He hasn't wanted food. We offered," Xander said with a shrug. "He's got water out there and a mini fridge with water bottles in it." He looked at him. "We'd make him a plate with each meal if he wanted, Dean. I'm not being mean to him. He just can't leave to tell others anything he's found out about me."

"I get that. Especially with the way Bobby found out they went after the old line."

"Castiel said that they took out our whole bloodline," Hansel said from the table. "I had to point out they were clearly wrong." He looked over. "What's for dinner?"

"Whatever someone wants to order," Xander quipped. "I'm not cooking tonight." He went to lay down for a bit. That might help his back. Because he hoped he wasn't having PMS. Being a girl sometimes, but no PMS.

Hansel shook his head. "Sometimes I wonder and then I realize I don't really want to know," he muttered into the newspaper. Dean tried not to laugh but he had to.

Gretel walked to Xander's door. "Get your lazy ass up."

"I just laid down, woman! Shut the fuck up!" She glared at him. He glared back. "Apparently your PMS has struck me since I'm having your cramps. Go fuck something so you feel better." He flipped over and tried to go back to sleep.

Hansel shook his head. "I was right, I didn't want to know," he muttered. Dean had to walk outside to get his bag to keep from laughing too loudly. "Gretel, leave him be."

"Fine." She came over to take half the paper from him. "Are we patrolling tonight?"

"You must have hidden stores of energy I do not," Hansel said, staring at her. "Buffy is back. She can patrol tonight with Faith and Giles."

"Sure. Means I can go soak."

"You're not supposed to soak stitches," he said.

"Mine're fine." She made sure Dean had sheets then went to her tub.

Dean came down. "Pizza?"

"Chinese is nice," Hansel said. "How's your pain levels?"

"I'm still at the muscle rub stage with the few stitches on top of it. Dad's fallen down with full-on leg and back spasms at the bar." He looked in the fridge, getting a soda. Dean called the Chinese place. He'd never let them deliver after dark, too many risks for anyone. Dawn came bounding in and went up to her room. "I think Gretel took it over."

"Of course she did. She wanted my bathroom," Dawn agreed. "Gretel, I'm packing my stuff."

"I put it in the other spare room, Dawn," she called.

"Okay." She went to pack and check, coming back for the stuff Gretel didn't pack. "You forgot my underwear and jammies, Gretel." She packed those and bounded out. "Two days, Hansel?"

"Sure," he called after her. "Then a driving lesson." She squealed and ran back to hug him then ran off again with her bag. He smiled but shook his head. "She's clearly very happy today."

"Her mom's still weak but they hope she'll regain some strength before the next round in a month." Hansel grimaced but nodded. Xander yelped. "Are you sleeping with your axe again?" Dean demanded. He got up to dig into Xander's wallet to pay for dinner since he was pulling in. Hansel went to check on Xander and kill the little biting thing that had just gotten him. Looks like they needed to work on the wards tonight. At least that was an easy job.

***

Clint found his target and walked past him, grabbing him off the street. "Come with me," he said in Arabic. The guy was still struggling. "Xander has an emergency and sent for you." He slung him into the van and got in, nodding at Coulson once the door was closed. This marketplace in Europe wouldn't really care about a kidnaping. He took off is glasses and hat, staring at his other twin. "Hi. I'm Clint."

"Do I know you?" Brian asked.

"You should."

Brian grimaced. "This is part of that funny thought thing, right?" He was almost seeing flashes of things that the techs had told him were only nightmares due to the surgery.

"Probably," Coulson agreed. "We can break their brainwashing, Officer Gamble."

"Umm... Aaron Cross."

"Okay," Clint said, staring at him. "I look a bit more like Jason than you."

"That's weird."

"Very but we have been found by Xander."

"I don't remember a Xander."

"We can fix that." Clint relaxed. They had techs waiting on them to work on the brainwashing issue. The safehouse was secure because Fury was in residence while they worked. Clint found out what Gamble had been going to do and went to do it for him once they had switched clothes.

***

Fury sat down on a chair next to the bed the twin of his agent was laying in. "Better yet?" he asked.

"Slightly. Though I think I have MPD now."

"Maybe," Fury said. "I don't know how to handle that but I can put you in touch with someone who went through a lot of deprogramming once if you want."

"Maybe." He rubbed his head, then looked at the guy again. "Who're you?"

"Director Nick Fury of SHIELD. Your twin Clint works for me."

"I hadn't met him."

"Harris only found him recently."

"That's good. I guess." Fury tossed over a letter and let him read it. Xander had given him a lot of information he needed right now. "So why come after me? Beyond the goofy, pouty bitch?" He put the letter down.

"We looked into all this when your twin heard what happened." Fury smirked a tiny bit. "We don't like it."

"I don't like it anymore."

"Good. Want to make them go down for it?"

"Yup, sure do."

"Then work for us doing that." Fury smirked more. "You can be a double agent to us."

"They have us on stuff."

"I heard."

"I need it or it'll break down things like the new skills. Which is nasty in reverse from what they told us."

"There's a way around that."

"Hmm. I have no idea how."

"I have some really good geeks. If we have to, we'll save you some pills while we figure it out." He stood up. "If you want it."

"I do."

"Good. Let's debrief you to see who came up with this crackhead idea to make super soldiers again." Brian nodded, getting up. He brought the letter with him because he was sure the safe house was going to be burned clean just in case. Brian nodded at the people in the living room. "This is Agent Coulson. He's your twin's usual handler. He's got his partner doing it right now."

"Sit, Agent Cross," Coulson said. "Let's go over what the objectives of your current mission are so we know if Clint needs to continue it or just make it seem so." Brian sat down. He got handed two tylenol packets and a bottle of water. "We know you're probably a bit paranoid. We've seen other agents who have been programmed heavily. We've helped them as well. Including one that had it done to her repeatedly."

Brian grimaced. "That's gotta suck." He opened the packets and took them then drank the water. Another two bottles were handed over with a slight expression of happiness. "So what do you need to know?"

"Everything," Coulson said. "Before they try this on someone who has real issues." Brian nodded and got down to who had talked to him, where things had happened, and what he had been sent to do so far. Fury texted Xander that he had Brian and to call off the hunt for him. Xander sent back an 'I did that yesterday' and he nodded, putting his phone back into his pocket.

***

After it was done, Clint plopped down on his twin's bed. "I've gotten to know Jason. Guess I should get to know you. Which name do you want to go by?"

"I like Aaron. Gives me an out from the old asshole rep I used to have."

Clint grinned a tiny bit. "We're all sarcastic assholes in this family, Aaron." That got a slightly evil smirk. "Memory better?"

"Yeah, they cleared whatever block they had put on me." Clint nodded. "So you're a sniper too?"

"I am. Assassin and sniper. I prefer my bow."

Aaron nodded. "I've seen Xander's weapons cache."

"The whole thing? We couldn't find more than one piece of artillery and we know he's got more. They used a lot of it recently."

"Another thing like graduation?"

"In your hometown."

"Oh, shit."

"Yup." Clint grinned. "Look it up, it's been on tv a lot. Xander looked pretty hot with his axe. A lot of us were there."

"So they're in the open?"

"No, not quite. They're hiding in Sunnydale right now."

"Might be a good idea." He shook his head. "How is she?"

"Xander's good enough. Bit sore right now. Pretty bouncy. His ex and apparently current girlfriend Anya has been over a lot to annoy Hansel with the noise."

"I heard something about that." They shared a smirk. "You two?"

"Nah. I'm not into even distant cousins."

"She's good at it. Pretty new at it but pretty decent." He shifted to cross his feet. "Are you dating the pretty redheaded bitch?"

"She's not that sort of partner."

"Pity." He grinned. "Have you stopped Xander from helping?"

"He found me one night while I was tracking a demon weapons dealing gang. He made them believe it was his fault so they want to eat him instead of me. He did a pretty good stripping number."

Aaron moaned. "That's a dirty thought I didn't need tonight."

Clint grinned. "If you make Xander happy then I'm all for it. Xander could use someone to make him happy and less bouncy. Not that Aunt Gretel won't still complain, because she does a lot of that at Xander."

Aaron shook his head. "I saw some of that when I was visiting."

"She's alive again." Aaron winced. "So far it's okay. They're managing to get her caught up. Hansel complained his sister cannot drive, she's even worse than Dawn."

"Dawn..."

"Buffy's sister."

"She has a sister?"

"Yeah."

"Huh. Okay. Pretty?"

"Fourteen."

"Never mind then." Clint grinned. "Think your partner would let me hit on her?"

"Only if she can break you for it."

"Nah, too much work." He shifted. "So you do your thing for SHIELD?" Clint nodded. "Interesting. Why?"

"When my adopted parents died, my brother and I ran from the foster home and joined a circus."

"Seriously?"

"Yup." He grinned. "I did really good."

He shook his head. "I thought that was an urban legend."

"Nope, not hardly in my case."

"Wow." He shrugged. "I fucked up through the Academy and an AS in humanities. Then officer stuff and then SWAT until they turned on me and fired me."

"That sucks. Should we quietly get word to someone that you're okay?"

"Not sure if they'd care."

"Okay." Clint shifted to get more comfortable. "No one generally dating you when you got kidnaped?"

"Nah. I'm not committing to anyone right now. I'm too young and pretty for that." He smirked. "I almost thought about going pro for a bit but it's got a lot of people I'd rather not fuck."

"I had to now and then after the circus. It does suck a lot."

"Shit, we're a miserable set."

"Jason's still a detective."

"At least one of us did something right." Clint gave him a look. "I guess you got halfway and then went good."

"I try. Some days. Some days Natasha would like me to try harder."

"I still think you should bend her over to spank her hard and fast then do her. She looks like she'd enjoy that."

"She'd kill me multiple ways if I even thought about it. Natasha's a highly trained assassin. She'll gladly stab me or break me multiple ways then walk off looking very smug."

"Introduce her to Xander. See if he can do her like he does Anya?"

"They did meet and she said she found Xander a bit odd but pleasant as she called him." Aaron burst out laughing, shaking his head. "Yeah, it's like that around SHIELD some days." They shared a smirk and got into more personal topics carefully. They were triplets, they had to get to know each other somehow. Xander was a good intermediary topic.

***

Gretel looked at Xander over breakfast. "How are you handling that need you have for sex at least once a week?" Dean gave her an odd look because that wasn't breakfast talk he was used to.

Xander grinned. "How many times have you complained about Anya?"

"None this week."

"Been five days," Xander said.

"Oh." She grimaced. "Can't we...banish her?"

"No. She's a full human again."

"Pity."

"Leave Anya alone please," Xander said. "She's done nothing to get your attention beyond her former job. And hell, we consider her job an important one. Someone's got to answer the women who need help." He stared at her.

"Point." She dug in again. Sam walked in the back door. "Morning, Sam."

"Morning Dean, Gretel." He hugged Xander around the head, getting one back. "Are you better yet?"

"Not fully. Still a few stitches I need to pull later this week." He looked out the doorway. "Did you bring someone?"

"I brought Jess. She demanded since the town was so dangerous at times."

"Sure. Dean, that means you need to find another bed or the couch."

"I can do that. The attic room doesn't have a door," he told his brother. Who smiled at him for it. "Jess, you can come in."

"Why is there a guy in a ring of fire in there?" she asked with a point.

"Because he wanted to be," Xander quipped. "C'mon in, Jess. I'm not biting today and Gretel's had her rabies shot." Gretel glared at him. Xander grinned back.

"Sparring later, nephew," Gretel said smugly.

"I'm less sore than you are, Gretel." She huffed but finished her breakfast. "I'm sure you've met Dean by now. This is Aunt Gretel. She's technically back a bit farther in the family tree but it's a mouthful."

"Hi," Jess said, smiling and shaking her hand. "I'm Jess. Sam's girlfriend."

"He's said nice things about you," she said, shaking her hand with a slight smile. "Hansel, get your ass up!" she bellowed. "Jess is here!"

Hansel came down the stairs. "I heard them pull up, Sister." He smiled and shook Jess's hand. "I know Xander sent you a letter so you would understand who Sam was talking about."

"It was sweet of him." She and Sam sat down. Xander got up to give Hansel his seat and make more breakfast. "I can help."

"Sit. You're a guest," Xander ordered with a grin. Dawn bounded in. "Are you skipping?"

"Yup," she said with a happy grin. "Before I slug a cunt who thinks I sold myself to you two for a few months. As told to her by her daddy, who is an officer."

"I'll beat his ass later," Xander said dryly. "Bob or John?"

"Officer John. He who hires all the pros in town to rate them." She smiled. "Sorry, I'm only fourteen so I'm still lacking in manners and he keeps the rating on his desk." She came over to help Xander cook. "Buffy's at the Magic Box already. Mom's sleeping in." Xander nodded. "Are you okay?"

"I'm good." He grinned at her. "Hansel can work on your hand-to-hand later."

"I can do that." She smiled at Hansel. Who pointed at Sam, who nodded he could do that. "Sure." She hugged Sam then Hansel, then Dean and Gretel. "I'd hug you but I don't know you yet. I'm Dawn, Buffy's sister."

"Jess, Sam's girlfriend." She shook her hand with a smile. "It's nice to see someone perky."

"I try sometimes." Xander handed her a plate so she handed it to Jess. "I already ate, Xander. You have seconds."

"Sure. I can do that." He dug into his second breakfast once Hansel had his. He did text John, who said he'd be up there tomorrow.

"I already told Dad," Sam quipped.

"He said he'd be here tomorrow."

"That'll work," Dean agreed. "We can work out that needed bed somehow. Maybe I'll go stay with the girls to make sure they're all right."

"If so, Joyce could use the gutters cleaned," Hansel said. "I haven't gotten around to it yet but I noticed it when I fixed her roof." Dawn hugged him around the head. He looked at her. "How much caffeine have you had?"

"Probably too much," she chirped. She went to stretch in the backyard.

Castiel watched her. He could tell she wasn't normal. He could also tell why. "Why are you in that form?" he asked quietly.

She looked at him. "Because I am. Who are you to question that fact?"

"I'm the Angel Castiel."

"Ah." Dawn nodded. "Well, I'm the Slayer Buffy's sister." She smiled. "Pleasure to meet you." Castiel scowled. "You should've done some homework before you started near Xander. You really should've." She went back to her stretching.

"You should be more protected."

She looked at him. "Do you honestly think I'm not protected here?"

"There was that Order."

"Who died." She stared at him. "They all died." He flinched. "Which is why I'm here." She smiled slightly. "Okay? Can we drop it before someone else wants to try to sacrifice me like that crazy cult wannabe goddess sort did?" She stared him down.

"She did?" Dawn tipped her head to the left. "Is she...."

"Spike helped handle that cult so it left me alone forever more," she said dryly.

"Good. That's...good." He frowned. "But then why...."

She walked over. "Because I'm a real little girl, Geppetto. I can do real girl things and feel real girl things and can even have a boyfriend some year." Castiel swallowed. "So please drop the subject before I ask Xander if I can have you babysit me for a few hours. Anya does say I'd do excellent in her job sometimes." She smiled a tiny bit. "Okay?"

"Yes, definitely. Um..."

"Dawn."

"Dawn. Should I vacate the area?"

"We're sparring. I need to learn how to beat boys off my cute rear end before they get ideas." She grinned. "Not that I don't want some to get ideas but I want to be picky about who gets ideas."

"Being picky about your future husband is a good thing," he agreed. "Especially without someone to fill in for your friend Anya."

"There's someone in her spot. She pouts that they've got no imagination." She went back to her stretching.

Castiel sat down to consider that information. If the Key was human.... That was probably a bad sign for their plans. She could become a third side. She might already be a third side since she was aligned to the slayers. Perhaps they could find a way to make her find faith and happiness in a convent? Gretel and Sam came out to work on her hand-to-hand. He settled in to watch.

"Gretel, I'm not allowed to hunt," Dawn said patiently. "Mom said no and so did I. I'm learning how to keep guys off my cute ass. I don't need to know how to use a stake that well. How to use one at all, yes. Which Hansel and Dean taught me. And Xander taught me how to use a crossbow." She smiled. "Let's concentrate on teaching me how to beat up on boys with *ideas* I won't like. Please?"

"Fine, we can do that. Though you need to keep in practice with your other skills."

"I'm sure I will. Not like Buffy didn't have to stake someone on the front porch last night," she said dryly. They got to work on her form and her kicking today. Sam was good at showing her what she should be doing and how to do it easier. It helped, a lot.

Faith walked in the back gate. "D, your mama said if you're skipping due to that stupid rumor she's going to kill you a whole lot."

"No she won't. My mother loves me and she'd miss me if I died," Dawn quipped. "It was this or me going to jail for assault and battery."

"Your mama already popped that cop in the nose," Faith said dryly. "Then told him if he wanted to arrest her for it, go ahead, they still had to pay for her cancer treatments by law. He walked off crying about his broken nose." She looked at her. "Footing, D." Dawn looked down then adjusted her footing some. "Hey, Sammy."

"Hi, Faith." He grinned and hugged her. "Faith, this is Jess, my girlfriend."

"Aww, damn. I was hoping you'd be single this trip," she said with a grin. She shook her hand. "Sammy's a hot wanted ass around here. Dean flirts too much." Dean smirked at her. "You need to work on Joyce's form too. She *way* overextended her reach when she popped the cop in the nose."

Xander walked off humming a merry theme. "No getting arrested!" Hansel yelled after him.

"I'm not." He smirked back at Hansel. "Why would he arrest me?" He changed then changed back. Officer John would probably try to proposition her. Then she'd get to legitimately hit him but he'd try to arrest her for that so he could molest her. Hansel moaned and shook his head but he wanted to hit the same guy for the same reason.

***

Xander showed up at the social worker's office that afternoon with a grin and a flower for her. "Here, for you. Because I know you've heard that rumor that Officer John was trying to spread about Dawn. Thank you for not showing up before we had heard it." He walked off whistling.

She shivered. She had seen his father in that mood once after some guy had drunkenly hit on his wife. That guy had went to the morgue and no one had said a *thing*. She called some friends to see what had happened in town. She had no idea they had logging trucks that rolled through town. Or how one had a strap break so logs fell on top of a police car, trapping the very claustrophobic Officer John in there with his partner. Though it was being called 'nice' how Xander Harris had kindly talked to the officers so they kept calm until someone could come get the logs an hour later. The social worker agreed that was nice and hung up, shaking her head quickly. No, you did not mess with a Harris over his family unless it was a legitimate problem. Even Rosenburg had learned that lesson, no matter which sort of hell she had ended up in.

***

Tara came in that night, hugging Xander. "Logging truck?"

Xander smiled. "I guess, though even the State boys that showed up agreed it wasn't the driver's fault that someone had run over to slice the straps at a stoplight, just bad luck it had fallen on that cop car." Hansel and Gretel both stared at him, mouths open. He grinned slightly. "What? I even nicely kept them calm talking to him about how great Dawn had been when she was here being our daughter while Joyce was sick. How great she had helped around the house and had listened to us about boys being icky and not for her. How we had taught her how to fire a gun to protect herself, just in case ya know." He smirked at them. "I was a good and helpful boy." He went back to cooking.

Tara leaned on his arm but helped by chopping things for him.

Hansel looked at Gretel, who shrugged. "It's not my fault," she complained. "Maybe you should do something about his funny mood, Hansel."

"I have to go bait later," Xander said dryly. "Jason desperately needs help." Hansel moaned.

"Jason? Is he another relative?" Jess asked.

Xander grinned. "Yeah. He's an officer in a *good* department. Unlike our dirty as hell one here." He went back to cooking. "Since I tend to tempt evil to want me, I help out now and then when he needs a bait source that can protect itself." Though that brought up a problem that Jess shouldn't know he could change that way. He called Jason. "When did you need me?" He listened. "Yeah, I can be there in an hour. Sure, Jason. Lovies and see you soon." He hung up and headed for his bathroom to shower and do her hair. Jess could wonder. He'd sneak out. Or have Sam divert her attention. She found an outfit that was just the bad side of slutty and decided on it. Jason said he'd get to tease and taunt in a slutty club. She could be a slutty club girl. By the time she got done, it was nearly time to go so she snuck out the window by Castiel's room. She smirked and waved then disappeared thanks to the wand that got put into her hair. She strolled over to Jason's desk and sat down, looking at the guys. "Jason said he needed some help tonight, guys?"

One muttered. "I'm married," he reminded himself.

Casey strolled in. "C'mon, Lexi. We're going to do it together."

"Sure."

"Shraeger, unless she's a cop, she can't help you," the sergeant called from his desk.

Xander leaned in and smiled. "Me?" His eyes went wide. "I think I can handle a tiny issue." She strolled out after Casey, adjusting her zipper. "Falling down."

"Thanks." They shared a smirk. Jason stared at them, head tipped. Xander winked. Casey smirked at him. "What?"

"So much worse than when we met and you had been pretending to be a hooker." He looked at Xander and nodded. "Wow."

"You need me less slutty?"

"No, that's a good level of slutty, Xander." She kissed him on the cheek and they got into the car to go to their stakeout. This way Xander could tempt their problem into the open and they could watch him. Though it was nice Xander had went home with him and he had shown up in the ER the next morning feeling really weak and tired. He'd talk to him about that later. It was also nice that the paramedics had left a letter that had been on his chest when they had picked him up in Casey's name with the desk nurse. That helped a ton and explained why. He had a lot more sins than they thought.

***

Clint found Jason the next morning, sitting across from him at his desk. "So, I finally met the other one."

Jason quit typing to look at him. "Really? He good?"

"Kinda. Better now though. My boss had some help for some of that. Xander knows and he's happy."

"Great news then." He grinned slightly. "He still an asshole?"

"Yup." Jason smirked. "I haven't even gotten a text from Xander in the last three days."

"He's been busy. I had him helping me bait someone last night." He showed him the picture of the ladies he had taken for the file. Clint frowned but was drooling a tiny bit. "Xander's also got someone he's talking to about his delusions from all that mess coming up." He looked him over. "No injuries from the battle?"

"Some on my legs. They're all healed. Them?"

"Still a bit sore but closer to normal. You could call."

"I figured Xander's mad at me."

"Nah, you'd know if Xander was mad at you. He's that sort." Clint relaxed some. "Anything good happen?"

"Not really. He wanted to hit on Nat."

Jason grinned. "I would've flirted but I figured she'd kill me."

"Probably, yeah."

"Aww, are you scared of a girl?" one of the other detectives joked.

"I'm very respectful of women who can kick my ass," Jason shot back. "Shut up."

Beaumont, his lover, looked over. "Yes, you usually are. Thank you for that." She looked at the other one. "Hi again."

"Hi." He grinned. "He met my partner and she's a ball-breaking bitch at times."

She smirked back. "I'd love to meet her and spar with her. I could use a few new sparring partners since there's nothing here that can challenge me."

"I'll ask her. She's at the spa today." Beaumont shook her head but got back to work.

"Too much butt kicking?" Jason guessed.

"Waxing."

"Ah, that nasty stuff." He shook his head, leaning back and putting his hands behind his head. "Hansel might need some tips on how to teach Gretel to drive. She's apparently worse at it than Dawn is. Joyce is home."

"That's really great news. She better?"

"Another round in a month but they hope she's getting stronger. Dawn's in full fuss mode from what Xander said last night. Buffy's back to her normal self. She was complaining that Xander hadn't patrolled for her in a few days."

Clint shook his head. "They're nuts out there."

"Yes they are," Jason agreed with a smirk. "Often. Then they show up here to deal with some of our crazies."

"There's been a few assignments I'd want Xander to show up to handle my crazies too. And some of my coworkers. My handler does not believe me about Xander."

"Let them meet. Sometimes you just gotta experience someone to understand."

Clint nodded. "Yeah, and all that comes along with him." He shook his head quickly, blocking out the thought of Xander being pretty. "I got permission to ask Xander to help me when I need a new bait source but Natasha's not around. My director is amused by the whole group out that way. Said they're all insane but useful."

"Sanity is relative," Jason quipped. "Depending on your scale and where you stand on it yourself. Though, there's a point where crazy just isn't a good enough term."

"I'm not sure if Xander's all the way there yet or not."

"Nah. He's unique. He's a bit kooky. But if you had his gifts, wouldn't you be enjoying them?"

"Probably," Clint agreed with a grin. "Xander needs to do more enjoying and less handling things."

"Sometimes he enjoys that." His sergeant came out of his office and paused, then blinked. Jason smirked. "He's one of the other two."

"You're a twin?"

"I'm a triplet," Jason said dryly. "This is Clint." Clint nodded at him. He looked at him. "Meet me for lunch?"

"I've got to leave for Europe at three." He grimaced. "I got enough time to do laundry." Jason smirked. "I know, all that is the weird things in my life." He stood up. "Write me emails. I can check them on this one." He left with a grin, putting on his sunglasses once he was outside.

Jason sat up and got back to work. The sergeant stared at him. "Is he a cop too?"

"Nope. Agent."

"Huh." He went back to his desk so he could find his bottle of tums. Two Jason Walshes was a horrible thing on humanity. Thankfully he only had one to deal with. And no 'cousin' usually on top of the other weird stuff.

***

Castiel sent up a new prayer but to a different source since God or Michael wasn't helping him. Maybe one of the others he usually worked with? He was so confused and being forced into things that he had no idea how to handle. He was dealing with things that were impossible, in a town that he had been told had a portal to hell dimensions and was filled with demons that had no idea of the hierarchy the rest of the world lived by apparently, and he was certain everything going on around him was absolutely impossible. Plus his charge still was clinging to a friendship with the supposed cambion. A man appeared in the doorway, staring at him. "Gabriel?" he asked quietly.

"You look bad." He looked around the room then at him. "How did they do this?"

"I don't know. It's got Stone Angel writing. It's got Enochian." Gabriel gave him an odd look. "The cambion here isn't one apparently. Or not a full one. Or so he says."

Gabriel frowned. "That's weird even for me." He looked at the fire then at him. "You could hop over it."

"I've tried. The runes prevent it. He said the line will last a year."

Gabriel nodded once. "Okay, let me see if I can figure out how to get you out and talk to the Winchesters."

"No, not Sam. Sam's at college. They've banished the demon that was going after him."

"Really?" he asked, looking amused. "That's special. How did they do that?"

"The cambion, or not-cambion, has visions. He foresaw ours too."

"Interesting. Let me look, little brother." He disappeared, going to watch the goings on. Castiel had to be panicking, right? Things couldn't be that odd.

TBC....
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