See What A Little Chaos Can Do.
Xander smiled at the editor he had hired. Writer Xander had taught him a lot about how to be a professional writer, including how much an editor had helped him. "Hi, I'm Xander." He grinned as he shook his hand.
"I'm Todd." He sat down, looking over the young guy. He had seen a lot of young wannabe writers over the years. Some were as good, or better, than this one but this one seemed to exude 'you like me' vibes. "I read over your submission. It had some flaws."
"My education wasn't exactly...standard." He grimaced some. Explaining this was a bit hard. "I got raised by some relatives in the middle of nowhere and home schooled. One of them by a writer, who thought I had a good hand with some things. He admitted he had an editor to polish his works too because he had a bad habit of typing so fast he forgot to put in some words and he had a description problem."
"You have the description problem but that's something you can work on. What genre do you see yourself in?"
"He wrote in fantasy mostly. I've tried some of that. He had me try some action stuff, some true crime stuff because his mentor did true crime. Um...he had me try some smutty stuff to see how my hand went with it," he admitted more quietly, glancing around then at him. "I'll gladly let you see whatever you need to."
"It's good that you can work with someone." He smiled. "We can go over that later. What are you doing in the meantime?"
"The family set me up for a year and I've got all I should need but I'm also looking at options for classes and other things. I'm actually pretty good at a few things thanks to other members of the family. One of them makes jewelry and he taught me. Well, two really. A few were researcher sorts so I got part of that. I got some languages. I got some other varied skills that may not be totally useful in the real world but I can bend them if I try."
"I don't have certificates from the home schooling."
"That makes some sense. Community college might work."
"I also have a slight hormone condition that means I'm a bit scattered now and then," he admitted with a shy grin. "I do try to keep it down."
"That's a very good idea." He looked at the young kid. He looked so unsure. "How old are you?"
"Nineteen last week."
"No family around here?"
"No, they're from farther away. They gave me the choice of here or LA and here had more things like museums and more varied groups of people to watch. Plus more to do when I'm bored. Before I start making swords again." The editor smiled but shook his head. "I can. I'm really pretty good with them. I made the daggers I carry and a lot of the ones on my walls. Including my own battle axe that I've blessed to the Old Ones." He grinned. "I'm pretty good at it really."
"That's excellent. It's probably a hard skill to learn but it must keep you in shape banging things out."
"It does. Folding metal is a pain if you're doing it by hand. It can take *forever* without a pneumatic hammer. Thankfully I learned how to build one of those too. Very handy thing."
The editor smiled and nodded. "I can see how it would be. How many things have you written?"
"Six things under their watching and I'm working on one now that's action-y and kinda spy stuff based kinda on an uncle's former life. He married an uncle and he was a spy."
"Wow, very interesting family. I'd like to look at that. It's easier to help you while you're working on stuff plus it'll give me a view of what your style is really like." Xander nodded. "Do you have it here?"
"I have my backup drive but not my laptop. I'm afraid I'll break it and I can't fix those."
"That's a good reason. I have mine with me. What do you write in?"
"I can translate that. Some writers do prefer it." He took the drive to hook into his laptop to look over the work in progress. The kid had a good hand. "I think you've found a good genre to sit in. Is that a romance trial?" That's what it was labeled.
"My uncle wanted me to try it to see if I liked it. I do sappy stuff. You can look, I don't mind."
Todd downloaded that to look over as well. He had a good hand. Xander ordered a salad for himself and some more water. Todd looked up and smiled, ordering something light and a glass of sweet tea. He let Xander see what he was reading, showing him where there were some easy mistakes. "For a first draft it's not bad."
"He taught me to reread the last twenty pages I wrote to get back into it and edit those as I go."
"That's not a bad idea if you're writing about that much at a time."
"He was sometimes writing up to a hundred pages a day."
"Ow, his poor carpal tunnel."
Xander nodded. "Sometimes. He got forearm cramps that did the same thing. Thankfully his husband was fantastic at working on them while complaining that uncle gave him his muses."
"That is a good husbandly thing to do." He got back to it, making some notes within the story. "This character you haven't named, with the name in parenthesis?"
"I haven't decided yet. I was going to name him something easy like Bob and then maybe rename but I wasn't sure because there's probably going to be a Bob later."
"We can work on that. It's not that hard, but make sure you use different ways of noting those so you don't accidentally change others as well." Xander nodded, grinning and sipping his water. "It's useable. It's saleable, which is more important. Do you have a literary agent yet?"
"No. I was going to get something ready, have my editor help me polish it, and then take their recommendation on who to submit to. I figure guys like you know who's legit and decent within the business, where I'd have to do research and probably pick the wrong one who'd only like me for bad reasons."
"I know a few who'd like that. It's always better for the agent to see something that's mostly done. You know the book company will change things, right?"
"Yes. Though I'm fairly wary that they might change things too much. In that one, Gary, or whatever his name ends up being, will probably be bi. I don't want them to take that out. I'm kinda used to bi and gay uncles. Though I never see them get busy or kiss or anything, but I'm used to being around them all the time."
"That's a reasonable worry. Some publishers will, some won't. Most usually they'll want you to keep that tamed down." Xander nodded. "Is it going to be blatant?"
"Probably in the dating sense. Maybe on the job sense."
"That's a good bit. Are you interested in making it graphic? Sometimes it sells and sometimes it won't."
"I'm more comfortable writing fade-to-black scenes but I don't know. If I need to I might be able to. I'm not *great* at it. That kinda goes along with not hanging out with people who are making out in front of me. Though I do have a few books for inspiration when I need it."
"That's something we can work on if your literary agent wants you to. It's hot right now to write smutty things."
Xander grinned. "I'm a very smutty thing but I like privacy about that stuff. That's why I usually use a fade-to-black or not-very descriptive stuff."
"That's reasonable. We can figure that out." Xander nodded. "You know my rates?" Xander nodded. "You actually have money?"
"Yeah. They set me up with a living expenses account and that was included. One of my uncles had the same hormone problem and some guy who wanted him left him jewels in his will, which he didn't want and he didn't want the guy but ya know how that goes I guess. So I have some set up."
"That's excellent, though a bit weird. Is it always like that?"
Xander blushed, ducking his head some. "It kinda makes us like candy at times if it's not handled. I try to keep it handled."
"That's good to know. I've never heard of that problem."
"It's not real common. There's a few cases in Europe." He shrugged. "It happens in our family every now and then." Which was as close as he could come to explaining that particular problem.
"I guess it can happen to anyone. That's not a problem." Xander grinned and relaxed again, digging into the salad that was brought. Todd did the same as he read over those samples. The kid had a good hand. Finally he was done and handed back the drive, packing his laptop again. "You do good work." Xander grinned and nodded. "You do need some polishing. We can work on that. We'll do a contract next week? You bring me another two or three chapters of that one story?"
"I can try for two. I'm a bit...the name thing's getting to me."
"Look at online naming sites."
"I do but they all seem to come out with the same starting letter. I think it looks weird and it's throwing me off."
"We can work on that. For now, just name them anything and you can change them later as long as they're not named the same name." Xander nodded. "Do you know many twins that have the 'one and two' thing going? I noticed that had started."
"Yes. They're the ones that taught me how to build guns. You can tell One because he's got an eyepatch. His parents were drunk and named them the same thing."
"Those poor kids." Todd shook his head quickly. "Okay, call me next week to set up a contract appointment in my office and bring me at least another chapter." Xander nodded, paying for lunch. It declined but ran through the second time the waiter tried. "New card?" Todd guessed.
"Yeah. Foreign bank they used." He gave him a sheepish look.
"That's fine. It happens." Xander relaxed again. "Get back to writing." He shook his hand and walked off happier. This one was worth his time and talents.
Xander finished his salad and left, going back to the apartment by way of the flower shop. Original GHS Xander had taught him how to arrange them and he wanted something pretty today since it was a good day. Thanks to the flirty guy at the flower shop it was a *very* good day today.
Xander smiled at his new editor. "Sorry I'm ten minutes late. I didn't get a cab for almost thirty."
"That happens sometimes. Did you call or flag one down?"
"Flagged one down. There's a club in my neighborhood so there's usually one there. The last one I called tried to take me somewhere in New Jersey I think, across the bridge."
"I don't know. I was trying to get to this little metal-working shop down by FAO Schwartz." He shrugged but handed over the printed out copy. "One and a half chapters. I got hit with a muse strike last night for that last half."
"That's fine. What were you doing instead of writing?"
"I made two new presents for the family on the forge. I designed something for one of them to check over to see if I learned the right things." He grinned. "They deal in electrical systems for robots and stuff. I was doing that when I got hit with that part, but I think it's for later on in the story."
He glanced through it, nodding. "There's a lot that has to be filled in before then. Like how he knew them, how he got to their warehouse, all that. Including why he went to their warehouse." Todd looked up. "Any idea on that?"
"Some. I think I know."
"Have you worked from an outline?"
"We tried that. I kept going off on tangents to the side. It was supposed to be a short story, maybe fifteen pages at the most. It turned into a forty page monstrosity of going on the trip."
"I think I glanced through that." He went back to reading, nodding. "We can definitely work on that." He pulled out the contract to go over it. Xander wanted a penname to protect himself, which he understood. His family sounded like paranoid people so he probably was too. Todd looked at him. "If you get famous, even slightly famous, people are going to wonder about your family. Do you know what you can and can't say?"
"Mostly. They took me from my mom because...well, she had me because of a plot. Which is why all the uncles raised me." He shrugged on one side. "They found out during a family reunion so one of them saved me and brought me to the rest of them, who helped raise me."
"That's good. Is your mother going to show up?"
"Probably not since she tried to file a birth certificate that said I was born sixteen days ago," Xander said with a slight smirk. "She's back in England with the mentors who encouraged her to have me as a plot."
"What sort of plot?"
"She wanted to train me to be their warrior protector."
Todd groaned, shaking his head. "I hate that sort."
Xander smiled. "I did learn how to protect myself from my uncles. One had taken a lot of martial arts work with people from Japan. One had a special martial arts style that I learned that's also a dance. The twin uncles that work on robots taught me how to shoot. That was refined by the uncles who went to Africa to help with some problems down there. They taught me all sorts of stuff."
"Anything controversial we'll have to hide?"
"I'm kinda bi. Is that going to matter?"
"A few authors are and that shouldn't. We won't openly state it unless you're caught dating someone serious."
"One of the uncles suggested I get a bodyguard sort in case the hormone problems get worse. That one uncle, the one that got the jewels, he got kidnaped a few times because of his but he was also a lot more openly gay. He had waist-length hair because it let him hide minor sharp and pointy things in it as backup weapons. Those sort never expected him to hurt people with hairpins but he's deadly with his."
"That's...." Todd paused then nodded. "I can see how that's a great idea," he admitted. "If you do get a bodyguard sort, we'll talk about it with them if you have to travel." Xander smiled and nodded. "Anything else people might not like?"
"My mom's a witch."
"She sounded like it, yes," Todd said dryly.
"No, I mean part of a coven in England witch."
"Oh, that sort. Alternate religions are fine these days." Xander nodded. Todd went back to the contract. Xander signed it and let him have everything he had worked up so far. Todd looked at one. "Who's Alexian...."
"Oops. That's Uncle's."
"I can delete that." He did that and handed the drive back. Xander tucked it into his bag. "Let me go over things and we'll see what we can work up. Try to write at least a chapter every week or so?"
"I can do that." He shook his hand and bounced off to go back home.
Todd settled in to read. He compared it to that uncle's work, and it was definitely different. The uncle had a nice touch with high fantasy with elves, though it had some risque jokes his editor must hate. The kid was doing his own work so that was good. It even read well. He had a few literary agents he could recommend the boy go to. At least Xander was mostly realistic about making it as a writer.
Xander smiled at the person who came into the electronics shop while he was shopping. "Hi." He went back to looking at wires and circuit boards, picking up the ones he wanted.
The sales guy smiled at the new person, who headed right to his needs. "What are you working on? Radios?" he asked the young guy.
Xander smiled. "One of my uncles built a little robotic home defense ELF he called Pippen so I'm going to build my own. He gave me the plans." He held up some wire. "I need about ten feet of this kind."
"I can do that." He measured it out and coiled it then taped it shut. The kid nicely paid and then left. He looked at the other guy, who shrugged. "Never seen one of those."
"Me either but it could be some mad genius thing that he keeps around the house. As long as it doesn't attack the city." He paid for his own purchases and left. Something about that guy set off a small warning bell in his head. Maybe he'd do some subtle checking into him. When he got home, he hacked to find the security footage from the electronics store, finding the guy easily enough. He ran an image search and came up with nothing. So not well known. The name on the debit card receipt only led to a birth certificate for a newborn. No death certificate so he's not using an identity from someone else. It took him nearly an hour to find the listing for the birth on an odd site, and it only listed that he was born then, nothing further. There was nothing else listed about the guy. No education records, no graduation announcements, nothing. So who was that guy that apparently knew how to build robotic things?
Six weeks later, the electronics genius walked into an office. "I've found...something really weird."
Nick Fury looked at him. "What sort of weird? Coming from you that's not real descriptive, Stark."
"Okay. How's this. I found a person that only has a birth certificate, no other known information that's findable online. He's building electronic guard pets, because one was with him at the electronics store the other day so he could pick out the color LED diodes he wanted for his eyes. It's fully responsive, acts like a dog, can follow simple commands like 'bring me coffee' by making it apparently, and it's got three small cannons to help defend the guy: ball, laser, and air.
"He's never went to any known school anywhere in the world. Has never shown up at a single robotics convention. Never shown up in a single classroom. He's also an aspiring writer; I chatted with him while he picked blue eyes and put them in. Something about him is...it's like you want to be his friend but you don't know why. Really, I wanted to inhale his scent and mark myself with it." Nick Fury was staring at him oddly. "He's also learned how to forge swords by hand thanks to some of his family."
"That's a really weird mix of skills. Could he be someone's son? Someone in the life and this is his new identity so he's not identified?"
"Not by your files." He tossed down the hacked footage picture. "That's the kid. And he is a kid. He's nineteen."
Fury looked the file over. "Nothing else?"
"Not anywhere. He's got assets because he uses a foreign based debit card but none are listed. There's a hint of a private bank out of England that's not on any grid. Not even people like Doom would use it." He stared at him. "He said his uncles taught him how to do that crafting, plural. Are there families of guys like that I haven't met?"
"Not that I'm aware of." He leaned back. "That is strange. Laser cannon any good?"
"The guy at the supply store I use asked to see how well it did. It's accurate but pinpoint."
"Like could do locks?"
"Or other things. The ball cannon was for deterrence. He said it's for home protection." Tony Stark crossed his arms over his chest, looking smug. "He's not on anyone's radar outside his editor because he's trying to be a published author. He owns a nice large condo downtown. It's actually a duplex. He owns one side. He doesn't have a license but I'm pretty sure he knows how to drive because he was teaching his Hobbit-named little mechanical helper how to get around the shelves blindly while they were talking about LED's. My supply guy called me when he came in. He thinks he's nice but a bit weird and is a tiny bit worried about where he came from."
"Any chance that he's using a fake ID?"
"Birth certificate filed with Cleveland for his birth. Only other one with that exact name is just about three months old. He's also not in the US. His mother's back in England, in Devon, supposedly with some coven members."
"Them I've heard of," Fury said. "They're paranormal cranks who try to protect people from higher level demons."
"Demons?" Stark snorted. "Really?"
"That's how we all feel too. We tend to walk the other way." He stared at him. "What's setting you off?"
"The skills without anything else."
"You think he's someone's hidden kid?"
"No. He's happy. Like goofy happy. If he was some overlord wannabe's kid, he'd be a lot less happy."
Fury considered it. "I can assign someone to look into him. Maybe chat him up in the bookstore or something."
"Thanks." He walked off.
Fury called up an agent. "Look into this guy," he said, handing over the folder. "He gave Stark the wrong vibes and he's not sure why. We don't think he's on the wrong side, but we're not sure."
"I can do that, sir." He left, reading over the file. There was almost nothing there.
Xander smiled at the guy who was in the park in his usual reading spot. "Hi," he chirped, sitting down in the grass to write. His little 'pet' was with him and guarding him very well. Xander threw out a ball and Frodo rolled after it, bringing it back. They played fetch while Xander wrote. If Xander forgot about the game for a few minutes while involved, Frodo didn't mind and only nudged him whenever someone got too close to him. Which worked real well for him. He finally got done with that chapter and sent it to Todd, then put up his netbook and played with Frodo some more. The netbook had been a splurge but a good one. It was cheap at the pawn shop too. When he got tired of the sun, he and Frodo went to catch the bus home. The other passengers gave Frodo a strange look but he put him in his lap so they didn't really care.
The agent that had been in the park talked to his handler over his earpiece. "Did you get anything from the quick hack? He is said to be trying to get published," he said at their notes. "Really? I might try it when it comes out if he does get it done." He listened. "No joy on the robot? Huh. That's interesting. Yeah, I'll try to run into him later this week." He hung up and packed up, heading back to the van. He had taken film of the little robot for the director. Who was amused but it was cutesy. It looked like what a fifties robotic dog would be. The fact it played fetch was thought to be cute by everyone who watched. The fact it was actually protecting the guy was weird.
Xander smiled at the guy who was in his usual fruit place. It was the same guy from the park. Which set off a few warning sounds in his head; that could mean he was a stalker. He had been warned about those. He reached around the guy. "'Scuse me, have to get some apples." He grinned and bagged them up then walked off.
The guy smiled back and followed. "I'm Ben."
Xander grinned. "Xander." He shook his hand. "Do you live around here? I've never seen you at the local stores."
"I'm moving this way but I'm on a friend's couch while I look for a nice apartment."
"I live in a duplex, sorry." He smiled. "There's that new building going up closer to downtown."
"I looked, it's a lot of modern trash." He grimaced. "Nothing that has character."
"There's two buildings with 'for rent' signs in the windows over two blocks," he said with a point. "They're both older converted buildings."
"I can look at those. Thanks, Xander." He smiled. "What do you do?"
"I want to be a writer."
"That's a hard field."
"But I'm pretty good at it. And I kinda like it. It's interesting crafting the tales and stuff." He grabbed two leeks and then put them back with a grimace. "Eww, damp." He found the ones he wanted and put them into his basket. "You were at the park the other day."
"I was. Your little friend was cute."
Xander smiled. "His name's Frodo."
"Frodo was sweet. Who built him?"
"I did off one of my uncle's plans." He walked around him with a grin. "I love my little protective Hobbit friend."
"He seemed like he was very protective. He kept nudging you whenever a jogger came near."
"Sometimes people try stuff, ya know?"
"I do. There's a lot of those in the city."
"I'm told there's a lot of them in Central Park. I'd hate to be mugged." He shrugged. "I'll see you around sometime maybe?"
"Can I take you to dinner?"
Xander shook his head. "I might accept coffee but I'm a bit cautious about real dates. I've had some horrifying stories told to me by my uncles about kidnapers."
"I've never kidnaped anyone," Ben teased with a grin. "But I can go for brownies and coffee."
"I *adore* chocolate. That's why I eat so much healthy stuff. So I can splurge." He grinned. "Tomorrow good?"
"Tomorrow's fine. Two?"
"That'd be a good thing. There's a great tiny bakery up the street by the dog park."
"I can meet you there at two." He shook his hand and walked off. Xander grinned, picking out a few more things then paying and going home to make dinner and get back to his story. Todd had said it was getting a lot more interesting. That plus a date made Xander a happy, happy boy that went to work on the forge. He had a sword he had been working on for a few weeks. Thankfully his neighbors didn't seem to care about how much he pounded in his basement.
Xander came home from his date to find two people on the floor being guarded by Frodo. "Shit. Good job, Frodo. Go get a treat while I call for help." He pulled over his phone to call. "I'm at...." He read off his address. "There's two people here unconscious on my floor that have apparently broken in. My security system knocked them out. Please. I'm not sure but I can see one's gun holster and I'm not seeing a badge. They're not in suits so not agents. The system's trained to alert me if people with badges show up. Thank you."
He hung up and sat down, staring at them until someone knocked. He hopped up to get them, walking around Frodo. The little robot dog scanned their uniform badges and let them in. "Thank you, Frodo. He's my security system," he said at the odd look the little robot was getting. "The two guys he knocked out are in the living room." He led them to them. "I have no idea who they are. I didn't search them. I don't want my fingerprints on them."
"They're dressed too nicely for most break-in artists," one of the officers said. "How did it knock them out?"
"Frodo, what did you use?" Xander asked. It shot a ball at the couch. "Oh, okay. Good job, Frodo." He petted it. Then he grabbed a toy to throw. "Fetch." It rolled off to get it but stayed there facing the officers while it sucked off the energy stored in the toy. "One of my uncles created him. I built Frodo off his design."
"That's a nice system," the lead officer agreed. "Probably gave them a concussion."
"If I had been home, you'd be picking up chopped up pieces of bad guy," Xander said. "I'm not nice and one of my uncles keeps getting kidnaped for a hormone problem he has."
"Never heard of that."
"It's not real common. Few cases in England." Xander held out a hand. "Sniff. I'm not backed up or anything today." The officer did and moaned. Xander nodded. "That's why he got taken. A lot."
"We can note that. It's a good reason to have Frodo," the other officer said. Paramedics got there and loaded the two people. The officers had Xander look around for anything missing or moved. Apparently the guys hadn't gotten farther than the hall. Though they found the forge a bit weird. Xander gushed about the sword he was working on, showing them his last one. They decided he was a goofy geek sort and left with that impression.
Xander flopped down on his couch, looking at his security robot. "So, who were they?" It lit up a hologram of their faces and ID's. "SHIELD? Really?" he complained. "I'm not evil or a bad guy." He pouted. "That's sucky." Frodo beeped and brought the toy over. Xander cuddled him and petted him. It was nice to have friends.
Nick Fury walked down to his infirmary, looking at the two agents his people had carried out of the kid's house. "What happened?"
"We heard a beep, saw a light, and then woke up here with a huge headache, sir," one reported, holding his head. "I was wearing a tactical camera for the handlers."
"Looks like his little robotic friend got you," Fury said. Both agents glared at him. "Tennis balls to the head, boys." They grumbled something impolite. "Did you manage to find anything?"
"His floors are pretty clean. We're not dusty," the other agent said dryly. "Otherwise, no. Did the extraction team?"
"They went in as paramedics. The report from the officers was more informative."
"Great." The head agent sat up, still holding his head. "This sucks."
"You have a good concussion." Fury stared at him. "Do you think you were made?"
"No idea, sir. Like I said, I was unconscious."
"Then we'll have to see." He left them to their headaches and dizziness. Not much anyone could do for a concussion.
Xander smiled at his editor Todd when he ran into him at the park. "Fancy meeting you here."
"What is that?" he asked, pointing at Frodo.
"That's Frodo. He's my robotic security guard." He sat down beside him. "He's very protective. We're out for our weekly writing in the park time."
"That's good I guess. What can he do?"
"He knocked out two guys breaking in last week," Xander quipped.
"Even better." He looked at Xander. "You're missing pages on what you sent me."
"Oops. Was that where I skipped ahead again?"
"I've filled most of that in but I'm missing the link to that and that'll link in a few pages to that first part I skipped ahead for."
"Good. Get that to me soon?"
"Within days. I only need about a page of linking."
"Send me the whole file next time, Xander."
"I can do that." He shook his hand. "Let us go find our spot in the park."
"Do you have it with you?"
"No, I only brought the netbook. It doesn't have anything but the page I'm presently working on." Xander pulled it out to let him see.
"Hmm. That's fine. Send me all that you have later tonight."
"I can do that, Todd. Thank you." He smiled and walked off with Frodo rolling beside him. They settled into their normal area to play fetch and write. Ben wasn't there today so no distractions from the butt appreciation society. When he got home, he merged the two files and sent it all to Todd. Frodo was nudging something so Xander got up to look. "Who put it there, Frodo?" Another projection hologram was put up and a bar that said 'searching' over the picture of a fingerprint. The picture that popped up didn't make him happy.
"That's so gotta stop," he decided, taking the device to retune so he could use it later. It got put into a steel box in the basement and he went back up to search around. The other bugs weren't as obvious but he had a spell to find them. Including the one on his computer system. He warned Todd someone had tried to hack him then removed it and broke it. He looked at Frodo, who barked. "Yeah, we need ice cream." He got it and settled in to watch some anime for a while. He was too mad to write. He and 'Ben' really had to have a talk.
Xander found Ben at the dinner they had planned, sitting down and dropping the broken hack integrator onto his plate. "Thank you for the new toy to play with, Agent Stel." He sat down, staring at him. "You could've just asked."
Xander held up a hand. "I hate liars. I hate people who use me. Frankly, if you had been honest I would've talked to you anyway." He stared at him. "As is, I'm pretty sure that your whole group has the wrong idea about me."
"We think that uncle of yours is in our files."
"I think you're full of shit since he's not on this realm," Xander said quietly, staring at him. "And never would be. Beyond that, he's not a bad guy." He leaned his elbows on the table. "If you had *asked*, I might have told you. Because there's probably going to be times I might need the contacts to save my own ass. I'm sure by now you've realized the hormone condition?"
"Then you're not a very good agent, are you?" He stared at him, seeing the anger in his eyes. "Really, within ten feet of me and can't tell? That's strange. Usually by now there would've been signs of it bothering you. Like weird dreams. Special times in the showers....." 'Ben' winced but sucked in a breath and nodded. "With that hormone condition from hell, there's going to be times I might need rescued. Frankly, I've been thinking about how to do that but we'll have to see how that goes. I certainly wouldn't take your recommendation for a bodyguard sort after all this. Some of us you don't have to sneak up on." He got up and walked out.
Ben paid his tab for his drink and left, going to talk to his handler. "What hormone condition?"
"No clue," he admitted. He took the device to look at. "He broke it well." He tossed it onto the dashboard. "We can set up a new agent."
"He's going to be looking for it. Send in someone who can ask?"
His handler grimaced. "Not many are that non-threatening."
"We can try."
"We might." He drove off, taking the surveillance van back to SHIELD's headquarters building. He'd report that to the director, who wouldn't be happy.
Xander grinned when he got home, pouncing Lavelle to hug. "Hi."
"My date was an agent."
"Two of them tried to break in here. Frodo stopped them."
"Frodo teased me with the toy." He cuddled him. "You okay?"
"SHIELD of all stupid things."
"Why?" Lavelle asked, looking confused.
"No idea. Since I had a date with him tonight I told him he should've asked because I might need them to rescue me some day."
"You'll do okay." He gave him the cuddle he wanted and needed. That Xander was so young and a bit more innocent than most of them. He was also snuggly and adorable. Some Xander to Xander special snuggly times were just a great thing for them. Frodo plugged himself in and got happy with a stuffed animal he had found somewhere.
Someone knocked on the door the next morning. Lavelle walked out to get it, letting Frodo scan them. The little robot popped up his ID. "Agent Forescythe, what did you want?"
"Who are you? You're not the kid."
"I'm his Uncle Lavelle." He stared at him. "And yes, I'm the mean guy you guys expected this one to be."
"Are you the one who taught him robots?"
"No. On my realm I'm a dark knight." The agent swallowed hard. "Unless you're evil and in my way, I don't care. I'm calming him down." The agent touched his earpiece. "You know what, I'm a big fan of comics. You guys are comics in my world. Why don't you send one of the better agents to talk to us today? One who won't piss himself at my adorableness?" He closed the door and walked off. "Frodo, tell me if a better agent shows up please." It barked. "Good boy." He gave it an energy treat from the charging station and went back to making breakfast. The kid was writing for his editor, which was a good thing to see. It took just less than an hour for a new agent to appear. Lavelle opened the door, staring at Frodo until his ID popped up. "Agent Philips. Are you an idiot?"
"Then we can chat." He let him into the house then shut the door. "You really did upset him by breaking his solitude and protections." He walked off. "Hey, little me, agent's here to talk." Xander waved a hand. "Okay, I'll talk to him first." He sat down. "Sit, please."
"Who are you?"
"Um...." He stared at the kid then at him. "You're obviously related."
Xander smiled. "Bit more complicated. I'm actually from another reality. I'm their Xander."
"Okay." He sat down. "We're worried because someone with electronics experience to build that little robot thing could pose a danger."
"I'm only a danger if you make me be," Xander quipped from where he was typing. "Until then I'm looking for a career, hopefully writing, a decent boyfriend to take care of the hormone problem, and possibly a bodyguard sort at some future time when things start to get backed up since those of us with the hormones can't always be fixed by just one lover."
Lavelle nodded. "All true. We taught him everything we know."
"You know robots?"
"No, but a set of us who are twins on another reality are CSI and own a weapons design firm. Frodo is off their security and helper robot's plans." He smiled. "We're a wacky, diverse bunch."
"If you're not from this reality, wouldn't that cause problems?"
"No. Especially not for some of us. I have ...issues that aren't hormones that mean I'm not biologically close enough to this one to matter. Then again, this one doesn't have a lot of the problems most of us have."
"How did you know about him?"
"We hold a convention yearly. It's like a family reunion only better." Lavelle grinned. "We found out his mom had him as a plan to take the place of the slayers that were never created here. They stole one of our DNA from another world and were going to warp him. So we raised him."
"There's over three hundred of us at the convention," Xander quipped, smiling at him as he typed blindly. "It's really great. We have a few feasts, we chat, we learn from each other, we share stories." He went back to his story. "One of them taught me to write."
"That's... that's good," Agent Philips said. "This is a bit weird even for SHIELD."
Lavelle smirked. "Then again, SHIELD does a lot of shit that no one wants to talk about."
"My clearance isn't that high."
"In my realm, you're a comic book. I already know." Philips slumped some. "Is your Fury black or white?"
"The original comics had him being a white guy." Lavelle shrugged. "That means you're about two off from where I thought but that's cool." He smiled. "What did your dickheaded director want to know?"
"We think he might turn dangerous."
Xander saved his present section and turned to look at him. "If I have to take myself back from someone, yup. I'll do my best to destroy them to the molecular level without doing damage to anyone else. Just generally around town? Probably not. Though it was a bit evil having Agent Stel date me." He stared at him. "I'm a fairly open guy if you're the right sort. Like I told him, ask. Even your boss can ask."
"That's why I'm here. What hormone condition is this?" Xander started to get up but Lavelle waved him back down. "We can put it into the database to make sure we can find him."
Lavelle stared at him. "It's a very high output of pheromones and other hormones that make him like candy for certain people and beings. The ones that he inherited that from, thanks to his birth mother's wish, are so bad that they've had to fight off demon realms. They've destroyed everyone on a few demon realms." Xander nodded. "They're kidnaped and all that."
"Wearing it out," Lavelle said dryly. "Which takes someone to have fun with."
Philips nodded once. "Okay. Can we take a sample?" Xander got his workout t-shirt and tossed it at him. Philips bundled it into his bag and looked at them again. "Are you presently planning on endangering anyone?"
"No. I'm presently setting myself up to hopefully have a career as a writer and then do neat things like travel."
"Traveling can be good for a guy," Philips agreed.
"The problem is that only the deadly tend to like us," Lavelle said dryly. "The one he got the hormones from, he knows more arms dealers than he does anyone else. He was dating two cops, knows a great number of them in Miami, but he also plays poker with the underground to keep himself from being bored and as a protective measure." Philips moaned. "Frankly, most of us dated people that most normal people would stare at in horrified awe. We're hoping this one doesn't have that gift but we're not sure if he does or not. So we may someday need you to help him rescue himself."
"We can see that need," Philips agreed. "What about weapons?"
Xander grinned. "I'm really good at forging swords."
"Not that sort." He stared at him. "You play stupid very well."
"It's a defense mechanism. Yes, I do know a bit about weapons. Some of us had went to Africa to work with the slayers on their worlds. They taught the rest of us who only had minor knowledge of guns. If I have to, yeah I can blow the fuck out of somewhere. If I don't have to, then I can pet them like the rest of us do."
Philips grimaced. "We'd rather you not have them."
"If I appear weak, then the ones who want us want us harder," Xander quipped. "One of me had to get out of a slave market with only a sword. He made a mess that made FBI guys vow to be better humans when they found God after their puking and then hangovers."
Philips winced. "Can anything lower that problem?"
"Lots and lots of wearing sex hormones out. I liked Stel until I found out he was lying to me. He had good game."
"I'll see if any agents want to visit you for stress relief," Philips said. Xander smiled at him. "Um..." He stood up. "Let me take this back and if we need to come back and talk some more we can?"
"I'm open to decent people," Xander agreed. "I'm sorry I scared the guy at the electronics store."
"Stark," Philips said when Lavelle stared at his younger counterpart.
"That figures. You weren't a known robotics person," Lavelle said. "It happens and we can handle that." Xander relaxed again. "If I could somehow manage to build a syndicate that took over my world without realizing it, you can be a great author who travels and sometimes has bad guy boyfriends." Xander bounded over to hug him then went back to work. Lavelle smirked at Philips. "We're good boys most of the time."
"I'll be sure to note that, sir." He let himself out, heading back to the office. He dropped the t-shirt in the lab. "The guy who owns that has a high pheromone hormone problem." The lab assistant nodded. "We need to know what, how, and how bad please." He walked upstairs to the director's office, nodding at him. "He's nineteen."
"I heard. Other reality?"
"Apparently, sir. They're identical only the other one has white, shoulder length hair and calluses like he's used to weapons."
"Good to know." Nick Fury let the agent report, watching him sweat. "You hit with that hormone thing?"
"I think I am because I don't usually find you attractive, sir. Let me go handle that."
"Get blood drawn first. I want to know what that's about."
"The shirt he gave me is in the lab."
"Even better. Dismissed." Agent Philips hurried down to the lab to get blood drawn then to his bunk to handle himself. Fury considered things, calling Stark to ask him about other realities. It wasn't a subject he knew anything about.
Two days later, another agent, this time in a nicer suit, was on Xander's doorstep. Lavelle was back home but Frodo let him in and scanned him then got out of the way. The agent stared at the little robot then followed him to the kitchen area. "He's neat," he said in greeting. The little robot put up a picture of him and his official ID, with fingerprints underneath. "I was not the one that planted the bugs."
"We know," Xander said. "Thank you, Frodo. Want a treat?" He threw down a battery. The robot rolled it off with his nose and munched on it to drain it then plugged himself in. Xander looked at the agent. "What's up, Agent...."
"Agent Sitwell." Bald guy, mediocre suit, manners so far, and uptight. Yup, he was a managing agent.
"I'm a senior handler."
"Okay, so I moved up from the scared guy to you. So what's up? Did I scare someone else?"
"No. We have the results from your sweat analysis and wanted to go over what you knew about this condition."
"There's been a lot of work done in a few realms that have more people affected. One of them has a Society chemist and a research panel. We have a whole sheet of allergies that make it go off like a nuke and some stuff that can briefly lower it but it's dangerous to use more than every few months in emergencies." He got that sheet to show him. He also got the booklet. "That's what they hand newbies who are found."
Sitwell sat down to read it over, taking pictures of the allergy sheet on his phone. "So we can perhaps find something safer." He handed them back, looking at Xander. "How are you handling it right now?"
"A few easy dates, some vibrating friends. My hand."
"At least you can do that."
"It's not usually enough but I can make do." He stared at him. "I'm really not the dangerous sort."
"I figured you weren't since you let the robot answer the door."
Xander smirked a tiny bit. "Don't underestimate the nice ones, Agent Sitwell. I'm very deadly and so is Frodo when we need to be. Right now, we're not needing to be."
"That's how a lot of us are, Mr. Harris." He stared at him. "Alternate realities?"
"Yup." He grinned. "We hold conventions."
"Doesn't that run into problems?"
"No. We have a little realm that's not attached to anything. We go there, shut off all access points, and hang out. They were doing that when I was born."
"So, all your education was done by other yous."
"Yes, though I tend to call them uncles."
"I guess that's easier to explain than a lot of siblings." Xander smiled and nodded. "As a matter of listing things, do you have any skills not noted that could be dangerous if you fell into enemy hands?"
"Probably, but if I told you someone could hack you and find out." He stared at him. "I'm the nicer fairy of all of us but I'm not naive. As I said, if I need to be deadly I can be, Agent Sitwell. Until that day comes, I'm a nice guy who wants to be a writer and who could really use some better dates. And occasionally saved from those dates."
"I can understand that worry though we're not easily hacked."
Xander shrugged. "And yet, you are." He smiled. "Or so I've heard."
"You told Agent Philips one of the other yours was a weapons designer?"
"And ballistics CSI. A few of them were CSI."
"Is your robotic friend able to do that?"
"Yes, Frodo can read fingerprints."
"Are they legitimate weapons designers?"
"They run a purely design firm and sell designs to DoD whitelisted companies."
"That's wonderful news." He stared at him. "We're worried that someone may want you for what they know."
"They'd want me for my hormones, Agent Sitwell. They'd learn that I knew weapons when I'd blow them the fuck up." Sitwell blinked at him. Xander smiled. "I learned from the best. The one that got used by the wish to give me the hormone problem destroyed 47 demon realms at the last count for them wanting him. Plus a whole lot of bigger names in the underground in his world. He plays poker with the rest of the underground to keep himself safer, plus has a commando as an assistant. Then again, he is backed up all the time."
"Do we know who that commando is?"
"I know his name's Wade. He never mentioned if that was his first or last name. I know he's Canadian. I know he's somehow run into the Delta team they have there as a retrieval team for Miami, who go by the name Losers."
"I've heard of them."
Xander grinned. "They're the ones that go rescuing members who are from Miami or in Miami."
"That's a good idea." He made that note into his phone, showing him a picture that was linked to that team's file. Xander nodded. "That's a mean assistant to have."
"He keeps Xander safe. Xander even found him a girlfriend he could like because she likes to torture guys."
"Yeah, that sounds...happy for him."
"That Xander had dated her when she first lost her vengeance demon job. She and Wade worked better though."
Sitwell looked at him. "Vengeance demon?"
"She was over women scorned for over eleven hundred years."
"Oh. Oh, dear."
"Yeah, kinda. We dated when she got fired." He shrugged. "It happens to us. They love us."
"I can see why he has an assistant like that."
"Kinda." He grinned slightly. "Which is why I'm being so open with you guys. Because some day, people like that may come for me."
"Which we don't want but we have to be able to calculate how dangerous this could be for others."
"I'm not into collateral damage."
"Sometimes it's unavoidable."
"Not if you can destroy the building instead of the people."
Sitwell blinked again. "An interesting strategy. Can you build weapons?"
"No comment." He stared at him. "Do I have plans? No."
"Did they teach you to create weapons?"
"Yup, to keep me safer."
"What else did they teach you?"
"Martial arts. Lavelle studied with a samurai. The others with the hormone problem learned a martial arts dance series that leads to a fighting style. And belly dancing. President Xander helped with my gunmanship with Lavelle."
"They elected him even when he begged for them to leave him alone."
Sitwell took off his glasses to clean. "Why?"
"He was the third in that line of 'they'll protect us'."
"Interesting. I'm sure they, and you, would."
"That's why my mother got talked into carrying me."
"I heard about that." He cleared his throat and put his glasses back on. "Were there any other notable ones?"
"There was one of me that owned a comic shop. The one that came to save me somehow got old gods involved."
"Apparently one of the chaos gods thinks I'm a battery."
"It does seem to be chaotic for a lot of them." He looked at the staring robot then at the young man. "We can give you a contact number you can call if you run into someone too bad. Someone like an arms dealer or the like. That way we can send someone to help you before they kidnap you."
"That could be nice. Thank you. Hopefully I'll have book tours in the future." He grinned.
"I hope you do make it as a writer. That would be safer for you and others." He stood up. "Let me leave you my card. For now, if you run into one of them, call me and I'll at least look into who they are and what they're into. If you need more help than that, we can figure that out then?" Xander nodded, taking the card he pulled out. "I'll get that allergy list back to the lab to see if they can find anything easier to help you handle that before it gets out of hand. I'll check on you in a few weeks, Mr. Harris." He left.
Xander looked at Frodo. "He's kind of uptight but at least he's not mean to me." Frodo barked and nudged him so he went back to his cooking. He was hungry. He had missed breakfast to write. Those muses he had inherited were mean.
Xander had to call that nice, uptight agent not three weeks later when his date decided to be 'commanding' in a bad way by taking a restaurant hostage to keep him. Of course the guy was out on a mission so he delegated. The agent he delegated to didn't see any need to be quick. Xander had to get himself free at the airport. He was standing over the idiot with a knife in his hand when the cops got there. Xander looked at one. "He tried to kidnap me to own me. Pity." He handed over the knife before they could ask. "I made that. There's a cache in the handle that has emergency supplies because stuff like this happens to me." He shrugged and walked over the guy's bleeding body toward the cop cars with the cops guiding him. He looked over when a sedan pulled up and an agent got out. "I don't know you," he called. "Did that uptight, bald guy with the glasses send you?"
"No, the junior agent who just lost his job for being an idiot did," he admitted, walking over. "Mr. Harris, I'm Agent Coulson." He showed them his ID. "Thank you for handling this threat yourself since we were inefficient. We don't think it will happen again." Xander smirked at him, crossing his arms over his chest. "What happened?" Xander told him all about the blind date someone in the park had set up. She had seemed nice when they had talked after she had tripped over him playing fetch with Frodo.
She had claimed the guy was a friend of hers who was looking for an interesting boyfriend, liked artistic sorts, and he was a decent guy. Their first meeting at a coffee shop by the park had went well. Their next one of a walk in the park had went nicely. Then the dinner that got the whole place taken hostage had happened. The cops were making notes and calling in about that. Agent Coulson stared at him. "How did you extract yourself from the restaurant?"
"When I got blown off by Sitwell, I had a slight headache and let my hormones creep up enough to emote. Which made everyone very cuddly but not enough to cause an orgy or anything like that. I left while they were fighting it. He found me about a block later when I was ducking into somewhere else. The gun to the back of my neck was a bit of a pointed hint he wanted a longer talk. He drove us here and when I saw where we were, and heard him talking about Morocco, I decided I should probably save myself right about then. Thankfully I love making knives on my forge," he finished dryly, staring at him. "Pity about his designer suit he was so proud of."
Coulson looked over then at him. "It's not that expensive or special. Barely above off the rack." Xander smirked a tiny bit, looking pleased. "The knife you used?" It was handed over by the officer. Coulson looked it over, nodding. "Nice work. Very pretty design." He opened the bag and handed it back. "SHIELD is going to be taking the victim. He's wanted on white slavery charges in a few countries." Xander shuddered. "Hormones?"
"Probably," Xander agreed. "Plus I'm young. I seem soft." He waved a hand. "The hormones just make me a yummy target."
"We're still working to see if we have a method to make them lower."
"They've been working on it for centuries and haven't found anything. You guys can if you want. Let me know if you find more allergies or anything like that so I can pass it on please."
"I can tell them that." He helped him off the police car hood. "Let's get you home."
"I'm not fragile."
Coulson stared at him. "This is probably your first self defense struggle." Xander shrugged. "It's normal to be a bit uneasy, feel off centered, or worried afterward."
"I'm not. There's worse than this that's happened to others with that hormone thing. We had a lot of talks about those sort of people."
"That's good." He walked him over to his car, letting him inside. "Calm down. Let me do the papers, and I'll debrief you once we take you home. That way your little Frodo helper can make sure you're safe. Sitwell's notes about Frodo were very complimentary." He walked back to do the paperwork and call in to get someone for the idiot removal. Once he was done he got into the car. "We wanted to do a more in depth hormone study," he said, starting the car and driving off. "The sweat sample you submitted was light, barely had any registering. We'd like to see the range from normal time to backed up to when you're ...emoting you called it?"
"Or broadcasting. Basically thinking happy thoughts to up them and consciously using it offensively to smarm everyone in range so they get confused minded."
"That's a good last ditch method before physical confrontation. The rest of the people in the restaurant?"
"They didn't get much. A few were kissing but nothing too big and I told the waiter to air them out as I slid past him."
"That's a good thing. We can test that?"
"Maybe. Wouldn't that mean me being in the lab for days on end?"
"It's lowered my slightly backed up state by broadcasting."
"We can maybe do it over a few hours tomorrow night?"
"We can probably do that. Will it be safe for the lab geeks?"
"We can make sure. If we have to we have quarantine suites and can take readings in there so you can't affect anyone without intent." Xander nodded. He found Xander's apartment and parked, walking around to let him out. "Agency cars have safety locks," he admitted. Xander grinned, walking up the stairs to open the door. He petted Frodo, who scanned the agent and popped up his ID. Coulson stared at him. "It's adorable." It had field applications. That was charming and cutesy, the junior agents would love it on missions.
"Thank you." He smiled. "Frodo's a great friend to have." He got some water, handing over a bottle to the agent. "Do you need this shirt? I kinda like it."
"No, we can take wipes of your sweat. I was told how do that if you have some gauze? If not, I can dig out the car's first aid kit."
"I do." He got it and let the agent take swipes of his sides and armpit, giggling some when he hit a ticklish spot. "Sorry."
"Most people are ticklish somewhere." He bagged them and looked at him. "Can you describe the woman that set you up with him? We'd like to stop all their empire."
"I hate people sellers. They really do suck for everyone." He sat down and thought back. "We were in the park. She's a jogger there but I didn't see her the last time I went. Frodo, did you take a picture of the nice lady?" He got a negative buzz. "Show me the park the last time we played?" Frodo replayed the security tape he had. He tapped the picture so it froze. "Her." He zoomed in. It was a bit grainy. "It looks like her but she had brown hair, not red, and her nose was a bit smaller, and her chest was strapped down better instead of being shown off." He looked at the agent. "But she was about her measurements and height."
"Okay." He made a note and tried to take a picture of the image. No luck. It printed though so he made notes on it and got into the files to see if he could find them. He showed one picture, getting a headshake. The next one the young man nodded at. "That's not good. She's an agent from the local FBI office." He made that note and looked at him. "If it's not her I'll search for similar looking females." Xander nodded. "How is the book coming?"
"It's going longer than I expected and sometimes the muses are mean. I keep missing meals." He grimaced. "But they want me to write right then."
"You can't put it off?"
"Hmm. I don't know many who write but if I get a chance I'll ask them." He made that note as well. "Are you more comfortable and out of warrior mode?" Xander nodded. "We'd like to test your martial arts skills."
"I think that might make it more dangerous for me."
"We think it could allow us to send you agents who could keep up with you if necessary to rescue you."
"Usually I'd take any sort of help, Agent Coulson."
"Yes, but some agents would be able to do things that you can do. We don't want to overlap skills."
Xander nodded. "Then you can't send anyone who can shoot."
"Good point. What sort of martial arts were you trained in?"
"Lavelle trained with Goemon, who is a samurai of an old line. He trained him and he learned some off anime and from another style. The dancing style that leads to self-defense work is the life story of a warrior and all his struggles. It's a bit...erotic in places but it does lead to better sword work and self defense moves."
"I'd like to see that."
"It tends to wear out the hormones."
"We can watch you do that with sample pads on so we can do a good sweat sample comparison after the one the lab techs want." He made that note. "How long is the dance?"
"There's over eighty hours." He smiled. "I can do about forty to fifty minutes at a time right now."
"That'll probably be more than enough." He made that note as well. "Will you need anything special?"
"No. I do it most days in the basement so no one can spy on me."
"That's handy and practical." He stared at him. "What's your schedule like the rest of the week?"
"Mostly just writing. I'm hoping I'm nearly done with this one story." He grimaced at his computer then at him. "I'm hoping it'll tell me when it's done."
"Sometimes they can write the whole trilogy. A few fantasy writers have and then split it up."
"I can ask my editor about that." He grinned. "Thank you for not being as uptight as Sitwell was. He acted like I was contagious."
"He is a bit uptight." He made a few more notes. "How often does this sort of incident happen to that other Xander?"
"He plays poker with thugs and the underground in Miami to keep himself safer. He also keeps a large arms closet and apocalypse vault to make him seem less weak. He fights off a few attempts every few weeks." Phil grimaced slightly, making note of that. "I'm not as backed up as he is. He has years of being backed up from his old boyfriends never helping him and now being single."
"That's good to know. If it's handled then it's not as bad?"
"It's a lot less noticeable if the hormones are cured. Very few things cure the hormones."
"I'm guessing that a live-in lover would be preferable?"
"Very. I'm still looking."
"That's a normal thing to go through. Many people search for years, but I think you'll find one sooner." Xander smiled. "Are there complications to that?"
"I'd like someone nice. Usually only the dangerous sort like me though. All of us really. It's a shared trait."
"Interesting. Because of the hormones?"
"No, all the Xanders."
"Very interesting. I can have that noted. That way we look at anyone who does date you. Just in case they have bad plans for the world."
Xander giggled, shaking his head. "Most of us dated Anyanka on our worlds."
Phil considered it. "I don't know them."
"The vengeance demon over women scorned. She lost her job and we took her to the prom and most of them nearly married her."
Phil blinked at him. "So dangerous is not just in a likes weapons sense. That's good to know." He made that note as well. He looked at him. "Would you agree to spar with someone while you're there?"
"If I must."
"We just want to gauge a few things. We're not going to push you hard but a lot of agents don't have the sort of training you have. You can try to take it easy on them to protect your true skills but if we know how you react to things we can prep the agents who might need to help you so they're warned."
"I guess I can see that point. President Xander taught me a lot. He was one of us that went to Africa to work with the newly called slayers. He was there for years."
"So...hold on, President?" Xander smiled and nodded. "Why?"
"They had a 'he'll protect us' thing going on for two military guys before him and then him. He begged them to leave him alone and they wouldn't. He even had the big gay wedding of the century in the white house. They still wanted him back until he finally told them they drove him nuts and he wanted to go hide from humanity instead of protecting it in the next apocalypse battle." He got up to get a picture and pointed. "That's President Xander."
"Huh." He made that note off to the side then looked. "Lavelle is the one with white hair. Philips took a picture." Xander nodded with a grin. "Which one is the one with the hormones?"
"The ones with the longer hair."
"Okay. Three?" Xander nodded, sitting down. "What did most of you do?"
"We hunted with slayers. We took out the demons that were bothering people. Which is why the witches wanted one of me here since there's no slayers. There's probably a prophecy or a foreseen thing."
"If you hear, tell me?"
"We're pretty good at getting around prophecies from what the others said but I can do that, Agent Coulson."
"Thank you." He leaned over to put the picture onto the coffee table then sat up. "How did that one lose his eye?" There was probably a similar story behind so many of them missing the same eye.
"Minion of the First Evil. They called him the Unseen Seer. That was before the battle of Sunnydale that ended the town."
"They didn't have much of a town after it got sucked into the hellmouth."
"Portal to multiple hell dimensions?"
"Is it possible that others know about those realms?"
"Yes. I noticed that someone did see over there somehow. I shared the show with Lavelle and he giggled a lot. But that's cool. Lavelle needs more happies."
"Do you intend to see them often?"
Xander smiled. "We hold a yearly convention."
Phil nodded. "Here?"
"A special realm."
"That's good to know. Having a few dozen of you together might be a bit weird."
"There's over three hundred of us." He grinned. The agent wasn't freaking out so that was a great indication that he was all right and might be a nice guy to know.
Phil nodded. "That's a lot and would probably worry a convention center." Xander smirked a tiny bit. "All right, let me get this report back to the director. I'll come pick you up late tomorrow night? We can do it after dinner? By the time we're done with the sparring you'll be tired."
"The next day I meet with my editor at ten."
"I'll keep that in mind." He shook his hand and let himself out. Xander locked the door behind him. Phil took a clearing breath of the semi-fresh air before getting into the car and heading back to the base. He walked in and the Director sniffed then stared at him. He put down the notes he had made, and the tape. "Sitwell underestimated how bad it could be, sir."
"Good news," he said blandly, looking things over. "He sure about her?"
"He said it looked like her."
"We can check. The kid didn't hurt him too much. Lots of stitches, deep stab wound, but nowhere near fatal."
"I don't think he wanted to kill him."
"Probably." Fury rubbed around his eyepatch then looked at him. "Did he smarm you with his hormone problem?"
"I have sweat samples on me, sir."
"Go drop them off, take a shower, change clothes, and come back."
"Sorry." He walked off to do that. When he came back the director was looking less flushed and a bit less pleased. "I've gotten him to agree to a sweat testing, to show off some of that unique dancing self defense style, and to spar a bit. I did tell him he didn't have to show his actual true talents. We'll do that after dinner so he can go home and rest, then meet with his editor the next morning."
"I guess that'll be fine. He probably won't last too long sparring."
"I don't know, sir."
Fury looked up. "You still stink like you've been at a whorehouse," he said bluntly.
"I showered twice, sir."
"Uh-huh. Go...take care of that or whatever you do, Coulson. I'll talk with Sitwell when he gets back." Coulson nodded and left. Fury sprayed air freshener and went back to the new notes now that he could concentrate. Those damn hormones would drive him nuts.
See What A Little Chaos Can Do.