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The Imperfect Son.

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The Imperfect Son.

Three figures appear in a clearing. Clearly magic had helped since they hadn't been here before and there was a shining being in the center of the clearing. "Good, you're here," she said. "We need you three to restart the cycle of life."

Two of the men stared at her oddly. "We don't do shit like that," one said.

"Nor are we going to die to give someone a new life," the third said dryly. "Because the last step of the wheel of the year is a death of the Green Man and then rebirth is the first step on the new year." He moved closer. You could see a slight limp. You could see an eyepatch underneath shaggy dark hair. In the good eye, you could see anger. "I don't know who you think you are to summon us here, Lady, but hell no!"

"You don't have a choice," she said with a smile for him. "You've been specially called for this."

The guy snorted. "Doubt it. That's not why I was summoned to this realm from my home one." He waved a hand. "Already found that out with the visions." She gasped and floated backward. "Now, let's get this killing you thing over with so I don't have to explain you to Willow. Okay?" he asked with a grin, pulling a sword off his back.

"Who are you?" one of the other two asked.

He grinned. "Xander Harris. You?"

"Dean Winchester and somehow she pulled my missing brother Sammy."

Xander shook his hand then looked at Sam. "You might wanna get out of that body, dude."

"He's mine. He agreed," the odd voice said, sounding smug.

"Sure, I'm sure he did." He muttered something. The being laughed. Xander switched to the exorcism that would get Satan out of sacrificial babies. The spirit floated out while the host body choked. "I told you to get out of him. I doubt his brother wanted you and his brother together." The spirit tried to get back but Xander stood between them. "No. Hell to the fuck no as a matter of fact."

"Who are you?" Dean asked. "Just for reference. Are you angelic?"

Xander shot him a grin. "I've never been accused of that Dean. I work with slayers."

"We've barely heard of you," he said, blinking hard. "They're all girls."

"Yeah but there's trainers, watchers, all the rest of us who aren't always male." He smiled. "I'm one of the head people in the New Council." He looked at the being again. "Just go."

"You cannot stop me. He agreed to host me."

Xander turned and pulled something out of his pocket. "Got holy water or oil, Dean?" Dean handed over his vial of holy water. Xander did something on Sam's forehead, then kissed him on it. Sam blinked at him. He grinned. "Hi. Just making sure it won't happen again." The spirit surged back but then screamed when his claim was denied. "Huh, imagine how that works when you know the oldest things," he said dryly, staring at the demon. "Now, shoo. Go. Not wanted here." The spirit tried again. Xander pulled something out of his pocket and threw it on the cloud of foul spirit. It screamed in pain and disappeared. Xander grinned and waved. "Have a good trip, dear! We'll make sure any slayers who meet you want to chat." They all heard the groan. He grinned at Dean. "I work with some bouncy, hyper warrior teen girls. Always a happy thing to sic them on an enemy in that mode." He helped Sam up. "I believe he's yours."

"He is." He pulled him over to look at. "Sammy, you good?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. It's...he's gone."

"That exorcism was created to get him out of sacrifices," Xander said dryly. "It'll pull him from everything, including babies and sheep." He looked at the woman again.

"You're doing good helping me," she said.

Xander threw the rest of the vial on her, making her scream. "Didn't do it for you." She beat at herself. "That alone proves you're demonic. I should call Willow on you. I'm sure she'd *adore* talking to a higher being about magical rebirths," he said coldly.

"Willow?" Dean asked.

"The Red Witch?" Sam asked. "Even Lucifer was scared of her."

Xander smiled at him. "His mushy note to her gave her such a freak-out. It was fun to watch but we had to stop her from turning all the possessed beings on this plane into cute kittens like you see on the internet to make sure that none of them were evil anymore."

"Eww," Dean said, shaking his head quickly. "No one's that strong."

"Yes she is," Xander and Sam said together. Xander nodded and grinned.

The three hunters stared at the demon. "Now, you wanted what?" Sam asked her.

"You to restart the rebirth cycle."

"Um, no," Sam said, smiling his best lawyer smile at her. "I'm not into that. Sorry. Already died once."

"Ditto," Dean said.

Xander shrugged. "I don't know if I have or not. Been nearly there a few times." He considered it then shrugged. "Doesn't matter. Won't happen anyway. Begone, foul wench, before I call Willow."

"She can't get here." Xander pointed behind him. "How did you do that!"

She stepped from behind the two tall brothers. "He mentions me enough and I have a spell that makes me pay attention to what he's doing, usually because he's invoking me to handle something for him," Willow said with a smug look.

"She wanted us to do the wheel of the year, Willow. That way she could start the rebirth cycle off."

She snorted. "You're not magical, Xander. You can't do that. Normal guys can't do it correctly." She patted him on the arm. "Aren't you glad you're normal?"

His eyes glowed at her and he sniffed her neck. "Girl." She squeaked and moved behind Dean. Xander let his hyena go back to resting. He grinned at her. "Really? Am I?"

She huffed. "That's not right, Xander! You leave that hyena alone! It's bad!"

"Sure as hell helped me in Africa," he said, then pointed at her. "You deal with her. I'll get the guys back where they belong?"

She nodded. "Gladly so you don't have to do magic." She looked at her again, hands on her hips. "You picked the wrong guys to help you." The demon laughed. Willow shot a spell at her and the demon screamed. "I don't think so, woman! Not on *my* earth and since I'm part of the reason it's still going, it won't happen here."

Xander got the guys backed off, shaking his head. "Let her vent," he mouthed. "Just let her handle it for us. Then she'll feel better and introduce you to the slayers who're over eighteen so they can flirt." He winced at Willow shouting something. He looked back there and shook his head, pulling out his phone to text someone else. "Willow, you'll need Buffy and the scythe," he called before the answer came back.

"Yeah, I might. I might not. I might just chain her up somewhere so I have someone to learn from."

"Then Giles will be pissed."

"Good point." She grimaced and summoned Buffy, who had just grabbed her special scythe. "She's a demon queen, Buffy. She wanted Xander."

"That's not that unusual." She looked at Xander and the other two. "Awww, do you have a boyfriend finally?"

Xander grinned. "They're some of the hunters we've heard about and they're having an apocalypse battle. She wanted us to do the wheel of the year to bring back a rebirth."

"Not. Likely," Buffy said. "Either one. We don't allow apocalypses." She smiled. "We'll chat after this." She looked at the demon queen. "Wow, you're really not evil, are you? You didn't want Xander for yourself. You can't be that evil."

Willow nodded. "That's what I was thinking. And maybe chaining her somewhere so she could be a teaching tool."

Buffy considered it. "She'd taint the minis, Willow. We can't allow that around the mini slayers."

"No. You can't," Xander called with a grin and a wave. "My minis? Hell no!"

"See, even he knows it'll be bad, and she might just turn evil enough to want to date Xander or something."

"Good point, I guess." Willow grimaced. "So let's end her." Buffy nodded and lunged in to fight the demon. Willow helped. Xander shot at her. "Xander, no guns."

"Shut up, Willow. I'm killing the thing she's possessing."

"It's innocent!"

"It's a naga. No it's not."

"Oh, never mind."

Xander shook his head with a sigh. "Yeah, it's like that," he muttered. The spirit got killed. The naga was dead. Buffy pushed back her hair. "You two good?"

"Just fine. Little bit sweaty but I had patrol tonight anyway." She smiled and walked over. "So, guys, apocalypse battles?"

"Angels are tired. They want an end time thing," Dean said. "Dean Winchester and this is my brother Sammy."

"Buffy Summers. The senior slayer," she said with a grin, shaking their hands. "I see you've met our normal guy backup."

"Yeah, he helped a lot by getting Lucifer out of Sam."

Buffy looked at him. "Did he stick in you?"

"I found people who taught me what Giles taught you when you went telepathic," Xander said blandly. "It seems to work the same way."

She winced, easing her grip on the scythe. "I'll tell him that, he was worried." Xander snorted. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine. I just didn't want to deal with her. I have a date later."

"No dating evil girls, Xander," Willow complained.

"Shut up," he complained back, shooting a mildly annoyed look at her. "At least mine are useful, unlike the stakeable one you're dating." She blinked, going pale. He nodded with a grin. "Have fun with her. I know she's from a good clan and she's a nice lady but she's not exactly *helpful* during problems. So maybe she'll be the mom sort for the minis."

"She likes being the stepmom for the minis," Willow agreed, sounding dazed. "How did you know?" she demanded, stomping over.

"Rumors," he said with a grin. "Lots and lots of rumors. Mostly making sure they know I don't have to stake her for you. I've had twenty different mentions of 'don't worry, she's not like Angel was' and other charming things."

"Oh, poop," she muttered, shaking her head.

Buffy looked at her. "She is?" Willow and Xander both nodded. "Huh. Harmless?" They both nodded again. "Then you know we don't care, Willow."

"They made sure I knew just in case," Xander said.

"That's fine. You're in Africa. How did you get here?" Xander pointed at the remains. "Oh. Well, I guess you can fly back tomorrow?"

"Or something." He smiled. "I have my ways." She glared. He stared back. "How's your latest thing?"

"No comment since he's gone." She looked at Dean again. "He's over the minis in Africa."

He nodded. "It seems to be a hard job, it's best to have someone who can handle the average and the strange things."

"The strange things want to date him so the girls realize what they are and how to avoid them," Willow said.

Xander sighed. "I'm so tired of this nagging."

"And who dated a reanimated mummy?"

"And *who* slept with a vampire and broke the happiness curse on him?" he shot back, making Buffy glare but blush. "Uh-huh. We *all* have sins in that area. Unless you want me to start shoving yours back like you do mine, shut up."

"Fine. Sorry. You've obviously got Man-MS again." She waved a hand. "Go home, Xander. We'll handle this with the hunter guys."

Xander shook his head. The situation hit him tactically and suddenly, he realized he could do something. "Okay, I've had enough," he told the sky. He walked off. "I call upon thee," he said in an ancient language, making Dean stiffen. "Those that have a life debt to me shall appear or I shall call Vengeance upon their lines," he said. Two forms faded in. He looked at the living one. He pointed. "You need to go save him from the slayers. I'll deal with your single debt later." He looked over, eyes wide. Xander smiled at him. "Had enough." Castiel stomped over to save his charge and his charge's brother from strange women. He looked at the other one. "I've had enough. It's been two days of bitching. I can't.... Send me where I'm supposed to be since you owe me like three life debts?"

He took a deep breath because this was a bad thing in the making that he had no power to stop. It was an obligation by the oldest laws they had broken. "I... I'm not supposed to do that. You were brought here for a reason, Xander." Buffy was choking and spluttering. Willow was staring in horrified awe. "Yeah, you," he told her with a grin and a wave at Willow. "Just for you to control your dumb moments. We had to deage him and a lot of other problems. That's why I owe him three and Castiel only owes him one life debts. Though it's nice he just revived me." He looked at Xander. "Sorry, Sweetcheeks, can't."

"You can and you will or else I'll still hold *three* life debts and think of what I could ask you to do instead, Gabriel."

"That's a good point," he admitted, considering it. "I'm not supposed to get you home. We're not allowed to send you until we're absolutely certain Willow's fully dead and won't be brought back."

"Then can you bring Stepmom here? Maybe he can help? He's good at that stuff."

Gabriel winced. "That's probably a bad idea.... But less harmful. I can bring your dad."

"I doubt they'd like Dad. Dad might have a temper."

"Yeah, he does. He's just quiet about it." He grinned. "He's really missed you."

"I kinda missed him and the guys too." Xander stuck his hands in his pocket. "Your choice, Gabriel. Bring Stepmom here to help get us both home, or join the realms."

"That's kind of a worse idea," he said with a wince.

A female showed up and strolled over to Xander. "Dear, you're late." She moved between him and the ones that annoyed her.

"Sorry, I got called to beat up a demon who wanted me as a sacrifice." He kissed her and smiled. "So we're having a mini hunter/slayer meeting here and I'm talking to the one who owes me life debts for bringing me here in the first place about getting some of the family here."

"We can go there," she said with a smile.

"Sure, but if you make Stepmom handle anything he's going to be really mad. He might not show it all that often but he'll be really mad and the others will show it." He grinned.

"Hmm." She kissed him again. "We can handle that. I can be a good girl and subtly make plans that'll happen long after you're both gone. Not like you'll have kids."

"I know, that whole bringing me thing made me sterile." He shrugged. "We can adopt."

"I'm not really mom material," she said.

"Dad would probably really like to be a grandad." He grinned. "He'd be perfect at it."

"I'm sure he would," she sighed.

"Let me bring his dad," Gabriel said. "Your stepmom would probably follow." He concentrated then snapped his fingers.

A blond man appeared. Perfectly pressed preppie button up shirt, in pink, perfect pressed khaki pants, perfectly done hair. Eyes that lit up when he saw them. "Alex?" he breathed.

Xander grinned at him. "Yup. I found out why they snatched me." He pointed at Gabriel. "He owes me three life debts for it."

"I'm trying, pussycat," Gabriel complained. "I can't just merge the realms or whatever."

The guy looked at him. "Who're you?"

"The archangel Gabriel."

"No, really, who are you?" he demanded more coldly.

Xander nodded. "That's the Archangel Gabriel, Dad."


"The prophecy read 'imperfect son of the perfect son would be the one to cure the madness that would destroy this world and the next if she did not have leashes on her heart'," Gabriel said. "Sorry, but we like to live. Most of the time." He looked at the hunters then at them. "I tried. I got overruled where he grew up. They took it from me when I tried to solve the problems. Blame...well, I doubt you can blame him, he's dead," he admitted. Xander snorted. "Fine. I know, I still owe you three but this way your stepmom can figure out how to get here so you can travel back and forth."

"Fine. I'll let it go for now. That one will stand to cancel it and the second will be you taking over my spot with the mini slayers." He grinned.

"You evil bitch," Gabriel said, staring at him in awe. "Damn that's evil. I don't like kids!"

"Yay!" He grinned. His girlfriend was laughing into his neck. "You'll have fun teaching them to be just as tough as I am. Or more, they're girls and have to deal with things I don't, like periods."

"Yeah." Gabriel slumped. "If I can do the first...."

"Then that'll automatically cancel out the need for the second." He grinned.

"Pookie, you learned a bit too much from that evil lawyer I killed so I could date you," his girlfriend said. "You need to be less evil, dear. Rosenburg, quit making him lose his temper so he goes evil please? I hate having to work the evil out of him." She smiled. "Hi, Alathandra. I'm your son's present girlfriend." She held out a hand.

"Tom." He shook it. He pulled his son closer. "Son?"

"Dad." He hugged him. "I've missed you."

"I missed you too." He cuddled him. "You're all grown up. We missed a lot of stuff. Like your prom and first dates."

"Both demons," Willow called with Buffy a second behind.

"One was a former one," Alathandra called back. "Get it right, ladies." She smiled at the odd look the father was giving his son. "She was a vengeance demon and got fired. He took her to the prom." Xander grinned and nodded. "Nearly married her."

"She died a few years ago," Xander admitted.

Tom stared at his son. "Interesting."

Xander grinned. "I asked for Stepmom so we could find a way to travel back and forth so you could meet my slayers. Stepmom can probably figure out a doorway without the jet car."

"Slayers? You need to kill things very often?" The look he was giving his son wasn't exactly pleasant but the kid just ignored it. He had clearly grown up since he had been snatched at four-years-old. His scowl used to be enough to make his son quit climbing up people to get their food.

Xander sighed. "Slayers are the ones taking out the harmful demons, Dad. I train slayers so they can take up their duties once they're older. I worked with that one," he said with a wave back at Buffy. "We met back when I was fifteen." Tom blinked at her then at him. "Bad demons means they try to take out or take over humanity."

"I've met a few beings like that thanks to Buckaroo," he admitted dryly. Xander grinned. "So you're training them....."

"To be future slayers. Yup. Which means it's more like I have a bunch of little sisters I'm toughening up so they can beat up on guys."

"You're not allowed to teach the younger slayers how to date," Buffy called. "They might want evil ones too."

"No, Alathandra," Xander said, stopping her. "Stomp on Buffy later."

"If you're sure. I'm certain she could find something to baby her injuries, Xander."

He shrugged. "I staked the last one."

"You're the reason he disappeared?" Buffy complained. "I thought it was Faith."

"She kept laughing at the pathetic, small dicked thing," Xander quipped. "She said it suited you since you went for the easy and not terribly good." He grinned at his Dad. "This is Willow and Buffy. I regrew up with Willow and Buffy's the senior slayer, Dad."

"Ladies," he said with a nod. He looked at his son. "We can get home?"

"That's why I asked for Stepmom. He could figure out a doorway without me having to ask someone higher." He heard his girlfriend mutter 'don't tempt one' and looked at her. She just smiled. "Stepmom used to help take care of me. He's really smart and a lot of other things."

"Let me set off my beacon so he knows I could use him," he said, looking at his watch.

"Here, call," Xander said, pulling out his phone. "It's spelled to reach multiple dimensions and realities. Because sometimes slayers need backup on them." His father gave him another strange look but took the phone to text home. He got an answer so that was good. He sent in his codes so they knew it was him. His last text was 'found Alex'. He handed the phone back just as something roared and showed up.

"Oh, fudge," Willow muttered pulling up magic.

"Shut the fuck up!" Xander demanded. "I'm just now talking to my dad for the first time in twenty-five damn years! I don't need your shit!" He threw something at the demon, making it scream and die. "Thank you, Goddess!" He rolled his eyes. "Sorry, that's his way of trying to 'save me'," he said doing finger quotes in the air. "So he can try to woo me." He shrugged.

Gabriel whimpered, rubbing his forehead. "Not my fault. So not my fault," he muttered. "They magnified it. Not me."

Castiel cleared his throat. "Xander, what did you coat the blade with?"

"Groog slime." He grinned. "Then I had the slime blessed."

"Interesting. I'll have to try that on one of the higher demons." He walked over to grab the dagger to examine. When two higher demons showed up he stabbed one, making him scream and his host body die while the demon fled. "Very interesting. Thank you." He handed it back to Xander.

Crowley looked at the body then at Castiel. "That wasn't nice and I was here to be pleasant and remind the young man of his duties."

"Already know." He grinned and waved. "I heard, dude. Especially with the vision thing." He stared at him. "Going. To. Kill. You. All." Crowley took a step back, staring at him. Xander grinned. "Beyond that, the further plan for me to keep Willow in check by dating and then marrying her? Why would I want to do that?"

"It seemed safest," he said.

"I like girls!" Willow squealed in outrage. "I wouldn't date Xander if I had to! I've known him since I was five! I told him about periods for Goddess' sake!" She went off on an eww fit, which Sam patted her on the back to help calm down. "Thank you, Sam. You're very nice, for a boy. Almost like a woman would help." Dean smirked at his brother, getting swatted for it by Castiel. She looked at the demon. "Who're you?"

"That's Crowley. He's taken over Hell," Dean said.

"Oh, hey," Buffy said with a grin. "Give my slayers hell, watch me help Xander destroy you all. Though I don't know how he'd do it without sleeping with some."

Xander looked at her. "Unlike getting to a heavenly realm, I can get C-4 into a hell dimension," he said dryly. Crowley burst out laughing until Xander patted his pockets down. Alathandra smiled and handed him something from her purse. "Thanks, dear." He threw it on the demon, making him scream as he disappeared. "Or I can use heavenly blood." He grinned at his girlfriend. "I knew I had you hold my spares for a reason." He kissed her, making her moan.

"Eww," Buffy complained. "Is she demonic or evil?"

"I'm of a line they can't even hope to ascend to," Alathandra said dryly, smirking at her. "I'm one of the ones over magic." She smirked at Willow, who went pale and shook her head. "Oh, yes, dear, and we're all not very amused by you at the moment. You might want to give it up again. Really. Before I strip all your powers in a special rite and give them to my pookie. He'd like having magic, right?"

Xander shrugged. "I don't mind having shaman magic now. I guess it'd be okay. I'd probably never destroy more than the idiots who annoy me and try to create apocalypses. I really, really hate battles after having so many."

She kissed him on the tip of the nose. "I know, dear. We hate them just as much. You might lose and then we're all screwed. We might have to become *good* for a while." He smirked. She grinned back. "We'd make horrible good girls. They never get sex."

"You can have sex after I'm home."

"Sure," she purred, stroking down his arm. "I could like that welcome home gift."

Tom looked at her then at his son. "Apocalypse battles?" He'd deal with the evil girlfriend thing later. That's when he realized why this seemed so familiar. This was wrong on so many levels but he had seen weirder things thanks to being around Buckaroo all the time.

"At least one a year," he said dryly. "Since I was sixteen." His father huffed, staring at him. "Not my fault! Others want to take over the world and you know I can't let that happen. Stepmom made sure I'd be the sort of guy to stop that."

"Good point, he did warp you a tiny bit. But it helped calm you down."

"Yeah but I can't do the meditations he taught me anymore. They blocked it off. Would've helped in the school from hell. Well, on top of hell but whatever," he babbled. His father gave him that look. "When they pulled me, they deaged me to six months." His father growled. "I grew up on a hellmouth, Dad."

"I saw that show. I knew it had to be you. They all argued with me but *no*." Xander hugged him. He cuddled him back. "You're coming home?"



"I'm tired of the bitching and nagging. I need to be on-call for later battles."

"I'm sure we can figure it out," he promised, looking at Gabriel.

"I'm not allowed to send him home. That's why he asked for his stepmother. Who, looking over at the created family, could probably find a way to make a doorway so he could at least visit and his pouty ones could come see him for cuddles." He shrugged. "Hands are tied here, pumpkin. Sam, do you have any ideas?"

"Not really," he admitted. "We could set up one to a neutral realm from both sides. Some of the demon realms have that capability. Though it might cause other problems if there's not anyone to guard it."

"That might work," Gabriel admitted. "*His* memories?"

"No. Muttering," he said with a point at Willow, who was behind him.

"Sam, can you take over my spot of making sure she doesn't end humanity?" Xander called.

"Hey!" Willow complained. "I was grieving, Xander! It's not nice to pick on me about that."

"Not picking, just stating a fact, and not all of them you weren't. Or I wouldn't have had that blue thing I had to kill." He stared at her. She slowly hid behind Sam again. "You need a common sense insert."

"She needs to give it up before my sisters and I decide we can make a new powerful witch to work with the slayers," Alathandra said, staring at her.

"Xander can't do magic," she said.

"He's a shaman, yes he can," she countered. "And I could easily give it to Sam Winchester instead. He knows both the dark and the light and he's sacrificed a lot to help save his family and humanity. He'd do a lot better than you would."

"We'd hate that," Dean said. "Really, we would."

She looked at him. "Shut up, Dean. You don't get to make this decision." She stared at him. "The fate of the world may rest on this. Plus it'd mean you could battle Crowley a bit easier. Or the other angels that are bored." She smiled and clapped her hands.

"Don't I get a say in it?" Sam asked as four other demons in slinky lace dresses appeared.

"Pick someone," she offered.

"Can it be used to give Castiel grace again?" Dean asked.

"Ummm, probably not," one of the new ones said. She touched him. "I can approximate it." She smiled at him. "You do good work, Castiel. We appreciate that even if your family is full of douchebags." She patted him on the cheek. "That should activate what little grace is left in you and let you suck up more when some is spilled near you." He nodded his thanks. She looked at Sam. "He's not a fit vessel. He's newly blessed."

"I had to pull someone out of him, Maralyn," Xander said. "It's how I kept Lucifer from coming back."

"Oh, dear." She tested Sam by touching his cheek with her fingertips. He ducked away from her. "Hmm. Still not the right bit of powers to hold hers. She'd need someone more wild." She looked at her sisters. "A dryad?" They talked about it.

"They have to be able to help us," Buffy interrupted. "Because that's part of Willow's jobby job. Helping slayers. Protecting the earth. All that?"

The sisters nodded. "Then a dryad won't do." They considered it.

"Don't you dare," Xander said when he heard one word. They stared at him. "First. Evil." They nodded and gave up that plan to resurrect a witch. "Find a hunter, one who's honest, and give it to them. Or hey, Dad. But we'll be somewhere else."

"Which won't work," Buffy said dryly. "You can't go either. The minis will pout us to death."

Xander looked at her. "This is my real father, Buffy. I'm going with him." She gaped. He shrugged. "I'm tired of the bitching. I'm retiring unless they can find a way to get me back here for battles. I'll be on-call for them. I'll come running if you need me, the same as I do now. But I can't stand the bitching. I get less bitching from the demon porn circuit that wants me to join in." Gabriel squeaked and moaned, shaking his head. Xander grinned at him. "I know, one tried to tape it. Thankfully I had protections around the room."

"I saw. The momentary vision was not cute." He was still rubbing his forehead. He pointed. "Rescue committee." A man stepped out of a glowing portal.

"Stepmom," Xander chirped, jogging over to hug him. "Hi."

"Alex," he sighed, hugging him. He looked at his best friend. "Are you okay?"

"Bit shocked," he said. "Bit horrified." He glared at Willow then smiled at him. "We need to make a way so he can help his trainees come to him for sanity."

"And I'm still on-call for battles," Xander said against his 'stepmom's shoulder. He remembered this shoulder from all the times it had calmed him down when he was little the first time. His dad had been more uptight back then so this one had helped a lot.

"That too." He looked at Alathandra.

"I'm coming with you. I'd miss Xander." Her sisters moaned. She smiled. "I promised we wouldn't do anything until long after his line's passed on." They nodded that was fair.

Buckaroo Bonzai looked at his best friend's son, then at his best friend. "Want to go better in-depth?"

"I'm not fully sure myself. Though, you owe me twenty bucks on that bet. That was Alex on that show." He smirked.

"Oh, dear." He looked at him. "You work with slayers?" He pointed. "Miss Summers. Miss Rosenburg." Willow waved with a half-smile/half-grimace. He looked at his favorite kid again. "What happened?" He pointed at Gabriel, who explained it. And what they'd need, so why Xander had called him.

"I'm ready to go home. I want to retire. I want to actually heal the current injury. I want away from the bitching," Xander said. "Before I smite them all," he muttered. That got another squeeze. "Owowowow." His father pulled him over to look at the injury. "Sorry, claw earlier."

"Claw? Really?"

"Yeah, claw, really. It had ninety-three arms with five claws on each paw."

His father whimpered and pulled him closer. "We'll help you heal that, kiddo." He looked at his friend. "Can we find a way to rescue us and make that doorway?"

"Make the doorway, yes. How would they tell him?" Xander waved his phone. "There's a cellphone plan that does that?"

"It works on most planes." He grinned. "I've needed it to go rescue slayers."

"Oh, boy," he said. He looked at his mate. "Tommy?"

"We're going home."

"Okay." He stepped out of the way. "I'm holding the gateway open." Xander grabbed Alathandra's hand. At the last second, he grabbed Gabriel and hauled him over too. He came out the other side rubbing his head. "Alex?" Buckaroo asked.

"Visions suck."

"I'm sure they would. You have visions?" New Jersey asked. He was waiting with stuff to triage injuries.

"Yup. Since they popped the eye." He looked up. "Wow, you used to seem a lot taller. I think that's why I used to climb up you."

"Alex?" he demanded. Xander nodded. "Oh my god," he said, pulling him closer to hug. "You're okay. You're big!"

"I'm also going to bite because you're pressing on the claw marks." He got let go of. "Thanks." He took a deep breath and looked at his dad, then his uncles. "When they deaged me, they blocked me from anything meditational. It took me months with a shaman to break that problem." Buckaroo winced. "But I am fully shaman trained from the ones I met in Africa."

"That's good. Let's handle the injuries?"

"Please," Alathandra said. "Even I can sense you're radiating pain, pookie." Xander shrugged. "I know, not as bad as last week's or even last year's after that battle with the blue thing."

"He's been hurt worse than this?" Perfect Tommy asked her. Then he looked at his son. "Really?"

Xander took off his t-shirt, showing off the scars he carried. "Yup. And really, the eye thing wasn't nearly as bad as the appendix being pulled out by the hacks at Sunnydale General. That hurt a lot worse." His father was staring. "I'd show you the others but I doubt they want to strip me naked."

"We're going to see anyway when we do your physical," New Jersey said, walking him off. "Let's go hit the infirmary, Alex."

"Sure. Do I get a lollipop this time too like you used to when you gave me shots?"

"Yup, you can. We have a few in there. Even the good sugarfree kind." He noticed all the staring. "Guys, they found Alex." The Hong Kong Cavaliers all cheered and tried to pounce him.

"Easy, guys, he's injured," Buckaroo said, following behind them. "Let us stitch up the demon claw marks. Okay?" They nodded. "Tommy, want to help?"

"I'll be talking to his girlfriend. I can't stand to see you stitch his injuries, even when it was only him hurting himself while playing."

"I get that. It's a dad's thing to do," he promised with a smile and a clap on the shoulder. Gabriel disappeared. "Huh."

"He's going to find out if he can make a place here." Alathandra smiled. "He might not exist. He's not sure." She followed. Someone tried to get in her way. "Sweetie, I've seen Xander naked more times than the ones who used to change his diapers. Plus injured. Move please." She smiled. They got out of the way at Tommy's nod. Xander was indeed naked under a paper sheet and having his side examined. "He took the anti-venom. I made sure when he said he'd be late because of that thing."

"That's a great thing," New Jersey said with a smile for her. "I haven't met you yet."

"Alathandra. I'm his present girlfriend." She kissed Xander on the forehead, knocking him out. "That should help. He's tense and that'll make treating him so much worse. It always does. Oh, and you need to check to make sure whatever you give him won't interfere with anything else he's had. Like malaria."

"I can do that," he promised with a smile. "Why don't you and Tommy go work on a space for him to heal in?" She nodded, going with the worried, stressed out father. He looked at Buckaroo, who was running the bloodwork. "Malaria?"

"It'll be another ten before it pops up." He looked over. "Tommy said I owe him that twenty back."

"Oh, no. There were other things."

"He's been in Africa. Malaria's more than likely."

"So's other things," Xander muttered. "Dengue.... Pants pocket. Keys. USB key." They found it and ran it in the nearest computer. It had a 'for any doctors' folder. That told them what they needed to know. New Jersey turned up the medicine drip. Alex grimaced a tiny bit but his shifting leads them to find a hiding thing. It looked like a piece of semi-stiff cloth that was covering an area like a bandage but mostly it was skin colored to hide it from view. They peeled that off, then checked for others. One was stuck on in a way that meant they had to soak it to get it off. Xander shifted away from them.

"Shh, it's me, Alex," Buckaroo soothes, petting over his hair. "Just me." He peels it off and winces. "Ow." He looked at the kid then at his fellow doctor, who shrugs. He has no idea what did that. "Go ask his girlfriend." New Jersey nods and goes to do that. Buckaroo finds two others but they're not covering injuries that he can tell. He checks the pads, nothing on them. He gets something to run over the area, checking for older injuries. Instead he gets to make a fresh one to pull out miniature weapons. Which grow in his hand as he pulls them out.

"Okay, not good," he said, doing a full body scan for more. Three more. He does a full body CT just in case and finds something made from wood, and one made from a strange metal that only got picked up because there was a wire in it that was normal metal. He'd test that alien metal later. He put everything onto a free bed and looked up as Tommy and Alathandra walked in together. "Few questions. First, are any of the injuries he was hiding infected or full of something we'll have to treat?"

She looked them over, frowning at one. "I thought that one had healed. That little bastard. I would've babied him for it." She checked the first one they had found, grimacing. "It's not poisonous but I think that's starting to infect."

"Just making sure there's no slime or anything," he said.

She pointed at something. "That's the slime that would most likely be inside anything and that's because the stupid idiot keeps sneezing on Xander while they talk about stuff. I think he's trying to see why Xander's immune to his paralyzing snot but no clue about that one. He could be allergic to humans."

New Jersey took a swab of that to run through the machines. "Can he take a regular antibiotic?"

She grimaced. "I've never seen Xander go to a doctor, guys. Anytime he's been injured he's fixed his own injuries. Or he's let Willow do it. They both learned from her mother's textbooks when they were little." Behind her, a wall went 'crunch' as a fist went through it. "Easy, Prince Charming. He's okay. Really. I've seen him worse than this and doing his own stitches. Including in a mirror with a pair of rusty pliers to get the needle into the one in his back."

She looked at the two doctors again. "The last time he went to see an actual doctor, he was dying of dengue. That's the only time he goes to any sort of healer. After the ER in Sunnydale screwed up his appendix, he's hated doctors. Which is probably a good thing with how horrible theirs was. He's lucky he survived that." She shrugged then crossed her arms over her chest. "No sex for you tonight, Xander. If you had told me you were injured, I would've helped."

"He's sedated," Buckaroo said.

She snorted. "That usually doesn't work very well on him and if he wakes up without realizing where he's currently stashed, he'll try to sneak out." She smiled. "He's done it in hotels before too because he wasn't sure where he was."

The guys all nodded. "We can fix that. He'll be in here all night," Buckaroo said.

"That's fine. I can go set up my new compound. He can come visit." She smiled and waved a hand, disappearing.

Tommy looked at his son then at his best friends. "I get to yell, right?" They nodded. "Good. Let me start with the people who turned him this way."

"Dead," Xander muttered. "Died in the last Battle of Sunnydale. Refused to evacuate. Held a party." He tried to sit up but got pushed back down. "Hey!"

"Shut up, kid," New Jersey said. "Lay down, let us clean out the injuries, and we might not paddle you like we did when you were four and playing in the garage with cars that were on." He smiled. "Down, Mister!"

"You don't look like a redheaded witch with addiction issues," Xander mumbled. He patted himself down. "Weapons."

"On the other bed. You know very well no one's going to come here, Alex," Buckaroo said, soothing him back into sleep with some humming. Alex drifted off again. Tommy looked at the weapons then at him. "I had to remove some of them from various spots on his side and legs."

"I'm going to kill them," Tommy said.

"We'll help," New Jersey quipped. "Because clearly, someone was wrong somewhere. Sit."

"Let me...not watch you finish stitching him up?" They nodded.

"Go tell the others," Buckaroo said. "Mrs. Johnson will be highly amused."

"She missed him too." He walked out, not looking pleased. "Guys!" he said to stop the demanding for information. They all stared at him. "We found Alex in another realm." Most of them found a seat and sat. "He's got a few injuries. He's been fighting demons."

"That show!" Reno said, hopping up. Tommy nodded, grimacing. "So that's...."

"Yup. His girlfriend just left to set up some sort of compound. She's promised not to do anything he'd have to fix until after his line's died off." That got a few moans and a head shake. "Alex has a few injuries so they're stitching them, and he was hiding a few weapons in his thigh somehow. For tonight he'll be in the infirmary. Buckaroo's upset. New Jersey wants to kill whoever trained him to hate doctors, because he was doing his own stitches according to his girlfriend." That got another few winces and another head shake. "For now, let us hover. Tell the auxiliary that the search is off. Warn them that he's used to strange things happening and if they do, warn us. Please?" They nodded. "Thanks." He walked back into the infirmary then back out. "Do I want to know what that was?"

"He had it covered. It's got a slight infection so we're rinsing it," Buckaroo said. He looked up. "It might be an hour. We think we need to check his eye too."

"I'll find him something to sleep in tomorrow." He walked off running a hand through his hair. It messed up his perfect prettiness but he was a bit frustrated, worried, and really pissed off. One of the guys he passed patted him on the arm. He appreciated they'd help him get to know this son. His son wasn't four any longer. He wasn't cute, cuddly, and curious. Now he was big, strong, odd, and dangerous. Which...he might've turned dangerous anyway but still!


Tommy looked up from his book at the groan. "It's only four, go back to sleep, Alex," he said quietly. He got up to check him, finding him blinking at the ceiling. "Water?"

"I thought it was a hallucination," he mumbled. He drank the water and relaxed again. "I'm home?"

"You're home."

"Okay." He patted himself down. "I left my axe."

"You play guitar?"

"No, my battle axe. I tried to learn how to play but Willow made fun of me and the 'rents took it to pawn." He shrugged and grimaced. "Someone pulls their stitches too tightly."

"They're supposed to be tight." He patted over his hair. "Rest. It's only four." Xander yawned and nodded, going back to sleep. "Good boy." His son barked. He smiled. "Cute." He sat back down, looking at the pile of weapons no one had moved. He got up to look them over, shaking his head at a few things. Buckaroo walked in with a cup of coffee, and one for Tommy too. "You can't sleep?" he asked quietly.

"No. The bloodwork should be about done." He checked. "His DNA was warped by that fish thing." Tommy sipped his coffee, staring at him. "You know I had to check." Tommy nodded. "It's him, only five percent off due to the fish taint. The system reads it as five percent aquatic creature taint but the parentage and DNA test both came up matching." He sighed, looking at the others. "Oh, crap." Tommy came over to look over his shoulder. "Six diseases that people would like to get samples of. Two others that are salable. Great."

"Patch?" Tommy nearly whispered.

"Not that I found. We'll talk about how to guard him tomorrow." Tommy nodded. "Let's look at his pile of weapons."

"He said he forgot his axe." Buckaroo looked at him. "A battle one. I asked."

"I had hoped," he mouthed. Tommy shook his head. "Maybe now?"

"Maybe. He said he tried to learn once."

"We can teach him whatever we can." He looked at the weapons. "What is that?" he asked, blinking at something. "Xander!" He woke up with a start. "Come shut this thing off please? Before it blows us all up?"

"Oops. Has an automatic detonator switch in case they have to pull it off me." He climbed off the bed with help and came over to turn off things. He stared at one, frowning. He mentally counted, tipping his head back and forth until he remembered the code. Nope. He tried another. Nope and it was running faster. Xander disarmed it and remembered the code because it was scratched on the underside. That turned it off. "I'm good," he said with a goofy grin.

"You are, but you still need to rest." He got him back onto the bed and covered him up, petting him until he went back to sleep. He and Buckaroo shared a look. The weapons all went to the lab. They didn't need explosives in the infirmary. They didn't want to clean up the mess. Tommy sat back down to read his book and sip his coffee while mentally swearing up a storm about his son. He had no idea how to handle this. It was even worse than when his ex-girlfriend had shown up with the baby. Though she had been arrested for using a condom he threw out to get pregnant on purpose, it had saved her from the people who were going to kill her to get the baby. Now he knew why.


Buckaroo was on watch when Alex finally woke up, smiling at him. "Morning. Don't you dare take out that IV."

"What's in it?"

"Antibiotics to knock out that infection in the wound on your back and the last of the dengue in your body since it was still showing as a tiny bit active." He walked over to him. "How are you feeling? And don't bother lying to me."

"I never could lie to you."

"I figured you're better at it now that you're not four," he said dryly, smiling at him.

"I'm...actually pretty decent." He looked at the IV bag. "How many painkillers?"

"Just one mild one. We don't keep heavy stuff here." He sat down next to the bed. "Tommy's asleep. He left around dawn to take a nap and I took over watching you."

"Must've been bored?"

"No. I have a whole lot of weapons to play with." He grinned. "Thanks, kid."

"Welcome, Stepmom." He sat up, blinking hard. "Ow. What did you do to my eye?"

"The hole's been cleaned. It might feel a bit swollen, and your good eye a tiny bit dry, but I have eye drops coming later to help you." Xander nodded, looking at him. "So, tell me what's going on? You hated it so much you got to leave finally?"

"It's part that ...it's part that I couldn't take the bitching anymore."

"You swear a lot."

"Yeah, but I've killed over three hundred demons in the last six months. I think I've earned it."

"Your father's going to wash your mouth out with soap."

"Possibly," Xander agreed with a grin. "Still...I earned it." He shifted to look at him. "Have you ever had someone rip into your self esteem so often you forget you have any?" he asked.

"No. The last time I had one of those around me I walked off from her."

"I can't. I work with mine. And raise a few of them actually."

"You left family there?"

"Not exactly. And I'll go over that in a few." He looked down then at him. "You said you saw the tv show. How far did it go? A few realms got one that had different versions."

"The last battle. Heading off on the buses."

Xander nodded. "It didn't get any prettier after that, especially since I'm injured *and* normal now. I got *so* many fits from the girls. Including that I was stupid to want to go to Africa to grieve Anya and everything else. That I'd only end up getting killed and that wasn't good for the mini slayers to see. So I kindly shot back that she couldn't even camp, much less do without a shower for a few days, and at least I had those skills. I learned a lot but if I hadn't walked, I would've killed her. Both of them really." He looked at him.

"Yeah, the mini slayers are partially being raised by me, partially by their parents. I'm in and out of their lives often to train them. I travel back and forth between them because someone's got to handle it and there's only two adult slayers to cover all of Africa. Both raised in Europe." Buckaroo winced a tiny bit. "There's nine remaining baby slayers, all under the age of puberty. There's three I had to find foster families for in other regions. You don't tend to find some religions being very happy when girls suddenly perk up with super strength and stuff.

"We lost three of them to witch burnings and one's still in the hospital in Cleveland recovering because I managed to get her out of there and called Willow to come grab her. Then I had to tell her why when she showed up because she was grossed out. Didn't understand at all on purpose. I punched her and I made her take the kid with her to an ER in the US. Then after I was done throwing the three people who had burned her, including her father and uncle, into the fire, I called Giles to beat the shit out of Willow. He showed up to baby her through things. She's used to him being a stepdad. She'll be out of treatment in another six months they think."

"But the kids look up to you like an uncle?"

Xander nodded. "I do treat them like little sisters. Their families all know me, including the three that grumble a lot about their daughters not making good marriages. I'm going to have to pull another one from her family." He sighed and rubbed his bad eye's eyebrow. "Then there's another three apocalypse battles that are going on right now. Well, technically one's building and then there's two that're being fought underground." He looked at him. "Between the stress and the stress and the stress, plus the fighting... I'm done.

"That's why I charged Gabriel with helping the kids for me. I'd like to find a way I can go back for the serious stuff, or to go rescue my girls, or so they can come here if they need me for something, but otherwise....I'm exhausted. I've been doing this now for twelve years almost. No vacation outside the almost road trip, which wasn't a great vacation and working in a strip club made me real cynical about normal people. Even some of the strippers that had been doing it for years said I was too cynical about people. That some still cared. I kindly showed her the paper from Sunnydale. She walked off crying."

"So you're tired, you're battle exhausted." Xander nodded. "And you wanted to come home?"

"Yeah, I did. There's been plenty of times I wanted to come home and couldn't figure out what had happened. Then the eye thing happened and I found out. They kidnaped me from here to control Willow." Buckaroo winced. "I was all for ending the menace a few times. Especially in the last few months when all I really wanted to do was stab her and Buffy. See, one of the apocalypses is Buffy's fault. She slept with the wrong being. It lost him credibility. His people are trying to overthrow him. It's going to get all of Asia killed because they're almost, kinda like the demon mafia that runs Asia but they're not doing bad things if that makes sense. They're protecting the demons and they offer some protection for favored people against other demons, but they're not running protection or anything."

"I can understand that."

"They're having a civil war. It's not in the open. They wouldn't do that. They'd kill themselves if it came into the open. They've lost a third of their people due to it. Which has meant the others are showing up to take over. Including a group that's actually demonic Yakuza. Literally demonic Yakuza." Buckaroo grimaced. "They're not real nice either. They like to capture virgins and carve pretty marks into them then sell them. Which I stopped part of by blowing them the hell up when they went after a slayer. Then I found out why when I went to talk to the protectors. Who were openly arguing. Something they don't do.

"They don't show strife in any outward manner. In this case they were shouting. I fired into the ceiling and pointed out I had just stopped two of their major enemies from taking a slayer and others. They're highly embarrassed and hopefully I talked them into going to the peace table. When I asked why, I got told. I told her. She got all pouty and 'that's my job in the group, not hers' and all sorts of shit I didn't want to put up with. I almost shipped her to that Yakuza group but she's not a virgin so they'd never take her. Which is really bad when you start thinking that about your supposed best friends."

"You could've walked."

"No one else to help." He shrugged, looking at him. "Unless I make it an obligation like I made Gabriel help my minis, no one's going to step in. Either they think they're not worthy to help because they're normal people, or they're the sort that wouldn't care as long as the demons only took out their enemies." Buckaroo slumped. "Yeah, I love Africa at times. The US...we have hunters. They're dealing with the third apocalypse battle. Which was what was going on last night. The second one is actually two underground tunneling demons who are trying to fight over territory while breeding. They're going to sink Russia soon.

"One has a lot of tunnels up there and going toward the east. The other has territory under the Alps and was trying to muscle in so she could lay an egg that had that area. He had killed their last one by sending it into the water to tunnel. We've already seen a few sinkholes and the normals are really freaked out when they find old tunnels, but they say it's from one of the world wars or something. So they're discounting it. Even though one poked through in Siberia and screwed up a whole guard unit by trying to eat it because she was hungry thanks to being in heat. We hate dealing with politicians."

He grinned. "Giles tried for polite. Buffy gave her best airhead to get out of it. Willow tried to lecture and he nearly had her shot. I stepped in, told him what he didn't want to hear, told him to suck it up since they'd been there longer than people had, and if they wanted to deal with it, try bombs. Then I got Willow to send everyone home. She nicely forgot me there. I spent three days arguing with people in the jails until I finally gave up and called in a poker debt to take me out of there.

"He had the male suck in the jail and let the female have the guards I couldn't save. I yelled at him but he shrugged and said I wasn't specific. So I nicely handed him back to his people after telling the higher ups what had happened and why. They're horrified that demons are sentient, thinking, poker playing bastards who hate Communism." He grinned. "The guy gave them all sorts of reasons why they hated them and how they were going to end them. Then we disappeared thanks to him. Giles made me write an apology letter even though most of it wasn't my doing. All I asked him to do was take me home."

"That happen a lot?"

"Things being turned around so I'm at fault? Sometimes."

"What's the third one?"

"The angels and demons are tired of each other existing. They're going for an endtime thing so they can be bored for eternity, or possibly remake everything so they're scared of them. So all the demons that aren't the possessing kind, which are the ones slayers deal with, are just as trapped and going to eat them back. They forgot there was a third side. Some of the hunters involved have turned into the third side. The slayers have been maintaining the third side without running into the hunters. I've had to go talk to a few higher demons of our kind to keep them out of the battle because they could stop it, but we don't want to see that battle either."

"I get that."

"Buffy offered me marrying one if she'd stay out. She has no right to do that and the demon higher told her that. She snorted and said I wouldn't mind. Buffy learned what a stab to the side felt like. She's still probably whining about that but I didn't want to be a human slave. The demon patted me on the head, told me I was worthy but mean, and I should really retire. I figured if the demons think I'm evil, I'm well past time to go home."

He looked at him. "I ...I give up. Someone will watch my minis for me. They may not be as good as I am but Giles swore to me that I could take a vacation and someone would handle them for me. I'm not sure who he thinks he has to do that, but he vowed up and down to me that he has someone to take my place whenever I need a vacation. Which I tried. I went to Hawaii for a week. I got into three different fights with the demon street gang they have because I was on the beach. I got to depossess two sacrificial babies to save them.

"I got to beat the shit out of one of the higher demons who thinks I'm a toy, which got me no respect at all even after all the other stuff because she kept trying to talk me into becoming her top slave. I killed her hard. The cops all looked grossed out and they still treated me like I was a delicate flower with mental issues. And then asked me to go handle a nature spirit wanting to set off a dormant volcano." He rolled his eye. "I'm... I can't save people like them. I can't find it in me to care if they die most of the time anymore.

"Which was what made me decide I had to figure out how to get home. Last night was just the best chance I could've seen. We had power from the dying one. We had the problems going on. I had Willow there and they could drain her to appear so she's less dangerous for a few weeks." He shrugged. "I'm done. I can't. I won't and I can't. I'm not really sure why I ever cared if other people died at the moment."

"You're burnt out," Buckaroo said quietly, staring at him. "Far beyond that."

"I know. It sucks but I know." He shrugged. "I can't. I love my minis. They're like my sisters. I just...can't. I'm not sure if I'd help someone if it happened in front of me and I know that means I need to leave the life and find something that gives me some sort of reason to keep hoping the sun comes up. Or else I might go solve that third apocalypse with C-4. You can get explosives onto hell realms. A few heavenly realms too but not all of them." Buckaroo got up to give him a hug. "Thanks."

"We're still family." He looked at him, tipping his face up. "Even if you're a bit too tough and all that, we're still family. Your dad's really worried that you're going to stay in warrior mode."

"I don't know much else."

"We can fix that. What about college?"

"I hate school."

"That's new. You used to absorb knowledge like a sponge once we started working on your learning disability."

"Yeah but then they deaged me and I lost all that, and they blocked off what they could of me meditating or anything like that. I ended up in a school system that truly didn't care or want to deal with anyone, much less a really bright kid with attention and reading issues. Plus the alcoholic assholes that reraised me weren't exactly keen on me doing anything good. I graduated, barely, but I'm not doing college. I hate lecture classes."

"Okay, we can work around that. What did you do instead?"

"Carpentry until I lost the eye."

"Maybe there's a way, like a specialty within it. Like plumbing or something?"

"I thought about it but no vo-tech there and then we had a battle." He shrugged. "I didn't stay in Cleveland long enough to even consider it. I was there for all of four days before I left for Africa. I did some building there when asked but it's a hindrance. My eye being gone sucks. Especially since I get visions."

"We took a CT last night. We'll take another one if you have a vision, make sure there's no trauma going on."

Xander looked at him. "Usually I have a migraine right afterward. Make me tell you what I saw, even if I'm flinching from touch, sounds, and lights. I only see huge things. One fluffy thing but it was going to kill half of Boston by sitting on it to set up a nest. The bugs that lived in her fur were going to capture the people to turn into her eggs." Buckaroo stared at him. Xander grinned. "All the wacky that was my life."

"How did you manage to avoid that?"

"We paid her a bribe so she went to Arizona and had it in the middle of the desert away from everyone. All her babies are nicely cute little fluffy things. Only about as long as a jeep the last picture I saw. We had to keep the supposed police out there from trying to kill her. I pointed out she would've taken out a major city and doing this in the desert wasn't bothering them. They tried to shoot me and her. She ate a sheriff and spit his parts out for her young. They left her alone after that thanks to Willow doing a spell."

"One person instead of millions and he forced his luck. Sounds reasonable to me," Tommy said from the doorway.

"Hey, Dad. How much did you hear?"

"I have your bed bugged." He walked over and tipped his son's face up. "You should've come home after graduation."

"I didn't know what was going on then and everyone I asked said I couldn't. I had a reason for being there." He shrugged and grimaced, shaking his head slightly. "I don't know."

"I know. We'll figure it out." Xander nodded, leaning on his shoulder. "You need a bath."

"We can cover all the stitches with waterproof bandages." Buckaroo handed them over to the worried father. "He can rest upstairs."

"Thanks. Robe?"

"Use the sheet. Throw it in the wash for me." Tommy nodded, helping wrap Xander up and taking him up to his suite to help the kid take a shower. He looked like he needed it. Buckaroo saved down the security footage from in there and locked it under his personal code so no one could get into it. A few of the guys were veterans, they could help Tommy calm Xander down so he got used to normal things again. Though, that gave him bad thoughts about his girlfriend. What was she? He would've asked her when she showed up to tuck Xander in when he finally got him to rest, but she gave him this look that made him almost find a church and the Goddess his son muttered about.


Alex looks up when someone pops into his room. "What's up?" he asked the archangel.

"Your mini terrors are horrors. Pure, unadulterated horrors."

"They're mostly pre-teen girls."

"They've all tried to kill me."

"They're also fully called slayers. They know about the apocalypse attempt too."

"Yeah, I had to explain that more than once and where you are."

"I'm...here. It's good I'm here. It means I won't walk away and let humanity die."

Gabriel stared at him. "Can't I do some other task? Go clean mythical stables? Hold up the world, divert a river to cure a drought?"

"No." He smiled. "Because someone with sense and skills has to be able to protect them. Especially from some of their families and their villages."

"I've seen. Two I pulled rank on and they're hiding like hell from me." Gabriel grimaced.

"Two? Pula and who?"

"The one you've been calling Nessie for the lake monster she turns into when she's angry and Cyndra."

"They're not usually the ones having problems."

"Cyndra's father wants her to marry. Tomorrow. He's eighty." Xander grimaced. "Nessie's uncle is now an Imam and he's wanting to prove it."

"Get her out of there."

"He's scared to death of me. He won't come near her."

"Yeah, until he gathers some support." He stared at him. "Remove her. Take her to Cyndra and they'll hang out together and defeat the evil pedophile asshole."

"That's not a bad idea." He disappeared to save the kid slayer and take her to the other kid slayer. "Sorry to interrupt," he said, glaring at the whining mother. "Cyndra, I need you to act as big sister to this one. Her uncle just found a god he liked and wanted to burn her at the stake for being a slayer."

Cyndra nodded. "We're all sisters in some ways. She's as if mine already. Where is Xander?"

"Healing. He's got over seventy stitches right now and he's really, really mad at people."

"Here?" she asked, eyes wide, looking around.

"No but he told me I could kill the child molester." He smirked at him. "You know she's not a woman yet."

"I can train her."

Gabriel waved a hand at him, making him a bunny rabbit. "Sure you can." He looked at Cyndra again, smirking some because she was trying not to smile. "When you want a husband for real, you can choose to have him turn back. That's got a built in age restriction," he said, staring at her mother. "She can't do it until she's at least eighteen." The woman set off wailing. "Can you protect Nessie?"

"Of course. We're mostly safe from demons here."

"Good. Let me check on the others. You guys are going to drive me nuts."

"Then give us Mr. Xander back," Nessie said with a grin.

He leaned down to stare at her. "He wanted to see his real father and heal. To bring you to him, I'd have to join the two worlds and I'm not allowed to do that." He gave her a pointed look. "That's not something archangels do, kid."

"Pity." She patted him on the cheek. "Go have some tea and calm down. At least we're not dating yet. Mr. Xander said that he'd have to scare all our dates and potential mates."

"Yes he should. Especially if you date like he does." He disappeared with a sigh, going to see Sam and Dean, and Castiel. He appeared with a huge mug of beer in hand and sat down to drink it.

Dean looked at him. "Problems?" he guessed.

"Fifteen mini slayers," he said between gulps. He put down the cup with a sigh. "Even if I can't absorb it, it's nice." He looked at them. "Fifteen mini slayers under the age of fourteen. I just broke up a child wedding for one, rescued another from being burned at the stake, and now I'm going to have to stop another one that's going to play poker with a demon to get her uncle's farm out of hock," he moaned when that situation hit his mind.

Castiel patted him on the shoulder. "Show me and send me. She sounds much like Dean."

"Thank you, brother." He hugged him and sent him there.

The slayer looked at the man in the trenchcoat that appeared on the dusty road. "Who're you?" she asked, hand on her dagger.

"I'm the Angel Castiel. Gabriel sent me. I work with a few hunters."

"Yay. Why are you here?"

"Gabriel thought you might need protected from whatever plan this is."

"It's my duty."

"Only if it's your debt."

"They're family."

"You're a child."

"I'm a slayer."

"That doesn't negate your age," he said bluntly. "It's their job as adults to handle it."

"They think the demon would give up to me."

"I think I'll go with you to make sure you're safe. We don't want to make Xander come back from his healing."

"He is? Finally?"

"He went with his real father. He put Gabriel in charge of all of you. He has a life debt to Xander."

"Interesting." Pula walked off with him walking beside her. "Why are the angels having fits?"

"Some think humans have forgotten the old ways. Some say they're tired. Personally, I think they're wrong. It's not made my life fulfilled but I have seen how strong humanity is and how it is willing to protect itself."

"Unless it's a demon," she said bitterly. "I got blamed for being in another state when one showed up. When I pointed out I'm only twelve and not allowed to kill things on my own yet she said that didn't matter."

"Sometimes humans are petty and selfish. For those sort, I think my brethren might have a point. But not for all."

She nodded. "Yeah but if we removed those sort, we'd have breeding problems. I'd rather not be inbred like some cows are."

"No, that would not be a good thing," he agreed. He followed her into the demon bar.

Pula walked up to the demon, sighing as she sat down. "My mother said it's my duty to come talk to you about my uncle's debts and his farm. How it'll mean they'll have to live with us so we all starve. I really don't want to starve, and I really don't like that uncle. Especially with the way he treats his daughters. Can you please give it back to him?"

The demon laughed. "You are very brave, slayer."

She nodded. "I pointed out I'm young. She said I'm a slayer, it shouldn't matter." She grimaced. "Xander would've hit her."

"Yes, we heard."

Castiel cleared his throat. "He put someone who has a life debt to him in charge of his girls while he healed with his natal father."

"Who are you?"

"Castiel. Gabriel asked for my help." He smiled. They all stared. "You're taking me from my charge. Did you win his lands fairly?"

"He lost them in poker."

"Did you cheat?" Pula asked.

"No. He tried but he sucks at it."

She nodded. "I have no idea how to handle this. I know my mother won't be happy. My father's not happy with either suggestion."

"I can go to your mother and tell her we don't deal with children unless we're the evil kind."

She smiled. "That might be nice. Please?" He nodded, getting up and taking her home in his car. Castiel sat beside her to protect her.

He got them out and walked into the house with her, making her mother shriek. "Desist, woman. You sent a child to do a real human's job. Even if she is a slayer, she's not yet a woman and it's not her job. Frankly, her uncle lost his farm because he was cheating at cards. He sucks at poker. He always has. He's in debt to some other demons as well. If he paid them off, he'd be paying off three million dollars worth." The slayer's mother gasped, grabbing onto the back of the couch.

"It is not your daughter's duty to fix that. Even if she had acted like Buffy and taken us all out, our offspring and families would've claimed the debts and killed all of your family for the insult to ours. We don't leave living the families of those who attack us. Fortunately, Xander taught this young one to rationally think about matters and how they would affect her and others so we talked and she found out what had happened. She knew you would not be happy about the answer so I came to tell you myself, because that's what *adults* do." He patted the slayer on the head. "Some day you'll grow up into a good slayer. Probably a lot better than Buffy because you have learned to appreciate those around you." He smiled at her. "Safe life, slayer." He left.

"I asked what had happened to see how to handle things," Pula said. She shrugged. "I can't kill sixty families of demons, Mother. Not even for family."

"He will have to live with us," she sneered.

"No, you don't have to let him. I doubt Father would like it." She looked at Castiel. "Is my father around?"

"Outside listening." He pointed. "Gabriel asked me to help her today. He's paying off his life debt to Xander while Xander heals." The mother was crying. The father came in. "She did admirably well asking the important questions and reasonably talking about things. She learned what the problem was and how bad it was before deciding on any actions."

"I agree, it's not our job to pay off his debts at that level," her father said, smiling at her. "Good job, daughter. Go rest." She nodded, going to her room. He looked at his wife. "We can take in his children but not him." She slapped him. He caught her hand, staring at her. "You can join him and his wife can become mine to raise our children together." She huffed off. He looked at the odd man. "You are?"

"The guardian angel Castiel."


"Gabriel owes Xander a life debt so he asked him to pay it off by watching his slayers as he does."

"That's good. The girls could use more support." He looked outside, where his wife was trying to kick their chicken. "Let me calm her down."

"Pula mentioned how he looks at his daughters."

"I've noticed. We don't like her brother." Castiel nodded and disappeared. "Daughter?" She came out to stare at him. "If he tries anything near you, you are to defend yourself however you must. If he touches you I'll expect you to have been overpowered or unconscious. If it kills him, we'll handle keeping you on the light path."

She nodded. "I can do that. Thank you."

"Welcome. Hide. Your mother's having one of her moods."

"Xander said the US has medicine for those." She went back to her room.

Her father walked outside. "That is our only chicken and unless you want to earn money to buy a new one, leave it be, wife." She sneered. "Your brother is not welcome because I believe he touches his daughters."

"He does not!" she shrieked. "That's a lie!"

"It may or may not be but I do not like how he looks at ours." He stared at her. "He is not welcome on my family's farm." She started to cry. "It would be best if he left the area anyway so no one comes after him for more debts. It's bad enough I had someone ask me if he was selling his daughter to cover them. I told him I hoped not and I would gladly take in his daughters to protect them with my own but he is not welcome in this family."

"He's my brother."

"And I'm your husband. If you love your brother more, move with him. It'll be safer for all of you."

"I'll burn this farm first."

"Should you try, I'll make sure the magistrate hears why," Pula called from her open window. "I'm not living on the streets like some runaway just because you like the man who tries to touch his daughter."

"That's a lie! She lied!"

Pula leaned out her window. "Xander took her to the clinic because she was miscarrying. It's not a lie, Mother. He locks her in the house and she somehow got pregnant in her jail. Who do you think did it?" Her father stared at her. "I did promise not to tell people in authority because she's worried what will happen when he goes to jail."

"She's welcome to room and train with you. It will do her good," her father said simply. "We'll go gather her in a few minutes, Pula." She nodded. He looked at his wife. She was horrified but yay. "Leave." She glared at him. "Now." She stomped off. He followed to make sure she didn't do anything stupid. He also told their local minister. He could talk to her. The minister came out to see what was wrong. "I'm sending her from my house and my family, Father."

"We do not believe in divorce."

"She's sticking up for her brother, who made his own daughter pregnant. I won't have that. Or having her send Pula to talk to the local demons her brother played poker with and lost against."

The minister grimaced but nodded. "I would suggest he move."

"I would too. His daughter's coming to us."

"Good. You know he has a son?"

"His son has a mother that's good. If she wants help she can come talk to me. I could use some help around the farm so the girls can be girls and train."

"A good thought. I'll mention it to her. You're a good man to take in your in-law's daughter."

"She needs it. Pula said she miscarried."

"I had heard. We cannot get them apart."

"I can." He walked off. "She threatened to burn the family farm."

"I will keep her from doing so. Go with God, my son." He went back in there to verbally beat that woman to death for her stupidity.


Xander blinked awake at the touch to his hair. "Hey, Dad. Did I sleep too long?"

"You need to rest. Rest will help a lot of things. The infection's causing some exhaustion too." He sat beside him on the bed, handing over a t-shirt and boxers. "Washed."

"You do that better than I do. I have a lot of hatred of laundry."

"You never were a clothing kid anyway." He stared at him. "Want lunch?"

"Not really hungry but if you want to eat I'll drink."

"I can accept that. I wanted to get to know this new you."

"You're trying too hard. You're still my dad." He smiled. "Even if you're an impossible standard to live up to you're still my dad."

Tommy grinned. "Not everyone can be perfect like I am but you're more than good enough to be my son." Xander hugged him. "C'mon, let's get you at least a protein shake."

"Eww, seaweed."

"Not in the bunkhouse. We banned all that stuff in the nineties. We're men, we don't do that." He stood up. Xander got up and got dressed, following him down to the dining hall. "When did you want to do a haircut?"

Xander shrugged. "Half the time I let the girls braid it on me anymore. I don't care."


"No, more like cornrows only native style." Tommy paused to look at his son. "It was that or whack it off with a knife. I usually do that when it gets in my way."

"We'll get you a real haircut. You can keep it long if you want but it needs some shape."

"I'm well aware of hair styling, Dad. Willow basically raised me since the others were really pathetic."

"I'll thank her right before I punch her for being that way toward you."

"She is a bitch."

"Quit swearing."

"Fine. Sorry." He shrugged at the guys staring at him. "I do that now and then. I learned from the pirates I helped take down for wanting my slayer."

"I'm already having nightmares. Let's ease me into the bigger battles you've been in?" Tommy nearly begged, staring at his son.

"I know everyone can't live that life, Dad. Really, I do."

"Thanks, kid." He patted him on the arm. "New Jersey, can he eat?"

"If he wants to. I didn't see any signs he's been in the thinner food areas of Africa." Xander shook his head. "Recently?"

"Six months and I brought food with me for me and my slayer's family that went to the whole village instead."

"That's wise and kind," New Jersey said with a smile. "Let us know if you're going to have problems, Alex. We have antibiotics for you and eyedrops."

"Thanks, New Jersey."

"Welcome." He watched what the kid picked out. Very minimal food and a big glass of soda after gulping two glasses of milk. He'd check the injuries later to make sure the infection was easing. He and Tommy picked a corner table to talk at. His son was telling him about some sort of dancing show full of showgirl demons, which was cracking him and his father up. So that was good. It was great he had funny stories too. Meant he wasn't fully too gone.


Buckaroo looks up from his spot in the lounge with his guitar when Tommy plops down next to him. "He okay?" He goes back to it.

"He's angry. He's a bit moody, which I get. He's sad he had to leave the girls. He's mad at himself. He's got insane tastes in girlfriends and now I'm wondering how evil the current one is." Buckaroo smiled at that. "The one he nearly married was a vengeance demon. That means she was the one that abused women called on to get back at their husbands." The aimless strumming stopped. "She used to tell him all about her calls and then demand sex. Even if they were in public."

"We saw that on that show."

"I showed him one of those episodes. He laughed and said they nearly got it right. She was much nicer on the show." He looked at his best friend. "Apparently that one where she turned the guy into the only flush toilet? She actually did that but another one was the only female-only outhouse way back when. His wife had caught him with another woman so she said if his mouth really had to touch a woman there, he could do it for eternity."

Buckaroo nodded once. "Eww."

"Alex said his last lover before Alathandra was a lower level thief and assassin. She was up and coming, but she couldn't kill him when ordered. Instead she killed all her bosses and went back to Xander, still bloody no less, to have him comfort her. He hooked her up with another ex to talk about job prospects."


"They were the nice ones. Apparently there was a bad moment with pirates too but I asked him to break that to me later on, more gently."

Buckaroo patted him on the shoulder. "I know it's hard."

"I about asked if they were pirates like that drunk one or if they were like Somali pirates. If my son took out a unit of Somali pirates... I'm proud but damn."

"It proves he's been doing this too long."

Tommy nodded. "It does." He leaned against the back of the couch. "We have a few vets in the HKC, right?"

"Six or seven and I've talked to them about talking to Alex about what he's been doing. They all understand why."

"Thank you."

"Welcome. Anything for the stepkid." Tommy grinned over that. He had to be gone for three weeks helping another HKC member with something for Buckaroo and couldn't take Alex so his uncle had babysat him. By the time he had gotten back, Buckaroo was 'stepmom' to Alex and it was always cute. "I checked on his mother. She got out last year but she's disappeared."

"We think there's a reason or is she hiding?"

"I'm not so sure she didn't know about whatever was going to happen," he admitted.

"Maybe. If so, I get to punch her. Right?"

"I won't stop you."

"Good." He yawned. "Let me go rest. I'll take Alex out to get a haircut and clothes tomorrow."

"That's fine." He watched him go, going back to playing his guitar, though now a song was forming.


Back in Africa, Nessie had snuck out with Cyndra. She had brought her emergency beacon/Xander's poker debt chip that he made sure each of them carried. He had won them specially to help protect them so they could call on a higher being to help remove them from a huge bad thing like the First Evil's minions. She rubbed hers and looked at the demon that appeared.

"He said you'd only use that in emergencies."

"It's kinda one. Mr. Xander isn't here. He made a nice guy help us but he's still not Mr. Xander. We want to go to where Mr. Xander is."

"I... Huh." He tested things. "I have no idea what happened."

Gabriel appeared with a sigh. "Do I need to tuck you two in too?"

"No. Mr. Xander said he could if we have nightmares but this time we want Mr. Xander," Nessie said. "He's our big brother sort."

"He is," Gabriel said. "That's why he made me help you."

She patted him on the wrist with a smile. "You're nice and all but not him. You can't do the same things Mr. Xander can." She looked at the demon. "Also, wouldn't that help the other problem he's worried about?"

The demon blinked, staring at Gabriel then at her. "Welllllll......." He considered it. "I don't know."

"Less magic there. Hell realms are more shut off. No hellmouths," Gabriel said quietly. "It's almost ideal for the slayers to heal and train on. We can't merge them," he told the girls. "It'd harm the people over there."

Cyndra looked at him. "From what I read in a book, it'd be like they merged."

"Not if they're different. It could lead to a lot of sudden twins."

"Humans are adaptable," the demon said, looking up. "Let me ask to see how I'd even get you over there for a visit, girls. I'll be back tomorrow." They nodded and he left.

"Bed," Gabriel ordered.

Nessie grinned at him. "Mr. Xander taught us strategy too."

"It's clear he did. Plus wacky planning ideas." He pointed with a smirk. "Bed." They sighed but went back to bed. He did tuck them in and put protections around their room. He left, going back to ranting about Xander to Castiel. Cas thought he had it hard with Dean? He should've tried dealing with Xander, and Gabriel wasn't his guardian angel. He was just an interested spectator that had got caught watching.


Two days later, the president in Buckaroo's reality looks up at the yelling in the hallway. "Is it an attack?" he called. No one was coming to remove him so it probably wasn't. He stood up to walk around his desk, looking up the hallway. "Boys, I don't think that child is going to hurt me," he called. "Why are you yelling at her?"

"She just appeared, sir," one of the guards said.

"That's interesting. Bring her in here. She's probably got a reason for it." He looked at his secretary. "Can you get the wife?" he asked quietly. "Since it's a little girl?" She nodded, calling her from her office. The president looked at the child. "I'm the President. Why did you appear here, young lady?"

She looked up at him. "It's nice they have you instead of Mr. Cheney we had in our world when I first learned about US presidents. He kinda reminded you of the Penguin on Batman comics."

The president smiled. "I know who you're talking about and yes, he does. You're not from here?"

She shook her head and smiled. "No. I came here because Mr. Xander came here to be with his dad. We appreciate that and that he needed time to heal but we need Mr. Xander back because he's our trainer and he's really like a big brother to us. We won't be as good of slayers without him training us."


"I saw a show...," one of the guards muttered, staring at her. "What year is it at your home?"

She looked at her watch then showed him with a grin. "That time."

"Know the year?"

She shrugged. "I'm nine. It doesn't really matter to me, like all the icky stuff he made me learn in school lessons don't." She grimaced. "I know a slayer has to know more than her weapons to survive but I really hate math class." She looked at the president again. "Can you find Mr. Xander so I can beg him to please come back?"

"If I knew his last name I could have my guards look him up while we talked."

"He came back with his dad and stepmom. Gabriel!" she yelled. He appeared, staring at her, glaring a tiny bit. She grinned. "They fixed it."

"It's going to cause a huge problem, Nessie."

She shrugged. "We can fix the problems."

"What if the vampires get people?"

"Buffy's able to deal with that. She'd just flirt and make them come for her tiny skirt. Which, yuck, I'll never understand, but she's Buffy so...." She waved her hands. "He needs to know Mr. Xander's last name so he can find him and I can't remember it. The transfer gave me a headache."

"Harris," he said, nodding at the president.

"How far over did you travel?" one of the guards asked. "And who're you?"

"I'm Gabriel. Xander tasked me with helping his mini slayers while he was on vacation." He gave them a look. "I'm sorry about her. She's a bit excitable."

Buffy stomped in with Willow behind her. "What are you doing!" she demanded, staring at the mini slayer. "Is this how Xander taught you to act? Because I'll beat his ass if he did."

"I asked very politely for help finding Mr. Xander," she said, stomping a foot. "I haven't been a bad girl yet. Little kids aren't seen as threats, even by jumpy guards like we have at home." She looked at her. "I also put on real clothes before I came here. Were you in the tub or something and just grabbed last night's bait patrol outfit? Mr. Xander told us about that stuff and it sounds weird and dangerous. I'm glad we don't have clubs where I live in Africa."

Buffy huffed. "It's a perfectly good outfit...."

Nessie pointed at herself. "I'm Nessie. Mr. Gabriel saved me from being burned by an uncle and put me with Cyndra." She pointed at the other one that had snuck in.

"You're a shame to the line," Buffy said.

"You take that back, you whore!" Nessie shouted and pushed her. "I'm not a disgrace to the line. That's the one who has parental type moments with the vampires." She sneered. "I'll never turn into the slayer you are. Thankfully. I'd have to stake myself if I slept with Spike." Buffy tried to swat her but Nessie grabbed her wrist and flipped her. "You remind me of a girl sheep's girl parts. Not even human ones but a sheep's. At least they mean to be prey for a reason." Willow tried to hit her so Gabriel stopped her and flung her up the hallway toward the doors. "Thank you, Mr. Gabriel."

He looked at her. "Xander taught you more manners," he said firmly. "He'd be ashamed."

She sighed, slumping. "I know. Slayers are sisters, even if we're not related and we don't like them. We have to respect them for having the same duty and jobs. Even Buffy because she keeps coming back." She looked at Buffy. "I'm sorry I flipped you. Mr. Xander would be very upset that we fought since we're both slayers." She looked at the president. "I'm sorry you had to see that fight, Mr. President."

"It's all right. I'm sure groups have internal strife moments." He smiled. "Why don't you sit down. I'll see if I can find Mr. Xander for you. That way you can have him back."

"He went with his dad and stepmom, who is a guy from what Mr. Gabriel said. I don't understand that but it's Mr. Xander so sometimes things are weird."

"I think that's in quotes," Gabriel said. "Like a pet name."

"Any idea who his father is?" the president asked.

"His stepmom created the portal to get them home. I don't know exactly who they are but the prophecy that brought him to our world as a kid said he was the imperfect son of the perfect man."

The president looked at his guard. "I'd start with him, yes, sir."

"I didn't think he was dealing with portals any more. Not since that 8th dimension thing." He picked up the phone. "Put me through to the Bonzai Institute. I need to talk to their leader anyway to see how bad this people transfer might become."

Buffy stood up and brushed herself off. "Right now we're only mostly merged. Willow said there were about seven things holding it from fully merging." She looked up the hall then at Gabriel. "Where did you throw her? Mars?"

"I think they stopped her when she tried to spell the whole white house, Buffy. She has no sense. I've seen fallen angels who were less asshole than she is." Buffy huffed.

"Miss Willow has no sense because the magic took over her mind. We asked about Miss Willow because Mr. Xander hadn't told us about her like he had the others at the top of the Council," Cyndra said quietly. "He told us how she was a good woman and a good witch but sometimes her ideas weren't in line with our good ideas. Including how he had stopped her once when she was really sad because her almost-wife died. Then we heard she almost refused to rescue one of the slayers being burned at the stake when Mr. Xander called her. He told us about her almost-wife too. How she was a good witch and a good woman and would've treated us like little sisters. We learned how to judge people on what they do, not who they are."

Nessie nodded, smiling at her. "We do. So far she hasn't really hurt us yet but she still does huge bad things, like causing a drought by giving someone flowers in their growing fields. It took all the water and prepared fields they had for food. Thankfully, Mr. Giles got them food to last until they could redo the fields and for the thin times it caused."

"I didn't know she did that," Buffy said.

Gabriel nodded. "Twice. Not the same way but she created a food shortage with one of the minis in Asia by trying to pretty up the land. They were horrified by magic and burned the fields and refused to use them ever again. The new ones aren't as fertile. Xander got someone out there to rebless the fields so they could use both sets."

"I didn't hear about any of that," Buffy told Nessie.

She shrugged. "Mr. Giles probably thought you didn't need to know."

"Possibly but Willow would've told me."

"She might've been banished for a bit of rehab redo," Gabriel said dryly.

"She said she had to go work with them on some spell work that was hard." She grimaced. "Yuck. Those poor people."

"Mr. Xander had the elders of Pula's village teach us how to plant things the right way so we'd never starve if we settled somewhere. Mr. Xander said that we have to know more than our weapons to make it to being adults, like you are, and to having husbands like a normal girl. The smarter we are, the more likely it'll be that we survive, outside of apocalypse battles. We just train for those because only strategy applies there."

Buffy considered it. "That's a simple way of putting it but yeah, that's the majority of real battles instead of taking out things on patrol."

Nessie waved a hand. "We don't patrol. I'm only nine and Cyndra's only twelve. Mr. Gabriel got sent to save her from the icky man her mother wanted her to marry. He was eighty." She smirked. "Mr. Gabriel saved me and gave me to Cyndra to protect, and then turned the icky man into a bunny."

"That's a good thing for a man who'd dare touch a child," the president said. "Yes, I'm still here. Where is he? Are any of the top Cavaliers there?" She connected him. "Which one.... New Jersey. I have a charming young woman in my office trying to find Mr. Xander. What does your boss know about that?" He listened, leaning back in his chair. "That's a good thing. Yes, here. I think we can wait that long, yes. I'm not doing anything but hearing rumors and signing papers today. Thank you." He put the phone on speaker.

"Here you are. Alex?" the male voice on the line said.


"Mr. Xander," Nessie sighed in pleasure. "You're okay?"

"My dad wouldn't let anyone hurt me, Nessie. What are you doing on this reality?"

"I came to find you. You had to run away to get healed and away from the bad, evil things that the big slayers were doing. We need to make sure you're all right."

"I'm okay," he said. "I didn't run away from the slayers. I'm working on a way to stay on-call for you girls and the battles."

"So?" she snorted. "You'd still have to put up with the bad things they do. We know they're not good to you but we're really good for you."

"You are. It wasn't just that, Nessie. I promise it wasn't you, sweetheart."

"I know it wasn't me," she snorted. "I'm a good girl."

"How did you get there?" another male voice asked.

"I asked the demon who I hold the debt chip to if he could get me near Mr. Xander so I could check on him. Apparently I'm kinda far away?"

"Two hours," Xander said. "We can be there in two hours, Nessie. Be a good girl?"

"I apologized when I flipped Buffy into the wall. Did you know she wore bait patrol outfits like regular clothes?"

"Yeah, she does that sometimes. It means she needs a new boyfriend."

"Hey!" Buffy complained. "It's a perfectly good outfit, Xander."

"I'm not getting into this argument over the phone," he said bluntly. "Gabriel?"

"Yeah, I can't move her. The almost merging of the realms is screwing with my powers. But hey, now I don't have to be as hands-on with the minis, right?"

"We'll see if that paid off that life debt," Xander complained. "I might still need some backup."

"Backup I can do, Xander. I can't do kids full time. They drive me nuts. They really do."

Nessie patted him on the wrist. "You just need to know how to handle good girls instead of mean ones. Were you dating girls like Buffy?"

"No, sweetie, I'm an angel. We don't date."

She snorted. "That's not right. Even God wouldn't make you be single for all time because being part of a relationship is what life's about according to my mom when she had sense. No one in the bible is single and doing big stuff. How can angels appreciate what they have if they don't appreciate a wife or husband?"

"It's the rules."

She snorted again. "Yeah, right. He told us about the ones having the apocalypse battle. Are they having it here?" Cyndra gasped, staring at her. She grinned. "Mr. Xander did teach us strategy." The president was laughing. "If your powers aren't as strong...."

"Some of them are probably unpowered," he said, searching for them. "On both sides. Huh. That's...." He hugged her. "It's a weird plan that's screwed up a few things. Including the two demons trying to nest under Eurasia that're slowly sinking it." He looked at Buffy. "She'll make an *excellent* slayer because she's more than her weapons." He grinned. "You deserve a reward, kid."

"Can I have a piece of the candy?" she asked with a point at the candy dish and a grin for the president.

"Sure. I only keep them for when I don't want to talk to people." He let her take a piece of peppermint, and offered it to the others. Xander was muttering on the phone. "Two hours, Mr. Xander?"

"Yes. Dad and I will be there in two hours."

"Can you get Buckaroo up here so we can talk about any ramifications?"

"Yup. He walked off to warm up the jet."

"Thank you. We'll see you then." He hung up. "Let's get you guys to a room with a comfy couch to rest in so you're not bored in here." They nodded.

"We're really sorry," Buffy said. "I'll be having a talk with them about responsible behavior."

He smiled. "I think it's charming that they love him enough to do something this huge to get him back, but I think the talk about consequences might help as well."

"Yeah, we're having that," Gabriel assured him with a grin for the girls. They followed a guard to a sitting room. It had a nice couch and a few chairs. He sat the two mini slayers down and had a long talk with them about responsible behavior. They had to have sense as slayers too, including common sense. Even if Buffy hadn't learned that yet.

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