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Offspring Of A Former Life.

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Offspring Of A Former Life.




****

Ancient Greece Somewhere Else, Way Back When.

****


In a tiny mountain village, the people were used to quiet. Most of the residents were a bit unusual but the normal people didn't seem to mind or treat them any differently. Even the ones with horns, or cloven feet, and a few with wings or funny looking hair were treated like normal people. As long as they stayed peaceful, did their own thing quietly, and kept up their family homes it was all good. Even the tiny orphanage at one end of the village was well maintained. Most of the unusual people in the town had been raised there so the villagers knew them most of their lives. The few priestesses of Hestia that raised them were quiet sorts who liked to weave and sew things for extra money. They had a huge garden that fed the few orphans they had and the extras got donated to the village for feast days.

Everything was fairly idyllic until one day a new person appeared at the gates to the village. No one knew him. He looked angry. Everyone in the village tried to hide from him but they knew that somehow he saw them and their fears. It was like he was reading their souls. He stared especially hard at the strange ones that had been raised in the orphanage. He walked up to the gate of the orphanage, staring at it. "He's here," he stated.

The priestess in charge sneered. "This temple is protected by Hestia herself. There is no one here who would concern you."

The man sneered. "Yes there is. The scion of war is here."

"No," a young male voice said. "He's not here. He's too old to be there."

The man turned to stare at him. "It's not you."

"Doesn't mean the rest of us want you here." He stared. "Not like you're going to get my friend."

"Go home," the priestess ordered. "This is not your fight."

"Cerebus snot," the boy shot back without looking at her. "He's evil. He wants to destroy some of us. Let him get through the rest of us first."

The man smiled. "I can do that, young pup."

The boy laughed, a slightly crazy sound. "I'm no pup." The man pulled a blade. The kid shrugged. "Yay you, you have a sword. Go ahead and use it. Let's see how far you get."

The man walked closer to him, sniffing. "Your father's dead."

The boy shrugged. "So? Doesn't mean a whole lot since my mother's not." The man smirked. "And she can kick your tail."

"Then let her fight me. You're much too young."

The boy laughed. "Sure I am. Then again, anyone who would fight someone my age is automatically the bad guy of legends. Huh?" He smirked. "We all know you got sent by the invaders. You still won't win."

"I will win and so will they. Greece will fall."

"Empires all fall. It doesn't mean that you'll win today or even this year. After all, we do still have a God of War."

"He won't come if you call?" the man asked with a smirk.

"I haven't called. I'm not his." He shrugged. "Doesn't mean you'll win."

The man looked over the boy's head then at him. "Even that spell won't stop me."

The boy smirked. "It's not meant to stop you. It's meant to protect others." He shrugged. "Why don't you go home? You're not welcome in this village."

The man walked closer to him, sword held firmly in his hand. "I can kill you."

The boy shrugged. "If you think it'll work. I'm pretty sure it won't since I'm immortal." He grinned. "Did you think a normal boy would be here facing you down?"

The man sniffed his hair. "No, you're not." He took a swing but someone behind him shot him with an arrow, making him scream. He turned to look at her. "Who are you?" he sneered.

"His caregiver." She smiled. The boy pounced the guy's back, sinking his teeth into the guy's neck. The man screamed and beat at him. The woman shot the man again. This time he died. "Do you have no sense!" she demanded, helping the boy up. "You are not a warrior! Really you are not!"

"I won't have my friends harmed," he said quietly, staring at her. "Real men wouldn't." He walked off. "Are you evacuating all of them?"

"Yes. There's realms nearby where it'll be safer and you're going as well," she said, walking him to the portal that was being put up. She made sure him and his friends were all shoved through together. They might not get to stay together but they'd end up close to each other if they all fell at the same time. When the last one was gone, they looked around. They could hear the soldiers marching up the hill's road. "Go," she ordered. "Be safe. Find families." Most everyone disappeared. Some stayed. This was their homes. They'd die here if they had to. The orphanage's priestesses had taken anyone they could to the nearest temple. Anyone who could not fight would squeeze into their carts and be safe. The warrior woman made her final prayers to her god and went to stand at the gates of the village. "You will not find what you are looking for here."

"We'll find plenty that we're looking for since we're looking for Grecian blood," the war band leader sneered. "Starting with yours."

She shrugged. "If you think so but I doubt you'll get it easily." The soldiers tried to charge but she had help for now.

***

Modern Day, Modern Times

***

Xander walked up to the park where he had texted Tony to meet him at. "They're coming," he said quietly. He and Tony DiNozzo had met under...weird circumstances and now they checked in every once in a while. This time, things had to be handled by them.

"Really?"

"Yeah."

"Now?"

"Soon. Maybe today." He shrugged, putting his hands in his pockets. "Stupid eye thing gave me visions."

"That sucks."

"A lot." He looked around then at Tony again. "So, any idea about them?"

"Not a bit. You?"

"Tiny bit. I'm wondering why they're after you. It smacks of a funky prophecy."

"It does," he agreed. "Which sucks a lot since I don't like them." Xander grinned. "Any of the others around?"

"Not really. I think I found one but he's not.... something's happened to him beyond all this."

"That's...." He stared over his shoulder. "Is he maybe an assassin? Or are you dating?"

Xander looked back then at Tony, shrugging. "Not dating. I'd offer but he'd just growl. I'm told his orientation is 'nope'."

"That's good. I really should try to arrest him." The guy shot at him so he ducked. Xander threw something on him, making the assassin yelp and fall down with a slight whimper of pain. Tony stood up, staring at him. "Can I have that recipe for hard arrests?"

"Sure. You have to learn how to play kitten poker for demon byproducts though." He smiled. "The same people want me taken out for some reason."

"That's interesting."

Xander shrugged. "Who knows." A woman faded into view. "You're right, it was tonight." He took something off his belt and tossed it back at the paralyzed assassin without looking at him. He missed but not by too much. The guy was wiggling toward it. "So, why did you want me to be dead?"

"You're the hinge of the prophecy, boy. Didn't you find that part out? The scion of War?"

"I'm not the Scion of War. Of Chaos, but not of War." He smirked. "Sorry, wrong one." She growled and lunged at him. Xander's axe grew in his hand and he took a swing at her. "I may be a demigod without powers, but doesn't mean you'll win. I've fought too long and hard for this realm to let it fall to you."

"I know which one you are."

"I'm the one that faced you down in the road," he said dryly with a smirk. "Clearly, someone's mistaken." Tony was calling the local slayer for help. He also kicked the squeeze tube closer to the assassin. If he was going to help, great. If not, he'd shoot him. It'd look good on his career. Xander smirked. "You still won't get him without going through me. If you thought I was and you sent him somewhere else, what does that mean about your capabilities?"

"I know who you really are."

"Xander Harris." He grinned. "Born of a priestess and a chaos god." He bowed. "You're not getting the Scion of War."

"I will and you're still him." Xander cut his upper arm and let it bleed. She gasped, flinching back. "What are you!"

"Born on the hellmouth." He shrugged then grinned, letting out a small cackle. "You're so screwed."

"What are you doing?" Kennedy complained. "You're not a slayer, Xander."

"Funny, you don't look like Buffy," he shot back without looking. "This nice goddess here thinks I'm the son of a war god."

She snorted. "You're not the son of anything. You're impotent."

Xander looked at her. "Not hardly." He grinned. "I can give you references if you want. Or did you think Anya's constant demands went away for some other reason?" She glared. "You can help or not, Kennedy. If not, go the fuck away. No one needs you."

"This is my job. I'm a slayer." She stomped forward, shoving Xander out of the way. "What are you doing on this realm?" she demanded. "The slayers don't want you here." The goddess looked at her then batted her on the head. It knocked her into a tree and they all winced when her neck cracked. She was still breathing.

"Tony, get her some help, slayers heal," Xander said quietly. He nodded, calling that in. Xander looked at her. "You're really pathetic. I mean, I can do better than that." She lunged at him with a shriek and he went back to fighting.

"You will die so we can take over," the goddess sneered. "We know you will. We have seen it."

Xander laughed. "I haven't had that vision and I have a lot of them these days. I guess maybe someone underestimated me yet again." Kennedy moaned again. Xander ducked under a swing and cut the goddess on the chest, making her scream. "Awww, you poor thing," he sneered. "Did that hurt?" She tried to stab him. He blocked it. "They really should've sent a warrior to take one out. You're not worthy of my blade being bloodied. Except you started it." He cut her head off, watching as her essence faded up and out. He waved. "Have a better next life," he called with a smile.

Tony shook his head with a sigh. "You're so warped sometimes, Xander."

Xander smirked at him. "All the bad boys say that. Right, Winter?"

"Fuck you."

Xander looked at him. "If you want to date me, I wouldn't mind, but I'm not that easy. I at least require food first. Especially after a battle." He looked at the man stomping toward them. Then at the one fading in. "Another one?" he sneered. "Wow, you're persistent."

"Scion of War," he sneered.

"No, I'm not. Sorry. My daddy was in chaos, not war." He shrugged but grinned. "You guys are so screwed up you didn't even keep track of where we got sent? Wow, I gather intel so much better." He took a swing at that being and he sneered back but fought better than the goddess had. "Huh, they finally sent a warrior." He shrugged. "Yay." More people showed up. "He's a minor god," he called when someone tried to shoot him. Xander would ignore the hissy fit throwing idiots. They weren't important. He managed to duck the next blow and then hit him with his stake that was always in his waistband. The minor god growled as he pulled it out and tossed it aside. "Thanks, we needed some of your blood."

"No minor witch can stop me," he sneered. He sniffed. "You're scared."

"No. I'm tired. It's been a long night." He shrugged and waved him on. "C'mon if you're coming." The warrior growled and lunged. Xander pulled out something else and threw it on him. The god bellowed in pain as he fell. Xander waved at him. "Hi. How're you today?"

"You sure you're not a scion of war?" the other warrior demanded. He had been in the village. He knew who this one was.

"No, I'm a scion of chaos." He grinned. "You still haven't shaved since that day on the road?" The warrior smirked. "But you're still going to lose."

"We won't. You can die."

"I may but so will you. You guys have a problem taking me out, much less someone who's better at war things." He lunged in to take the first blow. The warrior smirked at his slight limp but it was a ruse when Xander used that supposedly injured foot to trip the guy. "Damn, my baby slayers are better than you are."

"They're going to die too. All of them are."

Xander laughed. "That's not going to happen or how the slayer line works. Sorry, dude." He heard Willow appear and pointed. "There, Willow." She stomped over to where paramedics were working on her girlfriend. "Rosenburg! Focus!"

"She's...."

Xander shot her a look. "This is a nice warrior who wants to take out all the old gods to put his pantheon into their place." He ducked a blow and lunged back in. The Winter Soldier finally got up and hesitated. Xander tossed him a sword. "Please? Then if you want to kill me we can talk about it over a cheeseburger?"

"Whatever. Still not a date. I don't date." He moved in. The sword was a bit odd but it was basically a long knife, right?

"Willow, he staked the one he's frozen," Tony said with a point at the stake. "The dead one was the one that hit Kennedy when she showed her ass."

She picked it up. She felt the blood, grimacing. "That's gross. They have power."

"Yeah, they do. They sent a whole bunch of unpowered demigods off."

"Like in that book?"

"No powers," Tony said. "They were kids being raised somewhere safe. They had no anything that would draw them but one of the kids is the focus of a prophecy so they could take over."

She nodded, drawing on power. The warrior stared at her. Xander and the Soldier both cut his neck, beheading him. She sneered at the bound one. "You're full of power. That's sweet." She touched him, drawing it out of him. More beings showed up. "Hi, welcome to our realm. You're not signed up with immigration. Sorry!" She threw a spell at them. One of them caught it. It was on with her against that wannabe goddess of magic.

Xander looked at Tony, who shrugged. Then at the assassin. "So?"

"I'll see if there's still a price on your head later."

"There probably is. One of my ex's is a stupid fuck who's pouty because I wouldn't marry him."

"That's stupid. He probably would've protected you."

Xander laughed. "Why would I need protected? Especially since he's the dumbass. I'd have made him commit suicide so damn fast." He caught the bottle one of the paramedics tossed at him, gulping it. Then they fought the other interlopers before more came in.

"The scion of war," one crowed.

Willow snorted. "No he's not. He's a normal guy and he's not any good at the fighting stuff. He's not related to a war god."

"Chaos god actually," Xander said with a grin for her then he dove back in. "Why can't you guys get that through your pointy heads? I'm not the one in the prophecy. I'm the one that bought everyone enough time to relocate the kids." The others growled and lunged in. Tony dove in to help. Jets were landing nearby in the parking lots and agents were coming running. "Ward!" Xander shouted.

"Here," he called back. "Slayers, they're gods. Be careful."

"One nearly killed Kennedy," Willow said, gathering the anger. "That's my girlfriend you tried to kill." She shot another spell at the wench. "You guys are so screwed. You thought Xander was the son of a war god. You hurt my girlfriend. You're fucked."

Xander nodded. "She's going to explode," he said quietly. "Pity." Ward dove in to help him. "Thanks." He gulped air and moved back in. He slipped on some spilled blood but it let him duck a blow at his throat. He hopped back up and kicked the guy. "Asshole." He got pulled into a fight with another of the beings.

Ward looked at the guy he was fighting next to, getting a shrug. "Thank you for the help." He moved to help Xander. He was clearly tired. "Xander, you good?"

"I'll be as good as I can for as long as I can. They won't take me out today."

Ward nodded. "You can fall back and catch your breath. Other agents are here."

"Nope."

"Okay." They moved together. The others were fighting the bad guys. Willow was losing her temper, they could hear her getting huffy. He started to say something but Xander shook his head. So he let her go. Buffy could stop her. She was on her way.

"Damn," Faith said when they were let out of the helicopter. "This is bad."

"They're gods," one of the agents said. "They're looking for some scion of war so they can take over our ancient ones that may be left. They keep thinking your helper is him but he's shoved back he's more a kid of chaos?"

"Chaos loves him," Buffy said. "This is bad. Faith, get Xander and his friends." She nodded. "I'll take the blonde guy." They rushed in with the other girls. "Xander, duck." He ducked and pulled Ward down too. Faith jumped them and knocked the godling down. "Thanks for holding the line until we got here."

"One smacked Kennedy into a tree and snapped her neck but she's alive," he said. He moved to backup Faith. Ward and the assassin were helping him. Xander looked over. It was team dark and team light. All the lighter haired slayers were working with Buffy and the darker haired one were helping Faith. "Who made this plan?" he muttered.

"Buffy," Faith complained.

"Hey!" she complained. "We trained together. The ones that wanted to switch dyed their hair."

Ward sighed. "We can help the girls work on that."

"If we live, go ahead," Buffy quipped.

Xander nodded. "That would throw the ratio out since most of the still native slayers are dark haired."

Ward shook his head. "There's a better way of matching skills." He ducked and yelped when he slipped. He got up and went back to it. He had to hop over a fallen body. "Can someone do some injured removal?" he called. Agents were diving in to do that for the paramedics waiting in a nearby parking lot.

"No, Tony, stay," Xander ordered. The beings all looked at him. "He's not him either." They growled and one tried for Tony but he shot them with the new rounds Abby had gotten him. It went up in a bright orange flame. "Told you so. Some of us are just good at defense. Blood doesn't always tell."

Buffy snorted. "Why do they think you're a god?"

"Demigod."

"Why?" she asked again.

"Long time ago somewhere else, there had been a village full of offspring that was raised peacefully. None with powers. These guys decided to take out the kids because one of them was supposedly the son of War and important in their prophecy."

"Uh-huh. So then how did it come here?"

"The kids got sent away," Tony said. "To protect them. Most got saved by going to nearby realities." Buffy grimaced but nodded. "A few ended up here but not the one they want."

"I'm fairly certain he died way back in the middle ages," Xander quipped.

"So all this is because they think you're the prophesied one?" Buffy demanded. Xander nodded. "That's not right!"

"I know," Xander quipped back.


***

Another Realm, Another Time, Another Place

***

A woman opened her door, finding a toddler sitting on her doorstep. She looked around the woods then at the baby. "Where did you come from?" she asked in her native German. "Are you from the fairies?"

The boy smiled and held up his arms. "Gra!" he shouted happily. A smaller figure fussed off to his side. He looked over and patted her. "Gra!" That one blinked at him then scowled.

She sighed. "That's not a good sign but I can't leave you out here." She took both children inside, letting them get warm. When her husband came in he stared at them before putting his newly hunted dinner down beside his gun. "They appeared on the doorstep. I heard a noise and looked out, there was no one there."

He came over to squat down so he could look them over. "They're blessed by something ancient yet not evil." She sighed in relief. Her husband looked at her. "There's no sense of fairy magic."

"Thank goodness. What are we going to do?"

He shrugged. "We'll ask in town tomorrow. If they don't know, we'll raise them to follow what we used to do but with the name we chose to hide our lives." She smirked at him. He smirked back. "Not like I can have my own thanks to that final witch I got with my sister."

"Good point. Children are a blessing on the home."

"Sometimes," he agreed, smirking at her. "Sometimes not so much. That can depend on which gods blessed the child."

"You should write your sister."

"I should but her husband is uppity."

She snorted. "I don't mind if she comes here, Hansel. You know that."

"I do. She does. She says you nag."

She swatted him with her apron. "I only married you because you were pretty, injured, and needed fussing over. That way you could hide." She walked off. "Tell your sister to see your new children, the Grimm brothers."

"I can do that." He watched them. There was something odd about them. His sister would be able to tell.

***

Modern Realm In A Vastly Different Time

***

The nurse in the neonatal unit of the hospital smiled at the dying boy. The rich parents were screaming at the doctors. She looked over at the poor child, the one that the mother had snuck away from because she couldn't raise him. She looked back at the sickly one. Then at the healthy, robust, squealing baby boy. She called the doctor over and subtly pointed at the other one. "With the way she's drunk, she won't realize," she said quietly. "It'll keep him out of the orphanage. You know they'd ruin him. At least this way he'd have a chance."

"It's ethically wrong."

"So is losing your license because she's an idiot," she said bluntly but quietly. "Is it ethical to let that one go on to become a dangerous criminal due to the nuns?"

"I don't know." He walked off. "Let me try one more treatment," he said, considering the nurse's idea. For some reason it felt wrong, but it also felt *right*. The parents huffed off and he came back to check both children. Late that night, when all the nurses on shift were on lunch break, he switched them. If the nurses wondered or noticed, no one said anything. The one who had suggested it never said a word either. The doctor felt better since there was nothing he could do to save the sickly one from the fate his mother's poor habits had caused. The nurse had been right, they'd blame him for it instead of themselves.

***

Same Realm, Different Time Years Later

***

The man at the bar was staring at the guy who had just offered him an obscene amount of money. "Why would I earn that?" he asked. "I haven't done anything to earn fifty thousand dollars."

"I need someone to raise my girlfriend's kid." He shrugged. "That should pay for his upkeep until he's eighteen. Then he can go on his own way."

The man snorted. "I don't have or want kids." He drank more of his beer.

"One hundred G's."

The drunk man sneered. "Don't we have places for kids like that?"

"Not like this one. She's...special. Special in ways that people are going to wonder about in the kid. At least you'll make him seem more normal." He held up two envelopes. "You put it to raising him, you raise him like any other kid, you keep anything you didn't manage to spend." He stared at him. "I don't trust you but you're the best option we have in this town and if we move him outside of town, her family will know and try to steal the kid."

"Why can't they?"

"They'll kill the kid. I'm not their type," he said dryly, smirking some.

"Figures." He finished his beer. "Fine." He took the envelopes and the gym bag the man handed him. He looked inside. There was a sleeping baby in a t-shirt that said 'boy' on it. There were some basic supplies at his feet. He looked up but the guy was gone and there was a new beer waiting on him. He tucked the money into his pocket and drank that beer then stumbled home with the kid to tell his wife. One hundred thousand would do their lives a lot of good for a while and if the kid got too cumbersome, they'd find the parents and shake them down for more. Or give him to the grandparents. By that night, a spell had went over them so they thought the baby was theirs, the money was left to the boy's upkeeping by his wife's late mother, and they forgot all about the guy at the bar.

***

Going Forward to 2000 AD, Back To The Modern Realm.

***

Tony DiNozzo woke up with a gasp, staring around the room. That had been a weird dream. A female voice telling him that soon he would need to gather the other children. "What children?" he muttered. He looked up. "Maybe a hint?" he complained to his ceiling. He'd never had dreams like that and hated kids so he knew it wasn't from his own mind. Which left some really screwy things, though he'd seen more screwy than angelic visions in the past. He calmed himself down and got up to write down what she had said.

The Children are needed.
The Children are missing.
The Children are needed.
The Children were scattered.
Only one of the Children can gather the Others.
Before the Evil returns.

Tony stared at it. It made no sense. He wasn't special in any way. Sure he had been a kid once but not a capitalized-C Child. So why was he getting that sort of message? He didn't like things like this and it made it harder on his regular job as a new NCIS agent.

***

A bit over a year later, Xander Harris stared at the goddess who he was going to help destroy. There was something in her face when she spotted him, just an instant of confusion, but oh well. He had something he had to do. She was going to die and if she had that bad-girl-Xander's-hot feeling that was fine with him. It might distract her so she could die easier. When they finally killed her, and he was mourning, the dreams started. A village. A temple. Priestesses. He woke up in a cold sweat remembering the guy that was trying to invade their village. This was not a good thing to have happen on the hellmouth. He knew enough about prophetic dreams to look up the things he had seen, and knew enough about the people he helped to know not to tell them. It'd only cause issues. They didn't need more issues right now.

***

Three Years Later

***

Xander was out and about, free from Sunnydale. Of course, there was no Sunnydale, he was lonely, and things in his life were going from weird to worse. He was in DC for some higher level meeting with the big wigs who were now upset that a group of girls had been protecting them forever. They hadn't called him back for the invasion but they had called him back to help with the ass chewing going on. He shot a low powered glare at one of his girls for that thoughtful gesture. Then he looked at the screaming, ranting head of the FBI. "Yo," he said finally. "What did you want us to do? Not like *we* set up things originally. Not like *we* created the slayer line. We just stepped in when the old ones got blown the hell up." The ranting one gaped in horror at him. "So why are you blaming us for protecting you?"

"Who are you?" he sneered. "You weren't there at the battle."

"They didn't call me back from Africa for it. I've been in every other battle that the lovely Slayer Buffy has been in. Now I'm training the girls that managed to survive the same people that set up the system you're mad about." He stared at him, adjusting his eye patch. "So why are you complaining at us again?"

"You cannot do that in the US!"

"Bullshit," Xander said dryly. "We've been doing this in the US since I was sixteen. Where were you people? We had a hundred-year-old mayor who turned into a giant demon and made us fight a battle during our graduation. Where were you? Doing nothing. The same as you were when the group took down a special operations unit that was using torture on harmless and less than harmless species, and making a monster to take over the world. You guys did a *really* nice job covering that up by the way. How are the UN Hunting squads? I've only ran into one in Africa and the guy ran the other way when he saw me. Apparently he remembered me."

He stared at him. "If you wanted to handle it, you should've stepped in sooner. We wouldn't have minded. Not like we wouldn't have helped your people learn how to patrol. We were all tired of it by the time we graduated high school. Since our town had over at least ten different years of over thirty percent death rates before the slayer came to us, that should've probably made someone wonder what was going on and *look*. Since you didn't...." He stood up. "We had to handle it as teenagers. We're still handling it now. Not like we can undo the calling. Any of it. We can't go back to caveman days to undo the slayer line and if we did, you wouldn't be here and neither would anyone else that was human. So.... your turn to bat the pingpong back at us with an idea of how you're going to help us. Since we're going to do it because if we don't, you all die. Now, are you done ranting at us for you being willingly blind?"

"Do you want arrested, Mr. Harris?" he demanded, sneering at him.

"You go right ahead," Xander offered, smirking at him. "If I have to, I'll disappear back to Africa. Not like your people can find me there. You guys can't even find your own people there." He stared at him. "And then I'll call something that won't hurt a single slayer, kid, teenager, pregnant woman, or pet and let him have Congress." The man flinched. "There's plenty that want their pawns in Congress to finally come to them. Having them walking around doesn't get them as much power you see." He grinned. "They'd *love* to recall them. I know just who to talk to downtown to make that happen. Then *maybe* we'd have people who wanted to help us do the dirty work to protect you all from shit you don't want to deal with. Now, anything else? I only flew in late last night and I have jetlag." Willow was bright red and trying not to openly choke. He glared at her then at him. "Can we go? I need breakfast."

"You're rude."

"Yay me. No one's stopped drunks from raising kids," he said dryly. "The old Mayor sure as hell didn't care since he ate all the social workers in town before I was born." The man spluttered. "Willow, can you pull up Sunnydale's old stats?"

"Yes," she squeaked. "You need a nap, Xander."

He stared at her. "Yay," he said dryly. "I've went on less sleep recently." He looked at the higher up again. "Since you're no longer willingly blind does that mean you're going to handle the problem in Seattle that's getting about ten people eaten a month? We can't send one of the slayers because it'll feel her coming before she can ambush it. We tried already and lost her. Unfortunately. I actually liked that slayer. I would've went if I was closer but no one thought about asking one of the guys in the Council to do it." Willow moaned. "Really, some of the people in the Council could use some outside help, and possibly common sense, at times. They could also use someone who did battle plans at times since I'm not nearby." He stared at the guy, who was now bright red and ready to start screaming again. "Let it out, dude. We've heard worse. Living in a houseful of girls means we've heard worse ranting in the past." He sat back down.

Willow slid over printouts of the Sunnydale statistics. "He's sorry he's so cranky but these are the ones they reported, and they did try to make them nicer," she babbled. "We always wondered why no one saw those and looked at the town."

The higher up snatched them to look over and promptly lost all the redness, and all the rest of the color of his face. "How did they hide this?" he demanded.

"That's what we'd like to know," Xander said. He shrugged. "We did what we had to do to survive and make sure others lived too. It looked like the thing to do when we were on the nightly menu. They even nicely awarded Buffy for making sure our graduating class had the most people in it, ever." The man collapsed back into his chair. "Where were you?" He stood up again. "We're going to let you look into that matter while we go rest. Most of us are tired after the battle and I've still got jet lag. We can talk again tomorrow if you want." He walked off.

The others followed. "Xander, that was highly rude!" Giles complained in a hiss.

Xander looked at him. "Yay?" He shrugged. "I don't like being yelled at for things I didn't do, or for things I did right. If they don't like it, they can step up and do some of the job for the girls."

"We might like that," Buffy agreed. "That way we had someone to do the stuff you used to do." She looked at him. "What was the hunting team going after and was it Riley's team?"

"No. Some douche from the frat but not him." He looked at her. "They were going after the thing I had killed two days earlier."

"Why did you do that?" she demanded. "There's slayers there, Xander, and you are not one! When will you remember that!"

He stopped walking and glared at her. "When I forget how to count so I don't have a ten-year-old kid doing it." She backed off shaking her head. "Yeah, most of the ones over there are *kids*, Buffy. I may be training them to survive their unique condition and handle things that pop up, but if I'm nearby I'm damn sure not going to let some little girl do it. If I wouldn't let you do it on your own at sixteen, I'm not going to let a younger one do it at all!" He glared. "Get over yourself. Really." He walked off muttering. By the time he got outside, cars were speeding up and swerving to block off the street. "Great," he muttered. He stared at them. One looked ...familiar somehow but he wasn't sure why. "Here for us?" he quipped.

"Yes," the familiar looking guy said with a smile. "We need to talk about the demon by the Pentagon."

Xander pointed. "The slayer will be displeased if I do it for her. She tends to get huffy about that stuff." He walked around him. "But if she doesn't want to, let me know. Wouldn't be the first this week."

"Xander!" Giles chided. "What sort of demon is it, Agent...."

"DiNozzo, NCIS. There's two. They're fighting." He showed him a picture that had been sent.

"I have no idea what those are without looking them up," Giles admitted.

"I've seen the one with the bow in Cleveland. She was getting drunk at the bar," Buffy said. "I submitted a report but no one ever told me what they were."

Xander came back and looked. "They're having a divorce fight," Xander said. "He's the demon overlord of a small group of illegal shippers and she's his wife." He handed the phone back. "Tell them to take it somewhere private."

"We tried to run them off," the agent said, stopping him from moving. He smirked. "Come talk to them?"

"Yup. Buffy?"

"You apparently know it all," she said dryly.

Xander glared at her. "Kinda had to so I could teach them. Not like they'll have the sort of backup you used to have." She slumped. He followed the agent to the car. "Let the heaving higher ups yell at them," he muttered as he got in. "Can we find me somewhere cheap to have breakfast on the way back?"

"Sure," DiNozzo agreed, pulling out. "There's a Waffle House near there."

"That'd be great. You don't get normal waffles with syrup in Somalia."

"I wouldn't figure you could. No maple trees." Xander grinned. "Why the argument?"

"I'm *normal* according to them. So when the higher ups wanted to yell about the invasion I wasn't recalled to fight in, they summoned me back." Tony snorted. "Yeah, my feeling too, dude." He rubbed his forehead. "Since when do you guys have a hellmouth here?"

"We do?" he demanded. Xander pointed. "We'll look at that afterward. I'll get you breakfast to go while we look." Xander shrugged but nodded, taking out his phone to text Willow. When they got there, Xander put his phone back into his pocket and got out, walking toward where he could hear bellowing. He looked at the two pouty looking kids then at the fighting demons. He cleared his throat. Nothing. "Hey!" he shouted. Still nothing. "Shut the motherfucking hell up!" he shouted. That got attention. He pointed at the kids. "Do they need to see you doing this? And does the Pentagon really need to see you two fighting over your divorce? I could be doing something *so* much more fun than reminding you that you're turning into my parents and some day your kids can help a slayer too." The wife shuddered, hugging her kids to her chest. "Take it out of human notice. They panicked," he told the husband, who was glaring. "Before I make her a widow."

"You can't do that, Knight."

"The hell I can't since I took out your cousin a few weeks back," he said dryly. The demon roared as he tried to attack him and Xander shot it. He looked at the cowering wife and kids. "If you come to human notice and make them panic, they call a hunter or a slayer," he said more quietly. "Which none of us want. Do we?" She shook her head quickly. "Then take the kids and get out of human notice. Did you think the military guys inside wouldn't panic? I mean, really!"

"He was here. That's where I found him."

Xander nodded. "I get that, I really do. But the people in the government are panicking after the invasion. They're going to make a slayer or hunter or an agent deal with any demon that comes to higher notice for the next little bit. If you want to live, hide. It'll save you and let them grow up to be normal little demons instead of someone like me." She nodded, rushing off with her kids. Xander picked up something they had left and handed it to the agent. "It's her purse," he said quietly.

"I can have it mailed back," he said. "What about him?"

Xander looked then patted himself down. "Lighter fluid?" A guy came over with a flame thrower and burnt the body. "Thank you. Very handy, Corporal." He looked at the agent. "Let's go find that hellmouth I felt."

"Yes, let's. I can take a report about what happened on the way. The government runs on reports," he said when Xander shot him a confused look.

"Government triplicate forms I heard jokes about?"

"These days half are electronic." They got into the SUV and headed off to grab some coffee, some food for the hunter, and then find that hellmouth. They had to find it.

***

That night, Xander called the hotel. "Buffy, me. Found the cult opening the hellmouth-like portal. Well, sure, I can call agents to help me bring down the three senators and a congressman who are doing it, but I thought you might want to take out the three demons they have chained up that are now insane from the torture. No, takes a woman for two and the scythe for the other," he admitted when she complained. "Sorry but hey, I did all the legwork for you." He hung up after telling her where they were. He looked at the agent with him. "Do you guys really want to put them in jail?"

"Yes. Opening a portal to a hell dimension so they could pull demons to sacrifice for power in downtown Washington DC is treason," he said dryly. "We really want them to go to jail for it."

Xander shrugged. "You guys have fun with that. I'll be back in Africa." Buffy stomped in with agents following her. "Wow, they let you put on makeup?" he quipped. She glared at him and swatted him. He waved a hand. "All yours." He got out of the way, rolling his eye where she couldn't see him. When something else rushed in he picked up his sword to take it on. It was tiny but powerful. "No, I don't think so. She's busy," he quipped in a sing-song voice. "You have to take out me to get Buffy." She looked back and shuddered, going to kill the next demon. The demon turned into a ball of teeth and magic. Xander got bitten a few times but he also kicked the demon into the hellmouth finally. It was open, the demon screamed. All those teeth made it echo. Xander waved, then put pressure on the most recent bite. DiNozzo got a medic to treat him while Buffy finished up.

She huffed when the last one was dead. "Good, now we can close it."

Xander pointed at the crystal. "It needs to be broken by magic and I wasn't going to ask Willow." She stared at him. "She was glowy earlier when I got in."

"She was anxious about seeing you. She thought you might've healed. Instead you've become a bitch, Xander."

He smirked. "Right back at you, Buffster. At least I have my reasons." He let the medics clean up the bite marks, pointing at one. "Not too deep but it could use some neosporin and you guys won't let me put my own on."

The medic taking care of him grinned. "That's what they pay me for. I need to earn my pay, Mr. Harris." He finished up and let him sign a few papers. "You should probably get a tetanus shot."

"Had one last month," he admitted. "Rusty pirates were meanly trying to take down a village I was in." The medic stared at him. Xander grinned. "I've been in Africa training slayers."

"Sounds like you had a lot of work, sir." He let him go back to DiNozzo. "Send your boss the report, DiNozzo?"

"Please. That way we can submit it and run." He nodded, walking off after checking Buffy and the prisoners over. They'd survive until they got to jail. She was just sweaty.

Buffy hung up. "Giles is coming to smash the crystal for us." She looked at Xander. "You let it bite you? Not that fast, are you?"

He stared at her. "Next time I'll let you do that." She huffed. Giles walked in escorted by an agent. Xander pointed. "That's the only one we found and they were trying to protect it with their lives, Giles."

He looked. "It's a demon egg. It's about to hatch." He looked at the young man. "That's even more dangerous than the portal keystone. They were probably going to feed the captive demons to it so they could sacrifice it for power." He looked around and found the keystone, carrying it back to the main area with Buffy's help. He looked at the egg. "We need to shatter it and kill the thing inside. It shouldn't be near hatching age."

Xander pulled out a gun. "Will it break like regular crystals?" Giles nodded. "Move?" They got out of his way. He steadied himself and lined it up then fired on it. It chipped. "Crap. I keep forgetting these are heavier." He shot again, getting the center. The shards fell off and Buffy stabbed the demon with the scythe. "Send it through before we break the keystone?"

"We can, yes." Buffy heaved it all through for him then he cut the keystone off by scratching out the magic symbols on it. That shut the portal. "I'll need help to drain it."

"I wasn't going to call Willow," Xander said quietly.

"I told her she couldn't help," Giles agreed. "It's too delicate for her gifts to help with." The waiting member of the coven came in to help him. She nodded politely at Xander and Buffy as she walked past them. "Thank you, Agnes."

"It's best handled by someone with subtlety, Rupert."

Xander tipped his head to the side, looking at Buffy. "Do you have odd feelings?" he muttered just loud enough to be heard by the witch.

Buffy nodded, pushing her hair back. "I do, yeah, and I don't know that witch." The witch turned into a demon and lunged at them. She fought it off. "What sort of demon are you?" she demanded.

Xander frowned. It was DiNozzo who answered. "She looks like the harpy I saw in a painting once if that helps," he said.

"Cut off her head," Giles called.

"Okay," Buffy complained. "She has no neck."

"Get a wing," Xander offered. He stepped in to block the harpy's strike at Buffy with her claws and shoved her back. Buffy grabbed the scythe and stepped closer to the demon. Xander looked at DiNozzo. "Sword?"

"Not on me, the cleanup team took the one you were using. Sorry." One of the other agents tossed over the backup Buffy had brought with her.

"Thanks." He moved up behind the harpy to get her wings. It distracted her and let Buffy swing at her neck. No luck, very little neck, so she got her shoulder. Xander and she fought it until they were very close to the portal area. Then Buffy kicked her over Xander and into the suction area. Xander slid into it too but he wasn't being sucked for some reason. He walked away from the demon wiping off the sword, pulling Buffy with him. "Must react to magic stuff." She glared at him. "Slayer essence?"

"Good point." She checked on her watcher, who was breaking the portal. She stomped on it until it broke. The harpy got cut in half by the portal slamming shut. "Wow, and we have guys here who can call in someone to clean stuff up."

"Since when do you clean stuff up?" Xander asked. "You used to walk over the bodies."

"Cleveland hates that," Buffy said dryly. "Are you more injured?"

"No. You are though." She looked at herself and huffed. He looked at Agent DiNozzo again. "So?"

"Is it down?" he asked. "For good?"

"Someone with skill may be able to resurrect it," Giles said, taking off his glasses. "I doubt it'll happen though. We know where most people with that skill set are."

"We'd like that list," the agent who had brought Giles said. "Please? That way we can track them just in case."

Xander looked at him. "Most of them can't do huge things."

"Even a tiny bit of extra chaos could shut down the government," the agent said.

"Good point. You guys are one thrown cog from going off the track," Xander said dryly. "Ask the man. I only know about the three in Africa I've run into and the one behind the pirates I ran into is gone."

"As in poof up in smoke?" Buffy asked. "Did he switch realms?"

Xander shrugged. "No and no." She shuddered. "He had his thugs invade a village I was driving through to get to Amaya. I had *great* timing that day," he said dryly. "And they were starving so not all that coordinated. Then we had the sucky zombie bonfire." Giles shuddered. "Yeah, really not happy. I talked to the village and they told me where, so that's why I was late getting there."

"Did you set him on fire?" Buffy demanded. "Because that's just icky, Xander. Even for chaos sorts."

"No, I kinda took some of the explosives I had for emergencies and I blew up his work area," he said. "Which he was in. I'd never hurt someone innocent, Buffy. His whole staff wasn't like him. And when he died, all the zombies went with him." She slumped, staring at him. He smiled. "It's what had to be done." He walked off. "Agent DiNozzo, think you can find that Waffle House for lunch?"

"I can probably find one, yeah. Want to clean up?"

Xander looked at himself. "I probably should. I'm a bit messy. It's rude to show up at the sacred temple of waffles in this messy condition." He grinned as he got into his car. "Thank you for helping me escape the nagging," he said once they were far enough away.

"Not a problem. Nagging like that makes everything worse."

"Yes it does."

Back at the building, Buffy looked at her watcher. "Giles, we need to bring Xander home. He's turning mean and cold there."

He stared at her. "I don't know of anyone who could train the girls in their native environments, Buffy. None of the remaining watchers can. I've checked to see if we could give him someone to help him. I do hope we find someone who could train for that job but for right now, we don't have anyone."

"But he ...he took out a chaos guy! With explosives!"

"Yes, I presume he would've taken out Ethan that same way after Halloween," he said dryly. "Xander has never been the gentle boy that Willow imagined. That was always her...well I suppose you could say it was her rose-colored glasses moment about him." She huffed. "I'm sorry, but we have no one to give him a break. Also, the girls would have to be prevented from mimicking your attitudes when you were a teenage girl," he said, staring at her. "Because they are dreadfully annoying at times."

She pouted. "I've been working on it." She looked around then at him. "Some of that's from Kennedy."

"I've had words with her as well," he said. "And the others." She nodded. "We're done, let's go clean up and get a meal. You probably should eat soon." He looked at the agents.

"We'll come by tomorrow to take a statement," one of the agents said with a slight grin. "That way we know how this all got started."

"The first we knew, Xander reported he had felt a hellmouth on his way to the one that Agent DiNozzo picked him up to handle by the Pentagon," Giles said.

The agent had an eye twitch; Buffy thought it was adorable. "We heard about that. We'll come get one from him then. I'm sure DiNozzo is doing one but his agency won't share. Their director's the mean girl sort."

"Like the movie?" Buffy asked. "Because I can see girls like them becoming directors of agencies full of mean agents who hate us."

The agent patted her on the arm. "I don't hate you or your slayers, Miss Summers. We just feel you shouldn't have to do it on your own or with an army of teenage girls. That's why there's agents and a military." She smiled and kissed him before strolling off. He blinked a few times.

Giles patted him on the arm. "She thought you were flirting," he said quietly. "She really could use a nice man to date. One who wasn't her usual type would be grand." He followed his slayer out so they could go back to the hotel, and possibly slip back to Cleveland before others decided they wanted to chat about things.

***

Xander looked at the agent over his dinner/brunch/real first meal of the day. "Do you ever have really weird dreams?"

"Sometimes. They say dreams are the mind's way of clearing itself out. I guess you've seen enough strange stuff to have really weird ones."

"I mean like temples and shit in Greece." He saw the slight stiffening. "I've been having some of those recently and I don't know why."

"I had one like that once."

Xander nodded. "So, how do we find all the ones that got displaced when that army showed up?" He ate another bite, staring at him. DiNozzo just stared back. Xander grinned. "You seemed different to me," he said quietly. "Kind of glowy."

"Great. Is it noticeable?"

"I think only to ones that were mentioned. I'm just really attuned to that sort of thing with what I do all day."

"That's good at least. I don't know. I have no idea how to get them together or even if it's possible."

Xander nodded. "Since I'm traveling anyway I can at least note others. It might matter some day since things like that are never really done. There's always a mirrored version or a retry." He ate another bite. "This one is better than the one in Sunnydale was."

"It is, yeah. It's one of my favorites after a late case." He went back to eating, considering that. "How many are there?"

"Maybe twelve here. Not sure." He stuffed his mouth and smiled while chewing when the waitress came over. He patted her on the hand for their coffee refills, sipping some. "Thank you."

"Welcome, Knight."

Xander grinned. "The higher ups wanted to scream at us. I got recalled for this and not a battle."

She snorted, waving the hand without the coffeepot in it. "Figures. You good? We heard about earlier."

"Handled. Cleaned up. Hungry."

She nodded. "I doubt those girls let you eat."

"They're still treating me like a pet." She snorted as she walked off. Xander grinned at his new buddy. "Relax, there's a few peaceful ones in here and I'm not going to bother them if they don't bother us," he said quietly.

"Thanks." They finished up and he took him back to the hotel the group was staying in. By the time they got to the right floor, they could hear the screaming. The slayers were on the other side of the floor and you could hear them from the elevator at least a floor down. Tony looked at Xander, who shook his head with a sigh. "Girl moment?"

"Probably." He shook his hand. "I'm going back in two days."

"Good luck with that. I'll be back for the report tomorrow."

"Thanks for the saving," he quipped. He walked off, finding the girls fighting in the hallway. "Is this what respectable young women do?" he asked, making them flinch and stare at him. One sneered. Xander smacked her head into a wall. "Go back to your room. Now. You're embarrassing not only yourself but all the other slayers. Most of which wear *clothes* when they have to be in public. If you don't believe me, ask Giles."

"I don't have to do what you say," she sneered. "You're just a guy."

"Just a guy who brought Buffy back to life and hunted with her, and now I'm training some of you." She sneered. He pulled her over and paddled her then walked her to Giles' room to present her. "Already had enough of the whiny thing." He handed her over. "I paddled her because she's acting like a spoiled kid in a mall." He looked at Buffy then at Giles. "You might want to say something about *clothes* as well since they're in panties in the hallway." He went to his room and opened the door, staring at the girl in there. "How did you get into my room?"

"This is my room," she said, hopping up.

"Really? So now you're wearing my clothes?" He looked back up the hall. "Giles, come get the other one before I beat this one too."

"You can't do that," she said smugly. "I'm underage. That would be assault."

Xander shrugged, taking off his belt. "I can handle jail. Can you?" She flinched.

Giles came up to grab her. "Why did you break into his room, Melody. You know that's not allowed."

"He was going to hit me."

"I can really beat you," Xander offered, waving the hand with the belt around. "It might make you quit embarrassing everyone. Because I damn sure don't want to be associated with a spoiled bitch like you or the other one." She huffed.

"Xander!" Giles chided.

"Truth," he said. "Look at them! They're worse than Buffy on a slut patrol night, Giles! Joyce would have fits!"

He looked at his slayers. "She may at that. They're young women."

Xander stared at him. "No, Dawn's a young woman. Does she act like them?"

"No," he admitted.

"Did the young women you grew up with act like them?"

"No," he sighed.

"Do you really think they should be acting like that? And by the way," he said, staring at one. "Your baby bump shows in that outfit."

"I'm not pregnant," she said, hands going to her stomach, eyes wide. "It's a really big dinner."

"Uh-huh. A kicking dinner? What did you eat?" he asked dryly.

"Xander!" Buffy complained. "Leave her alone!"

"She's pregnant."

Buffy stared at that girl. "You're what? And you were on patrol? Are you suicidal!" she demanded. "You know you don't go on patrol if you think you're pregnant!"

"It's sad there's rules about that," Xander said. Buffy glared at him. "Would your mother like how these girls are? Really?"

"Butt out!"

"Fine. I can do that but the ones that try me I get to beat their asses." She snorted and walked that girl off to talk to her. Xander went into his room and closed the door then turned on the tv and got comfortable. When the cops came for the girls who were once again fighting in the halls he didn't go help. He wasn't welcome to help, so therefore he wasn't going to help, but his girls would *never* do that.

***

Xander looked at Giles as he walked into the buffet the next morning. "Tea's over there," he said, pointing his spoon before using it to eat some oatmeal. "You look like you need it, Giles."

"I do. I spent a horrendously long time last night extricating the girls from their own bad behavior."

"I would've left them," he said. "They might learn something." He looked at him. "Pretend to be Joyce, Giles, or hire them a mom?"

"I'm seriously considering that option." He got his tea and came back to sit at the same table. "Are you all right?"

Xander smirked. "They didn't bother me at all. Not one knock or anything." Willow came in and was huffy. She opened her mouth but he held up his spoon. "Then you should've stopped the hos," he said bluntly before she could get it out. "I tried, they ignored it and complained. None of *my* slayers will ever act that way." He used his spoon to eat another bite of his oatmeal. He looked at Giles. "They have rules."

"We need some. I need to hire a woman who they can look up to."

"Find a mom, Giles. They could all use a mom if they don't have one."

"I'll start looking later."

"Ask about retired agents so they're strong enough to be able to protect themselves."

"That's not a bad idea." He got up to get his own breakfast, walking around where Willow was still huffing. "He is correct. He did try to correct things but the girls did whine about it. Now they're all in trouble but three."

"Sometimes you gotta have a mom or a real big sister who has sense," Xander quipped. Someone else came into the buffet area and got coffee then left. Xander went back to his food. "I'm scheduled to go back in two days."

"Why would they need you?" Willow demanded.

"Because they're little kids and they need trained," Xander said. "Not like you could survive Africa, Willow."

"I can so!"

"You can't camp. You can't start a fire without lighter fluid. You can't cook over one. You can't fight so you can't train them."

"Neither can you." She glared. "You're still a normal guy, Xander."

Xander nodded. "I am and yet I've managed to do the same job you two do all by myself." She growled. "You start that shit and I'm selling you to something. I did unfortunately leave one of the people sellers I had to rescue one of the slayers from alive." He stared at her. She backed off looking scared. "You want to train some of the girls, I hear there's some in Central America that need found."

"They're in highly Catholic countries," Giles said, sitting down again. "Willow, behave. Xander, quit baiting her."

"She started it." He shrugged and finished his oatmeal then got into his toast. "Not like they like magic in Africa, Giles. There's places they burn you at the stake for that." Willow flinched. "I had to save that same slayer from them. And one from her very uptight family that thought it had ruined her honor to be chosen."

"Is she healing all right?"

"She's doing a lot better. The hospital I got her to is about midway on my rounds so I stop in every few weeks as I travel. She's due out in about two to three more weeks so I'll pick her up and bring her with me since she's no longer part of her family."

"That could help and having a slayer roaming to the other girls would help. She's one of the older ones, correct?" Giles asked.

"Fifteen. Almost sixteen. So I won't let her do anything but learn until she's eighteen."

"That's a fair rule," Giles agreed. "One we keep to for patrols." Xander grinned slightly. "Will she need specialized care?"

"No. The scarring's healing well."

"That's excellent. Her eyesight?"

"One's down but she's working on compensation. She told the nurses if I could do it she could do it too. So we'll work on that while we train the others."

"If the worst happens, she can turn into the regional watcher," Giles decided. He made that note for himself. "Update everyone's records in the next month?"

"I've got most of that ready for you. It's in my bag. You said not to bring it."

"I did. I didn't want them to get hold of it." Xander nodded. "I'll grab it on the way back upstairs." They dug into the rest of their breakfast and Willow huffed off. "I think she should have a vacation to Devon," he said quietly.

"I think that'd be great since the anti-magic protections I have inked on my arms are burning," Xander said. Giles got up to go deal with her. "Maybe I'll have them tattooed on instead," he considered, drinking his coffee. Tony walked in. "I should have my anti-magic marks tattooed on."

"I know a few places near the Naval Academy." He sat down. "The huffy people you walked away from are nearly screaming about what they found out."

"About me?"

"No"

"Good." He smiled.

"About a few incidences, including something at a mall."

"That would probably end up being about one of us," he admitted.

"I don't want to know."

"I'll see if we can arrange something." He shrugged and got back to his coffee. "If so, I'm going back early."

"That's fine. Frankly, my boss saw that incident and said he did not care how it was gotten as long as he did not ever have to see it again."

"A few of the parts are up for sale due to deaths caused by the First Evil but not all of it."

"That's good to know," Tony said, making that note. "What was it?" Xander pointed at Giles as he walked Willow back in. "We've searched out some very interesting footage."

"Of?" Giles asked with a polite smile. "You're which one?"

"Agent DiNozzo, NCIS. I'm the one that gathered Xander yesterday for that fighting couple."

"Ah. That was nice work, Xander. I've heard from the local community that you were firm but fair."

"I reminded them that there's people in charge who are panicking and they're not safe if they're in the open right now. Causing a panic, especially next to the Pentagon, was not a bright idea and I told his widow that."

"That's a good thing," he agreed. He looked at DiNozzo. "Which films did they find?"

"Something about a mall and a big blue thing."

"The Judge," Giles said. "Most of his parts are still hidden so he can't be put back together."

"Three are up for auction," Xander said.

"Charming." Giles looked at him. "He could not be killed by any weapon made by man."

"So you returned him to the parts so he'd have to be put back together again," Tony said. Giles nodded. "Not a bad plan." He texted that to his boss, who said it was probably the only workable thing and he wanted to know where the weapon had come from so they could shut that link down. He looked at him. "We're only concerned that the weapons leak that gave you that weapon might be selling to others."

"You can win some every now and then at kitten poker," Xander said. "But that link wasn't a link. That was blatantly stolen to cure the problem."

"Okay." He looked at him. "Do I want to know?"

"Only if you want to see me disappear."

"Then I don't want to know right now."

"Not like they'd do anything about that," Willow snorted. "There's a statute of limitations."

"Not in a while," Tony said. "There's no statute of limitations for arms dealing, Miss Rosenburg. Or arms stealing, even in an emergency situation. I should know, I'm an agent."

She huffed. "We needed it. Xander got it for us."

Tony held up a hand. "Unless you want to see him in jail, for life, shut up." She went pale and shut up. "Thank you. That would be something you should not speak of. Like how you nearly ended humanity. It's not something anyone needs to hear about," Tony said patiently. "It's like tact only smarter."

"I get that," she complained.

"Thank you." He sent that to his boss, who said it figured and even CID wasn't going to look at that issue. No matter where it had come from, no one cared at the moment. Unless the Council had issues then they'd use that to cure them. "There is a thread of 'we'll cut out anyone who has issues at the Council' by the higher ups," he told Giles, who sighed but nodded and sipped his tea. "So anyone who has had issues. That would include your head witch, head trainer, both senior slayers....." Giles winced. "Institute some secrecy mandates."

"I believe I can do that, yes. They can go in the same time as the new rules about conduct unbecoming of a slayer."

Willow stared at him. "They weren't that bad. They were overreacting, Giles."

"They were pornographically grappling in the hallway, Willow. Yes they were. Frankly, I was about to leave them there." She gasped.

"I would've," Xander agreed. "They needed the wakeup call. Slayers can be slutty but they can't be that bad. It looks bad on the rest, including Kennedy," he said when Willow opened her mouth. "Do you really want everyone to think that slayers are cheap, easy party girls who do porn in the hallways of hotels?"

"No," she complained. "It's not that bad. It's nothing like you playing with weapons."

"I don't *play* with weapons, Willow. I *use* them when I need to use them."

"You blew up a person."

"I blew up a chaos sorcerer who had a whole village invaded and nearly killed three hundred people to get their souls." She slumped. "Hell yes I ended him." She slumped further.

"I would've," Tony agreed.

Giles nodded. "Me as well. Who knows how many he's taken out for that reason."

"Exactly," Xander said. "Plus I was there passing through when they showed up."

"No one would take your soul anyway," Willow said. "It's not normal."

"Yet you consider me normal," he shot back. "To this day." She got up and huffed off. Xander waved at her back then rolled his eyes. "Can I help by escorting her to Heathrow?" he asked Giles.

"Perhaps." He looked at Tony.

"I figured it out without her saying it. Frankly, I don't care where it came from." Xander relaxed and grinned at him. "As long as it never happens again."

"Unless it's that sort of emergency and they refuse to help," Xander said.

Tony stared at him. "Find another way."

"Sure, next time I'll go raid the mob or something."

"If you can get the mob or cartels to take out the demons who're harmful, we'd mostly be happy with that," Tony said with a smile. "It'd mean a lot less paperwork for some of us." Giles was scowling. "Every area has their group of bad guys, Mr. Giles."

"I know," he sighed. "Frankly there's about thirteen higher level demons on this plane that could use taken out by them. I doubt we could encourage it though."

"Pity," Xander said. "I'd like the one in Zimbabwe to go out somehow." Tony and Giles both stared at him. He smiled. "Zorander."

"Shite," Giles muttered quietly.

"Do I need or want to know?" Tony asked.

"Only if he comes over here," Xander said. "He shouldn't bother soldiers any. They don't tend to be virgins that he can abuse, then possess to do his bidding. Like the one in Morocco. He got a tiny bit mad at someone who sold him an ugly rug."

"Then I need to know," Tony said.

"I'll send you a report on him. Did you run into him, Xander?" he sighed, sipping his tea.

"One of his people tried to flirt with me so I did an exorcism." Giles choked. "He knows I can do it but I haven't seen hints of him and I've warned all the girls he's around down there and what his thing is. Some are still too young but their parents know as well." Giles nodded, making himself that note. Tony did as well. Xander smiled. "Chaos sorcerers are a bigger threat. They do neat things like have you possessed by your halloween costume, which was a General at the time I wore it." Tony stared at him. Xander grinned. "It had been his old BDU's he had donated."

"Crap," Tony muttered.

"Yeah, kinda." He finished his coffee and took his cup up to get more with Giles to get him more tea. He sat back down, handing back the delicate cup of tea, earning a smile. "It'll be a long day, Giles. Get more breakfast."

"You could eat more."

"The slayer I'm working with isn't in a prosperous area and I'm sharing my rations with her family."

Giles sighed but nodded. "I know some places are bad."

"She's not in one of the really bad ones but definitely poor. Edge of a smaller city poor." Giles made that note. Xander took his notepad and pen to make his own about the girls. Giles smiled and patted his hand, tucking his notebook away so he could finish his tea. "It seems like three or four of us are doing everything," he said quietly.

"It does. Buffy does step up to help the slayers in residence. Willow's been a bit busy."

"Is she working on stuff for the Council? I've been hearing alchemy rumors. She's been watching an anime and trying their version of it." Giles huffed. "Not sure either way but that is the rumor going around."

"I'll look into that rumor, Xander. That would be quite dangerous."

"Transmutation circles," Xander said.

"Very dangerous," Giles agreed. "I'll be having a talk with Kennedy as well."

"Can we send Kennedy to somewhere like the new house in Singapore?" Xander asked. "She's probably traveled enough to know how to do that and how to work her way around a new city."

"She could, yes, and Willow might like the vacation. Though I'm a bit scared of what she'll learn." He paused to consider it then nodded. "That's not a bad idea. She's one of the better trained girls and she does have a passport. I'm working on getting them for the other slayers." Xander and Tony both nodded.

"Too many emergency reasons to have them," Xander agreed quietly.

"I'm hoping other places would jump in if they're having issues," Tony said.

Xander stared at him for a second. "That's not the only reason. There's plenty of petty people in command."

"Good point. I didn't want to think about that." He looked outside then at Giles, pointing. Giles got up to yell at the girl that was dancing around in a very tiny bikini nowhere near the pool. Tony shook his head. "I wish him a lot of luck with the girls."

"First, never wish anything. There's a good chance there's a wish demon over that and all wishes are double-edged things. Second, I suggested he hire a retired agent to be a dorm mother. That way they were strong and tough enough to hold their own against the girls if something happened and they had sense."

"Sense might be nice," Tony agreed. "There's two more."

"He can beat them. I'll lend him my belt." He smiled. "I heard Kennedy called them this morning to complain that they were giving the rest of them a bad name by being that way."

"It's nice she might help change their behavior."

Xander looked out then sighed. "Definitely a mom." He shook his head. Tony stopped him from going. "You sure?"

"Yup. The police are there."

Xander glanced out there then sent Buffy a text message. She came from the pool to yell at the girls for the police. Who arrested them anyway. Then the whole group had to leave the hotel when they got kicked out.

***

Xander made it back to Africa, and immediate problems. Someone hated slayers. Xander had to defend his girls. He was missing one but he could handle that. Her family had been burned and he had no proof it was whoever was doing this. Xander gathered the girls and their immediate families. They were already evacuating up toward one of them. He talked to them once they were in the safehouse, seeing who knew what. He had called Giles to warn him, then he went on the offensive. The local police there weren't going to get in the way. They had said it was his job to handle since they were scared of slayers. So when someone tried to break in, Xander shot him in the arm, blinking when it hit metal. He stared at the man, who was glaring. "If you're going to try to kill the slayers you've got to get past me and a lot have tried, buddy. Just run the fuck away."

The man smirked behind his mask. "I'm not."

"Then why are you sneaking into the girls' rooms?"

"I want the one who's trying to kill your girls."

"They're not *mine*. They're slayers and I'm training them to survive."

"Can you really do that?"

"Yeah, I can. I've survived a long time." He heard a noise and turned, shooting the person through the door. "Huh. You had great timing." The man stomped past him. "I need to know if he's related to any demon group. That way we can take them down."

"If he's alive, I'll ask him and tell you." He opened the door and hauled the man up. He groaned so he was alive. "Give me twenty minutes."

Xander smirked. "Sure. Want me to make coffee?" The man gave him an odd look. "I've seen worse than that. We used to work with a few master vampires. Hell, I've seen one's porn that was worse than anything you can do to him." He shrugged, making some coffee. The man shook his head as he walked off with the idiot. He handed over a note a few hours later and then disappeared into the brightening dawn. Xander read it, smiling at the information. "Hey, it's a demon gang."

He looked at the slayer who was peeking out her door. "It's safer. The main one's gone. He had other enemies who took him after I dented the door." She smiled and hugged him then went to wake the others and tell them. "There's a demon gang behind them but I can handle that." He sipped his coffee, calling a few local contacts to ask them where that group was. And who they were. That might matter in his method of handling it. One of the fathers came out. Xander let him read the note. "I'll handle it later. Let the girls rest." That got a nod and he went to talk to the other parents.

A mother came out to make breakfast. She smiled at him. "It's good to talk to the other girls' parents. We can share ideas."

"The girls need all the support they can get," Xander said with a smile for her. "Buffy herself proved that by staying with her mother. Family is important to all of us in many ways." He patted her on the arm. "Don't worry about me. Let the girls eat all they want to." She nodded, making extra. He still got fed but the girls pigged out while talking to each other about training things. "Girls, do some sparring," Xander called. They huffed but did spar against each other with their parents watching.

***

Xander met the masked man later that night after he had blown up the demon gang's hideout. One large demon had just roared, coming out of the rubble. "Thankfully I brought my axe." He lunged over to meet the demon while it was still in shock and killed it. Xander looked at the mess then shrugged and walked off. He smiled at the guy watching him. "Sorry if you wanted them too."

"No, I was going to handle it so little girls didn't have to."

"That's my job for the slayers." He grinned. "There's a ton of idiots who hate slayers for making sure humanity keeps going." He cleaned off his axe, looking at the demon body. "Good, you're not regenerating." He shrugged and smiled at the guy again, making him shake his head. "Slayers handle things that normal people hate to hear about. It's the life even though we hate it. I'd rather have them live normal lives instead of being slayers. I'll give them as long as I can."

"It's a noble ideal," the man said.

"I'm often called a knight," Xander said with a smirk. "It's a tiny bit right." He walked off. "Want coffee?"

"No. It's too hot." He watched the strange young man walk off, shaking his head. For some reason the guy gave him a headache. When someone came to try to sniff around the wreckage, he shot them. The demon only howled loudly. That was so weird. Fortunately the kid had left a delayed device and it blew up the demon. "Landmines," the guy said, coming down from his perch to look at them. "Homemade. Not bad." He went to call around about him. Someone had to know this kid and who had trained him. So far almost no one knew more than rumors of him.

***

Tony DiNozzo got visited by someone a few days later. They were a covert agent in another agency but Tony knew them. They had met during an undercover. He walked into his apartment and found the guy in there watching his movies. "Nice to see you," he said dryly, shutting the door.

"I heard you're looking at the slayer stuff. Your director hates them."

"She thinks they're evil in the making. Like comic book heros only more wild."

"Some of the girls, yup." He held up a manilla envelope. "On their trainer. There's been a few people looking at him for some reason."

Tony sat down, reading it over. His eyebrow went up and then he groaned. "So he's really more wild?"

"He's very protective of the girls. Even the ones that were here that he sniped at." He grinned, eating some more popcorn. "Kid's not bad but the agent over there that caught him handling something said he's not trained. No one has any idea how he learned that stuff." Tony stared at him. "He took out a whole street gang of demons."

"Great." He went back to reading, wincing at one thing. "How many others are looking at him to remove him?"

"Only your director to remove him. He's doing something the girls can't. Including proving that everyone else can help the slayers if they'd let them. Apparently they consider him normal, even though the DNA workup we subtly did from some of his shed hair here in DC says he's not. We heard that was because of a problem though." He ate another bite. Watching Tony's face was nearly as great as the movie. "We don't think anyone's told him that his former girlfriend left him enough stuff to set up a real house."

Tony looked at him. "Can we get anything on Sunnydale?"

"Very few people know anything from the demon underground. The few that do aren't talking so no one can ask them how they know them."

"I'd like to know, even if no one else hears." He looked at him. "Gibbs wants to know and he hates that the girls have to do it on their own."

"Seems like the boy's making sure they don't, even if the girls don't respect him for it."

"Any idea what made him dive in?"

"He's called a white knight but I don't know." He put down his bowl of popcorn. "No one's talking about those years."

"Thanks." He shook his hand. "Next time, try the dvd next to that movie. It's a better film. Less cheesy." He grinned. The other agent laughed as he left. Tony leaned back to reread the file. It was skimpy but it was a huge issue in the making. He called Gibbs. "Someone found some information on Harris. At home, Boss. He was here when I got here." He hung up, waiting on Gibbs. As it turned out the director showed up too but DiNozzo stared at her. She glared. He handed the file to Gibbs but kept him from handing it over to her. "No. If she wants to know, she should go talk to him." He walked the file off to put into his safe. He came out to look at Gibbs. "He just took out a demon gang that was trying to run guns in Somalia." She stomped off. He looked at his boss. "She'd arrest him for doing what was necessary, boss," he said quietly. "Not like we can stop them. Not like I'm going to endanger little girls to stop him."

"I get that. I agree. She still needs to know."

"The agent that gave it to me warned me about her." He smiled. "Want dinner?"

"Not really. I already ate." He followed him into the kitchen. "Do we think he's going to continue to do things like that if he comes back to the US?"

"Yup. I think he's been doing it however long he's been helping Buffy." He looked at him. "That agent said that very few agents are hearing anything about the Sunnydale years and they won't talk because people would ask how they knew demons."

"I wouldn't either." He leaned against the counter. "Do we think he's a problem in the making? Is he burned out?"

"I think he was burned out long ago and now he's just waiting on the right battle but it's not good enough yet." He looked at him. "Every now and then he does run into someone on the lists. Mostly as dates."

"Charming."

"His last one was the demon that women called when their husbands beat them." Gibbs winced. "They nearly married." He smiled at the pan he was heating up. "Someone should tell him she left him stuff."

"If I run into him I'll send him to you, DiNozzo."

"He's a nice guy, Boss. If I had been in the same situation I would've jumped in too."

"I know. I would've too. It's not right that young women have to do it on their own."

"The Director still thinking they're making all this up?"

"Yup."

"Did you see the paper in there that says she's half-demon?"

"I didn't."

Tony nodded. "Didn't say what type."

"I'll find out."

Tony looked at him. "Apparently DNA tests can tell."

"I'll have Abby help," he said with a slight smirk. "Good thinking. Now what?"

"We have people who deal with weird things in the government. Do they know about slayers?"

"I don't know who'd to ask to find out."

"Maybe we should."

Gibbs considered it. "I can ask a few contacts to see if they know someone. The girls could use all the backup they could get." He left, going to talk to a few agents he knew.

Tony got back to his dinner making. He'd talk to a few more of his contacts in the morning. They were probably off shift now if they were lucky.

***
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