The Second Act of CHAOS.
Phil looked at Xander as he walked up to the table in the male revue club at the resort. "Xander, your former lover said Dawn is missing from college." He pointed at which one it was since there were four in the club with them.
"Has her college started?" Xander asked. "I thought that was later this month." He frowned some, pulling out his phone to call her. "Are you okay?" He listened. "Still on vacation. Is there a problem that I need to help the girls with?" He listened, leaning on the back of the bench seat. "Yeah, I can fly out to help with that, Dawn. No, I don't think the coven can snatch me from where I am. Long story, Dawn. Caribbean. Yeah, by tomorrow. Where and who's handling it?" He nodded, making a note on the paper Phil handed him with Clint's pen. "I can be there tomorrow. Thanks, dear." He hung up. He kissed the bad guy. "Thanks. They've been looking for me and can't find me." He looked at Clint. "When I get back?"
"Of course. Want help?"
"You might not be able to help. I'm not sure what this demon is." He let him see the note.
Clint grimaced. "Natasha, go with him to help the slayers?" he asked her.
She nodded, taking the note. "I can do that." She got up. "Let's go pack, Xander." They went to pack then check out.
Xander smiled at the pouting desk girl. "I'll be back in a few days. The slayers need me."
"We need you here, Xander."
He stared at her. "My first allegiance is my duty to the slayers," he said quietly. "We'll be back after the battle."
"Sure." She made that note into her system. "There's a flight going out in two hours."
"Thanks." They went to the gift shop to get something to drink on the flight to New York. It was the only place the plane went. Xander could get a later flight from there.
Buffy looked up as Xander walked into their basecamp room. "You brought your girlfriend so she can baby you after the fight?" she guessed, nodding at the woman behind Xander.
Xander grinned. "This is Agent Romanoff with SHIELD, Buffy. Better known as the Black Widow. I'm not her type but she's one of the best hand-to-hand fighters SHIELD has and she offered to help."
Buffy stared at her. "Really?"
"Like the chick on the Avengers?" Faith asked.
"I am," she said with a tiny smirk for the darker haired slayer. She looked at Buffy. "I have been in more battles than you have, Miss Summers. Including the one in New York."
She shrugged. "Sure. I guess it's fine but I can duck your boss if you get hurt."
Xander rolled his eyes. "If Fury gets huffy, I'll deal with him." He looked at the map. "Why are we taking him on in the middle of a highway?"
"It's a residential road," Buffy said.
"The cab drove us up it, it was a four lane highway," Xander said. "Natasha, do you have google maps?"
"I do." She looked up the address to show them. They groaned. "We were planning on leading it there or is it coming there?"
"We think it's coming there."
"Proto-portal or idiot summoning it there?" Xander asked.
"Summoning idiot. We think he's even a police officer."
"Great," Natasha said. "Do we know who? Have we liaisoned with the local department?"
"Most officers hate slayers," Buffy said.
Natasha called a number. "It is Romanoff. I'm helping the slayers with their upcoming battle. They are projecting one for these coordinates." She read them off and listened to them. "They think someone summoning. Possibly a local officer." She nodded once, looking at Buffy. "That would be helpful. Thank you." She hung up. "SHIELD will liaison with the local department and will help block off the highway if it is summoned there so it can be quickly fought and handled." She put her phone back into her carry-on bag. "They will also be listening for a 'we need backup' call in case this isn't enough slayers or to clean it up afterward."
"Wow," Buffy said, staring at her. "We need one of you to help us." She looked at Xander. "Thank you for bringing someone we can respect."
"She was vacationing at the same place the former wife left me and Clint at."
"Wife?" Buffy demanded, staring at him. "Who married you?"
Natasha glared at the mouthy 'friend'. "Many people want Xander as their spouse, Miss Summers. Some of them are not worthy of him but this last one was fairly well off and a bit kinky. She dropped him off at a nude resort."
"Naked?" Buffy squeaked. "That's even worse than dating."
Xander shrugged. "I've had more than naked time with a few people, Buffy. And she wasn't my first spouse." He dropped his bag in the corner. "Natasha, can you pull up better photos so we can do some planning?" She projected them once she had her phone back out. He looked. "There's spaces between the two sides of the road. There's very little shoulder." He traced it with a finger. "If they're summoning would it be over the water since there's a bridge?" he asked, pointing at it. "Or over the ground?"
"We think over the ground," Faith said. "Willow went searching."
Xander stared at her then shook his head with a sigh. "Was she the only one?"
"She's in control," Buffy said firmly. "You know that, Xander. Or you would if you came home."
Xander stared at her. "Cleveland's not home, Buffy. Never has been." She glared. "I don't like it there and my continuing hellmouth taint tends to make me sick from the hellmouth there. They're not the same energy stream." She slumped, shaking her head. "Can we get one of the other witches to go look? That way we get a positive match to someone who might not cloud themselves?"
Dawn smiled and wiggled her fingers at him. "Two witches, presently out there. They'll be here in thirty minutes. I called when you got here." Xander hugged her. "Good, you're still wearing the shielding necklace."
"Yup. Keeps me out of trouble." He grinned back. "One of the guys at the resort thought you were in trouble. Somehow it blocks visions."
"That's sweet," she said. "Is it all nude?"
"You can't go even if it isn't," Buffy said.
"I'm a grown woman, I can go to a topless beach if I want, Buffy," Dawn shot back.
"There's a few clothing optional places," Natasha said. "There's one beach that's no clothing required. The rest, mostly it's bodyguards who are dressed. My skimpiest bikini only got scowls because I wasn't nude."
Dawn shrugged. "I'm not that shy. I might come visit." She leaned on Xander's arm, getting a hug. "Spring break?"
"Not sure," Xander quipped. "Very little drinking. It's a spa sort of resort."
"That's handy. I could use one by then." She looked at the pictures. "Would it matter over the water?"
"Yup. We'd have to have distance weapons unless someone was going to float the slayers to help them fight it."
Natasha looked at him. "I don't think that would be wise."
"Or possible," Buffy said dryly.
"It can be done," Dawn said. "It takes shitloads of magic."
"Boats," Faith said.
"Possible, depending on how high up it is," Xander said. "Is that a major waterway?" Buffy shrugged. Natasha looked then shook her head. "No shipping barges?"
"Very minimal. Maybe local production or coal barges."
"That's good then." He looked back when the witches came in. "Where is it going to be?"
"Why didn't you have a vision?" one asked.
"I got left at a resort in the Caribbean that has natural stuff that blocks them."
"That's nice," one of them said.
"It's a naked place," Buffy told them.
Natasha looked at the witches. "I've seen things about skyclad rituals."
"Some do," she agreed with a smile. "I don't know you. I'm Agnes."
"Agent Romanoff with SHIELD," she said, shaking her hand. "I was at the same resort and offered to help Xander with the battle."
"That's very nice of you, dear." The witches pointed. "It's forming there. There's an officer sitting in his cruiser up the street here," she said. "We're not sure if it's him or not."
Xander nodded. "Okay. How soon?"
"Few hours," the other witch sighed. "Just in time for traffic rush hours."
"I guess he'd get more victims very easily," Xander said. He made marks on the picture. "Ladies, group here." They all nodded. "Two or three in each spot. Have the rest waiting to make sure we don't need backup." He looked at Natasha. "As soon as it appears...."
"I'll have the road shut," she promised before he could say it. She sent that message to the check-in board. They promised to have an agent on site in an hour. "We'll have a watching agent there in an hour." Xander nodded, getting back to assigning spots. They had minivans and could look like they were conferencing over the map so they didn't scare the normals. The backup slayers could be in the park a few blocks before the bridge and come running. Xander and Natasha checked all the weapons, Natasha taking a few to sharpen for the slayers. She looked at Xander once they and Faith were in one of the minivans with two of the other slayers. "Do they not do their own weapons?"
"Sometimes the obvious escapes them," Xander said, driving off after one of the witches driving the other slayers. "A few of them don't do it very well. That's why I always check beforehand. That and higher weapons tends to be damaged by the girls who want to pet them but don't know how. It's always a good idea to check after the slayers."
She nodded once. "That does make sense. I probably would as well. Now and then I check Clint's weapons."
"You know Clint?" the youngest of the slayers asked, leaning forward onto Faith's shoulder. "You work with him? We've seen pictures of him and Dawn said he's a nice guy who likes Xander as a friend."
"He is," Xander agreed. "He's a nice guy and he's a good friend. He showed up a few times to check on me, even after the battle in Sunnydale."
Natasha smiled at the young woman. "Clint and I work on the same response team and we're both Avengers."
"Oh, wow," she moaned. "You're *her*. We saw you go into the battle with very few weapons and still kicked butt. You're like a slayer hero."
Natasha smiled slightly. "You do what you must when the time comes for a battle. Though I'm glad I can inspire slayers to battle harder so they can last through a battle."
The girl grinned. "So is Clint really that hot close up?"
"He is very cute," she agreed. "Especially when he and Xander were dancing together to make the arms dealers at the club calm down."
Xander grinned at her. "He's fun to dance with. Is that our spot or is it the next bridge?"
Natasha checked her map on her phone. "Two more bridges." Xander nodded and kept going. The first minivan pulled over but it was smoking so they had to. Xander found the right spot and pulled off. Two of the five vans pulled up behind him and the girls gathered around Natasha when that one slayer told them she was her. They had a lot of questions for her. Xander and Buffy were scanning and Xander was figuring out footing issues. Buffy nodded at his decision but one of the girls got told to guard the vans. She didn't like it but yay. They were looking at pictures Xander had of the club when the demon showed up. Xander tossed his phone into the van and pulled out his borrowed sword. "Hi, how are you?" he asked with a grin.
The demon stared at him. "Not a slayer," he sneered.
"No, I'm Xander." He waved. "Not a good day for you?" The demon bellowed, pounding his chest with his fists. "Wow, way macho," he said dryly. He clapped slowly, smirking at him. "I give up, dude. You clearly out-macho me. That's why I've got the sword and the way to kill you." He lunged and the demon yelped.
It tried to stomp over to the other road but the slayers were in the way. It pouted. "I need five souls," it whined at the girls. "Please?"
"Nope," Faith said with a smirk. "Not today, Sparky."
"I'm not electrical."
"You're not bright either," she quipped. "Girls, get it. Put it out of our whining misery." The girls lunged. The demon tried to hide behind Xander. Xander looked back at it, then turned to stab it. Faith laughed, shaking her head. "Nice one, X."
"Thanks, my dear slayer friend." He shook his head. "Anyone got the lighter fluid?" It got tossed over and Xander burned the damn thing. Buffy was groaning and shaking her head. Xander looked at the staring officers on the other road. "We just respond when someone summons them," he said with a grin and a wave. "We have nothing to do with this beyond fighting it."
One of the officers stomped over. The slayers all ran for the vans, leaving only Xander, Buffy, and Natasha outside. "What the hell are you people?" he demanded.
Buffy smiled. Giles told her to smile when she had to talk to officials since she was the head girl. "I'm the senior slayer Buffy. We got told someone was going to summon that demon."
The officer scowled at her. "Why didn't you warn us?" he demanded, glaring at Xander.
"I was in the Carribean until someone told us."
"I did tell my superiors to tell yours," Natasha said. "There was a question about who the summoner was, and there was a question if he might not be sitting behind the ad board." She pointed at that cruiser.
"He's napping," that officer said. "Who're you?"
"Agent Romanoff, SHIELD."
"Fuck," he muttered. "Weird stuff on top of the weird stuff. Just great."
Xander snorted. "SHIELD doesn't do all that many weird things. They're like the FBI only they have agents who go out to solve things before the FBI hears. Most of the agents are either goofy geeks or *really* uptight."
"You're SHIELD?" the officer asked.
"No, I'm the slayer's trainer, but I have worked with some agents in the past. And dated three."
The officer shook his head.
"And threatened the director," Natasha reminded him.
"Oh, yeah, and threatened their director for being a douchebag toward the slayers." He smiled. "We were going to disappear before you got here."
"No, we'd like a report. What was it?"
"A big baby," Buffy said. "It tried to hide behind Xander."
Xander looked at her. "And yet, I killed it. Thank you."
"It was behind you. Not that hard," Buffy said.
Xander sighed, looking at Natasha then at the officer. "It's not time for that right now." The officer smirked. "Long standing argument," he mouthed, rubbing his forehead. He frowned, looking around. "I feel magic."
"Could be the slayers showing up with the rest of the coven," Buffy said.
Xander shook his head, still looking around. "No, it's not." He spotted the proto-portal and lunged at the cop, knocking him out of the way, pulling his own gun to shoot at the portal. "Natasha, it needs to shut! That's huge magic!"
She was calling in support but agents were a few miles off blocking the roads. A huge head was coming out. "Xander, special rules?"
"I have no clue," Buffy said. "It's wiggy but no clue."
Faith looked. "Not silver. Not lead. Beheader?"
Xander shook his head. "No. It's not. It's magically protected and then it's a beheader."
Buffy looked up. "WILLOW!" she bellowed. "MAGICAL DEMONS!"
Natasha rubbed her ear. "Agents have an ETA of 10 minutes."
Xander nodded, getting up. "Officer, get out of the way." He nodded, scurrying back to the other officers. "Ladies?" he called. They came out, staring at the large demon and the larger one that was trying to squeeze through the portal. "It's magically protected."
"We can see the shimmer and it's wearing a pretty pendant," one of them said.
Xander nodded. "Natasha, can you break that through the shield?"
She shot at the pendant. "Not until the magic goes down."
"Okay," Xander said. "Ladies, close the portal." He looked at Buffy and Faith. "Distract it until we can get the magic down." They nodded. Xander looked at Natasha. "The portal is probably going to take something bigger and stronger to knock it down. Let the younger slayers beat that demon back," he said quietly.
"They're bringing weapons."
"Bring high yield, non electrical based ones," he said. She nodded, calling that in. Xander looked at the demon. "Okay, this fucker goes down. Just like the others." He moved in carefully. "I want my axe."
"It's at the resort," Natasha said, coming over to help him. The demon leered at her. She sneered. "You're not worthy, don't even try."
The demon sniffed her. "Not a slayer."
"Not everyone is," Xander said, taking a swing at him. The demon moved but the sword hit the shield around the demon. It sparked. Xander looked at his sword. "Anyone got a sharpie?" The slayers all glared at him. "Shaman protection marks. Might help."
"Since when do you know those?" Buffy demanded.
He looked at her. "When one found me leaking hellmouth taint like I was a beacon." She shuddered. "I learned a lot from the shaman I met." He caught a sharpie thrown by one of the officers. Xander drew on the blade then blotted it with his shirt. His shirt glowed. Xander adjusted the drawing and swung at the demon again. It screamed as the protection wobbled. Xander focused on it, seeing a wobbling line. He aimed at it. "Natasha, there's a wobble," he said. "Just below his armpit."
She looked and fired her taser into it. Xander hit it with his sword. The demon shrieked. The protection wobbled and blinked. Xander hit the demon in the open spot, hitting the shield as it came back. Natasha shot at the pendant until one hit it. It broke and the demon screamed. Xander moved up to behead it with Buffy helping. Faith was helping the girls get the one trying to come out. The demon batted at them. Xander ducked backward then lunged in again. He was muttering. The demon jumped, staring at him. Xander stared at him. "Yeah, not happy."
"Xander, is that magic?" Natasha hissed as she walked past him.
"Maybe. Not sure." They kept going against the demon, driving it back toward the portal. Agents in SUV's showed up. "Get the portal!" he shouted. "We can kill this one." The agents got the slayers out of the way and fired on it. It finally blew up. Xander and Natasha backed the demon toward Buffy. Who was back to helping behead it. Faith took an open spot to help.
"I guess Willow was helping long distance today," Buffy complained. "She could just fry the demon."
"Doesn't die with fire," Xander said. "Pity." He kicked it toward Faith and switched swords with Buffy. "Longer, thanks." He took a swing, still muttering. The demon screamed again and Xander stabbed it in the chest while Faith beheaded it.
Natasha moved Xander closer to look at him. His eye was glowing. "Calm it down," she said quietly.
Xander swallowed and calmed himself down. He pulled up his blocking crystal to kiss it. Buffy was giving him a funny look. "What?" he demanded.
"What was that?"
"The thing blocking out hellmouth energy that Giles gave me."
"Oh. Is that what you did, you broke it and used it against the demon?"
"No. I used something a shaman taught me." Willow appeared. "Bit late," he said.
She looked at the demon then at Buffy. "Good job! You did great killing it with Xander distracting it for you!" They hugged.
Natasha frowned at her. "Faith beheaded it when Xander stabbed it in the heart." She looked at Xander.
He waved a hand. "Long issue. No comment." He looked at the officers, walking over to hand back the marker. He grinned. "Thanks, guys. Let us clean it up."
"Burn them," Natasha said. "Ladies, nice work. Have a good recovery and rest period."
"Spoil yourself," Xander ordered with a smile. "You all deserve it. Make Buffy and Willow buy you guys spa stuff or candy." They hugged him and ran to the minivans to head back. One tossed Xander his phone. Natasha's was more politely handed to her.
Natasha looked at the two senior slayers. "We need to go back to the resort. There's been unexplained deaths of some of the people he's dated."
"Bad girls?" Willow snorted. "Who cares?"
Xander stared at her. "Really? So the physician that died...." She glared. "Shut up." He walked off. "Can you guys give us a lift to the airport in New York?" he asked Natasha.
"Probably. Boys, we need to get back to where Barton, Ward, and May are," she said. "The plane leaves from an airport in New York."
The agent in charge nodded. "We can give you a lift to New York, Agent Romanoff. And your...friend?"
Xander smirked. "She's not mean enough to be mine."
She hit him on the arm. "I am. I simply hide it better." They walked off. She got their bags from the back of the minivan and walked off with him.
"Hey," Buffy complained. "He's our Xander, not yours."
"He's helping with an investigation, ladies."
"But...he's *Xander*," Willow complained.
Xander looked at her. "Yes, I am. I'm the same Xander that took down a mage a few months ago, before getting that broken leg. I'm the same Xander that took down a rebel camp because I found their armory when they ordered me handed over or they'd destroy a village. I'm the same Xander that's been in every major battle with the slayers but *one*, and that was your fault." He shrugged. "I'm going where I'm wanted and needed." He walked off with her. "I'll be back training in a few months. Once we figure out why some of my ex's are being killed by healers." He waved in the air. "Have a great week, ladies."
"But...but.... Xander!" Willow shouted and grabbed him with magic but something stopped her. "What is that?" she demanded.
Xander looked at her. "Hellmouth taint? I'm wearing protections against it getting out." He shrugged. "It happens. Giles gave it to me." She glared. He stared back. She lashed out at him but he shook his head when it didn't hit them. "No, not again. If you go that bad again, I've heard there's true mages, not vowed mages but true mages, who are going to take you out and probably do some damage to the surrounding area. Ladies, go. They can take you out by accident." The slayers fled. They left Buffy and Willow there. Xander stared at them. "For that matter, if you get back to that point you were at on the cliff, I've taken a blood vow to stop you again."
Natasha put a hand on his arm. "Let me talk to them as women."
"I can't keep the magic from getting you, Natasha."
She smiled. "I have Clint's protection tattooed on me. It's just tiny." She walked over to talk to Buffy, which pissed Willow off.
"I don't know who you think you are," Willow sneered.
"I'm the Black Widow." She stared at her.
"You're with SHIELD," Willow said.
"I am. I'm working with Xander on the death of a few of his ex's and others that were at the same place. I find it odd how you put down your friend, who has fought behind you for years. Even though he did not have to show up for this fight." She stared at Buffy, who grimaced. Then at Willow. Who was still sneering. "If you were actually Xander's friend, you would treat him better instead of as an abusive spouse. His last two have been better for him."
Willow shrieked and tried to attack her. Natasha shoved her off and away from her. "You're lying!" she shouted. "He has not been married!"
"I've been married three times," Xander said with a shrug. And suddenly Willow was floating back. He looked around, staring at the witches, who were shaking their heads and backing away slowly. "Is it me?" he asked them. They nodded. "Great. I heard I had shaman skills and pent up energy thanks to the hellmouth." He looked at her again. "Shut up, Willow. You haven't even spoken to me in three months. You know *nothing* about my life. You haven't since we graduated." He shrugged. "Sorry but you don't."
"Put her down, Xander!" Buffy warned.
"I have no idea how I'm doing that," he admitted. "Though the crystal that's holding the hellmouth taint back is cracked." He calmed himself down and Willow landed. "I need to get somewhere safer," he said. "Before something bad happens." He took off the crystal, tossing it at the witches. "Giles gave me that to shield the hellmouth energy from being a beacon. I've had problems with that in the past."
"You have more than that," one of them said, staring at him.
"I have shaman skills." He grinned. "Though Giles was not amused that I was born the floor above the hellmouth's opening." He held a hand up and it froze Willow where she was stomping toward him. He took a deep breath. "I need somewhere I can meditate," he said, looking at Natasha then at the agent. "Please?"
"We can take you to the quin jet, sir. Agent Romanoff?"
"Coming," she said, walking over. "Calm down, Xander. Just...meditate. Breathe."
"I'm trying. This is so a trigger," he said. "They're... A lot like this." He let her walk him off. "Tell Giles to send me the new crystal at the resort?" he called back to the witches. "Please?"
"We can do that," one of them said, waving and trying to smile instead of glowering. She stopped the slayer. "He is a mage," she said quietly. "He is breaking out of his powers now." Buffy shuddered. "I need you to call Mr. Giles and corral your witch. Before she sets him off enough that she gets destroyed. If he doesn't calm it down, he can destroy her and the state."
"Got it. Xander's an apocalypse."
"No. Miss Rosenburg's blindness is an apocalypse in the making. She's trying to set him off on purpose so she can suck at his powers. Which will destroy her." Buffy winced. "Sedate her, Slayer. She is going to cause an all out war and he can call upon more powers than she can, especially with self-proclaimed shaman powers. He can easily call up an army of the dead."
"Yeah, we can knock Willow out. Willow, stop it before you make Xander use actual magic and he blows us all up!" She walked over to calm her down. Or knock her into the water if she had to. Knocking her into a river could probably help. Or piss her off more but in a different way.
Xander walked off the plane at the resort still rubbing his head. He walked toward the ocean, wading out. He checked. This part of the beach was clear. He concentrated on the feeling of the water around him. His magic was still too high. He concentrated and let out a flare of it. He couldn't control it.
"Xander, just shoot it out over the water," Clint yelled. "Just let it go! We can get you back to bed later." Xander looked back at him, mouthing 'get out of the way'. Clint backed up and had the beach cleared. Xander let it into the air. It came out as pure, blue fire. It didn't warm the water, didn't hurt any creatures in the water, but there were a few bugs in the air that got killed suddenly. Xander panted, trying to calm it back down. No, still going. He let it back out. Black fire. Black fire was bad. He went back to his shaman meditations and he had to wade deeper to make himself concentrate. He could handle this. The next explosion was blue fire again. It slowly faded back to white fire and then he passed out.
Clint jogged out to catch Xander and tow him in, checking his pulse and his breathing. The spa's head healer was waiting. "He had to vent."
"We felt and saw." She took him to look over. "Those possessions are really weird. But helpful. It kept his powers hidden until he got off the unholy place."
"He wears a blocking crystal," Clint said.
She smiled. "We know. We like it. It's very nice. It's also missing." She got back to checking him over then nodded. "Put him into his bed."
"He's glowing," Clint said with a point at his hand.
She worked some of the pressure points in his arm, making his hand relax. The glow stopped. "We'll be up to massage him as soon as he wakes up. It'll help the headache too."
"Yes." He nodded and carried Xander off. One of the resort's guards helped. The healer went back to her people to tell them Xander had finally broken out, and that he had produced two long bouts of black fire. She turned and found Natasha there. "Yes, ma'am?" she asked with a smile.
"What is the meaning of the various fires and what just happened?"
"He broke out."
"His powers were around before."
"Not ... there was a wall. A self-imposed wall," she said. "He may put it back up. He may not. We do not know the cause." Natasha nodded once. "Whatever upset him that much made the wall crack. The various fires were heavy magic coming out. Black fire is highly dangerous. It's like anti-plasma. The white was plasma-fire. It could conceivably destroy a lot of things. Black fire is like the evil plasma in some ways. It'll burn everything and anything but it will destroy it at the tiniest levels. Plasma... Do you know anything about it?"
"I know a bit. I know how it burns."
"Well, black fire like that is stronger, more dangerous. Most mages cannot create a lot of black fire. Maybe a tiny flame when they are very angry."
"Xander has been angry for a few hours thanks to Rosenburg. She tried to attack him."
One of the lesser healers snorted. "It's a gift that he didn't destroy her to the cellular level."
"White fire would have turned her into ashes," the head healer said. "Black fire would have burned even the most microscopic bits. There would be no evidence she existed."
Natasha nodded at that. "How do we help him calm down? Clint is sitting with him now."
"He vented," the head healer said.
"Often, a friend is the best thing when you're in a rage," the lower healer said with a smile. "Which seemed to be his problem today."
Natasha nodded. "I'll tell Clint that. Will his usual meditations for his shaman gifts help that?"
"Okay," Natasha said. "I will talk to Clint." She walked off then came back. "The deaths?"
"They were already dying so we used their deaths to up the protections," the head healer said. "Most of them were aware and consented. The two that didn't were nearly dead when they came to us. They had almost no life left in them. They had seconds left."
Natasha nodded. "There is a worry about those continuing?"
"No, they will not. With the new master taking charge, it won't be needed for years." She smiled. "We'll do what we can to help the new master, Lady Natasha. That's why we're here." Natasha nodded and left. She looked at her staff. "There's three more days. He broke out early."
"There was a battle," one of the quiet ones said. "He went to help the slayers with her."
"Someone be waiting to do a massage once he wakes. Make sure he gets a good, supportive dinner. We will not tell anyone." They nodded and left her to make her notes on what had happened.
Natasha walked into Xander and Clint's suite, handing Clint some water. "He lost his temper."
"I saw that."
"Willow was there."
"That explains a lot." He opened his water and took a drink then put it down. "He okay?"
"They said to help him keep his temper. That his meditations should help." Clint nodded, looking at Xander. "They also said that black fire is exceptional."
"He's been storing the anger at Willow for ages," he said quietly. "She's been nagging him for a long time."
"She attacked him for noting he had been married. Not saying more than they had happened but she attacked him."
Clint grimaced. "Some day she'll grow up."
"There is hope." She sat down. "We can help."
"We can," he agreed. Xander moaned and flipped onto his stomach. Clint ruffled Xander's hair, making him blink at him. "Sleep. You're exhausted. We're here to guard you from Rosenburg."
"She's not liking having her rose colored glasses broken," Xander said. Clint gave him the water. Xander blinked at his hands then at him. "Did I just blow up the air?"
"Yup," Clint said with a grin. "But you're okay."
"The healers said they would come do a full body massage," Natasha said. "To help you finish relaxing. Then you could do your usual meditations." She leaned forward. "While it was scary, it happens when your new powers come out."
He finished the water and tossed the bottle at the trashcan. "Thank you." She nodded. "I'm sorry you had to see them doing that."
She patted him on the arm to make him look at her since he was trying to hide. "It is not your fault that they are acting like mean man-slave owners." He cracked a smile. "You are not a slave. You are your own man and that is admirable." She stood up. "You rest. You must be tired. Would you like me to tell them you're ready for a massage?"
"No, I'm not really ready for people."
"All right." She looked at Clint. "We won't expect you for dinner." She left to talk to the other agents. She took all their devices to stare at them. "We are not reporting that he broke out in his mage powers thanks to Rosenburg being a jealous slave owner," she noted. She looked at Coulson, who was staring back. "I think he'll probably try to suppress it some more."
"We should still pay attention to that."
"With the way he and Fury feel about each other, it would get him picked up for examination and detainment," she said bluntly.
Coulson nodded. "Good point. He is usually in good control."
"Rosenburg tried to attack him." She put up footage from her phone. She had taped the battle from the front of the van. Her phone had nicely been safely propped up so it had caught most of the battles.
Ward watched, mouth slightly open. "Crap. Why does he consider them friends?"
"He grew up with them," May said. "They're battlefield companions."
"He grew up with Rosenburg," Coulson corrected. "They met the first day of school and protected each other with a boy who later got turned." He looked at his favorite agent. "Fine."
"I sent film of the explosion," May admitted. Natasha got into the SHIELD database to erase it. "They didn't get to it yet?"
"Hill hates Rosenburg," Coulson said.
"I've replaced the film of him breaking out with the film of the battle," Natasha said. They nodded. "That way there's no question and if they should try I'm fairly certain Xander could turn the director into a nice pet for the slayers."
Coulson smirked at her. "You need a rest."
"I know. It was a long flight. The other slayers were nice though." She handed back the devices and left to do that.
Coulson looked at his new agents. "We'll make sure he's on a good footing later."
"What's a mage as opposed to someone like Rosenburg?" Ward asked.
"Rosenburg is a sorcerer. She can use things she learned when she was a witch and now higher things she's studied in a half-assed way. The better comparison would be Ethan Rayne." He pulled up that file so they could see it. "He is Janus' high priest."
Ward read it, handing it to Melinda. "Where is what he did on that guy's scale?"
"Apparently those who devote themselves to a certain path are not as strong as those who can devote themselves to anything they choose. Xander is drawn to chaos magic and it seems to be drawn to him thanks to the hellmouth." Both junior agents nodded. "Looking up 'black fire' in our databases leads back to one incident in Prague. That one was a tiny plume, about a ball in the palm of the witch's hand. She burned down half a block." Ward shuddered. "She was freeing it of some Nazis coming for her daughter."
"So that was really dangerous," Melinda said.
"If it's not harnessed. Xander did the right thing. Water is an insulator. He got away from people. He was basically venting without intent. If he had wanted to destroy things, he could have," Coulson assured them. "I've seen him destroy things without magic and weapons. Xander was taken by some rebels in Africa." Ward winced. "You were the junior agent who went with him."
"I did not interact with him and I looked like a young punk. I doubt he realized it was me and I didn't realize it was the same person until late that first night," Ward said. "He did a great job killing them all with their own armory."
Coulson nodded. "I saw that report. Yes he did." May grimaced. "The rebels told the slayer's village he was training in that they had to hand over the outsider or they'd kill them all. Xander didn't blame them for it, he went to spare them. He called in a 'please be a pallbearer' call that made Barton put the first dent on the heli carrier with his phone."
Ward shook his head with a slight moan. "He walked back to his slayer's village, fixed his injuries, and went back to training her," Ward told May. "Barton acted like it was normal."
"It is," Coulson agreed. "When the director first heard about him and Sunnydale, he ordered someone to interrogate Harris. He was on his post-grad roadtrip. He overdosed him on truth serum. Barton ended up taking him to the hospital and the kid thanked him but acted like nothing had happened. Xander seems to have never had anyone really take care of him. Outside of maybe that friend he lost. We're not sure. We knew nothing about Sunnydale until Barton rescued Xander when his car blew up. Then we saw cover stories that were questionable so looked."
Ward shook his head. "I know guys like him. They're burned out."
"Which Harris could be," Phil agreed. "He's having a long vacation now."
"This is a great place to do it," May agreed. "It's pretty, calm, safe. I'm coming back here for my next vacation."
Coulson nodded. "Me as well."
Ward shrugged. "I don't take as many vacations as I should." He looked at Coulson. "I heard from Skye."
"How is she liking this downtime?"
"She's not and she's really worried we've been compromised or taken hostage, her words."
"Did you assure her we were helping two agents?"
"I did and one Council person. She shuddered and said that even the Rising Tide didn't want to bother the Council." They shared a look. "We could invite her down."
"I doubt she'd want the nude beach time," May quipped.
"No, probably not," Coulson agreed, standing up. "Let's have dinner. I doubt Clint's going to join us."
"Does Xander hover over him?"
"Clint doesn't allow anyone to hover over him. He has helped him in the past. He has bandaged a few injuries, saved him a few times that Barton didn't put in a report. They're good friends." They walked out. "Dinner at the beachfront or at the strip club?"
"Beachfront," Ward said. "I don't want to see a strip show tonight, sir," he said.
"We can do that." They went to find a table and order a light dinner. He also thoughtfully sent a light dinner up to Barton.
Clint got up to answer the door, taking the tray. "Thank Coulson for me," he said with a smile for the waiter. "This is great, thank you." He tipped the waiter and put the food down. Xander had fruit salad and fruit soup. That should help him. Clint had a bacon cheeseburger with still warm fries and a milkshake. He settled in to eat and watch Xander nap. Xander blinked at him. "Coulson sent you fruit salad and fruit soup."
"I should starve to death. It'd mean that Willow wouldn't come looking for me."
Clint leaned over to swat him. "If you try that, I'm dropping a feeding tube, hiring you two mean nurses, and letting them talk you out of it in whatever way they want." He ate another bite. "Yours is on the table." Xander trudged out then came back sipping his fruit soup. "Thank you."
"Thank him for me please."
"You two can talk later." Xander stared at him. "Willow can't get here."
"It's my duty to help the slayers."
Clint leaned closer to him. "She'll get over her ownership fantasies. You're not her puppy, Xander. You're not naughty, you're not bad, and you're not mean. You're not rabid. You just snapped. I would've done it years ago, back in high school. Okay?" Xander nodded, staring at him. "Yeah, you feel bad now. She brought it on herself. You can't be everyone's monitor. Especially not hers because she doesn't see you as an equal being. She treats you like you're her puppy."
"I used to protect her."
"Not the same. It's really not. Friends should be there for you. No matter what. You and I are friends, right?" Xander nodded, staring at him. "Would you expect me to do that to you?"
"No, but you're a guy."
"Having a friend who's female isn't any different. I'd never expect Natasha to do me that way. If she did, I'd be looking for signs of possession. Or I'd dump her if they weren't there. You have friends. You have a whole resort of friends. Half of them are probably worried about you."
"They shouldn't know."
Clint shrugged. "Not like they don't know you deal with the magic stuff sometimes." He grinned. "Finish up and we'll go walk on the beach?"
"Did I hurt anyone?"
"No. Just fried some bugs in the air." Xander nodded, going to get his fruit salad to eat with his fingers. Clint finished up his meal, watching Xander. "C'mon. They even promised you a massage."
"I don't think I want someone to touch me. I'm ...it's like a tingle but it's not an asleep tingle and my skin feels weird. I feel weird in my skin."
Clint nodded. "I had that a few times but masturbation helped." Xander shook his head. "You don't?" he teased with a grin.
"Of course I do but I still have a lot of stamina thanks to Anya. Usually by the time I'm halfway there my arm's sore." He went to clean himself up and they walked out on the beach together. No one did more than look at him sideways but it made him feel horrible. His ex's were scared of him. It sucked huge. Clint nodded at one that was staring at them, letting him come over. Xander smiled weakly, letting the guy hug him. "Thank you," he said quietly.
"We're not going to interrupt you moping about Rosenburg, Xander. We'll all cuddle you tomorrow." He stroked his cheek and took a kiss. "Be a good boy tonight. Rest."
"I had a nap."
"You could use another one." He kissed him again. "Finish your walk and go rest." Xander nodded, going on with Clint guarding him. That guy went to talk to the others. "He looked scared when I walked up to them."
One of the senior arms dealers looked at him. "We're not scared of Xander. We're wary of Rosenburg finding him and destroying us all for him daring to do something she didn't like."
Clint looked at them as they walked toward them. "Rosenburg can't get here. The protections keep her out, guys."
"As far as I know," Xander quipped. He still sounded tired and weak. "If she does, I'll sedative dart her as soon as I see her. Just be naked, she'll run away." They smiled. "Later, guys."
"He's still tired," Clint said. He took Xander back to their room, letting him curl up in his bed again. Clint used his smartphone to look up anything he could on mages. Xander was exhausted but he wasn't sure if it was the magic he had vented or the fight with Willow causing it.
Up north, Willow was still throwing a fit only now the whole coven was there to calm her down and they had gotten Giles into it as well, but had sent Dawn back to her college so she was out of harm's way. "We have to go save him, Giles! He had to be possessed!" Willow ranted. "He gave me wiggins and he was giving me dirty looks and he wasn't our Xander! He *HAS* to be possessed!"
Giles took off his glasses to stare at her. "No, he was not."
"He said he'd shot rebels," she said, starting to sneer. "That's not our Xander."
"Yes, he did. I got a report on that from Clint, who had went to check on him." He pulled up the boy's reports, letting her see them. She huffed when he offered them. "Xander has handled a great many things on his own. He's had to since we shoved him away." Willow glared at him. "It was not my idea. That was between you two and I went along at first because I thought it'd make him safer. Then Ethan noticed that he had a bit of chaos magic around him." He looked at the witches. "Did he vow to anyone?"
"No," the head of the coven said. "We scried him when he finally got back there. Gave us a great headache. Whichever mage set that resort up did a fantastic job."
"Which one?" Giles asked.
"Not sure," she said. She looked at Willow. "You're spoiled."
"He's not our Xander!" she said more firmly. "Maybe he's an alternate reality Xander."
"He's not," Faith said from where she was forced to wait in case Willow started to lose her shit again. "That was the same X he's always been. He had magic floating around him way back in high school. It always gave me tingly feelings when he was around."
"He was born on the floor above the hole," another of the witches said. "I asked someone who'd know. Ethan was most unamused. He thinks the boy will have problems because he has no way of wearing those things out now that Willow's no longer sucking magic from him. By the way, dear, that's why you thought your spells went wrong." Willow glared at her. "I will paddle you," she assured the younger witch.
The head of the coven coughed. "Also interesting, the boy said he made a blood vow to stop her if she ever got back to the point of killing humanity." Willow glared at her too. "You nearly did."
"Whatever. Not the point!" She stomped a foot. "We have to get him back here, Giles. We have to cure Xander."
"There's no cure for having skills."
"Our Xander has never had skills. You searched and didn't find any."
"I did not do a search of his aura, Willow. I never have. I did one to check for possessions but it's not the same. Though I do know that Xander was leaking extreme amounts of chaos magic in Africa. That's why I gave him the shielding crystal. He had been learning from the native shaman he ran into. We had a talk then about what he had been learning, that's why I gave him the shielding crystal. Xander had run into a mage and had talked to him. Ethan also said that the boy had mage potential but he didn't think it'd ever come out thanks to the hellmouth. I talked to the mage he ran into and he told me Xander did have mage potential but it was highly clouded by the hellmouth."
"He should've left when Buffy made him quit patrolling," Willow said.
"With the way he was irradiated with hellmouth energy, it wouldn't have mattered," the head witch said. "He was born a mere twenty feet above the hole! Of course it adored him! Frankly, most of the incident felt like the old hellmouth to us."
"He said Cleveland wasn't home because his hellmouth taint made him sick whenever he was around ours," Buffy said more quietly.
Giles nodded. "He told me the same thing the last time he came in for a meeting." He looked at his problem child and her red, pouty face. "It is not his fault where he was born."
"Yes it is!" Willow complained.
"The last I knew, no one *chose* their conception point or their birth site," Giles said dryly, staring at her. "You're acting childish, Willow."
"He had some other woman with him," she said. "He's dating again, Giles. There's bad guys and he cares if the bad guys die."
"Yes, well, we all cared when Spike died," Giles said. Willow blinked, opening her mouth. "He was a master vampire. He had killed more than his fair share of humans over his years. He tormented everyone around him when he could, chipped or not. You're the one who added him to the remembrance ceremony. Therefore you grieved for someone evil as well."
Buffy was wincing. "I dated him."
"We're not going over your dating tragedies," the younger witch said with a smile for her. "Go lay down, Slayer. You obviously have a headache."
"I'm Willow's friend and Xander's friend so I'm staying to help." She looked at Willow. "Why don't we visit where he is? It's a spa. He said it was a spa."
"We have no problems with going to celebrate Lammas down there," the head witch said. "It's a beautiful place and they already expect us to be skyclad so there won't be any problems with it."
Willow went bright red. "It's a *naked* resort?" she demanded.
"Yeah, Xander said it was," Faith agreed. "Agent Romanoff said he was down there helping find out why some of his ex's had been killed but his last wife had dropped him off there."
Giles looked at her. "I had not heard of that marriage."
"He said he's had three," Willow complained.
"Yes. One arms dealer that married him but the ceremony was interrupted by a demonic invasion. One that married him while he was ill so he'd be protected from others, but had it annulled once he was aware enough to protect himself. I hadn't heard of the third one," Giles admitted, looking at Buffy, who shrugged. "Hmm. I should ask Clint."
The most junior witch of the group giggled. "If he's at the resort and got dropped there by his wife, it was probably one of the former mage's harem." The head witch looked at her. "You know a lot of them have one. We've heard rumors that the resort was in the hands of a mage and his harem."
Giles nodded. "I fear Xander might need one as well. He is very full of energy at times." He looked at Willow, who was still huffy. "We can go visiting if you wish."
"I'm not going somewhere naked," she said, stamping her foot again. "I'm not! It's rude to be naked in public and *wrong*."
"Half the world's beaches are topless," Giles said dryly. "Most of the world doesn't care about nudity on beaches. Xander probably saw some tribal groups in Africa that were naked most of the time. That is up to the cultural values one has." He stared at her. "Frankly, many people find the sun more relaxing when they are naked."
She shook her head. "It's still wrong. We're from the US and here it's wrong."
"Only in Sunnydale, dear. LA has three different clothing optional communes," Giles shot back. "They're very soothing places to meditate." She went bright red again. "Just because you don't approve doesn't make it wrong."
She stomped off outside. She tried to summon Xander but started off an extreme headache instead. She pouted, trying to scry him. No luck, it was blocked. Her headache was getting worse.
"That's the protections around him and it can kill you," the head of the coven said from the doorway. She was sipping her new mug of tea. "They're set up to kill whoever tries to cross them."
Willow stared at her. "There has to be a way to help Xander."
"I doubt he wants help." She smirked. "He seemed readily amenable to helping that nice agent he had with him. I don't know of many who could go into a battle with two guns and a fancy wrist taser against aliens and win."
Willow slumped, trying to scry again. Bigger headache, no image in the fountain she was using. The coven came out to show her what they had seen. Xander was curled up in his bed with Clint watching over him. "He had a big day," the second of the coven said. "Probably exhausted himself with that breakout."
Giles came out to look over their shoulders. He wrote out a note and sent it via spell through the scrying. He saw Clint catch it and pulled out his phone to call him as requested. Giles walked off. "How is he? Yes, the coven is scrying since Willow could not." He listened. "That's nearly ... Yes, that's a reasonable thing. Thank you for watching over him, Clint. I know you two are friends." Clint said something and Xander said something after that. They talked and Giles listened. "That's an excellent thing. Which mage made the resort?" He nodded. "I've barely heard of him but he was an unbound mage from what I've heard. Oh, his harem...amazons. That makes a lot of sense, yes." He smiled slightly. "I can send him a few books he may need. Yes, Xander, if some of the older girls needed a vacation, I would allow them to come down. There's not much training for you to do these days and the girls don't need as much help during battles due to all the dratted press attention we've gotten for the last few battles. That's an excellent idea and I'd never let the prudish ones show up." He smiled. "That's good."
"Let me talk to him," Willow demanded.
"I'm talking to Clint, Willow, not Xander. Xander is resting."
"I saw him wake up." She snatched the phone. "Xander, come home. We need to fix you.... What do you mean Cleveland's not home? I'm there, everyone else is there.... So?" she demanded. "It's still home! Come home and stop this stupid stuff!" Clint said 'bye, he doesn't need this' and hung up on her. "I'm going to beat him!" she complained, tossing the phone back to Giles. "He's so dead."
"He is not. He's a federal agent, Willow, and that can get you killed. By Xander as well since he's his friend." Willow glared at him. "He will and you know he will." She stomped off again. "Oh, dear."
The head of the coven smiled. "Tranq darts, Rupert. Tranq darts. Before she gets up another good head of steam." He went to find some and use them on his unstable witch. The coven shared looks and brought Willow home with them again. She clearly needed another calming down time.
The remaining members of the resort's coven all got together to talk. They were healers and worked in the spa. They had all met Xander and Clint. They had approved of him. Now they needed a vote. One shook her head. "It's too soon. He just broke out and we have two days."
"If we do it now, we won't have any interference."
"His own skills are wobbly and Robert always said it was a bad idea to do anything major if you've been sick," that one pressed. "We can wait two days for the holiday."
The others considered that then nodded. "We can help him settle into them," one of the others said. "He needs to come see us anyway." They decided it was a plan by head-nod vote. One set up his appointment with them and sent the details up to his room for breakfast. He'd like the spoiling time. He was still upset by all this and his 'friends'. They could show him they liked him more than the spoiled one ever could.
Xander smiled at the note from the spa. "Someone gave me a full day of being spoiled." He looked at Clint. "That means you can go do agent stuff."
"I can," he agreed. "Not that I'm not doing agent stuff. I'm protecting you from Rosenburg." Xander rolled his eyes but got up to get partially dressed. He never wore more than a swimsuit around the resort, and often just a sarong. Today he'd wear board shorts. Clint walked him over to the spa to drop him off then went to find his coworkers. "Any new news?" They were having breakfast outside at a table near the pool.
"The director's less pleased at Rosenburg than us," Coulson said.
"Hill kindly suggested some day he could use a vacation here," Ward said.
Coulson looked at him. "I doubt he'd vacation at a nude resort. I'm not sure he ever gets out of his trench coat." Then he smirked.
"I should send him pictures," Clint said with a grin.
"I can see why you never have to do your own taunting," May said with a stare at Barton. "The director would skin us alive if we tried that."
"He expects things like that from me." He walked off grinning, going to take film of the beautiful beaches and all that for his director. He smiled at the staring people. "My director could use a vacation." A few of them laughed. One moaned and shook his head. "This way he knows it's beautiful, relaxing, and he can take off the trench coat." He went back to his filming. He got done and sent it up there. Hill complained it had no scouting potential and the director was not pleased he had taken that much film for no reason. Also that he said he did get out of his trench coat and when Barton got back, he could see that while sparring with the director. Clint showed Coulson that email but was smirking heavily when he ran into Natasha.
"You do love to irritate him," she said blandly, patting him on the arm. "Where's Xander?"
"Spa. He's got a whole day of being babied and scrubbed."
"That can be very relaxing," she said. She settled into her chair. "What should we be doing today?"
"Making sure that the business parts of the resort are handled efficiently and anything like taxes are being paid," Coulson said. "He has a meeting with the resort's lawyer and accountant later for that." Clint looked at him. "You do."
"Sure, you can help me with that, sir." He followed him to the office to go over how things were run. They'd tell Xander when he was done at the spa. Xander could handle some complex things, he had run slayer houses and had to deal with budgets and the like, so he'd be able to handle the running of the resort.
Agent May woke up and looked around the room she was in. It wasn't her room at the resort. She blinked, looking off to the side. There was someone snoring. She recognized the guy there, giving him a shove. Ward blinked at her then passed back out. "This is not good," she said, getting up and grabbing one of the bathrobes that were nicely folded on top of the chest at the foot of the bed. She looked at the pile on the bed. There was Ward, there was Barton, there was Xander. All passed out. Xander was the one snoring. She cleared her throat. No response. She went to check herself over in the bathroom. She had obviously had sex. This was probably not a good sign.
She called Coulson's room from the sitting area, realizing she had to be in Barton's shared suite since it was so large and had the nice balcony view. "It's May. We have an issue." She listened to him ask if it was related to them all disappearing in a puff of violet-colored smoke. "Probably since the three men I'm with won't wake. Xander, Barton, and Ward," she said when he asked. "Please. Apparently whatever happened included consummation events. Thank you." She hung up and looked around the room. There was a tray with a large bottle of juice on ice and some fresh fruit. She got a drink of the juice after sniffing it for additives that could hurt her. When Coulson tapped quietly she let him in. "I have no idea."
"Of course you don't. I have Agent Romanoff asking to see if she can figure out what happened." He looked at her. "Are you all right?" he asked.
She sipped the juice, nodding. "A bit sore but that's about normal for ...such activities." She took another drink.
He took the glass from her, staring at her. "Do I need to find a doctor?" he asked quietly. "Or SHIELD medical?"
"No. I'm not injured."
"You were probably drugged. We need to draw blood but I'm doubting that we'll find much." He handed back the glass. "It's been two days."
"Two... it's after that holiday, isn't it?" He nodded once. "Is that why?"
"I do not know," he admitted. "We'll figure it out." She nodded. He went into the bedroom, looking at them. Ward had flopped into the free spot so he got some room. Coulson leaned over Xander's body to flick Clint on the forehead, making him blink at him. "Morning. Apparently you've all had fun." Xander shoved at him so he moved.
Clint sat up, looking at the bed. Then at him. "What?" he mouthed.
Agent May came to the doorway. "There's juice and fruit out here."
He blinked at her then at the bed. "Wow." He looked at Xander. Nudging him only made him grumble and swat at him. Clint climbed off, taking the bathrobe Coulson handed him. He went to the bathroom then came back out shaking his head. He walked out to get some juice, finding Natasha letting herself in. "When did you get up?" he asked.
She stared at him. "Late last night. I couldn't wake any of you."
"I thought that was your lipstick." He sipped the juice. "So?"
"We were used as sinks so Xander's magic would be quieted," she said quietly, sitting down. She looked at May. "They dosed both of us with a birth control shot without us realizing it. I asked specifically about that. They said the appearance of a child before he's mastered the basics would probably warp his skills so he has to pick a chosen deity and life that life instead. The one I talked to said many had been ruined that way." She grimaced but nodded. She looked at Coulson. "The remaining wives of the last mage were behind this pagan marriage."
"Is it legal?" May asked. "For anyone?"
"Not sure," Natasha said.
"What did they drug you with?" Coulson asked. "And are any of them still alive?"
"Yes. Two of the healers at the spa are among them. They're also very ill because the healing is slowly killing them."
May grimaced. "Because they're using their own powers?"
"Healing uses your own energy plus powers plus your fat supplies, the same as magic does," Coulson said. "As far as we can tell." Both women grimaced but Clint nodded. "You're sure?"
"Yeah. I've seen others doing it up close and personal. Being a healer has to be more draining."
Xander wobbled out, blinking at them. "What's going on? Why was I sleeping with Agent Ward?"
"Long story," Clint said, getting Xander some juice and making him sit down. "What does being a healer mean?"
"It depends on which way you're doing it. You can touch them and share your energy with them, which uses their body to heal. Or you can use all of your own. At the most untrained or most desperate levels, you bring it into yourself then work on healing yourself." He sipped the juice, staring at his hand. "I'm not glowing."
"That's because they decided we four could be your energy sink," May said.
Xander blinked at her. "I ...." He looked at the juice then at her. "What?"
"The wedding they were talking about?" Clint said. Xander nodded. "Was all of us to you to be your harem so we could help you lose some of the extra energy that was making you glow."
Xander finished the juice, frowning as he drank. "That sucks and I'm really sorry." He looked at the two women. "This was not my idea. I'm... damn. I...." He swallowed.
"All of us were drugged," Natasha said. "You are not any more guilty of anything than we are." Xander stared at her. "You were just as drugged, yes?" He nodded slowly. "Then we are all guilty and all victims in this case."
"Doesn't make me feel better, but thank you. I..." He looked at Clint, who shrugged but was grimacing. "Damn it, I'm going to kill someone on purpose." He started to get up but Clint pulled him back down. "I should be able to."
"You can't," Clint said. "Healers are rare."
Xander hung his head. "I'm really sorry. This is not something I've even thought about."
Agent May patted him on the head. "We're just as guilty of jumping you while drugged, Xander. Calm down. We know it wasn't your fault and wasn't your choice." She looked in the bedroom. "Why is he still down?"
"To get past the protections Xander inked on him, they had to give him more," Natasha said. "He should wake up later today." She looked at Xander. "Right now, we need to talk about things. Including that your energies will now be sinking into us. Somehow we'll be automatically siphoning off the excess magic you seem to be shedding."
Xander shook his head. "I can stop that. I'm working on it."
She smirked a tiny bit. "The healers said that you could never totally control it. That's why so many mages have multiple lovers or spouses." Xander blinked, frowning at her. "They did say that the hellmouth taint protected you from that for years. Apparently it merged with your own powers to stabilize you until you could safely break out in them, or until you had to use them for an emergency. They were betting on that happening first."
"There's been a few times it might've been nice but I never tried to force magic," Xander said. "It never crossed my mind because I know I don't have those sort of skills."
"Apparently you do," Coulson said. "I'd like to hear more about the nature of the powers." Xander stared at him. "It could be important."
"It could give your boss a handle to try to use me," he said. "Which I don't want. To help a later mage, maybe. Not to help your boss do anything unless it's an emergency situation we all have to handle."
"I can see that point," he agreed. "We can do that." Xander nodded, relaxing again. "For right now, are your power levels flexing or anything? You're starting to glow."
Xander looked at himself then grimaced. "That's a Willow and the coven thing." He called from his phone when he found it in the usual spot. "You're making me glow?" he asked when someone answered. He listened. "No, I'm fine. Thank you for asking." He got up to get some juice then sat back down, sipping it. "Why would that matter? Yes, I'm in good control. I've been in fairly good control since about an hour after we got back here. No, only the temper that came out for a few minutes. Then I took a nap and was better." He took another drink, grimacing at Coulson. "I don't really care what she wants and Cleveland's not home. I'm sorry but it's not. It never will be home. No, the island's got a lot of protections."
"They were just renewed by the celebration," Natasha said.
"Agent Romanoff said that they were renewed during the recent sabbat." He finished that juice. Clint was calling down for more and a better breakfast. "I'm sure that will happen but then again I'm staying down here for a bit. Because it was left to me and Clint. We have to settle some details down here before I can go help any of the girls. If it's an emergency then call and I'll be there. Well, gee, me learning how to have conscious, good control somewhere that's got protections and ways to suck up any magic I may accidentally shed sounds like a good idea to me," he said dryly. He got up to get breakfast, nodding at the table. The waiter was pouting. Xander stared at him.
"I'm on the phone with the Coven," he mouthed. The waiter shuddered and put down breakfast, letting Clint sign for it. Xander got a muffin and sat back down. "I'm sure I'll be fine. I know exactly what not to do, Clorisma. I learned what not to do by watching Willow. I don't think I'll be making her mistakes," he said sarcastically. "If I do, then Clint can call me on it while he's here." He nibbled, curling up in the chair. "Yay. No, I'm not. It'll be at least a few months. Because we have to make sure the resort is all set up and appropriately running.
"We inherited the resort, which includes a small tourist village, and a great spa, and a lot of nude beaches, and the hotel, and all that stuff. Including a small airstrip. We have a lot of stuff to make sure works right. If there's an emergency, then someone can call me and I'll come help. If not, then I'll be working with my girls long distance, the same as I have while I was traveling before. Oh, and if someone doesn't handle the ones in Paris then I'd hate to see what they'd do to take over the city. I told Giles about that before I broke my ankle. The last I knew he had forgotten to send anyone." He ate another bite.
"I don't care that you guys hate Paris. Remember, one city falls and then the rest get harder to protect," he said dryly. "Think about all those French people eaten and turned, dear." He rolled his eyes. "Get over it," he finally said. "We have to protect everyone, not just the ones we like. Otherwise I'd have asked Willow to summon some idiots I ran into in Africa so they could fight for their lives and die honorably defending everyone they stole and forced into their cult-like quasi-military groups. I'm sure the guys who pick up kids for soldiers would like that option," he said blandly. "No, I just got up. Yes, I'm a lazy ass," he said dryly. "I had someone in bed with me, Clorisma. You know it takes me more than ten minutes." He looked out the window. "Gotta go. She's awake." He hung up and finished the muffin, pointing at the bird outside. "Owl mail," he said between bites.
"That's weird," Agent May said as she got up and went to take the message it had. "Thank you." It faded out. "That's really strange, even for the Council."
Xander nodded. "It is." He took it to read, snorting and handing it to Clint. "One of the other mages congratulating me on finally breaking out and finding spouses that weren't evil."
The others took the note to read. Coulson took a picture with his phone to look up that name. He shook his head. "This one's not a nice being." He showed Xander, who shrugged. "You knew that?"
"I know who his high priest was until I walked up to him and beat his ass," Xander said dryly. Clint stared at him. "That's how I knew I had to do the exorcism on you."
"Thanks. Does he still have a high priest?"
"He has three higher priests. That high priest is presently unconscious in British custody because I found his plans while I was beating him to death for you. So I nicely called that ex of mine you hate to see out and about." He smiled.
"He's a good one to beat too," Clint shot back. "Did he actually handle the guy or did he just sell him to someone?"
"Don't know," Xander admitted with a grin for his buddy. "You'd have to ask him or his people."
Coulson put that in an email to Hill, who sent back he was listed as being in custody of the British government, but there was no confinement location listed. Xander looked at the phone and grinned. Coulson showed it to Clint. "Can I add anything to his file?"
"He's the magic user in charge of Loki's temple," Xander quipped with a grin. "He's about as strong as Willow when she's to channeling the Goddess."
Coulson sent that information. "Agent Hill said she'd make sure of where the person was stashed." He put his phone up. He had to pull it back out because he had gotten an email from her. He read it. "Someone has hacked SHIELD to put in that your status has changed, Clint. That you're now married to Xander."
"Really?" he asked dryly. "Who?"
"I'm not certain." He sent back that the former wives of the last owner did somehow make Xander and Clint have ...relations but it was purely to reduce the energy he was leaking so it could be used for the protections. She sent back a huff. "I told her that you two were drugged into having sex so the extra energy he's carrying could be bled into the protections." He looked at the agents. "That way no notice is put into the system about any of these last two days." They all nodded that was fine. He looked at Xander. "I put in that you had been drugged as well, that way no one could start to complain that you had pounced him."
"Thank you," he said quietly.
"You're welcome." He patted him on the head. His phone beeped. "Skye," he muttered, texting her.
Agent May took the phone to send her own telling her they were fine, the mission was going well, and she was not to spread any information she had seen to anyone else. It was a delicate situation and they were working on it. But they were also having a nice vacation on the nude beach while working on it. She handed it back, shaking her head as she got herself some breakfast. "The two geeks will be frantic if they knew," she said.
"Fitz wanted to take a lot of readings about magic," Coulson said. He looked at Xander. "I won't let them turn you into a guinea pig."
"Thanks. Can they have Willow?" He smiled. "Before she tries something else? I can feel her trying to do something to the shields around the island."
"Definitely." He sent that message to an agent near the Council. Then to the one near the coven since she was apparently with them. Ten minutes later they had a report of two agents who were now rats and Willow was in custody. "Fixed."
"Thank you." He got up to look outside, spotting one of the healers. "How do I fix that?" he called.
"I'll bring you the books he wrote out in case we ever had kids, Xander." She smiled. "Are you all right?"
"Bit upset," he said, staring at her. "For many reasons. We'll talk when you bring up those books?" She nodded, looking down as she walked off. Xander went back to his seat, huffing a bit. "Sorry."
"It's not right that they drugged us," Clint said. "I like being able to remember having sex."
Agent May stared at him. "That's the only thing that bothers you?"
"No, but I'll leave it there," he said with a smirk for her. "Since I don't know what I did outside of somehow having Natasha's lipstick on me." May blushed a tiny bit, shaking her head. He grinned at Natasha. "It's the same shade you wore when we had to bust that D/s group that was smuggling jewels a few years back."
"I look good in that shade," she said. "I tend to wear it most of the time." She stared at him. "Eat."
"Yes, ma'am. Want something while I'm up?"
"No. I've had breakfast." She looked at Xander. "Now what?"
"I don't know," he admitted, looking at her. "Beyond the urge to rant and scream, which probably is healthy emotionally but not good for the magic stuff, I have no idea. You?"
She shook her head. "Not really." Someone knocked and they got let in. Xander took the books and they all looked at the two healers. They had a lot of answers to give and a lot of problems to straighten out. Before they all went off on them.
It was nearly lunchtime when their talk to figure things out was interrupted by a knock on the door. Xander got up to answer it. "Hey, Paul," he said, hugging him.
"Xander, I'm sorry to interrupt your honeymoon...."
"Not like that, Paul. Really." He stared at him. "Apocalypse attempt?"
"Witch-pocalypse." He walked in and turned on the tv, changing the channel to the weather channel. "My second was watching over the girls because he wants to date one of them."
Xander nodded. "I've heard and told her he was a nice guy most of the time." He and the agents were watching the meteorologist get frantic.
"We have no idea why a witch with hot flashes decided we needed to have winter in the middle of June, but apparently that's how it's happening, people. We have reports of the newest ice age starting. Parts of Canada are already below zero and it's spreading south. We have reports of parts of Europe already getting snow." The map on the tv changed to a global one. "We project that the snow problem is going to be hitting the equator in about six days." The meteorologist looked at the map then back at the camera. "We have no idea what's going on but we are advising people to stock up in a calm manner. You have a few days unless you're north of the US/Canada border. Then you maybe have a day to stock up. We have no idea how long this second winter is going to be, but I can tell you it's not going to be good for crops and travel."
Xander looked around, taking Clint's phone when he held it up. He called the main house. "Which blinky box of witch do I need to come take out, Giles?" He listened. "Dawn did what?" He listened again. "So, Dawn sneezed on Izmarelda's spell to ease one of the senior witch's hot flashes," he said. "And Dawn's actually warmed it up?" Clint shuddered. "You know what, I'd like to talk to that blinky box of witch, Giles," he said dryly.
"Well, yes, but it's my job to take out threats to the slayers," he said sarcastically. "Including our people that go evil. I'd call the new ice age evil, Giles. Turn on the weather channel. How would I know? I haven't been in the building for more than ten minutes in years. There's probably a program guide button on the remote." He listened to Giles ask one of the girls to turn on the weather channel.
"Yeah, cute name and all. Witch-pocalypse. Personally I think half the junior coven are blinky boxes. Because they can't do much more than blink, Giles. They're not that smart. Izmarelda proved it." He listened to the girls complain about it getting cold. He sighed, rubbing his head. "Where is she?" He started to pace. "Can she undo it? Oh, Merideth broke it but did it wrong. Can they undo it?" he asked.
Clint took the phone. "Giles, Barton. Which witch am I putting an arrow through for ruining all the growing crops, causing food shortages worldwide, and probably killing off a good portion of humanity?" He listened to the complaining. "They don't really have snow gear in the Carribean," he said dryly. "They don't really know how to deal with ice and snow. According to the weather channel, within six days they'll need to." He listened. "Sure, we can do that. Can the witches cast an undo?" He slumped, grimacing.
"Hey, no more global warming," Ward muttered.
"Or food growing this year," Clint said.
Xander looked at the healer/former wife of a mage. "Where are the others of us? Can we undo this?"
"Yes. We have email for most of them." He nodded, pointing at the in-room computer. She sent one for him. "You should be able to undo it together, Xander."
"It will take being in control."
"I'm in pretty good control. I haven't smited anyone for making me rape people magically," he said quietly, staring at her. She flinched but nodded. Clint patted him on the arm. Xander took the phone back. "I've had someone send emails to some of the mages in case they can undo it. Yeah, I think she's getting more than spanked. Did you thank Dawn for warping it so it's not working as fast?" He nodded. "Send her down here. I'll call later when we have an idea." He hung up, tossing Clint his phone back. "Okay," he decided, smiling at Paul. "Thank you."
"Welcome, Xander. I hope you guys can do it." He left them to figure out how to handle this.
"We have thermal hot springs a bit away," she said. "We can ease them into warmer status." Xander nodded, taking her off to do that. It wasn't that hard to make them warmer with some careful earth shifting.
Clint looked at the other agents. "He's going to hate himself for years, the same as I will." Ward nodded he was too.
Natasha stared at him. "It is not like any of us are any better than the others in this case," she said. "We are all guilty of the same sin."
"Nat, guys feel worse about this," Clint said. "We're trained to be careful about consent stuff so we're not assholes."
She nodded. "I understand but we do not blame any of you for this. The witches we blame fully."
Agent May nodded. "Yes I do."
Ward looked at her. "We'd all like to beat the crap out of them."
"No, I'm going to kill someone," Clint said. "That's why I'm an assassin."
Natasha smiled and nodded. "Yes, we are. Though you may be busy with the blinky box of witch."
"It fits," he told her. "It really does fit."
"Izmarelda is not smart or old enough to be wise," Coulson said, looking her up in the files. "She's sixteen. She was probably horrified by the change of life the older witch was going through." He looked at them. "We may need to go to Cleveland."
"We can do that," Clint promised. He looked at the two junior agents, who nodded they agreed. "When Xander comes back."
"Agreed," Coulson said, sending a note to the airport about the plane needing to be ready. Xander came back sweating and headed for the shower. "We're going to Cleveland," he called.
"Sure. Let me shower off the stress and grab some pants," Xander said. He came out a few minutes later in just a towel so he could grab clothes. "I need to find somewhere for Dawn to be safely away from the other witches."
"There's a number of good colleges nowhere near LA or Cleveland," Coulson said. "We can talk to her when we rescue her."
"She's in her dorm," Xander said. "Buffy sent her off when she realized that Dawn had interrupted the spell and caused it to be weaker. She had started to yell about interrupting the spell then Giles said it had helped ease it." He found his phone, listening to the voicemails on it. "Two mages are going to meet us there." They nodded, packing up and heading to the airport. "We'll be back," Xander called as they walked past the check-in desk. "We have to save the world from witches."
"Yes, Xander. We'll have your room ready when you come back." Clint grinned. "For you too, Clint."
"Not sure about me yet. I might have to work for a few months."
"Okay." She made that note in the system for the manager.
*** (sent to list to here)
Xander stepped out of the airport, finding press people lying in lurk. "People, stop," he ordered. That stopped the babbling at him. "What has been said?"
"Not a thing," one of the reporters said. "You're the first Council person we've seen since this started."
Xander nodded. "We usually all hide from you." He sighed. "One of the youngest blinky box witches with the Coven was trying to ease an elder witch's hot flashes." A few of the reporters moaned. "That's why some witches are blinky boxes and some are real people," he said dryly. "We've had one witch step in to ease it, without realizing her interrupting helped. We have others looking at how to stop it. Give us a few hours to look at things and beat the blinky box to death." They got out of the way. He made his way to the cabs. The agents had snuck out another entrance and were already heading to the Council house. Xander waved at the driver. "Council's house please."
"Can you stop the snow?"
"We think so. Hopefully before it does too much damage." The driver nodded, taking off. Xander rubbed his forehead. The hellmouth was reaching for him. He did the shielding exercises he knew to keep it out of him. He paid the driver and got out, walking around the agent SUVs in the driveway. "FBI too," he muttered. "Great." He walked in and went back to where he could hear yelling. "Where's the blinky box I need to take out before they stone all the witches?" he asked.
Giles flinched, looking at him. "In Devon."
"I can fix that," Coulson said, calling that in. He hadn't been yelling but the FBI agents had been venting. "Xander, both mages are outside town."
"I know why. The hellmouth's giving me a headache already." Giles handed over his shielding necklace. Xander sighed in pleasure. "Thank you."
"I had Willow and Dawn add some shielding for you."
"It helps," he agreed. He looked at the FBI agents. "What makes you think yelling at us is going to help us solve their problem faster?" They glared at him. "I'm the Council's problem solver. That's why I'm here." He waved a hand. "Go home. You're interrupting us fixing it."
"Why didn't you get her sooner?" one demanded.
"Because I was in the Caribbean dealing with the resort my former wife left me," he said dryly. "Since she married me while I was unconscious then committed suicide.... I had to do stuff." One stepped back, looking horrified. Xander grinned. "Yes, it's a nudist resort. It's kinda fun and relaxing. I needed a vacation." They stomped off. Xander waved at their backs. "Have a good trip, guys." He sighed, staring at Giles. "Let me talk to the mages." He walked off. "Where, Coulson?"
"Ramada by the golf course."
"Sure, that's a nice place. Giles, I'm taking a slayer mobile." He grabbed keys off the board on his way to the garage.
Giles looked at Agent Coulson then at Clint. "I had no idea."
"We know. You have sense most of the time," Clint quipped with a grin. "That witch...she's not going to make it to another year."
"If I had gotten my hands on her, she wouldn't have," Giles said, sipping his water. "Ladies, let's go on patrol," he yelled.
"There's no way we can patrol in this cold," one of the girls yelled back.
"Vampires aren't allergic to snow," Clint yelled back. "Put on a long sleeve shirt and then a jacket! And no heels!"
One walked in and paused. "Oh, you're Clint. It's too cold."
"Bull," May said, smiling at her. "Let's go, ladies. I can help tonight until we have something to deal with."
"That is Agent May. She's ranked fifth on the deadly bitch list at SHIELD," Clint said, staring at the slayer. "Agent Romanoff is still first."
"I'm tracking down people who want to take advantage of this," she said, not looking up from her phone. "We have two people who want to sell warm bombs and one trying to sell weather control technology to the farmers."
Coulson looked over her shoulder. "Interesting. We have them under watch already?"
"Two of the three." She showed him.
He sent that information in to the head people. They could handle those. "Ward, go help the girls on patrol."
"Yes, sir." He grabbed his jacket and headed out with them. "Coulson said to follow," he told May.
"The more the merrier," she said. The slayers gave them a few dirty looks. She smirked. "We're SHIELD agents, ladies. We've seen weirder than vampires."
"AIM agents come to mind," Ward quipped with a smile for them.
"There had been one intelligence person who decided he needed to be a werewolf. He had hair transplants all over his body and had dental implants put into his mouth."
"I heard about him," Ward said, smiling at her. "Thankfully he's in a nice home where the nurses don't complain about shaving him." The girls groaned and shook their heads. "There's weirder than you guys and your duties that SHIELD sees every day."
"Guys in spandex saving the world comes to mind," one of the girls quipped.
"Most of them are really nice people; they feel they have a duty to protect people," Agent May said. They ran into someone the girls walked around. "Miss Summers."
"I'm glad I could ease it." The slayers stared at her. She nodded. "Otherwise winter would be here instead of coming soon." They groaned. "I felt Xander?"
"Ramada by the golf course," Ward said.
"Great. Let me go help them. By the way, one of the other seers said that there's going to be two groups going after Clint to sacrifice him to ease this winter thing, and one just to make Xander lonely." She sighed as she walked off.
"Clint's at the house," Ward called after her. Dawn smiled and nodded, heading off that way. "Good to know so we can divert it," Ward told May, walking off with her. The girls followed, going to do a cemetery patrol. They swung by the hellmouth to make sure no one was trying anything.
Dawn walked into the house. "Clint, two groups want to sacrifice you. One to stop the winter and the other to make Xander lonely," she called.
Clint leaned out of the kitchen, staring at her. "Any other cheery news?"
She smiled and nodded. "Four to five mages can fix it." Giles sighed loudly. "How many are here?"
"Two and Xander."
"I can tell him that." She walked back there, pouring herself some coffee and leaning on the counter to look at them. "The local demon bar is having a bonfire. Three peaceful clans that can't do cold are going on suicide binges in Texas." Giles nodded, grimacing. "Paris is having more fits about magic." She took a sip. "There's a lot of decrying the witches but Xander's 'blinky box' name is well liked. It's being spread around and used."
"I agree, some of them are blinky boxes because that's all they're good for," Natasha said. "Many young women have that problem these days."
"They think it makes guys like them more because they're less complicated," Dawn quipped. "Some of us are more than willing to let them have all those shallow guys. Some of us want to have smarter and deeper ones, yet not the art student that Buffy tried to set me up with."
Natasha smirked at her. "He was handled recently for his drug trade."
"Aww, thank you. I'd hug you but I don't want to spar." She sipped her coffee. Giles was moaning into a cabinet before he thumped his forehead into it. "You missed the beat poet," Dawn said dryly, getting a dirty look from Giles. "Buffy's fault. She set up the blind dates. Smelled like pot, dirty black clothes that needed a desperate wash, beret, smoking Pal Mal's he had bummed, wannabe hipster glasses. He was part emo, part beat poet, and part hipster and *thought* he had good opinions on pitiful things going on in the world. When I pointed out that there were more important things than low wage workers, like women being killed for being women, he got all offended that I found things more important." She finished the cup of coffee.
Clint stared at her. "How long did that date last?"
"He had me trapped at the table for an hour and a half. Then he tried to kiss and grope. I had to tell him I couldn't kiss anyone with tobacco on their breath and I fortunately ran into one of the slayers on the way out of the bar. He decided, loudly, that I was a lesbian and I should just come out. Thankfully, my stalker buddy was there and kicked his ass then almost stabbed him until the bartender dragged him off the pitiful fool."
"Was he within the area covered by the restraining order?" Giles asked, sounding exhausted.
"No. I almost gave the guy a hug for that saving though." Clint was staring at her. "Never even met him in person, Clint. The guy decided I was his personal goddess and started to send me notes. When he saw me fighting with one of the slayers that was being a twat that night, he tried to kill her to save me the trouble. We got a restraining order the next day when the police told us what he had said." She grinned. "He's a philosophy and mythology major."
"Great," Clint mouthed. "Does Xander know?"
"Yeah, he met him and delivered the restraining order. Then he went on a date with Paulo and his twin sister, the dangerous twins. Who I still think are fucking like rabid ponies."
Natasha nodded. "You'd be correct, they are. Complete with pony play. She likes the bit and saddle. He just likes to be pegged by her."
"Well, gee, no retarded, inbred babies that way," Clint said dryly. "We really have to get rid of those two, 'Tasha."
"Too late," Coulson said. "They were arrested yesterday in the middle of one of their play dates, as they called it." He looked up from his tablet. "Fury was not amused at them. He taunted them that they'd have to be in separate jails, possibly even in different countries."
"Have they asked for one last night before they're put to death?" Clint asked.
"They have and Fury has so far taunted them about it."
Natasha shook her head. "Sometimes I doubt that humanity will carry on."
Clint patted her on the shoulder. "We're more sane."
"Yes, but we're not contributing to the continuation of humanity," she said, looking at him. "Therefore no one will be there to stop those sort in the future."
"SHIELD makes new agents every day," Coulson said. "We can warp some of them into being almost as good as you two." They smiled at him. "Though if you two want to contribute genetic material we may be able to breed using them after you've both passed on. The Director said to remind you that it was an option."
"No, thank you anyway," Natasha said.
"Ditto," Clint said.
"I'll let him know." He sent that email. "He said that the president wants to kill all magic users. I've countered with reasons why he can't, including that it'll take a lot of them to fix it."
Giles pulled out his phone to call someone, walking off. "This is Rupert Giles with an update. Yes, of course I'll hold for the president to quit swearing about us," he said blandly.
Coulson smiled. "He's learned well," he said quietly. Dawn punched him on the arm. He looked at her. "Xander wanted you to go to a safer school."
"I have one semester left and then I'm going to Madrid for college."
Clint shook his head slowly. "The European hellmouth is within thirty miles." She pointed up the hall. "Did you apply and get accepted anywhere else?"
Natasha looked at her. "Brazil is dangerous."
"I know. That's why Giles picked Madrid for me."
Natasha grimaced. "Where did you want to go?"
"Willow magically removed my application from there."
"Send it now," she said.
"Can't. Too late for this whole year." She smirked a bit.
Giles came back to get some water for tea. "We need her in Madrid to protect her."
"Xander wanted her somewhere even more safe," Natasha said.
Clint nodded. "There's a lot of safer colleges for her to finish her education."
"Yes, but none of them have her interests," Giles said.
"Neither does Madrid," Dawn said. Giles scowled at her. "My major's not there. So I'll have to get a second one." She shrugged. "Sorry but true." She got more coffee. Xander walked in. "Did you get my message?"
"Yes. We have five of them so you don't have to fill in." She smiled. "You're not going to Madrid."
"You're going to medical school. Pick one." She gaped, staring at him. He smirked. "We need new docs anyway. You're good at that. So therefore you're going."
"I...." She cleared her throat. "That wasn't really in my field of study, Xander."
"It's your minor, Dawn."
"With the MD you can also get a psychology degree and become a shrink, which the Council could use," Xander quipped.
"You'd be the one we'd go to for things like demon diseases," Clint said.
Dawn gaped. "Seriously?"
"Someone has to," Coulson agreed.
"Huh. I hadn't thought of that." She looked at Giles, who was staring at Xander with a look of horror on his face. Xander stared back. "It's something I am good at. I'm one of the post-incident bandagers." She sipped her coffee, considering it. "At one time I thought about being a vet. Training to be the one who handles demon diseases isn't that far off." She walked off thinking about that.
Giles stared at Xander. "Shouldn't she decide that?"
"As opposed to you making her get an MBA she doesn't want so she can do your paperwork?" Xander quipped back. Giles huffed but left it there.
"She does good stitches," Clint said. "Those ones she did for me were nicely spaced and just the right level of tight."
"The ones she does for me too," Xander agreed. "I'm glad I taught her."
Coulson looked at Xander. "You're trained?"
"No, I've learned out of Willow's mom's textbooks," he said dryly. "I've been doing my own stitches since I was a little kid."
"He does good ones too," Clint agreed.
Xander grinned at him. "Thanks."
"We can look into training modules like the military uses for medics," Coulson said. "That way you learn all that you can." He sent that note to Hill, who huffed back but oh well. It would someday help save Clint's life.
Dawn walked back in. "We have protestors."
Xander sighed but grabbed a shotgun out of the cabinet and loaded it on his way outside. He put it against his shoulder, staring at them. "Just because one witch is only good to be a blinky box doesn't mean the rest of us are that way, people. We're going to be taking care of her very shortly, once she's back in the US. We're working to fix it. It'll take us about three days to fix things. We have to gather some materials and a few other people need to fly in." The crowd shifted and was muttering. "Most of the ones we need have to come in from Europe. Two of the things we need have to come from Asia." That got less muttering. "We're working on it. Give us a few days. Hopefully for most of us it'll only be a cold few days."
"Why can't you fix it sooner!" one of the crowd demanded.
"Because we can't teleport the people or things we need. One of the things we need shouldn't even be flown, it should only touch the ground so we'd have to find a way to bring it from Thailand over-land." That shut them up. "We're working on it. It'll take a few days. We're all really sorry the teenage witch decided to ease the older witch's menopause but that was all her being an idiot. Not the rest of us. I've heard the Coven beat her nearly to death, but we need her alive to undo it." They groaned. "So let us handle it and then be an angry mob, okay?"
They mostly stomped off but the usual protestors were still there with their signs. He looked at two of them that had a species on their sign. "You know that species eats human kids, right?" he called. They glared at him. "They had one break into a hospital nursery and try to take out twenty kids for a wedding feast. They eat little kids. If you're that happy with them, volunteer yours." One started to cry. The other stomped off being mad. She got a different sign and came back. "Whatever," Xander decided, going back inside. "The PETAD are here."
"PETAD?" Coulson asked.
"People for the ethical treatment of animals and demons," Natasha said. "They expanded."
"The ones outside had signs trying to protest us having to take out demons who broke into a nursery to get kids to eat," Xander said. "I told them next time they could volunteer their kids." He heard someone knock so he went to answer it. "Yes, Officer?"
"Sir, we haven't seen you with the slayers."
"I'm their battle planner. I'm usually roaming to handle things because the hellmouth gives me a headache."
"That's good. Two things. Did you have to bring the shotgun? I'd assume you were armed." He looked him over.
"How armed do I seem?" Xander asked with a grin.
"That's what I'm worried about, sir."
"I needed a more obvious show. If you can't spot half of them, they definitely couldn't."
"Makes sense but please be less threatening?"
"I'm the guy they send to handle problems, Officer."
"Figures. Can we have a list of demons that are dangerous?"
"We can give you a copy of the handbook that lists people eaters, but any creature can be dangerous in the right circumstances. Like otters, since that's what popped to mind thanks to them having signs about water demons, they're decent and peaceful until they're screwed with or you try to harm their families."
"I get that," the officer agreed. "We respect that. We'd like a list of the people eaters mostly so we can identify them and handle it or call it in immediately."
"Sure." Xander let him inside while he got the book. He came back. "We hand them to smaller departments or any that ask. They know to call us, we'll tell them how to handle it or if it's too big we'll send a girl right out."
"We like to do the same thing," the officer agreed with a smile. "Thank the two girls who had been in the ER for handling the ones breaking into that nursery?"
Xander pointed in the living room. "They heard."
"You're welcome," one of the slayers in a cast said.
"They're gross and needed to go far, far away anyway," the other quipped.
"They had been rollerblading," Xander said with a smile. "But we're glad to help. Those kind get killed or run out of everywhere once they're spotted."
"We like that too. We'll gladly help. Three days?"
"One of the things from Asia is being flown over by one of the guardian priests. So if the demon with wings shows up, point him this way?" Xander asked.
"It has to be a demon?"
"He's probably between eight and nine feet tall, light blue/purple, and has wings."
"Wings. Sure, I'll let them know. That way we don't touch him. Is it going to be done in the park near the hellmouth?"
"We'll make sure it's not interrupted." He nodded and left. He took the book back to his boss, who had it copied and spread around immediately. They could handle the upcoming ritual or whatever. Cleveland wouldn't even care if they sacrificed that witch during it. It'd save a lot of people massing to do it for them.
The Second Act of CHAOS.