Congrats On Getting Home.
Spike came into view first. He was the least known of all the Council, outside the researchers. Who were also mostly in jail for helping that little war happen. Could you call it a war when it only took a month? He was in Cleveland, going to the demon bars. People gave him scared looks but he shrugged them off. He could handle this and he was pretty hard to kill. After a few days, he went back to the Council house.
He could hear someone outside in the meditation garden. He checked the downstairs first because if they were in here, they were probably supposed to be here. He found the self destruct disconnected. He found Mr. Pointy's case broken but there was a rose next to the carved stake. It hadn't been touched otherwise. He checked, the kitchen was whole so Andrew wouldn't kill anyone. He walked outside, spotting their mad gardener scrubbing some things off the memorial obelisk. "New names?" he asked quietly.
Xander looked at him and nodded. "Yeah. Three new names." Spike nodded. Xander finished chipping in one name then cleaned off the area. Then the next name got carved over with his special router. When he was done he washed the whole thing down and stood up, backing away from it. "I still do okay at that."
Spike nodded. "Bit tilted on the last one but good enough. Dru still living?"
"I think so. I haven't heard otherwise." They heard a car out front and went that way, finding Steve and Stark there. "Hey, guys."
"When are they coming back?" Stark asked, getting out and following them inside. Steve ghosted behind them.
"Tomorrow once I turn up the security system." Steve nodded, going to look around. He'd only been here once. Xander looked at Mr. Pointy's case and sighed. "Bob was here."
"Who's Bob?" Steve asked. He stared at the carved stake. "Her boyfriend?"
"She was Council raised. She wasn't allowed to even speak to boys," Xander said quietly. "He's a half demon who thought he loved her." He picked the glass pieces out. "I can replace the case later." He stepped back, nodding at the placement. "He changed the blown lightbulb. That was sweet of him."
"What was she like?" Steve asked.
"She was called when Buffy died but I did CPR." Xander looked at him. "She had some naive grace and was pretty stubborn. She had *one* outfit. She complained that Angel had ruined her shirt. Buffy fixed that so she had a few changes of clothes." Steve shook his head. "She wasn't ever allowed to go to school. She couldn't talk to boys. Her watcher hated that she played with some of the neighborhood kids who were a lot younger than her.
"She knew her duty and that was pretty much it. Dru killed her a year after she got called. That gave us Faith." Steve shivered. "We liked Kendra. She was a sweet young woman. Confused about a lot of things, but she put everything she felt into carving Mr. Pointy. That was all her frustrations and shattered dreams, all that. She gave it to Buffy before she left the first time. We always honor Mr. Pointy to help us remember the girls that went before and the lives they couldn't live."
Steve nodded. "It's a good thing to do. That way it can't happen again." He looked at Xander. "How can we help?"
"I need to go be a bigger target for a few days."
"Others hate that you managed to save them," Stark said from behind them. "Not affiliated."
Xander nodded. "Many of them have always hated me. What else is new? That's who shot at Sandra." Steve grimaced. "Is she still okay?"
"Yeah, she's good. I talked to her mom online the other day and she said Sandra's fine and only having a few nightmares." Xander nodded, walking off. "Are you still injured?"
"Yup. Unlike you, Bucky, and the slayers I heal like a normal guy." He grimaced. "I'll be fine. As long as the girls don't squeeze too hard around my stomach." He called. "It's me. The house is ready. I've fixed the obelisk so it's current," he sighed. He ran a hand over his hair, dislodging some marble dust. "Spike and I are here, and so are two people for Suzette who can help. Remember, the protections won't let anyone with taint out after dark." He hung up. Andrew opened the portable ring portal and let the girls troop through. Suzette squealed and ran to hug her father, climbing up him until he grabbed her and held on. The other girls smiled. "We can call parents later," Xander said, accepting hugs. "Are you guys okay?"
"Yup," was the mass consensus. They settled in to tell him about Missus Dru, who told them stories. The other vampires who had snuck in got talked about and how they disappeared. Bucky nodded at Steve. Who pulled him closer to give him a hug around Suzette.
Suzette looked up at her father. "He's okay. I made sure he ate and stuff, Daddy. Uncle Bucky needed to eat more."
"I'll eat more now that we're safer," he said. "You hug your dad and your new bear." Xander smiled. "It made her feel better."
"I'm sure it did. I'm glad I could find them." Andrew came through the ring last with the forgotten stuff and floating the stacks of sleeping bags and blankets. Xander put them up into the emergency supplies for him. He and Xander made sure the old base was tidied up then came back and let the portal fall before a vampire got through it. The girls were charming the two adults that did some of the same stuff they did. It was good to see.
Andrew handed him a short list and Xander nodded, going to put them on the obelisk. Andrew used the portable ring device to get to LA to pick up food for everyone. They could have pizza and chinese tonight and real food again starting in the morning. The girls decided to do the sleepover thing in the gym, bringing Stark and Steve with them. Not that Suzette let go of her father and she told the other girls how much cooler her daddy was than some regular dads. She and Larissa hung on him and cuddled.
Xander smiled when he came back in, finding everyone mostly asleep. He nodded at Bucky, getting a pat on the arm. "You good?" he asked.
"I'm okay. I need to send both uniforms out for cleaning." Xander smiled. "You?"
"Healing. Healing still sucks. Inana was sweet to help me with it." Bucky shook his head with a sigh. "She was good to me and Kate called her when Inana demanded."
"Ah, that's how that happened." He stared at him. "Hawaii still standing?"
"Don't know. I haven't seen the news in weeks."
"We can call."
"I... maybe I'll sell and find somewhere safer."
"That's not a bad idea," he agreed. Xander smiled. "Let's go check your injuries."
"I'm good. Worry about the little ones' injuries."
"They aren't. Beyond a few scrapes and one healing bite." He stared at him. "Even you can look weak today because the girls know you got hurt. Faith told them you got hurt protecting Sandra."
Xander nodded. "I've got to change my bandage in a bit. I'll let you help." Bucky smirked. "I can't reach one to clean it."
"Fine. Act like it's nothing."
"One is. The other two ache." He went to help Andrew carry food in. "They're crashed."
"They can eat when they get up." He went to get the regular groceries too. Connor and Gunn had both been really helpful. He'd have the girls send them thank you cards.
Bucky looked at Xander's injuries, grimacing. "I'm not a field medic but that looks nasty."
Xander looked in the mirror at his older one. "That's not an infection."
"We can hit an ER. I'll go with you to make sure you're safe."
"We can't leave them alone with the girls. They'll panic."
Faith strolled in, staring at the healing wounds. "Damn." Xander nodded, putting on neosporin and letting Bucky help him bandage them. "You good, X?"
"Good enough. I'll see my regular ER guy for them later this week if not."
"You can go."
"I can't go. The girls will panic."
"The girls won't panic. I can tell 'em you're getting the bandages changed. It's the truth." Xander shook his head but Bucky lifted him up and carried him off. "Bucky, all the leather's already been sent to the cleaners." He nodded, carrying Xander off. She grinned, going to get doors for them and car keys. Then she went to check on the girls. A few were up and wandering. "Andrew got you girls chinese for dinner. A few pizzas too." They headed that way. "Xander had to get some stitches checked. He'll be back in a few hours with Bucky driving." They hugged her and dug into the feast. One went to get the other girls up so they all dug in and went back into sleepover mode.
Bucky nodded at the doctor coming in. She was cute but seemed cold and unsmiling. "I think one may be starting toward infection."
"Not that uncommon. Sometimes his mermaid taint comes oozing out too," she said.
Xander smiled. "We love you too, Doctor Patricia."
"Of course you do. That's why you get injured, Xander."
"If I hadn't, they would've killed a few of the girls."
"That's why I'm not mad at you for this one." She looked at the uncovered injuries, including the graze. "You did good on your own. Lay back, let me look at your stomach again." He did that, leaning on his elbows. "All the way down please. You can't do situps until they fully heal." Bucky laughed. "He's done it before." She checked around them carefully, hearing him hiss. The second, newer one had stuff in it but that looked like mermaid blood. "Who did the stitches?"
"The ER in New Jersey before the agents rushed in to kill me," Xander said.
"Hmm. Messy. Must've been a student doc. Let me get one of the surgeons in to redo them?" He grimaced. "One I trust. Honestly." He nodded, relaxing again. She got the surgeon paged and came in to draw blood from him, making him whine. "Sorry but if it's infected we need to know. I know not to test you for anything else."
"Thanks, Doctor Patricia. That's why we like you."
"If I could've handled the girls going out to come home injured, I would've stayed one of the Council doctors." A surgeon came in. "You're not the one I called for."
"He's removing a ruptured appendix." He looked at the wound. "What's the black stuff?"
"I got exposed to mermaid taint," Xander said. "It's black from that."
"Are you demonic?"
"No. I'm fully human. I got exposed by a swim team coach. He wanted to win really hard. It bothers three chromosomes but when I'm exhausted or sick, it pops up better like any other problem in the blood does."
"Oh. All right." He got extra thick gloves and local anesthetic to work on them. "Your friend can wait outside.
"No, I can wait right here," Bucky said. "That way Xander makes it home because I doubt he'll be walking right after you're done."
The doctor grimaced but shrugged. "Move away from the sterile field then please." He moved up next to Xander's head. The doctor cleaned the area, making Xander hiss, then put sterile draping on it. "Was it some sort of dominance fight?"
"No, I took a bullet for a future slayer," Xander said. The doctor stared at him. "They were going to shoot a little girl for being born and I got in the way to save her."
"I'm sure your people will be happy."
"My people are the Council," Xander said. "I'm still fully human." He looked at Doctor Patricia, who shrugged. She was making notes in his chart. "It clipped the edge of my body armor and didn't go that deeply. They removed it in the ER in New Jersey a few days ago."
"That's fine. They didn't have a good hand at stitching." He frowned as he cleaned the area. "Does anything cut this black ooze easier than alcohol?"
"Water works. It's blood, Doctor," Xander said. He grimaced but rinsed it off, making sure none splashed onto him. Then he got restitched. Xander relaxed once he was done. "Thank you."
"Welcome. I'm sure Doctor Biggers here knows what sort of antibiotics works the best." He left to complain he had been asked to operate on one of *them*. They could hear him.
Xander got up, holding his stomach. He smiled and waved at the head of the ER. "He's sorry. I told him it was a taint from exposure but he believes I'm demonic."
"No, Mr. Harris, we know you're not. You had us do a DNA test to prove it once." He glared at the surgeon. Who huffed off. Xander got his prescription and t-shirt, letting Bucky sign him out so they could go back to the compound. They both had rooms in there and Xander's was still full of things he needed to fix. A hand-sweep cleared the bed off and Xander laid down on his side, one hand over his stomach.
"Welcome," Bucky said. "Let me go check on Steve then go to bed." Xander nodded, already nearly asleep. Bucky snuck out and down to the gym. Steve was telling Larissa a story. "Go sleep, Larissa." She hugged him around the metal arm and ran back to her cuddling spot next to Suzette. "I'm going to sleep. My room's up on three near Xander's."
"Thanks, Bucky. I'll see you in the morning." He nodded and left him to guard the girls for him. Steve settled in to watch over them, getting up to soothe any nightmares like he would his daughter's. Suzette got up in the middle of the night, looking around. He waved her over, letting her climb into his lap. "Hey, sneaky."
"Daddy, why did you change your uniform?"
"Because I'm not going to be Captain America if they do things like this."
"Oh." She leaned her head against his shoulder. "Are you going to change back?"
"I don't know. I might. Would that upset you?"
"No. I liked the blue suit. It was pretty. The one with all the stripes looks confusing. It looks like a parody of stuff."
"Hm. That's the one I wore back in the war."
"Really?" She looked up at him. "That's weird." She snuggled in. "Are we going home soon?"
"Three days to make sure it's still safe." She yawned but nodded. "I'm not leaving. Go cuddle up with Larissa." She snorted but wrapped one of his arms around her. So he sat there with her in his lap for the rest of the night. It was comforting them both. Stark took over nightmare duty so he wouldn't have to move. Just sit there and cuddle her until they both felt safe again.
Steve carried Suzette into the kitchen the next morning. Bucky was sniping at Xander in Italian. Xander was yelling back in an African language he didn't recognize, just the cadence to it. "Why are they fighting?" he asked Andrew.
"Bucky caught Xander in the gym," Andrew said, sipping his coffee. "He's yelling at him about not taking good care of himself, and I think he compared him to you a few times. Xander's yelling back that he's fine. He doesn't know Italian but he knows what the argument's about." He looked at Steve. "They're using languages the other doesn't understand so no one gets pouty about it later."
"I do not get pouty," Bucky and Xander both said in English. Andrew grinned at their scowls.
"I'm going to take the advice of those little old ladies and tie you to the bed!" Bucky said.
"Like hell you will. I'll run so far you'll never see me this close again." Xander sipped his coffee. "I was working on my arms, not my stomach. I'm not stupid."
"No, just more stubborn than the king of that land," he said with a point at Steve. "Even he wouldn't be in the gym with two gut shots." He noticed Steve didn't say anything and stared at him. "I know you're not *that* bad usually."
"They were mostly healed," Steve said.
"Boys, quit fighting and feed us girls," Suzette complained. "We're all really hungry and I'm going to start chewing on Daddy soon."
Steve looked down at her, grinning. "I'm not that nutritious."
"Uh-huh. You're probably filling. Meat is muscle tissue and it's really filling so you will be too." Andrew took her and pointed her at the breakfast buffet bar. "Cool! Firsties!" She dug in, loading up a plate. A few of the other minis, including Larissa, ran in since they were done showering and loaded up their own food. Andrew pointed toward the dining area so they ran in there to eat and talk. Steve shook his head at the 'of course her daddy's here; he can beat HYDRA so he can beat any bad guys that show up now' from Larissa.
Andrew punched Steve on the arm with a grin. "You're liked for that."
"Yes I am." He got coffee and a modest plate of food. Andrew added to it then made plates for Bucky and Xander.
"'Drew, I'm not hungry yet," Xander said.
Andrew stared at him. "Were you turned?"
"No, Inana nibbled on me for other reasons," he said dryly. "I had a donut before going to the gym." Andrew handed him a plate with real food and gave him a look before walking off to check on the other girls. Xander sighed but dug in. "Yes, Andrew."
They watched as Andrew's automated stove finished cooking some eggs and tipped them into the container waiting on them. Then an automated pitcher shook a few times and poured more scrambled egg mixture onto the hot grill top, letting the cover come down. The specially cobbled together sixteen slice toaster shot toast out onto a preset plate, which tossed it over to the buffet line. The eggs were being slowly trundled over by belt chain and dumped into their right spot. Then the pan went back to catch the next batch of eggs. Bacon was being done the same way with some sausage links. The industrial size coffee maker was being filled by a rotating set of coffee pots. There was a little arm that put in and removed things that looked like giant K-cups into each pot for brewing. The used ones got tossed into the sink to be cleaned and refilled.
Steve stared at Xander. Who smiled while chewing. "I'm guessing Andrew customized," Bucky said. He got more hot water for tea and settled in to watch Steve and Xander eat.
Stark came in and saw things moving, watching the automated processes. "Andrew, how did you do this?" he called.
"Necessity is the mother of getting always hungry young slayers fed," he called from somewhere. "Xander, I'm out of baking supplies."
He sighed. "Order it and I'll go pick it up, 'Drew."
"Thank you. It'll be a big one. I'm out of everything, even butter." Xander grunted, stuffing his mouth again.
"I'll go pick it up so the stubborn asshole can rest," Bucky said.
"Sure, you can go heft the hundred pound barrels of flour and sugar," Xander quipped with a grin. "Have fun with that." Bucky stared at him. Xander nodded with a grin. "Borrow my truck if it's still here. Rent a u-haul if not."
Andrew came up. "We're out of laundry detergent and a few other things too. Bucky, would you mind picking up the list?"
"Sure, I guess I can do that."
"Rent a u-haul," Xander said. Andrew hit him on the arm. "I know how much my pickup holds. It won't hold the flour, sugar, and butter."
"Good point. I'll get you a rental truck." Andrew called their favorite rental truck people to do that. "I got you the big one and the handtruck," he said, coming back. Bucky stared at him. Andrew stared back. "It's easier." Xander nodded quickly and stuffed his mouth. "You, go clean those. Even I can see one's seeping."
"It's seeping mermaid taint."
"Even worse; black, oozy blood instead of red staining your shirt." Xander rolled his eyes but went to change his bandages. Andrew smiled at Steve. "I am the housemother. My word is law."
One of the older girls leaned in. "Andrew, can we catch up on Game of Thrones?"
"Not with the really little kids in the house. I can't imagine how bad the nightmares would be."
"Point." She grimaced. "If we take over the senior gym?" He nodded. She ran to set that up, tell everyone breakfast was ready, and get the senior girls to bring theirs up for the watching party. The younger girls settled in to watch girlish tv shows and giggle about My Little Pony. Bucky wisely disappeared since he spotted Larissa looking at rope. Steve didn't manage to disappear fast enough but she just led him into the gym they had so they could curl up around him.
Andrew smiled at Stark, who was examining his automated breakfast system. "It's really handy and any leftovers get eaten as snacks." The bigger girls ran back in for seconds, with a few of the younger girls interrupting to get their own. Andrew put on more eggs and toast for them. The girls squealed at the automated system and got fresh, hot things to take back to the gym.
Stark patted Andrew on the shoulder. "That's better than I could do. I'd forget to feed them sometimes. I forget to feed me sometimes." He went to check on the rest of the house to see what else had been automated. There were two automated bunnies that had water spewing out of their tails to water the trees and bushes as they hopped around. He spotted another on the other side of the house. He spotted a deer by the fence doing the same thing, spraying the reporters out there through the bushes. They were shrieking about it. Tony smiled, going back inside to look at other things. Each gym now had a tv hooked up to a computer for the viewings. The gym had Xander working on his arms. "Did you change your bandages?"
"Yup. Now I'm going to finish working on my arms. Then I'm going to go shoo the reporters off."
"They're being wet down by the deer."
"Have you seen Natalie?"
"She must be with Giles at his house in England." He went back to his workout. They both heard when Bucky got back, he was complaining a lot about how heavy flour was when pastries were so light and flaky. Xander went to hide from him. Stark grinned and pointed when Bucky leaned in.
Bucky headed up to Xander's room, finding him mending crossbows. He settled in to help him and make sure he would actually rest now. Before he had to tie him down for real.
Suzette came off the elevator at Avenger Tower. "We need ice cream," she announced.
"We've got pie," Bruce said, taking her to hug.
"Pie's cool. I like pie." She smiled at Darcy. "I'll hug you once the uncle isn't an octopus anymore."
"Uncles are supposed to be octopuses when you've been gone for a while," Darcy said. "Is she okay, Steve?"
"Pretty good. She could use a nap since the girls have been up for two days watching videos." She grinned at that. Bruce let her free and Darcy snatched her to cuddle.
Stark came off the elevator, smiling but shaking his head. "Now we know what summer camp was like."
Steve grinned. "We do, but they didn't have a pond." Suzette grinned at them. "C'mon, let's rest, then we'll have dinner and pie, and then we'll cuddle?"
She looked at him. "How can I cuddle everyone at once if we're not all piled on the floor to watch tv?"
"We can pass you back and forth," Darcy said. She gave her a squeeze and let Natasha have her to hug since she was stomping their way.
"Hi," she said, cuddling her and waving at Uncle Clint. "I'll hug you in a minute."
"That's fine. I know not to take things from Natasha. Even cute little ones."
Natasha let him take her then sat down and took her back once Clint was done. "Did you learn anything new while you were camping with the slayers?"
"MRE's are gross." Everyone nodded, settling in to listen. "Andrew kinda drives himself nuts making everyone food if he doesn't have some help. Some of us got to help him cook. He only yelled once for a girl using a knife the wrong way. She was going to get hurt and he cuddled her for making her cry. We learned stuff from Missus Dru. She showed up to tell us about being a mean, scary vampire way back when. She told us about Spike too. The girls pounced him to ask him about some of the stuff she said. He groans really pretty."
She grinned a mean grin. "Missus Dru's vampy kids were kinda weird but only a few tried to get in. One of the girls got turned but Uncle Bucky handled it and we all saw her name on the obelisk. There's a huge lot of names on there because of the First Evil." She sucked on her bottom lip, looking at her father then at everyone else. "It was pretty okay. We were all mostly safe and when we got scared we cuddled. Even Miss Buffy cuddled us until she left to go to that battle. Is she okay? She emailed but Faith said it didn't give any information."
"Yeah, she's fine. She's on a cruise around Europe," Stark said.
"Aww. She probably needed the relaxing time. She had no idea how to play games with us girls." She smiled at her father. Who grinned back. "It was okay. We were pretty safe and even the witches were nice to us. Though a few cried a lot but I'm not sure why. Mr. Wesley said that they were having emotional days and we should let them alone. He talks kinda funny."
"He's British," Stark said with a hand wave.
"He was mumbling something about having too many girls and it might be upsetting the balance. Bucky slugged him and told him to shut up. If the PTB wanted fewer slayers around, they could make the calling from 18 to 25 and then have it leave the girls. Not endanger little kids. Then he stomped off. He might've called Uncle Xander. I'm not sure. I know Mr. Wesley disappeared right after that. Uncle Andrew just shrugged when it was reported to him and called him a spy."
"He was sent back by the PTB," Steve told her. "He had died before the invasion in LA."
"Why? They have messengers. We met Cordelia. She praised most of us for our fashion sense. She said most of us had much better fashion sense than Miss Buffy does."
"We'll work on that as you get older," Natasha said. "She goes out in clothes that are not functional for patrol. Things like a skirt."
"You can't fight in a skirt?" Suzette asked her.
"I can but I pick mine with that in mind. She picks for how cute they make her."
"Oh. I guess she learned and we'll all learn too."
"I can help you with that when you're older." She smoothed down some hair. "Did you learn anything else?"
"Uncle Andrew told us about his former friends. How one was a bit mentally unstable and he died after killing Miss Willow's girlfriend Tara by accident when he meant to get Miss Buffy. We were all sad with him about his friend Johno dying before the First Evil. He really misses him still." Everyone nodded. "Faith gave him a hug and he smiled at her and said it'd be okay. Some day they'd meet up and build something to go blow up the Powers That Be for being dicks." Her father gave her the same dirty look she got the last time she said that word. "They are."
"Still not a polite word. Did you get to call Peggy?"
"Nope. Can we do that tonight?"
He checked his watch. "Sure." She grinned and wiggled some, hugging Natasha again. "We can do that before dinner. That way we know she's awake."
"Okay." She looked up at Natasha. "We had fun. Andrew had some stuff for us to do. We got to play with some of the demon classification stuff. Faith taught us about the petting thingies that like slayers to be owners. Including the demonic hair dog and the slime puppy like we had come onto the playground at my last school." She nodded with a smile. "There's a huge petting thing. She said it's the basis for bigfoot and abominable snowman rumors. She said they're really sweet and one nearly followed her all over Germany to be petted. She said it was sweet so she introduced it to one of the minis over there. She's happily cooing over him and helping his fur get unknotted. He really likes her and he follows her to school and stuff. Her teacher must be really cool."
"They must be," Stark agreed. "Or really tolerant." She grinned at him. "What else did you learn?"
"I learned not to do something if Andrew tells us not to. Bad people used to use the base and he told us not to go into some of the areas but we snuck off and it was gross. There were blood stains and stuff. We didn't want to see that. We had icky dreams and had to make Faith cuddle us."
"Why not cuddle Andrew?" Clint asked.
"Because some girls said it wasn't right to cuddle guys that weren't relatives and kept complaining if we did until Faith took them aside. That and he slept by himself so we couldn't pounce him in there. I'm not sure if Uncle Bucky slept at all. He'd let us hug but then we had to run off again since he was guarding us."
"He's still crashed," Steve said. She grinned and waved at him. "Hi. What are you doing, silly?"
"I'm waving at the ghosty lady behind you, Daddy. Hi, Miss Cordelia."
"Hi, precious." She smiled down at Steve, winking at him. "Got a proposition for ya."
"How bad?" He got up and took her to the hallway so the others wouldn't hear. "How bad? You have that 'I'm going to destroy them look' Natasha sometimes gets."
"Yes, I will be. They want a certain male someone calmed down. Like in a permanent relationship. I won't say his name because he'll show up and the PTB thinks he doesn't need to know yet."
"Why would that bother me?"
"Because the only one who might be able to tie him down and make him see sense is your buddy, who you have the lusties for." Steve winced. "So you can choose them all. Because there's a sweetie that they had planned to be the creamy filling for you two if you wanted. A reward for services and all that."
"I'm not a reward that can be given," Darcy called. She leaned into the hallway with a smirk. "You can tell them to stay out of my panties. If I want to pounce him, I'll do it on my own. I'm not a medal for good combat skills."
Cordelia snickered. "I know you're not. They're planning on pushing soon. Probably something like a stuck elevator."
Darcy shook her head. "No. Thank you anyway. If he wants me he's a big boy and can proposition me."
"Yes I can," Steve said. "I haven't really thought about that with Bucky either."
She looked up then at him. "I just heard the word 'clueless' applied to your name. That's probably a bad thing." He grimaced. "So...they're at least giving you a choice." She looked up with a frown. "What's that? How did he get a viral bomb up there?" she muttered. Then she flinched. "Okay, there's three less powers now," she said, then winced. "They're really going to push for him to settle down now." She took a deep breath. "Xander's in a cranky mood. Can you cure that for him?"
"I've never even thought about it, Cordelia. Sorry. Ask Bucky?"
"He's already been appointed. Did he always nag that way?"
"Yes. I used to be really sickly."
"Oh. That's good." She disappeared.
"The nerve of higher beings," Darcy sighed. "I'm not a toy."
He grinned. "There's times to treat your lady like she's your favorite plaything but not in public." She blushed and swatted him on the arm, walking back out with her. "Sorry, the higher ups had *ideas*." He called Bucky, walking down the stairs. "It's me. Did you help Xander blow up some of the Powers That Be for almost mandating that you two screw and then I take you both and probably Darcy in?" He paused while Bucky spluttered. "Cordelia showed up. How did he get that explosive thing up there?" He listened.
"Oh, Andrew did and went on a ranting fit that next time he was sending Xander up there in person. Okay, thank him for me. What are you guys doing this week? I think we should at least talk, maybe make plans. They were talking about stranding us in elevators and stuff. No, you, me, him, and Darcy." Bucky let out a deep moan of pain-sounding noise. "Yeah. So we should probably make plans just in case." Bucky apparently said that to someone and Xander yelled he had things to solve their backed up colon problem so their brains would work right again.
Steve felt a pull but resisted it. "I don't know, Bucky. Let me know? Thanks." He hung up and banged his head against the wall a few times. He decided to be snarky for a few minutes and called Agent Coulson. "It's Steve Rogers. Are you busy?" He smiled. "No, letting you know some higher ups have ideas. Including the Powers That Be liking the idea of your nephew, me, Bucky, and Darcy together." The quiet 'interesting' was a bad sign. "I thought Xander could probably use some help getting away from this before more than Andrew sent them explosives. Exactly. I had to warn Bucky.
"Cordelia came to propose it to me and warned they were going to try. Hey, all the merrier for the help. Thanks, Agent Coulson." He hung up and banged his head again before going up there. "We'll see what we can do to avoid that. Andrew sent something that went boom," he finished quietly next to Darcy's ear. She laughed and patted him on the arm. "I warned Bucky and he told Xander. I warned Agent Coulson so he could help us avoid it."
"How pushy would they be?" Stark asked. "Like stranding you four during a storm that would take down some of the east coast?"
"I don't know. You'd have to ask Xander or Andrew," Steve said.
"That would definitely not get me hot or get their plans to happen," Darcy said. "I'm not that sort of girl."
Steve looked at his phone. "Bucky's response to this situation is filthy." He sent back one thanking him for agreeing with him and Darcy. And how was Xander taking it? He got back bomb plans. "Stark, how bad is this?" He let him see it.
Stark looked it over. "With his blood...really horrible." He called down there. "Stop him before someone else manages to get the plans and arrests him because they think it'll be against something human." He hung up and tossed the phone back to him. "I didn't know you could get those sort of things to a higher plane."
"Bucky once joked about doing a seance with the Commandos to see if they'd go talk to them." Steve smiled. "How hard is that to do?"
"Probably not very," Bruce said. "Is it a viable option is a better question." Phil came off the elevator with Pepper. "Evening. She's back." Suzette waved from her Aunt Darcy's lap. "We're waiting on dinner to finish."
Phil smiled at Suzette. "Are you okay?" She nodded. "That's good." He patted her on the head. He looked at Steve. "Xander's a bit ...angry."
"He's very angry and we stopped him from sending a bomb to the higher powers," Steve said.
"I did not hear about this bomb." Steve let him see the plans. "Compact. Where did he get the plans?"
"Probably from someone he fought in Africa," Stark said dryly. "There's probably a few of those."
"Probably," Phil sighed, handing the phone back. "What can I do to help beyond getting Xander materials for that device?"
"Xander said he may be selling his vacation home to get somewhere more secure," Steve said.
"I'm wondering if the portal will easily move," Phil said. Steve shrugged. He didn't know. "I think he should probably check that first since most of the witches are tired or now glowing heavily thanks to their misdeeds."
Steve sent that to Bucky, who said he'd mention it. Xander groaned and agreed it might not. Or the other protections. Maybe he'd just fix up his house then. Or maybe he'd create a better hiding hole. Steve pointed out he had a few of those he had inherited. Xander sent back that one was being sold to Inana. He didn't need a seaside villa in Greece. Seeing the water that often might make him want to let the mermaid taint out. "He doesn't have a sea view?"
"Mountains I think," Phil said. "Is he still worried about mermaid taint?" Steve nodded.
"Oooh!" Suzette squealed. "We saw one of those. They came up to try to eat a vampire so Missus Dru brought them to us for us to deal with. She looked so exasperated. Like when Daddy saw me coloring on the table by accident. They were kinda gross looking."
Steve leaned down to hug his daughter. "They're mean and they eat people."
"I know. Faith told us that. She said Uncle Xander had been exposed to one by a mean guy swim coach so sometimes he had black, oozy blood instead of red blood. If we saw that then he was really sick and we should be careful of it because it could soak into us too."
"It's always wise not to directly touch blood products," Phil said. "A glove is best but if you have to, a wadded up towel or t-shirt works as well to put pressure on injuries."
She grinned. "We learned first aid stuff too." She looked back at Darcy. "Do we do that around here?"
"That's one of Bruce's jobs sometimes."
She grinned at him. "Can you teach me more of that?"
"I sure can, sweetie. It can come in handy in every walk of life."
"Cool! Uncle Xander can do stitches. So can Uncle Bucky. One of the girls fell...well, we were jumping on the stairs for fun because we were bored, and she got herself good so he stitched her leg up."
"Your father jumps out of airplanes," Natasha said.
Suzette's eyes went wide and she stared at her father in awe. "Teach me that?" she begged.
He grinned. "When you're old enough."
"Cool!" She hugged him then turned to hug Auntie Darcy. "If the mean old Powers make you have adult stuff with Daddy that's okay. I won't mind because I like you and you're neat. If you were an idiot like one of my teachers I'd mind but you're nice so I don't mind. Even if you do have to cuddle Uncle Xander too. He's kinda cuddle phobic at times according to Faith."
"So's Bucky," Steve said. "That's something the adults will talk about later, sneaky one."
She grinned. "Just letting her know. That way she doesn't have to worry. She gets jumpy and starts messing up her hair when she's worried. Then she can't even make coffee. It nearly broke the coffee maker last time and I know that the coffee maker's like a holy artifact around here. Not nearly as pretty as the one that's in the house but still a holy artifact."
Stark nodded, grinning at her. "I pray to it many times a day. So does Barton." Clint nodded.
"Is Katie okay? We heard she got grounded and had to give up her apartment."
"Xander was there when she was grounded and I'm sure she's okay," Steve said. "I haven't seen her in a few days." He looked at Clint.
"She's still grounded but she snuck out to come have coffee with me and so we could practice some new stuff. Her dad's a bit frustrated because he didn't want a daughter who did all this hero stuff."
She sighed but nodded. "I can understand why. It's dangerous. Faith had a lot of scars from a few battles."
"We all have scars," Natasha said. "But we earned them doing something good so they're good to us."
She nodded. "That's what Faith said, kinda. She doesn't use the same sort of words you use, Natasha. She's from Boston and she talks a lot differently."
"Sometimes you young guys do," Steve said dryly. She giggled and wiggled, turning to pounce Darcy for a hug. She got cuddled back. "Why don't you go rest?"
"Because there's *pie* waiting, Daddy. I don't want to sleep through pie."
"We can have pie now. It's tea time," Darcy said.
"Cool! Help me call Auntie Peggy so we can have tea together?"
"I can do that," Darcy agreed, taking her into the kitchen to dish up the pie for everyone. She brought out coffee and the tea pot was still brewing so she brought that out last. "Just added, Pepper and Natasha." She called Peggy on her phone, letting Suzette have it so they could chat and 'have tea together' while she inhaled her pie.
Steve grinned, walking behind her to wave at Peggy. "She's finally home."
"I'm happy she could make it home. Are you well, dear?"
"I'm okay. I was a good girl and I learned a lot. But it was kinda boring." She grinned. "Aren't you having tea?"
"They do serve it late around here," she said with a smile. "I have no idea why." Suzette giggled and talked to her other favorite aunt-type person. The others had their pie and relaxed, making sure Steve was okay and calmer now too. They hadn't known Steve knew what brooding evil was until his daughter had to go away for her own protection.
"Which one is Darcy?" Faith asked.
Bucky looked up from eating a bowl of cereal. "Dark hair, pouty lips, busty. Helps Jane Foster, Thor's girlfriend." He stuffed more cereal in his mouth.
"Not evil so therefore not into me," Xander quipped as he came in from the backyard. "We'll need another memorial obelisk if we have another ten short names."
"Find us one," she said. "I doubt they've been nice enough to stop all apocalypse battles." Xander nodded, going to figure how to do that. Giles had gotten back this morning and was catching up on the paperwork because his metallic assistant Natalie had threatened to tie him to the chair and call Ethan to help her.
Bucky finished his cereal and put it where it belonged in the dish washer. Then he went to check on Andrew, who was stressed out for some reason. He found him trying to meditate and waited.
"What?" Andrew grumped.
"Wondering if you wanted to talk about the stress." Andrew stared at him. "Only a few cures for post battle stress if you're not a girl who can shop away the extra energy."
Andrew grimaced. "I tried that already."
"Then go out tonight. The girls can order since there's only four here."
Andrew sighed. "I shouldn't."
"Even you need a break. Don't make me sic Natalie on you too." Andrew grinned but blushed as he stood up. "Go, come back sometime tomorrow." He nodded, patting him on the arm as he walked around him.
Faith leaned on his metallic arm, grinning at him. "We have the same urges. We don't really wear them out with shopping but women learn how to get rid of our stress since most guys aren't that good at it." She strolled off. "Ladies, let's hit the mall," she called. "Andrew's got two days off so we're going to have to feed ourselves and not mess up his kitchen."
"McDonald's tonight then another one for breakfast," one of the remaining girls quipped. They skipped down to join her. They ran into Buffy coming in and brought her with them. She had to eat too, even if she did have that 'I had a fling and he knew what an orgasm was' glow around her.
Bucky watched Xander fuss over things. "You could probably do the same thing."
Xander looked at him. "What makes you think Inana didn't cure that already?" Bucky smirked. "I fuss, it happens. I've always been bouncy." He got back to fussing over things then went to clean up the kitchen. Andrew needed some sanity saving time off and Xander did actually know how to cook thanks to a few old job choices. He placed the food order and Bucky sighed but went to pick it up. It was a lot lighter to carry than the hundred pounds of flour and sugar Andrew had needed him to heft and carry.
Andrew came back and found his kitchen pristine. Everything was cleaned. Even the grills he hadn't gotten to yet. He looked around. "I expected smoke damage and maybe even water damage or crying girls." He went looking. "Xander, did you clean up your mess?"
Xander looked up from his book. "Ya know, I used to do cooking jobs as part time jobs back in Sunnydale. I also cooked at a strip club."
"They serve food at those?"
"Not that many eat there, but yup." He smiled. "I got them all fed. I made fritatas this morning and divvied them up like pies. They all got fruit. The fritatas had veggies. Mid-morning snack was the girls helping me make trail mix." Andrew leaned down to hug him. "You're welcome. Was it good?"
"No. No girls hit on me."
"I can call an ex."
"Please don't. They're usually mean." He went back to his kitchen, seeing what was able to be done for dinner. He found roasts resting in a marinade and veggies already chopped and in lemon water so they didn't turn brown. All he had to do was load the oven and toss the veggies into pans. "I love Xander. But not in that 'I'm a bad boy so you're mine' way." He looked at the portal, which was red. "Hey, Xander? I think Bucky's going evil."
Xander strolled that way, finding one of his ex's harassing him. "What are you doing?"
"Your pet guard dog here...." she started.
"Bucky isn't a *pet*," he sneered. "He's a friend. Apparently he realized what a dick you are even without knowing you."
"I really need to shove my fist through her skull," Bucky said.
Xander nodded. "I'd like to see that. She knows better than to taunt people. It's not nice."
"I'm not nice," she sneered. "You like that about me."
"Not really. The ones who are mine are always nice to those I care about, which includes Bucky, Andrew, and the slayers." She huffed and tried to shoot him so Xander picked her up and threw her.
She got up holding her back. "How did you do that!" she yelled. "You're not a super soldier."
"I haul around artillery and use a battle axe or a sword in battles. I used to work construction. I have more muscles than the average man," he said dryly. "Hike it. Now. You're clearly not worthy of being mine since you sneered at my friend. I don't allow that and I definitely don't fuck it." She shrieked and tried to find her gun but Bucky held it up with a grin. A cop car pulled in. "Officer, she insulted my friend and pulled a gun on us."
The officer grimaced. "Where's the weapon?" Bucky held it up. "Was she up there then?"
"Yup, then I threw her dumb ass." He stared at her. "You can stay if you want but if you do I'm going to tell him what you do for a living." She tried to rush them with a knife and Xander punched her back onto the lawn. "She's a virologist looking for samples. I found out she was working on bio bombs a few years ago after a mediocre weekend with her in Albania."
The officer nodded. "Aren't you that Council guy?"
"Yeah, I am."
"Are you renting?"
"No, I'm owning. And I can't move the protections or the emergency hatch so we're staying. That way you guys get protected." He smiled. "Thanks for asking. This is my coworker and really good friend. He even kept up with me while I was checking on the minis in Africa."
The officer nodded. "Okay. Sure." He picked the crying woman up. "Can I have her weapons please?" They gave them to him. "Are you sure that's what she does?" Xander came down to pat her down and found her car keys, popping the trunk. He pointed at the refrigerated sample case. "Can that be opened?"
"I'm not going to. I don't need another bad plague-like thing. You might ask Hazmat." She shrieked and tried to get free. "I told you not to fuck with me." He walked off. "You have fun with her, Officer. Really."
He called that unit in and got backup. Bucky went back inside. Xander sat on the porch with a glass of lemonade. "Hi, Steve," he called when their special task force's people got there. "We're back. Can we have our stuff back?"
"Later and we'll be talking about a few things." Xander went inside and came out with the certificate allowing him to hoard weapons. "We'll see." Xander smiled and held up the others. "Damn it."
"Yup." He grinned. "A lot of damn its. That's why I have the egg babies."
Steve nodded. "I'll bring them back tonight so we can start a formal inventory. That way no one has to wonder." Xander shrugged, going back to his seat. The precious letters went back into the frame laying there. Bucky came out to get it and put it back on the wall. Steve looked at the unit. "We need her fingerprint and the security code."
"862417. She uses it as her pin too," Xander quipped. Everyone stared at him. "One mediocre weekend in Albania, guys." They nodded and tried that. It worked and her finger was forced onto the fingerprint pad. They looked at the vials. Then someone started to call for a Navy expert. Xander came down to look. "All those are sealed. They're frozen so quieted down. The only one that could pass on is this one," he said with a point at it. "Which would suck if she had a car crash."
Bucky walked him off. "You don't need a plague on top of the malaria you got last trip to Africa." He put him back into his seat, handed him the lemonade, and went back inside.
Steve stared at Xander, hands on his hips. "You had what?"
"No. Comment," he said in Russian. Then he smiled. "Ever."
"Should I be aware that could be a future problem?" he asked in Chinese.
"Yes," Bucky called in Chinese. "It would be if they knew."
"Okay then. We're handled or something?" he asked Xander. Who shrugged and took another drink through his straw. "Xander?"
"Protections mean that you can't bleed me if I'm unconscious."
"Ah. Good!" He nodded. "Excellent in fact." The Navy doctors got there. He pointed. They moaned and took the samples, unhooking the case to hook up into their jeep instead. Then they zipped off. The nice germ doc got taken to jail. Steve and Danny went to get Xander's stuff back for him and do an actual inventory. Which did not amuse Bucky. He hadn't seen most of those when he looked. Xander showed him the other doorway then went to help with slayer dinner time.
Bucky sighed, looking at Steve. "Sometimes he scares me."
"Me too," Danny agreed.
Steve shrugged. "He might need it some day. I heard he used a bio bomb to close a hellmouth once."
Bucky nodded. "I heard the same thing." He looked at the gear. "Now I know where to go if I need to stop a helicarrier on my own." He walked off. "He's with the slayers."
"Thanks," Steve called. They set everything back up the way Xander had it. Including the thermal grenades in the temperature controlled egg house. Though Steve had kept two of the egg babies for himself. He could definitely use them.
Bucky decided he was unlucky about a week later when Suzette and Steve came to Hawaii. Xander didn't invite them or anything but they came for a vacation. Bucky met them at the airport so they wouldn't have to get a cab. Suzette squealed and ran over to climb him, giving him a hug. "Hey, sprout." She grinned and cuddled, waving at her father. A few people started to stare. Steve looked nervous. "Bags?" Bucky suggested to snap Steve out of looking for problems coming their way. "I've got her."
Steve nodded and grabbed their two bags, following him to Xander's old truck. They climbed and drove off before a news van showed up. Bucky showed them the important things on the way, like the hospitals. Steve grinned at him. They made it back to the house in time to find McGarret in there complaining about gun running thugs to Xander, who was looking up something online. "Bad time for visitors?" Bucky asked as they walked in.
"No. One of my ex's is being annoying," Xander sighed. "That's her default setting though." He grinned at the kid who interrupted his searching, giving her a hug. "Let me search her out."
"Her?" Steve McGarret asked. "She sure looks male."
"Trannie," Xander said. "Going to female." Steve huffed. "Introduce yourselves, people. We all know I only pretend to have manners. Kitchen's that way, Steve." He pointed and went back to typing around Suzette. Who was very helpful. She pointed out a link he had missed, it was misspelled.
"Hi, Steve Rogers," he said, holding out a hand.
"Commander Steve McGarret, US SEAL, sir. It's an honor," he said, shaking his hand. "On vacation?" Steve nodded. "We'll try to keep some of the bad things down then." He grinned. "I try really hard."
"Steve got bumped to the local major crimes task force thingy," Xander said as he worked. "To get the guy that killed his dad. Who was a former cop too." Steve nodded.
Suzette got free of Xander and came over to introduce herself. "Hi, I'm Suzette."
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Suzette. My partner has a daughter about your age." She grinned. "I'll see if she wants a new penpal. She doesn't get to see too many kids outside the classroom."
"That'd be nice. I have friends who could write her too."
Steve smiled. "That's always a great thing." He texted Danny, who sent back an answer and then a minute later an agreement with an address. He wrote it down for her. "Here, this is his daughter's address. She's got chicken pox this week."
"That sucks. It itches," she agreed. "Larissa had it last year and she was miserable for over a week."
"It is, I had it when I was six." She grinned. Xander handed over papers. "Can I bum?"
"She got me discounts on some of it. She'll know."
"Pity. Thanks. It's a pleasure meeting you both, sir and Suzette." He shook their hands again and left.
"And you'd better be taking care of the egg babies you kept," Xander called after him.
"I am," McGarret called back.
Xander relaxed, grimacing. "I'm not sure if they're doing it on purpose or not."
"They might be searching for attention," Bucky said. He sat down. Suzette climbed into his lap to hug him again. "I'm not really cuddly, Suzette."
"Bullshit. Daddy said you used to help him by cuddling him when he got sick from being too cold."
"Language," Steve said dryly. "I'm going to break you of that habit yet."
She shrugged and cuddled in again. "I'm trying to be good. Uncle Bucky is just too pretty and he's inspiring bad girl thoughts. All the big slayers said so." Bucky groaned, looking at Xander.
"We carefully ignore anything but photoshopping and sneaking into showers to get pictures. The girls are going to crush on someone and we're around them all the time so it's usually us first and then other boys. Well, boybands usually come first. Then us, then real guys they can flirt with."
Steve sat down. "I'm sure Tony would say the same thing."
"He might enjoy it," Bucky complained. Suzette laughed. "You two can take my room while you're here."
"We've got rooms at a bed and breakfast up the street a bit," Steve said, handing that reservation sheet over.
"That's about two miles away," Bucky agreed. "We can get you there and then back here once you're settled in." Suzette cooed at him. He looked down, finding her asleep. "I didn't know I had that sort of magical gift," he said quietly.
"We gave her something on the plane ride so she could sleep," Steve said quietly, taking her back. "It's a long flight from New York."
Bucky nodded. "It probably is. I don't think I've flown it the regular way." Xander grinned at him. "Probably about as long as you going to Africa."
"Just under eleven hours to get here with the time changes," Steve said, looking at Xander.
"Twenty hours with two layovers," he said. "No direct flights from Cleveland and one flight was delayed due to a ramp problem. They estimated just over nineteen hours. The travel site nicely had a warning that said 'arrives the next day'. After that, we set up portals and had magical emergency stuff."
"Were you at least not in economy class smashed in like sardines?" Steve asked.
Xander shook his head. "Giles wouldn't spring for the upgrade. He thought business class was economy and it'd be fine. As he put it, he was when he came over from England."
"That's probably about the same as New York to Hawaii," Bucky said. "At least you got to have a few times to get up and stretch your legs during layovers."
"Jogging to change gates," Xander joked with a grin. "Thankfully I brought stuff to snack and I could get drinks quickly from the fountains."
"I'm sore just thinking about that," Steve admitted. He looked down. "Let's get us checked in, Bucky, and then back here?"
"Sure." He got up and found the car keys, taking them to the bed and breakfast. He waited in the truck while they checked in and got stuff sorted. An officer knocked on his window so he rolled it down. "I'm just dropping off a few friends who flew in today."
"That's fine, sir. People were wondering since this truck isn't really what you'd expect to see here."
"She's seen service but she's a good truck." Steve and Suzette came out, her bouncing along in front of her father. "Thanks for checking, Officer." He started the car and rolled back up the window. Suzette climbed in first then Steve. He drove off. He just barely heard the officer go "fuck, that's Captain America" as they drove off. He knew Steve heard by the sigh. Bucky smirked at him. "They give you the princess bed instead of her?"
"She's got a trundle."
"That's cool. I remember those." Suzette hugged him around the chest under his arm. "You're a good girl but let go so I can drive." She did and turned on the radio, frowning at what came up. "It's his favorite station in Africa." He hit a button so it'd pick up local stations instead. She searched until she found modern music. Both adults let her. They had no idea how to tell her no about most anything not dangerous. He took them sightseeing after getting some gas. That way they could relax and so could Xander.
Late that night, Bucky got woken up by a noise. He listened and grimaced toward Xander's room. He hoped he was having some solitary fun but it sounded like two people panting. He got up to carefully check in there. Nope, two people and Xander unconscious. He grabbed one before they knew he was there and hurt them hard. The other tried to stab him with a needle but it didn't really do anything to his metal arm. They got knocked into a wall too. He sniffed. "Knockout gas. No wonder I slept through it." He called McGarret. No answer. He called Danny.
"It's Barnes. We have two people here who used knock out gas to hold Xander unconscious while trying to take his blood. No, they could use ambulances," he admitted. "No clue. Never seen them before. I don't think he's dated them. Please. I tried his first, no answer. Thanks, Danny." He hung up and went to open the front door. That shocked the bodyguard smoking on the porch. A backhanded punch and they fell down too. Bucky shook his head. "I'd expect minions to be tougher," he said when Danny got out of the car. "Found him when I opened the door."
"I got backup coming." He came up to look, sniffing. "What's that acidic smelling stuff?"
"We can take him to the ER." Bucky shook his head. "We should."
"He won't let himself be taken to an ER he doesn't know."
"Oh, one of those."
"He's paranoid for a good reason."
"Figures." McGarret jogged up the stairs. "You swimming this late?"
"I was skyping with Catherine." Danny nodded and sighed. He sniffed. "Cheap knockout gas. We can take Xander to the ER."
Bucky shook his head. "He'll fight and escape."
"Okay." He went in to look at him. "It looks like they ruined a few needles."
"He has protections up so he can't be bled while he's unconscious."
"What's in there?" Steve asked. "I'm sure you got it tested somehow." Bucky went to get the results to show him, making Steve grimace. "These his ex?"
"Not that I'm aware of."
"So someone told." He handed them back. "I never saw those."
"Me either." He put them back and resealed the safe then came out to look at the paramedics. "Wow, I didn't know that two evil fucks were paramedics. I thought you just hung out on boats in the Riviera." Bucky would ignore that he had just sounded like Tony Stark mocking someone. One flinched. "So why are you here?"
"The old president asked a Mr. Finn what happened to Mr. Harris' blood. He admitted he had fallen into an old tomb back in Sunnydale over one thanksgiving and got sick from the ghosts. Then the former president told a few people. They're not his ex's," he told McGarret with a smile. "But I am. Boys, deliver my courting present to Xander and then help the locals remove these dorks. We like McGarret. He's like a fully trained yet slightly saner Xander." They did that and helped carry out the minions. He smiled at Bucky. "Would you like a list?"
"I would if he doesn't," McGarret said. "How many of you are here right now?"
"We're blatantly stalking him to make sure he's safe. Inana told us to and we don't want to piss her off. We're pretty sure she'll have us eaten and then tortured. We do not disappoint Inana. Even Xander doesn't disappoint Inana." Bucky nodded, but grimaced.
"What field is she in?" Danny demanded. "Arms, drugs? Bombs?"
"She's a former goddess on her realm. She ran here to escape the new religion that was trying to overthrow her. She's an eighteen-year-old goddess," one of the minions quipped with a grin. "Not traditionally pretty with her nose but she's apparently fantastic to Xander."
Bucky moaned, turning to thump his head on the wall. "Is she dangerous to the slayers?"
"No, she loves the slayers. She was the patron goddess of girls like Amazons on her home realm. A mean male god tried to take over," the head bad guy said with a smile. "So she's recovering until she can go home and overthrow him back."
"Better than Alara at least," Bucky quipped. All the bad guys shuddered. "She wants Xander to be her general. He said me and Steve could go so he had someone to sip beers with."
The bad guy patted him on the shoulder. "We heard Dawn complaining about the higher powers' plot. She was cackling because she talked to Inana. Inana wouldn't *mind* much but then again she might remind you of Darcy Lewis anyway. Except the nose." He leaned down to kiss Xander, making him scowl at him. "Someone broke in and knocked you out to try to take blood, precious."
"Why are you in a uniform?" he mumbled.
"I'm helping remove the problems." He smiled. "I told Bucky about Inana." Xander grunted. "No, stay down. They had knockout gas." He went limp but nodded, mouth flopping open. "Aww, they gave you goofy drugs with it. It's okay, you can sleep it off. A few of us are on vacation and we're going to watch over you. Okay?" Xander shook his head with wide swings. "I'm sorry but tough." He took another kiss and winked. "Inana really liked Darcy Lewis. Dawn told her. She's not happy that they're trying to force things but she does like Miss Lewis a lot. Said she reminded her of her." Xander moaned. "You rest, precious." He winked and strolled off. "Boys, are they sorry?"
"Yes, sir," one of his minions reported, pointing at the other bad guy that had shown up. "He's asking one of them who hired them."
"Aww. Thank you, Peter."
He grinned. "Welcome. Xander and Bucky?"
"Knockout gas with some goofy drugs." Peter went in there to get a kiss, making sure not to get any blood on Xander, then went back to his questioning.
"They're supposed to be in custody," Danny called after him.
"The officer is ours too," Peter quipped. "Thanks, Thomas."
"Welcome. Let me know if I can help more." They faded into the night, delivering the victims to the ER.
Peter finished up his questioning when McGarret came out. "Long time no see," he quipped with a grin. "Are you seeing Xander right now?"
"No, I'm still dating Catherine casually. Boys like Xander need long-term care, not something quick. When did you turn?"
"When the CIA told me to." He smirked at Danny. "Detective Williams, I've heard some about you on the SEAL bulletin board. Thanks for trying to make him sane. He doesn't do it very well on his own."
"I try but sometimes it's a full time job. You're a SEAL?"
"I am. I got recruited by the CIA."
"So this is official stuff?" Danny demanded, pointing at the person.
"Yup. The new head of my section is one of Xander's ex's." He smiled. "He's very worried about Xander but is quite happy that Inana's protecting him too."
"We just heard about her."
"Feel lucky she usually stays in Turkey. She's a bit...distracting. Like a chaos mage is a bit troublesome at times but a bit distracting." He smiled and handed over his victim. "Here, he wants to tell you who hired him."
"Thanks. Go home?"
"I'm on vacation."
"We heard," Danny said.
"It's my assignment, guys. I can't say no to the boss or I don't get paid." He smiled and left after a salute at Bucky, who tossed him some baby wipes. "Thanks, Barnes." He walked off happier.
Danny looked at Steve, who was shaking his head. "We'll talk later. Bucky, you got it?"
"Yeah, I got it. It's about time for my alarm to go off anyway so I can go for my morning run." Steve grinned, leaving with the torture victim and his partner. Bucky settled on the porch, calming down. He looked up. "I'm kinda glad you didn't give Steve girlfriends like that but they suit Xander better. Just make 'em nicer? Please?" He heard Xander moving. "Go back to bed. I've got it, Xander."
"I'm fine." He came out to collapse into his chair. "I'd like nicer ones too."
"Hyena senses up?" Xander nodded, sipping the coffee he had stopped to get. "We'll figure it out. Peter was here."
"Aww." He took another drink and put the cup down on the table beside him. He slowly fell asleep so Bucky took the coffee so it wouldn't go to waste. When his alarm went off he went to turn it off and came back out. The neighborhood stray dog and cat were both on Xander's lap again. He took a picture for the slayers. They'd enjoy that. Bucky got to look up the list of Xander's ex's and lovers. Starting with Inana so he could spot her when she showed up. She had a nice file thanks to Turkish Intelligence who hated she was a goddess from another realm. Especially that she walked around in flimsy clothes that looked like something a partying Greek would wear. And yeah, that nose had to come from something else. It was human shaped but put Cyrano to shame. She was really pretty otherwise.
Bucky handed Steve a folded set of papers before handing Suzette a jump rope. She squealed and looked it over, taking it figure out. It wasn't like hers at home. It was thicker and didn't have plastic handles.
Steve looked at the list with pictures. "His dates?"
"His ex's." He pointed. "Harmless goddess from another realm. She was over their amazons. That's Inana."
"Huh. I'll have to see if Natasha knows her."
"I emailed those to her." Suzette came to look. "Some of Xander's former lovers have shown up recently. This way your dad knows in case they like him too."
She kissed her father on the cheek. "They'd better be at least as nice as Darcy is." She went back to jumping rope. She spotted one and tipped her head, then smiled and waved. "Uncle Xander's at home," she called.
"I'm watching over you guys just in case, Suzette." Steve stood up to look at him. "Most of us are huge fans of yours, Captain, and we'd never let anything happen to your baby girl." He grinned at him. "Even the HYDRA douchebags won't be back anytime soon. They decided to go play with the local mermaid colony." Steve shuddered but sat down. The former boyfriend strolled off once he had his shaved ice. He could watch from father away. He saw Bucky staring and went farther away. Bucky was the only person who was as protective as Xander was so he didn't worry about them.
"Want to go see the ship and the Pearl Harbor memorial?" Bucky asked. "I almost went before but I couldn't."
Steve nodded. "We can do that tomorrow. Today, let's just relax. There's a pig roast thing on the beach tonight we bought tickets for. There's an extra one for you." Bucky smiled and nodded. "Fire dancers and all sorts of stuff they said."
"That'll be nice." Suzette pounced him. "You're so silly."
"Yes I am," she quipped, hugging him around the chest. "I'm silly like Daddy was."
"Hopefully you get in less fights than your dad did. He was always getting into fights."
She laughed. "He scowls at me for that." Steve nodded.
"It's a dad thing," Bucky said dryly.
She grinned and climbed into her father's lap to hug him. "We should've brought Larissa."
"She couldn't come. Her mother wouldn't let her. You know that because you asked before talking to me about it."
"Uh-huh." He hugged her. "Go play?"
"There's nothing to play with." He pointed at the playground. "That's baby stuff."
"It's not baby stuff," Bucky said. "There's ways to use the equipment so you're doing it for bigger kid things." She sighed but went to play on the play equipment. Bucky looked at Steve.
"She's used to playing on the training equipment in the gym," he admitted. "Especially the climbing stuff Clint and I use."
Bucky nodded. "I remember seeing it and seeing her walking the tightrope part." Steve nodded. They heard her yelp then burst out crying, going to see how badly injured she was. "We can go get that treated." He let Steve pick her up and got the jump rope and her sandals she had kicked off. They went to the ER and the nurse got Suzette to smile and quit crying for a few minutes while they talked. Thankfully it wasn't a busy day today. She got her cast for her ankle fairly quickly after the x-rays were done. Then they went back to Xander's so he could fuss over her. He was good at that.
Congrats On Getting Home.