Alex came in from taking the kids to school but he wasn't looking pleased. Xander lifted his head to stare at his twin. "Huge problems?" he asked.
"Why are we suddenly the wanted one to take over for idiots like warlords?" he demanded.
Clay burst out laughing. "What?" he demanded from the living room, coming out to the doorway.
"Just now. A minion just stopped me to ask me what I wanted them to do now." Alex flung his hands up. "I asked him why he was asking me and he said we were the victors and that meant we got spoils. Max lived on that theory." Xander groaned, shaking his head before thumping it on the kitchen island's granite top. "Yeah! Exactly! Just like in Dumara!" He stomped off to their office. "I'm going to do range time," he called.
"Vault check," Clay reminded him sarcastically.
Xander lifted his head to look at him. "It's not like I can't do that. I did tinker at least half of them into being, Clay." He thumped his head a few more times. "Let me call the handler we deal with so he knows. That way we can figure out what we want to dismantle and what we want to handle for them." He found the phone and called. "Is Senior Agent Barrings in please? Xander Harris. Tell him it's happening again thanks to the one we just helped take out. I know the last one turned it over to him, ma'am.
"Do I care?" he asked dryly. "Well, the other option is that we take over for another warlord only we do it on purpose this time," he said sarcastically. "Then hand me to SSA Henders! I don't have the patience for this." She hung up on him. "Sure, we'll figure it out on our own." He went to write an email in the office, finding one from a minion asking him the same question they had asked Alex. Though it was written to Alex.
He got up and went outside, looking up the street. "Hey, Minion Number 2? There's two of us, not just Alex." The guy gaped. "I'm Xander, he's Alex. You can tell us apart by the eyepatch I have. Got it?" The minion nodded slowly. "Bring us all the shit that Max was handling so we can see where we're turning some things in, because if the slayers need a snuke, we're all dead. Do it by tonight."
"Yes, sir," he said, calling that in as he walked off. He paused and winced as he turned. "This one wants to know what happened to Wade?"
"I wouldn't let the vampire turn him," Xander said dryly, staring at him. "Why do I want another psychotic vampire to want my tight ass?"
"Point. Thank you, sir." He hurried off.
Xander looked at the staring officer. "I tried to refer it to the agent that helped us get out of the one we accidentally took over to make sure it didn't cause more problems for the locals. They hung up. Homeland apparently is not caring any longer." He opened the gate. "Here for the vault check?"
"No," the officers said together.
"We wanted to know who you two think you are," one said.
Xander smiled. "I'm Xander Harris. I'm the guy that backed up the slayer Buffy in Sunnydale, guys. Me and my twin. When it fell in, we went to grieve and train slayers to handle their duties in Africa for six years. We're their problem solvers and handling it experts you might say," he finished dryly. "So now we're your city's handling it team."
The other one winced. "We'd like them to leave."
"They'd probably feel the same since a few of their clans have been here since only Native Americans were here," Xander said blandly. "There's a few species on the west coast that predate even them." The officers grimaced. "Sorry, but we only deal with the unpeaceful things. The ones hunting and outing the community. We don't care about the kitten poker circuit except for them being great sources of information sometimes. We don't care about the demonic mafia unless they cause problems. They actually stepped in to take over a problem just outside the city so nothing had to fight about it." He shrugged.
"Frankly, you guys can't be as bad as the priests who saw white guys, one with just one eye, and decided we were evil because we *must* be when we train women to handle themselves," he finished sarcastically. "You guys aren't going to be worse than the battles when we had to ask terrorist organizations to step in and help save their own butts. Or the pirates that thought we might be able to be ransomed. Sorry, but we do try to keep it more quiet. Until psychos come for us. Is there anything else I can do for you two today?" He nodded at the other officer stomping his way. "Which one are you?"
"I'm here to look at your vault, kid."
Xander scowled. "We're twenty-eight. We haven't been kids since we had to handle a huge battle at sixteen with one bouncy former cheerleader and a hyper brainy geek who would later be a witch."
"That sucks," the new officer agreed. He looked at them. "You two?"
"We don't like their job," one said.
Xander shrugged. "Then jump the fuck in and back the slayers up for us, guys. They'd like more backup that was kinda sane now and then." He let the one officer in. "If not, have a nice day." He followed the other one. "My twin is presently in our range in the basement blowing off steam. One of Max's minions came up to us to ask us what they should do now." He slammed the front door. One of the women shouted something at him. "Oh, stop it," he called back. "It's fine and I paid for the door." Roque laughed.
One of the other women scowled at Roque. "Men do not slam their wive's things around," she said.
"Wouldn't know. Only Pooch is married," he said with a smirk.
Her eyes lit up. "A man of your power and age is not married?"
Clay walked off grinning and Pooch followed. "He's not married yet but he's on the road as a warrior all too often, ladies. Right now he's just for fun."
"Bah! That is for boys, not men," that woman said, smiling at him. Roque had never been called a stupid man so he was carefully backing away from them. The women said something in their native language and laughed so he nearly ran away. He wasn't scared of much but ring-hungry native women? Yup, he'd do better than Kenyan in a marathon.
Xander came out to look at them. "Only Clay can sell Roque or any of his team into marriage. He's the patriarch of the team," he told them in their native language. "Though, they're always on the road going to fight something."
One woman shrugged. "Means less stress at home while we raise the children." She walked off humming a happy tune to do laundry. Xander walked her over to the laundry center, showing her how to set the machine to wash things and then dry them. "I have heard of such but never seen them." Xander grinned, going back to the vault. She called out to the others so they could come wash laundry with her. This was much easier than using a washboard and tub.
Xander walked into the police precinct and saw the stares. "Finishing up stuff from the psycho guy, people. Relax. I don't usually show up in bad ways unless you ask me to." They grimaced but let him upstairs. He grinned at his new detective friend. "Two big, huge things that came to light about the Max stuff," he said as he sat in his interview chair. "One, the minions are now wanting us to take over so we can give them orders." The detective moaned, shaking his head while drinking some of his coffee.
Xander nicely waited until the poor guy swallowed. "Secondly, the Canadians got one snuke, there's four more in existence." The detective choked, shaking his head. "When we tried to talk to our Homeland contact about that, some bitch hung up on us and said that wasn't their job." He grinned. "Is it your job or our job? Because we'd end up in the same situation we were in when we had to take over for a warlord for a while and needed an exit strategy."
Detective Kowalski finished choking, flapping a hand. "Where?" he gasped.
Xander paused for him to find his breath again, nodding at the lieutenant that came to his doorway. He looked at Kowalski again. "At their local storage area, on the way to LA. I can call Clay's team. They're sitting in the living room trying to ignore that our protectees are flirting with them." He sighed, staring at him. "I don't want to be a warlord anymore. That's why we had Homeland guys show up to help us out of there when we had to take over to take things out. It's just not us. We're not that mean unless you're a dirtbag flirting with us or trying to harm the slayers. Alex and I are both hoping we don't have to turn it over to the slayers in case they need it for something huge. Buffy and the girls like weapons but hate them a whole lot. Weapons are like mean cats to them for some reason."
Kowalski moaned, shaking his head. "Hell no! We want 'em, right, Lieu?"
"Definitely. Thank you for being reasonable, Mr. Harris."
Xander grinned. "I'm not but better you guys trying to disarm the sonic nuclear devices than me. I'm not even sure if Max had the proper plans for them so they could be disarmed. We know he tested one on an island sometime. We know that the guys he got them off of are now dead. Clay found that out from some stuff that Wade had. We know they're here now on their way to LA. Max was supposed to travel out with them and no one countermanded that order."
"We'd adore going to gather them with you," the lieutenant said with a smile. "Even without the commandos helping. Now?"
"We probably should in case one of the minions decides to be smart and try to take them." Kowalski called someone as he pulled out his gun and put it on. Xander grinned at him. "I can drive."
"Bull," Kowalski said. He walked out. "Follow, kid."
"I'm twenty-eight! I'm not a child! Children do not have to face down hell goddesses and I've faced down six now. Please, some props where they're due."
Kowalski stared at him for a moment. "I think you're nuts for still doing that."
"Don't see anyone else doing it," he said, staring back at him. "Hell, I had to help get terrorists to a few fights because they thought it wasn't their job too. Then they hate us for handling it. Make up your minds," he said, walking past him. "Can't have it both ways. We could all retire to a nice beach community somewhere ya know. So I'm driving, right?"
"No!" He followed, mumbling under his breath. The kid had a point. Someone had to do it and then everyone hated that they did.
Alex waved at them and smirked at his twin. "They were going to move them and did move two. The other two were in here when I looked in a few minutes ago." He looked in then at them. "And one's leaking. They're both heaving from something."
"Not going in there. Got enough radiation from the old hellmouth," Xander quipped. "Where and which minion?"
"The one that asked me for orders and probably toward the west since that's where the radiation sensor I have on my watch says." Xander looked then took the watch and took off jogging with a few officers behind him. Alex grinned at the staring one. "They probably need an ambulance, guys." They nodded, calling that in. SWAT team members with radiation uniforms showed up to gather those two. "We have not found full plans," he warned. "We've found half-plans but they're more casing than trigger or radiation sources. It's supposed to be a sonic nuclear device. Not sure if that makes a difference or not. I've never seen those and the guys that made them are dead thanks to Wade."
"Great," one of them said. "You're really close to that device without a suit."
Alex smiled. "We sucked up a whole lot of radiation from the former hellmouth in Sunnydale. We were so bad with it, we got to come down off it after the battle out there sank the town. We spent a week with post-radiation sickness." One of the officers out by the cars shuddered. "So I'm still a bit glowy with inter-spacial radiation. I'm pretty sure since I don't want kids I'm going to be okay out here." They shrugged and figured out how to use the plans they did have.
A jeep pulled up and Jensen hurried over. "Guys, full plans. I hacked the people who made them." He handed them to Alex, who handed them in. "There's only two." Alex pointed. "Can you do the twin telepathy thing?"
"Nope. Sorry." He looked back. "Xan, we have plans!" he bellowed.
"Greatness! Mine aren't leaking, just not in the right cases." They came back carrying them. SWAT guys took them to take radiation readings off of first then stored them in the truck. "The minions who are glowy?" he asked.
"Hospital," one of the waiting officers said. "How many other things does that psycho guy have here?"
The twins shrugged. "This one has some minor bit of cash," Alex said.
"They were heading for a waiting car, not another storage container," Xander added. The officer sighed but nodded.
"There's at least a few mil in here, boys," one of the SWAT people said, coming out with the carefully enclosed bomb cores. "Which we're confiscating. Don't get your hopes up."
Xander shrugged. "That's fine. We hardly ever benefit from psychos wanting us."
Alex nodded. "Too true, even if I do tend to lift their wallets for cab fare usually."
Xander grinned at him. "I figure it's paying us for the time we wasted while they had us as pretty hostages."
"That makes sense to me too," Alex quipped with a grin back.
"This happens to you two a lot?" Kowalski asked.
"Only bad guys love us," Xander said with a shrug and a grin. "Max was just way outside our usual ballpark of murderers."
"Though I think our former fiancee Anya might've *loved* to play with him. She was a vengeance demon for over a millennia before she got rehumaned when she lost her job." Alex smiled. "We kinda miss our nympho, money grubbing love bunny."
"You two start to date again, let us know so we can make sure they're not real winners like this one, okay?" Kowalski said as he walked off.
"Sure, but we've handed over both love notes we've gotten recently," Xander quipped.
Jensen looked at him. "Clay had a talk with them about being unworthy, Xander. That's why one held up a jewelry store to prove he was more worthy of you." He hugged them both. "Maybe we'll find you guys a nice soldier. Okay?" He walked off. "Need more of my help, guys?"
"Take the twins with you," one of the SWAT guys called from inside the container.
"Okay." They walked off together. Pooch had taken the car away from the scene once Jensen was there. They went to look for other Max storage cubes. They found a few too. Mostly they had things that would start wars so they handed most of it over. The last two had money and by then the officers had demanded them to go home and not find anything else bad so they took them with them. They had a nice yard to hold the storage containers for now. Plus the last of their stuff from their storage areas in Africa was now up so they had to get it delivered anyway. If the officers wanted that money back, they could come ask them for it. Maybe Clay had an idea to handle the minions for them. Clay could probably use semi-smart minions to spare Jensen.
Alex opened the door, smiling at the man on the other side. "I got told I need to take up golf. That it fits me better since it's a semi-violent game and it'd be better since we're back in the US maybe for good."
"I can help you learn that. You do know how to modulate your swing with various implements. Can we come in, Alex?"
"The protectees are in the kitchen. Let's go to the office? Then maybe you can talk to us about how to deal with the minion thing we accidentally got again?" He let them inside without an invitation.
"I heard. It's so amusing what you two get up to." He took off his hat and nodded at the ladies staring at them. "Ladies." One scowled. "I'm here to pick their brains, not make them handle things," he told them. "This is my temporary workmate."
Alex grinned. "We've heard." He led them back to the office with a pause for bottles of water. "Here you go." He handed them over then flopped behind the desk. "Xander's with the kids at school. They have standardized testing stuff today and they might need better translators. Plus the social worker is coming by there to check up on them."
"It's good you made sure they'd be protected." He opened his water to take a sip. "We are in possession of some very old language samples we cannot figure out."
"We're not the greatest but I can definitely tell you if someone I know knows it." He handed them over. Alex read them over, nodding. "It's definitely older middle eastern, about the same time as Aramaic." He looked up. "I know a few words here and there from things we've seen around. I'm seeing a body part list. I'm seeing a proper demon name." He pointed at that. "So I'm guessing it's a sacrificial ritual." He looked up again after checking the second page.
"Definitely one with that diagram. It looks like it's to the hell god we fought in Sumatra." The guy smiled and nodded. "The only two people I know who read this are Wes's former flatmate, he introduced us because the guy made it to LA but not Sunnydale before the battle out there. And one of the research watchers does. I can ask Giles if he can take a look at it for you. I'm not totally sure where Wes's flatmate is but I'm pretty sure Connor knows since he's still supposedly in LA."
"The research watcher is better?" the woman asked.
"Not necessarily and he's one of the last old liners that's still got the rod up his ass about how things should be. Giles had a heart attack one night and one of the old liners tried to take back over and change things back. Two slayers had to fight off manslaughter charges and then the slayer spirit breaking because they shot him. Four times each." The guy shook his head but still smiled. "They're young. The judge agreed he didn't want to see that either and if it should happen then he'd make sure the government or someone took us over.
"Willow called everyone, including us, to talk about things. I told the judge before the army took over, since we had that problem with them, that I'd come back and take over and I'd clean up my own mess by using the demon bar. Willow hung up on us but the judge called us back to talk about why." He smiled. "He agreed not to order the army to come."
"Yet you have five commandos lounging around," he said.
"Yeah, they're buddies and Max had targeted them. We trust them. They're also Delta, not Rangers. The other idiots were Rangers." That got a nod of understanding. "Beyond that," he said with a smile at the FBI agent. "We've heard, ma'am. A lot. Our contacts are still giddy that we're following in his footsteps without meaning to. That's how we ended up with minions again." He sighed, looking at the mentor they could really use. "Homeland thinks we don't need someone to help us with this."
"Uh-huh, they often underestimate you two. What has Chicago done with his weapons?"
"Confiscated what they could and wanted to. Including the snukes thankfully. We got praised for getting the minions medical help and letting them leave our service peacefully since they were so weak as to get radiation poisoning." He shrugged. "Do you have any idea?"
"Merge them with another one for a good fee?" he suggested, crossing his feet. "They might like that instead of you sending them to help the slayers do things."
"I've thought about that. A few got really freaked out by vampires. Especially since vampires nearly made Wade one. Thankfully, he stopped that." He shook his head quickly. "I think my evil twin decided to tell the vamp master wannabe that he'd tell Buffy he was made for her."
"That's still weird," the guy said. Then he sighed. "I know someone who could use some good minions and they're respectful of the slayers."
"Please? I feel weird with minions."
"So did I at first but they are rather helpful."
Alex laughed. "We've been dating." He grinned and dialed the number. "Willow, Alex. I have someone here to needs an old ritual found on a crime scene translated. Because they're scared of you, Willow, that's why. That and I worked with him on a problem in Africa that led to us going to a few other problems, like in Sumatra. No, he needs that tweed vest wearing one to translate it. Yeah him. Thanks. Can I send them tonight? Even better. Yup, here in my office. Thanks." He hung up. "You are in luck, he's temping up the road at U of I Urbana." He grinned. "But she'll warn him you're coming."
"That'll work very well. Thank you. I'll call my contact later."
"Thanks. They tried to protect us so we wouldn't get soiled by our dates and offered to find us nice bimbos instead for stress relief."
He laughed. "Yeah, I can see that happening and them turning into stalkers like your last one." He shook his hand. "Try to be good. I know you're retired."
Alex smirked a tiny bit. "They wanted us to formally figure out how we had to tinker things into being all over for battles down there. And now they're not giving us oversight."
"There are clueless agents out there," he agreed with a smirk back. "We can hit that college within an hour or so, Lizzy."
"Thank you, sir."
"I'm Alex." He handed over one of his cards. "Let us know if you need more help. We like Red. He's given us good advice before."
"That's great of him. You're Council?"
"Adjunct now. We're the problem solvers in this area now that we're back from Africa."
"Ah. That makes more sense." She followed her information source/tormentor out to the car, getting in to drive. "How do you know them?" She started the car and drove off.
"They're nice young men who handle things as they come up. They had to handle things suddenly where I was doing something so we ran into each other. At odds with each other over weapons but then I saw why and I'm not going to be mad that they knocked us all out with some strange demon by-product gas to get weapons so the world would continue. I have too much left to do to worry about such things." She shot him a look then shook her head as she pulled through a stoplight and moved on. "Besides, that contact had more than enough of what we needed to meet both our needs."
"They're nice but they only date very dangerous people. They nearly married a vengeance demon once."
She shuddered. "I'll see if we can put them on a watch list for that. Just in case."
"That one wannabe Caesar came after them to take them in. That's what happened to Max."
"I heard," she moaned. "I was glad he wasn't on our caseload."
"Exactly, though I was planning on having him stopped sooner instead of later." He smiled. "They let the demons that had claim on Max for something he had done handle them when they broke out. Max is now a shell of himself in jail." He shifted his jacket since he was sitting on it. "Max might try to pretend they're above him but they can give alibis for most of the events he caused. Including a few where one or the other had been taken hostage by people like pirates."
She glanced at him then shook her head again. "Wow."
"Yes, they are, but they're very nice young men. I can see a lot of a younger version of myself in them at times. Though I probably would not still be with the slayers."
"We barely know anything about them."
"Which makes them much more exciting. Though, the official line about them is that they're 'helpers' and normal."
She winced. "Great. Are they proving them wrong?"
"Every single time they have to," he agreed smugly. "Some day, those two will maybe become me and I think that'll be a nice day." He tipped his hat down. "Highway."
Xander waved at the social worker that was signing in then waved at the kids he was herding to lunch, getting a nod. Xander grinned as he walked past her. "Just saw an agent," he muttered as he walked past her. "The kids aren't being bullied but they're getting a lot of stares." She nodded once, smiling as she went to meet her protectees. Xander walked outside, staring at the agent who dragged him off. "We tried to call you. We emailed you. Your coworker thought we didn't need your help any longer."
"I heard you two were gathering minions?"
"No, we had to defeat Max. His minions are looking at us like we're taking over," he said quietly, smiling at the kids walking past them. He looked at the agent again. "We tried to talk to you before all this went down."
"Crap. Who answered?"
"Some snotty cow. Didn't give her name when she answered." The agent grimaced. "We went to the locals to help us with the remaining snukes. We've talked to a few of the minions about why they think we're great suddenly. Apparently we won."
The agent sighed but nodded. "I know you two don't want to handle this."
"Red was nice enough to help give us ideas and one of the minions thanked us for getting the ones who got exposed to radiation to the hospital." Xander stared at him. "We don't know what to do beyond watching our protectees flirting with Roque."
"They're up here?"
"They're in the living room the last I knew."
"Interesting. I know some people were looking into why they were going to be used that way."
"They're good," Xander said bluntly. "Max was like that."
"Point. All right, we're going to talk to you and your twin this afternoon."
"I need to keep helping the kids. They're having tests today and tomorrow."
"That's fine. We can handle that," he agreed, staying calm. "I'll call Henders and he'll be able to figure out which agent answered the phone. We'll see you back at your place after school?"
"Pending a problem," he agreed. "Though I did promise the kids ice cream for doing good today." He grinned slightly.
"I find it makes testing easier to deal with," the agent agreed with a smile. "Go back to helping them. I'll go talk to your twin and that team." He walked off putting back on his sunglasses.
Xander went back inside, smiling at the principal. "He helped us get out of Africa when we accidentally took over for a warlord," he said quietly, making her shudder. "Which is why we're protecting certain people," he finished with a grin. "Let me go help with lunch."
"She has them eating in a separate room so they can talk. She told me to delay you. She's got the translator on the phone in case they don't understand."
"Sure. I can do that." He shrugged but smiled. "I promised them ice cream if they did good today and more tomorrow."
"That's sweet and a lot of parents do." She walked off considering that. She had thought the twins goofy but apparently they were fairly strong.
Clay was closest so he answered the knock on the door, staring at the officer with the case. "Alex?" he called. He stared over his shoulder at the agent. "Why are your sort here?"
"I'm here to talk to them and you, Colonel. Officer, step inside. It's chilly out here. DC was at least twenty degrees warmer when I got dressed this morning." The officer glared so he pulled out his ID to flash it. The officer stepped in.
Alex came out of the back to gather the case with a smile. "Thank you for bringing the babies back, Officer."
"Son, are you under watch?"
Alex pointed at the agent. "He's supposed to be doing it. Unfortunately during the Max thing some cow at the agency thought we didn't need help."
The officer stared at him. "Is that one fixed?"
"When I find out who it was," he promised with a smile. "We like the twins and they tend to handle anything that goes on around them. It's just things like warlords and minions they need help with." The officer sighed and walked off shaking his head. Alex smiled and waved as he left then closed the door. "Go put that up while I talk to the team."
"Roque's out back with Cougar checking the back fence to get away from husband hunting," Alex quipped.
Jensen opened the back door. "Guys, we have Homeland here to talk to us," he called in Spanish. Cougar hopped out of a tree, making the women sigh at his graceful landing. Roque walked far around them and the little kids to get into the house. Jensen grinned at the agent. "They pinch."
"Sometimes women do and you'd probably be the best thing that ever happened to them with their past history." The agent looked at them. "I'm Senior Agent Barrings, Homeland, boys. Let's talk about what's going on while I call someone. There's been some chatter about your team and wondering why someone like Max wanted your people."
"We're good, we're effective, and we can do what's needed," Clay said bluntly. "It was too much good for his world view."
"It figures," Agent Barring said. He sat down and called his boss. "Agent Henders, it's Barrings. I'm with one of the Harris twins. We've been fed BS, sir." He listened. "Well, first, Max did come back, they did defeat him with help of the CPD and the team that Max had been going to use. They're presently camping with the twins. Alex has said that Max's people are now looking to them for help and ideas, which is apparently freaking them out some. Yes, sir. Here, the colonel. Clay?" He handed over his phone and sat back, looking at the others. "Corporal, how many dirty agents did Max have?"
"Tons," he said with a smile, pulling up the list on his netbook. He handed it over. "So many dirty."
"Someone's erasing it?" he said, looking at it.
"They're taking out minions to get a better position we think. No one's sure," Jensen said with a shrug. "There's at least another hundred on that list."
"It just reloaded itself and two more are crossed out?" Agent Barrings said, letting him see it.
"Yeah, that's whoever's trying to get a better seat we think," Clay said then went back to the phone. "No, sir, it was not. We were not even aware that he had targeted us until one of the twins showed up to warn us. Then we extricated ourselves and came up to stop the shit before it got piled too high around us. I have talked to my superiors in the Army and in CID, sir. They both said they're investigating how we got messed into it. They also think he picked us because we're just that good and he didn't want us to come after him. We were warned not to come back to base until someone cleaned up the dirty ones." He listened. "Exactly. Yes, that is. Jensen, is that CID officer on that list?"
"Her boss is." Jensen gave him an evil smirk. "I sent her the list of dirty agents and she immediately started with her boss and kept going."
"Good." Clay told the senior officer that and listened, nodding some. "Exactly, sir. No, we're camping with some friends of Jensen's for a few days. They could use some help anyway getting the minions to leave them alone. Yep, them," he agreed sarcastically. "They think they won so they're taking over. Yes, probably the same reason they had to be rescued from Dumara, sir." He smirked at the twin in residence, who shrugged but grinned back. "Thank you, sir. Of course we can work with them. The twins do things like my team would, sir. It's like watching a more wild version of a young Jensen and Cougar at times," he said blandly. The agent clearly laughed. "Yes, sir, your agent." He handed the phone back.
"Barrings," he said in greeting. He listened. "I can call them to check, sir, but I'm quite sure that we were late on the ball. They did try to call in. Some agent they described as a cow said that they didn't need our oversight anymore, sir. They refused to call me."
"Or him," Alex said.
"Or you, sir. They asked for both of us. Just a female."
"Answering the number you gave me," Alex added.
"Answering my desk phone. Which day?" Alex called it up on his phone's call log to show him. "It may have been my ex-wife, sir. It was that day and just before lunch. Thank you for checking for me. Which people did you work with here, Alex?"
"The same detective and some of his SWAT guys."
"The same detective I steered him toward, sir." He listened. "Alex, did you confiscate anything of Max's?"
"The locals got the snukes," Jensen said. "We made sure they got the last four and I found plans so they could disarm it. They confiscated all the money and things we found but they got tired and quit looking so we did get some money leftover that we found."
"Which, ya know, not all that important to us right now," Alex said, waving a hand in the air.
One of the women brought in cooled tea and glasses, smiling at the men. "Here, you need," she said in English. Then she looked Clay over before walking off.
Alex served tea and leaned back to sip his. "She's a really great cook, Clay."
"He's still got dozens of evil, crazy chicks to bed and get threatened by," Jensen said dryly. Clay swatted him. "Hey!"
"Shut up, Jensen." He got his glass of tea to sip. "They do this really nicely too."
Alex smiled and nodded. "We try to make them quit fussing over us."
"Women like them will fuss," Pooch said. "Jolene does the same thing." He got his own tea. "Are they calling us traitors anyway?"
Barrings hung up, shaking his head. "All but, but the one doing the loudest yelling is on that list. I sent it to him, Corporal." He handed the netbook back. "The head agent of our unit is not amused."
Alex grinned. "Red was when he showed up to get some translating help." He sipped his tea.
"Seriously? The one that went to the FBI?"
"Yup." He smiled. "I asked him to teach us to play golf since others suggested we learn."
"Yeah, you could use the calmer exercise. Plus learning the various clubs could probably help you some day."
"It's all trajectory."
"That too." He looked at Clay. "We're going to have to go to an independent investigator."
"Go NCIS," Alex said. "They have a hardass of the universe over there. Cynthia, one of the slayers, had to run to him for help with a problem that she found and couldn't stop on her own." He finished his tea and put the glass down. The same woman came out to remove it to a coaster and nagged him as she went back to the kitchen. "Sorry," he called, shaking his head a tiny bit.
"That's actually a really good idea." He called his boss. "We're going to ask someone at NCIS." He hung up and called there from a number in his phone. "It's Senior Agent Barrings from Homeland. I need to speak to Gibbs immediately about a case we need him to help us on." He waited for a few minutes, getting up with his tea to go out back. "Gibbs, Barrings with Homeland. We have a multiple level, multiple dirty agents and military people, mostly army, who were all into that evil warlord that was named Max.
"We need an independent investigator and you were suggested because you'd be able to find the bottom of the well of crap." He listened. "Right now, Chicago. Please. That's fine. I'm pretty sure if you say Max to your Mossad agent she's going to at least flinch. No, he's in jail. I'll have Senior Agent Henders come brief you on the way out, Gibbs. It's twisted, dark, and nasty. Down to sonic nuclear weapons that the CPD had to confiscate because someone in my office was an idiot. That's part of it, yup. Thanks.
"Get here and I'll meet you so we can go over things." He called his boss back. "Gibbs, sir. He'll do it. I said you'd brief him. Thank you. I'll meet him out here. Yes, sir." He hung up and went inside. "The boss said to ground yourselves to here, gentlemen. Just in case someone without sense got nasty. Gibbs is on his way in. Should be here by tonight. He has a Mossad agent on his team as well."
Alex nodded. "We can help protect him," he promised.
"Good." He looked at him. "Do you have the full file?"
"And more than you probably do," Jensen said with a grin.
"Plus ours," Alex agreed.
"Good! Just in case." He sat down to talk to them about what happened during the last incident and capture.
Alex held up the sign when the team's plane was debarking, getting a point and a nod by one. He nodded back and moved off to the side. Two younger men, one older guy, and one woman got out of the sealed section and came over to him. "Gibbs?" he asked.
"Me," one said.
"Alex Harris, sir." He shook his hand and handed over the folder at the same time. "Agent Barrings got sniped on his way into the station the detective we work with locally is in. He's still in surgery. Since the idiot came after us, we'll help protect your team. You guys can even bunk at our house if you want." He pointed. "Grab stuff. We've got an escort and a detective waiting on you."
"That's nice," Gibbs said sarcastically. "We got briefed on the plane over."
Alex smirked. "How far back did they go? Because we first met Max in our first year in Africa, five years ago. We told him no and apparently no one ever told him that before."
Gibbs nodded. "I've met guys like him before. Let us grab our go bags." The two younger men did that while he looked through this new folder. It had a lot more information. "Why didn't the other file have this?"
"The one who answered the phone said we didn't need Homeland's help," Alex said dryly. "That's why we have a liaison with the CPD." He waved a hand. "C'mon. We've got bulletproof rides waiting, people." He got them out to the rented special stretch SUV, getting into the front. Clay was in the back section to brief them better.
"Agent Gibbs, your reputation proceeds you, that's why we suggested you," Clay said. "The one driving is my guy Pooch. I'm Colonel Clay. We almost got our asses used as fodder."
"I've seen that part." They settled in to talk on the way back. When they got there, there was a Mountie, a detective, and a wolf playing with some kids. That had been in the first briefing. "Are they safe?" he asked the other twin.
Xander nodded. "Yeah, they know not to come here. I'll get very, very mad and things will suddenly look like an apocalypse. They don't want that." He smiled. "They have no idea what we can do but there's enough rumors that no one wants to test that boundary."
"And then I'd step in to be my usual evil self," Alex quipped, hugging his twin from behind. "We're good at it after six years of training slayers in Africa."
Gibbs shuddered. "I've heard rumors." The twins smiled and headed into the kitchen.
"Use our office, guys," Alex said. "It's blocked for anything like a listening device. Even a parabolic dish from outside can't hear in there."
"Good enough," one of the young guys said. "I'll debrief you two and the boss can find the deeper part of the well." He glanced at Gibbs, who nodded. "Hi, Agent Tony DiNozzo," he said in greeting with a smile for the ladies.
"We accidentally had to step in to take over for a warlord that died after taking one of us hostage," Alex said. "We're protecting them and their families from the high prices on their heads. They have people helping them from a former slave group and a local social worker watching over them."
"Excellent," Tony agreed, settling in to talk to the twins and the women. They had to get some deeper background information from these two to figure out where the well actually started.
Gibbs looked at his people that night. "Anything not point to the path we've been shown?"
They all shook their heads. Ziva rubbed her forehead. "I've run into the sides of the Council before but this new Council is not as organized but also not as brutal and bottom line as the old."
"I asked, the new head of the Council was the watcher for the active slayer in Sunnydale, before it fell in," Tony said. "The twins backed her up out there." Gibbs nodded once. "I did get to hear a lot of stories about their time in Africa, including how they met Max and walked off snorting in disgust was how Xander put it."
"Which is which?" McGee asked.
"Xander has the eyepatch," Tony said. "He'll be in and out helping the kids. They're having standardized tests and need some extra translating help." That got a nod from everyone.
"They've done good protecting them," Gibbs said. "Plus getting them used to normal things. Even if Roque is hiding from them." He sipped his coffee and looked at them. "Any other notes to be made?"
"We saw a strike team van earlier," Ziva said. "I went to ask them what they were doing. They're SWAT and watching the house in case someone else gets attacked. Also, the minions that are still around are watching the house. Whoever attacked Agent Barrings wasn't one of them."
"It was one of the dirty ones," Tony agreed. "Alex got told that while we were talking and sent in a note to you, boss."
"I got it," he said. "It looks like someone's trying to cover things up before they get found."
"That would explain so many of the ones that were dirty going down so fast," Tony said. "How many are they down now?"
"Nineteen as of earlier," McGee said. "I helped Jensen look over the information he found. Max was seriously nasty in multiple fields." He looked at Gibbs again. "He had that team so set up they would go down as traitors even though they died."
"I think we can find the well at least," Gibbs said. "Finding the bottom may be dangerous." He looked at them.
Tony shrugged. "Is it going to be more messy than finding a president's drug habit, Gibbs? Really?"
"I hope not," Ziva said. "But I fear it's going to be so."
"Someone's gotta do it and it looks like there's so many dirty people it'll only get more twisted if we don't," McGee said.
Gibbs nodded. "Good. Let me call the director."
"The twins have a video conferencing system that their hacker at the Council put in."
"Even better." He went down to the office, nodding at the twins in there. "You have video conferencing?"
"We have more than that," Xander said with a grin. "We have a whole batcave in the basement, Gibbs. We've been using it to talk to Barrings about the designs he wants us to focus on first." He got up to lead him down there. "Fax machine, computer hook up, camera," he said with a point at them. "Holo screen behind the camera." That got a nod and Xander turned it on for him then left him to put in the number and make the actual call. McGee came down to hook up the computer to share information.
The picture came up. "Jethro, it is very late," the redheaded woman said. "Is it that important we share this tonight?"
"We have seven generals across all five military branches dirty, seventeen senators, a few Cabinet members, a few foreign cabinet members and lower, plus a lot of minions being killed to cover things up. Yes." He looked at McGee. "Zip it and send it over."
"It's in her email," he said, straightening up. "The file Homeland had was about half of the information. Someone blocked them from coming to help with the takedown of Max. They kept them from showing up to take control of the sonic nuclear weapons, ma'am."
She turned. "My email, get the files up." Someone put them up on virtual screens on that side. She stared then at him. "How in the world did we not see this?" she demanded.
"We have. We mostly saw the minions. We've arrested two of the top level minions in the past, Director. I've arrested one of them and didn't realize it went higher. I thought he was on his own."
"Crap," she muttered, moving to look at it. "What are we doing first?"
"I'm all for a press conference to stop some of the killings and covering up," McGee said. "I've been overruled, ma'am."
"I think it's a good idea but we need to be more quiet," Gibbs said. "Someone like the ones who busted Watergate. Not going on a press conference tour. While we're working to get them behind the scenes. I know we can't trust any other agency and now I know why they called on my team specifically."
She looked up and nodded. "So do I. You're about the only team that'd survive this and come out the other side without mud." She grimaced. "I'm going to see the president."
"He knows," Gibbs said. "One of the twins has a contact that told him and with the senior agent being shot out here, his director knows too."
She nodded, then smirked slightly. "Good. Let me bundle this up and go handle it. You....survive and bring this to its knees, Gibbs."
"Of course. This is not what my US does," he said as he hung up. McGee unconnected the computer and they left together. Gibbs glanced into an open room but walked off shaking his head. That was the firing range. He did not want to know right now.
Gibbs looked up as an agent showed up with a tablet holding a video conference. Jensen had let him in. "Yes, sir?" he asked, saluting him.
"Gibbs, I'd really like it if you'd work with another investigator on this. Just in case it goes places you can't go due to your agency's mandate."
"Send me Fornell, sir. I know he's not involved but there's a lot of dirty agents."
"I've seen," he said with a grimace. "I can send you Fornell. He's already on his way out. Wait on him."
"I'm going to talk to the local LEO today, sir. That way we know what they know too. The detective knew almost nothing about the confiscated materials."
The president nodded. "Figures since it was probably their specialty unit?"
"Fine. Wait on Fornell." He hung up.
Gibbs nodded at the agent. "When is he getting here?"
"He flew out at two, Special Agent Gibbs. "He'll be here in a few hours at the latest."
"Pooch went to pick him up at six," Clay called. "He's on his way back now." He leaned in from outside. "Jensen was online when the email came in. He's been watching for anything that pops up about us or your team now." He went back to his PT.
"Good," Gibbs decided. "Let me go talk to the CPD guys again. Tell DiNozzo to talk to the minions that're hanging around."
"Can do," Xander said from where he was sipping coffee and helping the kids with some homework.
"Thank you." He left, going to the station. Fornell could meet him there.
Gibbs walked up the stairs, nodding at the receptionist for the SWAT team. "I'm here to speak to two senior officers about a recent bust." He held up his ID.
"The senior commanders are all in a meeting, sir, and not to be disturbed."
He stared at her. "I'm sure I can wait a few minutes until they're done." He heard someone stomping up behind him and looked back, nodding. "Fornell."
"Gibbs." They shook hands. "I got the file you made. This is disgusting."
"Yes it is." The door behind her opened and an older Hispanic man leaned out, his silvering hair messy but short. "Gibbs and Fornell. We're the independent investigators into the Max situation so we can get the rest of the dirty people."
"This way, gentlemen. We're discussing what to do with the things we found anyway." He let them in. "Gibbs and Fornell."
"NCIS, we got asked to be independent and the President put Deputy Director Fornell on to help us for the FBI," Gibbs said as he sat down. He pushed over the folder. "This is all we've been told so far."
They looked it over and handed over the confiscation list. "We're trying to figure out where to silently dispose of things. How much did the twins find that they didn't hand over?"
"Two money drops," Fornell said. "We figured they'd pay the minions off."
"Right now, the minions are getting a 'we can help you find someone better to work for' talk," Gibbs said. "They know someone who knows a lot of people with minions."
"Good," one of the team commanders said with a smile. "Can you take them with you?" Both agents shook their heads. "Pity. They freak some of us out."
"They do the same thing to us," Fornell said. "Just because they're bouncy twins with weapons skills." Everyone smiled. "But better them handling the problems that you could grow than a young woman who's going to interrupt patrols for date night."
"True," another commander said. "Our last one had to break things for mandatory overtime with her other job. We don't mind them for that but a lot of people find them...unsettling because they sense that they're dangerous."
"Only when you make them be," Gibbs said. "The same as most soldiers are." They smiled at him for that. "They are, even if it's not official. Anyone who can get a regional militia into a battle by reminding them they don't want to die from this too, then jump in to help win the battle is a soldier."
"Good point," the head of the teams agreed quietly. "We like them for that. They're open with us, which we like. They're freaky and we're used to some of that from the Mountie issue we have." He shook his head and another sighed. "Do the Mounties at the embassy in DC join the local department for cases?"
"I'm not sure if we have Mounties in DC," Gibbs admitted. "I've never seen one."
"We have one that's always helping a certain set of detectives," the guy the twins worked with said. "And his cohort from Canada does sometimes help too."
"They are their version of the National Police," Fornell said. "I guess they're bored."
"The wolf was nice yesterday. Kept begging McGee for his cookies," Gibbs said.
"The wolf can steal food from a locked drawer," one said. "Often. He hunts sweets better than he does muggers for his Mountie."
Gibbs smiled. "It's good to have a partner though."
"Yeah but I'd want one I could talk to that would talk back, not just glare at me for daring to tell him to quit eating donuts. The Mountie gets into a lot of strange conversations with that wolf."
Fornell shook his head. "Now I'm almost glad I'm in a city full of power hungry, copier made agents without sense."
"I could do with a few less of those," Gibbs said. They got back down to business. They had the facilities to get rid of the higher weapons that Chicago wasn't sure they could safely dispose of. Gibbs got Pentagon teams to come out immediately, the president had them on stand-by. Fornell went with them to make sure they got destroyed, not stolen, and Gibbs went over all the other information they had. Clay's team did good work and the twins were good at playing bait, and evil overlord sometimes.
Xander walked out that night with a thermos of coffee, staring at the minions out there. "Guys, to be honest, we don't really need minions and you guys are freaking us out a bit. We've talked to a few people who do use assistants and other versions of minions and he thinks he might be able to help you find better employers, ones who can actually use you." He held up the thermos. "Coffee?"
"Thank you," one said, taking the thermos to take some coffee and pass it on. "You guys really could use the help."
"Yeah, but we have agents looking over our shoulders."
"They'll leave eventually."
"Yup, but then Alex and I have to figure out what to do with our lives outside of handling slayer emergencies." He put his hands in his pockets. "Which I doubt you guys want to help with?" They all shook their heads. "Then if you have someone you'd rather go work for, by all means call them and tell them you're free of the taint of Max, guys. And any ladies as well," he said quietly with a little grin. "I doubt they're the sort that'd want to date us. None of you guys are like Wade, right?" They smiled and shook their heads. "Then we'll gladly let you guys go find new homes being assistants or whatever. We have some of Max's money saved out so we can pay relief and moving funds."
The minion holding the thermos grinned. "We've already taken it from the accounts that cute hacker guy didn't find, Xander."
"Oh, okay. That's great. Can you guys do the mop up to hand to Clay or Gibbs?" They looked at each other then nodded. "Thanks, guys." He grinned. "If we needed minions or even helpers we'd keep you guys but we really don't. Homeland guys wanted us to show them what we did with weapons before. Plus we have the protectees and their families to deal with. Mostly helping Roque and Clay hide from them right now." That got a few more smiles. "I wish we did need you guys. But we don't want to be evil overlords sorts. That's a lot of paperwork and the slayers would nag *forever* if we did that." That got a few nods. "So if you guys would do the mop up and help Clay and Gibbs we'd really appreciate it and let us know when you find a good new home. If they have questions or need references we'll gladly do that for you guys. We don't want you to have to sit home and try to figure out a new life. We're having enough problems with that ourselves." They smiled and went to talk to Gibbs since he was in his car talking to Fornell about the case. Xander went back inside and to the office.
Alex smiled. "It was good. They'd be bored with us."
"They would be." Xander sat behind the desk. "Did Barrings say anything about the stuff we've been able to put on tape?"
"He said so far it looks like stuff that's already out there." They shared a look. "I let him into the vault and showed him the stuff that wasn't all that standard. He's having a headache in a guest room and we're under orders to do the lasers next." Xander nodded, getting up with a sigh to go do that. "We can nap tonight."
"He's only going to be here for a few more days at the most. Might as well get a lot of them done now."
"Point. I'll take early shift tomorrow since the kids won't need us."
Xander smirked. "Bring me cookies?"
"If I can talk them past Jensen." Alex grinned back. Xander jogged down to their work area. Alex went up to bed to rest for a few hours. They really did need to show Barring they were being good boys. Mostly. Though Xander did have a date the next night.
Jensen and Cougar both looked up at the 'Oh my god!' coming from the basement. Jensen got up to go see what the twins had done this time. He leaned into their design studio. No twins or Homeland agent. He went up the hall to the hidden 'office' where they could do a lot more things. There they were looking over a pretty present. "Guys, do we need help?" he asked with a grin.
Xander turned to look at him. "Yes!" He handed over the card. "Dumbass is back."
Jensen looked at it. "I remember that dumbass. It's why you met us." He went to tell the others. "Clay?" he called into the backyard where he and Roque were working out and hiding from the ladies. Clay grunted so he leaned out farther. "Remember the guy that led to us meeting the twins?" he called.
"Yes, unfortunately," Roque said.
"He's back. He sent the twins a present." He looked at the card. "Oh, and he's in town, wants to get together tonight."
"He sent us drugged candy!" Alex shouted up the hall. "Dumbass and his dumbass sister!"
"And he has a sister, which sounds more like your type than the twins'," Jensen quipped. The two senior officers came in to go over that present and the card. Roque took it from him. Jensen went to look the dumbass of the hour up to see where he was. "He's got a connection to the guy that showed up with that FBI lady. Huh."
Xander came out pulling on a jacket. "I need to have a reality type of talk with them." Cougar grabbed him and walked him off. "I can go beat him."
"They might arrest you. Think instead of reacting," he said firmly, staring at him.
"I need a test for my newest laser anyway," he said dryly.
Agent Barrings came out of the basement area. "You have one built?"
Xander looked at him. "I've got five built since last night. It's not that difficult if you have all the stuff on hand." He shrugged. "Or I can bring My Little Friend." He grinned. "CPD might like that too."
"No," Barrings said. "No using artillery or lasers on public property."
"Even on their car? That's not public property."
"It's on a street, which is," Barrings said. "Let me work on it. Okay? Please?"
"Fine," he muttered. He got free of them and went to call someone. "It's Xander. Your dumbass former minion sent us drugged candy so he and his sister could date us. Are you going to be really upset when I kill him or let someone arrest him because everyone thinks we should be like damsels?" He listened to the calm, amused voice. "Other dumbass former minion, Red. Yeah, them." He listened. "Gladly. Barrings won't let me use them as a test of my newest laser system. I do have a new My Little Friend," he said.
"He didn't like that idea, even if I got them in their car." He listened. "Please. Thanks. Yes, he is. Gladly. Thank you. Can you arrange for us to test stuff? He doesn't want us to test the artillery. Thanks, man. No, if you want help with them, let me know. I'm not a damsel in distress. A bitch in distress at times but not a damsel. Thanks, man." He hung up and looked at the staring woman, telling her something in her native language, making her laugh. "Exactly," he agreed. He went to grab something and headed out the other entrance, going to talk to his CPD contact. "I need help," he said as he walked up to his desk.
"Yes you do," he agreed. "Because you're cheerful and you come see me for problems."
"Yes, there is one but Barrings is *sure* he can get them. I need to test something artillery wise."
Detective Stanley Kowalski squinted then sighed. "Poker debt?"
"Our design. We had to cobble it together in Africa. It's called a My Little Friend." He smiled.
"Let me set that up. It at home?"
"Backseat of the car." He held up a bar. "I need to put this in there and it'll take me about ten minutes to do that. Then it'll cause all hell to break loose."
"Let me talk to my new friends in SWAT," he said. "I'll come join you at your car once I call." Xander nodded, heading back down. He groaned but called. "Harris needs somewhere to test a new thing. He's calling it a My Little Friend." He listened. "Yep. Thanks." He took down the address and went to help the goofball hunter guy. He liked the twins well enough if they didn't deal with demon things. He drove him to the gun testing range. Xander settled in to set up a camera and then inserted the bar. By then, senior officers with SWAT were there. Xander checked and frowned, summoning something that had fallen out. It got slid into place and his soldering iron, which was in the case, was used to make sure it stayed. He checked. No green light. He checked and did another connection. "You good?" Stanley asked.
"Yeah, I was working on it while half asleep last night. I missed a few soldering points." He finished up and resealed it, then moved to check it and let the head SWAT guy check it. "We learned how to do this by cobbling together stuff in Africa when we needed it. Which wall do you want destroyed?" They all pointed at the one with the targets. Xander shrugged and fired off the tiny rocket. It hit, it melted things. Then ten seconds later the delayed liquid explosives went off due to the chemical heat reaction the melting had caused. That whole wall fell in and they had to rush out of the building to make sure it didn't fall on them. Xander looked at it. "You're weaker than you used to be. Did I forget the thermite?" he muttered, checking the other cassette. "Huh, I did."
"It's usually stronger?" the head of the firing range demanded.
Xander looked up, nodding slowly. "It's to be used against huge demons. We had to face down a couple of them. Let's face it, if I had to go to regional crackhead militias to get them to help us so they didn't die too, then it's a huge problem. That's what I made this for." He grinned. "Agent Barrings thought it was like something that's already out there."
"Not that I've seen," the SWAT officer said. He took it to look at. "What did you forget to put in?"
"The second layer of packing material and thermite, plus the secondary trigger ball. I was building it while half asleep again."
The SWAT guy patted him on the arm. Behind them, the building slowly fell into the hole where that wall had been. "I hope you guys never have to pull that out of the vault again, Mr. Harris." Xander grinned, bouncing some. "You deserve a donut."
"Yes, but if I got to the one Detective Kowalski showed me I'll run into the two dumbasses who sent us drugged candy. They're why we met Colonel Clay's team. They're seriously not great former minions and their old boss is not amused. Though he did say he could teach us how to play golf."
The SWAT officer patted him on the shoulder again. "We can get you to Regina's and then back home. Including with the tape. Someone dig out the camera?" Kowalski went to do that. "Regina makes *great* mini cakes. You'll love them. My wife craved them through both pregnancies."
"Willow tried to knock us up once but we avoided that by distracting her. But sure, we love cake." He grinned. "Thank you."
"You're welcome. We'll make sure you get home with it safely. That way those two minions can't steal you or your twin." He took the tape and the keys from Kowalski, letting the young guy carry his own weapon. He took him to the nice bakery, letting him pick up great cakes and spend his whole weekly allowance as he said, then home with him. He stared at the colonel they had worked with. "Can we talk to that agent? We helped him test that new thing."
"It's called a My Little Friend," Xander said with a smile. "Alex, I got introduced to really great cakes," he called. "And the nice SWAT guy is here for Barrings."
They came up together to get a cake. The SWAT guy took him to the tv room to show him the testing tape.
Barrings looked at the twins. "I thought it was weaker than that."
"That's weaker. I forgot the second layer of thermite and the packing and ignition material. Also to solder a few pieces because I was tinkering while tired so you could see it before you left." He ate another bite and grinned. "These are nearly as great as twinkies."
"They're like chocolate twinkies and that's wonderful," Alex said. "Where?" Xander handed over the card he had picked up. "We need to memorize this one."
The officer smiled at the agent. "We have to rebuild our range building," he said quietly. "It took out a wall, which then collapsed the ceiling." Barrings winced. "We thought it'd be a tiny, handy thing. Is there anything stronger in there?"
"I don't know," he admitted. "I thought they were derivative so I had them focusing on lasers while I was here." He took the tape. "Corporal?" Jensen walked in. "Can you please digitize this for my boss?"
"Sure," he chirped, going to do that in the office. He, Pooch, and Roque got to see what it did. "That's a friend I want," Jensen said.
"No," Roque said firmly. "If we need something like that, we'll bum on the spur of the moment. You might use it when you don't get hit on in the bars." Jensen flipped him off but finished putting the video into a digital format so he could send it to Barring's boss.
Clay was watching the twins get bouncy on the sugar then looked at the officials. "Want us to escort them somewhere to test stuff?"
"Please," Barrings agreed with a smile. His phone rang. "Yes, sir?" he answered. It had come up as his boss's number. "They're calling it My Little Friend."
"My Little Pony was taken," Alex quipped. "And so was Care Bears because it does kinda hug the explosion around one spot."
Clay shook his head, looking at the SWAT guy. "Do we have a testing range?"
"Not a clue," he admitted. "Military base?"
"Nearest one with design stuff is outside DC," Clay said. "Or Colorado."
Barring hung up. "We'll get him permission to test there and you're to accompany them so they don't get snatched, dated, or have the weapons taken from them," he said calmly. "My boss is horrified. He thought it'd be tinier too."
Clay nodded. "And just think, they're bored sometimes."
"Let them design all they want so we can see if anything might be a good idea to buy." He walked off to get back to the work of the ones who wanted the twins this time.
"Can we help with the two Harris said wanted to date him?" the SWAT officer asked with a smile.
"Gladly," Clay said. "Before the bouncy twins blow them up too." He got their ID's and what Jensen had on them. "They're minions of a former guy who handled things his way."
"Ah. Great." He looked it over, nodding. "We can arrest them as long as there's valid charges."
"Six or seven dozen but nothing heavier than what the mafia would've done."
"Great." He nodded and left, going to tell his people that. They could bust them for the twins and anyone else they found that wanted to date those two. Clearly them dating was a really bad idea.
Clay went to tell Barrings that. It'd save his headache and Clay's own migraine.
Xander looked at the new agent who was bothering him taking the kids to school. "I'm sorry, I have to get the kids to school," he said. "My twin's inside and I'll be back in twenty minutes." He got in, making sure they all had everything, then drove them off. They didn't need to see this new agent freaking out.
The new agent stomped up to the door, pounding on it. Alex opened it, staring at him in a half-asleep way. "Who're you?" he demanded. He subtly activated the freeze beam on the doorway in case the guy got stupid.
"I'm Agent Stallers, Homeland."
"Agent Barrings is our overseer," he said bluntly. "He's asleep right now. He just barely got there. Can't this wait?" He sipped his coffee.
"You and your twin are doing illegal things in this country," he sneered. "I doubt I need to wait for anyone."
"First, dipshit, no we're not. Second, jackass, do you even know of what you speak?" He stood in his way.
"I know you two were warlords."
"No, we stepped in to protect his people when he died of a heart attack. He had my twin and I showed up to rescue him. He was deathly afraid of twins due to someone telling him we'd destroy him. He had a heart attack." He took another drink. "We only stepped in to make sure his people got out of there safely and called some of your people to help us out of that situation. Pooch, can you go wake Barrings up?" he called when he heard him talking to his wife on the phone.
"He took something to sleep," he said. "But I can try. J, go wake up the agent guy."
"Yup," he called.
Alex stared at the guy. "Third, did I see your ID?" he asked bluntly. The guy flashed it. Alex snatched it to look at, handing it back. "Let me guess, you're with Finn's group?" he sneered. "He knows us well enough. We were there when his group went down in Sunnydale. We helped end it." He finished his coffee. "Fourthly, I've helped save this fucking world and I don't put up with disrespect from *anyone*, much less a huffy agent who has no idea why he's on my doorstep at such an ungodly hour." He glared. "Anything else?"
Jensen came out with Barring, who glared at the agent. "Here you go, Alex. Xander take the kids to school?"
"Yeah." He got out of Barrings way. "He thinks we're really warlords."
"ID," Barrings growled. The agent handed it over. He read it and looked at the code. "Yeah, you're not a fit agent." He called his boss. "I have an Agent Stallers here, boss." He put him on speaker and held up the phone while the boss looked him up and told him why he was there. "He's harassing the twins. Including calling Alex a warlord." His boss chewed the agent a new one. "This is Deputy Director Hallings," he told the agent. He tossed him back his ID. "You've just stepped into a puddle that you didn't realize held a sinkhole, son. Go back to your boss. We directly oversee these twins."
"They have weapons."
Alex nodded. "We tinker them into being. It's our present career since there's not much demon activity here for us to handle. We're also Council," he said with a smirk. The agent stepped back looking disgusted. "Exactly. We're the local problem solvers and you just got into my face. I'm not awake enough to deploy my phone's contact list to have you eaten but ask me later when I'm more awake." He walked off. "Barrings, do we have to put up with him?"
"No. I'm your overseeing agent, Harris." He stared at that one, holding up his ID. "I outrank you. Go home." Stallings stomped off. "Boss?" he asked more quietly after slamming the door. His boss said he'd handle it and hung up. "I'm going back to bed unless they try to break in."
"I have tasers," Alex said with a mean smile. "A lot of them." He went to find them, bringing them back to duct tape one of the barrels that had come loose. He smiled. Barrings walked off to bed shaking his head.
"Alex, let me test that," Clay said, taking it to do that on a tree in the backyard. The bolt of lightening that came out was bright blue. He sighed, going back inside to talk to him. "We can protect you two and the ladies," he said. "Why don't you go rest some more. We'll handle the house protection and even use the lightening gun." Alex nodded, going to do that. He looked at the rest of his team, who had seen him firing it from the window. Jensen was giving it loving looks. "You can tell none of this was meant to be used against a human."
Roque nodded, taking the gun to go over. "I never want hit with this." He went to tape down another loose spot. Cougar went up the tree in the front yard with it and they'd handle the house for the psychotically sleepy twins. That left Clay to talk to the twins when they were less sleepy, less psychotic, and maybe he'd even share some of his castoff evil women so the boys would be more normal for a while.
Barring showed up in DC with the twins, who he took immediately to the military testing range. The boys nicely did what they needed to do with cameras rolling. His boss had shown up just after they got there and was back in the visitors section with a few generals. Barrings looked back then at the twins. They shrugged and got back to it. "Did Clay touch those?"
"I think Pooch did," Alex sighed, fixing the one he had open. "Ah, there." He looked it over, reduct taped something and then fired it at the target. Which blew up through the roof and out into a nearby field about a mile away. "Oops. Did I turn you down?" he asked it, staring at the part he had to fix. "I think I did."
Xander moved his twin to show off his. He blew up the second target, which was made of stone. It turned into sand. So did the reinforced wall behind it. And the outer wall behind that one and some insulation. He looked at his then switched with his twin. "You turned the mirror ten degrees."
"That figures," Alex said, looking over his.
Barring cleared his throat. "Is anything you two tinkered into being meant to go against humans?"
"Stakes. We had knives, and regular handguns," Alex said with a small shrug. "Mostly against snakes but anything that would kill a snake would kill a people."
Xander nodded. "We didn't need things to fight people. We needed things to fight bigger things, Agent Barrings."
"What's that big?" he asked, pointing at the second target's remains.
The twins shared a look then stared at him. "Do you know if the Initiative weenies were in our town during our graduation?"
"Those files are sealed so even the president can't get into them," he said. The twins shared a sideways look. "Should I ask Corporal Jensen?" They nodded together. He called him and got a video sent to him from the twins' safe. They had confiscated copies apparently. He watched it, walking it up to his boss and rerunning it. "This was their graduation, sir."
Deputy Director Hallings looked at it, then shuddered. "What is that?"
"It's called an Ascension. That was the Mayor of Sunnydale," Xander quipped.
"He started all the Sunnydale mess," Alex agreed. "Just took him about a century to do that."
"Plus we had to make stuff for all the other big things we ran into in Africa. Someone showed Giles the battle films and he is still not amused. Each time we talk to him he reminds us he's not amused," Xander said.
"He's turning into a nagging girl," Alex agreed. They moved to look over the other weapons.
"Boys, let us set up some tougher things for you two to fire at," Hallings called. He looked at the head of the facility, who called out to find something like a tank they could destroy. That was handy for the bigger things. Though a piece of the turret gun did end up nearly braining a farmer working in his fields nearby.
The higher ups got together to talk about the boys' weapons. Hallings came down. "Boys, we'd like to confiscate those. They're really too strong for the military to use most of the time. We'd appreciate you scaling them back to something we can use against helicopters and tanks."
Alex put his hands in his pockets. "We were hoping we'd be paid for it. We do have those families to take care of, and even though we've got the trust funds set up it won't last forever. Plus property taxes and stuff."
"And food," Xander agreed. "And donuts." They shared a look then at him. "It has to not say anything about us not making stuff for the slayers if they need it."
"If the slayers need something that huge, I'd hope there'd be military people and agents helping," the general said.
"We don't usually trust the military thanks to the Initiative weenies and most of the agents that step in try to hurt the slayers. We can't have that."
"I get that," the general agreed. "We'd like them to be more...useful."
"We may be able to turn them down," Alex said after sharing another look with his twin. "We did think we'd be paid for the ones that were good enough and we'd need a tester model to look at to tinker into being weaker."
The general nodded. "I can see why. Do you two use any sort of computer program to help you?"
"No, it's like legos," Xander said.
"I've met a few other designers like that." Hallings and he stepped off to talk then they came back. "We'd like to make an agreement to buy the prototypes. You're allowed to only make more this strong if the slayers or you need them for huge battles." They nodded. "We can leave you one to tinker with to turn them down so they're weak enough for the average military guy to use. We think you guys have done some really noble things to help the slayers and everyone else. We'll be talking to Mr. Giles about how to integrate those of us who want to jump in to help. It makes no sense to me to let girls handle it, even with special gifts, when there's over a million military people in this country who'd be able to help just as much." They shrugged. "But we'll talk to Mr. Giles about that. We may be able to help the girls train with weapons."
"They're usually using stakes, crossbows, and swords," Xander said.
The general nodded. "That's still weird."
"Most things die by beheading," Alex quipped.
"I guess they would," the general agreed. He looked at the mess then at them. "How many prototypes did you bring to negotiate with today?"
"Agent Barrings told us to bring at least ten. We brought eleven. We would've brought two more but that would've been a bad number," Alex said. "The twelfth is an offshoot of the thirteenth."
"We do a lot of that ourselves," Barrings agreed, clapping them on the back. "Can we make a good deal?"
"As long as you quit talking to us like we're on an acid trip," Xander said with a smile. "I'm not that wacky today."
Barrings patted them on the back. "You scared people, boys." They shrugged and slumped some, hands going into their pockets again. "Let's look at the other ones. Do we have anything else we'd like to destroy?"
"Not on hand," the general said. "We can test them later." They shrugged but nodded. "Okay. Let's settle in to make an agreement on how much you boys want for it and how we'll talk about later ones you may have tinkered into being." They took them to the meeting room to talk about that. The boys were in awe of the money, which the military was skimping them on, but it was enough for them to be happy with.
Barrings made arrangements for the boys to go back home. "Colonel?" Clay looked over. He, Roque, and Cougar had accompanied the twins and their weapons. "We'd like you guys to field test the rest of their things and give us information please." Clay nodded. "We're still trying to straighten out the whole Army thing for you boys. We can't get them onto a flight until tomorrow night."
"Can we go ask Red to teach us how to play golf?" Xander asked. "He could use the fun too probably."
"He's a bad guy but he's not as evil as some you've run into. Just remember you're on the side of good and take lessons on how he's subtle when he handles things. Okay?" Barrings asked. The twins nodded. "I'll call his FBI liaison to see if he's in town for you two." He patted them on the back. "I knew you two would do good things. Rescuing you was a good thing to do." He walked off calling someone in his unit to get that agent's number. She didn't sound happy to hear from him. "Ma'am, Agent Barrings in Homeland. The Harris twins would like to take lessons from the one you've got working with you, primarily in golf. Could you set up a meeting for them?
"They're in DC until tomorrow night and it'd probably be safer around him than not. Thank you. This is my number, yes. Thanks." He hung up. He leaned into the meeting room again. "She'll call him to see where he is." They nodded. "We'll make sure you two have a decent hotel room tonight, boys, with room for the Colonel's people. Colonel, the rest of the weapons they brought?" He pointed. The general got up to look at them. They had to fix a few things Pooch had tampered with but that happened when you had nosy people around.
Red smiled as the twins opened their hotel room door. "Nice choice for rooms," he said as he walked in.
"The generals picked it," Alex said with a shrug. "It's a lot more fancy than any we've ever seen. Why does the tub have buttons?"
"Massage jets probably," Red said, looking at them. "How did you do with the negotiations?"
"They think they're too powerful," Xander said. He sat down. "We'd offer you food but we haven't run out yet."
"That's fine, boys." He looked at them. "Too powerful?" They showed him a copy of the testing tape for the My Little Friend. "I know a few people I'd like to introduce to that."
"We call it My Little Friend."
"As in say hello to?" Red asked, looking amused. The twins nodded with a grin. "The levity must help when you two have battles that no one else believes. Did they get all of them copied for Mr. Giles?"
"All six that made it onto the news down there," Alex said then shook his head. "We don't have a bug sweeper."
"It's fine. Come on, boys. I'll teach you a few things that could help you later on. Including on dates." He took them to the driving range to show them how to hit golf balls correctly. They could use the activity since they weren't doing as much walking, running, and chasing right now. They got the hang of it pretty easily. Then they went to dinner, where he told them about the food stuffs so they understood wines and finer things too. Dates would appreciate that. Including the one he had set up for them that night. "Boys, there's been someone trying to upset me," he said. "His name's Berlin."
"Was he the poncey guy?" Alex asked Xander.
Who shrugged. "I thought that was Berling but then again I had a concussion then." They stared at him. "Why is he being so upsetting?"
"I'm his newest game."
"We hate people like that," Alex said. "They suck and yet...don't very often."
Red smiled. "I've called up one of my compatriots that wanted to meet you two. She's very nice and into biochemical weapons for larger military purposes." He sipped his wine. "She will not ask you about your weapons or anything else, boys. She's simply in lust with your leather pants." They grinned and nodded. "If you should hear about that upsetting topic, do let me know?"
"Of course. If we had known you were in the US we would've warned you about Max," Alex said.
Red grinned. "That was a nasty situation. I commend you on handling it so subtly. The girls never heard a thing about it."
"Good," Xander agreed. "We don't need nagging. We really don't. We get enough of that from our protectees."
Red nodded. "I can see why. They are doing good under your guidance though." The twins grinned and shifted in their seats. "Eat, boys. You probably haven't all day."
"I'm getting fat," Xander complained. "We need to take some of that money and put in a good home gym."
"It'd be cheaper to join one," Alex complained back.
Red nodded. "You want something to do at home as Chicago gets very chilly and snowy in the winters, but a gym outside the house would also get you out and about more, which would mean more dating opportunities." He finished his glass of wine. The boys shared a look and grinned then dug in again. "If I ask you a question about what happened to a specific person, would you two tell me why?"
"Depends," Alex said.
"That's a no comment, it's classified thing," Xander said quietly, glancing around. "It was about her job choice though."
Red nodded. "I didn't think you two were into that field."
"We're not, but we were exposed to mermaid taint," Alex said. "Plus hellmouth radiation."
"Ah. So you had a problem with her coming after you two."
"We didn't have a thing to do with her jeep breaking down in the middle of nowhere and her getting eaten," Xander said with a grimace. "But we heard it was in thanks after a problem."
"I can see someone paying you back that way. How bad is it? Should someone perhaps never mention it?"
"It makes us paranoid," Alex said. "We're not sure how bad it could be."
"I could ask someone."
"Which would make us more paranoid," Xander said then smiled. "If it comes down to knowing and being more paranoid or not knowing, we'd like to keep our child-like innocence."
"That is something many people miss," Red agreed, smiling at them. "If you ever want to know, let me know and I'll have someone quiet that I trust look into it."
"Thank you." He nodded. A pretty thirtyish woman with dark brown hair and glasses walked over. They noticed she was wearing dress pants, flats, and a nice blouse, not too dressed up for this place.
"Hailey. This is Alex and Xander," he said, pointing to each one.
"Boys, I'm happy to meet you. I was in Zimbabwe and saw you two saving the world." She settled in a chair she stole from another table to chat with them. They were adorably shy but it was cute on them.
Clay glared at the boys the next morning, after he had saved them. "You two may not date any hackers."
"Unless we want Jensen?" Alex quipped with a smirk at him.
"I didn't figure you two would want Jensen but if you do at least I know he's decent and dangerous in a good way," Clay shot back, still glaring. "She's not a nice person."
"No one that wants to date us is really *nice*," Alex said. "They never have been. At least she's not a serial killer or anything."
Clay rubbed his forehead, looking over at Roque. "Don't ask me. I've been trying to pound that same thing into your pointy head for how many years?" Roque quipped. "You three should form a rehab club or something to get better taste."
Cougar nodded. "Yes, they should. Though prettier than Wade."
"Yeah, this one was a lot better than Wade or Max wanting them," Roque agreed.
"See, much nicer," Xander said. "So we're going out when she's coming to Chicago in a few months." He grinned at his twin. Who punched him on the arm.
Clay nodded. "Let's pack up so we can go do the paperwork with the generals and then we'll do some minor, safe things until it's time to go home, boys." They nodded, packing up quickly and heading out with the commandos. Of course it wasn't that easy. They ran into a demon.
"Can't you wait until tomorrow?" Xander demanded, hands going to his hips. "You had to do this on one of the two days we're here?"
The demon blinked at them then leaned down to squint at them. "Why are you two here?"
"Weapons," Alex said with a coo.
"Oh, them." He straightened up. "I came to talk to the local slayer because she is being a pain to many."
"Want us to talk to her?" Xander asked.
"That may help but I doubt she'd listen to you either. She acts like she's pregnant and she's not."
"Delilah," they said together. The demon nodded.
"Yeah, she's...she's like that. We've suggested some meds may help in the past," Alex said. The demon smiled. "Let us talk to her. You guys have a community chat later?" The demon nodded and got back into his compact car, which meant he squeezed into every available space and squished himself, then drove off.
"We need to see her," Xander said. He called Giles. "It's us. We're in DC and the demon community is thinking Delilah has issues with her moods." He walked off to the car. Alex followed. "Yeah, we said we'd go talk to her. Thanks. Yes, that. Thanks, Giles." He hung up.
"You forgot to mention he forgot to pay us again," Alex said. He called him back. "Giles, it's Alex. Aren't we still part of the Council and on duty?" he asked blandly, getting into the car. "Well, you wouldn't know it by the state of our non-paychecks," he said blandly. "Yes, I'm greedy but we got told we're going to have snow soon and that means buying clothes unfortunately. Plus we do have the charming women to protect. Don't tempt me to send them to take over the house, Giles. They do love to fuss and would help Andrew a ton." He smiled at his twin. "Yeah, they could. Even the vamps in town respect the ladies. One chewed a vamp that tried to break in a new one the other night and he wandered off looking depressed. Thanks." He hung up. "He'll figure that out." Xander grinned. The other three got in and they headed to where the paperwork was waiting. Then to the slayer's house.
Xander got out first and walked up to the door, knocking on it. "Hi, Delilah's aunt. I'm Xander and he's Alex, we're with the Council. We're the ones that backed up Buffy." She winced. "Just a quick check in with her and to talk to her about why the whole community was worried she was slaying while pregnant." He smiled.
"We've seen a few other watchers."
"I'm sorry," Alex quipped. "We'd like to see less of the old line ourselves." She let them in and got her niece. She came down the stairs and paused. "Giles asked us to check on you, especially since a rather large demon from Brooklyn showed up to talk to you about your pregnancy mood swings."
"I'm not pregnant," she huffed.
"Then you're having mood swings," Xander said, staring at her. "Come sit and tell us how it's been and we'll chat." He walked her into the living room so they could talk. She was pouting but yay. They even called Faith so the girls could talk about mood swings. Faith had a good few herself sometimes. Clearly this one needed some extra special help. Her aunt gently agreed that she could use some mood stabilization but that no one could make her take her medicine if she didn't want to. Xander and Alex helped her ask her doctor for something that had less side effects and she agreed to try that instead.
By then it was nearly time to go and she was on better footing and went to the community meeting to apologize for being so bad to the locals and to do what Buffy had done, set up a 'come talk to me about problems' method. It had helped a lot in Cleveland since it was so much bigger than Sunnydale. That way she didn't have to spread herself all over the city to cover everything at once. The twins got onto the plane and curled up together to nap on the way home. Clay and his guys just shrugged it off and settled in for the flight back.