Alex frowned as he opened the door, staring at the delivery guy. "What did we order? Or did the women order?" He took the pad to sign, looking at the sender's name. "Oh! Our stuff that we had to ship back! Cool! And it means they haven't been internet shopping again." He signed and handed it back, helping the poor guy heave in the three footlockers and two large boxes, plus one smaller one. He tipped him and closed the door. "Xander, our stuff we had to ship is here!" he called. "Plus one box."
Xander came up from their work area in the basement, looking at the new box. "I think that's another internet shopping thing." He went to hand it over to the ladies. They giggled as they opened it. They'd be teaching them about how bad some of those things were soon enough. Let them find out that some of them were junk. He and Alex settled in the living room to open their former stuff. Clothes, comics they had saved from Sunnydale. They put those up and came out to deal with the three footlockers. They were things they had been tinkering with in Sunnydale with Jesse.
It was making them sad but Jesse had to be happy wherever he was watching them tinkering again. They opened the three footlockers to go through things. They resorted the things that were just crude drawings. The few things that they had created out of junk carefully got carried down to the basement to be cleaned up and made working. Alex settled in to do that while Xander looked at the plans to sort them into what they wanted to start with. This was what they had wanted to do when they were adults, not slaying and hunting monsters, but it was great they could get back to it. Even if the ladies would nag about things.
One of the kids that Xander and Alex protected found her way to the police station. The nice guy would help them straighten their protectors out. The officer at the desk stared at her. "I need to speak to the nice guy that helps Xander," she said as politely as she could. She knew uniforms meant good or bad things, depending on the person.
"Does he work here, miss?" the officer asked with a smile to calm her down. She shrugged but nodded. "Okay. Let me check." He called upstairs. "Is there a nice guy up there who works with Xander? A young immigrant teenage girl wanted to talk to him." He listened. "Ah! I can do that. Thank you, sir." He hung up and grinned at her. "You're in the wrong precinct, Miss, but I can get you to him."
"You know about Xander?"
"We got briefed about him and his twin being our Council liaison people. Henners?" She came out of the break area. "Take her to the 27th for Kowalski please?"
"I can do that." She looked at the young girl, smiling at her. "It's only about twelve blocks, little one. You'll be safe with me." The girl nodded, following her out to the car. She seemed nice and not dangerous. When a few of the guys started to make bad comments, the officer glared. "You're insulting yourselves in front of the young lady, boys. Stop it before I have to castrate you so she doesn't think all men are like you up here." They backed down and she grinned at the young girl.
"They're sorry. Their mothers didn't raise them right around women." She got her into the front seat of the car and walked around to drive. On the way, the young woman pointed at things and asked what they were. She was happy to tell her. She winked at her. "You need walked upstairs probably. Ignore anyone who says anything, okay? There's a few idiots who work here beyond Detective Kowalski. He's a really nice guy from what we've heard in Patrol." She parked and got out, taking her inside. "Got one who needs Kowalski."
"He's avoiding paperwork at his desk while the Mountie nags," the desk sergeant said without looking up. He buzzed them through the gate to go upstairs.
She grinned. "C'mon." She led her upstairs to the right room. "Det...oh, hi," she said with a blush and a smile at Mountie Fraser. "Kowalski, this one says you're a nice guy and she needs to talk to you."
He sat up and smiled. "Sure. You're one of Xander's protectees, right?" She nodded, ducking her head. "What's wrong? They date the wrong guy and get kidnaped?"
She shook her head. "The flying things are not right. Our mothers are worried about the flying things that show drawn faces and laugh. We need someone to talk to them to make sure they're not controlling them or others. Our mothers won't even come into the house because of the flying things."
"I can come do that. Which one are you?"
He grinned. "I can come talk to 'em about the flying things being creepy, Tosha. It's not a problem." He stood up and nodded at the Mountie, who came with him. Tosha smiled and petted the dog with them. "That's Diefenbaker. He's a snack hound but he's really helpful around here. Thanks, Officer."
"Welcome. She came to the 8th instead."
"It was close to the school. We're not used to there being more than one in a town," she said.
The officer grinned. "There's a lot of them in town. Usually every ten blocks or so. That way we're closer to handle bad things before your protectors have to." The girl nodded and smiled shyly before shaking her hand as she had been taught and following the dog. They got her into the back of Kowalski's car with Diefenbaker and drove off talking about the car and the half-wolf.
Alex opened the door. "Tosha, did you get lost?" he asked, pulling her in to look her over. "Are you hurt? We got worried when they said you missed the bus. Your mom's freaking out heavily." She ducked her head then spotted one of the flying things and hid behind the Mountie. His uniform would protect him, like military guys' did. He looked back then at her. "It's not harmful," he sighed.
Kowalski smiled. "She said they're freaking out everyone but you two." He walked in and looked at it. "What's it do?"
"Right now it's just carrying messages," Alex said, waving the wolf in. "You can come in, pupkins. We don't mind animals. We almost adopted a monkey once." The dog came in to sniff around. He looked at what he was sniffing. "I know, I was working on something there last night. Xander had the lab." Dief found the piece of candy he had sniffed and gulped it. "Or that too, yeah." He caught his little flying helper, letting them see it. "We're doing emoticons to pass messages."
"The mothers are really upset," she said, not looking at him.
Alex tipped her face up. "It keeps them from nagging," he said with a grin. She snorted and swatted at him but looked at the machine. "It's like a mechanical pet, Tosha. I promise it won't hurt any of you, even if you do wake up Xander and he's grumpy. It may bite someone who is hurting you but it'd never hurt the families." She nodded, rushing off to tell them. He looked at the detective. "Usually she's so shy she hates to talk to people."
"She went to the one near her school," Kowalski said with a grin. "Talked to someone there and they brought her to me. She good?"
"She's fine." He petted his robot. Xander came up to get a drink. "Tosha went to find the nice detective guy because they think the robots are creepy."
"They are but it's protective and keeping the nagging down," he quipped back with a grin. He leaned out the back door. "The flying things won't hurt you," he called. "They're just here to help protect the house when we're busy." He went back to the lab shaking his head the whole way. He looked down at the feeling of fur, petting Diefenbaker while he worked on a new design. It was nice to have something furry once in a while. Especially since Diefenbaker could fetch things for him when he couldn't reach them.
Alex looked up the hall then shook his head at the mountie. "I'm sure he'll be bored down there soon. No toys to play with outside of Xander."
"He doesn't really play with toys," Fraser said.
"Really? I thought all canines had toys. Even the K-9 dogs have toys as a reward for finding the right dickwad."
Kowalski nodded. "They do. It's a good reward. We can get Dief a few toys on the way home." He grinned. "What else are you two doing since you've been awfully quiet."
"We're trying to turn things down, like the agents over us asked us to. They said they're too powerful."
"Ya think?" Ray asked dryly, staring at him. "Your little friend destroyed a building from something the size of a baby's arm."
Alex grinned. "We love that little friend. It's very handy."
"We don't need that sorta strength here in Chicago."
"Maybe. You hope," Alex shot back.
"You'd better hope too," Ray said, staring at him.
"I hope I never run into something that size again. Or anyone else. Doesn't mean there's not a few more around somewhere." He shrugged. "We only handle things as they happen. Not going out looking for trouble. That way leads to many injuries and us being yelled at for being overconfident and normal again."
Ray shook his head. "Nope, we sure don't think you are." Alex grinned and pounced him to hug then walked off humming happily. "He hugs nice," he told his buddy, who nodded.
"It appears he does. Diefenbaker doesn't really need toys." One of the flying things came hissing out and dropped something in front of the poor half-wolf, earning a happy puppy bark and him settling in to chew on the new rawhide. "Well, perhaps one of those. That's not exactly a toy." They went back to the station. Diefenbaker loved his new rawhide enough to ignore a donut on a detective's desk that had been unwisely left unattended. Maybe he needed to get his poor deaf wolf a few toys to help his hunting instincts.
Xander and Alex were at a club getting down for some stress relief, and of course their luck held out. Someone grabbed Alex by the waist, pulling him backward. Xander looked over his twin's shoulder. "Yes, can my twin help you?" he asked dryly.
"We wanted to talk to him about something." He smirked. "I'm sure you understand."
"I'm sure I've killed people who tried to kidnap my twin in the past." He smiled sweetly. "Let my twin go and proposition him like normal."
"Fine." He let the twin go. "Let's go. We gotta talk about your business interests."
"I don't have business interests," Alex said dryly, staring at him. "And anything like that my twin is always involved in too." He smirked a bit. "Other than that, I'm not going anywhere with someone I don't know. I'm over my easy sex days so there's no reason to go anywhere with people we don't know."
The man glared. "We need ta talk about your *business*."
"My *business* is being Council," Alex sneered. "Has been since we were teens." The man pulled a gun so Xander kindly stabbed the guy a tiny bit. "Huh. He must think you're pretty. Usually he'd gut you for pulling a gun on me." The bouncers came running over. "He landed on top of his gun when my twin got him for pulling it on me. He wanted to take me to *talk* to me about something."
"Okay," one of the bouncers said, calling that in. "Can we move this off the floor?"
"Sure," Xander agreed, hauling the guy up. "Grab his gun, eviler half." Alex did and they walked off with the bouncers following. They were outside when the patrol car pulled up. Xander tossed him down, making him groan. "He pulled that gun on my twin while trying to snatch him. Pity."
The patrol officer blinked a few times. "Okay, let's start further back," he said, taking the gun to check, disarm, and put into his trunk. "What happened?"
"He grabbed me around the waist and tried to pull me away from my twin," Alex said. "Said he wanted to talk to me about my business interests when Xander made him let me go before I stabbed him for grabbing me. We asked him what he thought he was doing. He repeated his menial interest and we pointed out we didn't have a business interest, we're Council. He pulled a gun. My twin nicely did what we've done before and he hurt him slightly." The guy moaned.
"Frankly it's really nice not to have to break in somewhere to have to save my twin from someone," Xander said. "We both got really tired of that when it happened while we were in Africa training slayers."
"We heard we had new Council guys," the officer said. The twins smiled at him. "The higher ups are probably going to want to arrest you both for that."
"Sure, let them arrest me for nearly being taken hostage," Alex warned. "Or him for protecting me. Because if I had to react to him grabbing me that way, he would've been a puddle." He looked at the bouncers. "How did he get in with a gun?"
"How did you?" the bouncer asked.
"Magic," Xander said. "We're always armed somehow; even if we're naked we're dangerous."
The officer cleared his throat. "Let's go take an official statement while we arrest him. Then we'll figure out what's going on, all right?" The twins nodded. "Have you guys been to a station before?"
"With some very dirty officers in Africa," Alex said, looking at his twin. "To bail out a slayer?"
"Yeah, we did visit a few times too."
"Okay, that's good. We're going to have to ask you to disarm." Alex and Xander both pulled out laminated cards to show him. "You're...why?"
"Classified," Xander quipped with a grin. "But otherwise there's also death threats."
"Oh. Okay." He called that in and got another squad car to take the kidnaping one to the ER. He drove the twins back to the station and upstairs to talk to the higher ups. "Captain." He looked up and stared at the twins. "Someone tried to kidnap this one," he said with a point at Alex. "From a club. So his twin stabbed him in the side because the guy had pulled a gun."
"That's self defense," Alex said then shrugged. "It's nicer that we don't have to break into somewhere to unkidnap each other this time."
The captain stared at them. "Here?"
"No, not since we got moved here," Xander said. He considered it. "Well......" He looked at his twin.
"No, I didn't have to break in to save you, just go talk to them and make them see reason with an imp," Alex said with a grin. "No weapons required."
"Cool." He punched his twin on the arm with a grin. "Thanks. I didn't want those nasty dicks."
"They did need to bathe," Alex agreed.
"Stop it," the captain ordered. They stared at him. "We have a very effective police force here," he said, staring at Alex.
Alex nodded. "I doubt they wanted to go peacefully talk to the Russian mob about how they had taken my twin because we had to destroy one of their contacts while we were training slayers in Africa. It could've gotten him killed and then I would've went nuts and killed a whole lot of people."
"We can still do it for you."
"If we can't, we'd call our liaison guy," Xander assured him. "He's pretty good and the Homeland agent who watches over us agreed he's good."
The captain looked at him. "You have a liaison?"
"We're Council. We go to him with problems."
"That's good to know." He called his chief. "Sir, I need a quick conference here in my office at the 13th." He hung up and looked at them. "Have a seat, boys." They sat down. He looked at the officer. "Do a report before he gets here." The officer nodded, going downstairs to do that. When the Chief of Detectives came up he had the report in hand. "That's why I called, sir."
He looked at them. "You couldn't do something less than stab him?"
"He had a gun on my twin," Xander said. "The chance he'd fire at him or someone else was really high. The blade's only an inch and a half long." He held it up. "Can't cause much damage but I know where to cause pain that tends to send someone to the floor. This isn't the first time I've had to rescue him or he's had to rescue me."
"We made some *real* winning friends while in Africa training slayers and handling battles," Alex agreed. "Including a few that thought Xander was a fun toy or I was a funner toy. Some that thought we might be able to be ransomed. Some hated that we saved them from the demons so were going to punish us."
Xander nodded. "A few were weapons contacts because we needed something for an upcoming problem and they had it. A few were pirates." He grinned. "They thought we were ransomable aid workers." Alex rolled his eyes but nodded. Xander hit him on the arm without looking. "He did great saving me from them. Twice."
The Chief of Detectives stared at them. "How do you two do that?"
"Creatively since it was just us most of the time. Usually if we were with a slayer she got taken with one of us or managed to get ignored and warn the other one."
The Chief sighed, looking at his captain. "The guy who pulled a gun?"
"The officer didn't note him?"
"No, he noted who had him." He handed the report over. "Why are you two armed in here?" Alex pulled out his card to hold up. "That's not legal for inside federal buildings or police stations." Alex turned it over. He stared. "Why did Homeland Security give you that permission?"
"Death threats and a few classified things," Xander said honestly. "We both have one."
"They had us reporting to Congress when we got back but had it totally closed off. Then they went to isolate us for a day so we could report to Giles," Xander said. "Gave him time to calm down afterwards in his specially checked hotel room." The Chief winced. "Let's just say that you guys saw *a* battle and there were seven big enough to hit the news. Three of them we had to get local rebel bands into it to save their own butts. They really hated us for having them do that. We apparently ended their childhood innocence that they were doing the right thing killing their own people."
"We also made them leave anyone who was still a bit pure out of the battle to spare their boy soldiers," Alex added. "They hated that a lot but it led to the kids being rescued and a lot of them died saving their own people. Apparently it wasn't their ordained job from their version of God." He shifted to cross his feet. "There's nine death threats the last we knew."
"Great." He stared at him. "How much of those battles were classified?"
"Two of them were," Xander said. "The classified parts weren't the ones that got regional notice. Let's just say one relates to a demon possessed person we found in a city in central Africa."
"I can only imagine what sort of position they had," he sighed. "You two have to be less obvious."
"He apparently thought they were in the mob or something," the captain said. "They said he wanted to talk to them about their business interests."
The Chief nodded. "Why?"
"We're working on lessening the strength of the stuff we had to cobble together in Africa," Xander said with a smile. "We let SWAT test some of it with us. Or at least stare at the destruction."
"Is that why we need a new firing range?" the captain asked.
"Yup. That was a My Little Friend," Alex said with a smile. "It came in handy a few times against huger things."
The Chief of Detectives looked at him. "I was at that test. It was about a foot long and it did a lot of damage. The building slowly fell in after they showed that off." He looked at them. "They told you to make them less strong?" They nodded. "Was one worse?"
"Yeah. One kinda blew a test object about a mile into someone's field," Xander admitted. "We promise we're only pulling them out if we have something huge in town, like an ascension or a hell god."
"Good!" the captain said. He looked at his boss. "Self defense is a right."
"It is," he agreed. "With the guy pulling a gun on him, it's a reasonable reaction."
"The only time we really showed our asses, a gang member was trying to take one of us so the other of us went to talk to them with a sword," Alex said.
"They decided we were kinda crazy to have swords and they didn't want to ask us about any weapons we might have," Xander agreed with a grin. "Which was the intention."
"They even agreed to call us if something happened in their territory, like the local demon bar being attacked."
"If they do, you call us right as soon as you hang up," the Chief of Detectives said. They nodded. "Good. Your liaison?"
"Detective Kowalski, his Mountie partner, and their wolf."
"I know of him," the Captain agreed. "We'll let him stay as your liaison. Have you met with anyone who might not like you being here?"
"Yeah, a priest tried to break into the house and ran off crying later," Alex said, shrugging on one side. "He shouldn't have broken into the house. We were tired."
"I do not want to remember nearly being burned at the stake as a supposed witch for only having one eye and being white," Xander quipped, giving him a look.
"We don't want that to happen here either," the Chief agreed.
"We're going to keep that down. There's not many here who would. The Voodun priestess we worked with last week just started to giggle when she saw us. We tend to work really well with anyone who'll work with us. That one priest has the wrong idea anyway since he thinks he can depossess the slayers."
"We're not even the reason he burst out crying and ran. It was a demon that was being amused by us that spotted him and showed up to taunt him," Alex said.
Xander nodded. "Then we nagged the demon, who's harmless, about showing up inside the house. It freaks out our protectees."
"Protectees?" the captain asked.
"The last place we ended up in Africa was the home of a warlord, who died of a heart attack when my beloved evil twin here broke in to save me from being kidnaped," Xander quipped with a grin. "He had bought a lot of people and some of them couldn't safely be released down there. So we're working on giving them what they need to know to be free while protecting them from the honor killing prices on their heads by their families for daring to break out of captivity."
"We're working with an anti-slavery group out of London, a language guy up at the college, and a social worker," Alex said. "The ladies and their kids are all getting a lot of lessons and we're making sure they're safe."
"That's good," the Captain agreed. "Which precinct do you guys live out of?" Xander tossed over his ID. "The fifteenth. I'm sure they're watching your house." He tossed it back.
"Yup. They've been there a few times to talk to us when we moved in and to check our design vault," Alex said. Xander put his ID into his wallet then back into his pocket. "They kinda liked our laser pistol."
The Chief sighed, shaking his head. "I got a report that there was one floating around in the city." He stared at them. "Try for less lethal methods."
"You guys told us not to use the poisoned darts when we asked," Alex said. "Even if they weren't fatal."
"We're trying really hard to be good boys," Xander agreed. "The ones we asked suggested little bladed knives so they didn't do a lot of damage. We're waiting on our handgun licenses to come in. The less lethal methods usually got shudders and a 'please don't carry that in my city' from them."
"We can agree that you guys need to protect yourselves. We'll come over tomorrow to look at the less lethal methods. Maybe something like a fast-acting knockout device would work?"
"We have one but it's a demon slime and the officer nearly shuddered himself into losing weight from it."
"I'll come look tomorrow," the Chief of Detectives said, nodding at them. "Go home. Be safe." They nodded, heading out to do that. He looked at his captain. "Thank you."
"Welcome, sir. They're above my paygrade. I really feel sorry for Kowalski's boss."
"Harding's not bad. He's used to unusual with the Mountie and wolf." He walked off to gather the other report. Yup, the guy who had tried to take that twin was a bad guy. Interesting file on him.
An officer who saw the boys at the grocery store escorting/ignoring their nagging protectees stepped up to one of them. "Do you guys have a cape?" he asked.
Xander looked at him. "Not since I was ten and tried to jump off the roof. I can have one made if you think it'll help with the hunting stuff we've got coming up though."
The officer stared. "Not what I meant and you know it."
Xander grinned. "It's been a *lot* worse than just dealing with people who think we're so hot that they have to kidnap us. Trust me, it's been tons worse in the past. But lucky you guys, you get an apocalypse battle in two months." He patted him on the arm. "See you then?" He walked off.
"We are?" he demanded.
"We're going to tell our liaison later this week, when the research is done. That way we can tell you guys how bad and how long it'll be." He waved back without looking. "Ask them Monday after they get done with the hangovers."
"I can do that," he complained, calling his supervisor on his cellphone. "The Harris twins just gave me a head's up they need to see their liaison this weekend because we've got something huge coming." He nodded at the staring demon. "Have you guys heard anything?" he asked it.
It nodded. "We have heard a high ones wants to come visiting to set up a new palace." He walked inside with a grimace to talk to the twins. And pick up oranges, his mate needed oranges for something.
The officer repeated that and hung up, going back on patrol. Yeah, he was going to have a hangover that weekend too after they heard.
Alex smiled as he walked into the police station with two books and a binder. "Is our wonderful, cheerful liaison detective or his mountie in please?" he asked the desk sergeant.
"Yeah, he got grounded to it when we heard to expect you later this week."
"Willow got the research done faster." He got buzzed up and went up there. "Hi, my cheerful, happy liaison officer."
Ray Kowalski snorted. "Really? Me, cheerful?"
"You're more cheerful than I am." He grinned. "I haven't even gotten laid recently. I'm a pouty Alex because all they want to do is kidnap me, not woo me." He put the stuff on his desk. "Okay, these two books are on the cult that's coming. Some are here looking at real estate. And no, sending them off will only make it move to Urbana or somewhere in Michigan. You're her wishlist and her cult will do anything they can to give it to her." He pointed at the binder. "On the hell goddess herself."
Ray opened that first, staring at it. "What language is this in?"
"Oh, sorry. Willow hand copied from an ancient journal." He settled in to go over it.
Ray looked at him after an hour. "Can you give me just an outline version?"
"Sure. Cult bad. Cult massive. Cult has money, power, and some limited magic." He grinned. "Cult buying Chicago real estate and will open portal in three weeks, once they close on the place. So if they don't already have it, they've got to get it this week. Has to be large enough for a ten foot tall goddess to decorate and live comfortably. Goddess will have guards, who usually are people eating types. If not, definitely meat eaters because otherwise it's a weakness." Ray slumped but nodded, grimacing at him. Alex smiled. "Could be worse. There could be more of them. We can blow up their new digs and it'll make her push it back until the useful date of the portal is gone. Then she'd go to Michigan and try again next year. That's why she's here, they did that in Miami last year because no one knew what to do with her."
Ray stared at him. "So if we blow up her new building she's not coming?"
"She's a female, Ray. She won't live in the rubble. She might have a princess fit. At which time, the city will also have some rubble." Ray nodded, sighing at the end. "Or we can try to blow it up at the end, when she's coming over." Ray stared at him. "Less likely. If she does make it over, after a few weeks of adjusting to Chicago, she should quit eating as many people to make sure we all understand how magnificent she is and we can probably make a peace treaty with her." He shrugged then grinned. "She might totally surprise us by having grown up since the last time anybody held a conversation with her. Which could mean she's already here and we missed the portal opening but she's laying low. And taking her out would cause a huge amount of rubble."
"So it's do the house before she comes, and take down the cult, or she's already here and laying low?"
Alex nodded. "We didn't have a vision about her. The local community warned us they heard she was coming. Now, vision wise, we've got a shithole coming in two months." He pointed at the second book. "That's actually in Olde English."
Ray opened it and stared at the warning on the first page. "Is the whole book a warning about this demon?"
"Yup." Ray looked at him. "It is. And there's a reason." He nodded with a small smirk. "We took out her sister and her brother-in-law. It's a year of bitches for Chicago. An otherwordly princess and then this one who would *adore* being a princess but she's not got the natal station and therefore has to reach the top limits some other way. She just really wants to enslave men to make her own cult to do that."
Ray slumped some more, reading the first few pages. "Can we stop her ahead of time?"
"Only if you can travel about six realms over and blow them up?"
"Never mind," he muttered, going back to reading. He stared at one word. "Is that word what I think it is? Destruction?"
Alex looked then nodded. "Yup. You blow up the portal by accident and it takes out *huge* areas. Like a good few blocks probably. Most of a village back then. They probably popped the portal the wrong way. That's true of any portal though. We know how to take out portals easier now." Ray nodded, letting out a tiny whimper. Alex smiled at the fuzzy head that nudged his hand, petting him. "Hey, Diefenbaker. Are you enjoying your rawhide?" He petted him while Ray read with Benton over his shoulder. "She could be worse, guys. Really worse. She could be larger, more powerful, less of a teenager wanting power and more think-happy about it." They both grimaced at that. "They tend to appear somewhere a bit more remote and silently move in until they have a lot of minions, which have to be gotten through to take them out. Trust me, not fun." Benton sighed but nodded, going back to reading. "Xander's answer after having that vision this morning was walking off going 'fuckity fuck fuck fuck' as he walked."
"Mine too," Ray quipped with a slight grin for him. "Can you guys handle it?"
"Yeah, we can blow her up. We'll need help keeping the ones that're going to welcome her here out of our hair and dealing with the civilians in that area. He saw the area, but we couldn't recognize it right off." He pointed at the vision folded into the pages. It was facing her picture. Ray stared then at the vision. "I have no idea how many civies would be there, and how clear it'll be to deal with things."
Ray shook his head. "Probably the old meat packing district. Lots of warehouses. Some companies." He folded it up and looked at him. "Three weeks?"
"For that one. The other? She can open the portal anytime before the first of December. She paid for it to be that long. That way if they couldn't find something quickly they had a bit more time to look or renovate."
"Thanks for the heartburn, kid."
Alex smirked at him. "I'm nearly thirty, Ray. It's running into things like this that make me look like I'm a teenager. They think I'm pretty so they come to tease me."
"Yeah, that's probably a bad thing. Go dye your hair or something?" he joked back.
"Nah, we're too handsome for that." He smirked. "Let me know if you need more help. We'll talk to you the week before the big, bad one shows up. That way you guys can make any final plans and figure out where she's coming out." He stood up. "You have a good day, Benton, and you too, pupkins Diefenbaker." He gave him one last ear pet and walked off.
Ray looked up at Benton, who took the chair Alex had vacated. "It could be a lot worse, Ray. She could be larger or more powerful."
"Yeah, thank God she's not but still." His lieutenant came to the doorway. He held up the books and binder. "Got two, one may be peaceful enough if she's learned how to be subtle instead of a media whore princess. The other one only wants her level of status so she's working hard to earn it."
"I heard." He came over to get them and look at the vision. "We can find that area. It's described well enough." He looked at him. "Get with them at least once a week until that meeting the week before. Find out if the other one's moved here yet, and if so make sure she knows she's not to give us any fits." He went to call the higher ups to warn them.
Ray looked at Benton. "How do you find a ten foot tall goddess if you don't find her out shopping?"
"I don't know," he admitted. "Searching recent real estate sales?"
"There's gotta be tons."
"Not with the sort of room she'd need, Ray."
"Maybe. There's an office that can help with that." He got up and grabbed his jacket so they could go talk to whoever was in that office in City Hall. They had to have things like measurements, right?
The twins were checking out a few new things when one of their protectees came in to talk to them. "What's up, Yona?" Alex asked, putting down his drafting pencil.
She stared at them. "We feel you are not using us."
"No, we're protecting you," Xander agreed. "We told you that."
She huffed. "We are not used to all this leisure."
"You have things to do for your own family. We don't need you to fuss over us like we're your kids," Alex said. "That's not why you're here."
"We have almost nothing we can do around here anyway."
"Then get the stuff you need to weave or whatever," Alex said. "There's probably areas we can sell them."
She smiled. "We may like that. When we're no longer in danger, are we moving?"
"That's up to you guys," Xander said with a shrug. "Without you guys back there it's going to be too quiet in here with just us bouncing around." She grimaced but nodded. "We'd have to build more flying robots."
"We would rather not see them. They are like flirty devils."
"They're not," Alex said with a grin. "It's nothing more than a flying toaster that delivers messages on a phone screen." She snorted, flapping a hand at him. "You three can get things together to figure out if you want to start making things. Rugs or even weavings for the walls. There's people who buy native handiworks in the US."
"We will talk about that. What about husbands?"
"It's not up to us to find you a husband," Xander said dryly. "Or you'd end up with someone like Todd."
She grimaced. "He has hair like a woman. I could not compete. We will talk. Would we be able to move out?"
"Once you guys have the skills to handle a house, including how to budget and all that, you're going to think about it and tell us," Alex said. "That's a decision only you guys can make. Not like we're going to charge you rent."
He smiled. "A payment for living in a house. You pay rent to the owner of the house so he lets you stay there."
"Plus utilities, like the water bill and the electric bill," Xander said.
"It's not a well and a generator?" They shook their heads, Alex pulling out the bills to show them to her. She frowned. "Why is it so high?"
Alex pointed. "This is how many gallons of water we use. We've actually started to use less. We think it's really great." She looked at him. "Jensen's showers."
"He did like them." She went over them. "This word?"
"Sewer, the wastewater," Xander said after a look. "The stuff that gets flushed and the stuff that goes down the drains." She nodded, looking at the others. "This one is done the same way, by how much we use."
"We use much."
Xander shook his head. "The one apartment we had before our former town fell in, it was as big as the living room and the kitchen combined, was more expensive. Electricity is cheaper here but the one we lived with used a lot more."
"Oh." She stood up. "Everyone pays?"
"Unless they have a well and a septic tank, but then you have to have it pumped every once in a while and that's expensive."
"Plus having to buy water on occasion to fill the well when it gets low," Xander agreed. "You'd be getting lessons on all that after you're more familiar with english and ready to start thinking in terms of money stuff."
"Which would probably mean less shopping," Alex teased with a grin. She huffed and air swatted at him. "Speaking of, your last package came yesterday."
"We have not ordered."
The boys looked at the package. "Scanny!" they yelled together. One of the flying robots came in and scanned where they pointed. Xander had to get up to make it scan the package instead of the wall. The scan got put up onto the main screen in the room when he tapped a command on the screen.
Alex picked up the phone. "You ladies go to the house out back. It'll be safer."
"Against us?" she asked. Xander shrugged. "Who was it sent to?" She stood up. The name was written in english but she understood that. "That's my daughter." She looked at them.
"I'm pretty sure they expected you to open it," Alex soothed. "We will get them stopped." She stomped off, calling that number that the twins had told them to call for problems. Alex went to answer the door at the pounding. "Hey, guys. We called someone directly to come look at it. We thought it was something they had bought until one of our protection robots scanned it for us." He led the two officers and the bomb squad guy back to the office.
Xander was studying the scan. "Wire's under the tape," he said with a point.
The bomb squad guy moved him to look at it. "Compact but homemade."
"One of the people who want to kill our protectees because they're not slaves anymore?" Xander guessed.
"There's a note," the bomb squad guy said with a point. "Let me take it out to the truck."
"We have a shielded room downstairs with tools," Alex offered. All three officers looked at him. "We tinkered with weapons in Africa, now we're designing them."
"Damn handy when you have a demon apocalypse battle," Xander agreed.
"I've got a speciality robot in the truck," the bomb squad guy said, taking it out there.
"UPS, FedEx?" the lead regular officer asked.
"UPS," Xander said. "Our protectees have a bad habit of ordering a lot of stuff off the internet and tv," he said more quietly. "We thought it was some of that." The officers nodded.
"They've bought a lot of 'as seen on tv' stuff," Alex agreed. "Usually to laugh at. They think things like the genie bra are naughty things that no real woman wears."
"Some native women are like that," the other officer agreed. "National geographic said so." The twins nodded with a grin. "They're your protectees?"
"We accidentally took over on a warlord," Xander said. "When he had a heart attack while my twin was saving me. It meant his people didn't get hurt and the area stayed stable while we figured out how not to really take over for him." The bomb squad guy brought in the letter. "Yup, one's brother. He's the one that set the price on her family's head. The kids are in school," he said, pulling that up.
Alex nodded. "The mothers are out back with the babies," he said quietly.
"We can talk to them."
"They have a social worker that stares at us for helping them and we're working with an anti-slavery group out of England," Alex said, finding that information. "Unfortunately things like this aren't that uncommon, it's just that this one was in the US too."
"Probably sent by a cousin," Xander said. "She has a few over here."
The officers nodded, looking at the bomb squad guy. "I can take the investigation, boys. Not a problem. Come help me talk to them?" Alex wrote down a number. "Translator?" he guessed. The twins nodded. "Decent. Thanks, guys. And good work." He left with the officers, going out back to talk to the ladies. One sniffled but the others reminded her that cousin was not worthy of her. Plus the twins would stop him before he got near any of them. They were scary that way.
Alex walked into the school when it was time to pick up the kids, waving at the teacher since she was in the hallway. "Keep them for five," he mouthed. She nodded. He went into the office, smiling at the principal through her open door. "Got two?"
"Probably. Is it important?"
"Yeah, Yona, Feliz's mom? She got sent a bomb at our house in her daughter's name." The principal winced. "Yup. We think by one of the cousins that has the death threat. He's in Detroit. So we're going to be a bit more paranoid about the kids."
"That's fine, Xander."
"Alex. Xander has the eyepatch." He grinned.
"That's fine, Alex. They can be picked up here if you want."
"Please. That way we know they're safe. There's some idiots in this world." He went to pick them up in the classroom. He smiled at them. "Let's go, kids."
"Something happened?" one demanded in his native language.
Alex nodded. "Yona's cousin sent an explosive. There's some mighty idiots in this world and he just prove he was one."
The kids shared looks then nodded. "We still come?" one of the girls asked in English.
"Of course you are. We're just going to be a bit paranoid about getting you here and home." He smiled. "We're good like that." They nodded and went with him. "Anyone need to make any stops for stuff like homework?" One of the boys ran to his locker to get his then back to the group. Alex took them to a special store, walking them all inside. "These are our protectee's kids. They're under a death threat," he said. "One's cousin sent a bomb to the house."
"We have a wonderful line of kevlar impregnated jackets, sir," the salesman said.
"That's why we're here. They're from Africa and snow is probably going to be a bit weird to them."
"We can find them good jackets." He led them over to look at the lines. One of the girls petted another jacket, making Xander smile and let her try it on. "That's got removable panels so it's a bit heavier."
"Comfy?" he asked. She nodded. "Try this one too?" he suggested, handing it to her. She tried it on and went back to the first. "Okay." He let another smaller kid try that on. Didn't fit. They got all the kids fitted with good jackets and Alex paid then took them home via the new cake shop they had adopted. The women all stared. "They're bulletproof," he told them. The mothers hugged their kids, settling in to talk to them about their day at school. Alex grinned at the bomb squad guy. "We'll call if he shows up here. You can come scrape him off the street."
"Yes we will. We understand that urge very well, Mr. Harris."
Alex smiled, going inside. "I bought the kids bulletproof jackets," he said as he walked into the shared office.
"I'm about to use my powers for evil," Xander quipped back with a smile. "Wanna help?"
"Well, I am the more evil one so I probably should," Alex agreed, coming over to see what his beloved twin was doing. "Oh, that sort of evil. What about better evil?" He called up a different site, looking it over. They shared a smirk and he typed a message to that demon bar. Then one to the local slayer telling her to ignore it if the demons ate that one guy, they were doing humanity a favor.
"Let us do it," one of the officers said from the doorway. "Or they could charge you."
"We're having one of the demons out there go ask him if he sent the bomb," Xander said with a smile. The officer walked off shuddering. The twins shared a look before looking over all the stuff they had...inherited from Max's empire. He had some nice stuff. Too trendy for them but nice enough.
Alex breezed into the precinct and upstairs, nodding at a few of the officers giving him horrified looks. Sure, he was in a suit today. Sure, he looked like his slightly evil self. Sure, he was smiling like he was going to have fun. Which, he was. He breezed into the detective's room. "Good day, Detectives." He smiled at his liaison. "We've got to talk to someone later. I'm sure you won't mind but fair warning and all." He strolled off again.
"Stop him," the Lieutenant called from his office. "We get to handle anything that requires him to be that gleeful."
Two of the officers picked up Alex and carried him back in there by his arms. "Him, sir?" one asked.
"Yes, him." He came to his office door. "What is going on? Anything that makes you that happy has to be ended."
Alex smiled. "It's not even about the bomb threat. We found another one." He smirked. "So we're going to talk to our newest...date." He walked off again. "Have a great day, Detectives and Officers."
"No," the lieutenant said. They stopped him again. "You're dating?" He walked out to stare at the younger smartass. Really, Alex was a lot like some of his detectives. "I got a huge file on some of your dates from our usual FBI liaison, kid."
Alex smiled. "How many were in it since they don't tend to watch us?"
"Awww, just the dangerous ones file. This one may want to be dangerous but we're discouraging him." He smiled. "If you want the real file, we'll gladly share most of it. A few we won't share, they were good to us and we're still friends with them."
The lieutenant stared at him. "No. No dating."
"You can't stop us from dating, Lieutenant. You're not our parent and you've got no legal authority to make us not date. There's not really one of those. As for a higher power... you're not one of those either." He smiled slightly. "The only ones we listen to come back in spirit form to nag us. As your name's not Cordelia...." He shrugged. "You have a great day." He walked off again. His twin was waiting in the car. Just as dressed up. They were going to have some fun with this new wanter.
And if Xander managed to lose their following team, so much the better. They made it to the nice hotel where they were having the special lunch date, walking in and nodding at the staring people. "Morning," Xander quipped with a smile. One reached for his phone. Xander paused to stare at him. "Do we need heralds?"
"Yes, sir, you do. The boss ordered."
"Ah. Well that's fine then. We can go fix our hair if he needs more than elevator travel time."
"No, sir." He called. "They're here, sir." He hung up. "I'm to escort you so no one else in the hotel can get your attention."
"I saw Brad," Alex said with a wave at Brad's second-in-command. "Are there others?"
"Two others we think. They're meeting," the guard said, scowling at that guy.
Xander smiled at him. "Relax. Brad's not into us for that reason. He helped us with a few things in Africa." They got onto the elevator and got taken to a nice suite. They were let in. "Good afternoon," he said as he stepped in first. He was the tougher of them.
Alex stepped around his twin, smiling at the man on the couch. This was definitely more interesting than another bad guy who wanted to own them. Each of the guards left after a nod at the boss. Alex reached back to lock the door. "This seems like a private discussion." They stepped in to sit on the couch. "You rang?"
"I did. I need a bit of help, boys," the man on the couch said, taking off his sunglasses to stare at them. "I think you can help me."
"Demonic problems? Something we ran into in Africa?" Xander asked with a smile. "Or something else? Do you know anyone uptown? I saw you in a picture."
"Which is why we're talking," the man said with a smug look. "This...." He waved a hand around. "Isn't the problem, exactly."
Alex smiled, leaning closer. "Do you need help seeing the picture holder?"
"In some ways." He stared at them.
Xander looked then pulled off his bracelet to toss at the table between them. Everything electronic died in the nearby area. "We're Council, *sir*," he said dryly, staring at him.
"They left me here without an exit," he mouthed.
Alex nodded. "That's wonderful. We can go look at things. Though we do have people who might worry. Then again, we've ...inherited some things that could possibly...help you. We have minions we have to deal with. You seem to know something about them?"
"That's an idea I like," he agreed. "Thank you, boys. The others in the hotel who might know you?"
"Two of them are former dates, the others helped us with things in Africa, and one was a former contact out of LA," Xander said. "They'd never ask us anything." The guy smiled. "C'mon, we can get a decent burger on the way home so our protectees don't fuss at us."
"I can do that." He put back on his sunglasses and they walked out together.
"Guys, we've got to introduce him to someone," Alex said, staring at one blocking minion. "Let's go, less evil twin."
"Sure," he agreed. He grinned. "Guys, don't make me use the emergency plans. You'd hate the knockout gas." They all groaned. "We're still *real* paranoid from Africa. We might never lose it." They walked off. The minions quit following and let them drive the guy off. Xander glanced back since Alex was driving. "Let me run the bug scanner." He found it in the glovebox and ran it around the car. It beeped once and that got thrown into the street. Someone else ran it over. "That helped." They ran the magic sensor around, sucking up the two spells in the car, one on their guest.
"Huh, I didn't know any of them used magic."
"Bought cheaply off some witch, probably a college student needing money," Alex said dryly. "We do some of that too." It got thrown onto a truck and the truck suddenly started to change colors. "I love how we warp spells." The other sucked up spell got tossed onto a minivan with kids. They were watching the spreading goo taking over the window and cheering for it eating the bugs that had been smashed. The twins rolled up the windows. Something beeped so they shrugged and rolled their eyes. They got back to the house, parking in the back, going right down to their workshop.
"Okay, Detective. No one could get spyware here. There's mystical and prohibitive things." Someone clapped from the doorway. "And our lisiason." He walked in and stared at the detective. "Our date."
Kowalski stared at the guy he had replaced. "You out?"
"They didn't give me an exit strategy."
"Wonderful of them," Kowalski said. "So this is your way out?"
"Yup," Ray Vecchio said. He felt a familiar feeling of fur against his hand. "Hey, Dief." He petted his ear. Xander tossed over a squeaky ball. Dief settled in to play with the twins. "He plays with toys?"
"The twins gave 'im some," Kowalski said. "Benny's confused too."
"Working dogs like K-9 have toys," Alex said.
"They do," Vecchio agreed. "Can we call in a friend from an agency, boys?"
The twins threw rock/paper/scissors and Alex had to call him.
Vecchio looked at his replacement detective. "My mother?" he asked quietly.
"So good, and complaining all day for the last three days about Frannie."
"Ah, that mood. She still at the station?" Ray Kowalski nodded with a sigh. "Great."
Alex hung up. "He said you're supposed to be under FBI guard but he agreed that they're kinda idiots. He's sending someone that we've talked to at least and isn't a moron."
"That'd help." Vecchio settled in, tossing the ball when Dief brought it over. The half-wolf ran off to get it and came back. "I've missed you too, Dief." He petted the half-wolf. Someone came down the stairs. Vecchio looked over. "They let you in?"
"The boys' protectors let me in," the agent said, staring at them. The twins gave him innocent smiles. "Don't even try. You two dated someone who sold germs last night."
"No, we took things off him because he wanted us," Xander quipped with a grin. "You're welcome. He's going to have to disappoint his buyer today in about an hour."
The agent stared at them. "What?" he demanded.
"Don't look at me," Kowalski said, putting his hands up and walking closer to Vecchio. "I had no idea, not into that shit."
"He's been putting out calls to get our blood," Alex said with a shrug. "Without knowing it was us. If he's going to try here, he's welcome to. We have friends who can help and protect you too." He smiled at his twin.
Xander hugged him. "I love you in evil mode." Alex walked off cackling. Xander grinned at them. "My twin's loveable."
"Yes, he is," Kowalski agreed. "I wish there was drugs to make him less loveable."
"Where's the fun in that?" Xander quipped. Upstairs someone screamed about guns and then about demons and magic eating the gun. Some guy screamed loudly and then tried to run from the house. The agent had a rookie waiting outside so they got that guy.
Alex strolled back down. "That new protection we paid the one girl for is a bit wicked. The guy's now blue and a bit fuzzy. He looks like a walking schnauzer." He flopped into his desk chair, putting his arms behind his head. "The ladies are at their house again." Upstairs someone broke the door and then screamed in fear. "Oh, and Hubert's over, Xan."
"Awww. Is he naked again?"
"Yeah. He is. You know his people don't wear clothes."
Xander walked up there, grinning and waving. "Hi, Hubert." He hugged him around the side. "Problems?"
"The slayers are being girlish again," he complained.
"Hand them chocolate, that's what I do."
"We have. They bounced off. Again."
"Oh, that mood. Oh, dear." He called out there. "Giles, it's Xander. We've got complaints of the girls in *that* mood. No, not the PMS mood, Giles. The one that made us hand out pregnancy tests the last time." He listened. "Ah! They're mirroring ...Buffy's pregnant? Wow, she dated someone living?" Hubert moaned, shaking his head. "No?"
"No, they've got to be mirroring Arabeth."
"Oooooh. Her mother's going to kill her if she's not married. Arabeth, Giles. Thanks." He hung up. "Alex, Arabeth's preggers," he called.
"I'll buy some bulletproof vests for the other girls," he called back. "They'll need them. We did the last time." He came up again, smiling at the guys, waving. "Your boss said he wanted to find us and bleed us. How's that working out for him?" The minions moaned. The twins laughed, smiling at them. They tried to run but the laser gun came out of hiding and shot in front of them. They paused and stared back. Xander smiled, waving the gun. Alex laughed. "He does like weapons more while I'm more the lover in the family." One tried to move so Alex's personal weapon came out. That minion screamed and dove when it fired near his feet because he had to put out the fire. The blown up dirt had helped but not enough. Officers were responding.
Xander walked out to hiss in one's ear. "These people work for people who steal blood from people who've had things," he said quietly. "We've had a few fevers in Africa and other times that they wanted but didn't know it was us so we went to steal their stock last night. Alex, is it still here?"
He looked in the fridge, nodding. "Yeah, still sealed. The note I put on it that it was going to our liaison is gone though." He came to the doorway, smiling at them. One of the people tried to move. He pointed his gun at him. "Really?" The guy's eyes went wide. "Move again."
"Can I go beg the officers?" he asked.
"No. You guys do mean things that upset us. Why would we make them deal with you guys?" That one crapped himself when Hubert came to the door. So did a few of the officers. Alex grinned. "This is Hubert. He came to tell us some slayer-related news. Apparently the minions thought that he's scary. They're dick phobic." He went to check that carrier again. Empty. The other two were full and that one had dummy blood anyway. "Awww, he did get the dummies." He came back and handed over a single use remote. "It'll set off the squibs we replaced their stuff with."
"So pretty," Xander cooed. They went back inside.
"Clean up the mess," the rookie agent said. His arm had a graze and he had watched the twins before so he knew to let them handle it. "We can confiscate whatever they took off their overlording bad guy." He held up his badge. That got a few nods and they came in to arrest people. He looked at Hubert. "Do your people never wear clothes?"
"No. We consider it a foulness to block the air and water from our skin. It makes us ill."
"Huh. Interesting. That's cool. Just complaining about the slayers?"
"A protection they had asked me to put up to pay off a poker debt went off. I came to see if there were any useful minions I could take. These are pathetic. It's unfortunate. It's so hard to find decent minions." He shook his head as he disappeared.
The rookie agent smiled at them. "Good job, people." They ran for the cop cars to hide. The cops smiled, going to finish arresting those ones. A CPD team in a Hazmat van pulled up and walked inside, coming out with two red coolers that were taped up. "Have fun with that."
"Any idea how they're beating them?"
"They replaced it with squibs like they use in the movies," the rookie agent said. The Hazmat guys smiled, taking the remote control from the officer that had it. Xander came out to hand over a note about where the meeting was then walked inside cackling. "Yeah, they're like that," he assured them.
"At least they're not uptight," one officer quipped. They drove off with their minions to arrest them.
Alex walked up to a woman in the store, nodding at the younger woman being nagged by her. "Mrs. Vecchio, your son sent me to gather you so you two could chat securely," he said quietly in Italian. Ray had taught him that phrase. She stared at him, eyes wide. He smiled. "I'm Alex Harris. I work with Ray Kowalski on the local problems. Can you come now or does your sister need more help?"
"She's my eldest daughter," Ma said. "But we need to finish this. It'll only be two minutes."
"Okay, we have that sort of time." He took the cart to push and protected them when someone tried to mug the sister. His glare made the guy run for his life. He grinned at Maria. "We're really nice but we're not used to humoring bad guys that don't want to date us." He even carried the bags to the car then took her with him. Maria could get the food home and put up. He walked her past Ray Kowalski, who smiled and waved.
"Ray's not undercover any more?" she asked, staring from Ray to her escort.
"We helped remove him from them earlier. It might still be a bit dangerous but not for long," Alex assured her. "He's safe here with us." He led her down to their work area. "Ray?" He opened a door to their sitting/relaxing/napping area.
She ran over to hug him, letting him hug back. "You're all right."
"I'm good, Ma." He nodded and Alex left them to talk. She needed to swat him and hug him some more. It was good to be home.
Alex was on the front step sharpening a stake when a car pulled up and two men got out. He stared at them. "Yes? Can we help you?"
"Mr. Harris?" He nodded. "Why were you interfering...."
Alex pointed behind him. "Supervising Agent Millers?" he called. He came out to talk to his people. Alex went back to sharpening stakes, dropping the ones that he had done into the bucket at the bottom of the stairs.
"Who is he to do that?" one of them demanded.
Alex threw a stake at him, making him shriek. "I'm the White Knight of Sunnydale's twin." They stared. "That means I'm *Council*, yeah." They backed away from him. He smiled. "Beyond that, I respond when asked for help. I got asked, I responded. If you didn't respond when you got asked, that's not my problem." He tossed another stake into the bucket and got to work on the next one. Xander came out to help him. "We good?"
"His mother's crying on him."
"That's fine. She's a woman, they cry at times." The twins nodded.
The agents shook their heads and got back to talking. Their friendly agent swatted both of the lower ones and vowed to end their careers when they tried to cover up their stupidity. They huffed off. He had already told their bosses and his bosses and the deputy director over the local branch. He came back to stare at them. "Boys, in the future I need a head's up so I can be there to cover for things. Also, no throwing stakes at agents unless they're attacking you, Alex." He looked at him then at Xander. "Or you."
"It couldn't hurt him."
"Still. Not good. Unless you want to be in jail?"
"No. We'd go back to Africa."
"Take over for a warlord," Xander agreed.
"Build a nice compound."
"Find some decent lovers."
"Stop it," the agent ordered but he was smiling. "Just...go back to being goofy guys."
"We still can't turn down the power on things," Alex pouted.
"You'll figure it out. Take classes, guys." He went back inside to deal with this cluster of screwed up ness. It was sad how bad his agency had fallen into a soap opera mindset. It wasn't even the twins' fault.
Alex hopped onto someone's back, hugging them around the throat. "Do not move," he said in his ear. The guy tried to get free. "Seriously. Don't. Move." The man stopped, glancing back toward him. "Now, go left. Up the alley."
"Who're you?" he growled.
"Saving your ass. Go up the alley to the left," he said quietly, waving off the bodyguard. "Now." The guy huffed but carried him that way. Alex hopped down, staring at him. Then he pointed at the building behind them. The guy looked and growled. He grinned back. "My twin's handling the sniper that nearly got you. It was you or the nun and I'm hoping they were coming for you, Stephen."
"Thank you, Alex," he ground out. "Don't assault me like that again."
Alex grinned. "I can act like a goofy kid. People expect it of me. They expect Xander to be the mean one because of the eyepatch. Beyond that, the guy you're meeting, who probably hired the sniper, knows me." The guy shuddered. "So he'll think that I'm grabbing you for a happier reason than saving your life. Okay? Better?"
"Fine. Next time be more subtle. I'm not the pouncing kind," he said bitterly.
Alex strolled closer to him. "Of course you are, but you're grumpy today." He smiled. "Did you hear how I got your brother?" Stephen glared at him. He grinned. "He deserved it."
"Yes, he did," he sighed. Someone out there yelled about a sniper so they looked out. His bodyguards pushed him back into the alley with Alex. "Thank you for saving me, Alex. What did you want in reward?"
"The rest of the stuff you accidentally sent to Quebec? And maybe the stuff that I stole but didn't tell anyone about?"
"I can liberate that from the place you left it and get the things we sent to Quebec to Brenda."
"Thank you." He hugged him and grinned. "And hey, if you want to give up a contact, we can gladly use them." He hissed in his ear. Stephen moaned. Alex winked. "Please?"
"I'll see if he wants introduced. Can't you two date regular people?"
"No. They don't like us. They think we have too much energy and we're goofy." He strolled off, heading to join up with his twin. He got him out of the handcuffs. "Sorry, guys, but he was solving the sniper problem before it got too bad."
"That's our job," the officer said firmly, stopping him from removing the cuffs.
Alex leaned his chin on his twin's shoulder. "All but the fact that the guy behind you is on the take to him." That one pulled a gun with a glare. The twins smiled and Alex threw something at him, making him scream. "Not even demon byproducts this time." He got Xander free. "Beyond that, you guys couldn't have gotten him out. He's SAS trained. He would've taken all you guys out. That's why we warned you yesterday he was that way when we found out he was local."
"We never got that," the good officer said. "Bob, put it down."
"I don't think so. I think the twins want to come with me."
"No, not really," Xander said. "We're not really into kidnaping."
"We didn't like it when we tried it a few times in Africa so we want wooed," Alex agreed, smiling at him. "Beyond that, you're not mean enough to be one of ours."
Xander smiled at his ex then at Bob. "We used to date him." Bob growled and cocked his gun. This time the thing thrown on him made him scream while holding his whole body and falling to his knees. "Aww, that time it's a demon byproduct."
"Very handy," Alex agreed with a grin for the good officer. "It's just making him a bit achy. It's solved with talcum powder."
"Shut up," the officer growled.
The sniper strolled over, dragging one of the officers trying to stop him. He kissed each of the twins then winked and walked over Officer Bob on his way back to the squad car. "I forgot you needed to talk to him about the stuff you two left and the stuff he sent to Brenda. I'll get him later." He winked. "Thanks for the pounce, Xander."
"You're welcome." He winked back. "Want Officer Bob?"
"No, he was cheaply loaned from the local syndicate boys. He's not really a good minion. They were expecting me to deal with him afterward." He got into the cruiser and smiled at the officer. "You smell much nicer than the officer in Instanbul who tried to arrest me last time."
"Thank you, sir." He closed the door, staring at the twins. "Who're you two?"
"Your Council liaisons," Alex said with a grin. "We met them while training girls in Africa."
The first officer glared at them. "Quit being so cute. Real men aren't cute."
Xander grinned. "Until you've faced down a hell goddess with just a sword and a hangover, you don't get to say that, Officer." The guy walked off shuddering. The twins disappeared. When they got home there was a message in their email stating the lieutenant wanted to talk to them about how to properly handle such situations in the future. They erased it then went to design some more pretty things that exploded.
Ray Vecchio opened the door, staring at the man standing there. "They ignored it."
"I figured they did," Kowalski said, heading downstairs. "Boys, the lieutenant is pissed."
Alex smirked at him. "Yay? We're not hired by Chicago."
"He's not paying us, he's not our higher power," Xander agreed.
Kowalski smirked at them. "No, he called your higher power." He pulled out his phone and dialed it then put it on speaker, making sure the two couldn't get away from the ass chewing from Rupert Giles.
"We diffused the situation, no one died, and we reminded someone that he needed to send our stuff back from Brenda's house," Alex said to stop the ranting. "Beyond that, the cops thought we were cutesy instead of dangerous."
"It's still not all right," Kowalski said dryly. "That's not what you need to do in those situations."
"We were trained in different ways than you were. It's why we don't wear a badge," Xander said. He got back to work. "Giles, did you get the vision last week?"
"Did you figure out when it is?" Alex asked.
"I'll have someone email you since it looked like you'll need to bring some things our way." He huffed but hung up because no one could tell the twins anything when they were in that stubborn mood. He'd do it later when they were in a happy mood and relaxing with chocolate.
Kowalski came in to nag them since their higher power hadn't done it well enough. He was more stubborn than any set of twins, even these.
Vecchio listened, smiling because that was the lecture he had wanted to give the twins last night. The twins were fun but needed sense. Preferably from an older man who knew what sort of bad things happened when you got too cutesy.
Kowalski, who was on the couch guarding the twins and Vecchio, got woken up by a loud squeal of delight. He sat up, sighing and looking at the wolf sitting next to him. "Did they find a hole to a secret twinkie stash?" The wolf groaned but trotted off so Ray got up to follow him. No, not twinkies. Boxes. And a few weapons. "What's this?"
"The stuff our friend yesterday sent to Toronto by accident," Alex said with a grin, pulling out one of his favorite shirts. "He sent it off when we had to be medically evaced after a battle."
Xander nodded, fondling his own shirts. "It was nice of that slayer to put them in the closet for us."
Ray looked back at Vecchio when he wandered in. "Their missing stuff."
"Hmm." He looked. "Bigger weapons. Little weapons. Ugly shirts." Both twins glared at him. "They are."
"Yay," the twins said in unison.
Kowalski spotted a box of chocolates. "Was he a nice ex sort?" he asked with a point at it.
"That's probably drugged," Xander said with a shrug and a grin. "That would be payback for pouncing him to save him." Both detectives sighed but nodded and walked off. The twins hid the weapons before putting up their former wardrobes. When they came out dressed for breakfast the next day, the women all huffed and Vecchio shook his head but stuffed his mouth with toast. "This is who we are," Xander quipped. "Always has been." Alex nodded, pouring coffee for them. "Thanks."
"Welcome." He sipped. Someone walked in. "Wow," he said, grinning at Jensen. "Huge problem?"
"Clay got kidnaped by his latest girlfriend and we don't know where," he admitted. "They think he's like your big brother so I came to see if you recognized them." He grinned. "Wow, your old wardrobe."
"Yeah, we pounced Stephen yesterday to save his ass," Alex said with a smirk. "Picture?" Jensen showed them. "Belinda's a slayer. She was in the house in Iowa the last we knew."
"Thanks, guys." He called that in while walking outside then came back to hang out with them since they wouldn't need his help for the rescue and the twins had a new price on their heads. He stared at them. "Patrick Willingsly."
"Wow, I hear the douchebag alarm," Alex quipped, looking up and around. "It's really loud too."
Xander swatted his twin. "He wanted to date me really hard. He thinks I'm a precious, injured dove."
"Now he's got a high price on your heart's blood and then he'll keep you. It's written so they can take out your twin and he'll keep you anyway," Jensen said.
"How did he find out anything about that?" Xander asked, looking at his twin.
"Two dirty FBI agents the last I heard."
"Oh, the bobbsy twins, yeah. I forgot about them." They shared a look and shrugged. "We can handle him."
"Um, no," Vecchio said dryly. "That's why we have the CPD, boys."
"They hate us," Xander said.
"A lot," Jensen agreed. "They see the goofy and not the training."
"Won't work," Kowalski said from his seat. "Get me files and I'll drop 'em later."
"Welcome, Jake. Boys, eat so you can take the kids to school."
"They're taking the bus now," Xander said with a grin. "They do most days unless they're running late." The mothers all glared at him. He grinned back. "It means you get a lot of hours without the bigger kids underfoot."
"One of the girls wanted makeup," she said in her native language. "We had to remind her *we* don't do that and she's not for sale."
"Hmm," Alex said with a nod.
Xander grinned. "Teenage girls in the US do tend to wear makeup. That's up to you though since they're your girls. Though, teaching them how to be subtle about it might help since they'll probably sneak and wear some at school."
Alex nodded. "Lip gloss yesterday."
The mothers all huffed but got together to talk to the group about their more adult children's choices in life.
Xander shook his head as he poured them more coffee. "US law says eighteen for marriage." They huffed. "And it has to be their choice. You don't want them to be forced into a different form of slavery to a husband who won't treat them any better than the warlord did, right?" They shook their heads. "Then let all of you discover who they're going to be as they grow up. They could be fantastic at many things and their educational trust will cover college expenses." The women huffed but nodded and let it drop for now.
"We'll help you figure out a tasteful level of being a teenage girl," Alex promised. "Without the skanky skirts some of the slayers wear." They smiled and got up to fix more breakfast. "You don't have to do that."
"Shut up," one said in English. "We want to."
"Okay," Xander agreed with a shrug. "Make sure you all have seconds too." They fixed extra for that and settled in to eat and go over the newest lessons. They were using the same ones their children were getting in school and teaching the younger group as well. Xander snapped. "We have to sign up the little heathen monster for kindergarten."
"Their school starts at third grade," Alex said.
"We can ask the principal where she'd send them." That got a nod from his twin.
"Head start?" Vecchio suggested.
"Too old," Xander said. "She'll be five in about six weeks so she'll be eligible this year. She's doing good. She's almost caught up to her age range for language and other skills."
"That's good then," he agreed. "Maria's kids went to the diocese school by the church but that's halfway across town."
"We like the one they're in," Xander said. "They're doing good getting the kids up to where they need to be to take regular classes and we get to come in to help translate things when there's problems. They're doing real good with the english work. It's been about six months and they've caught on to about second grade level."
"That is good," Ray agreed. "Kids soak up knowledge." He smiled at the young pouty girl that stomped in and hugged Alex. "Hey, kid."
She stared up at him then at Alex. "Sister said that they're all locked in their rooms and she doesn't know why but it feels bad to her."
"We can check," Alex promised. She grinned. "Talk to your moms about school stuff." He went to change pants, Xander put on shoes. Jensen sighed and followed them out to the car. They gave him odd looks but he grinned and buckled himself in. "Sure. Remind us to ask about kindergarten for her."
"I can do that," Jensen agreed. They drove off to the school. The guards gave them worried looks when they showed up. "We're just in to ask the principal a question for the kid that's about school age," he said with a smile.
"We're in lockdown, gentlemen."
Xander grinned. "Is it our business or something else?"
"We think it may be your business but we don't like to admit that and there's priests already in there."
"That's great. Means we don't have to do an exorcism ourselves," Alex quipped, taking the backpack out of the trunk and handing his twin it. They went inside and the guard in there shuddered but led them to the area with the problem. The two priests were commanding it to show itself. "Um, Father? It's a gremlin," he said. They glared at him. He stared back. "It is. Though it's not alone. Xander, mirror thingy?" He went looking with a few things, dragging one of the priests with him after shoving the book of exorcisms into his hand. Alex looked then dropped something on the floor. A tiny little tornado of air pounced on it so Alex stomped on it. It became visible so he could take it out with a bit of holy water and silver. "Peanut butter. Makes them really sick but they *adore* it," he said with a grin. "The little shits took over a huge village we were going through so we had to pause and fix it."
"You're our Watcher team," the other priest said.
Alex grinned and nodded. "I'm Alex, that was my twin Xander. This is Jensen, he's a Delta tech ops guy that was helping us this morning with something else." Jensen grinned and waved. "We're going to be teaching him all the various exorcism chants too. There's over a hundred and only one works on those easily possessed. The one you were using is good, but we tend to use one that'll even get demons out of sacrificial rocks." The priest winced but nodded. "We share when asked. Really." Another gremlin appeared he got it too. It squealed but died on the second shot. Alex shook his head. "I hate gremlins."
Jake came up to see how he was doing that and took his own special bullets and silencer to help with it. The priest could do a cleansing afterward or something.
Upstairs, Xander was using the pendant he wore to trace the magic. It was trying to lead him on a merry chase around the school but he found it quickly enough in the gym. He walked in and stared. "Great," he muttered. He looked at the priest. "One of the kids in this school is a marked sacrifice. That's the only reason that type of demon shows up," he said quietly. The priest shuddered but nodded. "Good. Got holy water? Like a ton of holy water?"
"I can bless more."
"Great. We'll need it. And a broom. He'll probably shatter the mirror as a last act of poutiness." He pulled off the backpack and pulled out a large dagger, kissing it before putting the holster on his waist then another pendant he handed over. "The only one I have so you use it. It won't bother me that much." He put the backpack aside and walked over to the mirror, knocking on it until the demon showed up. "You're bothering our protectees. You're freaking out a bunch of kids. Can you please not?" he asked.
"No. Why are you here, Knight? You are supposed to be in Africa."
"We got moved back here about six months ago." He smiled. "Our protectees' kids go here. We don't need them to panic."
"Are they your children?"
Xander stared at him. "Is the glass that thick that you can't hear?" The demon snorted and smirked at him. "Let's just not do this. Tell me who the kid is so we can protect them and you go the hell away. Pun intended. Okay?"
"No. Not okay." He stretched the mirror to get out. Xander stared at him. "Did you expect me to be that pouty as you called it?"
"Yup. That means you've already got the kid." The demon smirked. "Is there another one?"
"I find you amusing and knew you'd come."
Xander nodded. "Yeah, we're predictable that way." The demon laughed as he came out. "Father, go find the kid. Now please." The priest backed up against the door. Xander looked at him so he nodded he knew he had to go over there to do that. The demon laughed. Xander lunged and cut it in the chest. The demon screamed and batted at him and the fight was on. The priest ran for the mirror, praying for help from his God as he crossed over. It was a huge palace and the few guards there only gave him funny looks.
Downstairs, Alex looked up. "Shit," he said. The priest and Jensen both flinched. "Jensen, go help Xander in the gym. The other priest is finding the sacrificial kid across the mirror and Xander's buying him time since he was able to cross over. I've got the rest of this infestation then we'll be up."
"We can go help," the other priest said.
Alex looked at him. "Gremlins don't mess up electronics, Father. They mess up human electrical systems with their bites. They can kill kids by sending them into huge seizures." The priest nodded. "I'd love to be helping my twin right now." The guards rushed their way. "Any of you guys great shots?" Two officers came. "Great." He handed over the gun and reloads. "That's on the tiny little gremlin things." He shot one to show them. "It'll kill as long as it hits somewhere above the bellybutton. They can disrupt human electrical systems by biting. We've got a major demon in the gym. Can you guys handle this with the priest?"
He ran off to help with the bigger problem. Of course, the two ghosts glared at him for it but he shrugged. "I'm not going to let that thing eat kids. Deal with it." He ran into the gym and pounced the demon onto the floor. Unfortunately closer to the mirror than they would like but Jensen broke the demon's hand when it tried to touch it. He grabbed the machete from the bag and they were on with the battle. Jensen ran over through the mirror to help the priest. The twins were killing the demon, but then Jensen came back with a lot of kids. The priest had more too. "Fuck," the twins muttered to each other.
Jensen panted. "Sixteen more kids." They ran back to get the rest and came back for another trip up all those stairs.
"We're missing one," Xander called. "Unless that's twenty-one."
"Three rings of seven," Alex agreed. "Maybe two more if they're doing a resurrection altar to be the host."
"Check for a ritual room not the storage area," Xander said.
"Got it," Jensen agreed, going back with the priest. The poor guy was breathing hard but even Jensen felt that the never-ending stairs were too much. He paused to hit a demon guard. "Where's the other one or the altar room?" It snorted so Jensen hit it again. "Don't make me go get one of the twins or a slayer." The guard huffed but pointed. They went that way and found the last two in position and still glowing. They got them back to the gym. The demon was laughing so Jensen shot him in the forehead with the speciality bullets. That got a scream but distracted him long enough for the twins to cut his head off from each side. Jensen panted, tipping his head back for a minute. "These two were glowing, guys." The mirror shattered.
"Probably sucking magic from them," Alex said, coming over while wiping his forehead off with his t-shirt. He checked those two, nodding. "Yeah, sucking off their latent magic."
"That could be a good thing," the priest said.
Both twins stared at him. "Do you really want that demon to have killed them?" Xander demanded.
"No but magic is an abomination in the eyes of the church."
"No, it's a latent gift some people are born with," Alex shot back, making the priest wince. "If they're born this way and you believe that your god has a say in how they're born, then either he made a mistake or they're meant to be this way. Beyond that, leeching it from them will kill them. They'll still feel like they have it and the next one will come for them but it'll kill them." The priest shuddered, stepping back.
"Frankly, your religion has a lot of funky beliefs we don't like. Including the old White Order of Mages that you used to conscript way back when," Xander quipped. "We ran into the last one they did that to. She was not happy." The guards and the other priest came in. "The demon was leeching their latent magic from them."
"Can they be healed?" the older priest asked.
"Don't know," Alex admitted. "We can call to check." He pulled out his phone and walked over to the demon body to make sure it was dead. "Gretchen, Alex Harris. We need a super witch consult where we are. We just took out Mortimer and saved the twenty-two kids he had to sacrifice. The last two are still glowy and were found in the altar room instead. Yeah, he's dead. Inside a school gym no less. Two priests. Lots of mess from his mirror. Dead demon. Yup, that's us. Thanks." He hung up. "Give her ten minutes to call the coven so they can power her over." He looked at the principal, who was wincing. "So, we were going to come talk today about the next one who's about ready to start school." She flinched, staring at him. He grinned. "One of them is about to start kindergarten."
"We like St. Morris for that, Mr. Harris. How do we clean up this mess?"
"Fire," Xander said with a grin. "Reflooring it." She nodded. "We can help with the fundraising."
"Thank you," she mouthed. Two witches appeared, both older women wearing simple cotton robes. "Ladies, how can we help you help these children? I recognize a few as our former students."
"For right now, can you get us some water, dear?" one asked. "This will probably be thirsty work."
"Depending on how many he burned shut or need healing." They walked over the glass to look at the children, smiling at the priests. "We're the senior healers at the Devon Coven, gentlemen. May we?" They got out of the way.
"C'mon, Fathers. We'll go over that book of exorcisms so you know which one to use when," Xander said. He took some water too. "Thanks."
"Why is there more than one?" the young priest asked.
"Some are meant for specific things," Xander said. "Some were meant for updating the old one, and work just as well. One's meant for those who are easily possessed. That's one we have invisibly tattooed on our bodies so if we are, we can just read it next time."
"The one we like to use is semi-ancient, middle ages ancient, but it's meant to pull any higher being of your choice out of a turnip if you have to," Alex said. "But you can't use it on newborns until they're past the mythical eleven days of still being bound to the mom."
"We've gotten demons out of rocks, out of wells, out of sacrificial kids," Xander agreed. "It is the WD-40 of exorcisms." They settled in to go over the book for them, including marking which ones were for which purpose so they could study it.
"Does the Vatican have a copy?" the younger priest asked.
"Yes. They made the book," Alex said with a grin. "The old White Order of Mages made the book." The older priest shuddered. "One of the old liners that reappeared after the First Evil stuff had been a priest and had been curating their old study area without permission."
"We found it very helpful," one of the witches said. "A few almost mythical books on herb healing and the like were stored in there."
"Plus the first demon porn story," the other quipped with a grin for the priests. "We giggled over that for weeks because it's so inaccurate in how to summon the poor thing so it could mate with your steer and then a young lady to make a new minotaur."
"The last historical mention of minotaurs had a battle of Scotsmen against some leftover hiding Druids. One of them went mad and called on the demon the wrong way so he ended up becoming the new minotaur. He attacked the druids but they saved him," Alex said. Xander rolled his eyes, muttering about book nerds. "No, it was cute. They healed him and they made peace. That's where the Everglen Druid colony started. They hid the from the Church for generations until the last war with England and then they Druids came out of hiding but went back into it after helping. That's when they moved villages to that hidden one no one can find unless you're a pure maiden who wants to learn from them."
"Apparently they ran out of girls," Xander told the priests, who laughed. "Some of the things you find in the Council's history books are really weird."
"Like original Protestants saying they're very God-fearing but they called back an Egyptian goddess to help with the problem of their daughters since their priests just said to burn them for having no periods," Alex said. "They don't talk about the mini plague she started or the awakening of the maidens as her handmaidens. Or the hidden temple they had to set up." The witches stood up to stare at them. The twins both shrugged. "Read it," Alex said.
"Found it," Xander said with a grin when they glared at them. "They're really nice and they bake great cakes. Their offspring are all very sweet young women. Two are doctors now. One did our stitches once and brought us home."
The witches shared a look then shook their heads. "Rosenburg did indeed curse them," one agreed.
"Hellmouth taint," Alex sang.
"Bugger," the other witch complained. The twins high-fived. They loved it when the witches got to swearing about them. "You two finish teaching those two things they need to know then go do...whatever you do."
"We're tinkering with weapons," Xander said with a smug grin. "For the slayers and the military."
"I'd still like to carry a My Little Friend with us," Jensen quipped. "If only to use on Clay's girlfriends. By the way, found Aisha. They're hitting it off *real* well, boys. " The twins grinned. "Clay's very happy most mornings." They laughed. "Roque is going to stab her soon."
"All the wacky that is Clay dating," Alex quipped with a grin.
"He could pass her on but we'd hate to be with Aisha. Her daddy's into drugs and we're not like that," Xander agreed.
"Quit being so goofy," the witches warned. "Get back to work."
"Yes, ma'ams," Alex quipped, smiling at the priests. "They tolerate us a lot." The witches nodded. "But we do a lot of work for them." They nodded again. "Then they encourage the slayers to nag."
"Buffy was thinking about coming out to check on you two," one quipped with a happy smile for them.
"Sure, after the next battle in a few weeks, which is in St. Louis."
"St. Louis?" Jensen asked, pulling out his phone. "Really?" Alex took the phone to type in the details for him. "Thanks."
"A few of our contacts wanted to know why we didn't flirt with you," Xander said with a grin for their buddy.
"Because I like boobs," Jensen said dryly, walking off texting Cougar and Pooch. Clay was back at the house so he was protected and could get into things in the office to see if there were any notes about the battle. Though the offer of him dating the twins made Clay choke they could figure out which contact had that very bad idea and at least shoot them a lot.
Kowalski opened the door at the knock, staring at the guy standing there in the slouchy, wrinkled suit. "Looking for the home for wayward soldiers?" he guessed with a smirk, letting him in.
"Keeping me from having to deal with a few crazy, volatile chicks," Clay complained. "Jensen just wrote about an upcoming battle in St. Louis?"
"Yeah." He took him to the office to show him the notes they had. "I'm briefing our people in a few days so they can brief the ones down there."
"Great." He read them over, shaking his head. "Have they managed to turn down the power on anything?"
"Not yet," Stan said. "Pity that city."
"Yeah, us too." Clay looked up. "Where are they? Cake run again?"
"Demon at the kids' school."
"Charming." He shook his head, sending the information by fax to a former commander then writing a note to go as the last page. He sent it again to Xander's Homeland contact. That way they were more covered this time. He looked at the guy he didn't know. "Hey, Colonel Franklin Clay. Delta."
"Former Detective Ray Vecchio, in hiding," he said. "Until some suit somewhere decides what I've gotta do now."
"I told the lieutenant that you're back," Stan said with a smile. "He whooped so loud the guys gave the closed door funny looks and he actually gave Dief his lunchmeat without any theft."
"Wow," Ray said. "It's nice to be missed."
"I did because I about beat your brother-in-law a few times," Stan said.
"Yeah, I've about hit him too. He's good at some things...."
"He spent three hundred on lotto tickets," Stan said.
"Yeah, he needs ta stop that." He smirked. "I may get to go home in a few days to yell at him myself."
"Happy with that. Benny's still pouting."
"He'll be fine." He looked at Clay. "The boys wandered off with that blond guy."
"That's Jensen. He's my tech ops."
"A geek, they should appreciate that," Ray said. "We were trying to install their common sense again last night."
Clay snorted, shaking his head with a smile. "I think Rosenburg broke that back in their school years."
"Definitely," Clay agreed. "Speaking of," he said when he heard thunder go off outside. He went to the backyard, leaning out. "They're handling a demon at a local school, Rosenburg."
"Why did they tell others about the battle!" she demanded.
"So they don't get into trouble for things and neither do you. Wouldn't you rather have the city's police and fire departments ready to handle anything and ambulances waiting in case things went bad?" She shook her head. "It'd make more sense and give the girls a ring that the demons couldn't get out of."
"They're normals and they don't usually react well to us. They try to kidnap us and test us and put us in the hospital and things. They shouldn't be there."
"Me and my team can make sure, Rosenburg."
"I'm Colonel Clay, Willow. The twins ran into us on missions. Alex drunkenly said that we're the only military guys he might trust." She grimaced. "We're Delta, that's Rangers plus training and sense."
"Oh. So you guys helped with something in Africa?"
"That too. We were near one and stepped in because they needed more people. The twins helped a lot when we had something pop up. Plus we were tangled in that whole warlord thing recently by being pawns the twins were getting free."
"What warlord?" she demanded.
"Go ask Giles."
"Fine." She huffed, looking around. "They're renting here? Wow."
"They have people they have to protect because they had to free them, and no, they own here," Clay said. "Go home. The boys will be back in about two hours or so. There was a demon in the protectee's kids' school." She grimaced but left. He went back inside to get a drink in celebration of still being human. It was a great accomplishment.
Willow reappeared after dinner, watching as whole families went running. "Who are they?" she demanded.
Xander leaned out the back door. "They're the ones we're protecting from their families because they were going to kill them for daring to not be slaves anymore. We're helping them get used to normal things while the kids go to a really good school." He stared at her. "Why are you back?"
She pointed, mouth open then huffed. "Whatever! What warlord!"
"Which time?" he asked. She shrieked. "Hey! We have neighbors. Keep it down before we have to answer the door for cops." He walked back into the kitchen, telling the woman still in there who she was. The woman rolled her eyes but went back to making herself dessert.
Willow stomped in. "Who's she?" she demanded.
"One of the ones we rescued," Alex said without looking up from the book he was reading.
"So you've got her working like a slave over here?" she demanded.
The woman slapped a wooden spoon on the counter. "They do not allow us to work at all! You can be huffy but we do not work for them. We study, we raise our children, we learn, we do not work because they fuss back if we try. Now quit before I call that witch that they know to send you away." She glared at her.
Willow backed down. "But... why are you here then?"
"Because my family will kill me for not being owned," she sneered.
"Oh. I'm sorry. I didn't know." The woman glared at her before walking off with her fruit salad. Xander stopped her and handed over the bottle of basil syrup they had made earlier. She smiled at him before going back to their house. Willow sank into a chair, staring at them. "Why are you protecting them?"
"Because we can," Alex said, looking up to stare at her. "Isn't that the best reason?"
"What happens if the house is attacked? If vampires or something show up here."
"As opposed to some psycho that thought we were worthy showing up to recruit us?" Xander asked. "We handled it and let the police handle his stuff for us." He grinned. "Gave us a lot less work when they do it for me."
"You...." Willow said, staring at him. "Um...."
"Yeah, us." Alex grinned. "We're good at it too. Not the first one we've had to handle." Clay reached over to swat him on the back of the head. "We ran into his team while buying weapons for the slayers down there. We kinda sidelined them with another problem that we had run into while we ran into our contact then went to the battle."
"Thankfully that other problem was manageable," Clay said dryly, smirking at them. "And then we took down that contact, right before the demons overran his compound so we had to save all of us and watched the twins chase after them with swords and guns. It was not amusing."
"No, it wasn't fun but it was educational. He had stuff in that one locked room the demon stepped on then blushed about that even Anya might not have been able to identify," Xander said, grinning at his twin.
Willow shuddered. "Eww. Don't talk about that stuff around me." Both twins shrugged. "Why did you two tell the normals in St. Louis?"
Alex looked at Clay, who nodded he had. "That means we'll need someone to make sure that any slayers taken anywhere are protected from the sort that want to take parts and samples and eggs."
"We're not busy," Clay said. "We can do that. Even if they send us somewhere it won't be in the next two weeks."
"Hopefully," Jensen agreed. "If not, we can ask some of the other teams. I've been talking with their geeks to straighten up the identity problem we have from the rumors." Clay smirked at him. "Seriously, they thought you had dated him, Clay."
"Yeah," he snorted. "Max didn't have breasts, just a head full of crazy. We good with them?"
"Most of them," Jensen said. "A few still believe there might've been something to the rumors. Including our bosses."
"We have those minions," Alex said, looking at Xander.
"I can ask." He pulled out his phone to call. "Hey, Presley, how many of you guys are still unhired?" He smiled. "That might be a good thing. Slayer battle coming up in St. Louis in a few weeks and since the normals got the heads up we're kinda worried about the girls being kidnaped and us having to go rescue them from some lab somewhere right after the battle. Can you see how much we'd have to pay them to make sure the girls aren't harmed if they go to the ER and to pull a rescue if they try to arrest us? Thanks, man. Yup, he's here. Why? Oh, Aisha. Well.... She's Clay's right now so ask her. We don't touch taken and she's a bit too crazy for us. Thanks." He hung up. "Sixteen minions are still unhired." Alex grinned. "He'll ask how much it'll cost to hire them to guard the girls' backs." He looked at Clay. "Your *volatile* one is here at the Radisson."
"I didn't tell her I was coming up," Clay said. "I'll figure that out later and make sure she can't touch your labs, boys." They grinned. "Have you managed to turn anything down yet?"
"Not really," Xander admitted. "We can only use the explosives we know. We're looking for other recipes."
"I'll see if we can find you some for more normal explosive loads instead," Jensen said, patting Alex on the shoulder. "But it was cute that the tractor went flying over a mile when we tested it against it."
"I'm pretty sure that farmer complained long and hard about stuff landing in his fields," Clay said dryly.
"What?" Willow demanded.
"While down there we had to tinker things into being," Alex said. "Not enough poker contacts and weapons are really expensive."
"You didn't handle anything that big!"
"Um, bullshit," Clay said with a smug look for her. "They got to come home to a fully sealed and classified talk with Congress about seven battles they had."
"Then the Secret Service took Giles somewhere quiet so he could watch the film that got suppressed. I think he had scotch and croutons for dinner that night so nothing upset his stomach," Xander said with a grin for her. "Yeah, we did handle some huge things. We didn't send in reports because we didn't want to hear the shit storm. Especially since we found one of our slayers, who was thirteen, in a battle for her life when we drove into the village. That goddess, not real pleased to have her plan at the new concubine for status broken."
Alex nodded. "She's okay and we helped kill it. Then we told her why and what was going on. She had the forehead-slap maneuver then told us about the things that had been coming for her. Which we nicely went to fix for her. For three weeks. Her mother was much happier when we got back so we could train her how to protect herself and told her how things were now different."
Willow was gaping in horror. "You did what?" she moaned.
"Yeah, then we ran into a few others," Xander said with a grin, pointing at Clay. "Which was how we met them a few months later." Clay and Jensen both nodded. "We sent in coded messages to Giles about there being some huge issues. Everyone ignored us. So we handled it." The twins high-fived.
"They handled a lot of stuff that got covered up by the regional governments, Rosenburg," Clay said. "We saw three of the seven battles that they briefed congress about."
"And one that they didn't brief about but that was because it was rebel led and the demon destroyed them," Jensen agreed. The twins nodded. "Made quite a mess."
"Yes they did," Clay agreed, then burped. "Sorry. Had Thai for lunch."
Willow slumped, staring at the twins. "You guys did things like that?"
"That time they had one of the baby slayers to sacrifice," Xander said.
"What did you want us to do?" Alex asked. "Let them sacrifice her?"
"Then we were there and the only ones handling things," Alex said.
"We did what we had to do," Xander agreed. "The girls down there are safer and the locals down there wanted to learn about all this so they could cover things up better."
"Which is why Congress was curious about what happened," Alex finished. She thumped her head on the table dramatically. "So, anyway, about St. Louis. We've already talked to Giles about weapons. We have most of what we need made. We need to make two more things just in case and we were working on them anyway."
"Oooh, the My Little Friend?" Jensen asked with a grin.
Stan Kowalski looked at him then at Clay. "They said thank you for destroying the old range building, it needed replaced anyway." The twins grinned at him. "Do you actually have bigger things?"
"One of the ones they tested in DC sent a tank's turret and gun over a mile into a farmer's field," Clay said dryly.
"Ah," Stan said. Then he nodded. "Will you really need something that big?"
"Yes, we have," Alex said.
"Twice," Xander agreed.
"I didn't see those battles," Clay said.
"We don't want to remember one of them," Alex said. "It got so bad that even those were too puny and we had to use a wish that was owed to Anya."
Willow flinched. "That's bad."
"Yeah, it was." Xander grinned. "Very, very bad." She shuddered. "We'll figure out how to guard the girls. Let us think for a while." She pouted but nodded and left. The twins sighed but relaxed.
"I thought it was nice that she threatened to call Willow on her," Alex said. Clay and Jensen both stared at him. "That's what she said at the stove. Don't make me call that Rosenburg witch on you for being so bad." The guys all grinned. "Let us go finish making stuff."
Vecchio pushed them back into their chairs. "Do you have tonight or need it?"
"We have tonight," Alex said. "It's mostly done. We just have to finish putting it together."
"Is that going to be a mess of duct tape like the ones we brought to DC?" Clay asked.
"Quite possibly. Super glue won't work and most of them we need into in case something happens so we can't weld them. And welding might set them off," Alex said. "We're not up to date on that."
"I'll have Pooch come help, boys. He's a good mechanic and he's tinkered things together in the past." Jensen was already texting him. "For now, let's go look at that tragic shirt collection you two pulled out." He looked at them then shook their heads. "Even your dates wouldn't want you to wear those."
"We have better clothes for dates, but this stuff is easy to wash and hides stains very well if we're fighting," Xander said.
"Plus it's cheaper to replace than real clothes that everyone expects us to wear," Alex agreed.
"I remember that pain in the wallet well with how often the Mountie destroyed my Armani," Vecchio sighed, shaking his head. "My suits, my car." He groaned.
Stan nodded. "That's why I wear jeans and t-shirts, not suits. No matter how often I get dirty looks for it. Especially after we ended up in the lake and I had ta get a quick lesson in swimming."
"We went onto the swim team to find out why they were turning into movie monsters and eating the other kids," Xander said.
Clay stared but Jensen said it. "Why?" he asked.
"Problem of the moment," Alex admitted.
"Someone had to," Xander agreed. "We were okay and the girls gave the speedos horrified looks. Even though both of them had seen dicks by that time."
Stan slapped himself on the forehead, leaning his head on his hand and moaning. "So did you two turn too?"
"No, we got detoxed," Xander said with a grin. "I'm the only one that shows it."
Jensen stared at them. "I found the birth certificate," he mouthed with a grin. "She's not that good." The twins both shrugged. "How?"
"Hammer," Alex said bluntly. "Big, huge hammer."
Jensen nodded. "Somehow that makes sense." The twins shrugged. "Do others...."
"That were there."
"Oh, okay." He sent another message to Pooch. "I'm telling him to bring his own tools so you guys don't have to share and he might have stuff you guys don't." They shrugged but nodded. "Oops, Jolene's complaining."
"She can come up," Clay said. Jensen added that to the next text. "Not like the women here can't show her how to change her future spawn's diapers." The twins grinned at him. "Yeah, she is pregnant. Mood swings are hell on all of us." He got up to get some coffee. "Anyone else want some?"
"Please," Ray said. He came over to get his own. Something out front shattered and then crashed. The twins rushed out with Stan behind them and Jensen behind him. "Let me call it in, guys." He followed with the house phone.
Clay walked out then swore and ran back to the armory to pull out more weapons. He tossed the twins some and Jensen one too. The small gang fight got stopped easily enough and they were not happy about it. Clay sneered. "Thanks for ruining my shore leave, boys. Really. I'm sure the Army will be thrilled with my pissy mood when I get back."
Xander leaned down to look at one of the gang kids. "Why did you do this here when you know we'd stop it? Didn't we have that sort of talk when you tried to kidnap my twin?"
"They started it," he said.
"That's fine. But now it's ended so the rest of us can nap securely tonight." He grinned and stood up, shaking his head at his twin. "Maybe they're nice enough to find us someone nice to date."
"Maybe," Alex agreed with a grin for them. "Better than Erica Mclayne was."
One of the gang boy's heads popped up and he stared at them. "You dated *that*?"
"Yeah, we did." The twins grinned at him. "It was a fun weekend. She was great stress relief but not that tough compared to some others like Ochoa."
"If you screwed that psychotic bitch I'm impressed that you date more volatile types than I do," Clay said. "Even I wouldn't touch that pussy, boys. Have some taste."
"Weapons trade," Xander said with a grin and a shrug. "It helped."
"For a whole weekend we had *no* stress," Alex said with a grin for him. "And she fed us."
"That was kinda rare among some of our dates," Xander agreed, walking over to the officer showing up. "We heard a crash and a breaking glass noise so we came to see what was going on."
"Why do you have guns?" the officer demanded. "Put it on the hood of the cruiser."
"Officer, we design weapons," Alex said. "We weren't sure this wasn't a bid to grab some of ours." The officer stared. "Also, we're supposed to have weapons. We have congressional permission to have weapons." The officer slumped. He grinned. "We're also your Watchers Council team and these two are military guys in to talk to us about something. Plus our liaison officer who was here to nag us about dating."
The officer called that in and groaned, wincing some at what he heard. "For now, put the weapons away." They did that and retreated to their porch. More officers showed up to help him arrest the fighting ones. "Who started this?" one demanded.
One of the boys nodded at the other side's people. "They tried to attack our areas. We have a peace treaty with those two crazy ones." He got hauled up and handcuffed. "We learned that when one of them showed up with a sword to ask us why one of us had tried to take his twin for a talk."
"A sword?" an officer demanded. He looked over and the twins grinned and waved. "Oh, it's your house." They smiled and nodded. "Go inside. We don't want to bother you two. Maybe the nice Colonel or Corporal can find someone to make you sane."
"We could use a new date," Alex agreed, looking at Clay.
"Thankfully all his are in jail or dead," Jensen quipped. "And you're not tough enough for Aisha."
"Probably true," Clay agreed. "I'll ask around though."
Jensen looked around the twins at him. "Sure, you three go bar hopping together, see what crawls out of the woodwork." Alex hit him on the arm. "They would."
"Some of our former ones might," Alex said with a grin. "I know a few are in town."
Xander nodded. "Two don't want us to be anywhere near them right now because it might hurt whatever they're in town for. Which is a pity."
Clay and Jensen shared a look. "We'd love to meet them," Clay said smugly.
Alex looked at him. "If you take all our ex's we'll just have to make more."
"Which probably means a lot of rescuing from kidnapings coming up," Xander added with a grin. "That's not our preferred method of wooing but it does seem to happen with the new dates."
"At least until we have to rescue each other the first time," Alex said, grimacing at them.
"Thankfully, the Chicago PD can rescue you two too," Vecchio said from inside. He wasn't supposed to be out of hiding yet.
"It'd take a team like ours to get to some of them," Jensen quipped, shooting a grin at him. "It has before."
"No, we were on the way to rescuing ourselves when you guys showed up to bust his balls," Alex said. Xander nodded.
Kowalski looked over at them. "If you two date things like that, we'll gladly arrest them so you have to find someone *decent*."
"We can only date those who like us," Alex quipped with a wave and a grin.
"They tend to not be nice to anyone but us," Xander agreed.
"Because normal chicks really don't," Clay agreed. "I tried so damn hard, Kowalski."
"Fine." He looked at the officers, shrugging. "We'll try ta fix it. Ma might know of a few semi-naughty girls for them to see." The officers walked off shaking their heads. Stan went back inside.
Ray shook his head. "Ma shuns girls like that at church. Maria...she might know a few. Probably divorced but there's gotta be some."
The twins walked in and locked the door behind Clay and Jensen. Outside lightening went off. They sighed and went to talk to the Rosenburg of Doom. "Willow, that gang was trying to protect us," Xander said. "I had to talk with them after one tried to take Alex to talk about weapons."
"We don't screw with their sort; they're too crazy," one of the gang kids said. "How did you do that?"
"Guys, this is Rosenburg. We work with her at the Council. She's the senior witch right now." The gang kids all nodded and backed up a few steps. So did the officers. The twins hid their smiles at that reaction. It was a wise one.
Stan came back out. "Willow, if you do big things in this city we'll have to arrest you. The local Commish is against the slayers and the twins. I'm their liaison in case something big is gonna happen." He handed over his card. "But these ones weren't doing more than fighting in the streets. Okay?"
She smiled at him. "I think you'd make a very good girl." She patted him on the cheek. "Keep them from eating sweets, they get way too bouncy and get into trouble. They're normal so don't let them do a lot of stupid stuff while fighting and don't let them fight anything too big. Okay?"
"I can try but usually they tell us afterward."
She rolled her eyes. "We get that too. Buffy hates it." She glared at the house then smiled at him. "I need a girlfriend like you are." She disappeared again.
Kowalski looked at the nearest officer. "I'm glad I'm still a guy but it's nice she likes me too."
"She'd probably love the Mountie like most other women and the wolf," he said dryly. They finished up and left before they all had to file confusing paperwork about their new gender identities.
Kowalski went inside. "Think she'd like to pet Dief, guys?"
"Probably," Ray said. "Many women do, even lesbians like she is. I wonder if she'd like Frannie."
"Frannie would kill you for taking her from her hunt for Mountie butt," Stan joked.
"It's cute and all but uptight and too starched," Xander quipped as he headed for the kitchen.
"Yeah he does, and irons them too," Ray said, rolling his eyes.
"Maybe he'll find someone nice and the dose of humoring his dick will fix all that," Alex said. "It did with us."
"I was never that uptight," Xander said.
"No, not since you went on that roadtrip and ended up stripping a few times. That club was very educational."
"Yes it was," Xander agreed with a grin.
"You two didn't go together?" Stan asked.
The twins shared a look and Alex shrugged. "At that time, there was only one of us," he told them. "A bit over two years later, a huge, mystical hammer separated us into the beloved twins you see today."
Stan gaped then moaned. "Seriously?"
"Seriously," Jensen said. "I found the files that put Alex into the system. Rosenburg is not that slick and I've already fixed a few awkward spots, guys." The twins hugged him. "If I liked boys, it'd be neat." They grinned and bounced off to the armory.
Clay shook his head. "With what has been said about Sunnydale that doesn't really surprise me."
"If everyone you know suddenly starts living in a broadway musical, the demon's name is Sweet and he's got a pendant that summoned him," Xander called. "Whoever did it is his new wife."
"Good ta know," Ray sighed.
"If we all start living in a musical, do ya think Benny's gonna be singing 'thank you kindly'?" he asked. Ray threw something at his head for it. Stan walked off laughing. "Forgot to tell him by the way. Only the wolf knows so far in Canada."
"We can arrange that." He looked at the hallway leading downstairs then shook his head. "I can do that tomorrow."
The others went to their beds for now. Since it was quiet and the twins could be talked out of banging things together until Pooch got there.
Mountie Benton Fraser was at the designated point the tip called in said to be at. He saw the dark tinted windows on the sedan pulling up and wondered but hopped in when it paused as had been ordered. He was out of uniform, in normal people clothes as they had called it. He blinked at the man in the back, who just pointed up front. "Colonel."
"Taking you to meet someone," he said.
"Why the subterfuge?"
"Your boss is a bitch, Fraser," he said bluntly, staring at him. "And it's still listed as classified. Relax. We'll be there in twenty." Benton relaxed, smiling at the man driving. Pooch had been good with stories when they had been up here last time.
They pulled into the warehouse and parked, letting Benton get out first. The man in the suit with the short hair was facing the other direction and speaking in Italian on his phone. His heart nearly lifted but it couldn't be. He turned and took off his sunglasses. The cellphone went into his pocket. "Ray," he said, blinking hard. "You're...."
"Yeah, yeah," he said with a hand wave and a grin. "It's over with but they're bitching hard. Stanley, your ex is pissed."
"It's her usual mood these days," Stanley called back from the back of the warehouse. Diefenbaker came trotting out to mug Ray by spreading fur on him before going to do the same to his human.
Benton moved closer. "So you're back?"
"That we're not sure of yet," he admitted but he was smiling. "I had to go to the twins to get an exit strategy started." He smirked. "They freaked out Ma and Maria too."
"So she knows?"
"You're the last to know because I thought Stanley had told ya."
"That's good then. Are you returning to work?"
"I'm hoping so. I can't keep living with the twins unless I decide to become their on-site assistant and handler sort." Benton smiled, coming closer to hug him. Ray patted him on the back. "It's okay. It's about normal."
Benton smiled. "So the subterfuge?"
"Nah, the twins heard this goober is a dick and was moving this into Canada later." He grinned. "Welsh was real happy to give it to Stanley and you."
"Thank you." He looked back and Stan waved him off, going into the back. Something got shot. "Stanley?"
"Great," Ray called. "Where's the twins?"
"With the team guys."
"Even better. They can protect them from this dick getting pouty. He actually pouted at the twins when they burst in here to confiscate some things they might need for the battle next week in St. Louis. Whatta dick."
Benton laughed, walking off with Ray to see what was in here. This was a weight lifted off his shoulders and mind. Plus he'd have a lot of paperwork to do for the bust of weapons.
Benton walked into the office the next morning, still not in uniform. "Sir." His supervisor lifted her head to stare at him oddly. "Last night the Harris Twins, the Watchers Council people handling the local area, busted an arms dealer who wanted to date them. They did take a few things for the upcoming battle in St. Louis, which is now under Homeland Security authority. The rest that they left was headed to Canada." He handed over the inventory list they had found and the paperwork. "I'll be going back there in a moment to finish supervising the CPD confiscation of the weapons so we can make sure they make it to destruction."
She looked it over then at him. "Is that legal for them to take it?"
"Homeland Security said yes, sir."
"I see. Why?"
"The battle coming up next week is apparently rather large and they'd rather have more weapons than they think they need. If not, those will be handed over to their Homeland liaison after the battle is done with." She grimaced but handed it back. "That is our copy. Detective Kowalski is handing in his while they load the trucks. I'm going back there and should be back at approximately two-twenty." She nodded and he left again. She huffed but sent the paperwork up the stream. It was a good thing to keep from coming into Canada. Even if he was out of uniform and too happy to have been up all night.
Alex walked into the embassy humming. "Just being a messenger, Constable Turnbull. Is the head bitch in charge in?"
"Yes, Mr. Harris, Inspector Thatcher is in."
Alex grinned and winked. "It'll be okay again." He slid him a note as he walked past him. He saw when the mountie read it and smiled then destroyed the note. He knocked and walked in. "Good day, Inspector. I come to liven up your life. These are the three slayers moving to the Canadian houses for training and college." He put down the three packets of papers. "Giles had us hand them in since there's no embassy in Cleveland."
She glared at him. "I heard what you called me."
"And yet you bark more than Diefenbaker," he said dryly. "I deal with women alllll day long, Inspector." He grinned. "Including Rosenburg, who is looking at finishing her college in Montreal."
"I don't think our government likes her for her ...magic," she said.
"Sometimes we don't like her for her magic either but that's usually because she's just turned one of us into something." He grinned. "Anyway, three young slayers, two for college, one for training with a specialty trainer among the natives up by Constable Fraser's old posting. She's doing fantastic as a healer, has the touch-healing gift and all. They've already been approved so that's the paperwork they were told to hand in. Do they need more than that? I can help them do that over the phone if necessary. Oh," he said, snapping his fingers. He pulled out his phone and wrote a name and number on the top. "Our liaison in Winnipeg is who we usually file those with but I think he's off on vacation right now. Not too sure. Giles said he tried but he didn't answer his phones."
She looked through the forms. They were technically correct. "They could have filed them through some other embassy."
Alex grinned. "The one in New York has total fits with the slayers up there because one of them is the new ex of a constable." She grimaced. "They broke up for a good reason. He didn't tell her he was married. He's really lucky Buffy didn't go up there to beat him to death for playing her that way."
She shook her head with a sigh, going back to the paperwork. "I'll send this up. I can't guarantee acceptance however."
"That's all we wanted, ma'am, oh, and to let you know that the *seen* protest in Toronto isn't going to be anything huge or damaging. They're being pouty that one of their favorite shows got canceled by the CBC so they're going to protest their offices." He shrugged. "Teenagers, ya know."
"I don't actually. I never would have done that."
"Some guys are fans, some guys aren't. In their case it was something funny but didn't get great ratings so they're changing it for some reality trash show. But it was seen to be peaceful as long as the officers there don't suddenly panic. Which was what triggered the vision out of one of the slayers up there."
"Don't they have someone to tell that to?"
"He didn't answer his phone." He pointed at that name and number.
"I'll pass that along as well. Thank you, Mr. Harris."
"Do you have weapons in this city?"
He grinned. "Inspector Thatcher, we are weapons designers. It's how we afford to eat delicious cake now and then." He walked off, putting back on his sunglasses with a smile for the constable. "Happy day, Constable Turnbull."
"You as well, Mr. Harris."
"I'm hoping so. We get cake since everyone's busy and we have to finish something for the upcoming battle." He skipped down the stairs to get his car and drive off.
Constable Turnbull walked in with an envelope. "Diplomatic daily mail pouch, sir?" She slid the paperwork and note inside and he went to mail it. That was so nice of the twins. They were really good to the slayers.
Xander looked at Alex that night. "We're going to be bankrupt if we pay the minions."
"What about the stuff from Max?"
"I... I thought we put the rest of that into an interest bearing thingy?"
"I think we did. Ours isn't too bad and how much do they want?"
"Half a mil each."
"We can hire commandos for less than that."
"Yup," Xander agreed. "A lot of them. Maybe even one guy for two slayers."
They stared at each other then Alex shrugged. "We'll ask Jensen in the morning." That got a nod and they went back to tinkering. They'd fall asleep on top of the shrink ray, but that was fine. At least it wasn't the one that they had accidentally tuned to make portals instead of shrinking things.